Chambray, Lace and Pom-Pom Trim?

IMG_6494 3Chambray, lace and pom-pom trim… a funny combination I didn’t plan, but somehow, it happened.

If you think this new dress looks alot like the linen dress I made last spring you would be right. I loved that dress and wore it constantly until a trip to a hotel laundry shortened it to scandal level. I was so bummed! After a period of mourning, I accepted the fact that I’d have to replace it, and that’s how this dress came to be.

IMG_6385 I rarely buy fabric on-line, preferring to support the local stores, but when I saw this fabric on Fabric.com, it leaped into my shopping bag. The combination of chambray and lace would have had me, but then you add the blue….gotta have it! When the fabric arrived, I knew it was perfect for a simple shift dress, because the lace border was perfect to take center stage.

IMG_6354  Enter Mccalls 7532, a new pattern this spring that has a decidedly low key, boho vibe.

I love the swingy shape, the statement sleeves and the v-neck, a detail that begged for the pom-pom trim I had stashed away.

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The pattern went together easily, and the instructions were great, but I did make some changes. The skirt of this pattern is really swingy… and since my fabric was cotton chambray, it didn’t really have the right drape for the amount of ease in this pattern. So, I pulled in the side seams a bit to compensate. Trust me, I took out alot of that swing, and still had plenty of room, so you might want to size down. There’s alot of ease in the skirt that would likely work best with a crepe or a silk, or rayon challis, all recommended by McCalls.

I also modified the sleeves a bit. When I cut them as designed, it was clear to me that I would never be able to go out to dinner without knocking over a wine glass with that ruffle.  It’s true that my beverage of choice, white wine, doesn’t stain like red, but who wants to test that theory? To make the sleeves a bit more wearable, I shortened them by 3 inches and reduced the ruffle width by an inch and a half. That cost me a bit of ‘drama’ but I gained a dress I will wear.

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Do I love this dress more than last year’s linen/lace combo? No, but I’ve decided it’s not a comparison I have to make. This dress is cool for different reasons. It’s comfortable, the lace is gorgeous, and it will be the perfect travel companion for my trip to Spain. I love swing dresses so much, I already have another version in the works from a lighter weight fabric. It will be interesting to see how a different fabric changes the character of the dress.

I added the outside photos to this post just today, as the weather here is finally worthy of cottons, linens and silks. Yay! The only downside of beautiful weather is that I accomplish very little because I just want to play, play, play! Oh well. There’s always tomorrow when (sigh) it will probably rain.

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

M7546 – Happiness is florals and shaped darts

IMG_5423My first outdoor photo of the Spring! Yes, it’s warmed up around here, and today, the sun was out, so I tried to take photos in the side yard. For a moment, the light was good, then hazy clouds came so I had to move back inside. Never the less, I remain optimistic about our Spring, and this new shirt makes me feel as though sunny days are coming our way!

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I love this cotton lawn. Of course, it is blue, but the Cotton and Steel print is what really drew me to it (Fabric.com last summer). I call this print a ‘floral’, but maybe botanical is a better word? There are lots of colorful ferns mixed in with the flowers which is kind of unique.

When I saw McCalls 7546 it was instant love… I’m such a fan of  attached sash/ties and shaped darts. Together, they make me feel like I have a waist! IMG_5550

The pattern is McCalls 7546, a fitted shirt that has shaped darts and a cold shoulder variation. Yes, I do like the cold shoulder look (and have a couple of cold shoulder tops in my closet), but the day I cut out this shirt, it was really cold and wet, so I wasn’t in the mood to expose any part of my body to the elements.

I made view D, but cut it to the length of B. I like the long look. I just didn’t have enough fabric. Maybe next time…

I cut my usual size and didn’t have to make any adjustments to fit. McCall’s describes this shirt as ‘close-fitting’ and I would have to agree. It tapers nicely at the waist, and the attached tie gives the waist even more shape. The shaped darts looked challenging to sew, but they really weren’t. The trick was marking them carefully so that the sewing was easy. The front button placket is covered which is nice because if you don’t have a great buttonhole attachment on your machine, well, the evidence is nicely hidden.The self tie is easy -the tie just inserts into the back seam…easy! My only complaint is that the tie itself isn’t double faced, so if you don’t tie carefully the wrong side of your fabric will show.

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I plan to wear this top with jeans, shorts, skirts, everything in my closet basically. It’s a pretty versatile print I think, that will go with lots of colors.

Next up for me, will likely be another pair of jeans. At least that’s what’s in my sewing queue. My queue has been pretty fluid lately. I usually match patterns and fabrics right after I make a purchase, but I’ve ignored my ‘system’ this Spring. Whenever something inspires me, I shift everything around to accomodate my new obsession. It’s fun, I suppose, to sort of go with the flow, but it does slow down my creativity a bit to always be shifting gears. And it’s a bit chaotic in my sewing room.  I used to keep my projects (fabric and patterns) each in their own individual plastic bins and lined them up on my sewing table. But that was a HUGE mess and it took up too much room. Not sure what the answer is…How do you manage your sewing queue? Would love ideas on how to get organized…

Speaking of florals, here’s the real deal…Wild flowers at Catherine Creek in the Columbia Gorge. Happy Sewing and thanks for stopping by!

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Having a 70’s Moment: Denim Button-up Skirt

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Hi all!  In anticipation of summer travels, I’ve been sewing up a storm! I’ve also been aware of a huge gap in my me-made separates wardrobe that must be fixed before I travel. I have very few skirts and almost no pants. My recently completed jeans helped to fill the gap, but I still need skirts, and, as luck would have it, there’s a skirt competition this month at Pattern Review, the perfect motivation!

Being a fan of denim and blue, I couldn’t resist giving a jeans skirt a go. The pattern I chose was Mc Call’s 7392, a fitted skirt with a waistband, a front band, button closure, side front and back seams, and optional pockets and carriers.

I love the design of this skirt. The front and back ‘princess’ seams make ‘fit’ a breeze and the  a-line shape and front button closure are so seventies. To satisfy my craving for ‘jean skirt’, I added some additional details like front pockets and contrast topstitching.The pattern instructions were easy to follow.

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My only criticism….I disliked the way the carriers are attached. They are basted to the waistband, then sewn into the waistband seam. If you want to topstitch that waistband, you can’t because the carriers are in the way. So disappointing. Next time, I will sew the carriers on the way you do with jeans. I’ll just turn the ends under and stitch them in place outside the waistband. Because this pattern has princess seams, I found it easy to modify it to fit my shape. This gets a big ‘thumbs up’ from me, since I have a wide waist that’s out of proportion to the rest of me.

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Fabric Used: I used dark denim, so hard to find but available at Fabric Depot.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I double topstitched everything. I modified the patterns back pockets and side front pockets.

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Since I’m not a fan of side front pockets as I think they make my waist look shapeless, I used the back pockets as a template for two smaller front pockets, which I sewed in place, patch style. To get the smaller size for those pockets, I just traced the back pocket and reduced the size by 5/8 inch all around. I topstitched each pocket and added a chevron style ‘V’ for fun. I hesitated when it was time to put the back pockets on, as I wondered if four pockets on one skirt would be overkill, but the truth is, I love pockets! So I added them.

To make the topstitching look sharp, I double threaded my needle with regular thread. Some might prefer topstitching thread, but my machine doesn’t like it, so double threading gave visual dimension to the topstitch without clogging my machine. I also topstitched the carriers and the waistband seams, even though the pattern didn’t call for them. For a jeans skirt vibe, I used  jeans buttons in an antique finish that you pound in place with a hammer. So satisfying! The button holes were made using the contrast thread.

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In summary, I do like this pattern and will likely sew it again. IMG_3133 (1)

With its many seams, this pattern is easy to modify for fit, and to add your own personal touch. The cut is ‘a-line’ but not too wide at the bottom, so hard to find in a skirt pattern. It definitely satisfied my urge for a seventies style denim button-up skirt. I’ll probably try this pattern again with other dense fabrics like wool or corduroy come fall

I’m curious if others have trouble using topstitching thread? Does it clog your machine? I would love to be able to use it and know there must be a trick that I just haven’t yet discovered.

It’s still cold here, but I remain optimistic and am sewing with linens and cottons…Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.