Sew Boho: Bell Sleeves and a Cardi-Vest

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I’m calling this look ‘boho’, even though some might call it ‘romantic.’ The top has bell sleeves, my favorite look this Spring. I love them because they signal warm weather and outdoor concerts and summer food festivals, you know?

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Here are a couple of ready-to-wear examples for inspiration; a top by Elizabeth and James, and a dress by Alexis.  Love the lace combined with the bell sleeves.

Maybe I’ll make my next version of this top from lace. The pattern I used is McCalls 7285, a semi-fitted, pullover top with a back neck opening, button/thread loop, and narrow hem.

Although the pattern does include a lined version to be used with lace, I chose to make the unlined version (the neck is finished with a facing) and serged the seams. I was able to cut my usual size and found that the pattern fit well, with very little adjustment (just my usual narrow shoulder adjustment). The only issue I had was the length. Even though I am petite (5’3), the cropped length was so short on me, I could only take a narrow hem. If you’re taller, it might be much shorter on you. The sleeves are a dream to sew, much easier than you might imagine. The bell shape is created by gathering a long wide piece of fabric that’s added to the bottom of the straight sleeve and the instructions on how to do that are really clear. The top doesn’t have a zipper, just an opening in the back, so it would be a good pattern for a beginner. I love the easy comfortable fit of this top and plan to make another soon. It’s a fast, easy sew, perfect to make in a weekend!

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Since Spring days around here are usually quite cool, I decided to make a long loose vest to go over the shirt.

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I’m really loving the ‘long vest’ look this year. It’s the perfect layer over a tee, a shirt, even a dress. The pattern I used for my vest is Burda 10/2014 #113, a long coat pattern that I made without sleeves. The fabric is a double-sided jersey knit from my stash. To finish the edges, I used a very tight serged stitch, but you could bind the edges too. On my version, I went with the serged finish because the binding changed the way the fabric draped, and this pattern definitely needs ‘drape’. It’s so easy to sew, you can make it in a couple of hours. It’s basically a circle with some holes in it… can’t get easier than that. But watch out. When the wind catches the vest, it becomes a sail and you fly away!

I found this fun pattern after seeing Helen’s version at Gray All Day. You should check it out…love her cool, breezy look. Her lightweight version would be perfect for summer (or anytime if you’re lucky enough to live in California). Whatever fabric you choose for your vest, I’d suggest that you keep it pretty light with a nice drape so that it hangs nicely. Also, if you want to add bell sleeves to another shirt, Rhonda’s Creative Life has a great post on how to do that. Check it out!

Now, to round out my boho look, I need something else…maybe a different pair of pants? Or would you try a skirt with that top/vest? Hmmm, suggestions welcome! Oh, yeah, and I need new shoes!!!

Happy Spring sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A blue tee with pops of white for Spring

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I always feel as though Spring begins the first day after Easter because that’s when my sewing mood begins to shift. I put away the wools and sweater knits as I dream of sunshine and linen and silk.

But it’s been so cold and rainy here, it feels as though the sun has deserted us. I’m getting desperate for a few warm rays. That’s why I was drawn to a caption in a recent ‘ready-to-wear’ catalog that promised a ‘Riveria’ mood when wearing “crisp colors with pops of white.” If clothing can put you in a resort frame of mind, count me in! Why not add a bit of white to my blue top to make me feel…sunnier? IMG_8560

After completing my denim shirt dress (a labor of love, yes, but there was  a lot of topstitching!!), I need an easy, fast sew to revive my sew-jo. So, for this top I used a pattern that’s an old favorite; Vogue 8710 (OOP, but still available on their website).

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I’ve made it before (here).There’s a reason this top is a good ‘palate cleansing project’. The pattern is a fast sew and it fits well. For me, this is not always the case with Katherine Tilton designs. Often, they’re too voluminous for me, since I’m short and small, but this one is a winner.  The fit is close on top, flaring gently to a loose a-line shape at the bottom. This is accomplished by two insets, and the placement of those pieces is strategic; they have a slimming effect.The style would be flattering to anyone’s shape, I think.

There are two things I love about this pattern; it’s simple to put together, only a few main pattern pieces so cutting time is minimal. Not only that, but you can make it in an afternoon!! I used the stretch stitch on my regular sewing machine, and it worked fine.

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I made the pattern as designed except for two modifications. I cut contrast fabric on the bias for the neck instead of just using bias tape as suggested. I also shortened the length of the bodice by two inches so that it wouldn’t feel like a tunic on me. Fabric: Both the white and the blue knit are cotton jersey with two way stretch from Fabric Depot.

I love my new top! The cut is so versatile, I’ll wear it with pants or skirts. And I love the blue/white combination. It puts me in the mood for Spring. In fact, I do have the FEVER. I’ve been cleaning my sewing room, even reorganizing my stash so that the cotton lawns and linens are front and center. I’m eyeing some new fabric purchases too, a few new cottons, maybe even a bright print or two ( that’s how crazy Spring makes me.) For inspiration, I’m stalking my favorite ready to wear stores (Anthropologie) and the Vogue runway collection as well as your blogs and Instagram posts. But I’m always looking for something fresh and new.Where do you go when you need inspiration?

Happy sewing, and thanks for stopping by!

 

Sew the look: A denim shirtdress

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It’s Spring, the perfect time for shirt dresses. There’s nothing easier to wear when the weather’s warm than a simple dress, and if it’s made from denim…well, that’s even better!! Here are some of the shirt dresses that inspired me this Spring.

First up…Burberry’s version. Perfect in dark denim, with princess seams and topstitching. burberry-brit-dark-indigo-pippi-denim-shirtdress-blue-product-0-002385459-normal

Made well’s version is waistless and the denim looks so soft and comfy.

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This one from Chanel has tucks at the waist. The skirt is so cool…it’s an overlay, or is it a drop waist, or…well..I’m not sure? Love the puffy sleeves and the printed denim. I would die for this dress.

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Here’s mine…Straight cut, princess seams. I need the Chanel shoes with it, don’t you think?IMG_8737For my dress, I used McCall’s 6124, a classic shirt pattern that I used to make Alexa’s corduroy dress here. I love this pattern because it has princess seams, a classic collar with a band, and two-piece sleeves with cuffs; all the timeless design elements I want in a shirt dress.  Honestly though, there are other cool patterns out there too. For my next shirt dress, I’ll try a flared version like Simplicity 8014, Or McCalls 6696. All of those are in my queue, waiting for the perfect fabric to reveal itself.

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My fabric is 5 oz denim from Joann’s (Is it just me, or has that store upped their game lately with more natural fibers and on-trend fabrics?). This fabric has enough body to support the dresses’s structural elements like the pockets, collar and cuffs, but it has a soft feel too, and just the tiniest bit of lycra….which makes this close-fitting dress pretty comfortable to wear.

The details...

  • I added (2) 6″inch self drafted pockets with flaps to the front. I gave them a bit of a pointy edge this time, just for fun! I interfaced the flaps and added functional buttons too (no I will not be stashing money or car keys or my cell in those pockets, but nice to know I could if I wanted to :)).
  • I double top-stitched the dress using topstitching thread. Here’s my latest top-stitching process. To get the distance I wanted between the two rows, I lined up my trusty #57 presser foot (patchwork seam foot) with the seam for the first row. For the second row, I move the needle three clicks to the left of the first row to position it for the second row.I used topstitching thread in gold, and a stitch length of 3.  Love that #57 presser foot (pictured here) I could not have done all of this topstitching without it!

Question though…I used regular thread in the bobbin as my machine groaned when I tried topstitching thread there. Not sure if other’s have that problem?

  • I used bronze jeans buttons that you punch into the fabric. (Fun!!!)
  • I used french seams throughout to keep the insides looking crisp.
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Besides being comfortable, the 5 oz. denim has an added benefit. It didn’t wrinkle ever after I wore it all day!

IMG_8742Yes, it’s Spring, but it’s still cold and rainy outside, so these photos were taken indoors (sigh), but my furry friend quite likes the routine now.

This dress took a bit of time (top-stitching is like that, isn’t it?) but I think it’s a dress I’ll wear a lot, especially since I made a topper to go with it just last week. Hmmm…the word capsule keeps coming into my mind….

Sometime this Spring, I would love to make a drop-waist shirt dress like the Chanel I showed above, but how? Does anyone have pattern suggestions for that?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Vogue 9166: A sleek and sporty basic

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When I saw the new Vogue patterns for Spring, I could hardly believe my luck. Those lovely designers read my mind!!  I’ve been looking for a dress pattern with two-piece sleeves since the sporty trend began last Spring. Even though no one has ever described me as athletic, I sure like to look like I am! Racer details, vertical stripes, anything that gives an outfit a sporty edge and I’m all in.

There’s nothing like a knit sleeve that’s color blocked to make you feel like you can get to the finish line fast. My favorite design element of this dress is definitely the sleeves.The good news is, they aren’t just sporty. They’re easy to sew too.

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This dress is a breeze to make. From cut to hem, it only took about three hours.Vogue 9166 includes a dress and a top version as well as pants. All are made from knits.

Not only are the sleeves and yoke details cool, but the high low hem is fun too.  Because my knit had moderate stretch, I used my overlock stitch on my Bernina to finish the seams and hemmed with a twin needle.

Here’s a close up of the knit. It’s sort of unusual, I think, a Ponte from my stash (Yay!) with a silver design printed on it.

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Black is so hard to photograph! The silvery design printed on the knit dresses it up a bit, don’t you think?

The construction of this dress is really simple and straightforward, so if you’re new to knits, give it a try. I made my usual size and made a slight adjustment for my narrow shoulders. To give the style a bit of structure, I’d recommend a medium weight knit, something that isn’t too flimsy, or the dress won’t hang well. The cut is simple so the dress is easy to wear. It’s the sort of dress that you can move around in, a ‘throw on and go’ dress, my favorite! I’m sure I’ll wear it a lot.IMG_8316

I like the pattern and can imagine making it again, maybe a top, or another dress with a two bright colored knits (blue, anyone?). It would be a good piece to include in a capsule wardrobe. I’m suggesting that, not because I’m planning one, but because I should. I also noticed there’s a capsule wardrobe contest this Spring hosted by Pattern Review that provides great motivation to plan one. Will I? Probably not (?!?) but I’m looking forward to seeing what others put together as I continue to mull over the concept. Anyway, it seems to me that this dress, with its timeless style and high degree of wearability would be perfect for such a wardrobe, don’t you think?

Do you plan your wardrobe around the capsule concept, or are you a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ person like me? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Sew the look: Patchwork Cape

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Hi all – If you follow sewing blogs, you’ve probably heard that February is UFO month, unfinished objects, as in projects that have languished on your sewing table and need to be completed. True confessions. I have PLENTY of those. This cape is a perfect example, a stash busting project I started a year ago, but couldn’t seem to finish.

I was inspired to make this cape by the Burberry capes I saw on the fall runways.

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I loved the lovely color blocked blanket look, and decided by doing a bit of patch work I could get something similar.

The pattern I used is Vogue 9038, an easy cape you can sew in an evening.

I used the pattern pieces as a template as I began to piece together bits of wool I had in my stash. Although the pattern offers a rounded version and a squared off version, I chose the squared off version so that I could block solid pieces of wool together without having to deal with curves! I used five colors, about 1 yard of red, 1/2 yard of turquoise, 1 yard of black, 1/3 a yard of camel, 1/3 yard of brown. I made the smallest size of View A as I am only 5’4″.

I patch-worked two versions of the cape so that it would be double faced and reversible.

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Side two.

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I laid the pieces of fabric on my sewing table and just cut rectangles and squares, sewing them together with 5/8″ seams until I had the shape of the cape filled in. This took about two hours per side, as I stopped frequently to decide what color to use next. I didn’t use a template..I just cut and sewed. There wasn’t any method to my madness other than I knew I wanted to have one side predominately red, and the other predominantly black.

It was an easy fun project, perfect for a day of binge watching. The sewing is all straight sewing, no curves, collars etc. So mindless and fun! After sewing my two capes together to make one, I finished the edges with a overlock stitch, using heavy thread. On one side, I sewed two leather toggles (not sure if that’s really what you call those things) so that if it was a windy day, my cape would stay securely fastened. Sometimes though, I’ll just throw it over my shoulder and go.

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I don’t know why I waited so long to finish this. Sometimes it’s the simplest projects that  seem to stump me. I dithered about how to finish the edges, then I procrastinated on sewing on the leather toggles (with see-through thread). But I’m glad it’s finished now, because it’s so wearable. It’s so easy to throw on for a quick trip to the store, or for an evening out with friends.

What projects are you finishing this February? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Vogue 8346: A coat just in time for Spring

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It’s sunny and warm in Portland today. Yet, I’m posting about a heavy winter coat! Yes, timing is everything, and mine isn’t impeccable, but here goes. I started this coat before Christmas, and just finished it because I worked on it in sporadically. So, here I am, wearing a wool coat when it’s sixty degrees outside. Of course, the weather here is a fickle friend, so it might be ‘bundle up’ weather tomorrow (is it evil to wish it would get cold again?). In any event, after all this work, this coat will be worn, no matter how hot it makes me!IMG_7948 (1)

This wool was purchased last year, and I loved it so much (and spent so much on it, LOL) I dithered a bit (actually a lot) before getting the nerve to cut it. I got all angsty over the choice of pattern, how to line it, whether I really needed to underline..(blah, blah, blah). Basically I was procrastinating. I do this whenever I contemplate a big project. Honestly, I drive myself crazy. Anyway, the weave of this wool was so beautiful, I couldn’t resist buying it from the Mill End Store when wool was on sale. I felt a little guilty as I splurged so I scrimped a bit on yardage, and wouldn’t you know? Now I wish I’d bought more. Once I started sewing it, I knew just how special it was. The weight, the weave, even the smell of this wool is heavenly (yes, I am weird). A long coat from it would have been so nice. Do overs, please?

The pattern I used for this coat is Vogue 8346, a classic style, with a bit of a flare.

Because my height almost qualifies me for petite status (only 5′ 4″ on a good day), I avoid styles with a lot of volume. Still, I loved the style of this coat but worried I’d look as though I was drowning in fabric.

So, I made a test coat from corduroy. This was a good move, as I realized after sewing only a few seams that the amount of flare on the design was too much for me. So I ripped it apart, recut the bodice pieces, tapering the flare a bit more, then tried again. That did the trick. Here’s my modified flare:

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I learned a valuable lesson from this process. The corduroy test version of my coat was great, but when I started working with the wool, I realized the drape of the two fabrics was very different. The thick wool made that little bit of flare seem quite exaggerated compared to the corduroy. So, I had to modify a bit more. All in all though, making the test coat was worth doing, as I learned a lot about the fit of the coat. The shoulders were in the right place and not too narrow, (no adjustment needed, yay), the waist was too long for me (raised it a half inch), and the sleeves were too full for me. Nothing too traumatic, but good to know.

The details: I underlined each piece to give the coat’s structure the support it needed to look crisp. This is not hard, but is time consuming, but well worth the effort. (For tips on underlining, take a look at House of Pinhero’s Peacoat Sew Along. In fact, just have fun looking around at all of her posts!) I used a polka dot silk for the lining, which feels like a dream. I highly recommend finding something luscious for the lining…you deserve it after working so hard on a coat, am I right?

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I added very thin shoulder pads to support the sleeve cap and an extra row of buttons because I love the ‘military’ look they add.

And, that’s about it!

IMG_7892The truth is, sewing a coat isn’t that hard, so who knows why I dithered around so much about this one? The challenge was the fit, I guess. Also, a coat with lining and underlining is a serious commitment of time and energy. But why not just jump in? Next time, I will. Sewing a coat is time well spent. I know I’ll wear this one again and again.

Do you dither around before starting a coat like I do? And what have you experienced when making a toile, (test garment) out of a fabric with a different drape? Thumbs up or down?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Thursday Top: Vogue 8815

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Well, here we are in February, the month that straddles the seasons.  The fabric stores are flaunting new lightweight cottons and linens. Yet, I’m still working through my stash of sweater knits.

At this point, it’s probably ridiculous to state the obvious – I am a fan of sweater knits. As I’ve confessed before, it’s not just because they’re cozy and comfortable. It’s because I can’t knit. Really. My brain gets ahead of my fingers and, well, chaos ensues. Sweater knits are the easy way out.

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And they are so comfortable! However, as you can see in the photo above, I’m discovering yet another cat hair on me. Knits do seem to attract fur of any sort, but doesn’t everything? Still, this particular sweater knit is wonderful, a thick cotton/lycra blend that’s textured and double faced. The result is a lush, thick fabric with a moderate amount of give that is so great to wear.

IMG_7739 I took a close up of the fabric so that you could see the texture. The pattern I used for this Thursday top is one of my TNT (tried and true) patterns, Vogue 8815.

I made it before Here. The pattern is designed for wovens, but when I found this knit, I could see it only one way – – as this top. Generally, when I decide to use a knit instead of a woven, I take the pattern down a full size. But I’ve discovered that each knit is so different, it’s hard to predict how they will behave.

This time, I tried a new method to allow for the stretch in the knit. I adjusted the seam allowances from 5/8″ to 6/8″. Because the stretch on this knit was so moderate, I didn’t want to cut out a smaller size, only to discover the knit wasn’t stretchy enough to warrant that large of an adjustment.

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In the end, I was glad I made the adjustment this way. The knit didn’t stretch enough across the shoulders to warrant any adjustment at all. Because I basted in the seams, it was easy to just let the back seam out where I needed to. Yahoo! So glad I didn’t screw up this great fabric 🙂

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Because the knit had moderate stretch, I used my Bernina’s overlock stitch rather than serging the seams. Here are my pattern modifications:

  • Because I used a knit, I didn’t insert a zipper. The neck slips over my head easily.
  • I added a solid band of knit at the neck (very stretchy so that it wouldn’t bind) in contrasting black.
  • I also added a solid black band of knit at the waist. To do this, I shortened the front and back bodice by two inches. Then I cut 2, two inch wide bands of solid knit fabric the same width as the bodice pieces.  I sewed the solid knit pieces to the shortened bodice pieces before sewing on the back and front peplum pieces.

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Done! One winter project down, and a few more to go. I’m getting antsy for Spring, though. I’ve been longing to work with linen again. I think my first spring project will be a shirt dress of some sort. Have you started sewing for Spring, or are you still working through winter projects?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

McCall’s 6708: An animal print cardigan

 

 

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Yes, it’s a jungle out there! A bit of a cliche’ perhaps, but what better way is there to describe what’s happening in the sewing blog world these days? Everywhere, fabulous makes are being crafted from jungle worthy fabrics as part of #Jungle January, a month long walk on the wild side.

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This photo is from “Pretty Grievances” and it captures the mood of the month. In my opinion, the timing for Jungle January could not be better, since it can be a bit dull around here. It’s so easy to stay stuck in a routine when it’s grimly gray outside. How nice to be inspired to do something adventuresome in the new year. What better way to shake off the glooms!

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The fabric for my leopard cardigan was purchased a couple of years ago at Fabric Depot. It’s a stable cotton knit that I bought without knowing what I’d make from it. (Yes, this is a scary habit of mine that has resulted in a large stash that is about to take over the world.) As the fabric languished in my stash for years, I expected it was a purchase whose time had run out because, surely, animal prints would soon go out of style. Ha! I was so, so wrong. Now, in 2016, they are making a splashy return on the runways of Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, and Dolce and Gabbana.

So inspiring! But to me, what’s even more inspiring are these classic fashion icons.

No one wore a leopard print hat quite as well as Audrey!

When I saw these classic styles, I decided my leopard print needed to be fashioned into something with a bit of a vintage look. Enter the cardigan. My pattern is McCalls 6708. It’s Out Of Print, but you could use Butterick 6062 to get the same look.   I made the shorter version, view D, so it would look like one of those boxy vintage cardigans.

The fabric I used for the bodice is a stable knit from my stash. The neck, pocket and sleeve bands are from a remnant of sweater knit. At first, I was a bit disappointed in the sweater knit trim, as it became so ‘furry’ as I worked with it. The floor under my sewing machine was covered with little fuzzy bits. But then I realized just how appropriate that was for Jungle January. My fabric was shedding! Do you think the floor of the Jungle is just covered with fur?

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This pattern is great because you can embellish with as many details as you would like. I added one set of pockets, trimming them with buttons and sweater knit, but you could add more. The project was easy to sew but a bit time consuming (lots of trim to put on :)). The trickiest part was the button holes on the front band. Even though I interfaced it, the fabric stretched a bit more than I’d hoped. I think a stiffer interfacing would have helped.

Under the cardigan ( just to make the Jungle theme perfectly clear), I’m wearing a leopard print tee I made awhile back.

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It’s one of my favorite tees, I have to admit. The fabric is so soft and yummy, and the leopard print is so dark, I imagine it’s a neutral! This means I’m allowed to wear it with everything, right?

I hope you’re enjoying January, a chance to return to routine after the hectic holidays.  To revitalize my sewing mojo and ready myself for a great 2016, I’m reorganizing my stash based on fabric content, but I’m not convinced my system is perfect. I also would like a way to keep track of my fabric inventory in a document that I could take with me when I look for patterns. Would love to know how you organize your stash!

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!

 

Linen and velvet all wrapped up!

Yes, it’s a busy time of year, far too busy to take on a sewing project, right?  Of course, but if you’re like me, inspiration often strikes when you have the least time to do anything about it!

Here’s my story: I was cleaning out my messy fabric bins, making room for the purchases I’m destined to make in 2016, when I found a treasure…a bit of  crinkled velvet in winter white that I’d completely forgotten existed. Suddenly, I absolutely had to have a winter white top, NOW.

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To keep the project’s fun quotient up and the frustration element low, I chose a tried and true pattern, Vogue 8815. For fun, I mixed things up a bit by combining a few of my favorite things; velvet for the bodice, linen for the skirt, and dotted mesh lace for the sleeves. There isn’t much to say about the construction of this top. (I reviewed it before here). I’m pleased with how it turned out, but it is a bit light- weight to wear in the winter.

Still, I was determined, so….enter a new idea… a quick wrap to keep me warm.

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Perhaps you’ve seen a wrap like this before at one of your favorite RTW retailers. It’s called a five-way wrap, and I tried one on at Nordstrom’s awhile back. It’s really a clever concept. You take a big circle of fabric and, by placing the armholes strategically, the wrap becomes amazingly versatile.

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It looked cozy and easy, so I decided to make my own. The fabric is plaid (love!) wool from Fabric Depot. I used a pattern from Indygo Junction, and the layout they show you is quite clever. You fold the fabric into quarters then lay your pattern piece on top of the four layers of fabric before cutting. When you unfold the cut fabric, your circle is symmetrical and perfect. Then, you cut the armholes, and voila! You have a wrap that you can wear several different ways.

Here it is, pinned at the neck….

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By putting it on with the armholes low, you have a short, cape-like version. Cozy!

You can belt it.

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Or wear it open, a long on-trend vest!

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I like the long vest look the best, but the coziest way to wear it may be the short  cape-like version. So warm and fun!

Truthfully though, I like the concept better than my finish version. While I was trying to take photos, I became frustrated with the way the folds in the front have to be constantly rearranged. I think this is a function of my fabric choice, not the pattern. Because I chose to use a  wool blend, the wrap is a bit stiff. Also, I bound the wrap’s edges to keep it from unraveling,  but I think this made the front from cascading in nice easy folds. If you choose a softer fabric, or serge the edges rather than bind them, it will hang nicely. Even though it isn’t perfect, still, I’m sure this wrap will come in handy, especially with my linen top.  (Now that I see how easy this wrap is, I wish I’d made a five way wrap for each of my girlfriends, but alas, it’s too late now…isn’t it?)

Are you finding time to sew during the holiday rush? Do you pick easy projects or do challenges appeal when you’re busy? Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!