Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Green Dress McCalls 6116

     The Pattern says on the front cover "The Perfect Shirtdress". I agree. This dress makes me happy in so many ways. Let's start with the sleeves. I detest long sleeves and if I wear them I push or roll them up. I detest short short sleeves. They do nothing for my vertically challenged figure and don't hide enough. These rolled and tabbed elbow length sleeves are perfect. . They cover my arms just the way I like, hiding the floobies and showing off my better lower arm.
     Next are all the verticals, the V-neck cut at just the right "low-ness". No decollete here, a very frequent problem again due to my height. Then there are all the princess seams, more verticality.  Another vertical is the buttons all the way down the front. And they don't split open when it sit, Hooray! Also having some length is the collar which extends partway down into the V.
     Now we get to the waistline. The wide sash shows off probably the last thing this grandma doesn't have to be engineered into. Love a good bra, but I don't think I could handle spanx and thanks to genetics haven't had to yet. I wasn't sure about the sash  but once on I liked it. Looks better with than without.
     And last but not least, the COLOR! What is it about wearing color that just makes you feel so good? I will definitely get more color in my life. I've never thought of green as a color that "works" for me but I wanted to get out of the box color wise and this did the trick. Love it.

Here is a closer shot of the details. They do tend to get lost in the print in the photos  but still add some panache to the dress and were worth the effort.
                 
Now for some construction details.  The pattern does not call for a lining. This is completely underlined with some anti static lining except for the sleeves. The linen edges  were all serged to the lining prior to construction. For the sleeves pattern instructions have you do a 1/4 inch hem and roll up the sleeves.Then you bring the tab from underneath and button it to hold in the "roll-up". Na, na, no! That means you see the wrong side of the fabric and that won't do. What I did was serge the bottom edge of the sleeve. Then I folded it to the inside  about 2 1/2 inches. I now stitched on the serged edge to hem the sleeve. The sleeve was then able to be rolled up with the right side showing instead of the wrong and the machine hem is hidden in the rolls.
  
For the fit I did a muslin, something I am now addicted to and highly recommend. Your wadder count will decrease tremendously if you start doing muslins, promise. I cut an 8 above the waist and a 12 below.
  • Removed 1/2 inch between shoulder seam and princess seam in armhole. 
  • Scooped out the back of the armseye from the notch to the side seam about 1/4 inch. I have been doing this for years to take out some of the fullness happening in the upper torso. 
  • Did a swayback adjustment about an inch and a half above the back waist, removing a healthy 1 and 3/4 inches at center back and tapering to nothing at the side seam.
  • Removed a 1/2 inch across the top center back piece. 
  • Cut the armhole a half inch lower to accommodate removing the length in the bodice. 
  • Interfaced the sash with a fusible tricot, mostly to prevent show-through but also to give the sash just a little extra oomph. 
This is a now a tried and true pattern for me, a great princess seamed dress. I've been thinking and a new goal of mine is to search out some more tried and true garments. I have Carolyn envy. In the meantime, unlike the pattern envelope, I will call this the  "The Perfect Shirtdress for Petites"....Bunny


Monday, June 28, 2010

Whipped Cream

Doesn't this linen look like a bowl of whipped cream? This 100% home dec linen is the fabric for my new jacket, Badgley Mischka Platinum Vogue 1099. I am not sure what to call this jacket...the BM jacket? I don't think so. I think  Heirloom Linen Jacket will suffice due to the embellishment I plan  to put use. If you are thinking the object on top of the linen is for me to focus the camera better on this white fabric, wrong! This a tool that can be had from your local friendly dentist all for the price of just asking. It really earns it's sewing room keep with this project. To even my grain I needed pull a thread across 54 inches of nubby linen. The curved end of the tool is made just for this task. You simply slip the curved end under the thread to be pulled. Scoop it up and snip. Then just keep dipping under that thread and pulling it up, easy peasy.

Here you can see a piece of linen with pulled threads. I want to experiment with my machine and its hem stitching capabilities. There are several stitch and needle combos that can be used and this will have them all on one practice piece. I also have some hemstitching samples I have previously worked up but not on linen as heavy as this one. I will show more of the sampling  once I begin to play.  Designing where the hemstitching will go takes some thought. If the bottom of my jacket is curved, it won't work along the hemline. I like having hemstitching at the edge of the sleeve and also where the tailored sleeve connects to the smocked sleeve. but I would like to have it somewhere else as well for balance.
Right before sunset tonight the sky broke and it looks like tomorrow might be a picture day, that is after the "simple procedure" is taken care of with DH. Poor baby is having his Miralax cocktails as we speak. I'm designated driver and am not planning much for tomorrow other than smocking while I wait. Here is the bed my darling hubbie weeded the other day while I stripped sod....Bunny

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Vogue 1099 White Linen Jacket



I can really use a summery white jacket. Days get hot here but mornings heading to work can be quite cool, usually in the fifties, and I figure a white jacket will give me a lot of use. I found this Badgley Mischka Platinum Vogue 1099 a while back and grabbed it as soon as it went on sale. It has been in the queue for a bit now. It gets priority as I will only get a lot  of use out of it if it is made soon. No white after Labor Day, right???

DD gave me a gift certificate for a primarily home dec fabric store but I went in and bought with hopes of garment sewing. A relatively heavy home dec snow white linen, very nice quality, seemed a great way to spend my gift certificate. I have hot water washed the heck out of this so it has softened substantially and has that great washed look. This jacket has a double layered collar and for that ruffly undercollar I will use some allover swiss embroidery. The length of this jacket, sitting at high hip, works well for me, making my short little legs look longer. But what I really like about this jacket are the sleeves. If you think I will be gathering them and leaving them alone, think again. This is a perfect opportunity for smocking. I will probably use a white on white but maybe a thread with some sheen. I am also thinking about where I could possibly do some hemstitching on this jacket. It's fully lined, but I think there are still hemstitching opportunities. So this is shaping up to be a fun project. I think it might even look good over the green dress. I have some great black pant weight linen that I could make the pants with. We shall see about that.

The green dress is done and I am very pleased. As soon as the rainy skies depart you will get some pics.  My darling husband is going for a colonoscopy, or what more polite people call " a simple procedure" Tuesday. I need to have lots of thread prepped as I hope to finish smocking for the Little Blue Dress while I am waiting. Poor baby........Bunny

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Green Dress and the Garden


I have been pulled between gardening and dressmaking  this past week or so.When I am gifted with a glorious summer day and a husband who loves to garden along with me, the gardening will win out over the sewing. It is something we share together and really enjoy, real quality time. And we can still work up a sweat together, ; ) too! However, I have managed to finish the green dress and  will hopefully get it up on the blog tomorrow. All that is left are the buttons and then it will be picture time. I hope the weather cooperates.
Above you can see that I have taped the v-neckline. I mark my tape the length of the seam on the pattern and ease the neckline on to the tape. This coaxes it back into shape after having been handled thru construction, despite the original stay stitching. For a stay tape I save and use selvedges from thin fabrics, in this case a cotton. It's yellow and will not show once the facing is stitched on. I keep my selvedges in a canning jar. Never throw out thin selvedges!
ETA June 25, 2010: In the above picture the arrows point to the shoulder seam. The seam crossing it above is where the collar and facing are stitched to the dress. You are looking at the undercollar. Once the collar and facing were stitched on and pressed I stitched in the well of the SHOULDER  seam, where the arrows are pointing. That stitching goes thru the shoulder seam AND the facing. Now the facing is secured. Hope this explains a little more clearly. This technique is great for securing any facing or a lining to a purse and I use it fairly often.

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This messy looking hunk of yard to the right of  the walk is my latest project. Here it has been edged, hard to see, and will turn into a bed that will house a "butterfly pool". First all the sod needs to be taken up. We have a roto tiller but I like to remove the sod first and then till in cow manure and peat moss to build up the bed. It took me 6 straight hours to dig out every square inch of sod with my matlock and now its ready for tilling. I hope to plant shortly. There are lots of volunteers around the yard that I can move into this area. I am not solid on the plant materials I will use yet. I know I need some height to balance the other side of the walk but other than that, I think a shopping trip is needed for inspiration. I love going to the nursery as much as the fabric store!. Here's a pic of my 6 hours work:

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Birds

My husband and I have been avid back yard birders for years. We plant plants specifically for them and design garden beds to keep them happy. They bring us a lot of joy. We love finding the occasional new bird on our feeder and running to our bird book and marking the entry. Reading that 20 year year old bird book and all of its entries is almost like looking at a family album of sorts. It chronicles the different homes and different states we've lived in and different birds found there. I love to finger thru it on a cold winter's afternoon. It is always by our "viewing window".  Whenever we needed more info on a bird we have gone online to the Ornithology department at Cornell University.


DH and I are distraught over what is happening in the Gulf. I know you probably are too. We've all seen the heartbreaking pictures. It is on that note that I am passing on this link to you from Cornell. You may not live in the Gulf but there is still something you can do. We are stewards of the earth and must protect it and its creatures....Bunny and Ernie P.

Friday, June 11, 2010

McCalls 6116, aka, The Green Dress continues...

I think anyone who sews a lot sort of develops their own style of sewing after a while. In the past few years I tend to do more unit sewing. I find it lets me focus on details a little better. I start most of my projects by doing all the small details first, the collar, pockets, and sleeve tabs in this case. They are all interfaced, stitched, topstitched and buttonholed. Now I can just grab them when needed as I stitch the body of the dress.
Once  the detail pieces were complete I set about marking the main pieces of the dress. Here you can see my thread tracing of the center front. I do this on everything now. Any one who has bust issues really should do this as those center fronts need to match perfectly to keep the grain hanging properly. If not, you need some sort of bust adjustment. It also helps with buttonhole placement. It takes so little time to do. I also thread trace other details such as pocket placements. Things like notches and dots are usually just marked with a sharp mechanical pencil or just snipped. Most patterns don't require it but I always mark the center backs or centers of collars and such with a snip mark. I find this really helps further on down the line to get correct placement.

Today was a day off and all that engenders so I got some good sewing time in. I have also been doing a 8-9:00pm stretch every night after the dinner dishes are done. Any later and I start making mistakes. Thought I would leave you with a pic of granddaughter Sophie for whom I have made many dresses. She is a very tall five and is showing me her dance recital moves. She insisted on getting dressed up in her current favorite dress. I just love that she loves to "dress" and twirl. Makes a grandma feel good...Bunny

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Borderenteritis

I'd like to say I caught it from Caroline but I have always had a penchant for borders. When I went shopping this past week at Fabric Fix in Manchester, NH, I brought home two. Also jumping up on to the table to be cut was a gorgeous lycra knit. The weight of this knit is quite nice and it will make a great dress. The scale of the print on this knit is quite large but I think with the earthier colored forms I can pull it off. I thought this Vogue Pattern 1091 is a big possibility.
I think I am starting to hit the mark with my goal to add more color to my life. Coming along next is a very vivid border print that I really don't know what to do with. It reminds me a bit of Pucci. I will wait for the right inspiration with this one.I do love the colors, though.

And last but not least was this bordered denim  suggested to me by one of the great staff at the Fix. It is a really nice weight for a skirt, not to heavy or even a jacket of some sort. I am thinking a skirt, maybe something like Butterick 4686, View C with the wide yoke. Lots of time before I get to this.
Generally, I am not a stashaholic. I look at something, decide what I want to make, then go back and buy it when I am ready. If it is gone it is gone. But when I travel down to Mass. and NH I get an opportunity to fabric shop that I don't have here. I do have a great little Joanns that I use a great deal, but for real fabric I like to shop when I make my trips to the grandkids further south. I always try to buy a few pieces because it could be a while before I get such an opportunity again. I hope you like my haul.
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My granddaughter, twin Carly, is a real fashionista. She has a uniform. Her mom dresses her usually in calf length big flowered dresses, shades of my former hippie self. Then she puts on little matching tight leggings and matching crocs without sox. That is her outfit for the day. Well, that's what Momma does. As soon as Momma is done Carla sets about accessorizing. She first heads for the kitchen cabinet with the bibs. On go three bibs that she velcros around her neck. Carly is into layering. Once the bibs are on it is up to the bedroom. You can hear her tearing thru the closet and drawers. She may pull up  tiny chair to grab some jewelry off the top of her dresser, usually bracelets. She will always pick a hat. But Carly doesn't just wear a hat. She sets her own style wearing the chin strap right on her chin. And, like most well dressed fashionistas, she is not done until the designer sunglasses get put on. Generally she favors the Costco variety and often wears then upside down for the day. Carly is now ready to face the sandbox and her twin brother, heck, the whole world. She will sport her choices ALL DAY long. We have never seen a child keep a hat and sunglasses on indefinitely like Carly. She really is ready for the Riviera , don't you think?


Monday, June 7, 2010

Greist Goodies!

I had a wonderful time visiting the grandchildren. They were funny, delightful, bright, and as all grandmas know, perfectly behaved ;). I did have the chance to briefly focus on a tiny bit of sewing related fun that I also couldn't wait to blog about.

If you've read this month's Threads magazine there is an intriguing article about vintage machine attachments and how they could work on our current machines. Who knew? I sure didn't. What I read I sure felt I wanted and needed but alas would search out these gems when I got back. Then I was sitting in my daughter's kitchen,

yup, sitting and noticing the treadle machine I gave her to fill up her empty apartment when she was in dental school. She has always liked it as a piece of furniture and now it sits in the kitchen of her first home acting as the family message center. Eureka! Didn't I have a ton of attachments in one of those drawers? We both dug thru and found what I think is quite a haul. Above is what I think is a tucker. I have the pics in Threads to compare and are also two great websites, TheSewBox.com and SewFancy.com with lots more info. I think I am really going to enjoy piecing together this puzzle. I have lots of odd pieces but before I go ramming anything into the attachments that doesn't belong I will do a lot more research. If this is indeed the tucker, yippee. Lots of possibilities here.

Everything in my little haul appears to be made by Greist. Above you can see the name engraved on this binder.
These are three hemmer feet, looking like tiny rolled hem to 1/4 inch.
In the group were two binders. I can't figure out the difference other than one has a lot of vents on the cone.
 This looks like the edge stitcher I left drool on in the magazine page. You can see from all of the slots all of the different sides and sizes you can slide in and stitch together. There is great info in Threads on this one.
Above are some of the odd little pieces left over that either go into some of the above attachments or make up another one or even work on their own. I am pretty sure the tweezer looking affair goes on the tucker. Isn't this a great puzzle to figure out? I am excited and on my quest.

I can't leave without showing a little something from my  trip. The dogwoods were in full bloom and glory in North Andover and while stopped at a red light I just grabbed my camera and took this pic. We don't have dogwoods up here....Bunny

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Green Linen Dress Begins

You can see the interfaced  pocket flaps, facings, and some of the underlined princess pattern pieces. Each section has been serged all around as both the linen and the lining fabric are prone to ravel quite a bit. I did this by pinning each piece heavily. Pins went down the center of the section and then about an inch from the edges. I stitched directionally with the serger, that is from the top down, on each section. I serged slowly to make sure nothing shifted here and all was still on grain.

Today I went back to JAs, where I bought the fabric, and it is 60% Linen and 40% Cotton, a nice combo. It doesn't  wrinkle much and has a really nice hand. I originally bought 2 yards of this fabric not knowing what I would make, but because of the lengths of all the princess sections I needed to go back and get another full length, 43 inches, to complete the cutting out. Once all was cut and I was putting the underlinings on I noticed to my horror that I cut the front of the dress with the selvedge label showing. I really really did not want to go back to buy another full length for a 5 inch wide piece. It took a while but I finally was able to find a match to the pattern. It is the lower piece you see above. I ironed the edges under for about a 1/4 inch and applied Wonder Tape to them. With the Wonder Tape is was easy to get the "patch" lined up perfectly. Once all stuck on, I applique stitched it to the dress at the center front. You really can't tell, but I am going to hold that picture till the end. It is also on the underlap of the buttons at CF so it is well hidden. I am glad I did this and so is that finicky little inner tight wad you all know I have inside.

I will be away for a few days so the green dress will stay as it is till early next week. I have the treat of visiting all my babes down in NH and Mass. It will be a hectic weekend as DD (dentist) will work on 3 teeth of mine on Saturday. Then late Sunday I will drive back home. DH has to work so he will guard the fortress while I am gone. See you on the backside.......

Bunny