Babydoll Lingerie Tutorial from How Joyful

babydoll

Another Pinterest find, this babydoll negligee is too cute with all the ruffles and light, fluffy layers. You can find the directions to make this here, and her instructions are very easy to follow. This uses 8 pieces total, and 5 of them are just strips of fabric to make the ruffles. Chiffon is inexpensive and most of us have some soft ribbon around to use or the ties, so this is would make a gorgeous low-cost alternative to store-bought (and pricey!) lingerie. I’d call that a win!

McCall’s 6697 – The Barber Pole Dress

M6697I first saw this pattern while browsing on eBay and I knew I had to have it in my collection. Shortly thereafter, I was shopping for fabrics to use in it. Unfortunately, the only two fabrics I could find at Joann’s when I went that were similar in stretch and weight were in purple and black. I had initially wanted something with more contrast between them but purple and black was an okay combination so I went with it. It looks good in the pattern envelope, so why not?

The pattern sat on my sewing table for a while- a few months. I kept picking it up in passing. I had the fabric. I had the pattern. But I still hadn’t made the dress. Finally yesterday I laid my fabric out to start cutting. I wasn’t thinking about how many panels this dress must have to make the stripes but once I started cutting I was wondering if the cutting was going to take all day- There were I think 10 panels in the dress I had to cut.

M6697FrontThe actual construction went smoothly and easily. There’s not a lot to it besides making sure the pieces go in the right order, and There aren’t any even moderately difficult techniques used in this dress. You sew the front panels together, sew the back panels together, sew together at the shoulder and side seams, and then made a narrow hem at the arm- and neck-holes and hem the bottom. Sometimes I skip out on hemming the bottom on knits but this was dragging the ground a bit so I had to.

M6697Back

This photo made me realize my hair is uneven and sent me off to the beauty school for a trim this morning! Eek!

I really love how this turned out and the color combination worked really nicely. If this wasn’t such a stand out design because of the striping, I would make this again. Its super comfortable and I love it!

One More From So Sew Easy

Yesterday I posted that I made the low-volume maxi skirt as explained on So Sew Easy. My first try at it was nothing but problems, and my fabric, a thin slippery knit, kept getting stuck in my throat plate. I did a bunch of research this morning and only found one thing to try that I had not already given a shot- changing my needle. I wanted to try adding a second layer to the skirt because the material is so thin that panty lines are highly visible- more so because the fabric is shiny.

silverfrontI grabbed the skirt and cut another layer for it, then attempted sewing it again with the new needle. Amazingly it worked pretty smoothly though I did have to help the fabric along a bit. I am much more pleased with the outcome with the second layer of fabric in the skirt.

silverbackI think this will be a great basic piece to have in my wardrobe and should be matchable with a lot of different tops.

Simplicity 2154 & A Maxi Skirt

Back in June, I sewed up the blouse in this pattern, and though my fabric choice was pretty and it looked nice, it didn’t work out. The fabric shredded through the seams with the slightest pressure, and even with seam binding added onto it, it just didn’t work out. I loved the pattern though and knew I was going to make it again in a different fabric. Wednesday I sat down in my craft room and cut the pieces out of a cotton fabric I bought for something else originally but decided would work great for this blouse. I cut it slightly large then the pattern called for where the seams would be to give myself a little extra room to do French seams. The first time I made this I found out this blouse has very little ease, so cutting a little bigger was a must for this. I also added about 2 inches to the length of the blouse. This goes together really quickly and soon I had a super cute top in an adorable button print. I will swap out the zipper in the side most likely later on for a lighter weight one, but aside form that, I am thrilled with it.

long

So Sew Easy had a post on making the perfect low-volume maxi skirt and I was excited to try it. I only recently sewed my first maxi dress and am crazy about the length. I’ve never had long skirts or dresses before. I grabbed a fabric I originally bought for a dress but decided I didn’t care too much for and got to work. I thought it might make a cute skirt so why not? Wrong! The fabric is super thin, super slippery, and just bad. When I had 2 layers of it, it sewed okay, but when I added a third layer the fabric kept getting stuck in my plate. I tried backing the fabric with tissue paper and wax paper. Nope. Still stuck in the plate. I tried my walking foot (that I finally looked up how to put on my machine- doh!) and that didn’t help. Finally I settled for pretty much dragging the fabric through by hand and it sort of sewed okay. I’m pretty darned sure the rest of that fabric (slightly more than 3 yards) is going up in my shop very soon!

longback

I did love the shape of the skirt though so I made another one out of a more stable, not slippery knit. This one turned out fabulously and its in the pictures with my blouse. I want to make another one but not sure if I have another cut of fabric that will work for it in my stash. I’ll have to go look.

The Reconstruction, Day 2

After making yesterday’s post about my old ball gown, I repaired the waistband, and spent a ridiculously long time ripping out the stitches on the two panels that hung down the sides of the bodice. You’d think ripping about about 24″ of stitching would be fast and easy, but apparently the girl-who-can’t-follow-directions not only sewed the bodice together all wrong, but she also kept changing the stitch length on different seams making some of the stitches very tight and very difficult to pick out. That’s not so bad though, right? Just slow going?

Oh wait! And then it gets better. On one side of the bodice, I used pleats to make the panel fit. On the other side, I used gathering. What the hell was I thinking? Oh wait. Not only was I not reading or following the directions, I was not thinking either. I’m kind of embarrassed to have done this, even if it was years ago.

gown1

The bodice no longer gapes between the front panels.

I remembered as I put the gown on my dress form that when I wore it to the ball, we had to use safety pins to hold the skirt up to the bodice in the back because there was a big gap at the waist. If I had sewn the panels on correctly, they would have made an overskirt, and that gap would have been hidden. Oh boy!

gown3

I did a bit of the gathering called for on the overskirt.

This afternoon I realized the reason the contrast panels in the bodice are not even on both sides is because I sewed one on upside down. I spent some more tie tearing the bodice apart so I could flip the panel over and put it together right. That led me to a new problem. The lace trim was cut and measured with that panel being upside down, so it stops about an inch short of where it should and I don’t have any of that lace now to replace it. I decided to solve that by creating an overlap of the front bodice pieces where it fastens- something I should have originally done because it kind of gaped before.

There was also the fact that the lining of the bodice was cut larger than the outside, so I had to pleat it to make it fit. I resewed a few seams in the lining and that was taken care of.

gown4

The back looks pretty nice and clean.

Anyway, after hours of work, most of it spent tearing out stitches, I feel like it looks a lot better then it did before and the fit is better too. I’m hoping someone will want to be a princess for Halloween and grabs this dress up. Its not a bad dress, its just a little rough up close. From a distance though it looks pretty damned good!

Is it exactly like the pattern envelope? No. Probably not even close. But its a lot better and I’d actually be willing to wear it like it is now.

 

 

Geometric Dreams Jacket by Rhonda’s Creative Life

003I was browsing Pinterest (I have such mixed feelings about it but occasionally I find my way back to it) and looking for free sewing patterns. I came across some really cute ideas, but so many are not suited to my body type, or would take a lot of scaling as the patterns were only available in very small sizes. Then I saw this. This jacket has the prettiest draping and the shape is interesting given the way the seams run. Its made out of a stretch knit fabric, and I definitely want to make one for myself before winter comes.

The jacket is made from three pieces of fabric and the only pattern you really need is a few measurements form your tape measure. Here’s the link! Its from a few years ago but I absolutely love it.

The Bane of My Existance

gown

The (horribly sagging) waist was yet to be fixed in this photo.

About 5 years ago, little new-to-sewing me decided she was going to attend the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball for a second time, and she needed a dress. She decided to sew up a pattern she found, but apparently she had no idea how to follow directions.

Today I pulled this dress out thinking “Hey! Halloween is coming up! Maybe I can sell this!” and found the waistband a mess, which I repaired. After doing so (and gathering a waist of 175 inches down to about 36 inches is a pain in the ass!) I discovered I had originally put the zipper in between the wrong two panels, that this skirt has a definite front and back. That means I will have to undo what I did, and move the zipper to the right location or else the zipper has a very odd placement when worn.

I also took a good look at the pattern envelope and found I did not even come close to putting the bodice together right. I knew I never dd the pollinading (however you spell that) but apparently the two purple panels hanging over the hips are supposed to go around the entire bodice except where the blue panels are in the front. I think because of how I put it together I can rip a few lines of stitches out and fix that too. As it stands now, the panels hanging down on one side is noticeably longer than the other.

I honestly cannot comprehend how I screwed this up so badly except by flat out not following or probably even reading the directions. The pattern I failed to follow is Butterick 4315. (Click to see the envelope) I am hoping I can fix this in a few days time without completely taking it apart, and really hope I can sell it. Its been hanging up in my craft room since it became my craft room and every time I see it I kind of cringe. I can’t believe I willingly made myself a purple and powder blue (with glitter) ball gown.

Understanding a Sewing Pattern Envelope

Deby at So Sew Easy made a post on her blog that I think would be very useful to people just starting to sew. She breaks down the front and back of the envelope section by section and explains everything- including a use you might not have thought of for the side of the envelope that’s printed in other languages. Check out her post here. I wish someone had sat me down and explained the envelope back like this for me. I think the moment it finally clicked on how to measure myself to correlate to the envelope came when I emailed one of the “Big Four” and asked them exactly how I was supposed to be doing it. Lucky for me customer service at that company was great in helping me out and setting me straight!

So Sew Easy Wrap Dress… Erm… Shirt!

My good friend Tracy sent me a few links to some patterns the other day, and this wrap dress from So Sew Easy really caught my eye. I immediately thought to myself “What if I can turn that dress into a top? It can’t be that hard!” I downloaded the pattern, and got to work cutting and taping pieces together. I had planned to use the yard and a half of yellow burnout fabric I bought that I was on the fence about in case it didn’t turn out, but it turned out great!

The first thing I did after cutting the pattern pieces was measure myself from my armpit down my side to where I wanted the top to end up at. Then I marked out the extension of fabric with my pins and started cutting. This pattern has numerous pleats in it for shaping, which I left in the same places, and just extended the one on the left front out to the edge of the fabric. My first try on alerted me that the top was going to be much too big, but I believe that was due to user error when taping the pattern together.

I took it in a it at the side seams, tried on again, and adjusted from there. I left it a little on the loose side, though when (Not if, definitely when) I make this as a dress I will adjust for a snugger fit. The other change I made to this design was I added bias binding to the sleeve ends and the neckline- I used a contrasting medium grey and I think it really gives the top a more finished look. I tacked a few stitches onto where the binding criss-crossed in the center front as this fabric does not have great recovery and I didn’t want it gaping by the end of the day.

sewsoeasywraptop

If I made this as a top again I might add more pleats into the right side. There are four now, but they only run about half of the distance from top edge to bottom hem. I’m not entirely positive on the best way to do that, but the internet offers a host of information and how-to’s on pretty much everything so pretty sure I can sort it out easily enough.

If you like my creation, pop on by Deby’s site and get the pattern for yourself! Make it as a top or as a dress! :)

Kwik Sew 1425 View C

Back in October, I sewed View B from Kwik Sew 1425 out of a wild pink and black knit that I loved. I decided this Wednesday evening to sew up View C, which is identical except for having a cross-cross detail on the back. I did make a few minor changes to the pattern, and I will list them off.

  • I added a band to the bottom hemline. I laid my pieces out and planned to make the shirt a few inches longer when cutting, then I spaced out and cut it as is. The band was added to the bottom hem to both add length, and I first ran elastic through it, which I ended up pulling out because I just didn’t like it.
  • I hemmed the neckline and sleeves edges rather than use the binding method suggested by the pattern. This was due to finding that the fabric I used, while stretchy, was not stretchy enough to make use of the binding strips as I cut them. Instead of re-cutting them a few inches longer, I just hemmed the raw edges instead.
  • I added 6 criss-cross bands instead of just the required 2 pieces. I may have gotten a little crazy there but I think it was a fun add-on and super easy.

Other than those two things, I followed the directions as they were. Yes, this is a traffic cone orange t-shirt. Its super, super bright, but the light pointelle jersey is so super airy and breathable and so comfortable to wear I can forgive its ridiculously bright color.

KS1425ViewC

When talking to Tracy last night, I noted I am wearing a lot more bright colors than I ever have. A few years ago there is no way I would have worn a top like this, or some of the other brighter colors I’ve sewn things up in. My Kelly green half circle skirt? No way! My white birds t-shirt? Nope. I didn’t wear white, ever.

Another thing I did yesterday was fix the quick strap I made to pull my bra strap down a bit for those tops and dresses with low backs. You’ve probably seen the fix on Pinterest in a dozen places, and while I made my own hardware clip to put on the elastic, the effect is the same, just cheaper.

lowbackstrap

Sorry about the great view of my fat! I’ve lost a lot of weight but still have a ways to go! Anyway, this fix would probably work better on someone thinner, because as we get smaller, our narrowest waist point tends to be lower, and that’s where the elastic ends up- at your narrowest point. I’m heavier and my natural wait is higher so this doesn;t make a big dramatic change n my bra strap location, but it does pull it down just enough.