Friday, May 16, 2014

Sorry I disappeared. I have been sewing in my wonderful new space but haven't been able to get back into the reviewing or blogging mode. I have 20 or 30 projects done in the last few months with no record. Shame on me.

But I must tell you about this project.  I know you all think this dress is a giant muumuu so why bother with it. Even if you don't like very over sized full dresses this pattern has some wonderful elements that make it worth buying. To me, the appliqué and sleeves are delightful details that make the pattern a must have. The appliqué is done by stitching continuous bias to the dress on top of a piece (the stripe) already applied to the dress. Then yarn is couched on top of the bias with a zigzag stitch.

The envelope description is "oversized, pullover dress has side front welt pockets, sleeves bands, tie ends forming drape, wrong side may show, appliqué , trim, decorative stitching, topstitching, and stitched hems". 
I measure size 16 or 18. I cut size 10 and took 2 inches out of each side seam for an 8 inch reduction around. It is still huge. 
The pattern photo doesn't highlight the contrast much as they used very close colors. There are 3 different fabrics plus yarn used in this.
I used a medium weight linen for the main fabric, light weight for sleeves and appliqué , and a rayon crinkle for the second contrast (under the appliqué ). All of these, even the yarn trim, were in my stash. The light linen and rayon were remnants. This design uses a lot of fabric so it was nice to find everything I needed on my shelves. I didn't have enough fabric to cut the pockets so they aren't there. I didn't shorten the length at all so you can see that if you are taller than me (5'3") you might want to lengthen it.
Koos gives us lots to enjoy in this pattern.
 I hope to use the sleeves and embellishment technique again. I might even make the whole dress in a more drapey fabric for a very different look.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I made a couple of little dresses for my 3 year old granddaughter while organizing my new sewing studio. These were quick and easy and helped ease me back into this world. I found these patterns on-line from an independent, My Childhood Treasures, that I hadn't heard of before but somehow it showed up when I was doing a search for little dresses. I down-loaded them, found fabric in my newly organized stash and whipped them out in no time. I don't see any reviews of this line on Pattern Review yet.

The first is called the Elke Dress. I used a purple (her favorite color) cotton interlock to sew it up. There is a large collar and bow at the shoulder for pizazz as well as flared sleeves with a deep ruffle.

The second dress is the Bluebell Dress. For this I found a red rayon ponte in the stash. This was a pricey piece that I had purchased for a dress for me but found it too bright when it arrived a few years ago. Not too bright for a 3 year old I thought. She loves this dress and wore it at Christmas to my delight. The hood looks a bit wonky when worn up but very cute otherwise.

For sizing the chest measurement is used. If I had used that as my guideline she should have needed size 1! I chose size 4 which was a wee bit large but a small amount of taking in at the sides made it work. This pattern company has wonderful photographed illustrations that are very thorough. They really walk you through every step. Since they are pretty simple to start with, I think a beginner could do these dresses.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I had a request for more pictures of my new sewing studio. I lowered the blinds so the bright light from the western view didn't make it so hard to see inside the room. Just to tease I added a few more view photos. We have been having spectacular sunsets lately.
Goldern Gate

Gorgeous colors over the Golden Gate
Mt. Tamalpais

There is so much light in this room during the day that I don't need artificial lighting at all.

Another window with view of Mt. Tamalpais

The sewing corner
The computer area. It was a dressing area with the sink in its former life.
I think I will remove the sink to have more desk space beside the computer.

What an amazing design. How did Katherine ever figure it out?? From the envelope: Very loose fitting, pullover dress has right and left sides extending into collar and drape, no side seams, and partially elasticized hemline. Right and left sides are cut on crosswise grain. I made size 12 although my bust measurement calls for size 18. Plenty of room.
The instructions are very good. It is important to mark all dots and notches clearly on your fabric with each reference letter. This sews up very quickly but it is so unusual you must keep the instructions close at hand. I love the unusual design with only 2 main pattern pieces, and no side seams or shoulder seams. There is a slight pulling at the upper arm which I think is due to the lack of shoulder seams.

I used a cotton/lycra blend. You definitely need the 2 way stretch as the entire garment is cut on the cross grain. I thought my print was just squiggles until I laid it out on the table and discovered the lines were actually buildings. They are all sideways now because I decided to go ahead with this pattern. The buildings look fine sideways.

I shortened the dress and the sleeves 2 inches, a usual thing I do. You need to study the design to figure out where to shorten. It is the line where you add the elastic. Also, the only place to make it larger or smaller is at the center front seam as there are no side seams. I initially added there but took it out easily when I saw it was unnecessary.

I really like this dress and definitely plan to make it again. I love the stripe version and will do that if I find a suitable fabric.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

I'm back finally after a year and a half! What has happened to me? The usual trips out of the country and to Jackson Hole to visit and also surgery for me. These things wouldn't have stopped my sewing but the big event did. After 43 years in Modesto, 32 in our farmhouse, we decided to move. We wanted to be closer to our Bay Area kids, closer to the airport, and our acre of high maintenance landscaping was just too much. So after looking at over 200 houses in person, probably 1000 on line, 11 offers (the Bay Area real estate market is insane) we finally got lucky and bought our dream house. During all this time I was spending every spare moment trying to get rid of things. 8 garage sales, dozens of trips to the donation spots, giving away and selling took lots of time. In June we closed on our new house and then started the big push to sell our old house and to pack umpteen million things.

I was a collector for many, many years. I counted over 350 framed items hanging on the walls and about 100 decorative plates. Collections everywhere plus of course all the clothing and fabric stash. Although I got rid of lots, there was still much to move. One giant and one regular moving van loaded up at the end of August and we had it all hauled over here. Now I had walls of boxes and much less storage space. Everyday unpacking, and more hauling away.

Not much sewing during this long time except a few isolated projects for my granddaughter. But NOW I am ready to sew again.  I can finally feel like a human. My wonderful new sewing room is set up and a delight to be in. Don't be mad, here is the view from the sewing room. Hard to see because of the back lighting but in the view are the bay bridge, downtown San Francisco, and Golden Gate Bridge. Heaven! I can have my cutting board set up and ready to use all the time. Plus Yvette (in the red robe and hat) loves it too.

p.s. I guess I will have to change the photo at the top of my blog....