Saturday, July 13, 2019

The denim dress...

Ok, just for grins, here's what I started with.  The pattern is for a shirtdress, with a copyright date of 2001.  Um, Yeah.  2001.  It's been in the stash a while.  But I have always liked the lines of it, so when I was looking for a pattern to use for my denim shirt dress, it was the one I ultimately pulled.  

Here are the pattern pieces I had to work with:


There were optional fisheye darts in the front and back; the sleeve length options were full length, elbow length or sleeveless.

I cut the dress off at the 'lengthen/shorten' line, which ended up being right at my knees...pretty close to the length I wanted to end with.  The first muslin showed that I needed to move the bust shaping down about an inch, and shorten the dart considerably as the point wrapped way too far past where it should.  And I needed to give myself just a pinch more ease.

Because it was going to be a wide, fairly short dart, I decided to rotate that puppy to a princess seam.

I will add that this is the first time I have tried this, and I did learn a lot.

I had to lengthen the center front section...and this was after it had already been lengthened once for a full bust adjustment.  I thought that was odd, but walking the seam after I closed the dart clearly showed that I was going to have to lengthen it.  Also, the top buttonhole was pretty much at full bust level, so I moved the collar shaping up about an inch and a half.

Wouldn't you know, the next muslin showed that the bust shaping was now about an inch too low.  So I moved that back up to where it started, basically.

Hind sight...maybe I used the wrong pivot point?  I might should have researched that a bit more.  I didn't put the sleeves on the first muslin since I was just checking bust dart placement and girth, but the second muslin showed that there was too much ease in the sleeve cap; the sleeve had to be slightly gathered to fit the armsceye (not shown at all in those lovely smooth sleeves on the pattern photo...).  So I shaved down some of the curve, and cut a bit of the length off the front underarm so that it matched the dress (not sure if the mismatch was my fault or the patterns at that point).

And, of  course, I added an inseam pocket.  I also eliminated the front facing and just cut the center front pieces twice so I could sew the facing into the princess seam. Plus, I wanted a shirt tail hem, with the back slightly longer than the front, so I curved the hemlines accordingly.

However, I was somewhat short on fabric and I had to shorten those curves a bit from my original plan just to get it to fit on the fabric.

Here  are the pattern pieces I ended up with:


The fabric was an indigo blue cotton/lycocel from JoAnn's.  Not at all cheap, either, at about twelve and a half bucks a yard.  But I'd bought it for one thing and ended up using something else for that project, so it was available.   I was disappointed to see that it wasn't square; I tore both ends for a straight edge and when the fabric was laid out with the ends even there were terrible ripples down the fold.   I had to offset the selvege ends by about 2" to eliminate that rippling.  So I am attributing any wonkiness in the hang to that little issue. 

I had to change up the sewing order considerably; I sewed the CF and CB together at the shoulder seams; added the collar and put the facing on and pressed it well; basted together the raw edges on the CF seamline.  Then I put the pockets on the side front...putting on the facing piece, then the pocket so the pocket opening is finished off and the pocket becomes the sideseam. Then I sewed the side front/side back together at the shoulder seams, then sewed the sides to the centers.  Then I did the side seams and inserted the sleeves.  Hem, button holes and buttons.

Sounds simple, eh? LOL. 

 The dress, emphasis on the added pocket:


 The June outfit, bracelet, earrings, shoes and bag as well:



The bust shaping still feels a shade low to me.  Not enough to really worry about, but I'll probably adjust it if I make up the pattern again.   The sleeves bind a bit if I raise my arms, but that is just something I ALWAYS deal with on woven garments.  I haven't yet figured out the magic combination of ease here and fitting there to keep that from happening.

And you can't tell about the shaped hem at all; it's just not pronounced enough to show, although it does look just  a wee bit longer in the back if you look close.  

These pics were taken very late last night, after birthday festivities, so it is a bit rumpled.  But it was very comfortable to wear.  I expect to wear it at least a few times this summer.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - June

So, here we are, a week into July, and I've just now got the June outfit ready to post.  But, considering I completely lost the first week of June to jet lag, AND I completely worked over a new pattern, rather than using TNTs, I don't think I did too badly.

 Just for a reminder, here are the June picks at Vivienne Files.

The denim dress does not want to photograph well.  It just sags on a hanger and rumples lying flat.  I think it's because of the shaping;  it just has to go somewhere.

But, anyway, here's the June collection:


And, you know, it JUST occurred to me  (like, as I'm typing all this up) that if I am collecting images for the 'whole wardrobe' picture I could make a better collection to see the month's outfits.  Oy.

(timeout while she goes and builds a slide for this month...)





Dress:  Much modified out of print McCall's 3254 made from indigo blue cotton/lyocel 'denim'; I will do a whole blog post on that later in the week.  Shoes are Rockport/Cobb Hill Hannah from the closet; I've had them for about two years and absolutely LOVE them...they are very kind to my picky feet.  In fact, I may have just talked myself into ordering a pair in another color.  I hunted and hunted for a tote bag with a hummingbird motif but had absolutely no luck...they were either gaudy or just basically reusable grocery bags. But I found this one that looked like a good denim color, and it's about a dead match for the shoes...and the turquoisy color in the original scarf.  I actually purchased a bracelet...since I had a reward that needed using at Novica.  And a light beaded bracelet is not nearly as annoying to wear as a clunky bangle.  The earrings are some that I bought years ago...at Kohl's, maybe?  They are my favorite wear-with-denim earrings.

AND...here's everything so far.

Now, on to July's T shirts...


Thursday, July 04, 2019

12 Months 12 Outfits - July Assignment

Ok, you have no doubt noticed that I have not posted my June outfit yet.  Well, there's a reason for that.  It's a denim shirt dress that needs about 10 5/8" buttons.  I dug through my button stash but could not find 10 matching suitable buttons.  I'm not sure I have 10 matching buttons, period, actually.

So, given the disappointment that my last foray into retail looking for buttons turned out to be, I pulled up WAWAK and ordered two 1-dozen packs of buttons...one of which should work.  Since they were only about $2.50 a package, I thought it would be worth it.  Also ordered some serger thread, since it was on sale, to make the shipping worthwhile, but $2.50 for a dozen buttons is so much less than I would have paid for three or four cards of buttons...IF I could find them...that I didn't mind the shipping; it may still have been cheaper, lol.

So, I'm waiting for the buttons to get here. The dress needs the final top stitching pass around the front and the collar but, aside from the buttons (which are to arrive tomorrow) and buttonholes it's done.

Quick slip-on seems to indicate that the dress is going to fit well...except for some binding in the armsceye/sleeves.  The bane of any kind of fitted upper body.  If its truly annoying I will pull off the cap sleeves and finish the armholes with some bias binding.  I didn't notice it on the muslin, but there was an excessive amount of ease in the sleeve to put into the armsceye; it was kinda puckery.  So I shaved off a little bit of the outer curves on the sleeve cap...small amounts, really.  I didn't think it would make that much difference.  But, apparently it did. We'll see if it's an actual problem once the buttons are on and all.

But, I'm 4 days into July and Janice has posted the wardrobe picks for July....as she has done in years past, July's picks are shorts, two t-shirts, a necklace (well, earrings for one outfit) and sandals.

I could totally pull items from my closet to cover July, but I have been in sore need of some T shirts with red in them; that's a definite wardrobe gap that needs filling.  I've recently acquired a couple of pieces of red and white stripe knit, so one of those will get made up.  I'm waffling on the second T...I have a royal and white knit that would make a good T and would work really well with my wardrobe...or I could sew up a woven red T that's been cut out since February.

It probably depends on what I decide I want to do for the shorts.  My first impulse was to use white jeans; I have some that were added to the wardrobe back in the spring...as it turns out, it is the same white jeans Janice featured in her 'Ten Ways to Wear White Jeans' post back in May.

Can I admit to a slight smug feeling to realize I was ahead of the curve?  Which is a good thing...I clicked through to make sure it was the same pants as the ones I'd purchased and discovered that my size was sold out.

So there's that option.

But...I may scrounge around and see if I have a remnant of fabric that would be suitable for shorts.  Just because, well, that might be a good way to use up a bit of something.

So...if I go with white pants (or shorts) , then the two stripey fabrics will do nicely.  If I opt for something else, well, that may change the second one.

And of course, if I run short of time (short of time!  hahaha) I can always just go to the white Lands' End jeans.  So...decisions will be made after I get the buttons on the June dress.

July's necklace and sandals will not be a problem. 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

A Birthday Fundraiser

I am interrupting our regularly scheduled (HA!) programming for a little public announcement.

I'm turning 60 in a couple of weeks (oy).  And, being a Facebook person, Facebook suggested to me that I create a fundraiser in honor of my birthday.

After pondering it, I decided to create one for Compassion, International.

We have sponsored kids in the Philippines through Compassion for a number of years; they really do good work with the kids, providing centers where the kids can go and be safe, be fed, get tutoring help...and, incidentally, learn about Jesus.  Compassion also has programs to help families, not just the kids, but the whole family.

And it hit me...reading about the atrocious conditions along our southern border...what if we could help the families where they are...and save them the long, dangerous journey to the border?

It felt..right...to me.   An answer to the 'What can I do, Lord?' prayer.    I realize there's a whole lot more involved and there is no simple, one-off solution to the problem, but what if helping one kid/one family made a difference to that one family?

So, we signed up to sponsor another child...a girl from Honduras, one of the countries from whence a number of the folks at the border have come.

I'm not trying to throw guilt on anyone or make some kind of political statement.  Just share the small thing.

If it sounds like something you might be interested in doing, you can visit  https://www.compassion.com/

No pressure.  Just sharing.

Now...back to the denim dress...which likely won't be done before midnight tomorrow anyway....

Sunday, June 23, 2019

I hate making muslins.

Really.  I don't like using fabric on something I'm going to throw away, ultimately, even if it's long-stashed fabric from the now-defunct dollar table at Wal-Mart.  That fabric could have been an nice shirt...someday, right?

I don't like taking the time to cut out a muslin, sew up a muslin, and pin up a  muslin to see if the alterations I made to the pattern are gonna work.

But do you know what I hate worse than muslins?

Wadders.  Garments that I had high hopes for but then didn't work.  Spending time on fabric that was NOT a dollar a yard, only to find that the garment doesn't fit/hang right.

So I'm making muslins of the whacked up McCalls shirtdress pattern.  I am dragging myself kicking and screaming, but I AM making a muslin.  I would be beyond stupid to just assume that all this pattern whacking is just miraculously going to work.  I mean, I took a bodacious front dart and rotated it into a princess seam.  Not a minor adjustment.

SO...I have the second muslin about half cut out; I need to get ON with it because I run out of June in a week....and this IS the June outfit.

Between what's left of tonight and then tomorrow after work, I'mma gonna be workin on the muslin.  Because I don't want a wadder. 

I recut the CF and CB from the original muslin, but the sides gotta start fresh....
And I want to make sure the pockets are in the right place.
And the combined collar is going to work.
And the sleeves are the right length.
Oy.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Denim dress (June Outfit) progress

Well, this is the pattern I selected as being closest to what I envisioned.  It's from, um, 2001 and LOOKS like there are some bodacious shoulder pads in it, to my eye, but shoulder pads are not called for in the pattern.

There is also a knee-length cutting line, so that's what I used (LOL...in hindsight, I realized that is the shorten/lengthen line.  But it worked).  Did a FBA on the pattern and threw together a quick muslin.  Now, the P/P patterns come with a 1" seam allowance on the side seams...and, as you can see, the largest size in the envelope is a 12.  Well, I haven't been a size 12 in a NUMBER of years, so I used a 3/8" seam allowance in stitching up the muslin and omitted the front and back waistline fisheye darts.

Well, firstly...that bust shaping has to go down about an inch.  And the dart was way too long.  So  I lowered it an inch and shortened it up.  Much better.  It doesn't seem to be too small, but I think one more inch of wearing ease would give me some breathing room.  So I'm going to add 5/8" to the side seams, which will let me increase the ease by 1" AND use 5 /8" seam allowances...much better for adding an inseam pocket.  Which you KNOW I will do.  And the shoulder seams are about 3/4" too long...which is common for my absurdly narrow shoulders. I do NOT have to do a square shoulder adjustment...the square shoulders on the photos were true square shoulders, I suppose.

So that pretty well takes care of the fitting.  Except, I now have a short fat bust dart, which I believe will be nigh impossible to press without a dimple at the end.  So I've pretty much decided to convert the dart to a princess seam.  And cut the front double instead of using a front facing.  If I want to sew the facing into the princess seam ala Loes Hinse's techniques, I will need to create a princess seam on the back as well, so I can  just do the center bit and sew in the collar before sewing the princess seams.  Thinking on that one.

But I've a bit of styling I want to do differently, besides just adding the side seam pockets.  I want a shirt tail hemline, with the back a wee bit longer than the front.  And possibly cap sleeves.  Gonna pull out a shirt tail hem to copy for the bottom...and I may find a cap sleeve to copy or I may just play with cutting the existing sleeve down.  All decisions that will be made on the fly.

So, that's my sewing project for this weekend...finish hacking the pattern.

Friday, June 07, 2019

What worked!

Hey, y'alll, I'm finally feeling not-so-jet-lagged after spending a week basically working and sleeping.  There is a MOUNTAIN of laundry to be done, so whilst the machines are running I thought I'd give you a little rundown of the wardrobe I took with me to Israel.

Once I had everything packed, I realized I pretty much just took black and white, with a pinch of denim/chambray.  I took white tank tops, black tank tops/sleeveless knit tops, and some black-and-white striped tops, both sleeveless and sleeved; my journey home top was the black and white stripe T from the April wardrobe.  My 5-pocket Lands End yoga pants were the airplane pants, and I took my gray denim jacket for those chilly over-airconditioned planes, and it was a good thing to have when I got up before dawn to take sunrise pics in the Judean desert as well.  I took 3 long sleeved white shirts to wear as sunshades; I had a fourth shirt but it needed a tank top, specifically under it as it was a gauzy pull-over and I messed up and wore the tank tops with the button up shirts.  So the gauzy shirt rode there and back.    I took a pair of jeans and a pair of denim crops, but the best thing I took were the tencel gauze pants that I made back in 2003...Let's see if I can find a pic...
Bingo!  The photo from 2003.  When I was considerably smaller than I am now, but those pants are so blousy that they still work (elastic drawstring waist helps!).   The desert breeze flowed right through.  I was wishing I'd had about 4 pairs of pants from similar fabric.  The final pair of pants that I wore was the ponte pants I made for January's outfit.  They worked on the last day of the trip, where we were primarily in a museum and riding in the bus back to Tel Aviv.  I changed in the airport.  I have a lightweight wool challis scarf that I sealed in a zip lok bag in my carry on so I could pull it out if I got chilly; that worked much better than those silly polyester knit blankets the airline provided.

I took shoes for the airport that were easy on/off and had adjustable straps to allow for swelling; I had two different pairs of tennies that I alternated in country.  I took some sandals, but I ended up not wearing them because I didn't want to worry about sunscreening my feet (why didn't I think about that before I packed them?)

One pair of earrings that I wore all the time was the only jewelry I took.

So, yeah, I didn't really look fancy, but I stayed reasonably cool (there was ONE day when I was borderline uncomfortably hot), had no problems with sunburn (thank you 50 SPF), and managed to keep the load to my small suitcase, a canvas carry on that I did not have to gate check when they announced they were gate checking all wheeled bags for the connecting flight, and a backpack.
The hat packed great and held its shape wonderfully.  I need to remember to go leave a nice review on Amazon, lol.

I've been posting pictures on Facebook; I made the album public so I think you can see it by clicking on that link; if you click on the pictures you can see the running commentary. It was an amazing adventure and I still have a lot of personal processing to do.

And laundry, lol.