Summer Sewing Recap

I finished my summer sewing the week before last and I really love how it turned out. Do you remember the plans I made? And now I have real clothes that actually look like those drawings. How exciting is that?!?! 

The piece I've gotten the most use out of is the red striped dress. It's so easy to wear anywhere and super comfortable. I can't wait to wear the rest of the pieces too. I'm already thinking about what I want to make for Fall. Stay tuned!!

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Summer Sewing No. 3 – Floral Dress

Oh my gosh! Can you believe I've completed my Summer Sewing plans? I can't. Seven pieces finished. Woohoo! This is number 3 on the list, Vogue V1152 floral dress. The pattern is from their designer series by Rebecca Taylor. After I completed it and tried it on I was really reminded of a 90's dress. But I do love it. Every girl needs at least one or five sweet floral dresses. Don't you think?

This was actually the second one that I started. I had it all cut out a couple months ago but only started sewing it together this weekend. There are so many steps that I got kind of intimidated. But I'm so happy that I conquered it. I love this dress. To get myself started sewing this baby, I laid out all the pieces in piles according to the steps.

The pattern has a lot of details including princess seams and front insets with piping. Instead of making my own piping I used a pre-made cording that contrasts nicely with the colors in the fabric. There were a lot of steps to put this together but I had a really good time sewing it. I think I was kind of frustrated with my last couple creations with the french seams and the fitting. But this one was really fun! Maybe it's that I've made gads of dresses before or that Vogue patterns are kind of my go-to. Either way, this was the piece that had me gladly staying up until 2am and wishing there was more to sew.

On the hanger the dress looks almost the same in the front and back. The sheer, busy floral pattern tricks the eye that way. The back has a yoke that extend over the shoulder to the front and elastic casings at the back waist. I made a few minor changes to this pattern. First, I lengthened the dress by about 1.5 inches in the bodice in order to make the seam with the piping fall below the bust line. To do this I lengthened all of the front and back pieces. Instead of doing a facing for the bodice, I made a full lining piece out of the fashion fabric. Because of the sheerness of the fabric, I didn't want to see the edge of the facing showing through. Also instead of doing pleated sleeve caps, I got lazy (it was 2am) and just did gathers. I figured no one is really going to be able to tell and the look will be the same. Then after it was all done, I decided that I wanted the fit at the waist to be a little tighter so I made the elastic at the back shorter by about .5 inch. 

The fabric is a sheer, polyester floral that I found in the Michael Levine bargain bin downtown. This is the kind of floral pattern that I just die for. It's so pretty! This kind of fabric frays very easily so I serged the edges with black thread. Often I will finish all of the edges of my fabric pieces before sewing them together but I wanted to cut down on some of the bulk from the gathers and all the seams so for the most part I serged after I stitched the seams. That made for a lot of switching between the serger and sewing machine but I like how it worked out. The only parts of the dress that are lined are the bodice and back yoke. So, to avoid showing my underthings to the whole world, I just wear a ready made slip with the dress.

How sweet is this dress?! I really love it. It's a little bit 30's and a little bit 90's so I styled it with red lipstick and a black patent leather vintage handbag. I picked up the silver flats at Ross over the weekend (score! they never have size 11). They are similar to these and these. I'm not sure where I'm going to wear this dress first but I'm thinking a matinee at the theatre or a weekend brunch. 

I really enjoyed this pattern and would recommend it to others. The fitting alterations I made are my standard changes. There were no surprises and it just went together really nicely. If I found the right fabric I would even consider making it again. Have you tried out Vogue V1152 before?

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Summer Sewing No. 5 – Chambray Shorts



I started working on these shorts a really long time ago. I was daunted. I stalled out a few times. I procrastinated. I postponed. I made other things. I did the easy stuff first. But there came a time when I had to buckle down, bite the bullet, make a few muslins and just, like, do it. And look at those cute little shorts! The lightweight chambray, the vintage red buttons. This level of cute is apt to give you cavities. The pattern is Colette 1022 Iris shorts. There are tons of these around the blogosphere and the pattern has many "highly recommended" reviews on Sewing Pattern Review.





So what was the big deal? It's just a pair of shorts for goodness sake. And I have actually made shorts before. It's just that I generally make skirts or dresses. Fitting a skirt or dress is just so much easier for me. I know what to do there. But when it comes to pants or shorts there are all theses curves that I just don't fully understand. And then you see, I'm 5'11" with a long torso. And if I can get a little personal here, that means I have a larger than average "rise" – as in crotch rise. And there's nothing worse than being bunched up and uncomfortable in the crotch.

When I looked at the measurements for the Iris pattern I became worried. I would normally wear a size 8 to 10, waist size dependent on how much I had for lunch. The finished measurements of the garment allow only 1/2" ease at the waist and 4 inches at the hip. Eek! I can already imagine my waist getting uncomfortably squeezed. But then a second thought occurred to me. Are these shorts supposed to rise as high as my actual waist? That would be about 14 inches from the bottom of the crotch to the waist. There's no way I could seriously wear shorts like that. I'd look like a lady version of Steve Urkel. So I did some google searching and found a very helpful review of the pattern by The Virtual Princess and the Pea. She has a similar figure to mine and I really appreciated reading her review. According to her experiences, the Colette patterns are best suited for the pear shaped figure. And judging by all the glowing reviews I've seen, I would recommend the pattern for someone with that shape. If you're more of a stick or apple, I'd try a different pattern. I had pretty good luck with Burda Style's Ruby shorts if you're looking for something with buttons on the sides.

I made a few muslins and ended up adding ease to the waist and subtracting it from the back leg (as seen above). I probably should have cut and slashed the back to remove that excess fabric. Does anyone know? The back was just too roomy for my flattish bum. Even after making the muslins, I ended up doing additional alterations to the fashion fabric version, even installing the zipper twice. Good grief! Do I know nothing about making a muslin?

And here they are! All done! If I do decide to make the pattern again, I will add additional room to the crotch and waist. I was right at the end of my seam allowance on these. I didn't notice those wrinkles above my bum until I took the pictures. Does anyone know what causes those? You might notice that the waistband is tight but the hips are a little loose. You can also see in the picture that my natural waist falls up by my elbow. Can you imagine if these shorts were that high? Yikes! The rise would be 5 times the length of the legs.

And of course a front view. They are rather cute shorts that I hope will get some wear.
Worn here with:
DIY Braided Fabric Bracelet (Check out my tutorial here.)
Striped Top (Mine is a few years old from Anthropologie. Similar here and here.)
Navy Flats (Mine are Steve Madden. Similar here and here.)

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