Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Linen Dress Take 2

I made a dress out of this beautiful linen, a watermelon colored linen a couple of years ago.  My sister had gotten me a gift certificate for Sawyers.  However, when I had gotten about 75% of the dress completed, and tried it on, I hated it.  It looked like a maternity dress.  It was high waisted, and had a full skirt.  So, the dress and all of its scraps have been sitting in my stash ever since.

Then, I recently found a lovely book called The Party Dress Book: How to Sew the Best Dress in the Room by Mary Adams.  What a fun book.   There are so many lovely dresses in the book.  In any case, I took my disaster of a dress, and started working on it.  I didn't have enough fabric to make another bodice, so I used a complimentary fabric, but didn't like the disconnected look between the two fabrics, so then I used a technique she suggests in which you sew strips of bias to the bodice.  It really helped.  It took me 3 days to get to this point in the process.

Now, I am working on :
  • the skirt lining which will include some of the tulle shown on the floor under the dress,   
  • installing the zipper, 
  • adjusting the hem which is very uneven due to modifications on the skirt,
  • adding a fabric to the hem using a technique of sewing on a fabric cut in the same circle as the bottom of the skirt (see details on the "Sewing the Feliz Dress" post),
  • and lining the bodice.
Hopefully, I will like this dress once I finish.  It is a bit different from the style of dress that I usually wear, but I love the color and fabric and I like fitted dresses, and I am working hard to get the fit right on this one.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Wardrobe Memories

One blog that I follow, 13 Threads, invited readers to search our wardrobes for some memories.  Her ideas was inspired by Ida Taavitsainen's  "The memory of my wardrobe". My memory is a shirt I just altered for myself.  This shirt belonged to my mother who passed away 6 years ago from complications of hepatitis C.  My mother sewed clothing and knitted sweaters for my sister and me.  I love this shirt because of the soft cotton fabric, the beautiful Liberty inspired print and of course for sentimental reasons. This is the shirt my mother wore to brighten up her day.  It has been in my closet for a while.  For most of her life, my mother was a petite lady who was 5 foot 3 inches, and weighed just over a hundred pounds.  She looked particularly petite standing next to my dad who was a 6 foot 4 inch glider pilot when she met and married him back in 1945.  I love this shirt and it was one of the few things of hers that I could wear, I am much taller and a bit bigger.  However, at the end of her life, her disease had caused her body to swell, and she had to go out and buy clothes that were bigger and loose fitting, but she still wanted to look pretty and feminine.  This was a shirt she wore often.

I took it out of my closet this week and altered it to fit me with darts front and back and I took it up under the arms and up the side.  I sewed the cuffs down at the edge and added buttons to the cuffs.  I wore this shirt the other day and my husband said, "Is that a new shirt?"  I laughed and said no, it was very old.  He said it looked great and he loved it, and so do I.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Dress a Year?

I cut out this Alabama Chanin camisole dress sometime last year I believe, but maybe it was more than a year ago.  In any case it has been sitting a very long time.  I decided that I needed to finish it so I could wear it this spring.  I bought the new book, Alabama Studio Sewing and Design,  just a couple of months ago.  I think it is the best of the three.  Once I saw this book, I knew I had to finish my dress.  Nathalie has a lot of lovely photographs and a beautiful section on embellishing.  We have a wonderful bead shop in our town, so I went and bought some beads for embellishing.  
I beaded a Cretan Stitch on the neckline binding.  I am still debating about beading more around the neckline.  There is a lovely T-shirt  she shows in the book and online that is beaded around the neckline.  I am still debating, but may add more beads to have it look like the T-shirt.

I used a plain Cretan stitch on the sleeves.  Because I can only get buttonhole thread in white, black and sometimes red, I have found that if I use a Gutermann silk buttonhole thread I have access to a lot more color choices.  I love the silk thread, and it is fairly easy to sew with.  I find it does twist and tangle just a bit more than the cotton buttonhole, but I love the sheen it has.  I felled all the seams to the inside.  

I really like this dress, however, if I were to sew another one, I think I would sew it again with less flair in the skirt.  Overall, I am very happy with it, and will wear it when it gets nice and hot.

Little Boy's Sweater

I am in a "finish up the UFO" kind of mood.  I finally finished this little sweater that I started before Christmas.  I used the Malabrigo yarn left from another project, and had to add one more skein to have enough for the sweater.  The sweater design is one that I copied and modified from a sweater we bought in California for my son 11 years ago.  It has three buttons at the top, but none at the bottom so that as the baby moves to a sitting and crawling toddler, the sweater doesn't bunch up around his neck if it is buttoned.  I made a few modifications, including using inset sleeves.  Here is the finished sweater just before I packed it up and sent it to Alaska for my niece and her one year old son.

I decided to put a collar on this sweater version, and knit the cuffs and button band out of a contrasting yarn.  I finished the lower part of the front of the cardigan with a row of crochet.  

If anyone is interested, I can send you a pattern.

Insa Skirt

After several weeks of no sewing, I finally finished the Insa skirt from the Sewing Clothes Kids Love book.  It took me longer than I anticipated to finish it.  The skirt is made up of four pieces, with a separate waist band and then a overskirt with 4 shorter pieces.  On these, I decided to make the embellishment that Langdon suggests using two sets of 1/4" elastic sewn down the front of each piece to make them gathered looking.  when I put the whole thing together, I found that the overskirt was too short for the underskirt.  It may have been okay, except that I had used a white underskirt and added eyelet ruffle at the bottom which made the skirt look like it was too short for the petticoat below.   My solution was to add another big ruffle that I sewed to the petticoat and under the over skirt.  It makes for a very fluffy look, but my little clothes horse loves it.  Here she is modeling the look with her cool spy glasses and her Avalon Jacket!