The Reveal: Day and Night Dress Challenge

img_1040-2

img_1209Hi all – – I’m pleased to be showing you my dresses as part of the Day and Night Dress Challenge Blog tour. Thanks to Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This for this challenge. What better way to jump-start our sewing after the holidays! There’s a blog tour and a community challenge so check it out for some inspiration. You’ll find a list of the bloggers that are participating and links to their sites at the end of this post.

daynightgraphicdone680

My Day Dress: 

img_1004I’d wear dresses every day if I had enough of them! Dresses are perfect for everything a day can dish out: running errands, a business meeting, or (!!) happy hour. But to me, a day dress just has to have pockets. I feel weird if I don’t have somewhere to stick my hands! That’s why I picked McCalls’ 7464 for this make. It has curved pockets, a design element that mimics the line of the curved inset.The pockets were lined, but very easy to sew. The challenge was cutting and placing them on my plaid woven cotton. There’s nothing like a plaid matching challenge to test your determination!

img_1027I love how the curved insets add shape at the waist. I used a solid ponte knit for the insets and the sleeves so that it would provide a calming contrast to the busy plaid. The ponte knit, although stable, has a teeny bit of give, and since it’s placed at the waist, this means this dress is really comfy.

McCall’s 7464 is a pretty easy pattern to put together, yet it has a lot of fun detail.

 I modified the design only slightly. I added a short knit collar to give my dress a more casual look, and finished the sleeves with a narrow knit cuff too. I know I’ll wear this dress a lot.

My Night Look

img_1196I’m crazy about lace (as if y’all didn’t know that!), and when I saw this black lace at the Mill End Store, it was love at first sight. For the challenge, our night dress needed to be black, so I knew I’d use the lace as part of that look.  I decided to make a simple, unfussy dress so the lace could shine.

img_1184I paired the lace with black velvet, because, well…it’s velvet! To make the dress, I lengthened one of my favorite top patterns, Vogue 8952.

I like the Raglan sleeves on the top, and thought they’d look interesting in lace.img_1177 I love Swing-y dresses when I go out, because they have a dressy-vibe, without being fussy. To get the swing look of this dress, I extended the a-line of the top pattern by 8″. Then, I added an 8″ border of lace to the hem. I didn’t line the lace border, because I like the see through quality of the lace. With black hose/tights, I hope it’s not too revealing, just dramatic?  I know this LBD will get a lot of use.

img_0962

The Day and Night Dress Challenge blog tour is a great way to visit some new blogs and find some inspiration for your own makes. Thanks to Elizabeth for putting this together for us all to enjoy! There’s a community challenge too, with cool prizes and great sponsers. You can find the details on Elizabeth’s blog, Elizabeth Made This.

THE DAY AND NIGHT DRESS CHALLENGE BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Sunday, Jan 8th: Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This, Brittany of Brittany J Jones

Monday, Jan 9th:  Maria of How Good is That?,  Tonya of Sew So Petite

Tuesday, Jan 10th: Je’Tua of Robertswife, Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’, Melanie of Its Melanie Darling

Wednesday, Jan 11th:  Linda of Elle Gee Makes, Tee of Maggie Elaine

Thursday, Jan 12th: Bianca of Thanks I Made Them, Daniela of On the Cutting Floor

Friday, Jan 13th:  Melissa of Mahlicadesigns, Rachel of Sew Redy, Renata of Runnningnstyle, Sonja of Sewing ala Carte

Saturday, Jan 14th: Doja of Elewa blog, Judith of Judith Dee’s World, Tanya of Mrs. Hughes

Check them out! If you decide to make a dress, I’d love to know so that I can feature your dress (s)  in a post here.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

2016: Top Five Hits

1Hi All! It’s almost time to ring in the new year, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to review my top five makes of 2016.

Looking back at my sewing projects always makes me a little nervous, because I can’t bear to face the facts. Sometimes the makes that are the most fun to finish or the most time consuming, are not the ones I love to wear (sigh). They hang in my closet, lonely and ignored. Huh. But without further analysis, here they are….my top five of 2016.

img_8454

  1. This little coat:  This topper makes it into the top five because I wore it more than any other make this year! It was so versatile, more than I expected. I wore it constantly. The sewing pattern is great too….Butterick 5927, a new favorite.

IMG_3525

2. The linen and lace dress – – Well, of course I love it. It’s blue, it has statement sleeves and lace trim. This dress made me a fan of clothes with simple lines. I love to wear it.img_8499

3. This coat: OMG, it’s so warm! The stretch wool…the quilted collar…love. To make things even better, when I step into Anthropologie wearing it, the girls that work there swoon, the ultimate compliment. It was supposed to inspire me to rake leaves, but that didn’t happen.

img_9345

4. This blouse: Well, because it’s blue. Need I say more?

img_0776

5. This poncho: Okay, it had to make the list because wearing it makes me so happy. Yes, fringing it was a nightmare, but the end result made this poncho such a wardrobe stand- out. I have a ‘boho’ moment every time I put it on, something I sorely need.

Honorable mentions:

I was obsessed with denim this year too, so I just have to mention these ‘makes ‘. I didn’t wear them quite as much as I expected though (not sure why?), so I won’t give them ‘top five’ status.

IMG_3166 (2)

1. This button up denim skirt: What fun this was to make! The top stitching, the ‘jeans’ buttons up the front…my favorite things.

IMG_8749

2. This denim shirt dress: I love a good shirt dress, and I felt so great when I finished this one! I also learned about snaps. They look great, and you also get to pound them in…If you haven’t tried it, do!

There were a few misses in 2016, but who wants to talk about those? Overall, I had alot of fun at my sewing machine, which is the true test of success for me. I even made my first pair of jeans.

But the best part of 2016 was meeting all of you. I love our community and our conversations. You and your makes are a constant source of inspiration and joy for me. I want to thank you for visiting here and for being a part of my life.

Here’s to an even better 2017! And thanks to Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow for encouraging us to celebrate a fabulous year with our Top Five Makes.

Happy New Year, and thanks for stopping by!

McCall’s 7430- A sweater dress

 

img_9604As you all know, I am a big fan of sweater knits, so much so I tend to stash/horde every one I find. Yes, I have quite a few squirreled away in my sewing nook, so (fair warning here) this is only the beginning of my annual sweater knit obsession.

Here is why I love them so, so much.  Most sweater knits are easy to sew (even without a fancy serger, just use a zigzag stitch) and wonderful to wear. I’m talking about those moderate stretch wonders with just the right amount of lycra with a dense, cozy weave. This houndstooth sweater knit is a perfect example of why I’m obsessed. It’s the perfect mix of stretch and cozy…destined to become a fall/winter wardrobe staple.

img_9588

McCall’s 7430 is the perfect sweater dress.

I love the side panels, the neckline variations, and the front and back yoke. I also love the sleeve caps. You could really have fun with contrast and color blocking here. There’s so much you can do with this pattern to make it your own.

The only modifications I made to the dress were to add front patch pockets, each 6 inches by five inches (gotta keep those pinkies warm!). I added contrast sleeve bands to finish the cuffs as well, but this is so optional. You could easily hem them with your machine as the pattern suggests.

One note about fit. The side panels eliminate the usual side seams so it’s a bit harder to use them to modify fit. Yes, I’m a big fan of taking a dress in at the sides, and I hate making muslins on a knit pattern.  It’s not impossible to adjust this pattern that way. It’s just a bit more time consuming, and if you adjust those panels too much, you run the risk of changing the look of your lovely dress. So, I’m glad the sizing is pretty true on this pattern because I didn’t need to make any adjustments at all. Phew!

img_9581I guess my obsession with sweater knits isn’t likely to end in the near future :). I’ll probably make another dress from this pattern, out of a solid knit with a contrast, since it’s so comfy and versatile. I think it’s one of those patterns you can dress up or down, maybe even make as a tunic length to wear over leggings. Love these inspiring versions from Vince Camuto…

 

Hmmmm, so mamy options, so little time to sew! Curious if you all are as obsessed with sweater knits as I am? Pretty sure there’s a color blocked version of this dress in my very near future!

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

A wrap jumper or a pinafore?

 

img_8240-1

When I think Fall, I think, it’s ‘jumper’ weather! To me, a jumper is a sleeveless dress that’s meant to be worn over a shirt or blouse. But to my UK friends, ‘jumper’ means a sweater. Maybe, it’s less confusing to call my new make ‘a wrap dress that I am wearing over a shirt’.

This dress is one of my favorite styles because it’s wrapped. To me ‘wrap’ means comfortable, but what I really love about the style is that it’s so flattering. A wrap dress is considered to be perfect for any figure type because it defines your waist (especially nice for those of us who don’t have a waist). Wrap styles are perfect at any age, and you can wear them dressed up or dressed down.

img_8227

My sleeveless wrap dress is McCall’s 6884.

The bodice of my ‘jumper’ is view B (without the gathered front), and the sleeves are view D. I eliminated the tie and made a mock closer with three buttons, arranged assymetrically across the wrap.The fabric is black ponte knit that has moderate stretch from my stash.

Under my jumper, I’m wearing a new button-down shirt, Butterick 5526.

img_8205

This pattern in a new favorite. I made View D, but used the sleeve tabs from View A for the days when long sleeves are just too much. I chose View D because it has princess seams which makes the fit perfectly tapered. This makes the shirt easy to wear either loose, or tucked in.The fit of this pattern seems a bit snug to me through the waist, so I cut a size up from my usual.

As fitted shirts go, this pattern is pretty straightforward, and the instructions are great. But, it did take a bit of time to complete. From cut to finish, this project clocked in at four and half hours. (BTW, I finished the seams with my serger rather than constructing french seams. If you’re going to do that, add another hour (LOL).

Princess seams are my FAVORITE. Who can resist that tapered shape? The fabric I used is 100% cotton that I found in the quilting department of Joann’s. Honestly, there are bargains to be had there! I paid $5.99 a yard for this perfect pring. The colors go with everything in my closet.

A friend who is very ‘fashion forward’ wears her wrap jumper open as a long vest. Yes, I love to throw long vests over everything, so thought I’d give it a try, but I’m not sure….

img_8266
Hmmm, probably not….? 

Here’s to Fall fashion; to jumpers and skirt and coats…all my favorite things to sew! What would you call this make; a jumper, a pinafore, or a sleeveless dress?  Would you ever wear it open as a vest?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

A cold shoulder top, dress or tunic

IMG_4728

I cannot get enough of the cold shoulder look. As with most trends, when I finally get on board, I don’t let go!  This is my second cold shoulder project (first one here) and I can tell you, it will not be my last. Here’s the reason I love the cold shoulder look. Showing a bit of skin at the shoulder gives even a loose, summery top or dress a bit of a sexy vibe.

What’s even better about this top, is that it’s so versatile! By hemming it a bit on the long side, I can wear it either as a top or a dress! Here it is loose and unbelted for a hot day.

IMG_4652

Here it is over jeans, perfect for a day that’s a bit on the cool side.

IMG_4508

I think this pattern plays to the advantage of a cut-out shoulder. Even though the cut of the top is unfitted, the shoulder gives it a bit of interest, and makes it look more shapely than it is. You can belt it, or not, as the mood strikes.

IMG_4714

The pattern is Butterick 5889, an easy top, tunic and belt.

It’s a bit oversized with a slit opening at the sleeves that could not be easier to construct. The sleeve hems and the sleeve splits are just finished with a narrow hem. So fast! The cold shoulder look is created when you tack the sleeve split together at the top and bottom.

The shape of this top is rather loose and boxy, so I choose a very lightweight cotton with great drape (Mill End Store) so that it wouldn’t overwhelm my small frame. The hardest thing about this top, was getting the pattern perfectly lined up on center front, so you know this top is easy!!

IMG_4746

I can imagine wearing this top/dress both ways, belted or loose (although the unbelted version might be a bit of a man-repellant, if you’re worried about that sort of thing, LOL).

From cut-out to finish, this top took only a couple of hours to create. It might have taken less if I wasn’t watching High Society (Grace Kelly could not be more gorgeous. And the clothes!)

This top is such a fast, fun make, I might try it again out of a rayon challis. View B also has pockets and a front placket, so I might give that a go at some point. If you decided to try it, I recommend sticking with a drapey fabric, as it does have a very generous cut. The pattern came out in 2013, but it’s still easy to find and on-trend now.

What do you think?  Do you prefer it as a top, a tunic or a dress?Isn’t it nice to have some easy projects during summer? There’s so much to do outside, away from one’s sewing machine.

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

A Dress with a Few of my Favorite Things

 

IMG_3540

I’m smiling because this dress has three of my favorite things: linen, lace and silk. Yes, linen wrinkles, but I’m prepared to overlook that fact because it breathes like nothing else. If the weather is muggy, no worries!  When it comes to heat, this fabric is invincible.

IMG_3568To make this dress even more humidity resistant, it’s lined in silk, a splurge I never will regret. The textured linen is so special, it deserves a great lining. Not only that, but it was such a bargain! I found two yards on the remant/sample shelves at Mill End Store last summer. I bought it immediately, of course, but then I stalled. The fabric was so wonderful, I dithered about what to do with it. A dress? A top? Or, maybe a skirt? I perused pattern books, websites, flitting from one idea to another. How typical. If I love a fabric, I become paralyzed by its perfection! No idea or pattern is good enough for it. Finally, though, I settled on this idea. It’s a good thing because this linen dress is a dream to wear. The linen hangs perfectly, but feels like nothing.

IMG_3504 My dress was inspired by several RTW versions. Here are two fabulous dresses by Derek Lam and Caroline Herrara.

The pattern I used for my dress is McCalls’ 7285. I’ve made it before as a top, but decided I wanted to convert it to a dress.

To do so, I had to modify. The top pattern as drafted is a cropped style so if I extended it to dress length’as is’, it would be too tight in the hips. So, I took my hip measurement, and, as I extended the front and back bodice, I made the shape A-line, making sure the bodice was wide enough to accommodate my own width.

To add the lace embellishment on the bodice, I cut a length of lace the width of the front and back bodices just above the bust line. I stitched the lace in place on both the front and back bodice before setting the sleeves in. That way, when I did finally sew them in, the end of the lace was hidden in the sleeve seam. To add the lace to the bell of the sleeve, I sewed the lace on the bell before sewing the bell’s center back seam so that the end of the lace would be hidden in that seam as well. Also, textured linen has a tendency to fray (this is an understatement!). So, to keep my dress from unraveling into a pile of thread, I overlocked all the seams on the dress, and the silk lining as well.

IMG_3548

I love my summery dress, and I think the top pattern transitioned without too much of a struggle. However, I’m certain my method could be improved upon. I feel like I should have taken fabric drape into account as I extended the top to dress length, and that I’m lucky that it turned it as well as it did!  There must be more to it than just adding a few inches, a ‘method’ with a bit more of a rationale? Have you extended a top to a dress?  Did you just add a few inches, or did you ‘draft’ an extension?

I took my dress for a test drive today, and it was so comfortable. I’m glad I splurged on silk for the lining, because it makes it extra yummy to wear. So, if you wonder if silk is worth, my answer is ‘YES’! Go for it! You deserve it.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.