September 27, 2014

change of life

Hi friends! I was a little dismayed the other day when I visited my blog and saw that the last post was made over a year ago. Has it really been so long? It makes me sad to see that, and it also feels wrong to just abandon the place, so I'm here to say hello.

There's big change brewing around these parts, and I want to share everything but I'm not ready right now. I've started/revived and have also posted there in a similarly vague manner. I may move some things around, may merge this all back together at some point, but right now, this is what feels right to me so I'm going with it.

If you're still here after all this time (you're not, are you?!?), I want to say thank you for your virtual friendship and your patience! I've been doing a reasonable job keeping up with you (in a sneaky lurker way), but I'm there. You all continue to inspire me and I'm excited to share something that I've made with you again someday. Soon!


June 9, 2013

Cake Riffs- Cabarita!

Hooray! My long-awaited Cake Patterns Hummingbird and Cake RiFFs Cabarita arrived on Friday, and I couldn't wait to tear right into them both! I only managed to squeak out a Cabarita on Saturday, but I'm looking forward to the 30 Minutes a Day Sewalong that is coming up for Hummingbird, and I'm trying to figure out what view to make first.

Meanwhile, check out this little cutie:

Cabarita in coral stripes

I knew I wanted to use a stripe to play with the fun directional cutting that Steph features in Cabarita, and I had this coral tissue knit jersey that I thought might be okay. I was worried it was a little lightweight (and it probably is) but I do like the finished product enough to wear it despite a couple of flaws.

Cabarita top

Here it is a little closer. This top was pretty quick and easy to whip up, and I constructed the whole thing on my serger, except for a bit of topstitching and the twin-needle hem. It looks pretty good from the front, but things get a little bit problematic from behind:

Cabarita top back view

This is not a great look, I know. I cut a size 35 front and back, and while I'm happy with the amount of ease in the front, I think it's just too big in the back. Probably cutting a 30 back, especially in this light drapey knit, would have been a wiser choice.

Strangely, I think it looks a little better backwards from the back:

Backwards Cabarita- back view

Steph showed the versatility of the pattern by wearing one of her Cabaritas backwards, so I had to try it too. And here it is backwards from the front:

Backwards Cabarita- front view

There's not a whole lot to say about the construction- it's a pretty straightforward make. I wasn't sure I was going to like the collar, but I knew I wanted to make it up with the collar the first time around, especially with the striped fabric, and I'm glad I gave it a shot! I really like it on the finished top.

Cabarita for spring

I did have to search through my recycling bin twice looking for the back neck binding piece, but thankfully I had the thought to check the Cake Patterns site before too long and found that the patterns were accidentally printed without that piece. Steph has the PDF pattern piece ready to go right on though, so within minutes I was ready to go. And really- it's just a rectangle, I absolutely could have managed without, but it was more an issue of me thinking that I had lost my mind when I couldn't find the piece anywhere in my house!

I'm thinking for version two it might be cute in a more stable navy or red knit with a white collar- what do you think? Too sailor costumey? Did your Hummingbird preorder arrive? Will you be sewing along June 17-27? I'm in the Violetear House- sign up for the Flickr group and join the fun!

June 3, 2013

Simplicity 2177- Ships Ahoy!

Here I am, as promised, to share some details of one of the dresses that you saw during MMM'13 week two: Simplicity 2177, the Ships Ahoy! dress.

 May 8 

I found this border print a couple of years ago during a forage through the clearance bins at JoAnn. I find the best stuff on clearance there, and I only shop during 50% off red tags time, so it's always a steal! I hoarded it away until I could decide on the perfect border-print-friendly pattern to use, and finally landed on Simplicity 2177. As per usual, the pattern envelope is meh, but there are a couple of nice renditions of this dress on Pattern Review, so I decided to go for it.

Ships Ahoy Bodice

I draped the fabric onto my dress form to decide how to go about placing the pattern on the bodice area, and decided to rotate the weird bust dart out to the side in order to preserve the continuity of my circle pattern. The pattern would have the bust darts coming out from the center triangle inset, but I decided that would have done strange things to the design there. 

S2177 Bust Dart

A few other sewists have commented on the pointiness of the darts placed as the pattern was drafted, and I definitely also experienced that in the muslin stage, so I was more than happy to make that alteration to my finished dress.

I did make some effort to match the pattern in strategic locations, but I wasn't always 100% successful. I'm pleased with how things came out on the bodice, and the bottom hem is as good as it gets (easy to do with straight lines to follow), but I couldn't have it all- I decided it was more important to match the pink circle on the bottom hem in back than worry about the rest.

S2177 Back

This was an entirely stash-built dress, which I'm quite happy to report! I did buy a navy zipper, but the facings and the seam finishes were all things that I had around that just happened to match quite nicely. The green slinky poly stuff I used for facings and pocket bags is leftover from my Cambie lining, and it is something that has been in my stash for at least a decade to begin with. It's nearly gone now (finally)!

S2177 Interior S2177 Inset Panel Finish

I used a whole variety of seam finishes in this dress, depending on what and where. The seam allowances are mostly just serged, but I turned-and-stitched the allowances around the triangle inset. I hand catch-stitched the bias binding to the armholes because I don't really like the look of topstitching there and couldn't decide what color thread to use.

S2177 Sleeve & Neckline Interior

I had just enough of some thrifted vintage lace hem binding to finish the hem. I haven't seen this kind in modern stores- it's pre-folded and a bit narrower than the similar lace hem binding that you can find at the big-box sewing stores.

Ships Ahoy Hem

My final labor of love was hand-picking in the lapped zipper, which I did just because I couldn't bear the thought of top-stitching breaking up the print on the back. The bonus was that it made it a lot easier to ensure that all the circles lined up that way!

As far as fitting went, it was pretty straightforward. I made my usual big-4 size 12, and only had to make up a couple bodice muslins to pinpoint the dart placement. I ended up taking out a bit of width across the back to eliminate some gappage back there- which is a modification that I find that I always have to make but never have the foresight to do it at the pattern level. In this case I just folded a deeper seam allowance at the zipper from the neckline to waistline, and it's much better. It's still a little wide, but really the best I could do at that point in the construction process.

S2177 Back Zip Interior

Overall, I'm very happy with how this one came out! I almost wore it a second time during MMM, but I've been on the lookout for some navy flats and haven't come across the right pair yet. The pinkish/silver metallic ones I wore in the first photo above are a good enough match, but they rub my heel wrong if I have to walk too far in them so they're not my first choice.

Ships Ahoy Front View

I think this pattern would be fun in a stripe to really play up the bodice detail, and it actually even looks great in plain fabric too. I like that the skirt isn't too full, and the pockets are a hit, of course. I think this one will got lots of wear this summer outside the office, where I can wear it without a sweater and with a cute pair of sandals.

And apologies to those of you who might have an ounce of nautical knowledge, which I clearly do not possess. I called it Ships Ahoy! because the pattern inside the circles reminds me of those flags that they use on sailboats. And the color combo is totally Hamptons chic, don't you think? It just reads nautical to me. Also Ships Ahoy! is almost like Chips Ahoy! and mmmmmm... cookies!