Saturday, July 26, 2014

July MAGAM Project Done!

Yeah!  I've caught up with my backlog of Make-A-Garment-A-Month projects.  My July project is now all done and I can't wait to wear it.  I've very pleased with how it turned out.  So, let's start from the beginning.

My starting pattern was McCall's 6883 - a Spring/Summer 2014 release.  I opted to sew view C - that's the white view on the front of the pattern envelope.  I used the crazy circle print quilting cotton as the main dress fabric and accented the neck band and lower band on the dress using the turquoise linen.  Both of these fabrics have been in my stash for awhile so I was glad to finally sew them up.

My muslin started out ok.  I traced the pattern pieces using a size 10 for the neck, bust and arms, grading to a size 12 at the waist and hips.  You can see in the picture below, it is a bit tight at the waist.

More evidence of it being too tight at the waist - see this drag line below.

I decided to add 3/8 inch to the side waist starting just under the bust and tapering to the hipline - the area I'm pointing at below.  Also, I pinned on the front band pattern piece and noticed it was too short, so I added 2 inches to the dress length as well.

More pulling lines on the muslin back.  Adding the 3/8 inches to both sides should take care of this.

My next problem came when I needed to cut out the contrasting bands.  My turquoise linen had been in my stash for so long, that it developed fade lines along all of the folds.  They were fairly faint, but still noticeable to me - I've highlighted where the fade lines were in the picture below.  I was able to cut out all of the pieces as is, except the front bottom band pieces which were supposed to be cut on the fold.  Because of the fade lines, there wasn't anywhere that I could squeeze this piece out of on the fold, so I ended up adding a center front seam to the bottom band and then cut them out.

And Voila!  Here's the finished product!

I am lovin' this dress.  It's so much fun!  I happened to have some crazy earrings and a necklace that doubles as a bracelet to accent the fabric.  I ended up taking in the waist on the finished product about 1/4 inch each side for the perfect fit.  And, you can't even notice where I pieced the bottom center front bands.

Here's the back view.  The pattern doesn't call for a full zipper, but I decided to change that.  For the back of the dress, there are two pattern pieces - an upper back and a lower one.  The upper piece starts just below the armhole - you can kinda see it in the picture below. Instead of a full zipper, the pattern says to sew a zipper from the bottom of the upper back piece to the mid derriere area - leaving the upper back piece open and then sew hooks and eyes to the contrasting band on top. This seemed a little odd to me, so I just opted to sew in a full zipper instead.

Close-up of the front.  There are two deep fitting darts in the front and the back that need to be trimmed on the inside to keep them from distorting the fabric.

Ta Dah!  I feel like I should be dancing somewhere!

Until next time - Happy Sewing!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

McCalls 3017 - My favorite pajama pattern!

I love pajamas!  I've mentioned in a previous post that if it were socially acceptable, I would wear them all the time.  Here is my latest pajama creation:

This is McCalls 3017 - probably the most perfect pajama pattern out there in my humble opinion.  These pajamas are made from a lightweight cotton print that has little travel trailers printed on it.

I purchased this fabric at Hart's Fabrics in Santa Cruz during a vacation a few years ago when we took our travel trailer to that area.  How appropriate to buy trailer print fabric while on vacation!

Here's a close-up of the print and the contrasting collars and pockets.

These pajamas will stay in our trailer and travel around with us.  Everyone needs a pair of trailer pajamas!

Until next time - Happy Sewing!

Monday, July 14, 2014

July MAGAM Project Determined

July's project is going to be colorful and fun and another stashbuster project to boot!

I'll be making McCall's 6883 - view C (the white dress on the pattern envelope).  The main fabric is the wild cotton print and I'll use the turquoise piece as a contrasting neckband and bottom band on the hem.  Should be a fun project, but I'm absolutely going to make a muslin for this one first.

Better get started!

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

June MAGAM Challenge Done!

I'm still in catch-up mode, but my June MAGAM Challenge is finally completed.  It's not the original dress I had mentioned I was going to make, however. I hope you don't mind!  After taking this photo and posting my intended project on the MAGAM blog, I was still perusing my patterns and came across another dress I liked better.  So, I changed my mind!  What's wrong with that!?  It's still a Cynthia Rowley dress - just a different one.

I ended up switching to this pattern - Simplicity 2281.  This has been on my must sew list for quite a long time so I'm happy I switched.


For this dress, I decided to forgo the muslin test fitting and just dive right in.  In hindsight, I would have been better off making the muslin because of the amount of time it took me to alter it.  I glanced at the instructions and decided to do my own thing - which consisted of sewing the entire front with the sleeves attached (the piece on the left) and then sew the entire back in one piece and then attach the sleeves to the back piece.  Here's a pic of the front and the back separately, before they were sewn together.

After sewing together at the sleeve, and adding the neck band, I draped it over my dress form and let it hang overnight.  The fabric is a rayon and I wasn't sure if it was going to "grow" a little so I let it hang out for awhile.

Here's the side view on the dress form.

By sewing the garment together with a complete front and a complete back, I was able to pin the sides to fit - you can see the pins in the pic below.  At first, I took in the bust about 2 inches each side taping down to the normal 5/8 inch seam allowance at the waist.  I could tell at this point that the sleeves weren't going to stay up, but I was ok with that.  I like the look of them hanging down the arm a little bit.

Of course, once the invisible zipper was in and the lining sewn down, I tried it on again and it needed just a little more taking in, so out came the seam ripper.  I ended up taking in the bust area a total of 6 inches by the time I was finished.  I started out with a size 12 pattern overall and really ended up with something closer to a size 8 at the bust and 12 at the waist and hips.

A word of note on the neckband - the pattern piece indicates this should be cut on the bias.  After cutting out that piece and sewing as recommended, I disagree.  There is no reason this piece should be on the bias - it should be cut on the straight of grain.  Since I didn't have any material left to cut a new neckband, I had to make this one work.  Lining up the dots as is, the neck was a little low and seemed to buckle on the sides, which I wasn't happy with.

After pinching out about 1 1/4 inches each side, the neckband raises and it looks better.

Here's the amount I pinched out.  I ended up unsewing the back pieces on the band and moving them in, closer to the front.

Here's a picture comparison.  The red circles show the original edge placement for the edge of the front piece and the edge of the back piece.  The green circle illustrates the amount I ended up moving the back neck piece in towards the front neck piece - a total of 1 1/4 inches for each side.  Essentially, I reduced the distance between the front and the back pieces 1 1/4 inches.

Here's the finished dress.  I'm quite happy with it!

Back view.  One day, I'll learn how to take a straight photo!

Close-up of the front.

Ahhh, don't look so sad!  This dress only cost $3.00 in materials and it was a stashbuster project to boot!  The lining for the top I already had in the stash and an invisible zipper as well.  If I count the cost of the pattern in the amount - then maybe it would top out at $5.00 - take that ready to wear!

Until next time,
Happy Sewing everyone!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

May Make a Garment a Month Challenge Completed!

The theme for May's MAGAM Challenge was:

I think my choice of Vogue 1309 - an Issey Miyake pattern fits the theme perfectly.  Let's start with how the garment looks on the envelope.

Looks quite unusual.  Right up my alley!

One thing to note on this pattern is the seam allowances are 1/4 inch so there is no room to let anything out. With this word of warning, I decided to make a muslin first before cutting into my $29.00 per yard fabric.

There are only three pieces to this unusual top (not including the bias binding piece - I'll address that piece later).  One long piece that is cut down the middle to become the main part of the vest and two smaller insets - one for each side.  After reading thru the instructions, I decided to place dots on all of the needed markings on the pattern and then transfer these to my muslin.  As you can see, there are alot of dots!

More dots.  This is the small inset for the right side.

After sewing up my test muslin, things weren't looking so pretty.

I mean look at this - it's huge!  I think a paper sack would fit better.

Without trying to flash anyone, the left front was flopping open so much it looked like a kangaroo pouch and the right side was so big, I could put my whole hand in it.

The back looked a little better, but it still reminded me of a shopping bag.  

After alot of pinning, and adding a pleat to the front drape, I managed to rid the garment of it's sack like qualities.

Another view of the pinning.

Just a few pins to the back.

That's better. Fits much better now.  Still a little baggy in the shoulder area though.

Back view after pinning.  Much better fit.

Now it was time to cut into the real fabric.  Since I couldn't write on my real fabric like I did on the muslin, I decided to try out sticker dots on the material. It's essential to mark every letter, dot, square, etc. on your material because the left side of the rectangle becomes the right side of the garment and the right side of the rectangle becomes the left side of the garment.  It's very easy to get mixed up in the construction process if everything isn't marked.

Here it is sewn up with no adjustments.  The sticker dots were great reference points and they did stay put thru construction.

Here you can see where three different "C" marks come together at one point.  And remember earlier when I said I would address the bias binding pattern piece - well now is the time.  The pattern asks you to sew bias binding around the two small square insets to finish their edges, yet none of the other edges in the garment are finished.  See in the picture below, on the right side the unfinished edge?  Well, it seemed pointless to me to have two pieces finished and then nothing else finished on the inside so I omitted sewing on the bias binding and just opted to serge all of the exposed edges that I could get to after it was constructed.

 Here's the right side again, where the fist could fit in.

Back view with the zipper pinned in place.

Using my muslin as a reference, I started pinning away.

Here's the pleat I added to the front.

More pinning in the back...

Once everything was pinned and I tried it on for fit, I topstitched everything in place.

Looks good on the dress form!

 And bonus - I think it looks quite nice on me!

I found the perfect jewelry to match on a recent trip to Carmel.

I am quite happy with the garment now.

Back doesn't look bad either.

Until next time - 

Happy Sewing!