Friday, October 30, 2015

Plaid Placket Dress

I've wanted to make a full-length t-shirt dress for quite a while now. However, since I started sewing in earnest I've always been nursing, pregnant, or both... and a dress like that isn't particularly awesome for those situations! I finally made one anyway, and made it work for nursing by adding a placket in the front.

  I used some super-soft, rather thin, and quite stretchy plaid that was in the KnitFix I bought last December. (This plaid is also one of the fabrics for this month.) Of course, that made a basic design more complicated because I had to try to match the plaid! I managed to get the horizontal lines matched up beautifully, but I completely forgot to try to line up the vertical lines along the side seams until it was too late. I also matched up two horizontal lines with the sleeve on the front bodice but couldn't make it work in the back.

  I used my basic tee pattern with some modifications to make matching the plaid under the arm a little easier, added a placket from some lightly interfaced black knit following this tutorial (only I altered the measurements to fit the dress better and pressed everything with an iron) and added bow cuffs to the sleeves.

  The placket turned out pretty great, especially since everything kept trying to shift under the presser foot. I planned on using KAM snaps for this, but the only ones I have that work well with this fabric are white hearts, which seem a little too youthful for this style. I ended up using some heavy-duty metal snaps that I had on hand... they are overkill for this fabric but since it's interfaced on the placket I don't think they will cause any problems there. The one on the neckband might though... I didn't interface there.

  Having made this dress, I probably would not make another in this style.

  I do like this dress, but it's not nearly as flattering as a style with a more defined waist would be.

  I added a knit belt with a flower... I wish I'd had some wide elastic to stabilize the belt, but it still turned out pretty cute. =)

  The hem is lettuce-edged as usual. I have another dress in the works too, with a different fabric from the same KnitFix bag... it's all cut out but I haven't started actually sewing it yet.

  Thanks for stopping by,

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Heart Smocked Dress

  I started this dress really soon after finishing the first dress I smocked- smocking is addictive!

  Since I wanted this dress smaller than the last one, I started with Made by Rae's free Little Geranium Dress and made a few alterations to get the look I wanted.

  I cut the bodice pieces in half horizontally and added seam allowances at the cut. I added the height of the lower half to the height of the skirt, plus 2 extra inches so it would be closer to gown length. I decided to make the width of the skirt pieces 3 times as wide as the bodice pieces, plus 3/4" in the back for overlap, and cut rectangles that matched my measurements.

  I used the lower half of the bodice pieces to mark the armscyes, but didn't cut them until after I'd finished smocking. I looked for a smocking plate that featured heart shapes for a while before finally coming up with my own, and I love how it turned out!

  The cable row at the top is pretty uneven, partly due to the texture of this lovely Swiss dot that Karen sent me a while back, but mostly because I need more practice with cable rows! I did much better with my vertical spacing this time though. After smocking the skirt pieces I French-seamed the front and back pieces together.

  Then I cut the armscyes out and finished them with a narrow bias strip.

  I assembled the bodice but left it open at the bottom, and sewed the skirt pieces in after basting. I didn't like how the front came out even with the basting, and ended up un-picking and re-sewing parts of it a few times to get a better line above the cable row. I used wash-away wonder-tape to stick the back pieces on before sewing and they turned out a bit better.

  I slip-stitched the bodice lining down by hand before turning my attention to the hem.

  I wanted to do a blind hem on this dress, but I knew the stitches would show up on this delicate fabric no matter how careful I was, so I just did my best to keep them tiny and even.

  I'm pretty pleased with the results!

  I could barely wait to put this dress on Foof... here she is in it at three days old!

  She wasn't particularly happy about not being held:

  But she calmed down after a while and let me take a few happier photos.

  I considered adding sleeves to this dress, but I'm glad I kept it sleeveless so I can layer it for cooler weather.

  It fits decently right now, but there is room for her to grow too... she might be able to wear it for another 2 months!

  I really love how this one turned out... I'm hoping I get a chance to do more smocking soon! =)

Thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Red Corduroy Baby Dress

  I'm back! Although I can't say I'll be posting regularly, I took some photos of this little dress and wanted to share it.

  This dress is pretty much a copy of Tricia's lovely baby dress here, but with materials I had on hand- the wider trim was given to me, and the narrower trim was from Joann's a few years ago, as was the fabric. The snaps are heart-shaped KAM snaps, as usual. =)

  I didn't change the neckline to a square, but I did add tucks to the front bodice and skirt hem, and pleated the skirt on to the bodice instead of gathering it.

  I used the larger of the sizes included in the free pattern, because the first Itty Bitty Baby Dress I made only fit for a couple of weeks, and I added extra length to the hem too. It was a little big on Foof when she was born, but I'm happy that she will be able to wear it when the weather cools down a bit!

  The corduroy was a bit bulky around the bodice, and I didn't want to increase that bulk by doubling up on the pleats in the front, so I added two small pleats near the side seams... most of the time they aren't noticeable at all, but they helped take up that extra fabric in the skirt front. The bulk also makes the trim flip up a bit, but that wouldn't have been a problem if I'd enclosed the waist seam like I normally do. If I made this again I would probably use a lighter-weight fabric for the bodice lining.

  I didn't have to match the pleats to tucks in the back, so I just made those ones wider.

  I do love how this turned out, but I think I'd love it more with a couple of changes to make everything line up better and to reduce bulk. =)
  Obviously, sewing has been a bit slower lately, but I do have a knit dress and three shirts that have been sewn in the past few weeks... hopefully I'll have a chance to show you those soon, along with the smocked dress I made for Foof before she arrived. 

Thanks for stopping by,