Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lany's Dress Complete, McCalls 3063


Our little knock off is complete. It has been very hectic here, lots of company and we went back to New York state to tie up some loose ends for a few days as well. I finished Lany's dress the minute I got home. This is the first child's garment I've done in some time. My piping skills were rusty. I threw out the first collar then reviewed my own tutorial to brush up on my skills. The second one came out fine and if there is a soon third, that one will hopefully  be even better.

This was an easy sew. I tried to honor the details of the original but wanted to finesse it up a bit. I think I have done that. Rusty skills or not, this is much nicer quality than the treasured original which I posted about here. I know it will be greatly appreciated by Mom and her tiny new daughter to be.

Pattern:

I used the bodice and sleeves from McCalls 3063, a Christening gown pattern. It is a size "small" and the way the Big Four run in children's sizing, I would say a size one. The original dress was a three. The skirt is simply gathered. and connects to the bodice with a classic fold over placket. ( I really need to do a tute on those.) The sleeves on the pattern are VERY full, too full and too long in my opinion. I cut back the sleeves by reducing the top and bottom edges  a 1/4 inch, so a total of half an inch out of the height.  I didn't want to take a full half inch off one edge out of such a tiny garment and by balancing it out I think it gave me the results I envisioned. 

This pattern has lots of different Christening gowns including a cute one I have used in the past for a boy. Other than the too large sleeves, which I think is a sign of the time of the pattern, ca 2007, it is fine. 

Fabric:

This fabric was gifted to me by Kristine Balinski of Couture by Kristine. She has a great blog, BTW.  Some time  back when she saw a post about the original dress she let me know that she had leftover fabric from a project for her daughter that was almost the same and would I like it. Her generosity is so appreciated and without it I could not have pulled off this very special project. It is a near perfect match.  Thanks so much Kristine. You just never know how what we do affects people. It is one of those shoulder taps that reminds what waves we make with just a little kindness. 

The fabric is a 100% cotton. It is a white and very soft blue floral, so quite traditional. I may have a fuzzy memory but I think back when the original dress reigned, so did chintz. My own daughter's first prom gown at the time was chintz.

Construction:


I did make a few changes particularly on the sleeves. The pattern shows long lace attached to the bottom of the sleeves giving a 3/4 length effect to the dress. Perhaps that is why the sleeve was so long. Whatever the reason, I cut back 1/4 inch on the top edge and 1/4 inch on the bottom edge of the sleeve where it hits the cuff. I also cut the cuff width by half. The pattern specs 4 cuffs be cut, two being facings. This would give you a cuff twice the width of what you see above, too much. Instead I threw out the facings and  interfaced the remaining cuffs completely. The piping was then attached in a 3/8th inch seam and the cuff and piping were stitched to the gathered sleeve bottom. The bottom half of the cuff was folded to the inside and handstitched  to the sleeve, encasing the bottom edge of the sleeve and giving a clean finish. 

The most important thing I did to alter the appearance of the sleeve was to cut them on the true bias. There is nothing fluffing up the inside of the sleeves. I think because of the bias they fall in much softer gathers and truly doubt that I will cut one of these types of sleeves ever again on the straight. They have not been ironed either. The bias just lets them curve so sweetly. This was a lemonade out of lemons situation as I just did not have enough to cut the sleeves on the straight of grain but could accommodate the true bias, Yay!

The collar was changed. I struggled with the piping on the corners until I finally threw that out, too! I got out my trusty small Gutterman spool of thread and used it to trace a curve around the corners of the collar, much prettier than sharp corners. The original dress had a foofy little pink flower in the middle. My knock off has a pompom made of cherry colored silk charmeuse. 



Back to the original---being from the eighties, the era of all things logo, the dress's tag was on the front of the skirt. I did the same with my Bunny tag. Normally  on this type of garment it would have gone inside but again, just trying to mimic the original. 


I am really pleased with the back placket as it falls perfectly and was made with no grief. The bodice is lined. The skirt gets a simple bound placket. If you've made these you know they are prone to puckers at the bottom or not lying flat and being hidden. Seems this was one of the skills my fingers didn't forget, unlike the collar. I think I may do a tute on that in the near future. ( I haven't forgotten the knit hem tute, either. )

I cut the hem extra long and actually did not need all the length. I removed about six inches and that still gave me enough to have a double turned 3 inch hem which I catchstitched in. I love those deep and heavy hems as they make the skirt stand away a bit yet hang nicely with all the weight. In other words, they don't look cheap like a 3/4 inch machine stitched hem would have. None of that for this sweet little girl!

The seams were French seams. 


Conclusion:

I hope you have read two posts back to the original "Lany's Dress" post. If not, there you can find the story behind this cutie and why it is so special. Mom is two days overdue and we are all waiting. Once she is settled in with her new daughter, I will visit and bring her both dresses. I have really enjoyed making a garment that has been in my thoughts for years. Thank you for letting me share it's story with you all......Bunny

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The Walk in the Woods skirt


The Walk in the Woods skirt is done and I love it. It is very comfy, cool and I like the look. Here's the deets:

Pattern:

There is none. I worked up the design myself which utilized the fact that I had two digitally printed panels to work with. One panel made the front and the second panel was split in half to make a back that would accommodate a zipper. Luckily the print is nebulous enough to not require precise matching.  I wanted a curved bottom edge and slits up the side. The waistband is elastic. 


Fabric:

This is a rayon knit. It is thick enough to be decent and is digitally printed with the design of a forest with blurred out details, rather pointillistic.  The colors are warm. Actually "warm and fuzzy" would be a good description. It is yummy to wear. I THINK it came from Emma One Sock but it is not on their site now. They do have some exceptional digital prints on their site. I can see this fabric working in the winter with boots and a sweater yet it is very comfy to wear today which is brutally hot and humid. Love skirts in the hot weather!





Construction:


This was a no brainer for the most part. I put an invisible zip up the back using Kenneth King's method which is one of those things that once you try there is no  going back. It is so simple and the results are great. For the waistband I used an 1 1/4 wide waistband elastic. I needed it to be fairly wide to cover my tumtum with short tops like the one I'm wearing. The panels were not shaped in any way but the fabric was thin enough to gather up on the elastic really nicely and fairly bulk free. After putting in the zip I had several inches of fabric to turn over the waistband elastic as you would a facing on the zip but I stitched the elastic into that seam as well. It snugs up really nicely on the waist. The elastic is secured at the zip, as mentioned, and ditch stitched into the side seams as well. No twisting! 


I wanted the curved hem and that was easy enough to draw out with a French Curve. As I did each of the four sides I matched the same numbers on the ruler to the fabric edges. The small hem was then interfaced with tricot and turned once. No ravelling with this knit so I wasn't about to add the bulk of a double turn, just no need to. Then I did my favorite knit hem technique, sewing on the very edge and then sewing a bit away, in this case about 3/8 of an inch. At the curve the interfaced hem was clipped and that handled the curve just fine. I used a 3.0 stitch length but the nature of this knit just sucked in the stitches and they look smaller. 




You can see how smoothly the back hangs with the zip. My hip to waist ratio is such that it really works better to add a zip rather than have a full pull on type of elastic waistband. The length was really determined by the most flattering layout of the digital print. I brought the darker stripe up to the waist area instead of the hips which  a longer version would have done.

In Conclusion:

This is simple, basic skirt construction, wide enough to not fret over fit other than length and the waistband elastic. I have actually ordered another digital print panel design that was so much an impulse buy and can't wait to make that up in a fuller, more classic version with a flat waistband. It was an impulse buy but I think it will be one of those things I will wear for years. I won't be using a pattern for that one either. Hey, maybe there's a future in becoming an Indie designer of rectangle pieces of fabric.............just kidding...........Bunny
ETA 08/01/18: Just want to say this has turned out to be a big thumbs up garment. It is so comfortable in this heat and so easy to wear. I've garnered compliments every time I put it on and look forward to wearing it in the winter with maybe a black turtleneck or sweater. I would make another pictorial digital print in a rayon knit in a heartbeat. ...Bunny
















Monday, July 16, 2018

Lany's Dress


Grab a cup of your preferred beverage and bear with me as I tell this story of my next project, one in the making for over twenty years.


Let's first check out this little dress.  I didn't make it. It has been put away in a special place for a long time, however. Now it's time for it to come back out. The fabric is a basic soft cotton.


Do you see the proportion of the sleeve compared to the narrow bodice yoke? Huge and puffy was the way back in the day. . Notice how the collar doesn't meet at center front but that is quickly remedied with the addition of the pink satin rosette. I suspect the manufacturer uses pre made eyelet collars that got put on garments no matter the size. There's no top stitching and yes, it is sorely in need of a good press but I pretty much just unpacked it.



This pic give s better view of the "interesting" proportion. Huge buttons can often be cute on a more whimsical child's garment but here, with the delicate blue and white print, they are just too heavy.  Ugh. Again, notice how the collar doesn't meet at center back either.


In the logo conscious early 1980s, this label was put on the front skirt of the dress, but of course!

Now go back and look at the picture with the buttons down the back. Right about center, to the right of the dress, you will see on the wall a blurry picture of a lovely, smiling brunette. This was my sister in law, Terry. That's right, was. Terry is no longer with us, having suffered instant death from an aneurysm at the age of 32 in front of her young daughter and husband, my brother. I love this smiling picture of her as she smiled a lot and laughed a lot. We miss her tremendously. Life went on. My brother added an apartment to his home so my parents could care for his little daughter now that her mother had passed. It was a really happy arrangement but choices were made fueled by grief and wife number two came on the scene far too quickly. She removed any reminders of Terry and my mom found them in the trash. She pulled out the framed portraits from a big trash can and also this dress. Terry, loved this dress. It was sweet, feminine and the colors went beautifully with her daughter's dark hair and eyes. She had her daughter's portrait taken in it. It was her favorite picture of Lany and she never failed to mention that. My mom remembered that as she pulled the framed image from the trash. My  mom knew where the dress had been kept and was afraid that it would be tossed as well. She went into the home while they were out and took it out of the closet and brought it to her apartment. She packed the picture and the dress away. My mom and Terry were extremely  close and my Mom missed her terribly. The marriage to wife number two lasted six months, as one would expect in these grief driven situations.

Life went on. I never knew my mom had the dress or the picture. As my mom's health declined she called me in one day to her bedroom and went into her closet and pulled out the dress and the picture. She gave me the dress. My mom asked me to promise to give it to Lany when and if she ever had her own  little girl. I told her I would. I took the dress and packed it way carefully with my best sewing fabric. It hung with velvets and hand smocked Christening gowns for years, moving through three homes.  I took it out this week. Lany is due any minute for her second child, a girl. I will give her the dress......... But  more.........

This is where the incredible community of sewing bloggers steps in. Some of you may remember a blog by Kristine  B. from the Chicago area, husband firefighter, made gorgeous garments, particularly gowns. She no longer blogs but we still keep in touch. She now has a terrific business making formal wear and SHE IS GOOOOOD. Back when she was blogging something came up and I told her the story of the dress and even showed her a picture. Out of the heavens, Kristine told me she was pretty sure she had the same fabric or at least something very close to it. She had made her own daughter a dress out of it and would gladly send me what was left if I was interested. Her generosity will tell you what a lovely person she is.  She sent the fabric. It was extremely close to the dress fabric and I decided I had enough to make something work that could be worn by Lany's  own daughter, should she ever have one. For Kristine B.'s generosity, I will always be grateful and so appreciative.

Today I pulled the fabric out and dug for patterns. I will do a similar back opening yoked dress. It will have puffy sleeves but hopefully more in proportion. I will do a plain white linen collar and sleeve bands.  The bodice will be lined. The skirt will be fuller. If I can find the right color, there will be piping on the dress as well. The back will have buttons but a much smaller scale.I will make a size one. My plan is to give it to Lany for her new baby girl as soon as she arrives. My mom took care of Lany through my brother's tribulations and grief and the two were always very close until my Mom's passing. I know she will love to have this.

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Back to the picture of the back of  the  dress... It kept twisting around and I took tons of pics. I never noticed that her mom's photo, on the wall of my sewing room, was also in the photo,  directly looking at the dress. I sure pray my hands pull this off and it goes well......Bunny


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Can this space be prettified?


Ever read the recurring magazine article in I think Good Housekeeping called " Can this marriage be saved?" It was pretty fascinating stuff. It came to mind as I thought about my sewing space "being saved" . By this time you all know my new space is clean, big, heated, dry and all I could want minus a window. It is a bit rough around the edges but the bones are great, much of what we said when we looked at the home we bought recently and are currently in. What you see above is my best attempt one week post moving to get an organized situation to work in. In the home we did a Chip and Joanna style total redo and those bones are looking great now. Down in my cave, not so much. I don't expect to put any money into this for now, if ever, and those bones really make it work but, hey, it's got to get better than this. After making a couple of garments I was so frustrated  with not having what I needed at my fingertips and worse, not knowing where a lot was. I took a break from stitching and totally reorganized  what you see above and more.

I touched every single piece of fabric that I own and refolded them all, putting them in better categories that work for me, much like my last sewing space. I went through every single pattern I own and did the same. Last, and most important, I organized every notion into being right where I would remember it and in a logical fashion. No it didn't get prettier, but it is far more functional now and I am not walking in circles looking for a Frixion Pen.

What you see above is a built in eight foot Electrician/Former Owner Guy's work table and pegboard back drop. The pegboard and the table are all now painted white, clean  and very neatly organized underneath with paints, dyes, laces, etc. I still did not like the distraction of all those carts and containers under the table. As I went through my fabrics I found 6 yards of batik that I planned on making into curtains for the little apartment we lived in last winter. Never bothered, but, geez, it was enough to.............


I love my clean white  work table. Ergonomically it is at the right height for me. I know the Former Owner guy is taller than me and has major back problems. Maybe this table was too low for him. It is just right for me and I love it. The back side is open and all sorts of goodies underneath are awaiting my efforts. My husband loves this and I thank him for recycling Former Owner Guy's foofy drapery rods so we could use them on the table.  It took a jigsaw!

Maybe this winter, in a fit of cabin fever, we will get the sheet rock taped. Hubs would like to seal the floors first which is a really good idea. All I know is I am getting happier in our new home with each passing day.

One more new item in my creative space, one I love and use more than you would think:


My new little vice!  A real vise! Yesterday I used it to hold a hook of a hook and eye duo so I could bend back the "tongue." This enabled me to put the hook under my presser foot and machine stitch it. Then back in the vise and I bent it back into shape. One favorite bra back to wearability! These are great for smashing those heavy seams on jeans and acting as a third hand when needed. I know there will be lots of uses for this new tool and 19.00 at the Big Orange Box store!
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Sewing is happening. My table curtain was a one day wonder. I have finished my knit panel skirt and can't wait to show you. Not sure what will be next in the queue............maybe some heirloom sewing. Lata'..........Bunny

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Walk in the Woods skirt

I've started working on an interesting fabric from Emma One Sock. It is a luscious rayon knit with soft shades of greens and beiges, not my usual color choice. I knew I wanted to make a skirt and spent a lot of Eureka midnight moments waking to how I would go about this. I knew I wanted a slender soft look, not a big full gather,  and a curved hem. The big challenge was how to deal with the waistline. This skirt would go with the olive linen top I just made. I will review when done but here are a couple of points I am dealing with now.


I decided to drape the front panel on my form to see what I thought would be the right layout. It wasn't.  The print is horizontal and you can see that having that wide swath of beige and the print above at the waist is just not working. Luckily, I have enough fabric length to move this up and have the beige at the waist line. I draped that and it looked so much better. I am so glad I did this draping before putting in the Inviz Zip. This change will alter  the skirt from a ground hugging maxi to a more ankle showing look, which I think in the end will look better on my five feet. The volume in those super long skirts can sometimes just swallow a shorter babe right up. Hey, I'm thinking positively here!

Because the fabric is lightweight and tends to curl a tad,  I had to give a little extra attention to keeping the seams in line.



I pinned them parallel to the edge far back enough to let the presser foot not be bothered but also did pins on the vertical to further secure the edge from curling. I will stitch the back seam in and proceed to do Kenneth King's Invisible Zip method, love that and thank you Professsor King. Then it will be proceed to the waistline and get it done quick. My inspiration, BTW, was the Style Arc Indigo Maxi but I did not want any pockets. We'll see how this ends up. I am winging it and not using a pattern.

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I have begun making my own Greek yogurt in my Instant Pot. I never knew yogurt could taste this good. It is unlike ANYTHING you can get retail, so very easy and thick and rich as can be.  I've done two batches so far and make a batch weekly. To die for. I use the recipe from This Old Gal (who is not old at all.) Her directions are so very clear.....................Bunny

The Periwinkle Linen Dress

The Dandelion Dress served as the muslin for the Periwinkle Linen Dress. I love them both and they  are really both quite different as...