Saturday, October 25, 2014

Delta Dress

 Here`s another simple dress in a stretchy knit. It`s the Kimono Tee again, this time with a full skirt.  This is now the easiest dress I make.  The skirt is just the width of the fabric gathered on my serger, which is a new trick I learned here.  Amazing!  This is why I really want to become a better blogger -- because I love reading other people`s blogs.  Four Square Walls is one of my favorites.  Another blogger I enjoy, Jolies Bobines, just used a similar fabric for a lovely dress.  Wow, she`s so talented! Anyhow, back to me...
 The sweater I`m wearing is the Maggie Wrap by Robyn Chachula.  My Ravelry page is here.  It`s made with the DK weight baby alpaca I import from Peru whenever I can get my friend to bring it back for me.  I love this yarn!  The wooden buttons are from Etsy. 

 Here`s the dress on its own, front and back.  Can you notice my mistake?
 I didn`t even notice that the triangles were upside down on the upper back until I saw these pictures.  Oops!  I don`t mind.  At this point in my skill-building I`m just pleased that I made a dress I can enjoy.  Slightly random point of interest -- it has inseam pockets.
 Because this fabric has less stretch, although a jersey like the last dress, the bodice turned out a bit snug and shorter as a result.  I fixed it by adding a wide elastic waist band, which I think looks great with the black fold-over elastic I used to finish the neck and armholes.  Save!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Blue Dress

 Here's another sweater and dress combo.  Did I mention that one of the reason's I've wanted to start sewing is so that I can make outfits that utilize all the sweaters I've made?  This sweater hasn't seen much use yet, though I made it about two years ago.  It's the Argo by Svetlana Volkova.  Darn it, why did I change the cute pockets??? My man convinced me that they'd be unflattering.  At least I still have pockets!  I also added the belt.  I knit it lengthwise and didn't bother calculating an intended length at all, so it's quite long.  I like it well enough tied in a bow. The yarn is a delicious wool/silk tweed that languished in my stash for far too long, Queensland Collection Kathmandu.
And here's the strip tease....

 Ta da!  Here's the dress I made.  It's blue.  It's a cotton-spandex jersey version of the Maria of Denmark Kimono Tee, cut down a little slimmer and attached at the waist to a simple straight skirt.  
This is a great, easy dress to have.  I've been wearing it every laundry cycle.  More, please!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Myrtle Dress

 I made a Myrtle dress from Colette Patterns.  I'm wearing it here at my friends' wedding at Wilridge vineyard in Naches Heights, WA.  We all camped out afterwards and floated the Yakima river the next day.  Great wedding!
 I loved the design immediately and bought it on the day of its release.  Cowl necks are my favorite neckline, and I love easy, knit dresses. I wanted to find a fabric with a small scale print to hide any sewing flaws for me first try.  I also wanted it to be non-directional because the skirt is a bit of a circle skirt.  This rayon jersey is perfect!  It's from JoAnn's, if you can believe it, and on sale.  How lucky!

I cut out the medium according to my measurements, but I took lots of room out of the bodice once I tried it on.  This size would be best for a woven version, but for the next knit Myrtle I'll re-print the pattern to cut a size XS.  I'll also follow the advice of some other bloggers and line to back bodice as well.  I love the way the front bodice is cut in one piece with its lining.

Here are a few very sunny pictures to show how I like to style it with a red belt and red sandals. 

Thanks for reading!  Love, Meg

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Black Dress

 Once upon a time, about three years ago, my friend asked me if I'd like to take a sewing class with her.  We sewed plain muslin squares for a month, enjoyed it enough, and signed up for another month of plain muslin squares.  That was the beginning of this dress. 

I ended up taking classes for years -- pattern making, draping, and finally sloper --before I could start making a dress for myself.  From designing this dress to going once a week to pattern making and construction classes, this dress took me over a year.  Add all the build-up, and I'm counting three years to get here.  Ta-Da!!  This is my Black Dress, a major milestone in the curriculum at NYFA.

You can see Casy's awesome Black Dress here.  If I find links to other Black Dresses from school, I'll add them. 
My favorite feature is the back detail.  I like how the scallops continue from the V-back neckline down the row of buttons. I also think the little peeks of skin along the waist worked out well.   

 Here you can see that I have pockets.  Yes, pockets, I love you! Also, you can see the scallops across the front neck-line here.  And then there are scallops, of course, all along the waist.  I learned some things about sewing scallops.
1.  DO NOT use a fabric with any stretch at all.  As you are manipulating your piece to get all those scallops just right it will stretch and be very difficult.  This fabric has some stretch I hadn't noticed, and I had to use excessive hand basting to get it to work.

2.  Freshen up your markings right before you sew.  I drew on my sew line for the scallops and found that it fades noticeably if I waited to sew.   Scallops are fiddly enough without guessing where the line really is. 

3.  Go slowly with a tiny stitch.  I dialed my stitch length down under 2, which helps in two ways.  It made my machine go more slowly, which was easier to control.  It also made me more confident that my stitches would hold after I trimmed the seam very closely for all those curves. 

4.  Don't snip lots of little clips along the curve -- just trim it all down to almost nothing and put an extra clip into each corner.

5.  I've read since that larger scallops are easier to sew and that you should leave a little flat space between each scallop so you don't get a little wrinkle in the valleys. 

If I ever make this dress again, I will review my own advice.  I may also give the next version a scalloped hem.  Too much?  I kind of feel hat if you are going to have too many scallops, you should just go for it.  Over the top scallops, why not?

Here's a shot of the lovely beach where I took these photos on the Washington coast.  Someday I'll get a really camera and actually take nice photos.  This area was lovely, and I wish I could have captured it better.

 Sorry I'm not a pro at formatting a blog post... I wanted to arrange all these pictures better, but I cant figure it out right now.  Anyway, here are some construction details of my dress.  It's rayon lined with more rayon (bemberg).  All the edges have facings that then connect to the lining.  I added a bra-strap holder with a tube of bias.  I used snaps behind the decorative buttons both because I was nervous about making button holes and because it's easier to get off this way, what with the closure being in the back.  The lining is hemmed with the skirt, both bound with a bias strip.  Oh, and the earrings are from my recent trip to San Cristobal, Mexico. 
Thanks for reading! 

Monday, July 7, 2014


I made some short-shorts. These are the Rite of Spring Shorts from Papercut Patterns. I made them up as a wearable muslin in some gray cotton from my stash.  I just washed them, and they got even a bit shorter.  Darn it! 
There's the back.  The zipper rippled a bit after the fabric shrank in the wash.  It's still wearable -- if I have the courage to flaunt these shorts in public at all!  I'm very proud of inserting the invisible zipper successfully and using piping for the first time.  These were really an easy make.  There are only 4 pattern pieces, and the fit was pretty good out of the envelope.  I like the length in the back, which dips lower than the front of the legs.
 There's the front again.  I made my T-shirt, too.  It's become my favorite quick, little pattern.  It's just two pieces, front and back, from Marie of Denmark.  It's her free Kimono Tee, modified to be a bit slimmer and scooped in the back with the crossed-over detail.  I've made several of these.  It's such a great, fast basic!  It takes me about an hour total to make one.

Here, you can see the waist band of my shorts.  Flashing!  They sit well above my belly button.
 Here's the full back view.  Lucky readers!
 And here's a good pic of that flattering curved seam with the piping.  Piping!  I did it!  It's easy.
I swear these drag lines were no so bad before the shorts shrank in the wash!!  I'm going to add some flare to the front piece next time.  

Thanks for reading. :)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First (Day of School) Dress

 Hello!  I made it back to my blog.  And I made a dress.  What?  I sew?  I've been trying to learn to sew for a few years now.   I've been taking classes at NYFA for some time here and there.  This Monday I finally started going full time as a certificate candidate.  Back to school!

This isn't actually my first dress, but it's my first "real" dress - made of a woven, with shaping, and actually wearable. 
I have pockets.

And no back!
 I used my sloper and converted it to a princess seam bodice.  Then I converted the back to be open and to close with elastic as a slip-on.  Zippers still make me nervous. The wide, navy blue elastic exactly covers my bra strap.  The skirt is my sloper skirt in the front.  In the back I used my sloper skirt back placed 5" from the fold to accommodate my hips to get it on and off.  Then I let it gather over elastic encased in the waist band.

The fabric is a cotton I stashed abut a year ago from ebay, I think.  I still have over a yard of it left.  I lined it with a sheer brown fabric some one gave me for free. 

I like this design for a casual sun dress.  I'm going to make it again right away!  I'm going to shorten the bodice by 1" and try using wide elastic for the entire waist band. 
 Here I paired it with tan accessories.  The bag is Coach from years ago when I worked corporate office jobs.  The shoes are thrifted.

I'm a goofball.

 I also paired it with my Audrey in Unst cardigan, a pattern from Twist Collective that I knit a few years ago.  I should have taken some detail shots.  The fabric has pretty, stylized flowers on it with light blue, navy, and green.  The sweater picks up the green perfectly. 

Here are a few pictures of me dancing around the garden in my me-made outfit.  I'm so happy.  I've wanted for years to be able to make pretty dresses to match all the sweaters I knit up.  I'm finally starting to have the skills to make that happen.  Yeah!

 And here's one last shot to make you laugh. :)

Funny out-take.... my photographer shocked me by his posing suggestion.  My face!  hahahah!