November 27, 2013

Vintage Vogue Copycat: Another Mod Dress in Ponte Knit

As if I have not babbled enough of my love of ponte knit in mod styles, I finished another vintage mod frock in my lovely black ponte knit. The pattern is Vogue 7663:
Pattern alterations were abundant. I adjusted for square shoulders as well as broad. I drafted out the back neckline dart, it was a useless dart with a knit fabric. I feel as if I cut the length of the original pattern in half. I shortened at least 8" in dress length off between the hem, hip and torso. Yea for shorties! 
I needed to add width to the hips which meant adjusting the pleated skirt, it was a pain but ended beautifully. Look at all those pleats in action.

 The center front button placket was fun it was not necessary with the knit fabric and in the end needed to be stitched down at the bust as not to pull and curl.
I wish I would have used a hefty interfacing on my peter pan collar as to avoid the dimples. Lesson learned. I also may add some fish eye darts to my waistline as the torso is NOT flattering my mid section. 
None the less is a pretty stellar mod day dress. A few more fixes and I may wear it all the time. 

November 23, 2013

Blazer in Spotted Leopard Print McCall's 6519

I slipped and fell into the trend zone of the leopard print blazer. In the event that this trendy piece was NOT on your radar; I would like to state for the record that I am not alone. The lovely, talented and gorgeous Maude of MP by Maude is also loving the leopard blazer trend. How fierce and fab is her Victoria Blazer from By Hand London?! 
Needless to say I am a leopard junkie and somehow a leopard blazer was missing from my vast animal print wardrobe. 
My variation of the leopard blazer would never have happened with out Mood Fabrics. In September I was honored to win of the Mood Blog Badge giveaway (bloggers if you are not displaying  a Mood Badge, get one here). I can not say "Thank you, Mood" enough, I am beyond honored. After great debate I was able to narrow my selections and commit to some stunning fabrics. The first thing in my cart was this Italian Brown Animal Print fabric, I fell in love with the variation within the print and knew immediately I wanted it to be a blazer (Currently the online site is out of this fabric but I also picked up this amazing Italian Leopard-Print Stretch Cotton Canvas which would also make a stellar blazer).
Jacket back 
The pattern, McCall's 6519 is a unlined jacket that has front shoulder darts, back vent and sleeves with fold-back cuffs. The center of the stretch cotton has a light print with smaller scale spots that gradually get larger towards the selvage. I decided that the center back of the jacket would show off the pattern play beautifully  but I had to cut across the center for the vent facing for each side back pattern. I was able to cut the pieces and match my center back almost exactly! I elected to make the front pieces large spots and then shifted the pattern play on the sleeves so that the small spots pattern hit the sleeve fronts. From every angle of the jacket you can see the spot pattern variation. 
 I implemented by standard pattern alterations: square and  broad shoulder adjustments and petite torso adjustment to accommodate my frame. But then I made a couple additional adjustments to accommodate the fantastic fabric. I toyed with the idea of lining the jacket prior to the arrival of the fabric, but when I felt the hearty hand of the cotton and the give of the stretch I knew finding a compatible lining was pointless. It was the perfect fabric for an unlined jacket strong, thick and resilient almost like a thick stretch denim twill. Because of the fabric heft I removed any excess hem allowance cropping the hem allowance to 1/2". I decided to use a vintage lace hem binding to turn back the hem without the bulk. 
inner view of the center back vent
Using vintage notions, Lace Hem Binding 
Bias bound shoulder seam and front facing
The pattern tells to finish the seams by turning back the raw edges 1/4" and stitch down, this would never work for my deliciously hearty fabric so I elected to use a vivid green bias binding to encase the raw edges. 
Another construction detail I amended was to lining the patch pockets. Its a personal preference because I hate raw edges in my pockets 
pocket lining yields to no loose fibers in my pocket 

My favorite construction detail in this pattern was the notched lapel it was fun and so easy to sew. 
 When sewing the facing of the shawl collar to the jacket body I just reduced my stitches per inch and sewed the notch point and curve. 
A quick close trim of the seam allowances.
 And then a flip and press to the right side and the collar has a little pop of detail.
Thank you so much Mood Fabrics for this amazing fabric for my on trend blazer in my favorite print that I will wear again and again! 

November 19, 2013

Luscious Leopard Dress McCall's 6460

The pattern is McCall's 6460 a fitted dress with sweetheart neckline effect . I opted for version D which has three-quarter sleeves but I also added the floating hem band of version C. 
The main fabric is a flocked chiffon in a tone on tone pile leopard print design. I worried that the chiffon would not hold up to the shoulder/arm structure of the dress or hold the weight of the dress body (that is backed with a white stretch twill). I underlined the upper yoke in a netting for stability and backed the sleeves (as well as the hem band) in organza. This also helped to use up scrap fabrics! 
Inner garment view

Bonus by lining my sleeve in the organza I was able to omit the narrow hem at the cuff and encased all the seam allowances between the layers. 
I love hem bands and this version was no exception. I do not have the slightest clue if this hen band technique has a proper name but I like to refer to it as a floating hem band because it just hangs from the cut edge of the turned back hem. 
First the hem band is attached to the hemline right sides together. 
Next serge/overlock the edge and turn the hem to the underside. 
There will be a one inch over hang of  the hem. Above you can see the hem from the right side and below you can see the hem from the inside of the garment. 
Finally the hem has to be stitched. I hand stitch my hem but you could machine blind hem. In the end this is not a short cut hem but I like the fun effect. 

November 10, 2013

Purple Parallel Lines Dress: Project Runway Collection Simplicity 1687

Pattern: Project Runway Simplicity 1687, dress with seamed bodice, upper bodice and pleated, flared skirt. Zipper pockets and 3/4 sleeves. 
Challenge make a day dress to wear with my purple boots. Challenge accepted. 
Fabric: The purple stripe is a stretch woven suiting, it was a remnant from a prior (last year) project (I love the other dress made from this strip fabric too but it is too dressy doe my purple boots). 
The black fabric of the upper bodice is a knit that is comparable to the denier of hosiery without the elasticity. Weird fabric combo, I know. Yet I am damned and determined to use these stash fabrics. 
I was concerned with the sheer factor of the upper bodice so I self fabric lined the upper bodice and still I ended up with a sheer yoke in certain lights. It only shows the bra straps, not that risque after the full sheer blouse trend. 
Pattern Modifications: shortened waist to petite, adjusted for broad and square shoulders, shortened skirt hem.
Construction modifications: The black knit fabric was a feat to cut and sew. One pass of the scissor and it wanted to unravel and run. I omitted the shoulder seams on the yoke and I only had to join at the neckline of the outer fabric and lining. 
For the sleeve I also did away with the hem of the sleeve by making the cuff hem a fold. My sleeve pices looked like this: 
I stitched the entire length of the underarm sleeve seam, pressed and then turned back the sleeve on itself (at the cuff fold) to encase the seam allowance. Then the 2 ply sleeve was eased it into the armscye; stitching once to catch both the 2plys of the yoke and the two plys of the sleeve in one fell swoop, I finished the seam with an overlock/serged edge. 

 Look another vintage zipper pocket! I loved constructing these pockets, pleats, inseam zippers and a pocket bags to boot. Lots of sewing action but it worth every moment.
This dress is just the right kind of quirky for my purple passion boots. And I loved making the pattern so much I am working and the other variation with the mock piping! 

November 9, 2013

Olive Maxi Dress McCall's 6791


The pattern is McCall's 6791 view C; described as close-fitting, pullover dresses has right side pleats, shaped left side, underdress, draped back with opening, and raw edge finish. Narrow hem finish on necklines, armholes, longer than regular length sleeves pushed-up.
I do not fancy myself a maxi dress wearer. Something about me in a long skirt yields to holding up  the skirt continuously (see image below). 
Enticed by the lure of dollar patterns and interested in completely changing the construction instructions I gave in and attempted to pull off this olive maxi dress. 
The pattern is designed for Mid weight moderate stretch knits; I used a black and olive colored crepe knit. 
Pattern Modifications: shortened waist to petite, adjusted for broad and square shoulders, shortened skirt hem by 4 inches. I was worried that I would get a stuffed sausage effect where every lump and bump would be spot light if the hips and waist were too tight so I graded the out the waist and hip area by an additional inch. 
Then the fun began, I constructed this pattern to my own linking. 
First I elected to not narrow hem finish the neckline and back opening and instead encase the seam allowances between the underdress and the outerdress (this way the seams would not rub against my body). I achieved this by stitching the shoulder seams on both the under and upper dress and then stitching them right sides together around the back opening and neckline, turning right side out and tacking the neckline at the upper back opening. 

Look no WONKY stitching around my neckline! 
Because I made this change for my neckline, on the under dress skirt the wrong side of the crepe knit faces out, as you can see with the color variation. I do not mid this, the wrong side of this fabric is slightly scratchy I did not want it against my body it would have made a comfy dress so uncomfortable. I also did not use a raw edge hem, I narrow hemmed both hems.  
For the back opening I created a back panel that covered my bra. I was not about to wear a knit dress sans bra, that is just asking for trouble. I am not thrilled with the pooling drape of the over dress. It looked alright  on the hanger. 

Another issue I ran into was the distribution of the looooooong sleeve gathers. The sleeve hem was practically down to my ankles. I added elastic to the sleeve seam from the cuff to mid arm to keep the gathers in check. 
I am still not convinced maxi dresses are my thing but this one was pretty easy to wear like Pajamas for the daytime! 
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