Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Look 6314 from Scraps

New Look 6314 Colorblock sweater

I wanted to make this last winter but never got around to it. I had these beautiful wool knit scraps leftover from making a cardigan for my husband and a dress for myself. Neither was enough for anything, but combined, they could be a sweater. I had forgotten about this project but when I saw some of the amazing pieced creations from Scraptember, like Katie'sMorgan's and Debbie's beautiful makes, I felt inspired to dig up those old scraps and finally sew them up.

Please ignore the wrinkles on the sleeves. I should have ironed them out, but I hadn't noticed! Please ignore the cat hairs too while you're at it. Oh, my!

I used New Look 6314 which is a new pattern for fall. It's a nice slouchy style and I made no alterations for fit. I was going for a pretty simple color blocked effect: black sleeves / marled blue body, but there wasn't enough of the blue, so I added a strip of black at the top of the back. I also had to add a center back seam because of the shape of my scraps (I topstitched those seams on the coverstitch so they lay flat). I think those modifications add interest to the garment, which goes to show, restriction can be a good thing!

The neckband is made from the reverse side of the marled blue which is a gorgeous silver and I'm so happy to show it off because it was completely hidden in the dress I made last year from the same fabric. I love that dress too and I'll try to get some pictures when I unpack it for winter, since it was never blogged.

New Look 6341 Colorblock Sweater

This was a really quick and easy project. Knit garments can be so fast to put together on the serger and so stress free. I just love making them!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

McCall 6600 Shirtdress in Radiant Orchid

Mccall 6600

I think shirtdresses are the perfect seasonal transition piece. They can be buttoned up more or less, sleeves rolled up or down to adjust for warmth or sun protection and they layer well.

McCall 6600

I used McCall's 6600, which is a tent shaped dress, and ended up giving it a slight bit of shaping at the sides so I could wear it unbelted. I did make the matching sash, but it gives the dress a very different, more formal vibe in this particular fabric. I tried it with a variety of belts, but I really like it loose. It's so comfortable this way, and I think it has attitude! Also, a belt would disrupt the drape from the back pleat which is one of my favorite features in this dress.

Mccall 6600

I was surprised when I realized I had sewn something in the Pantone color of the year. At least I think this is pretty close to Radiant Orchid (the color of this fabric varies depending how the light hits it). I do check out the Pantone color forecast every season, but it never really speaks to me. The fabric shops around here don't seem to care about what Pantone says either. As sewists, are you influenced by it? Do you find that those seasonal palettes are well represented in the fabric shops you go to?

This fabric has metallic threads in the warp. I'm not sure of its contents but the burn test seems to indicate it's cotton. The guy at the market said it has some silk in it. I don't know... maybe. In any case, I really like it. It's pretty lofty and has this crinkled texture and subtle sheen that make it unique.

I love the look of the slim cuffs, and check out the pretty vintage button!

I'm really pleased with the fit of the shoulders (the only part of this dress where fit matters, really!) They allow for forward shoulders, and contour mine well without any alterations. Shoulders are the area that I usually need to fuss around with the most, so this was a nice surprise. I think that with such a loose style it's very important that the shoulders sit well. Oh, I did size down though. When they say it is "very loose fitting", they mean it!

One unusual thing about this pattern is that the front placket facing is not turned under, so its edges show when it is unbuttoned. McCall's tells you simply to "finish the long edge of the facing", well, they really should tell you that it will be visible from the outside. I chose to cut the facings along the selvage, so they're self-finished and bulk free, and I like the look of that sliver of darker magenta at the edges. If I make this dress again though, I will probably adapt the facing so it is turned under.

I also used the selvage as a stabilizer in the shoulder seams, as you can see in this inside shot:

Another inside shot: the yoke facing.

I would like to sew a more wintery version, like in a cozy flannel. But I think I can wear this one at least through fall and most of winter, and then again in the spring.

McCall 6600

If you liked this dress, you might also want to check out the shirtdress I made last spring: Classic Shirtdress

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Big Green Coat.

Burda 08/2010-102

It's so hot out right now, it seems crazy to sew a coat, but I know I'll be reaching for it soon enough.

Burda 08/2010-102

It's a lot easier for me to envision my fall wardrobe now that my coat is sewn. For me, outerwear is key. Once you have your coat or jacket, everything else falls into place. Now I have tons of ideas for things I want to sew!

I wanted my coat to be in a color (be it a dark one), because it doesn't feel as safe as a neutral and I wish to explore a more complex palette. Dark green will work with all the colors I love for fall : jewel tones, earth tones, peach, blue, grey, black... but I think the combination of any of these colors with the green will always be more interesting than with a neutral.

This isn't the fabric I had originally planned to use.  This one is a herringbone wool in a slightly different shade of green, yellower in hue. I know the Mood bouclé will find its purpose eventually, but it wasn't wide enough for this project. Since the sleeves are cut on the cross grain and I wanted long sleeves, I needed wide fabric. The original design has 3/4 to 7/8 sleeves, which is lovely but not practical for me. I like my arms to be warm too!

Even though I did make a muslin, lengthening the sleeves is the only change I made to the pattern. It's a very loose style and no fitting alterations were necessary.
I had planned to use fabric covered snaps, but decided against them eventually. This way I can adjust the front wrap overlap to make it snugger if I need more warmth.
Sewing a coat is always time consuming, but this one wasn't particularly difficult. No set in sleeves, no buttonholes... The pockets are in-seam.
The only slightly challenging detail is the angled shoulder seam which must be interfaced and sewn with precision.

Burda 08/2010-102 Angled Shoulder Seam

 Of course the collar should be shaped so it rolls nicely, for which I use the technique in my Burda book, "La Couture Pratique". The English version, which is called "Burda: a Practical Sewing Guide" seems to be out of print, however In the Mood for Couture has all the steps :)

 Some people like to cut their undercollar on the bias, but I don't, because then it won't pop!

Hand worked belt loop:

I used a flannel backed lining so it will be nice and warm. (I run cold, though I must admit winters aren't terribly rough here in Bordeaux).

This coat is exactly what I had envisioned and I can't wait for the temperature to drop so I can cuddle up in it!

If you like coats, check out the peacoat I made last fall and which I look forward to pulling out again this year!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Green Twist Dress

McCall 5484

This is McCall's 5484, an out of print pattern that I have sewn before, maybe 5 years ago, and that old dress is still one of my favorites. It always comes with me when traveling because it's versatile, unfussy and flattering, I think. I was actually wearing the old dress when I went to Mood on our trip to NY and one of the things I was looking for was fabric to make another one of these. So I picked up this rayon matte jersey which is beautiful, has a lovely drape, but it turns out is a bit too heavy for this style. In spite of my swayback adjustment that I had already worked out for my first dress, the fabric fell plumb straight away from my back because of its weight. I should have taken before and after pictures, but see this side view?

Imagine the fabric falling straight down from my shoulders to my butt instead of following the contours of my body. Not flattering, and not comfortable because of how it pulled down to the hem. The front is fine thanks to the under bust twist seam, and because I stabilized the neckline, but I had to come up with a creative solution for the back, so I added an elastic casing.

What do you think? I'm calling it a design element. The original design of the back is really quite boring without it anyway, and it does its job of keeping the dress snug against my back and taking some of the weight off the hem.

If you like green dresses, here's another one I sewed last spring: Classic Shirtdress

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Big Coat Inspiration

Big Coat -- Mixed Emotions blog

I like to start with a coat, because to me, a coat or jacket is the element that really pulls a wardrobe together. I want my coat not only to make a statement, but I want it to work with all the silhouettes I am likely to wear in the coming season. Last winter, I realized that the coats in my closet didn't really work with my slouchy pants. If you wear a short coat with wider pants, it will cut across your thighs, and chances are it will make you look stumpy. I looked at a lot of runway photos and I find that knee length or longer is a much more flattering  length. Check out my Big Coat  Pinterest board for some of my faves.
I plan to use this Burdastyle pattern:

Burda 08/2010-102

I love the shoulder detail (no set in sleeves!), wide lapels and overall roominess. I've already started on a muslin and I think it will work just as well with or without the tie belt. Of course, I really want to use my green wool from Mood, but it isn't very wide, so I'll have to come up with a creative way of laying out the fabric for the sleeves to be long enough. I hope it works, because even though it's still summer, I can't wait to wrap myself in its cozy goodness. Do you get as excited about sewing coats as I do? Marilla plans to make 2 this winter. How inspiring!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

One Last Summer Dress

Burda Dress 128-06/ 2013

Just before we left for the States, I decided my travel wardrobe wouldn't be complete without a lightweight jersey dress. So I started making this one, but ran out of time and finally finished it when we got back home, after the jet lag wore off. Of course, I didn't really need this dress on our trip. In fact, it never got terribly hot, so I wore mostly skirts or loose pants with long sleeved shirts.

The pattern is #128 from the June 2013 issue of Burdastyle, and I used a rayon jersey. I generally find rayon jerseys too unstructured for dresses, but they can work well in loose styles such as this. It was a very easy make. My modifications were to raise the elastic waist casing because I don't like too much poofiness in that area and I had to take in the bodice at the sides quite a bit.

So, I'm done with summer sewing till next year. Looking back, I think my makes this season have been quite consistent, even though I never set out with a formal plan. If you know yourself well enough, there is no need for worksheets and mathematical formulas. I find it much more satisfying to follow my intuition and sew what I need as I go along. This past season, I let myself indulge in this blue and grey phase I was in, and the result was a very versatile wardrobe that was perfect for travel.

See some of my favorite summer blues here: Nettie Bodysuit + 90s Sarong, here: Comfy Linen Pants, and here: Floral Cynthia Rowley Top.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back From New York 2

My NY fabric purchases

I told you I didn't get much!
My stash is overflowing, so I concentrated on what I really needed.
I went to Mood looking for coat fabric. I had my mind set on Forest green and they had several choices. This 100% wool won me over. It is just the right shade of green, is really lush and has a wonderful drape. It was in the bouclé section and has a nubby texture, but it's tightly woven, unlike most bouclés. This picture is closer to the actual color:

Wool coating from Mood.

I also really wanted an emerald green matte jersey for a dress and I found it too. You can see it in the first picture on top of the wool. It is a really nice and substantial rayon matte jersey. I don't know how the color shows on your monitor, but it's really more emerald than kelly green.
I must say it was a very pleasant experience to walk into a fabric store and leave with exactly what I had come for! Most of my fabric purchases are from the market in Bordeaux, and you never know what will turn up. I've found some really nice stuff there, but rarely what I was actually looking for.

Belraf Fabrics, NY

The other two fabrics are from Belraf in the Lower East Side. There used to be quite a few fabric stores downtown, but most of them have closed down. This one is worth the trip though. It's stocked from floor to ceiling with all kinds of apparel fabrics, including some gorgeous designer silks (which I ignored) and prices are really good. I was looking for deep blue pants fabric with maybe a little bit of stretch. I couldn't find anything because this store is really disorganized, so I asked the owner. He looked first in one area and found nothing. Then he went to the opposite wall and pulled three dark blue cottons. The one I picked has this neat texture which I think will be more interesting than a plain chino type fabric. I also asked him about matte jerseys and he pointed to a few different areas in the store. I finally found this magenta matte jersey (not pink! I just couldn't get the color to show up correctly for some reason) which is a polyester and not quite as substantial as the mood one but still nice. In this picture you can get a good idea of the texture of the pants fabric.

I have a color palette in mind for my fall sewing. You might remember my Water Lilies skirt. Well, that fabric has all the colors I want to wear this fall, so I'll be using it as my reference. There are beautiful shades of green and blue, a caramel brown and shots of magenta in there. The fabric was a chance find at the Bordeaux fabric market and here is a picture of it for memory.

Other sewing related purchases were these fabric covered snaps from Pacific trimmings. I can't find them here and I think they look neater than the self made version. I plan to use a few of them on my forest green coat.

Fabric Covered Snaps

I also got a couple Vogue patterns at this really cool shop in Woodstock called Sew Woodstock.

Sew Woodstock

It's a really nice space where they have sewing classes, sell organic and repurposed fabrics, notions (including Merchant and Mills), and a selection of patterns. I got these for 5$ each which is much cheaper that what they cost in France.

That's it. I'm definitely gearing up to start sewing for fall. How about you?