Saturday, January 31, 2015

MOB Dress - A tale of two tops

Only three weeks left before the big day, and I'm working on my final MOB dresses. Yes. Dresses, plural. I've chosen two designs and two fabrics!

But I'm laughing right now, so all is OK.

The boutonnieres at left are for the gents in the wedding party. I love them. Ashley was so excited to find these, offered by a crafter in the Ukraine. They're perfect for her latte/country pink color theme and reflect the ambiance that she and Darrin want to create.

I've actually completed all the fitting and muslins for the hardest part of the two dresses - the bodice. The skirts are easy! The two dress designs have a lot in common: a raised waist, rounded neckline, 3/4 length sleeves, and a long skirt gathered into the bodice. I tentatively plan a narrow sash-style band covering the bodice/skirt seam. Maybe even with a small bow and/or long ties in the back. For the skirt, well, either black or self-fabric.

Here's a look at the 'two tops'. This fabric is Floral/Aztec Print in a cotton/linen blend, from FabricMart. It's mid-weight, doesn't need a lining, and is the more casual of the two fabrics I'm considering.

First bodice, based on the Salme Pleated TShirt (the blue marks are chalk lines ):

My bodice has 3 pleats plus length for adding the skirt.The sleeves are extended with a band that will be hemmed to echo the pleats. The back is plain and has no darts.

And the second bodice, based on the one I used for my Tiered Maxi dress:

The front has side and vertical darts, and the back is plain. I redrafted the armscye using the Salme pattern and used the sleeves from that pattern as well, again with additional length.

Both tops have faced necklines, instead of binding.  I confess I'm always bothered by the raw edge of the hem on a facing, so I finish it first on the serger. Picky, but only takes a minute to do. It also makes the fold on the curved edge a lot easier! (yes, that's very high-tech masking tape on my needle plate, marked at 5/8" and 1" with a fine-tip Sharpie. I keep a roll in the loft.)

Back to the sewing loft for the weekend. Tennis, football, old Oscar-winning movies on TCM - what could be better. Hope yours is nice as well.

Ciao! Coco

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jungle January! BurdaStyle 05/2010 #113 Tiered Maxi Dress

I love Jungle January! And missed it last year, life was just going in other directions back then. I was determined to get in a growl or roar this year.

And things worked out like a charm. I've been attracted to this tiered maxi dress from BurdaStyle for a couple years. It's so feminine and a little bohemian. Definitely perfect for Florida almost year 'round.

The drawback for me has been the bodice. It's not my style and wouldn't work for me either! I need lingerie with straps.  But the vertical darts on the pattern seemed a good idea. I pored through my stash and came up with McCalls 6554, a Fashion Star sundress pattern. Bonus: both vertical and side darts!

A quick muslin and just a few changes to the McCalls pattern:

- I slit both bodice pieces just above the front side dart and dropped the bottom piece by 1". This took care of my FBA and vertical dart adjustments. 
- To compensate, I removed that 1" from the bottom edge. 
- I taped some drafting paper inside the front neckline and redrew it to a rounded neckline. 
- I didn't sew the back darts or use a zipper, and I straightened the side seams just a tad.

This little bodice is going to be a TNT for me. The fit is great. I've already sewn it in ITY knit fabric, and used it in a muslin for my Mother of the Bride dress.

The same pattern worked for both the woven and the knit. Serendipitous.

It's hard to see the print on this wonderful polyester broadcloth from, so here's a closeup:

Jungle Safari Cheetah Rose Burgundy
It came in two more colorways, both of which I purchased - wish I had more of all three.

Jungle Safari Gold & Green Flowers
Jungle Safari Amber & Rose Flowers

I wear cardi's a lot and love how this dress looks with a sweater. And it feels good - it was windy and  'only' 70 degrees during this photo shoot. Yes, I was chilly!

Back in the house and into my jungle jammies...

Ciao! Coco

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A sewing kit for my son...

And a fun trip to JoAnn's on Senior Discount Day :-)

My mind has been at work since I got back from visiting with my son and grandson for our little Christmas get-together. DGS, soon to be six, is so proud of and careful with his school clothing. His school has grades pre-kinder through high school, every class has it's own uniforms, and all of them are very traditional.

And I had a little shudder - what if one of those buttons on his Wednesday dress shirt popped off? Or the hem on his shorts or pants failed? And the discovery was made during the morning get-dressed-for-school time, and everything else was in the laundry...

Maybe DS has a sewing kit. I know I gave both my kids kits along the way during college and law school. But I also know I did a lot of their repairs during their trips home. And, yes, a stapler was used in between those visits :-) I know they both use tailors now.

On to the kit! It has to fit in a small box. This case is for 4x6 photos.

Self-threading needles. I can't imagine DS threading a needle without some loss of cool. I use these and love them! Great for grabbing tied-off threads and sinking them at the end of a seam or dart or topstitching.

Some glass-head straight pins. No need to worry if he irons over them. He doesn't get all of these! These pins are what I use all the time, my favorite for just about all fabrics. I do use yellow-head quilt pins on denim.

A seam ripper. He really needs this. DGS is sensitive to cloth tags and not all his things are tagless. A seam ripper is indispensable for getting a tag out of collars and side seams. I use the white handle Clover ripper and the pink Fons Porter ripper, because I do a lot of ripping! But I this one has a good thin point and should work well for DS.

Thread. I can't stand those little spool collections with awful cotton thread in them. This collection of pre-filled bobbins (poly thread) is perfect! And I can always reload them for him.

And the safety nets! 

(1) Safety pins (I bet he doesn't have more than a couple).

 (2) Pressure-sensitive tape that he can use to hem anything in a hurry! 
No iron needed, and it's washable.  

I've rounded up some small plastic boxes for the pins, and closable bags for the bobbins and sewing needles. Of course I'll give him the hem tape packaging separately, so he can read about it!

On a sentimental note, Mom left me all of her sewing things. She was quite a sewist and had beautiful tools, fabrics, and trims. I've tucked her short scissors and some shirt buttons from her hand-sewing case in DS' sewing kit. The scissors are German-made from Bolinger steel, and the movement and blades are exquisite. I know he will appreciate having them. They were very close.

A nice day. Bye for now! Coco

Monday, January 19, 2015

Maxing out a muslin...

Indulging my love of maxi dresses...

Once I finished the pics for my MOB muslin #2,  which I wore as a top, I removed the bottom tier of black ITY knit and made a maxi!

I had the skirt tier on standby - it was a leftover from my first wadder of 2015, an unposted muslin using Butterick 6051.

I made the version in the pic above, but I just didn't like having the waistband at my natural waistline. My bust comes perilously close these days! and the effect is just not the best for me.

However, raising a waistline is easy. Check out all the designs included in the pattern! and it's intended for both knits and cottons. I think it's a great pattern and don't regret buying/making it at all.

Leaving mosquito-ville, more pics from the sunnier end of the patio...

Once I got the tier sewn on, I noticed the unfortunate angle of the medallion and pattern slices across my upper hip - but out of my control. It repeats on the back as well. I prefer to think it makes me look a bit like a harem dancer...

I never learn. A side trip into the garden,

And a hasty retreat. Seems I woke up the those little beasty mosquitos once again. This will stop soon. Our rainy season has stretched out this year, which is a blessing. I like to place the bug blame on my neighbor's two backyard ponds.

Ciao! Coco

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Last MOB dress muslin post - I promise!

I admit I'm having a blast doing muslins. Maybe I'll just do muslins - all year long! It's fun and there's absolutely no pressure. 

Well, OK, there's this MOB dress thing out there, but conceptually, there's no pressure :-)

Having spent hours looking at my first MOB dress muslin, I've decided I don't particularly like v-necklines on myself. As my bustline and neck drop, v-necks appeal to me less and less. I need 'up'!

This muslin has a round neck! and I like it better.

It also has both bust and vertical front darts. I've been thinking for a while that putting darts in my knit tops might also give me some of that 'up'. 

It's not so easy to find a darted pattern for knits, so I pulled out a bodice I drafted recently for my Jungle January dress (coming soon). It's based on McCalls 6884 Fashion Star sundress, which is for woven fabric.

Basic changes for the Jungle January dress: I slit both bodice pieces just above the front side dart and dropped the bottom piece  by 1". This took care of my FBA and vertical dart adjustments. To compensate, I removed that 1" from the bottom edge. My other change was to tape some drafting paper inside the front neckline and redraw it. I didn't sew the back darts or use a zipper, and I straightened the side seams just a tad.

For this knit bodice, I added the same sleeve and skirt elements I used on my first muslin: sleeves from Vogue 1315, skirt from New Look 6936.

At this point in my photo shoot, a mosquito buzzed my ear! Don't they know they're not allowed here?

More fabric arrived this week...Post-holiday sales have been my best friend. I've paid $5/yd or less for all the fabrics I've purchased this month. 

Tribal Stripe Cotton Lawn, Aztec Print Cotton/Linen Blend - Fabric Mart

I've already laundered the lawn. Gosh, it is so soft and not a wrinkle anywhere. The nicest lawn fabric I've ever had. It feels like very fine rayon challis. I plan to launder the cotton/linen blend twice before I lay it out for cutting.

The cotton/poly sweater knit from laundered beautifully. I was so afraid it would simply unravel! 

Bye for now, hope everyone is safe and near loved ones.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

MOB Dress V1 is complete!

Live from the garden for a change! It has been so long since I took photos outside. But my patio and walks have been cleaned of  their rainy season mold, the air is lovely and cool, and the sun is staying just behind the clouds - perfect for the camera. 

Ms. Squirrel let me down, no doubt getting into trouble in the neighborhood with her buddies...

I finished this 'muslin' not long after I posted ideas for my MOB dress and showed the bodice of this dress.  I love it. And I love ITY knit. It's just heavenly to sew and wear. Once it's sewn, the iron goes away forever, and it travels like a dream. 
Clementine Floral ITY Knit - Fabric Mart

To reprise, it's a mix of two patterns:

Bodice and skirt - New Look 6936

Sleeves and bodice sleeve armscye redraft - Vogue 1315

I added a 1.5" waistband and casing (finished width), in which I inserted 3/4" elastic. The casing is woven broadcloth, which supports the weight of the ITY skirt. 

The bodice, skirt, and waistband are all 42" in width, so no gathering is required :-) The small gathers provided by the elastic are just enough to ease my full bust and allow the skirt to fall nicely past my hips without clinging.

I'm really pleased with the bodice - all that careful fitting paid off.

Ideas continue - I just finished the muslin of another dress, totally different from this one. And I like it so much that I ordered some fabric for a second version. Ashley's colors are pink and latte, so I'm keeping them in mind as I shop. I definitely will not wear orange!

Lawn - Fabric Mart, Cotton/poly sweater knit -

I also got the Vogue 8885 shrug pattern in the mail, and I've put it aside as too fussy. Instead I'm working on a muslin of View B of McCalls 6461 - it's one of my very favorite cardigan patterns. I've sewn it 4 times in various ways, and admit I've never blogged it.

It has a really cute twisted tee pattern thrown in. I've not sewn it, but I've seen some nice versions on the web.

A couple more pics - Ashley's bridal shower is the end of January, maybe I'll wear this dress!

Ciao! Coco