Saturday, January 21, 2012

Lucie's John Deere Flapper Dress - New Look 6113

Lucie had an interesting request for me.  She wanted a John Deere Flapper dress for a 1920's Gangster Theme Christmas party in January.  She works at the local John Deere dealer.  Ah.  Makes sense now, hey?  She thought it would be fun to have a flapper dress in John Deere colours.  I thought that sounded like a fabulous idea!  

I found green cotton broadcloth, green organza, yellow satin, green fringe, green sequin trim, a yellow beaded necklace, and yellow feathers.
 I dug through my pattern stash until I found a simple, fairly shapeless dress with bust darts.
 Fits the bill perfectly.  The bodice would be green and the skirt would be yellow.
 I wanted to sew a pleated skirt.  My mom found this absolutely fabulous 80's pattern in her stash, so I decided to use the skirt pattern.
 I sewed the lining in the full length of the dress, and checked for fit.  This was a last-minute job, and I wouldn't be able to meet Lucie for fittings, so I got her to send me her measurements.  As it turns out, we are exactly the same size, except that Lucie is 5'4", and I'm 5'10".  I got to check the fit on myself, and if all goes well, it should fit her perfectly, too.
 I made up a muslin for this dress many many years ago, when I was the same size (I haven't been this slim for 8 years!).  I had already made a few tweaks to the fit.  I took a pinch out of the neckline, a pinch out of the armscye, and let out the bust dart.  Well I'll be darned, I guess I knew what I was doing!  It's practically perfect!  I think the only thing I'll need to do for future dresses is to do a swayback adjustment so the dress doesn't hang so far forward.
 Since flapper dresses have very dropped waists, I decided to use what the pattern gave me and traced the hemline from the tank top version.  This is where the skirt will start.
 For Lucie, I shortened the bodice by 1" at the waist.  Here you can see the pinches I took out and how much bigger the bust dart is.
Once I was happy with the fit, I proceeded to cut out the green layers.  I sewed the organza on top of the broadcloth.  Nobody would ever guess there's cotton in there!  These were the only green fabrics I could find, and I'm happy it turned out so good!
 I basted just inside the bust dart lines so I could keep the layers together.  Worked like a charm.
 Time for another fitting!  I wish I could do this for all my clients.  It's so much faster when you can try stuff on, make changes, and keep sewing.  Waiting for fittings tends to slow things down a lot more.  I like to have about 3 fittings for most projects.

Isn't this cute?  I may have to make the tank top as well!  I even like the colour.  I love the variety of garments I get to sew that I wouldn't normally choose for myself.  I'll be a guinea pig any day!
 Still needs a swayback adjustment.  But just wait.  Once I sewed the skirt on, it levelled everything out.  Amazing how that works!
 I sewed in a simple centered zipper.
 And another test to see what it will look like with a yellow skirt.
 Boy oh boy, did I have fun trying to figure out these pleats!  I pulled out the pattern piece, saw how huge it was, and started trying to draft my own.  I learned a few things about what pleats are made of, so that was useful, but the drafting wasn't working.  I went back to the pattern piece.  I was supposed to cut 3 of these, and I only had 1.2m of yellow fabric, and one of them just wouldn't fit.  So, I decided to take 2 1/4" out of each pleat, and it was perfect!  I could have cut 4 if I wanted to.  Took me a long time to figure all this out, though.  
 Everything from there on went really well.  I edge stitched around the neckline and armholes so the lining wouldn't roll to the outside, and I hand-sewed the lining to the zipper tape.  I made the sequin trim into a feathered headband with some narrow black elastic.  Cute, isn't it?
 And last but not least, I sewed the green fringe to the waist seam.  I left the dress unhemmed until Lucie came for her first and final fitting on the afternoon of the Christmas party.  It was still hanging perfectly straight, so I gave it a rolled hem at 1 1/2", had a nice chat with Lucie while I sewed, and ta da, it's done!
 Lucie got entirely dressed for the party.  Too awesome!  I hope she's bombarded with compliments tonight!  I also told her to try and get a picture in front of a John Deere sign.
 And gosh darn, it fits!  How bout that!
 Lucie, you look fantastic!  Have a blast tonight!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Audrey's Gray Jumper - Simplicity 2848

A few months ago, Audrey from my choir asked if I could make her a jumper.  After the Christmas season was over, I finally had time to get to it.  I had this pattern in my stash, and we picked out a design.
The only thing we changed from this view was the slit.  I put two 6" side slits instead of the one on the front.
The gray fabric is from Fabricland.  It's gorgeous.  It has a nice twill texture to it, a bit of stretch, and it's a rayon blend, so it feels wonderful.  It was fantastic to work with.
The pattern in my stash is in the 12-20 size range, and I was hoping to get the smaller one.  It's discontinued already!  Drat!  I had to do a bit of tweaking to the size 12 to get it to fit Audrey.  I referred to the Vogue sheath dress that I made her last June (a size 8/10), and made a few minor adjustments.  The bodice was quite long.  I think it had to do with the extra length in the shoulders.  It should have been a size 8.  I ended up taking 2" of length from the waist.  Since this is a jumper and she would be wearing it over shirts and sweaters, we were okay with a little extra room.  I only took in the side seams above the waist about one size line.  Audrey is 5'6", and I added 3" in length, and only hemmed it 1".  If you're not short, double check the length!  
I love the tabs at the waist!  They were really easy to do, and they just make this look super cute.
I topstitched the yoke, neckline, armholes, and tabs in matching thread, and used some big black buttons from my button jar.
We are both very pleased with the fit of this jumper, and Audrey's excited to get lots of wear out of it this winter!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hot Pink Hoodie!!! - Jalie 2795

I hope your eyes don't go buggy, cuz you're about to be bombarded with a whole lotta PINK!!!  

I am so excited that I finally got to make myself something.  The last thing I made for myself was my white short shorts and plaid tank top back in August.  That's 4 whole months of famine!  I was in desperate need of some selfish sewing, and also in desperate need of a new hoodie, cuz my orange lululemon hoodie is getting pretty ratty.

This is my first time tackling a Jalie pattern, although I have 3 others (new bathing suit pattern, crossover top, and the famous jeans pattern).  
I traced off a straight size Z, which corresponds to the 41" bust.  I'm losing weight right now, and I'm pretty sure I'm down to a 40" bust, but for my first attempt, I wanted to make sure I had some ease so I can wear this over big t-shirts, not just fitted gym clothes.  The hips for this size are 44", which is at least 3" too big for me, but I'm quite happy with the fit.  I'm especially thrilled that there's lots of room in the shoulders, as I often have problems with RTW stuff being quite restrictive.

I decided to line the pockets with white mesh so it wouldn't add a lot of bulk.
I'm happy with how the welt pockets turned out.  The fleece welts kinda curled after they were sewn and pressed, but I'm pretty impressed with the final product.  You can kinda see the white mesh peeking out, but I'm totally okay with that.  
I'm not sure how long this took me, as I didn't feel like keeping track of my time, but I'm guessing somewhere between 4 and 6 hours.  I didn't alter anything, except that I added 2" of length to the sleeves, and I probably only needed 1".  The only thing I will change next time is to add some width to the bottom of the sleeves, as they are very narrow at the bottom, and I like them to be a bit baggier and ease into the cuff.
Another thing I will do before I cut out my next one is to fix some of the pattern pieces so they're not all cut on the fold.  There's a lot of them!  I think it must save them paper when they print the patterns, but most of them needed to be cut twice anyways, so it would be more efficient to have all the pattern pieces altered so that you only need to lay them out and cut once.
Speaking of pattern pieces, holy toledo, there's a lot of them!  Although the vast number of pieces and seams was what drew me to this pattern in the first place.  I love topstitching, and literally every seam on this hoodie gets topstitched.  I also loved the 1/4" seam allowances.  I sewed as much of it on my serger as I could, and for the rest, I just sewed straight seams at 2.5mm on my industrial machine.  Having a short stitch gives them a bit of stretch.
Besides using an orange zipper, I used orange serger thread and orange thread for all my topstitching.  I got a huge cone of orange thread at Davey Fabrics for $2, and I use it whenever I can.  It's great for muslins, quilting, and fun stuff like this.
I love how fitted the hood is!  Super cool!  I can't get over how well this hoodie compares to RTW sporty stuff like lululemon.  If I ever get my hands on some high quality fleece, no one will ever be able to tell I made my own.  Heck, they won't even be able to tell on this cheap pink stuff!
I can't wait to make more of these!  I absolutely love this, and it was just the thing I needed to give me a boost and start the new year off with a bang of PINK!!!
I'm overdue for a haircut; my hair is really long and quite fluffy (since I didn't style it today), but I don't care.  I wanted to show you how happy my new pink hoodie makes me!  *big smile!*
Yay for selfish sewing, and Happy New Year!