Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Simplicity 3786 Pintucked tunic for Autumn

Autumn in Florida! And I am inspired to sew tops with long(er) sleeves as our cooler weather moves in. Yes - cooler! Yesterday our high was 73 - and the humidity was only 31%. Lovely blue sky day...

Moving on to this cute pattern. I did a muslin in the sleeveless pintucked version in cotton lawn way back in June and really disliked it! Just felt skimpy. (Part of the problem is the fabric...too light and see-through and affected my judgment).

But it is such a versatile pattern, with loads of versions and great lines. There had to be something here for me!

Finding the perfect fabric at JoAnns inspired me to work with this pattern again. I am in love with this orange and gold batik. It's not gold foil but has the illusion of foil, and it has random splashes of a warm fuschia. The colors are deeply saturated after prewashing.  

A little aside: Batiks are so intriguing and the range has become incredible - quilters know them well. JoAnns has some but Fabric.com has a wonderful collection, as does Hancocks of Paducah. The base fabric is usually a fairly tightly woven cotton - between a quilting cotton and a calico. They sew beautifully and are very fresh and comfortable for blouses, tunics, and dresses. Yes, they give up some color - but good quality batiks are pretty stable. 

I sewed version D, the long sleeve view, but used only the upper part of the sleeve. Of course I had to modify something! The sleeves are now a longer elbow length, with bottom gathers and a plain band - a very trendy look this fall, but also a very comfortable length. No cuffs in my coffee!

The sleeve construction was done separately from the tunic, before I stitched the underarm seam or inserted the sleeve:
  • I cut the upper sleeve pieces 2.5" longer than the original pattern, based on measurements from my shoulder to my elbow. I wanted the sleeve to drop softly to the bend of my elbow.
  •  Also based on my measurements, this time the width of my arm at my elbow, I cut 4 band pieces, 1 3/4" x 13". For the width, I was after a bit of the 'open' sleeve look. Most importantly, I did not want the band to grab at my elbow when I bent my arm! Practiced with the measuring tape until it felt right...
  • The sleeve bottom was gathered with long machine stitches a bit less than 3/8" from the raw edge.

  • Two band pieces  were sewn with a 3/8" seam, right sides together, along the long edge to form each sleeve band.
  • The bands were attached to the gathered edge with a 3/8" seam, again right sides together.

New sleeve on the inside...

and on the outside...

Yes, the band could be cut in one piece rather than two - but I like the weight of the additional seam in the lower edge of the band. I did not interface the band, so the seam adds stabilization as well.

Based on my muslin, I added 5/8" to the lower edge of the tunic pieces. And sewed a 5/8" narrow hem. Nice length.

This was a fun project! Just a few more sewing notes...

I sewed the sleeves into the tunic before running up the side seams, then stitched the tunic from sleeve band to tunic hem in one go. The tunic was machine hemmed, but I slipstitched the sleeve and collar bands on the inside by hand. There is no topstitching on this tunic, almost a first for me!

The collar was attached to turn to the inside instead of to the outside. Makes for a much nicer outside finish to have the machine seam on the outside. What was Simplicity thinking! 

I only keep black and white thread in stock for my serger, so I used the overcasting foot and stitch on my sewing machine to finish my seams. This is the first time I've used this foot, aka an overlocking foot. I was inspired by Amanda, who uses hers all the time instead of a serger. I trimmed the seams to a bit more than 1/4" first - love the finish and am pleased as punch to have an alternative when I need to color match! 

I will be wearing this on the weekend - I'm visiting my grandson, son, daughter-in-law, daughter, and her companion in Orlando! And my sister, niece, nephew,  and grandnephew are coming! Very excited, this is a big gathering for us.

My thoughts are with everyone impacted by storm Sandy. 

Bye for now! Coco

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Butterick 5504 Indigo Denim Capris - Oh, lovely

I have not sewn denim in forever ever!! But I really wanted dark denim Capri's. They just seem so 'there', kind of up from jeans, more stylish, a bit more of a statement. Are you with me here?

My problem was that I kept looking at denim fabric and was so totally confounded and intimidated. Fifty shades of blue.

Then. There's the treachery of denim and grainlines. Apparently, per my research, they do not mix or dance. Denim has a mind of its own, once the twist is there, it is never to be tamed...could I resign my OCD self to such a strong-minded fabric?

OK. I was scared off!


I am on a new plane. Coco Rosie is my new name when it comes to denim. LOL.

I took a deep breath and ordered 'Prepster Blue Stretch Denim' from Fabric.com. And I am in love :-)

I should buy a bolt.
Getting back to the pattern...everything came together! This is a great capri pattern! Fun features, look at the pockets and topstitching detail!
 Of course, with my drawstring aversion, I used elastic in the waistline. Small matter. Little adjustment I made to the waistline: I am short in the rise, so I folded over a bit more than the pattern indicated. This was a simple change. Otherwise, great fit! I am 5'7", 130 lb., kind of regular bod, and sewed a Medium.
Back fit is fine.
The waist is not too gathered to wear with a 'tuck-in'.
And they are just perfect for cropped jackets.
Here is how I will probably wear them all winter, my fav top from JJill...
Can you tell I really like this pattern and this fabric? I have some red alova on hand that is destined to be my next pair of Capri's. oh yeah :-)
Bye with a big smile - Coco 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Butterick 5736 Tunic to Maxi Dress Refashion

Who would have thought! I really like this pattern, which I first sewed as a tunic using the view in red. Good looking and easy to wear. It occurred to me that it would be a great starting point for a maxi dress.
There are so many patterns like this for knit fabrics - but just try to find one for wovens. Particularly something as basic as cotton, which is not very drapey. Not so easy!

The lines of view A are simple. A no-dart bodice and a softly gathered bottom.

The refashion was done in two steps, bodice and skirt. Changes to the bodice:
  • I redrafted the front neckline, dropping it about 3 inches into a scoop neck (shown in my previous blog).
  • I lengthened the bodice by 2 inches, adding the additional length at the bottom of the two bodice pieces.
  • The contrasting waistline is a two-piece casing, which was cut at 3" x 40" and sewn to the bodice with a 1/2" seam allowance. The 40" length was more than was needed, I just made the adjustment when I applied the casing.
  • The result is a casing that is almost at my natural waistline.
  • I did the binding on the neckline and armholes in contrast fabric at this point - it is so much easier to handle without the skirt attached!
Fabric, Cotton Minibolt, AC Moore
Contrast, Cotton Hibiscus Tropical Shirting, JoAnns
Changes to the skirt:
  • I traced new skirt pieces, which for me are 42" long and included 1 1/4" for the hem. Part of the additional length was added midway down the skirt and part was added at the bottom, to keep the skirt fairly slim.
  • Pockets! were added 5 1/2" below the raw top edge of the skirt in the side seams.
  • Once the skirt was constructed, I sewed it to the the bodice casing, again with a 1/2" seam.
  • And inserted 3/4" elastic in the waistline casing. Nifty tool for pulling the elastic!
I love the result! Photo gallery:

I really enjoyed drafting and sewing this dress and am wearing it like crazy :-) I have done two more using this refashioned pattern and will get some pics up soon.
Ciao! Coco

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sewing for the fun of it

My sewing has been so all over the place lately...cannot seem to settle down to something I simply want to do. I mentioned in a comment on friend's blog that I've decided that I was feeling the pressure of having SWAPs and a fall jacket storyboard! Ouch!! I sew for pleasure - what is this? pressure? Definitely time to regroup!

Course corrected. But I will share a some funny purchases I made in my 'plan' mode. I say funny for several reasons: I am retired from working, I seldom dress 'up' and when I do, I generally sew something just for the occasion. I live in a sub-tropical climate that seldom sees temperatures requiring more than a light jacket. I love loose, comfy clothing that is architectural and interesting but not industrial (no hardware!). And I adore opportunities to mix colors and large prints. So here are a few patterns that I recently acquired and really really like - but will likely remain uncut for a while, waiting for that special occasion...

McCalls Reversible Fleece Jacket 

 Vogue 1215 Chado Ralph Rucci Shirt and Pants

 Vogue 8837 Katherine Tilton Skirt

 Vogue 1268 Guy La Roche Dress

 Vogue 1179 Knit Cowl Neck Dress

 Vogue 1204 Issey Miyake Tunic and Jeans

 Butterick 5533 Long Jackets

I feel so much better! I'm spending the day cutting out garments to sew during my stay with my daughter's kitties for the balance of the week. Things I love.

On the flip side! Coco

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Almost Halloween

I've been busy! I'm making my daughter's Halloween costume and it's a big project! The pattern is Butterick 3906...
 Progress to date:

Her dress, the long sleeve version, is actually done, except for hemming the sleeves and skirt, and running elastic through the neckline and sleeves. I cannot really show it yet because without the elastic in the neckline it looks like a box! It is done in a really nice black polyester gauze from Fashion Fabric Club and will be stunning. I added 6" to the ruffle so that she can decide her length when she puts on the entire costume. She is 5'9", I don't trust big 4 patterns to have enough length for her in any event :-)

The skirt in the photo is done except for the hem, her trim (which she has in hand, ruffled black chiffon, 2.5" wide), and whatever ribbon she chooses to tie the side. I just have a piece of elastic catching it in the photo. The fabric is a beautiful grey crepe-backed charmeuse from JoAnns. Loved sewing it, what a nice fabric! I made a 3 yard length of finished 1" ribbon in the charmeuse. Or she can go with a readymade ribbon, a grosgrain or satin. We'll see!

The vest in the photo is her muslin. After one fitting, it has lots of pins in it, but I think it will work. The final version will be black and red brocade with a black broadcloth lining and braid ties.

I know the costume will be wonderful. I'll see her next week for a final fitting and then stay on with the kitties - she and her companion are off to Salem, Massachusetts, to enjoy a B&B and do all the spooky tours in preparation for their big Halloween party!
 Ciao! Coco