Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Raspberry Baby Dress

Burda Baby Dress

This is a gift for a tiny relative in Canada. Since her older brother is dressed rather conservatively, I went with a classic style and details, but couldn't resist this bright raspberry cotton! I love the color and the fabric is wonderfully soft to the touch, especially after pre-washing.

The pattern is #145 from the July 2012 issue of Burdastyle. The skirt combines pleats and gathers, just like my Moneta dress :)
I skipped the sleeves because I wasn't sure they would be comfortable.
I cut a 68, which is supposed to be a size 6 months, but it seems big to me. I have no baby around to verify the size, so we'll see how that works out.

The tone-on-tone embroidery detail was done by machine with a wing-tipped needle, which punches tiny holes as it sews. This was my first time using it and it's a bit scary, because you couldn't take those holes out if it didn't work out! I like the result though.
I lined the bodice in the same fabric, so all seam allowances are enclosed. This should be more comfortable for the baby. To do this, I simply traced the bodice without the facing and cut 2 identical pieces, so it's lined to the edge.

I sewed the bodice using a variety of techniques from Connie Long's "Easy Guide to Sewing Blouses" I used the chapters on sewing a lined vest and sewing a collar stand (I treated the bodice as the collar stand, or to be more specific, I attached the bodice to the skirt the same way she attaches a collar stand to the body of a shirt). I know I've mentioned this book many times before, but I find it indispensable! Thanks to these techniques, I was able to sew it all without any hand stitching. The only things that are sewn by hand in this dress are the buttons and snaps. Not that I dislike hand stitching necessarily, but I always prefer to go with the most hassle free option.

I turned under the front facing in the skirt portion and stitched it down. Burda has you leave it open. Why? I could imagine tiny kicking feet getting caught in the folds, poor thing! I think Burda pattern makers have to churn out so many styles every month, they aren't always able to think through the practical aspects. It's something I've noticed before with Burda magazine patterns...

The Back:

I sometimes sew things for my daughters too, but they're bigger.
                See here: Plaid Birthday shirt
                and here: Scout Tee Family

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dark Waters Dress

I really love this fabric. It's a soft and drapey rayon challis, doesn't wrinkle too much, and the color is such an intense cobalt blue! The print sort of imitates tie dye, but it looks a lot like ripply water to me. Not shallow water, but dark and mysterious, which is even better.

I wanted a very simple, floaty dress and used pattern 122 from the July 2011 issue of Burdastyle.

I skipped the waistline casing so I can wear it unbelted if I choose. It feels weightless in the heat.

Dark Waters in the trees

A very simple project, packable and easy going, but it can go out to dinner. Just the kind of clothes I want to sew right now. With the mercury rising, I don't want to get involved in complicated projects.

The neckline is finished with purchased synthetic bias tape and a pretty little button. I also used the bias tape for the button loop and as piping for the shoulder detail. I took this detail shot after wearing it all day.

Here's another shot of it unbelted. It's so comfortable this way :)


If you like interesting prints, check out my Water Lilies Skirt
And here's another blue Summer dress: 70s Maxi dress

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Moneta with Pleats & Gathers

With so many cute Colette Monetas all over the web, I kept going back and forth on whether to try it. I reasoned that gathers all around my waist are not a good look for me. Then I read comments saying that the skirt is shaped and the gathers are very soft and flattering, so finally decided to give it a go. Well, I tried the gathers, and as expected, they made me look stumpy. I considered replacing them entirely with pleats similar to the ones in the Michelle skirt, but finally decided that I simply needed to break them up at center front. They look fine in the back.

So, I undid the middle portion and put in two pleats. This creates two soft vertical lines in the front which I find lengthening and flattering.

I used a cotton double knit in a mango color which is quite substantial, but also very easy to work with. I'm not even certain this dress is finished! I lengthened the skirt portion so I could hem it at whatever length seemed best once the dress was done, but for now the edge is raw. I kind of like it like that. I think I'll wear it this way for a while and then decide if I want to hem it.

As you can see, Bordeaux is a biking city :)

I finished the neckline with binding, which seemed neater than just turning it under, and the sleeves were hemmed on the coverstich with a single chainstitch.

Here, with the wind blowing, you can really see those pleats. They are stitched down about 8 cm, which helps keep the front flat.
The Moneta has notches around the waist line so you can easily match up the skirt and bodice. I measured the distance from center front to notch on both the front bodice and front skirt. The excess in the skirt became a pleat.

I also made a few adjustments to the front bodice. I muslined the bodice only, and found there was lots of excess fabric pooling in the upper chest area. To remedy this, I scooped out the front armcye. I also shortened the armscye taking several centimeters off the sides, tapering to nothing at the waistline (I also straightened the sides. The Moneta's front bodice has rounded side seams, which might be a good idea for larger busts, but with my B cup, it just caused ripples at the sides). I also reduced the width of the sleeves which were very big on me in the size S.

Feels like Summer now. I'll be sewing easy packable pieces for a while. What are you sewing for Summer?

More Summer dresses: Silk Tunic DressSimple T shirt Dress

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Water Lilies Skirt

This is the Burdastyle Michelle skirt I made last week and posted to the Me Made May flickr group on the last day.
MMMay'14 day31

Do any of you remember the days when Nora Abousteit and Benedikta Von Karaisl started up Burdastyle.com and offered a new free pattern every week, independently from the magazine? We, thousands of sewing enthusiasts, waited impatiently for Monday to come, so we could discover the new free pattern! I made my first Michelle back then (see it in my last post) and it is still my go-to Summer skirt. It feels airy in the heat because it has no waistband, is just full enough to be comfortable and is made out of a light cotton. I intended for my new one to be just as summery... However, I found this very interesting 100% polyester fabric at the market and it wanted to be a Michelle. Who am I to argue with fabric?

It has a loose weave, sort of like a tweed.

The print is reminiscent of Monet's water lilies. Let me just say, I personally dislike it when fashion copies Fine Art. I think it's kind of gimmicky. Yes, even when Yves Saint Laurent did it. To me, a "Mondrian dress" is a caricature of Mondrian's paintings... So, this skirt is not my Monet skirt or anything. It's just a skirt made with interesting fabric that happens to reference Monet's most famous paintings.

I find this fabric oddly beautiful, even though it has all the ingredients to be tacky: polyester, faux impressionism, shiny bits... It is often a fine line between tasteful and kitsch.
This close up shows its real colors much better than the photos of me wearing it. This fabric has a sheen that makes it very difficult to photograph.
It's easier to see the weave on the wrong side. There are blue metallic threads in there and they show through on the printed side as well.

I have no idea what type of fabric this is. If one of you does, please chime in! I'd love to know as I bought more in a different print. Maybe home dec?
So, my new skirt isn't exactly summery in this fabric, but it's perfectly fine for Spring in Bordeaux! I've worn it a couple of times already. I like that it's working out quite well as an everyday skirt worn with a sweater or tee.
I have enough left of this fabric in this particular print to make something else. Maybe a cropped jacket (though I would never wear the two together), what do you think?

One interesting fact about the Michelle pattern is that the front and back are exactly the same, so don't worry if you get them mixed up, it will make no difference whatsoever :)

See another of my favorite skirt styles here : Nettie Bodysuit + 90s Sarong Skirt

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

My Me Made May was Blue and Grey

Burdastyle free Kimono Tee

I'm so glad I participated in Me Made May! The flickr group was like going to a month long party where you get to meet so many lovely and talented people from around the world! I had no idea what to expect going in, but I must say, though it's a little bit of an effort posting a picture of yourself everyday (and I admit I skipped a couple), it was absolutely worth it.
Thank you to all the participants for welcoming me and being so supportive. Truly, as a relatively new blogger, I'm still discovering how wonderful the home sewing community is.

Me made May gave me the opportunity to be more mindful of what I wear and how I wear it. My wardrobe is about 50% handmade so it's interesting to see how this balances out from day to day. I do wear jeans a lot and my jeans are RTW. So there were days when I had to resist the urge to put on jeans with a store-bought sweater. Here I wore handmade denim trousers instead:

Burda 01/2011 pants

One thing I observed during this month long experiment, is that I have pretty successfully moved away from black, and toward blue and grey instead. I like grey because I find it peaceful and comforting and blue just seems like a natural for Summer. It is airy and refreshing. Though they don't make me look ill like black does, blue and grey are not my best colors. However, they are great neutrals and mix well with all the other colors in my wardrobe, and in the right shades, I can make them work with my complexion. I think Green and coral suit me best, but I generally wouldn't wear them from head to toe, except in a dress, like this:

Butterick 5472

The other thing that interested me was to see which silhouettes feel the most like me. And taking a picture of your outfit everyday can really help with that. Here was one of my favorite silhouettes. Nothing spectacular, but I really feel comfortable in this:

Fitzpatterns Kate top + Burdastyle Michelle skirt

Seeing this picture reminded me of how much I love Burdastyle's Michelle skirt, so I went ahead and made another. I wore the new skirt on the last day, but the picture I posted doesn't show its true colors (the fabric is difficult to photograph) so I want to take more pictures before I show it to you.
My other favorite silhouette, of course, is slouchy pants worn with a sweater.
Did you participate in Me Made May, and what has it taught you about your wardrobe?

More Me Made May pictures here: My Peacoat