New Look 6519: An easy travel dress

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I’m always on the look out for stylish dresses that are easy and comfortable to wear while traveling in hot weather. That’s why the simplicity of this New Look pattern caught my eye. The shape of the dress is accomplished with the addition of a simple belt.

This means the dress can be loose or fitted, depending on how tight you tie the belt so it’s perfect for hot weather. The other good news, is that there are very few complicated design details which makes sewing a breeze. Yet, there are some cool details on this dress too, like the back V.

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I often forget about New Look patterns, but I’m not sure why, because they never let me down! New Look 6519 was simple to construct – – I made it in a Saturday afternoon! Also, the top version is a stash buster…It only takes a yard and a half.

I used a soft cotton lawn for this dress (Fabric Depot) which makes it perfect for hot, muggy weather. The neck of the dress is finished with seam-binding, which is fast and easy to do. I did modify the pattern slightly, adding wide 6″ ruffles to the sleeves in a contrast fabric. I love the relaxed, easy look of a wide ruffle. To accomplish this, I just took a twelve-inch wide piece of fabric that was the length of the sleeve opening times 1.5. Then I folded it over, wrong sides together and gathered it, before inserting it into the sleeve opening.

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IMG_7330Not only is cotton lawn easy to wear, but it’s lightweight, so this dress won’t take up much space in my very small suitcase. I’m determined to take small a single small bag on this next trip, in spite of the fact that I’ll be gone for almost three weeks and I’m determined to succeed. My clothes (mostly me-mades) are cottons, rayons and linens which I hope will compress easily, and for this trip, I ordered a set of packing cubes, a concept that’s new to me. Have you ever tried them? Any tips?

It’s so odd to be sewing light weight summer clothes when the weather here in Oregon is on the cool side with plenty of rain! Fingers crossed that my next post will include outdoor photos…. Happy summer sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

A Cold Shoulder Tee Dress

IMG_7042Last summer, I thought the cold-shoulder trend would be a one-season wonder. Boy was I wrong! It’s everywhere this Spring, and if the trend-predictors are correct, it will be around for some time to come.  I’m glad to hear that because, honestly, I love wearing this look! To me, it makes a simple dress something special. That’s why I decided to try it for this casual, tee-shirt dress.

IMG_7057This dress is as comfortable as it looks, made from an Art Gallery cotton jersey I purchased from Fabric Depot last summer. It’s a medium weight jersey which is great for keeping the shape of the cold shoulder detail. But it’s not too heavy, allowing the gathers at the waist to really shine.

My inspiration for this make was this casually sophisticated dress from Tibi.

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I was so happy when I found a pattern that re-creates this look, Butterick 6425.

IMG_7031I love the neck-line options and the fact that you can use the pattern to create a number of looks, including a jumpsuit! I opted for the v-neck dress option but used the sleeves from option B.  The neckline and sleeve openings are simply finished with a 5/8 inch hem. Usually, I prefer a binding or a facing finish at the neck, but with this knit, this method worked well. However, on a flimsier knit, it would be possible to stretch the knit too much during construction, resulting in a saggy neck or sleeve opening. This dress is an easy make, and from cut to finish it took me less than three hours.

IMG_7017I am going to love wearing this dress and am so glad I decided to add this to my cold shoulder wardrobe (here and here and here). The black and white print is classic but bright and eye catching. The style is pretty versatile too. It could be dressed up with a belt and some cool jewelry or dressed down with flats or tennis shoes for running errands. My only question about this dress is whether I left it too long or not? Long is more sophisticated, but short is…well… more energetic looking? I also wish I’d had enough fabric to make a matching belt, but, alas, that was not the case.

I plan on making another version of this dress with the flutter sleeves and might even try a jumpsuit version! Lots of plans are swirling around in my head :).

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Shirt Dress Love: McCall’s 7351

IMG_6748 2If I had to choose only one garment to take with me to a desert island it would probably be a shirt dress, because they just make me happy. This one gets bonus points for being a rayon shirt dress, which is pure bliss to wear in any weather. What’s different about this dress for me, is the raspberry print. Raspberry, not blue? I know – – I’m living on the edge here!

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You see, a few weeks ago, I found an old ‘personal color palate’ from a color analysis I paid for several years ago. I’d completely forgotten about it, and the raspberry pink that was identifed as one of my ‘top five’ colors. It’s supposed to make me glow, LOL, yet I rarely wear it. I guess it’s never too late….

I get weak knees over high low hems and I love the one on McCalls’ 7351. In fact, it might be the reason this pattern made it into my shopping cart. You might have seen this pattern on other blogs because it’s so popular.

As patterns go, this fit me pretty well as designed, even though I’m petite. I did modifiy it a bit: I shortened the bodice by 5/8″. I also shorted the skirt by 5/8′ as well, being careful to preserve the cool curved hem. I also ditched the collar, using only the collar band just because I wanted a simple neckline given the print of my fabric. I also raised the sleeve tab placement a bit so that I could roll the sleeves up more when it’s hot, but I think I over did that a bit. I love the yoke and back pleat detail.

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This rayon came from Fabric Depot and it did not disappoint! It wears like a dream and has just the right drape for this dress.

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I think a fabric belt would look good with this dress, but I ran out, so I skipped it. The raspberry color is growing on me… I think I’ll enjoy wearing it.  In fact, now that I’ve found my long lost color analysis swatches, I could start taking them with me when I shop. However, I must admit, my fabric love is color blind. If I see a fabric I love that doesn’t match my palate, it will likely still find its way into my shopping cart.

Are you a color analysis believer, or do you buy what you like and call it good?

Yes, I do love shirt dresses and will likely make this dress again, soon. I’m imagining a linen version, maybe cotton poplin… Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by.

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!

 

 

DIY Date Night Dress

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After I made a swing dress for the Day and Night Dress Challenge, I knew there would be another in my future. What is it that makes a swing dress so fun to wear?!? For me, it’s the way the skirt moves. It’s not quite ‘twirl-worthy’, but fun just the same.

This dress is another attempt to fill in a hole in my wardrobe. The ‘dress up’ category is woefully lacking. So, now I have another ‘date night’ outfit and I used up some of my stash too! This fabric is so yummy; a black ponte knit that’s embellished with a  silvery rose lace pattern. I knew it was destined to be used in a garment that had simple lines so that the interesting fabric could take center stage.

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I do like to combine laces and patterns and textures from time to time just for the fun of it, so I enjoyed mixing and matching laces here. I used a very airy lace from my stash for the yoke and sleeves, then a silver embroaidered lace for one of the contrasting yoke bands. I also added a yoke band of solid velvet to add some contrast to all of the patterns and textures in the lace.

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This dress is a mash-up of a couple of different patterns, Vogue 8817 for the yoke and contrasting yoke bands, and Vogue 8952 (view B) for the swingy bodice. The reason I used two patterns is that I know that the bodice of Vogue 8817 has too much volume for my frame, so I used the bodice of 8952 to draft my a-line bodice.

I did a bit of the high-low thing on the hem to give it a bit more swing. I also lined the bodice with stretch satin so that it won’t cling to my legs. For even more contrast, I made very narrow velvet cuffs for the sleeves.

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I love the fun, flirty shape of this dress. It isn’t too serious, if you know what I mean. Lots of party dresses are a bit too fussy for me, but this one is simple enough to let me be free to party!

I’ll say one thing though. That yellow cat better not think he can lay on it. Those claws would absolutely destroy it.

img_2214Okay, I might be finished with swing dresses for a bit now :). My only concern with this dress is that I might have overdone it here a bit with the lace mash-up. I’ll probably wear it all the time anyway!

I’ve been eyeing my closet, and evaluating. I realize now that some of my makes from a couple of years ago aren’t getting worn enough to justify the space they take in my closet. Some of the fabrics are lovely though, so I might give refashioning a try, although I’ve very little experience doing this. Have you refashioned older makes to keep that fabric in your life? How have you gone about that?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

The Reveal: Day and Night Dress Challenge

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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.

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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.

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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!

Vogue 8828: If Karl can, why can’t I?

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I rarely leave the house in anything other than pants and sweaters at this time of year, as the weather makes layering and covering up a matter of survival. But it gets old fast, don’t you think? Pants, jeans, blah! I long to wear a dress, but how? I don’t want to freeze to death.

My dilemma was unresolved until, in a holiday-induced frenzy, I perused the Chanel Couture Collection (I can dream, can’t I?). That’s when I noticed that several of Karl’s creations were actually quilted.

 

 

Of course, the Chanel fabrics are so gorgeous, they could do anything to them, and they would be fabulous. But I was caught up in Karl’s message. Dresses can be classic and beautiful, but warm too! Needless to say, creating a quilted dress became my new obsession.

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The pattern I used for my quilted dress is Vogue 8828, a classic style with princess seams, a fitted bodice, a raised waist, and a semi fitted or loose fitting skirt.

I decided to make the less fitted version as I’m in LOVE with A-line shapes at the moment.

I used two different quilted fabrics from Fabric Depot, a black knit and a gray knit. Both fabrics are stable knits, quilted in a diamond pattern, but of varying sizes, a fact I thought would add some contrast to the dress.

I used the black with the small diamonds for the bodice, the gray with the larger diamonds for the skirt. I thought the gray would provide some contrast for the black. But the REAL reason I picked the gray fabric for the skirt was because of the selvages. They were white and tufted, perfect to use as trim on the princess seams and neckline.

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Or course, as I was considering this strategy, I fancied I was mimicking Karl, since he uses trim everywhere. But OMG, what trim! Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than this?

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I made my own trim by cutting those selvages off the gray fabric in 1″ strips. Then, (carefully, let me tell you) I cut them down, reducing them to a width of  5/8″, zigzagging the edges so they wouldn’t unravel. Before sewing the seams, I basted my new trim at the seam line. Then, when I sewed the seams together, the lovely white part showed.

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Honestly, without that selvage trim, the dress would have been (dare I say it) boring? Black and gray are favorite colors of mine, but they can be a bit dull, to say the least. The lines of the princess seams are the best part of this dress and I’m glad the trim highlights them.

Vogue 8828 is a winner. I love this pattern. The style is classic, but fun and it went together easily. There are a few pattern pieces to manage, but in this instance, Vogue does a nice job of describing the construction steps so that it doesn’t make you lose your mind. Also, the sewing required to complete this dress is pretty straightforward. If you know how to insert a zipper, uou can’t go wrong! My only wish is that I’d used a invisible zipper. Oh well, there’s always next time.This dress is cozy, so it will get a lot of use.  I plan to wear it to several wintery evening events.  I plan to make this pattern again soon, from a dressier fabric.

My conclusion? As usual, Karl wasn’t wrong. Quilting doesn’t need to be limited to heavy overcoats and down jackets. Now, if I only could get my hands on some of his fabulous fabric!

Have you ever made a quilted garment? Did you wear it, or did it end up in the ‘recycle’ pile? Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!