Tuesday, September 30, 2014

New Look 6314 from Scraps

New Look 6314 Colorblock sweater

I wanted to make this last winter but never got around to it. I had these beautiful wool knit scraps leftover from making a cardigan for my husband and a dress for myself. Neither was enough for anything, but combined, they could be a sweater. I had forgotten about this project but when I saw some of the amazing pieced creations from Scraptember, like Katie'sMorgan's and Debbie's beautiful makes, I felt inspired to dig up those old scraps and finally sew them up.

Please ignore the wrinkles on the sleeves. I should have ironed them out, but I hadn't noticed! Please ignore the cat hairs too while you're at it. Oh, my!

I used New Look 6314 which is a new pattern for fall. It's a nice slouchy style and I made no alterations for fit. I was going for a pretty simple color blocked effect: black sleeves / marled blue body, but there wasn't enough of the blue, so I added a strip of black at the top of the back. I also had to add a center back seam because of the shape of my scraps (I topstitched those seams on the coverstitch so they lay flat). I think those modifications add interest to the garment, which goes to show, restriction can be a good thing!

The neckband is made from the reverse side of the marled blue which is a gorgeous silver and I'm so happy to show it off because it was completely hidden in the dress I made last year from the same fabric. I love that dress too and I'll try to get some pictures when I unpack it for winter, since it was never blogged.

New Look 6341 Colorblock Sweater

This was a really quick and easy project. Knit garments can be so fast to put together on the serger and so stress free. I just love making them!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

McCall 6600 Shirtdress in Radiant Orchid

Mccall 6600

I think shirtdresses are the perfect seasonal transition piece. They can be buttoned up more or less, sleeves rolled up or down to adjust for warmth or sun protection and they layer well.

McCall 6600

I used McCall's 6600, which is a tent shaped dress, and ended up giving it a slight bit of shaping at the sides so I could wear it unbelted. I did make the matching sash, but it gives the dress a very different, more formal vibe in this particular fabric. I tried it with a variety of belts, but I really like it loose. It's so comfortable this way, and I think it has attitude! Also, a belt would disrupt the drape from the back pleat which is one of my favorite features in this dress.

Mccall 6600

I was surprised when I realized I had sewn something in the Pantone color of the year. At least I think this is pretty close to Radiant Orchid (the color of this fabric varies depending how the light hits it). I do check out the Pantone color forecast every season, but it never really speaks to me. The fabric shops around here don't seem to care about what Pantone says either. As sewists, are you influenced by it? Do you find that those seasonal palettes are well represented in the fabric shops you go to?

This fabric has metallic threads in the warp. I'm not sure of its contents but the burn test seems to indicate it's cotton. The guy at the market said it has some silk in it. I don't know... maybe. In any case, I really like it. It's pretty lofty and has this crinkled texture and subtle sheen that make it unique.

I love the look of the slim cuffs, and check out the pretty vintage button!

I'm really pleased with the fit of the shoulders (the only part of this dress where fit matters, really!) They allow for forward shoulders, and contour mine well without any alterations. Shoulders are the area that I usually need to fuss around with the most, so this was a nice surprise. I think that with such a loose style it's very important that the shoulders sit well. Oh, I did size down though. When they say it is "very loose fitting", they mean it!

One unusual thing about this pattern is that the front placket facing is not turned under, so its edges show when it is unbuttoned. McCall's tells you simply to "finish the long edge of the facing", well, they really should tell you that it will be visible from the outside. I chose to cut the facings along the selvage, so they're self-finished and bulk free, and I like the look of that sliver of darker magenta at the edges. If I make this dress again though, I will probably adapt the facing so it is turned under.

I also used the selvage as a stabilizer in the shoulder seams, as you can see in this inside shot:

Another inside shot: the yoke facing.

I would like to sew a more wintery version, like in a cozy flannel. But I think I can wear this one at least through fall and most of winter, and then again in the spring.

McCall 6600

If you liked this dress, you might also want to check out the shirtdress I made last spring: Classic Shirtdress

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Big Green Coat.

Burda 08/2010-102

It's so hot out right now, it seems crazy to sew a coat, but I know I'll be reaching for it soon enough.

Burda 08/2010-102

It's a lot easier for me to envision my fall wardrobe now that my coat is sewn. For me, outerwear is key. Once you have your coat or jacket, everything else falls into place. Now I have tons of ideas for things I want to sew!

I wanted my coat to be in a color (be it a dark one), because it doesn't feel as safe as a neutral and I wish to explore a more complex palette. Dark green will work with all the colors I love for fall : jewel tones, earth tones, peach, blue, grey, black... but I think the combination of any of these colors with the green will always be more interesting than with a neutral.

This isn't the fabric I had originally planned to use.  This one is a herringbone wool in a slightly different shade of green, yellower in hue. I know the Mood bouclĂ© will find its purpose eventually, but it wasn't wide enough for this project. Since the sleeves are cut on the cross grain and I wanted long sleeves, I needed wide fabric. The original design has 3/4 to 7/8 sleeves, which is lovely but not practical for me. I like my arms to be warm too!

Even though I did make a muslin, lengthening the sleeves is the only change I made to the pattern. It's a very loose style and no fitting alterations were necessary.
I had planned to use fabric covered snaps, but decided against them eventually. This way I can adjust the front wrap overlap to make it snugger if I need more warmth.
Sewing a coat is always time consuming, but this one wasn't particularly difficult. No set in sleeves, no buttonholes... The pockets are in-seam.
The only slightly challenging detail is the angled shoulder seam which must be interfaced and sewn with precision.

Burda 08/2010-102 Angled Shoulder Seam

 Of course the collar should be shaped so it rolls nicely, for which I use the technique in my Burda book, "La Couture Pratique". The English version, which is called "Burda: a Practical Sewing Guide" seems to be out of print, however In the Mood for Couture has all the steps :)

 Some people like to cut their undercollar on the bias, but I don't, because then it won't pop!

Hand worked belt loop:

I used a flannel backed lining so it will be nice and warm. (I run cold, though I must admit winters aren't terribly rough here in Bordeaux).

This coat is exactly what I had envisioned and I can't wait for the temperature to drop so I can cuddle up in it!

If you like coats, check out the peacoat I made last fall and which I look forward to pulling out again this year!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Green Twist Dress

McCall 5484

This is McCall's 5484, an out of print pattern that I have sewn before, maybe 5 years ago, and that old dress is still one of my favorites. It always comes with me when traveling because it's versatile, unfussy and flattering, I think. I was actually wearing the old dress when I went to Mood on our trip to NY and one of the things I was looking for was fabric to make another one of these. So I picked up this rayon matte jersey which is beautiful, has a lovely drape, but it turns out is a bit too heavy for this style. In spite of my swayback adjustment that I had already worked out for my first dress, the fabric fell plumb straight away from my back because of its weight. I should have taken before and after pictures, but see this side view?

Imagine the fabric falling straight down from my shoulders to my butt instead of following the contours of my body. Not flattering, and not comfortable because of how it pulled down to the hem. The front is fine thanks to the under bust twist seam, and because I stabilized the neckline, but I had to come up with a creative solution for the back, so I added an elastic casing.

What do you think? I'm calling it a design element. The original design of the back is really quite boring without it anyway, and it does its job of keeping the dress snug against my back and taking some of the weight off the hem.

If you like green dresses, here's another one I sewed last spring: Classic Shirtdress