Vogue 9313: Ruffled wrap dress

IMG_4968We’re experiencing a heat wave in Oregon, and the humidity is so high, my hair flips and frizzes, no matter what I do :). When it’s this hot, only a cotton dress will do, and this wrap dress is perfect for these sweaty days.  I became a fan of wrap dresses when I made this one last year. It was so cool in high summer.

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My pattern is Vogue 9313, a wrap dress with lots of “easy” options.  It has custom fit options with A-D cup sizes so it’s pretty easy to get the fit right. I modified the pattern a bit after trying on this dress at Anthropologie.

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  1. I re-drafted the shape of the full skirt to make it take out a bit of the fullness. (Too much fabric makes me hot in the summer). Also, I modified the two front skirts by rounding them into a tulip skirt shape so that it would work better with a ruffle.

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2. Instead of finishing the skirt fronts with bands as the pattern suggests, I added a 3 inch ruffle to each skirt front where the band would be and extended the ruffle into the hemlines as well. The ruffles are folded strips of fabric that are 1 and 1/2 times the length of the skirt fronts and hems. I gathered each ruffle with a long stitch then sewed them to the skirt fronts with a 5/8 inch seam.

4. I eliminated the front and back waist bands and lengthened the front and back bodices by two inches to make up for it.

5. The sleeves were too wide for me, so I added a tie instead of a hem. I cut a 4″ opening in each sleeve to accomodate the tie, then finished the openings with narrow hems. For the tie,  I cut a narrow strip (5″) of fabric that was two times the circumference of the sleeve. I attached it to the sleeve hem as though it was a sleeve band or cuff.

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I came pretty close to my goal with this make. It’s casual and comfortable but can be dressed up with a few good accessories. This cotton fabric from Fabric Depot is perfection. It has a bit of texture, but isn’t too heavy so it drapes really well and doesn’t seem to wrinkle much. Another travel dress?? Hmmm – – time will tell. I’ll know after I wear it a bit more.

Cotton and linen are my go to fabrics in the heat – and I wear dresses all the time. My Kalle shirt dress is in heavy rotation right now. What do you prefer to wear in the heat?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

 

A Travel Dress for France

IMG_4487Did I tell you all that I’m headed to France in September? I’m beyond excited. We’re headed to the Dordogne region followed by a visit to Paris which will definitely include some fabric shopping. I’ve started a packing list and this dress is versatile enough to earn a place in my suitcase.

There’s something about dressing in a bright colors that makes things feel…fun! Not sure if there’s a scientific reason for that, but this dress will be a favorite just because the fabric makes me feel light and happy! This knit from Art Gallery is 95% cotton, 5% spandex. I love the name of the print… Frutteria Bleu. I found it in a shop in Alexandria Virginia that I found on a recent trip to DC.. the Stitch Sew Shop. Their natural fabric collection is nicely curated. I wish I’d had room in my suitcase for more.

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This was an easy dress to make. I used the same method I used for my Day/Night Challenge cocktail dress (here). I took a favorite knit dress pattern, shortened it a bit, then added a skirt.

 

For the bodice, I used McCalls 6886, a TNT pattern that everyone loves because it never fails…it’s an easy sew, the fit is great and it’s always a dress you want to wear!! Since this fabric is so special I could not risk a failure.

This pattern is perfect to embellish, modify, lengthen, shorten…whatever. It’s one of those patterns that really transforms with your fabric choice.

I modified by adding a skirt. To do this, I cut version A of the dress, but shortened it by 8″. That still left the dress bodice quite long, a choice I made so that the skirt would feel more like a ruffle…less like a traditional drop waist dress. To make the skirt/ruffle, I cut a wide (20″) swath of fabric whose width was 1.5 times the circumference of the hem of the shortened dress. I simply gathered that long piece of fabric with a long stitch, then sewed it to the bodice of the dress.

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Because of the long bodice and deep ruffle, I wanted this dress to be long…midi length. In the summer,  I love how a long dress moves in the breeze. It makes me feel…light!

 

 

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

The Mystery Blogger Award

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I’m honored to have been nominated for this award by two bloggers who I admire and follow; the always colorful, Hila at Saturday Night Stitch and by the always creative, Linda at Nice Dress, Thanks I made it. I enjoyed reading their posts and checking out the blogs they nominated so I coudn’t wait to write my own post.

“Mystery Blogger Award is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging, and they do it with so much love and passion.” Created by: Okoto Enigma

Here are “The Rules” to the “Mystery Blogger Award”:

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself
  • Answer the questions from the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers you feel deserve the award
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice, with one weird or funny one

Since I was nominated by two talented bloggers, I have the honor of answering two sets of questions.

But first, I will tell you three things you many not know about me…

  1. I grew up in Lakewood Washington on the beautiful Puget Sound, with a great view of Mt. Rainier. I get nostalgic when I smell the salty, clammy water there.
  2.  One summer, I was in four (4) weddings within a week of each other, and every one of them required a handmade dress. That’s when I learned speed sewing!
  3. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember by myself or in groups, even in a rock band at one point. I currently sing with Oregon Repertory Singers here in Portland.

Now I’ll answer Hila’s five questions:

  • What song will ALWAYS get you on the dance floor? This one is easy…Your Kiss is On My List by Hall and Oates!
  • What’s your signature dish? Chicken Marbella. I absolutely love the mix of capers, prunes, bay leaves and oregano.
  • You proudest moment was…when I gave birth to my son, as I’d always wanted it but had my doubts it would happen.
  • Favourite colour? No one will be surprised to hear that it’s BLUE!
  • Your best dance move is…? Well, my favorite is the Macrena, although no one else seems to love it anymore (sigh). Let’s recommit, people!!!

Now Linda’s questions….

  • If you won a lottery what would you buy first? OH, that’s a no brainer. I’d  buy a second home either on the Columbia Gorge or on the Metolius River in Central Oregon.
  • Do you like turnips?  I love turnips. In fact I’m a big fan of root vegetables. Perhaps I was a pig in a former life.
  • Who started you with sewing? My mother, who used to sew Mother-daughter matching outfits for us.
  • How many sewing/serger/coverstitch machines do you have, what kind are they and what are their names (if they have names)? Oh, I’m pretty lucky here. I have a Bernina 450, a Bernina 560 and a Babylock Imagine Serger. I love having two machines because I can put contrasting thread in one for topstitching so I don’t have to re thread my machine constantly.
  • What was the worst sewing project you ever worked on and why? I’ll never forget the torture session that was Vogue 1387, a tunic designed by Rebecca Taylor. 1387I thought I would lose my mind as the button plackets are really narrow, the pleats at the yoke are tiny and the fabric I chose was silk chiffon, such a horrid combination!

My nominations for Mystery blogger in no particular order:

Coco’s Loft

Brittany Jones

Applebymakes

Sew Red-Y

Elizabeth Made This

Tanit-Isis Sews

My Love Affair with Sewing

Self Assembly Required

Life in a Mads House

Spare Room Style

Sew Exhausted

Here are my five questions for you all, should you want to join in the fun….

  1. If you could eat anything without worrying if it was healthy or fattening, what would it be?
  2. Where would you like to go if you could go any where?
  3. Which is bigger; your fabric stash or pattern stash?
  4. What makes you laugh like a lunatic?
  5. What do you love about where you live?

Thanks again to Hila and Linda for nominating me!!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

….

Arenite pants…An Anthro knock-off?

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In RTW lingo, these pants are called joggers.  This is a fact I gleaned from a knowledgeable and very trend conscious sales person at Anthropologie. Yes, I tried on several pairs of the lovely pants below. Yes, I did love them.

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But No, I didn’t buy them because, hey, I’m on a RTW fast.

I would not say this style is a look that I’m drawn to. As a rule, I’m not attracted to loose-fitting pants with big pockets. But honestly….the Anthro joggers won me over. The slouchy look, the stretchy waist band, the color, and the fit….Needless to say, if I wasn’t on a RTW fast, they would be hanging in my closet right now. Instead, I left the store with a firm committment to give a knock-off a try.

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The closest pattern I could find was Sew Liberated’s Arenite pants. It’s a favorite pattern of many in our sewing community and I did check it out when it was first released.  I found it…interesting, but just couldn’t see myself in that style so I took a pass.

 

But never say never, eh? The pattern design is just like the Anthro joggers!

Pattern review: I cut my version from linen, my favorite warm weather fabric. I modified the pattern slightly. Before cutting, I removed some of the fullness from the pocket so that it would hang closer to my leg. I’m not going to lie…as designed there’s just too much going on there for me. I had to lengthen the pants a bit (1 inch), a surprise since I’m only 5’4″ but as drafted, they’re a bit too short for the slouchy look I wanted.

There’s so much to like about this pattern. It’s carefully drafted with yummy details like a front top-stitched seam, optional cuffs and in-seam pockets. Another plus…the fit is very forgiving, so if you’re new to the world of sewing, these pants are a good place to start. There are french seams throughout and the instructions are quite detailed and easy to follow. This is only my second Sew Liberated pattern, and I was truly impressed! IMG_3902

Look Analysis. Well, this Anthro knockoff is close….but not perfect. The fit of the Arenites (on me) is looser than the Anthro joggers. Yes, the Arenites are comfortable, but the look isn’t quite as trendy as the Anthro joggers.  The color of my linen isn’t quite as vibrant as the RTW fabric, but that’s not a deal breaker. I am pleased that the Arenites do have the ‘jogger’ look and style I was going for. So, a cautious ‘thumbs up’ from me. I might give this pattern another try at some point… cut it a bit smaller through the hips, maybe use a drapey fabric like rayon for a totally different look. Hmmmm…..

The top I’m wearing is another version of one of my favorite Big 4 patterns this year, Simplicity 8601 (previously made and blogged here.) This version is white and gray linen (Fabric Depot); white linen on the front bodice and sleeves; gray linen on the sleeve ruffle and bodice back. The light gray really makes the ruffle ‘pop’ but I’m not sure that shows in the photos. I do love the waist tie look and am really loving this pattern! It seems to work no matter what fabric I throw at it!

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Although my  Arenites do not fit my figure as well as the Anthro joggers, I will enjoy them. Clearly, they fall into the my favorite clothing category – – secret pajamas! Perhaps, there’s a pattern available that would have worked better for my ‘knock-off’? Suggestions welcome!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!