Friday, September 7, 2012

Simplicity 4721 - Striped Sundress

Strange to be posting a sundress now, I know. I made this in July, but haven't gotten around the taking pictures or writing about it until now. I admire those who can blog in real time. Mine gets pushed to the bottom of the list most of the time.

Simplicity 4721

This is Simplicity 4721, a pattern that I don't remember buying at all. My copy has a bright orange "SALE $0.99" sticker slapped on the front, but that isn't even triggering any memories. Anyway, it seemed like a good choice when I was perusing the pattern stash for a summer dress for my daughter. I wanted something other than the full, gathered skirt I often gravitate toward. I started with a size 4 and added gobs of length - some to the bodice and more distributed through the skirt.


It looks like the narrow straps on the envelope models' dresses are falling off their shoulders. That could probably be fixed by moving them toward the center front more, but I also wanted a little more coverage. So, I changed to these wide straps gathered at the bottoms. Here the bows are looking rather rumpled.

Simplicity 4721

The back of the dress has an invisible zipper. I used Tasia's tutorial for attaching the lining to the zipper by machine and found it worked really well.

Simplicity 4721

This dress tested my stripe matching skills. Each piece was cut out single layer. After I cut out one piece, then I'd figure out where the next one had to go. The fabric (an old bed sheet) didn't have a right or wrong side, adding to the complexity. The process of cutting out the dress took longer than actually sewing it up.

Since my daughter won't agree to be photographed without being silly, I'll leave you with this...

Simplicity 4721

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Subversive Denim Shorts

I tend to get my back up when I feel like I am forced to make a bad choice. Like I don't have any good options, but I still have to pick one. Hate that. It happens in all different parts of life, some easier to deal with than others. One of the places it happens quite a bit for many people is with clothing. Depending on availability and geographic location, options may be quite limited. There's not much choice to be had on price point, origin, style, fit, color, etc. I love it when I feel like I can use my sewing skills to subvert that. When I finish a project and want to point my finger and yell "Ha!" like I'm stickin'-it-to-the-man, I feel ultra successful.

Such is the case with these denim shorts. My summer wardrobe was in need of another pair of shorts and I knew denim would work well. An attempt to buy a ready-to-wear pair turned out to be a waste of time and a somewhat demoralizing experience. Why did I even bother with that when I have a tried-and-true pattern in my stash? I thought I was short on time and I had only used the pattern with stretch fabrics. I knew I didn't have any stretch denim. The summer was nearly over when I started these, so I figured I'd try out the pattern with a non-stretch denim remnant that I had in stash (leftover from this skirt). A data collecting project, if you will. If it worked - great, I'd have a new pair of shorts. If it didn't work - not much of value was lost and I would have learned more about the pattern and fit.

Denim shorts

Hooray! It worked! I really like the lack of stretch. I used the exact same pattern as I did for these shorts. The khaki twill does stretch out quite a bit while wearing. They are still wearable, but they fit differently at the end of the day than they do when I first put them on. I think there is too much stretch in that fabric.

Denim shorts

These stretch a wee bit with wear, just like traditional jeans do, but the fit remains the same. No droopy seat or slouchy waistband. I don't have much new to say about them since they're the same pattern as these pants and these shorts.

Denim shorts

The topstitching was done with the triple straight stitch and a medium gray thread. A lightweight poly-cotton gingham lines the waistband and pockets.

Denim shorts

Denim shorts

There are a couple of flaws in the fabric across the back. They stand out here more than they do in real life because of the light. I did know the flaws were there, but couldn't work around it. I used all the fabric I had left. Since it was initially just a data collecting project, I didn't worry about it too much.

Denim shorts

There is a bit of pulling and poofing between the waistband and the crotch. It isn't significant, but I might work on tweaking that before I use the pattern again. I think the waistband is too small for the front pieces, but I haven't thought much about how exactly to fix it.

So, this is me, feeling subversive...thwarting mall trends and sizing standards...stickin' it to the man...as much like a superhero as I'll ever be...

Denim shorts


Monday, September 3, 2012

A Rather Large Denim Refashion

Back in July one of my aunts passed on some old jeans to me. They were initially headed for another aunt that makes quilts from old jeans, but lucky for me, I was in the right place at the right time. She had three pair of jeans and one pair of shorts passed on by a friend of a friend or something like that (let me be clear - these were not my aunt's jeans!). Now, these were not just any jeans. These are a size 58 waist jeans. We can only hope that the owner of the jeans didn't pass them on because he grew out of them.

So, the challenge for me was to come up with some way to refashion these. Let me tell you, there is a lot of fabric in jeans this size. Everything about them is different in scale. The fly is more than 10" long, there are 9 belt loops around the waistband (four more than your average size jeans), and the back pocket is just really, really biiiiiig.

The kids were quite intriqued by these big pants, so we had a little fun with them....

Jeans for refashioning
I like the three feet coming out of each pant leg. 

Jeans for refashioning
Something that escaped from a Dr. Seuss book?

Jeans for refashioning
Scary two-headed monster...

Jeans for refashioning
Skinny jeans? These will make you feel skinny no matter what size you are. It's all relative, right?

Jeans for refashioning
Shall I adopt the baggy look for autumn?

At this point, I thought maybe we were having too much fun messing around in someone else's pants, but my daughter had lots of other ideas. If you're interested in more pics, you can see them here.

As for the refashioning part, I thought it would be fun to keep the drama of the large size for at least one of the pairs. The others may just be harvested for the fabric. I chose to turn the top of the jeans into a tote bag. There are multiple tutorials out there for this, but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

Refashioned Jeans Tote Bag

The straps are cotton webbing that I had on hand and the bag is unlined. I figured boxing the corners would make the bag too shallow, so the bottom is an inset rectangle cut from one of the pant legs. I had a long length of this crochet trim that I threaded through the belt loops (all nine!) and tied in a bow.

Refashioned Jeans Tote Bag

It has already come in handy as a beach bag - it's good for toting bulky things. The bag itself is fairly heavy, so I don't think I'll fill it up with groceries or anything with it's own heft. I'm a wee bit tempted to enter this in the Tote Bag category at our local fair coming up, but I think it would fill up the entire display case!