Sunday, September 26, 2010

S2406 - better as a top than a dress

After seeing a number of versions of the Cynthia Rowley dress, which is Simplicity 2406, I decided to give it a try.
I was not crazy about the open sleeve version, the idea is interesting and could be attractive, but as shown on the pattern envelope it is odd looking.  The feature I did like on this pattern is the way the gathers are done on the neckline, not as a drawstring but sewn into a facing.  

bluepoly top frontneck

Earlier this summer I saw this polyester fabric at Joann's and really liked the color.  I generally try not to buy any fabric for garments there as they have such a terrible selection and quality is not very good, so my little protest is to not purchase any of their stuff.  However I seem to go in there about once a week for lining, a specific thread or something else that I discover I need immediately.  Most of my shopping is on-line or at Stone Mountain in Berkeley.  Anyway - liked the color, and bought 2 yards as I decided my wardrobe is lacking in interesting tops.  Then I ended up cutting out this dress which turned out to be a bit of a mistake.  It just looked strange as a dress.  the fabric is too slippery and the sash wouldn't stay in place.  

But as a top I am really happy with it.   Here worn with some long black shorts. 


I think the patten called for a button or some other closure at the back neck, I was doing some very slapdash sewing on this project (in order to stuff in my suitcase)  so I just sewed a little tab on one side of the back, and then used a snap.  The way the shoulder straps are sewn on is clever, and creates a clean finish on the inside.

blue poly top tab
Up next, time to do some planning for holiday sewing.  Last year I made a number of childrens' holiday dresses, velvet and plaid taffeta, but this year I am thinking of something different.  Stay tuned :)

And here is today's SunnyGal Garden photo, crepe myrtle tree in bloom.  I have 5 of these trees in my garden, they are beautiful July through September with the pink and lavender blossoms  (and many, many leaves to clean up in Oct.)

crepe myrtle pink

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Vacation Sewing, completed

The leaves are falling and the days are growing shorter - so time to finish my summer sewing.  I am back from Hawaii, having finished 3 dresses which I started in my previous post, Vacation Sewing - Seam binding minus the Serger.

Here are the finished dresses, all made with New Look 6643.   I am really happy with the ruffles and now I am deciding on something for myself with this ruffle look.    

Carol BW dresss full front

Below see the "raw" ruffle, this fabric was a bit bulky so I made a tube by sewing the print fabric to black lining, which allowed for crisply pressed edges with no stitching showing.  On a silk or other thinner fabric I would just turn a very narrow hem, which is what I did on the red dress below.  I stitched a machine baste down the center of the tube, breaking about every 12 inches to make it easier to draw up the ruffle.  

black ruffle with ruler

FYI, the ungathered ruffle is about 2 times as long as the neck opening.  Perhaps on the original Kate Spade dress it was even less ruffley (is that a word?)  but 2 times is a good starting point.

I also did a print dress with a different neckline,  kind of a V-notch in the center.   Did this by 
marking the center front and creating the V, about a 1.5 inch opening.  The only tricky feature of this neckline is getting the point just right,  the key here is to create a tiny U instead of a V with super small stitches at the bottom of the opening, which when trimmed and turned, looks very crisp.

Carolwhitedress full view

And then the red one, similar to the Kate Spade ruffle-neck dress that started this project.
I am not crazy about how it looks in this photo - looks like the darts are unpressed, but in person we were very happy with it, and the color is a perfect cranberry red that says "holiday party dress".

Carol red dress full length

So I love it when someone wants more than one item that is from the same pattern.
Carol was quite happy to have 3 new dresses - so much so that she went and bought 4 more fabrics.   I have finished 2 this week, and then 2 more soon.  Time to start on sewing for fall.
Plus I have a wedding to go to in October, and my sis wants me to make her something for that as well.  

Today's SunnyGal Garden photo - one of my wildest garden triumphs ever, but not in the garden at my house, but at my sister's on Oahu.  Over a year ago - we ate a delicious Hawaiian pineapple, and my mom said, plant the top and see if it will grow.  Ha, ha, we all said, but I stuck it in the dirt in a planter box.  And more than a year later - this was the result.   It was starting to tip over a bit, and it was small, but the color was looking ripe and the fragrance was beautiful.  So we harvested it and ate it.  Surprisingly delicious.  The last photo shows off our petite pineapple on the counter, not big, but oh so cute.

pineapple close up

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vacation Sewing - Seam binding minus the Serger

Despite my intentions to do some serious lounging punctuated by a new cross training workout, I find myself doing some vacation sewing.  A colleague of my sister's asked me to make a couple of dresses for her.  By agreeing to that I have found a convenient reason to put off my workouts.  Seriously - every visit I have plans to step up the exercise but find that that my stack of books and the tropical sunshine eliminate my resolve.   So here is the sewing project.  

She had saved this photo from a magazine, a straight V-neck dress with a ruffle, Kate Spade silk dress.  apologies for the wrinkly picture.  She wants something a little more wash and wear.

orange ruffle vneck

Below is the fabric for the first dress, black and white polyester crepe? not really sure, has a bit of texture and is quite nice.  The choices for anything other than tropical or quilting fabrics are limited.  If I lived here I would be doing more web shopping than I already do.  This is my vacation sewing machine - bought on a whim a couple of years ago.   A lot more quiet than my Singer machines  (but they sew better).
black white fabric for Carol

For a simple V-Neck sheath dress, here is the pattern I am using   New Look 6643
NL6643 pattern envl

The one issue that I am contending with is this fabric tends to unravel or be very messy on the cut edges and I do not have a serger.  I experimented with some of the binding stitches on the machine, including the overlock which seemed promising, but made kind of a lumpy roll.  So I bought some of the Dritz Seams Great.
seams great facing

Perfect solution.  Covers the edge, Sheer, soft and gives a great finish without adding any stiffness.
That's all the sewing for today.  Time for a swim.

Here is today's SunnyGal garden photo, not in a garden, but a giant arrangement of white orchids.   Close up of just a portion, hard to believe they are real.

white orchids