Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Vogue 1238 Miyake dress

I have made many Miyake patterns through the years. Some have been favorites (1476 coat I am still wearing after 25 years) and some have been worn once or never. I always love sewing these patterns as they are unique and often counterintuitive. Fun puzzles and I do love a puzzle. This dress has that Miyake quality although it is quite easy to construct. Nothing that puzzling. However, although it was fun to make, it may only be worn around the house in the hot days coming up. That is because it seems like a muumuu on me. Really full through the bust (no need for a FBA here) and of course wide at the sides. The wide sides don't bother me (see Vogue 1234 review) but the overall fullness through the bust does.

Have you noticed that Vogue's description have become minimalistic to the extreme? This one says "Pullover dress is very loose-fitting at the bust. No provision made for above waistline adjustment". No mention of color blocking, curved seams, bound edges. I used a Medium although my measurements are in the Large range. Obviously I could have cut the Small. Or maybe XS.

The envelope photo shows the shoulder pieces front and back cut out of the main fabric. The cutting layout also shows it this way. However the line drawing shows the shoulder pieces cut from the contrast. I did it with the contrast. Of course on the envelope photo you can barely see the difference between the fabrics anyway. I also turned the armhole binding toward the outside to have the contrast there also.

This is one of the easiest Miyake's I have sewn. I did not do the stay stitching called for in the instructions. I have found that often stay-stitching knits causing more stretching. Also I put it together on my serger which helped prevent the seams from stretching. It takes quite a while to sew all those long curves so eliminating the stay stitching (and second row of stitches inside) saved lots of time.

I love the curved, bound neckline. And I love the curved color blocking. Love the floaty coolness for hot weather. Dislike the excessive fullness. The back is pretty cute.

The black is rayon/lycra jersey with stretch in both directions. The black/white dots fabric is rayon/poly blend with no lengthwise stretch. I was concerned that the two different fabrics wouldn't work together but they did. In fact the contrast with less stretch helped keep the very stretchy black in check.

I shortened a few inches at the bottom. I would have like to shorten it further but then you loose the black at the bottom. To shorten further you could take deep seams on all the curved pieces. 

 I intended this as an experiment using remnants. It feels like a nightgown to me but perhaps that stems from my fabric choices.  I don't think I will make this again but it was a fun project.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BurdaStyle Twister Dress

Are you looking for an edgy dress that is almost instantaneous to make and has a FREE pattern? Here it is, a downloadable pattern from BurdaStyle. This dress takes longer to download and tape together than it does to cut out and sew up. That is because there is only one pattern piece, placed on the fold with two shoulder seams and one long underarm/side seam. If you leave the edges raw as I did that is all you do. You could choose to finish the edges which would add another half hour to the 15 minutes you spent so far!

You need a knit that stretches both ways for this dress. My first try was using a fabric I no longer liked that was stored in the garage. That was the most time consuming part of the project, finding that fabric. Really, once I found the fabric, I cut out the dress, sewed it up, tried it on, decided it was too tight in the hips, fiddled with it, picked out jewelry, took it off, got redressed and only 30 minutes had gone by.

As I found the first attempt to be a wee bit overly snug through the hips I have decided to wear it as a long top, ruched up over my torso. I didn't even trim off the extra length.

For my second effort I added about 2 inches at the hips and cut it from black rayon jersey/lycra. Much better look, both in the fit and in the dark, solid color. I made one for my DIL as well. Why not? It only takes a few minutes. I offered to make one for my other DIL but she declined. It isn't for everybody after all.

If you are interested in trying this, I cut the larger of the two sizes. My hips are @39". You take it from there. Plenty of room for a full bust. No need to alter there. Go to to download the pattern.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sierra's Quilt

I haven't been blogging lately but I have managed to squeeze some sewing in between a ridiculously busy 6-8 weeks. Out of town trips, 4 birthdays, Easter, #1 son with wife and two boys (just 4 and 2 1/2) visiting from Wyoming, #2 son turning 40. It has been crazy, hectic and wonderful. I pushed to get this quilt finished for Sierra's 1st birthday. It looks cheerful in her room so I am happy I did it. But quilting is not my thing so I felt stressed doing it. It would not stand up to the scrutiny of a real quilter but it looks cute in her room. She loves toys and things with faces so that led me to pick this particular design. I changed it quite a bit from the pattern leaving off a dopey border. Amazingly all the varied fabrics in the flowers were from scraps from either my projects or my friend who quilts a lot. No two fabrics the same! I made each face different with one having her coloring.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Vogue 1234 Sandra Betzina dress

I'm in love. This is my new favorite dress. So comfy in 4 way stretch rayon lycra, it feels like a nightgown. The pattern description: Loose fitting, pullover dresses with hem facing. View A has the center front cut on the crossgrain. That is the view I made.

Pattern Sizing: Today's Fit sizing. I used a combo of B, C & D. The fabric is very forgiving so sizing to fit is easy.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes except mine is much longer. I removed 6 inches from the bottom and, although I am short, the length is still much longer than the photo suggests. I decided I liked it as a maxi dress.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Good instructions that are easy to follow. There are a few mistakes or odd instructions I will address under what I dislike. This is rated easy but I question that. There are several pivots to manage and the back vent area is a bit fussy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the style, love how it plays with the stripes, love the comfort, love the mostly easy construction. Dislike: I had 3 1/4 yards of fabric that was more than 60" wide. I didn't have enough even though the pattern calls for 2 7/8. I had to piece the hem facing and cut the sleeve sideways. (I didn't mind this as I wanted the stripes to change direction). So watch out for that. Also some instructions seemed not quite right to me. Sandra suggests shortening the dress at the end. Problem with this is that you may end up removing all of the back slit and complicating the vee at the center back bottom. I did have to shorten a lot and fixed that by resewing that vee so that I didn't end up with a cropped off stub. Also, she suggests not finishing the interior seams until the end in case you need to alter. But later she says the only place you may need to alter for fit is the short underarm side seams. That doesn't come to almost the end. I would suggest that if you want to finish the seams on the serger or even just trim them do it as you go. I didn't and, when I decided I did want to serge all those seams, I had to remove stitching in a number of places where the seams crossed. Extra time for that. Also, most seams are sewn just to the dots which are set back from the edge 5/8ths. Some places this is necessary to enable the pivots but others such as at the neck edge it is not. You are never suggested to close these open seams but you need to before you apply the neck or sleeve bands. Small details but surprising since the instructions are otherwise so complete.

Fabric Used: Rayon lycra jersey with 4 way stretch. I call it 4 way stretch but it can also be called 2 way stretch. Whatever, it needs to stretch both crosswise and lengthwise. This lengthwise stretch helps create the terrific drape of this dress. However it also causes it to grow lengthwise. Be sure you fold the dress over a hanger rather than hang it full length on the hanger. Full length dresses of this type of fabric will get longer and longer if you hang them.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:Changed the sleeve grain to have the stripes up and down, shortened as mentioned above.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I would love to make this again. It is a fun garment to put together, like a puzzle. Definitely recommend.

Conclusion: Very fun dress which I think will be a favorite for me this summer.