Tuesday, August 28, 2012

McCall's 6559 - Striped Maxi Dress

I really wouldn't describe my style as trendy. It takes some time for my eyes to get used to something new and different. If it sticks around for awhile, then I might adopt it. Case in point: the maxi dress. I really didn't like them at first ("first" being what - three or four years ago?) and I still don't like many of them that I see. But, there have been some that I admire - enough to make me consider trying it out.

I actually chose to make a maxi dress because of the fabric I was interested in moving from the fabric closet to my clothes closet. I really wanted a dress out of this breton stripe knit that I purchased last year on a trip to New York. Initially, I was planning to make something similar to this or this but then I found a dress so much like what I was planning to make on a clearance rack at Old Navy for less than $3.00. Hard to beat that! So, then I needed to find a different idea for this fabric.


Then I started seeing several sewing bloggers making up this pattern and noticed the striped version. It seemed that my fabric would be well suited for that and would make it distinctly different from my Old Navy bargain dress.

Striped Maxi Dress

Now that it's finished, I'm happy with how it turned out, but there were a few times where I thought it might end up as a wadder. The fabric stretches, but it doesn't have much recovery. Then the back piece is cut so that the stretch goes up and down, rather than around the body. The vertical stripes are a nice effect, as is the fabric conservation, but I was concerned about a few of things. First, would the back would just be too tight? Second, would I end up with a droopy seat after sitting given the lack of stretch recovery? Third, would the back of the dress just keep growing longer and longer?

Striped Maxi Dress

I'm happy to say "so far, so good" to all three concerns. I really didn't want the dress to be tight anywhere, so I cut the back piece one size larger than the front, but then took in the side seams a bit when sewing it up, so I guess that was unnecessary. I did let the dress hang on my dress form for a couple of weeks while the back did stretch out a bit, but it doesn't seem to still be growing. And the droopy seat doesn't seem to be a problem either. Yay! It's a win!

This pattern has been reviewed many times and I don't really have anything new to add. For mine, I raised the neckline 1.5" and wish I would have added more. I bound the neckline and armholes with a solid navy knit rather than turning and narrow hemming as the instructions suggest. As for the maxi dress factor, I don't think I'm going to be cranking these out. One is good for now. It's a unique piece and will be fun to pull out once in awhile.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

For the Record

The beginning of August saw me doing lots of sewing at the request of others. Some of it was alteration work. Most of it was for S's shop here in town. Have a peek at the goods...

One pillow with cat appliques requested by a customer:

Cat Pillow
(The cat on the right is supposed to be sitting with his back toward us. Not sure if I made that obvious or not, but those were the instructions).

Two fall-ish novelty baby bibs:

Apple Bib

Pumpkin Bib

Three tote bags:

Simple Tote Bag: Felted Flowers

Simple Tote Bag: Leaves

Simple Tote Bag: Owl

Four Christmas baby bibs:

Christmas Bibs

Christmas Bibs

It's always a good exercise to stretch some of my creative muscles with these projects, but I'm also always happy to spend my sewing time on "me" projects when they're finished.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ottobre 1-2010-14 - Purple Tweed Coat

This pattern is now a three-peat for me. Lucky me - I have another new niece, so I made another version of this very sweet coat! The first was in denim, the second in corduroy, and now the third in a tweedy wool blend.

Tweedy Coat

The pattern was all ready to go, so it came together pretty quickly. I lined it with a quilting cotton featuring a lavender motif (not fireworks as suggested by The Preacher).

Tweedy Coat

For extra warmth, I added a layer of flannel to the bodice and skirt pieces. I used a traditional lining for the sleeves to make getting them on and off easier.

Tweedy Coat

I had this ribbon on hand that matched really well and added that at the neck for a hanging loop.

Tweedy Coat

The sleeve tabs might be my favorite part of this pattern.

Tweedy Coat

I really like this pattern. One of these days I may just have to sew a coat for one of my own kids!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Custom Diaper Bag

My sister had her second baby a few months ago. She asked me if I'd make her a not-so-diaper-baggish diaper bag. I was willing to give it a shot and suggested she decide what her ideals were for size, shape, pockets, etc. She found an inspiration picture, we talked pockets, she bought fabric and then I got to work.

Diaper Bag

The printed fabric makes it a little hard to discern any details, but there is a band at the top and then pleats at the top of the main part of the bag. It's been a few weeks now since I made it, so I'm having a hard time remembering the exact size. It's big enough to tote around all the baby essentials, but small enough to not be overly cumbersome. The extra long adjustable strap allows it to be worn over one shoulder or across the body.

Diaper Bag

The red lining was a really nice touch and I think it will make it easy to find things inside. There are pockets all along both sides. One side has three elasticated ones - for holding bottles or other similar things. The other side has plain slip pockets, one of which is a pen slot (by special request). There is also a key fob in the seam between the band and the lower bag piece.

Diaper Bag

Most of the tote bags I've made have boxed corners. This time I did a set-in bottom. It made the pocket placement a little easier and it made it easier to make the bottom firmer. The outer fabric and lining are both decorator fabrics, so they're on the heavyweight side. I added a layer of upholstery fabric to the whole thing as interfacing as well. I was really pleased with the finished heft. The bag stood up by itself, but didn't have a stiff feel.

It was fun working on a project with my sister. I usually think I prefer my own choices and plans when it comes to sewing, but working from someone else's idea with their fabric choices has often been a really exciting challenge.