4.28.2011

THE NINTH DRESS--ALL DONE!

Whoa, Cirque du Soleil was AMAZING.   It makes me want to run away with the circus, for realsies.  I got a little misty eyed as Matt and I were walking in because I've wanted to see Cirque du Soleil since I was a little girl.  I don't have a bucket list, but if I did, this show would have totally been on it.  And it did not disappoint.  

I got to wear my cute new dress, which was perfect for le occasion, too.  Here's the wrap up on that supa' fine wrap dress:



In some of the previous pictures I realized I hadn't undone the basting on the from pleats.  Looks a lot better now, doesn't it??

*Ninth Dress Report Card*

PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS: Easy, no frills.  It was a See & Sew pattern, so no complicated steps but no cushy guidance either.

PATTERN SIZING:  With a wrap dress, it's probably harder to tell, but for the first time ever I melded (my husband hates that word) two sizes and it fit great.  12 shoulders and hips, 10 waist.

FABRIC CHOICE:  Well, this should come as no surprise but YEESH!  I love the way this fabric looks and feels but I hated sewing with it.  I think I would hate it even if I had used a pattern that called for such a stretchy fabric, so the fact that this pattern didn't call for such a stretchy fabric made it. the. worst.

Stripes: I tried matching up lines previously and I was so conscientious of it then, but horizontal lines were a different lesson all together, so this fabric helped me there.  I thought the stripes laid in pretty good places once the dress was done.

The lining is suitable.  The polyester stretch is a heavy, but does the job which was to make the fabric less sheer.  (I still wore a slip under it yesterday, but also it was cold and I wanted ever layer possible!)  I cut off the bottom five inches or so off the skirt lining to lessen the load.  If I were to make this dress over again with the same fashion fabric, I'd definitely line the bodice.  The fabric is thin enough that with some undergarments, I have bra lines (like panty lines, but for your bra).

My construction of this dress is pretty bad.  I failed in a lot of cover-up-able ways, which I'm thankful for.  But I felt the same about my efforts with the Sixth Dress, and the Seventh Dress remains unfinished, so I really have to knock this next one out of the park!

FINANCIALS:
Pattern: $2.99
Fashion Fabric: $11.14 (sale!)
Lining: $3.00 (clearance!)
Notions: $0 (though I used some leftover interfacing to stabilize the sashes)
TOTAL: $17.13...cheapest dress to date?

Good lord, that section has more notations than Barry Bonds' home run record.

PERFECT OCCASION:  Done and done.  I wore it to Cirque du Soleil last night!  I felt a little fashionista-y and totally appropriate with the crazy colors.

WOULD I MAKE THIS DRESS AGAIN?: Maybe.  I don't know how many simple wrap dresses a girl needs, but I wouldn't rule it out.  This dress can easily be cut and sewn in a day.

4.27.2011

Off to the Circus!

Yesterday I posted that I was hoping to wrap up this dress before date night with the man this evening.  Not only did I have time to finish the dress, but I'm blogging about it too.  It's amazing what you can accomplish when you skip roller derby practice!

Speaking of roller derby, every now and then I have a small aside about how my team, the Reservoir Dolls, are doing.  You should know (!!!!!) that we won our semifinals this past Saturday and we're on our way to the championship round in TWO WEEKS!  May 7th.  Circle that dates, folks.  This is seriously exciting.  The team did great!  No more skipping practice though....but for now, back to the dress...

I just had to finish narrow hemming the lining.  Well, wait, back up...I had to undo the travesty that was part of the narrow hemming where one of the dress sashes comes in.



Please don't ask me to explain the picture above.  No, I don't know which side is up, or where that sash end is meant to be coming from.  And no, I don't know how this happened.  Well, I do a little bit.  Again, this fabric is too stretchy and light for this dress.  The sash is folded into the hem in a certain way, and when the sash is supposed to do an about face so it can be wrapped around your body, the fabric pulls all weird.  I seam ripped and resewed and STILL ended up with the same results.  But then I realized something wonderful.  This sash is the one that goes inside of the wrap part of the dress.  I didn't touch it again.  If I see you on the street, I'll happily unite my dress and show you the dirty details--no, the sewing dirty details--but until then, I'll spare you.

Next, I zoom zoom zipped around this dress and it's DONE.  Well, I haven't put in the recommended "stay" button on the wrap yet, but those crazy French Canadian contortionists can't wait any longer!  I'm off in my faboo new dress--toodles!

4.26.2011

Happy belated Easter!

Looks like I took an impromptu vacation from sewing and staying in touch, but it was great!  My parents were in town...we painted trim, fixed cracked sidewalks, fixed fences, fixed a screen door, took down a tree!  It was amazing.  They are excellent and capable homeowners and Matt and I appreciated the lessons.  The house is in great shape, which was so nice to have confirmed by my home inspector dad, but there is always a bit of cosmetic work to do....

Needless to say it did not leave much time for anything else and I only have a few days left to finish sewing this dress.  Matt and I are going to Cirque du Soleil tomorrow night.  Can I finish it by then?  I have just a bit of hemming to do and to put in a button to hold the heavy thing up (as recommended by Tommie).

Wish me luck!

4.21.2011

Getting it Lined

Welcome to the first episode of "Getting it Lined!", with your host....me!  Where you take an unlined pattern and try to make a lining for it.  It's even less exciting than that sounds (and certainly a lot less cheerful...)

So I mentioned yesterday I picked up some polyester lining.  It's a "moderate stretch", and I was hopeful that it would keep the crazy stretch that is this ITY fabric in place.


I thought a lot about, and has some missteps with how this lining should work.  (NOTE: Continue reading the rest of this paragraph only if you're looking for guidance on whether or not to make this dress.  It gets a little technical.  About the lining...)  This dress has pleats in the front..should I pleat the lining?  If I do, will that be too much bulk?  Do I ignore the pleats for the lining?  If I do, will the lining move enough?  This was such a mindbender for a novice such as myself.  After a lot of thought, turns out I wasted my time on thinking of a solution.  I only had enough fabric for one answer.  Based on the constraints of the too little lining yardage, I added pleats to the back, but just cut the lining into post-pleat sized panels for the front.  I figured, it's a wrap skirt.  I won't need that extra yardage in the front for movement.  Plus, this lining fabric is HEAVY, so every inch I can leave out, the better.  Here's what I did, while obviously enjoying the morning sun...

Pleats for the back panel

No pleats in the front.
So, I "solved" (by default) the problem of the lining shape, but I soon began to worry about the weight of the fabric.  I think I mentioned that already...

The next step was pinning the bodice to the skirt.  With each pin, though, I got more and more worried about the weight.  I am sad to admit that wasn't even excited to see the dress come together because it just sagged with the polyester.  Just before the moment of truth...



...then, voila!...



No, wait...I'm holding it there.....VOILA!


Excitement meter = zero.  Here's hoping the ties do a hell of a lot of good.  Putting the dress down now.  Full critical review of unstraight stripes, weird sags, and the questioning of this fabric choice coming soon....and this is supposed to be an easy See & Sew!

4.19.2011

The Sleeves that Never Were

Here they are, the sleeves that never were:


I originally wanted short sleeves for this dress.  I thought they would show off the stripes a bit better, but in the half-waking life that is falling asleep, I realized fluttery sleeves are better.  I feel like I have a lot of good ideas in that twilight time.  I also sing really well in the shower and find things in the last place I look.  I guess I'm just a special little snowflake that way!

So, I scrapped the short sleeves and went onward with the pain-in-the-ass-to-cut-out curves of fluttery sleeves:




Pain in the ass, for sure, but I'm happy with the outcome...



So many stripes!!!

Also, I bit the bullet and stopped by Joann's to pick up lining for the dress.  I got a stretch polyester which I'm less than thrilled about.  While the bolts of novelty fleece were numerous, the options for sexy, slinky black fabric were not.  Do you think it will be itchy?


4.18.2011

Started the Sewing...

I'll take care of the lining I'm missing later.  For now, I sew!  Since I won't be lining the bodice anyway, I say let's get started...

Oh!  I finally took a good picture of this fabric.  I don't think any of the other picture captured the vividness of the print, but we had sun yesterday, and it was glorious!


I love it.  And it's a good thing because this is a bear to sew with.  Sooooo stretchy....you're going along, sewing with right sides together...all you see is this vaguely colorful, mostly grayish coming together, getting caught in the bobbin feed hole (or whatever it's called).  It's awful.  But when it's done, you turn the fabric right side out and, ahhhh, you forget all the pain.  I'm pretty sure it's exactly like childbirth.  All the pain of labor, but then you see the baby.  Yes, I'm sure sewing stretchy fabric is exactly like giving birth.

I haven't gotten very far.  Just the bodice, but there was a little detail to the dress I had overlooked on the pattern envelope.  There is a little 'tuck' on the sleeves.  Intrigue!


So here's the bodice all put together.  I am not going to worry that the stripes don't match up.  I hadn't even though about it for these pattern pieces.  Sheesh.  Amateur.

4.14.2011

Lining Update. A Short Story.

Someone has their bolts mislabeled...

See Sandy order lining fabric.


See wrong fabric arrive.



See fabric returned, replacement shipped quickly.

(Yes, I picked the 'cute guy' customer service pic.)

See replacement arrive.



See replacement is the same wrong fabric.


Really?


Truly?

The End.

4.12.2011

Thanks, McCall's! (and other shoutouts!)

BREAKING NEWS!  I'm excited about this.  My Eighth Dress was featured on McCall's facebook page last week!


 I got a very nice email from a very kind administrator, and was thrilled.  So not only do I have a great dress, but a shout out from the pattern makers themselves.  Hello! and Welcome! to those of you visiting from the fancy blue and white world of facebook! 

Since there are a few more new people here though, I'm going to put you to work.  My lining fabric is due at my doorstep any minute! and have a question about it: When you line a garment, do you serge the two layers together and sew as one dress?  Or do you create a second insideout garment and just attach it at the...shoulder seams?  ...waist seam?  I probably won't get to this part until the end of the week, so if you see this, let me know.

Also, in other BREAKING NEWS news.  My boss will be on NBC's Today Show any. second. now.  Way to go Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier! 

4.11.2011

Cutting the Ninth Dress

Today I wore a wrap dress I've had in my closet for years without a single wardrobe malfunction, so I'm pressing ahead with this Ninth of Dresses.  You may recall I was a little nervous about the potential fabric sagging in the d├ęcolletage region.  Fears subsided.

So tonight I'm cutting, I'm cutting, I'm cutting.  This wasn't a mindless cut, mind you.  Silly stripes making it all confusing.  Since I'm working with horizontal stripes of irregular width, I had to avoid the really wide stripes falling across my bum.


Which is why there is a large gap between the fabric pieces in the picture above.

Also, the bodice front is cut on the grain line, so the stripes kind of fall downward to the sides on your body.  Not the most flattering way to have them go, but there wasn't much I could do to avoid it.  You can kind of see what I mean in this picture (piece marked '1' is the bodice):



Oy.  This fabric was not fun to fold and cut.  The fabric stuck to itself when folded, and the stretch made the stripes warp when I was trying to unstick the damn thing.  Good times.  Now that I'm done cutting everything, I get to wait for the same ITY lining fabric to arrive and then cut it out all over again.

4.08.2011

The "Before Work Skirt"

Okay, the allergy melodrama is over* and I'm on to the "Before Work Skirt" timed session.  This is called the "Before Work Skirt" because it can be made if you use that extra time in the morning to sew and not, oh I don't know, to catch up on facebook and crush on Matt Lauer.

I used Freshly Picked's elastic skirt tutorial and followed it to the t/tee/tea with excellent results.  Freshly Picked and I share the same measurements, so I cut everything exactly the same size.  Next time I'll make the elastic about an inch shorter for a more snug fit, but obviously not shortening it worked too.

I figured this skirt would take less than an hour to pull together, so I wanted to time it to see if I could encourage at least one of you to get this cute little thing done.  To prove it's ease, I stopped to take a picture every five minutes.  Below are the results.  Note: I did not time the cutting of the fabric, and I'll explain that in the Preamble.  Also, I won't repeat the directions here because Freshly Picked deserves all the credit.  Oh, and one more thing.  Not only is this skirt quick, but take a minimal amount of fabric.  I'm a pattern size 12 and made it for less than a yard.  Here goes...

Preamble
I picked a fabric with an extra trim pattern on one side.  I'm sure there is a technical term for it, but I picture is worth a thousand words:


See?  That thing on the bottom is the extra trim.  I didn't want to lose that, but only had a yard of fabric. which wouldn't be wide enough  Sadly, I had to lose that little bean motif in the middle there, but was able to salvage the rest.  I cut the remaining panel in half and sewed on what was left of the divided motif.  Here's what the panels I ended up looking like:


Not bad.  Now I start the timing:

5 Minutes


Crap, I forgot to cut the pockets.  I used the pattern from Simplicity 2443, but FP has a downloadable pattern too.  Also not hard to invent one.  I hadn't made it very far after 5 minutes.  I must have checked up on everyone on facebook.

10 Minutes


Not quite pinned the pockets on, but I can explain why...I had measured the skirt wrong and had to do some more cutting.  See!  You can make this skirt in even less time.

15 Minutes


Pockets sewn in and pressed.  I'm cruising now....

20 Minutes



Panels almost completely sewn together.  Rock star!

25 Minutes



Pressing the hem.  I like hemming a lot more when it's not the last, laborious step.

30 Minutes


Tickticktick... Hem almost sewn in...but whoops!...

35 Minutes



Bad thread tension strikes!  Seam ripping commences at breakneck pace.

40 Minutes


Elastic starts getting pinned in.  It helped a lot to match up the quarter-lengths of the elastic and the skirt circumference.  And since the skirt circumference, according to FP's tutorial, should be twice your waist measurement, when pinning you should gather your fabric twice over.  Meaning, the length between the pins should actually gather twice that length of fabric.  Like so....

45 Minutes 44:07 Minutes



The skirt is fully pinned and I stopped the timer because I didn't want to restart in in the middle of sewing the elastic on the band.  Justincase.  You can see my handy youtube countdown clock in the background. 

46:57 Minutes


TA DA!  Finished sewing the elastic in.  Another clock cameo to mark the timely occasion.  Yes, this skirt was done in just under 47 minutes.  Are you motivated yet???





Looks good with my pajama shirt, no?

So, there you have it, the Before Work Skirt.  What are you waiting for???






*No it's not.  I only shut up to save face.  Still bummed big time about the pecan allergy.

4.07.2011

Allergies and a New Skirt

Once again, we wait for the lining fabric to come in.....A heads up, this post has little to do with sewing, fair warning!

When I get dressed in the morning I find I follow three rules, and generally this order:

1) Seasonally appropriate/Warm Enough,
2) Matching, and
3) Cute.

However, when I am getting ready for a particularly unfun day...say the first day back to work after a great vacation, or a day when I have a really early and dreaded doctor's appointment...the order changes quite a bit:

1) Cute.

And today was one of those days.  I had an early and dreaded appointment with an allergist.  Something seasonal has been driving me crizz-azy!  Plus cats always get to me, and maybe I had an, I don't know, itchy mouth and maybe, maybe, a rash develop on my face whenever I ate pecans.  Maybe.  So I got it checked out.  

Turns out I have an allergy to a common outdoor mold, I'm super allergic to cats, and was handed a damn near unbelievable epi pen for the pecan thing.  WHAT?  I'm that allergic to pecans?  I was told this pen could save my life and I've been playing with fire.  WHAT?  Out of the blue.  I didn't even get a week to binge unknowingly before this was thrown at me.  A nut allergy?  A pecan allergy?????  I'm southern, and love these things: Carrot Cake, Pecan Smokies, PECANS!

A late in life nut allergy of the tastiest of nuts.  Worried that this might be the case, I knew today called for breaking all morning dressing rules.  I was dressing:

1) Cute!

Inspired by my favorite skirt in my wardrobe, purchased at the local The Purple Goose:


and armed with Freshly Picked's elastic waistband skirt tutorial, I set out to make it a better day.  Or at least a day where I had a new skirt to wear to arm me against the harsh world of anaphalactic risks.  Here she is:



The nurse practitioner even complimented it!

I call this the "Before Work Skirt" because you can literally make this if you get up just an hour early for work/early and dreaded doctor's appointment.  It's true.  I timed myself, and will share the progress tomorrow.  But tonight...Tonight, I relive the magic and wonder of the 50-serving carrot cake Matt bought for a party of 20.  I enjoyed that thing, itchy and all, for an extra week.  Oh pecans, we had some good times.  Farewell, old friend.

4.05.2011

Rogue Lining Strikes Again!

The deviant powers of the world that control the ebb and flow between lining fabric and moi must not happy.   While waiting for the lining for the Seventh Dress to come in (still), I am once again sabotaged.

When I ordered the beautiful stretch that is this month's fabric, I also added some similiarly stretchy black fabric to the cart as a lining.  But instead of three yards of a black rayon knit thing, I received three yards of black cotton.  Frowny.

I called Fabric.com to let them know about the mix-up and to their credit: they were wonderful.  I was never on hold, no questions asked, loved it.  Two minutes, tops.  That is customer service at it's best.   The fabric I was supposed to get is already on it's way, so I guess now all I need is some confidence I was right to begin with.

Povre Sandy, what do you mean?

Well, receiving this fabric feels kind of like a Freudian Slip on the part of Fabric.com.  The pattern I'm using for this dress (Butterick 5546) calls for nothing more than a moderate stretch knit.  Does this stretch look "moderate" to you?



So getting this mispicked cotton was like a "whoa, Stretch Fabric, calm down" from the universe.  I feel like I shouldn't be so uptight about this, but I really love this fabric and want this dress to work.

Have you ever made a pattern with overly stretchy fabric?  How did that turn out?  Do you have any tips on how to stabilize the neckline so the stretch doesn't plunge into cleavage-y oblivion?   Or do I not have to worry about a sagging dress at all?

4.04.2011

The Ninth Dress Pattern

I think I've have picked out the dress this time around.  I've mentioned time and time again that I'm not a very good visualizer and this horizontal pattern is throwing me for a loop.  Wanna see this amazing fabric again???


You know what they say about horizontal stripes.  Not flattering. I'm thinking a wrap dress to overcome that but then...horizontal stripes.  Will that look weird?  Here's the pattern I'm thinking of:

See & Sew B5546; from Butterick.com
But without the fluttery sleeves.

Again, I'm not a visualizer so I did what I could to figure it out.  And somehow...SOMEHOW!...this picture convinced me it would work out:



It was utterly macabre.  But it's gonna work.

4.01.2011

The Ninth (omg!) Dress

Happy April!  So many great things about this month.  April is when it starts to consistently warm up in Wisconsin, my brother's birthday is this month, roller derby semi-finals, and now...the Ninth Dress!

A few posts back, I was pondering how best to move ahead...what new challenge to complete with this months dress???  Well, I think I nailed it: creating a lining for a dress that otherwise wouldn't call for one.

Now, I wouldn't want to do a lining willy nilly, you see.  I'm not that bold.  But I just ordered some fabric and I think it will be a bit sheer.  Oh!  This fabric!  This fabric is so so exciting.  It's an ITY rayon.  What's ITY?  I'm glad you asked...it's an interlock twist jersey.  What is that you ask?  Well,

Interlock twist jersey is a medium weight jersey knit that is available in a wide variety of prints. This fabric is soft, beautiful, and comfortable to wear! It’s perfect for travel, as well.
Blahblahblah, who cares....it looks like this which is why I love it!


Funny thing about this fabric.  Turns out Feathery Sews was checking out the same fabric sales that I was.  She had this fabric in her cart and removed it last minute.  I did the same with the peacock fabric she kept...held on to it until the last minute.  We'll have to tune in to see what one another makes with these finds.

So now I have the fabric, I just need to pick the dress.  I know it's backwards, but this fabric is just sooooo irresistable to me!  I'm thinking a Kwik Sew or Sew Easy or something like that since I'll be making essentially two of these dresses.  The horizontal stripes present a little bit of a challenge, too.  I had a wrap dress in mind.  What do you think?