Soft and swingy summer tank M6359

IMG_4408 (2)Hi all! I’ve been neglecting the blog quite a bit. I just don’t know what to talk about here. I feel like I can just say – “here, I made this, look at it” for every post. What is it you readers want to hear? How can I shake this blog up and make it fun again?

McCalls 6359 frontThis time I have a cute tank top (McCall’s 6359) that made out of very soft rayon. Rayon wrinkles like a bitch, as these pictures show, but it is so lovely to wear against the skin during summer. I will usually line a garment made from rayon to keep the wrinkling down a bit, but this soft easy tank wouldn’t have been as fun to wear. I did extend the facing so it covers my bust for a little modesty, quite an easy modification.

mcCalls 6359 bodiceWhat I especially like about the shape of it is the high point where the bodice meets the straps. The top still dips very low in front, but I love the angle that takes it up before it becomes a strap, all the way to my collarbone.

M6359 tankAnd of course I love the cut of the back. I even have a bra that is cut with nearly the same lines! The racer back is gathered and connected to the facing inside, then the straps are slipped in between. It is a clean finish. I am horrible at making strap attachments look tidy.

McCalls 6359 hemI did a tiny baby hem to finish it off. It looks sharp in this photo, but I have since washed this top and the thing raveled out and now looks a mess. Not a durable finish. I’ll go back and serge the edge, then hem it tightly so that the serging stitch doesn’t show. That will be more durable. Add it to the mending pile!

M6359 tunic

 


LBD for the Sewing Bee

bias-dress-1Not little black dress, but little bias dress by Vera Venus. She has some interesting free patterns on her site and wow did this one come together so great – I would recommend it, at least the skirt portion. With such a cool vintage feel to the skirt, I decided to switch up the bodice pattern to use the McCall’s 6760, made previously here. It balanced out the figure-hugging skirt, I thought.

bias-dress-2Since the challenge for 2nd round of the 3rd annual Pattern Review Sewing Bee was bias, I did some serious thinking. I assumed everyone would do plaid or stripes, so I came up with the idea to use a border print. I’m obsessed with border prints right now, and the border print could be used on the bias to do some interesting things. It is like a striped fabric, just only along the selvedge edge! I even had a double border print, so I could really flaunt that border. So I cut it out.

bias-dress7Well, it didn’t turn out quite right because I lengthened the skirt (I imagined this dramatic maxi length dress) and forgot to widen the bottom frill! Man! I was bummed. Soon, when I go back and finish that dress, I will have to cut off some of the skirt or scrap the frill, but either way, it won’t be the showstopper that I imagined. So I started over.

bias-dress4I went with stripes, and I am so glad I did. This pairing of fabric and pattern turned out perfect. Not all my projects can say that! It is a rayon challis with a little bit of a texture to it and boy did it drape on the bias! That is why the skirt turned out so form fitting. I am wearing all kinds of shapewear under that thing, in addition to sucking it in.

bias-dress5I was especially sad when I started over because cutting on the bias is such a pain! Ugh. This shifty rayon was really difficult, but at least those stripes were on grain. And since I had traced the full size pattern pieces onto my plastic sheeting, I could see through it and see if my stripes were straight all the way down the piece. That was the key and I may employ that tactic on other tricky to cut fabrics.

Another smart thing I did (at least I think so) is I made my rouleau tubes just big enough to be able to turn with a safety pin. I am no good at using bodkins. I have tried and tried. But I’ve made straps before where the safety pin couldn’t fit through, and I got stuck.  So, even though sewing less than an inch of bias fabric is difficult, at least turning them was not a big deal. And they turned out nice and round and springy. Pro tip – use a .5 zig zag when stitching the bias straps so the thread doesn’t snap when the tube stretches.

bias-dress-fully-linedThe lining is also rayon, but it had a bit more body, so I cut it about half an inch bigger since I knew the diamonds of the bias wouldn’t collapse as much and it wouldn’t stretch at the same rate as the rayon challis. I was right for once and headed off disaster, because that lining is much more snug than the outer and it would’ve rode up my hips if it was any tighter. Phew!

bias-dress-backI didn’t fully line the back because I wanted it to be light and didn’t need the modesty in the back. But on second thought, I wish I had because i don’t like how you can see the facing through the dress.

bias-dresswaistbandAnd I have to mention my stylish and supportive waistband. Basically, when I thought of a whole drapey, bias dress I got very shy. I didn’t want to be wearing a slip around, even a lined slip. So I went with a straight grain, interfaced waistband that held my tummy in and gave support to the rather heavy skirt. Rayon is sometimes heavy, which adds to the beautiful drape but it could have really pulled that bodice out of shape. I have about 4 yards of this gorgeous denim colored rayon and I have not decided what else it will become yet. I do know it wrinkles like nobody’s business, but that will be a consideration. Because the waistband on the dress is interfaced, the wrinkling is not so evident here.

Anyway, the results are in! This dress helped me make it to the next round of the Bee, and the next challenge will be announced  Sunday. Here is my full review with lots of sewing notes. As a little palate cleanser I’m making something for the Style Makers Fabric Blog tour. I got to work with Japanese double gauze for the first time and believe me, it will not be my last! It is the stuff fabric dreams are made of! I’ll be back Sunday with that fun project.

 


Tessuti Kate Top is a winner, even as a muslin

Tessuti Kate Top 1I hate making muslins. I really do. If I make a muslin out of an ugly fabric while only sewing up the seams to check for fit, I never get the desired outcome. I know my skill at fitting is not advanced, so I cannot tell from those kinds of garments where to adjust, unless it is something easy and obvious, like length. But I don’t have to make a muslin to check for length, I can just hold the paper pattern up to my body or use a measureing tape. What seems to happen is I will make a pattern (not a muslin) and during the course of wearing it, the tweaks and adjustments needed make themselves known to me. Does anyone else do it this way? Continue reading


Armholes for days on Vogue 1379

Vogue 1379 SewnBefore I make up a pattern that I do not want to muslin (which is most things) I look around the interweb to see if anyone else has made it and how it hangs on them. I couldn’t find a single review or finished version of Vogue 1379. But, since this dress is very loose fitting, there will be no detailed notes on my adjustments to this pattern.  It may not be very helpful after all, even if it is the only review! Continue reading