Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Little of This, A Little of That: Coming Up With a Fall Dress

My older daughter is 10 years old now. That puts her in the "tween" age category. When trying to come up with sewing plans for her, I felt a bit stumped. This is new territory. Combining her preferences, my "guidelines" (leggings are not pants!), and this new age category in a successful way is a challenge. We talked through some options together and looked at fabrics together and we have a bit of a plan. This dress was the first part of the plan.


We had an idea of what the dress should look like and then combined a couple different Ottobre patterns to get what we wanted. There was a fair bit of basting and fitting as we went and in the end, we both think it was successful.


She picked out the fabric - a purple pique knit. It's pretty stretchy with very good recovery, so it wasn't too difficult to handle. The black trim is a cotton/lycra jersey. I added the keyhole at the front neckline for interest. The binding was done on my sewing machine with a double needle. First I zigzagged the binding to the neckline, then turned it to the back and topstitched with the double needle. I trimmed off the extra on the inside close to the stitching line. The zigzagging and double needle stitching both allow plenty of stretch for getting this on without a zipper or button closure.


My initial plan was to have this ruched waist piece sit on top of the dress and just be attached at the side seams. However, I made an error in tracing the skirt pattern and the front piece was two inches shorter than the back piece. I didn't want a short skirt on this dress, so I decided to insert the back piece to gain back some of the length. It worked well enough.


The bodice back piece is a bit too long and she gets some pooling above the inset piece. Not enough to make any changes on this dress, but it's something I might watch for in the future.


She would like for the skirt to be fuller. She's a big fan of the circle skirt. I'm not such a big fan of buying enough fabric for a circle skirt.

We're both happy with this dress and I think our first real foray into tween clothing was successful. The Oliver + S blog has been doing a series about tween style (specifically related to their patterns) and I've been enjoying following it and picking up some inspiration.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Ottobre 6/2012 #37 - Chambray shirt

Since moving back to the US, I've done some experimenting with ordering fabric online. I had only dabbled with it while living in Canada because of shipping costs, duty charges and the nuisance of return shipping. As expected, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Some purchases are better than expected and some are disappointing. The corduroy for these pants was the former and the chambray for this shirt was the latter. The chambray is nice fabric, it's just different than what I had envisioned. I went ahead with it anyway.


This shirt is for my son and is the partner piece for these pants. I like how the shirt looks with the sleeves rolled up. He will have none of that.


The pattern is just a classic collared button-down shirt from Ottobre (6/2012 #37). I like the two-piece collar, the lined yoke, and the properly scaled front pocket. Breast pockets that are "off" (to my eye, anyway) in size, scale, or placement really bug me.


I used a plaid shirting for contrast on the collar stand, under collar, inner yoke, button placket, inner cuffs and sleeve plackets. I've been doing this with most collared shirts I make lately and I like the small amount of interest it provides.


My plan was to do the topstitching with navy blue thread, but it looked terrible. After trying some other options (gray, tan, white) I chose an off-white. The buttonholes looked too bright with that shade, so I used a light beige thread for them.


I'm such a sucker for a bit of bias plaid.

My son is happy with both of these pieces for fall - how they look and how they feel. I started with these because they are more involved than most of the other things I have planned to make. I know that if I start with the easy things, I'll run out of time for the complex ones. I find it easier to squeeze in the easy ones later.