Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Floral Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 1366

Simplicity 1366 by Cynthia Rowley

You've been seeing a lot of blue from me. I swear I have other colors in my summer stash, but I've just been reaching for the blue fabrics lately. And I enjoy playing with combinations of shades of blue in my outfits. There really is so much variety within a color range, monochrome definitely doesn't have to be monotone!
Anyway, in August I plan to begin sewing for fall and I'll be looking at a different palette. In the fall, I tend to reach for earth tones and jewel tones.

This one is made of a lovely printed Swiss dot cotton and the neckline is finished with jersey bias tape, turned under and topstitched. You can see the drape of the cotton is quite different than the rayon I used in the other top. The result is more structured but also more casual.

Simplicity 1366 by Cynthia Rowley

Back view.

Are kids in other parts of the world all making these colorful rubber band bracelets? It seems all the parents I know around here are wearing them because all the kids, boys and girls alike are making them.

We're taking off for New York tomorrow, to visit friends and family, and I need to pack! I wish you all a wonderful couple of weeks!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Simplicity 1366 by Cynthia Rowley, Paisley Top.

Simplicity 1366, Cynthia Rowley

Woven summer tops were really underrepresented in my closet and when I saw this pattern made up by Beth, I loved it so much, I knew I had to make my own.
I think this might be my perfect summer top pattern.  It is relaxed and uncomplicated yet more interesting and a bit dressier than a plain t-shirt. It also protects my upper chest and shoulders from the sun which is a major priority for me. I love it so much, I made 3 in a row! I'll try to get pictures of the other two before we go on vacation next week.

Simplicity 1366, Cynthia Rowley

This one is made of a very fine rayon. The neckband detail you see is actually the bias facing which was supposed to be turned under and topstitched. But after pressing it up, I really liked how it looked so I decided to keep it that way. I think this gives the blouse just the finishing touch it needed. I used jersey bias tape for this as I find it works well with fine fabrics and it turned out to be a very good choice because I love the look of knit neckbands on woven tops, as in this Suno look I pinned. And the fact that the color is slightly off makes it more interesting in my opinion.
The blouse is finished with french seams and very narrow hems.

Simplicity 1366, Cynthia Rowley

I made no alterations to the pattern and I must say, I really love the fit of the Cynthia Rowley patterns I've used so far! Of course dropped shoulder styles like this should not be very complicated to fit, but it's very rare for me not to have to make some sort of alteration to the upper bust/shoulder area.

Simplicity 1366, Cynthia Rowley

We took these pictures near the river where it can get pretty windy, and it was very difficult to get pictures where the blouse wasn't billowing like sails and my hair wasn't absolutely all over the place. I picked the pictures with the fewer fly-aways ;)

See more Summer tops here: Spotted Blouse and here: Scout Tee Family

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Burda Drawstring Travel Pants

Burda Drawstring Pants

I'm enjoying these simple summer projects. With school off, the kids need to be kept busy, and honestly, it's a little hard to concentrate ;) My younger one loves to sew, so I set her up with my old entry level sewing machine. She dug up her old favorite doll to make clothes for her. We also made this skirt together.

So, my pants... They are #128 from the May 2011 issue of Burdastyle. I made this pattern before in linen several years ago, and they are my favorite, most comfortable summer pants! I needed a second pair, and I made this one out of a cotton with a fine stripe. The only changes I made compared to my first pair were to replace the square shaped front pockets with classic slant pockets ( I like both : the original square pockets really are an interesting feature) and to use the welt pockets in the back, which I had skipped the first time around.

Here's a detail of the welts. I topstitched them all around for that casual look, with bar tacks on either side :

And the inside : I like my pocket bags to extend into the waistband so I drafted them differently than Burda's instructions.
I took these pictures after wearing them all day, hence the rumpled aspect. But after all, it's more realistic this way. These pants are destined to be rumpled :)

As far as fit is concerned, my main alterations were to shorten the front crotch and straighten the hip curve, both of which I consistently need to do with Burda patterns. I also made the leg a smidge slimmer.

These will be great for travel because they are relaxed and comfortable, the fabric is lightweight and sturdy, and dries really fast. I wore them yesterday to the beach and got them wet but they dried in about half an hour. Who needs synthetics?
And to close, a picture of blooming artichokes. Aren't they beautiful?

Artichokes. Jardin Public, Bordeaux
See another summery pair of pants here: Comfy Linen Pants

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Raspberry Baby Dress

Burda Baby Dress

This is a gift for a tiny relative in Canada. Since her older brother is dressed rather conservatively, I went with a classic style and details, but couldn't resist this bright raspberry cotton! I love the color and the fabric is wonderfully soft to the touch, especially after pre-washing.

The pattern is #145 from the July 2012 issue of Burdastyle. The skirt combines pleats and gathers, just like my Moneta dress :)
I skipped the sleeves because I wasn't sure they would be comfortable.
I cut a 68, which is supposed to be a size 6 months, but it seems big to me. I have no baby around to verify the size, so we'll see how that works out.

The tone-on-tone embroidery detail was done by machine with a wing-tipped needle, which punches tiny holes as it sews. This was my first time using it and it's a bit scary, because you couldn't take those holes out if it didn't work out! I like the result though.
I lined the bodice in the same fabric, so all seam allowances are enclosed. This should be more comfortable for the baby. To do this, I simply traced the bodice without the facing and cut 2 identical pieces, so it's lined to the edge.

I sewed the bodice using a variety of techniques from Connie Long's "Easy Guide to Sewing Blouses" I used the chapters on sewing a lined vest and sewing a collar stand (I treated the bodice as the collar stand, or to be more specific, I attached the bodice to the skirt the same way she attaches a collar stand to the body of a shirt). I know I've mentioned this book many times before, but I find it indispensable! Thanks to these techniques, I was able to sew it all without any hand stitching. The only things that are sewn by hand in this dress are the buttons and snaps. Not that I dislike hand stitching necessarily, but I always prefer to go with the most hassle free option.

I turned under the front facing in the skirt portion and stitched it down. Burda has you leave it open. Why? I could imagine tiny kicking feet getting caught in the folds, poor thing! I think Burda pattern makers have to churn out so many styles every month, they aren't always able to think through the practical aspects. It's something I've noticed before with Burda magazine patterns...

The Back:

I sometimes sew things for my daughters too, but they're bigger.
                See here: Plaid Birthday shirt
                and here: Scout Tee Family

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dark Waters Dress

I really love this fabric. It's a soft and drapey rayon challis, doesn't wrinkle too much, and the color is such an intense cobalt blue! The print sort of imitates tie dye, but it looks a lot like ripply water to me. Not shallow water, but dark and mysterious, which is even better.

I wanted a very simple, floaty dress and used pattern 122 from the July 2011 issue of Burdastyle.

I skipped the waistline casing so I can wear it unbelted if I choose. It feels weightless in the heat.

Dark Waters in the trees

A very simple project, packable and easy going, but it can go out to dinner. Just the kind of clothes I want to sew right now. With the mercury rising, I don't want to get involved in complicated projects.

The neckline is finished with purchased synthetic bias tape and a pretty little button. I also used the bias tape for the button loop and as piping for the shoulder detail. I took this detail shot after wearing it all day.

Here's another shot of it unbelted. It's so comfortable this way :)


If you like interesting prints, check out my Water Lilies Skirt
And here's another blue Summer dress: 70s Maxi dress

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Moneta with Pleats & Gathers

With so many cute Colette Monetas all over the web, I kept going back and forth on whether to try it. I reasoned that gathers all around my waist are not a good look for me. Then I read comments saying that the skirt is shaped and the gathers are very soft and flattering, so finally decided to give it a go. Well, I tried the gathers, and as expected, they made me look stumpy. I considered replacing them entirely with pleats similar to the ones in the Michelle skirt, but finally decided that I simply needed to break them up at center front. They look fine in the back.

So, I undid the middle portion and put in two pleats. This creates two soft vertical lines in the front which I find lengthening and flattering.

I used a cotton double knit in a mango color which is quite substantial, but also very easy to work with. I'm not even certain this dress is finished! I lengthened the skirt portion so I could hem it at whatever length seemed best once the dress was done, but for now the edge is raw. I kind of like it like that. I think I'll wear it this way for a while and then decide if I want to hem it.

As you can see, Bordeaux is a biking city :)

I finished the neckline with binding, which seemed neater than just turning it under, and the sleeves were hemmed on the coverstich with a single chainstitch.

Here, with the wind blowing, you can really see those pleats. They are stitched down about 8 cm, which helps keep the front flat.
The Moneta has notches around the waist line so you can easily match up the skirt and bodice. I measured the distance from center front to notch on both the front bodice and front skirt. The excess in the skirt became a pleat.

I also made a few adjustments to the front bodice. I muslined the bodice only, and found there was lots of excess fabric pooling in the upper chest area. To remedy this, I scooped out the front armcye. I also shortened the armscye taking several centimeters off the sides, tapering to nothing at the waistline (I also straightened the sides. The Moneta's front bodice has rounded side seams, which might be a good idea for larger busts, but with my B cup, it just caused ripples at the sides). I also reduced the width of the sleeves which were very big on me in the size S.

Feels like Summer now. I'll be sewing easy packable pieces for a while. What are you sewing for Summer?

More Summer dresses: Silk Tunic DressSimple T shirt Dress

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Water Lilies Skirt

This is the Burdastyle Michelle skirt I made last week and posted to the Me Made May flickr group on the last day.
MMMay'14 day31

Do any of you remember the days when Nora Abousteit and Benedikta Von Karaisl started up Burdastyle.com and offered a new free pattern every week, independently from the magazine? We, thousands of sewing enthusiasts, waited impatiently for Monday to come, so we could discover the new free pattern! I made my first Michelle back then (see it in my last post) and it is still my go-to Summer skirt. It feels airy in the heat because it has no waistband, is just full enough to be comfortable and is made out of a light cotton. I intended for my new one to be just as summery... However, I found this very interesting 100% polyester fabric at the market and it wanted to be a Michelle. Who am I to argue with fabric?

It has a loose weave, sort of like a tweed.

The print is reminiscent of Monet's water lilies. Let me just say, I personally dislike it when fashion copies Fine Art. I think it's kind of gimmicky. Yes, even when Yves Saint Laurent did it. To me, a "Mondrian dress" is a caricature of Mondrian's paintings... So, this skirt is not my Monet skirt or anything. It's just a skirt made with interesting fabric that happens to reference Monet's most famous paintings.

I find this fabric oddly beautiful, even though it has all the ingredients to be tacky: polyester, faux impressionism, shiny bits... It is often a fine line between tasteful and kitsch.
This close up shows its real colors much better than the photos of me wearing it. This fabric has a sheen that makes it very difficult to photograph.
It's easier to see the weave on the wrong side. There are blue metallic threads in there and they show through on the printed side as well.

I have no idea what type of fabric this is. If one of you does, please chime in! I'd love to know as I bought more in a different print. Maybe home dec?
So, my new skirt isn't exactly summery in this fabric, but it's perfectly fine for Spring in Bordeaux! I've worn it a couple of times already. I like that it's working out quite well as an everyday skirt worn with a sweater or tee.
I have enough left of this fabric in this particular print to make something else. Maybe a cropped jacket (though I would never wear the two together), what do you think?

One interesting fact about the Michelle pattern is that the front and back are exactly the same, so don't worry if you get them mixed up, it will make no difference whatsoever :)

See another of my favorite skirt styles here : Nettie Bodysuit + 90s Sarong Skirt