Two Cozy Knit Dresses for January

This Butterick pattern has shown up on alot of blogs since it was introduced in 2016 and I can see why. It’s fun to sew and to play around with! Since committing to the 2018 Ready-To-Wear Fast, I’ve also been committed to filling some significant holes in my wardrobe. Casual dresses to wear when it’s chilly and damp have topped the list.

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This sweater knit (fabricdepot.com) is perfect for this dress because it’s fairly dense and textured with a moderate crosswise stretch.

In contrast, this stretch terry is also cozy, but it behaves differently since it has less body and no texture, and a bit more stretch.IMG_7218

It’s always interesting to see how different knits can change the look and feel of a pattern! The side seams are an interesting detail of this design and I like how they show up with the contrasting fabric.

I was attracted to Butterick 6388 because of the cozy collar, the side seam detail and the in seam pockets.

 

It also has a shaped collar that overlaps and a back yoke. To give my striped version a bit of an athletic look, I added a contrasting sleeve band at the dropped shoulder seam before attaching the lower sleeve.

 

As far as sewing challenges, there were very few with this pattern. After comparing my measurements to the pattern, I concluded I needed a size small and the fit was pretty spot on. I did my usual narrow shoulder adjustment. The in seam pockets were easy to insert and I love how they’re given some definition with top stitching. There’s top stitching at the collar and back yoke too which makes the dress look polished. To insert the curvy back yoke, you do need to do a bit of stretching so making sure your fabric has some cross wise stretch. I also clipped the seams to make this easier. To make sure the collar isn’t floppy, a knit with some body and stability is important. This dress was really a fun, speedy make. I was able to cut and sew it in an afternoon, a plus if you ask me!

 

Both of these knits were so nice to work with! High quality knits are always worth the extra money in my opinion, because they’re easy to handle and wear.

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I’m not sure which version I like best, but when I wore the textured knit version out last weekend, my friends gave it a big  thumbs up. Which one is your favorite?

The athletic/leisure look is so popular right now, and this dress makes me feel like I’m following the trend, LOL! Obviously, I have a new favorite pattern here. Might have to make the shorter top version too. Do you have a favorite knit dress pattern? Please share!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

An easy DIY Date Night Top and a Challenge

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Next week I’m celebrating my wedding anniversary, and will be going out for a date with my husband. As usual, the January weather isn’t really great for wearing a dress (gray, dark and rainy, blah!), so I decided to sew a date night top from a springy floral to perk myself up!

For a special night out, I always want to wear something with a bit of drama, so it was the perfect excuse to sew another fun peplum top.

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You all know, I’m a big fan of peplums (sewn here, here and here). Every time I think I’m over them, I discover a new version to try. This top is Vogue 9084, a very easy pattern that has some really dramatic peplums, if you’re in the mood! I was attracted to the curved seam where the peplum meets the bodice – I just had to have it!

 

I love this fabric (fabricdepot.com). It’s embroidered rayon and it hangs like a dream.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric to do view C with the dramatic high low peplum. Not sure my husband would have loved that look anyway, since he wasn’t a fan of my coat with the interesting hem (here), LOL. Maybe next time. Although this pattern is marked ‘easy’ I did have a few challenges with fit. The neck doesn’t look big, but on me it was huge, even though I cut the smallest size and took a narrow back adjustment. I ended up taking a couple of short darts at the neckline in the back before finishing the neckline with seam binding. This did make it fit much better, but it was frustrating as I had already taken some ease out of the back with my narrow shoulder adjustment.

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Unfortunately, my print doesn’t really show the cool curved seam in the front, so next time, I’ll likely make it in a solid fabric. For fun, I modified the sleeves a bit and added a 6 inch wide bell cuff so that it would look more dressy for ‘date-night’. To do this, I cut off 6 inches of the sleeve length. Then, for the bell cuff, I cut a 8 inch wide piece of fabric. The length was 1 and a half times the circumference of the sleeve opening. Once the cuff was gathered, I just inserted it into the sleeve bottom.

At this time of year, going out in the evening means wearing a heavy coat and pants so I’m glad I’ll have this fun top to make me feel dressed up when I reach my destination.

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In other news, Elizabeth at Elizabeth Made This is hosting the Day/Night dress Challenge again this year. Last year, I loved participating in the challenge because it inspired me to make two dresses that I wear all the time and I met some really fun bloggers. So I was so pleased when she asked me to participate again this year. daynightchallenge18logohashtag

The theme is coffee and cocktails, a brillant way to capture the essence of the challenge, which is to sew a dress you’d wear if you were meeting a friend for coffee, and another to wear for cocktails! Any one can participate. The details are on Elizabeth’s blog, but it’s really simple. You can tag your entries on Instagram with #dayandnightdresshchallenge and tag Elizabeth at Elizabethmadethis too. There are prizes, heh, heh and great sponsers. I’ve started planning my dresses and can’t wait to see yours!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

A Sweater Knit Dress you can sew in a afternoon

IMG_6854At this time of year, I find it so easy to dress in cozy knit tops and dresses. So, I find myself reaching for sweater knits rather than wovens for my sewing projects.

Sweater knits used to be so hard to find! I’d spend hours in the fabric stores and shopping online looking for the perfect textures and colors. I’m pleased to say that isn’t the case anymore. I find great sweater knits at my local stores as well at Joann’s. In fact, it’s hard to resist the many options that are available when you’re sweater knit fanatic like me!

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This sweater knit was such a find at Joann’s. It’s stretchy with a fun texture that makes it look almost as interesting as a hand-knit piece. Sweater knits can have a tendency to unravel, but if you finish your seams with a serger or knit stitch on your machine, it’s usually pretty manageable. I also love Dritz Fray Check as another option for double insurance when the going gets tough.

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This pattern is an old favorite (made here), McCalls 7243 that has a dramatic collar that makes it a cut above the usual knit dress pattern.

2017 was the year of the sleeve for me. 2018 might turn out to be the year of the collar as I’m so crazy about patterns with dramatic collars and necklines right now. Before cutting my fabric, I was careful to check the stretch of the fabric against the stretch gauge on the pattern envelop. This knit fabric had a very forgiving crosswise stretch so I was careful to lay out my pattern to take advantage of that in the bodice and sleeves. It’s a snug fitting pattern and if you choose a stable knit, it might be a tight fit.

This pattern is pretty easy going, in spite of the unusual collar. The collar is large though, so even the short tunic top version takes 1 and 5/8 yards of fabric! That being said, I think the look it gives is worth it.  I was able to make this in only a couple of hours, using a combination of my regular sewing machine and my serger. It’s so comfortable to wear, and I’m inspired now to make the sleeveless version for spring!

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Here, I’m wearing it with leggings because it’s pretty yucky outside. But I’ll switch to tights as the weather warms.

I’m off to do some fabric shopping this week in San Francisco with a friend that’s as crazy about fabric as I am (trouble!!) and I’ll be posting my finds on Instagram :). I’m happy to say that it’s been months since I shopped so my stash rule (two pieces must be sewn from my stash for every one piece I buy) will be easy to honor as I’m way ahead at this point!!! Because of my RTW fast, other shopping will be limited to shoes, but that’s okay because I have a couple of new knit makes to help me resist. I think I’ll be able to resist even more if I sew a bit more with a plan, maybe even take on the wardrobe challenge/contest Pattern Review is sponsering this spring. Curious what challenges/contests you all are planning on this year?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

First Make of 2018, Goals and a Few Reflections

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It feels good to be back to blogging after the holidays! I love the parties and fun but I’m very ready to move on, to get back to the routine and back to the sewing room. So, I’m happy to welcome 2018 with a new make, a few goals and some reflections too.

I took a moment to look back on my 2017 makes (here’s my top five)  and was not surprised to discover I sewed more tops than anything else. That’s easy to predict since I spend a lot of time wearing pants and jeans, not because it’s my ‘look’, but because I live in a damp, chilly climate that makes pants a necessity. A fun, new top is an easy way to change-up my wardrobe without much fuss. That being said, the large number of tops in my closet played a big part in my goals for 2018;

  • Sew more pants! Last year, I made only two pair plus a pair of Jalie stretch jeans (!!). In 2018, I’d like to find a couple of other patterns to call tried and true. This will be important if I’m going to be successful with goal number two which is….(drum roll)…
  • To participate in the 2018 RTW fast (Thanks, Goodbye Valentino for inspiring me!). Basically, I will not being buying any clothes this year, so I’ll need to stitch up a couple of pairs of pants if I’m going to survive a year without Anthropologie (can it be done? We’ll see….).
  • Challenge myself with at least two sewing contests, four if I can manage it.
    • In 2017, I participated in the Pattern Review Wardrobe Sudoku and the plaid contest. Both competitions were really fun and they  pushed me out of my comfort zone a little too. I had to stretch my sewing skills a bit to keep up, so I’d like to do more next year.
  • Stash Bust: Sure, I could try to give up fabric purchases for awhile, but a year without that pleasure would be a truly horrifying thing for me! So, I will compromise with this rule. I will sew two items from stashed fabric for every one fabric purchase.
  • Sew a trench coat. I’ve always wanted to make one, a Burberry knock off would be great! See how inspiring they are?
  • Sew a couple of cool bags with lots of details. Ideas of patterns to try anyone?
  • Sew with a plan 50% of the time: Last year I sewed with a plan for a trip to Spain and Portugal, which really paid off. I had a great travel wardrobe that was comfortable and made me feel put together, even when I wasn’t, LOL. I will do the same with a couple of trips this year. However, sewing with a plan all the time cannot be a goal for me. Too much planning can destroy my sew-jo. I kid you not. When I think about what I’m going to sew too much, every decision overwhelms me and I end up doing, well…. nothing!  So, I will allow myself time to sew ‘whatever suits my fancy’ too, because spontaneity and sewing in the moment is the fun of it for me.

In summary; I was pretty productive in 2017, and hope to do the same in 2018, balancing hard projects like coats with ‘easy sews’ like tops and skirts. My blogging goals are to improve my photos and my regularity, although I didn’t do too bad last year.

Now about this top….

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I found this sweater knit at Fabric Depot this fall. Immediately, I could see it as another version of McCalls 7501, a knit dress/top pattern that I made before and wore constantly because it’s cozy and comfortable, especially with a tee under it. This fabric caught my eye because it reminded me of sweater I saw at Anthropologie. McCalls 7501 is a favorite pattern now because I love view B, the wide collar option. The collar becomes such a cozy detail when sewn from a textured sweater knit.

This pattern is a fun, quick sew. It even has Raglan sleeves! Trust me, you can make this in an afternoon!

I hope your new year is off to a great start! I’d love to know what you think of my goals – – especially my RTW fast! Am I …..crazy? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.