Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quick Baby Dress Project

Last week I had some fun making a little outfit to give as a baby shower gift.  While I like the surprise of hearing the answer to "boy or girl" when the baby is born that surpise rarely happens now, I think in the past year I have only known one family that waited for the big reveal.   For sewing it is useful to  know in advance, but I always think the suspense is fun.  Oh well, when I hear baby girl I know it is time to get sewing.

Here is the 2-piece outfit.   Simple dress from a New Look pattern. The dress is a cotton T-shirt knit with pink flowers, lemons and oranges.  The jacket is a T-shirt rib knit.

I used bias trim on the dress neckline and then made bias strips of the print fabric to bind the jacket edges.
The flower is the selvedge gathered into a flower with a fabric covered button. For the jacket I used a the front and back pattern pieces for a shirt in a vintage baby pattern, mostly to get the sleeve opening right.  I know there are zillions of cute baby clothes to buy at stores from Target to Saks, but it is fun to whip up something handmade.  

However - fabric shopping for childrens' clothing in a hurry - not so easy.  This was the only cute t-shirt knit fabric at the local Joann's store.  I always vow never to return but of course need something quickly like a zipper or thread. But really - their selection is so limited.  

On the fabric front - I just ordered a few things including a blue silk charmeuse to use for the shirt I am planning, as well as some black denim and olive corduroy for skirts and a couple of jersey knits. Yesterday I started playing around with the sloper from the Pattern Magic book, as I really want to try the twist top for starters.  

Now can I vent about Project Runway?  I alway watch every episode of that show but I think this year I am not feeling the love for any of the participants so I am not wild about them or the show. The challenges have been so strange. Clothes for guys in a band?  Really?  Although the judges have had some hilarious comments this season, thank you Mr. Kors. The finale . . . of course I will watch but not exactly inspiring.  On to Project Runway All-Stars in 2012, hope that is more entertaining.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Seeking the perfect shirt - first try with McCall 5522

After my last project, the women's shirt made from Liberty of London cotton fabric, I have it in my head to make myself a silk blouse or two.  I have a couple of purchased blouses in silk charmeuse which has a touch of lycra and they feel good to wear.  So I figured I should test out a pattern, or two or three, until I find something just right to use before I cut into some lovely silk.

This is my first test with McCall's 5522 which I think is out of print but probably available.
The fabric I bought last summer at Joann's, turned out to be a "what was I thinking" but usable. I was distracted by the colors and the geometric print, less than enamored with the slippery shiny poly-ness of it.  But it makes a good stand in as a test fabric for a silk charmeuse shirt.

Blue poly blouse_1

M5522 pattern envelopeHere is the pattern envelope, you can't really see the seaming in this print, but it has quite a few pattern pieces.  I liked that it has a stand collar, and the collar itself is a nice shape.  I am not so crazy about that underbust seam and the princess seam below. Perhaps in a cotton lawn or a sheer georgette fabric it might work out better. But then probably not something I would wear.   I had very little fabric, so made do with short sleeves.  Maybe because there is no stretch in this fabric, and I am getting very used to having a touch of Lycra in almost every fabric, but it seems a tiny bit tight across the upper back.  I think I will try another shirt pattern, probably one with a darted front and more easy fit will be better for charmeuse.
For the collar I used a technique that I posted about some time ago, which was a new to me method for attaching the collar and stand to the shirt. It worked like a dream and I have used every since.  Here is that post., shown on a cotton shirt I made for someone else.

This is how I will wear it this winter, sort of a homage to my dear dad, who was a cashmere sweater and saddle shoes kind of guy. Not a fancy dresser, mostly a traditionalist, with a liking for Harris tweed, freshly polished shoes and someone who really noticed the fabrics in clothes.  I happened to have the perfect color cashmere sweater in my drawer- now where are my saddle shoes?

Blue poly blouse with sweater

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Liberty of London shirt - finished

I just realized today that I hadn't posted any pictures of the finished blouse.  I made this blouse for someone who bought the fabric when traveling in London earlier this year. To recreate her blouse, I made a pattern from a ready-to-wear shirt she had, and then made a test version in gingham.  After that I had my unexpected break from sewing - so this one has been in the works for a while.  Here is the finished blouse. This fabric is a dream to work with, so crisp and yet lightweight.  Now I see why these cottons are famous.


I just noticed in the blog post title I called it a shirt, yet in previous posts I called it a blouse.
Which is it?  Is there a difference?  I always think of a shirt as a button-down or menswear style, with no darts.   Now I have to do some research on that.  Any ideas?  How do you distinguish between a shirt and a blouse?

Inside is all french seams except for the armholes which I serged.  The back yoke is clean finished on the inside, with no seams showing.  Difficult to see in the photo below as the fabric  is very similar inside and out, but a nice way to do a shirt which has a back yoke.

To do this, you sew the yoke facing to the yoke along the bottom seam, and then lay it open on that seam, as in the photo above right.   then roll the fronts and back of the blouse up, and sew the yoke shoulder seams.  Then you pull the front and backs through the center, basically turning the yoke right side out, and viola, your yoke is enclosed and no seams are showing inside.  Another 3-dimensional puzzle for sewers.  There are a lot of those in garment making, aren't there?

Another view, of the collar and the front pocket, where I matched the stripe effect so it disappears into the print.


All in all, I am glad to have made a blouse and/or shirt, it has been years.  Inspired by this project  I just made one for myself, different pattern, which I will post soon.

IMG_2109Today's garden photo, a penstemon which is still flowering, and the hummingbirds are still coming around to enjoy its purpley goodness. 

Happy October sewing,