Saturday, August 20, 2022

Myosotis Dress Summer Version in cotton poplin

Whew - here it is, our August heatwave. About 105º F now as I write this at 5pm. We've been a bit fortunate, considering our drought and fire danger that we haven't had many blazing heat waves this summer but it does always seem to occur just as school starts again. (Don't get me started on that topic, I know the school schedule is quite different than when I was in elementary school but it was nice back them to have all of August to enjoy summer). 

A few years ago I taught a dress class at Hello Stitch and so used this pattern, at that time I made an example plus a version for myself. I alway thought about revisiting this pattern as I wear my original version a lot - like a lot! It's such an easy dress to wear, ideal for a warm day. I got this pink fabric at a sewing guild sale (more on that later). Here's a link to that first version. 

Pink dress 3

If you are familiar with this pattern you can see it has quite a few differences. That's the beauty of making your own clothes - you can change any detail you like.
I was so happy with the changes that I made on my first version that I repeated them exactly here. The changes are these:
  • Omitted the collar
  • Lowered the neckline
  • Skipped the sleeves and finished armholes with bias binding
  • Pleated the skirt instead of gathers
  • added a small waist tie in the back
I thought about adding a small ruffle at the hem, around 3 or 4 inches but decided it didn't go with the pleated skirt and also this dress might be just a little too saccharine with a ruffle added to that bright pink. 

I really love this fabric and it has been in my stash now about two years so I'm glad to finally be wearing it. 

Pink sateen dress close up

A few sewing details. I am slightly obsessive about keeping my interfacing scraps and neckline facings are a great way to use them up. So I found this piece in my interfacing bin and it was sufficient to use for the back neck facing. Interfacing doesn't need to go all the way to the edge of a facing, I find if it just crosses over the stitching line then it's doing the job. You end up trimming most of those seam allowances away anyway after the facing is attached. Actually looking more closely, it's actually two scraps. On the right is a smaller piece which fit in that area. So use the interfacing scraps instead of throwing them away!

Facing example

To change the neckline I just drew on a new neck opening. I should have made notes from the previous version but that one I did kind of free form and liked the result, but never went back and marked my pattern pieces. So I compared that blue version to the original pattern pieces and saw that I opened up the neckline by stitching it about 1.5 inches from the original edge. Marked below with a Frixon pen.

Neckline stitching

Pink Dress Back

Back view. 

So that's the latest in comfortable cotton summer dresses for a very hot spell here in N. California. Which we are pretty much used to but it does wear you out after a few days. I do feel bad for everyone in places like London or other cities which are not used to the heat, and have no air conditioning. Which I rarely use but it's nice to have! 

Up next, I have all kinds of scribbles in my notebook for a long overdue Random Threads post. I usually make a dress specifically for my birthday which is nearing but I don't think I will this year - after the cutback in socializing due to the pandemic I have plenty of dresses that haven't received much wear. Maybe I will change course and make a birthday jacket.

Speaking of jackets, I went to Britex with my friend Heather recently so you can expect to see some beautiful and luxurious fabrics turned into a coat and a jacket in the coming months. I will be teaching my online blazer class via Hello Stitch starting in October, here's the link to register.

At the top of this blog I have added a page entitled Sewing Class Schedule, which I will keep updated with links to all classes I am teaching here in the bay area and online. 

Pink dress4

My garden remodel project is almost finished, the front just needs a few touches and I'm waiting for some plants I ordered from Annie's Annuals. Which is an amazing plant nursery in Richmond CA that has a great selection including a focus on California natives, cottage garden favorites and beautiful succulents. It's a bit like fabric shopping - so hard to decide and limit myself to just a few. 

Happy Summer Sewing,

Today's garden photo, in addition to the one above, it's a penstemon called "Bev Jensen" and the flowers are hot pink like my dress. I really like this hardy little plant and I've taken all kinds of cuttings which propagate easily. My kind of plant!

Penstemon Bev Jensen

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Vintage Color Block T-Shirt: Stretch and Sew 309

For a while I have been intrigued by the old Stretch and Sew patterns. I've acquired a few over recent years and then recently I found one at a guild sale that might become my new favorite pattern. I always say that, right? Well that's what keeps me sewing, finding a new-to-me pattern that I really like. Actually I thought Stretch and Sew and Kwik Sew patterns were the same company, but a bit of research has told that they are not. The two companies were started by two different women in the 1960's and both seemed to focus on knit fabrics. I have about 5 or 6 of these Stretch and Sew patterns now and you can bet that I will revisit them to find some more gems. I have a top/dress pattern that you would think is a current design, so that may get sewn up soon. 

Kwik Sew t-shirt

Also this t-shirt was sewn up entirely with scraps and remnants from my stash. Which tells me a couple of things. 1) I definitely have a color palette that I stick to and 2) I keep a lot of knit scraps. For this version I wanted to make something to go along with the July challenge on the SewOver50 Instagram account, the theme was color block. So I was all in - I can never turn down a color-block opportunity. 
You can expect to see this pattern again, in fact I have been collecting old pink/burgundy/wine color cashmere sweaters from the thrift stores for the past 3 or 4 years with just this type of thing in mind. 

Here's the image of the pattern. I sewed mostly a size 38 with some grading out at the hips and the fit was perfect. Another bonus point for these patterns. Also it has kind of a high crew neck which I like in t-shirts. 

Kwiksew tshirt pattern

The sleeves were just a bit too short for my liking, so I hemmed them by adding a band, similar to the neckline to preserve the length and add about 1/4".

Kwik sew tshirt close up

Even though this seems a bit fussy from tracing to finish I think it took me about 2 hours. That is not including the 30 min or so I spent playing around with the colors. To get that last light color section in the center I did rummage around in my t-shirt drawer and finally cut a small piece out of the back of one of my old Target brand t-shirts which I just wear around the house. 

The instructions were excellent, short and to the point but very easy to follow. The seam allowance was 1/4" which worked well for those small pieces. Although I didn't follow them to the letter as I like to sew the neckband in the round. 

Stretch and Sew Instructions

Kwiksew t-shirt back

Back view. Not very interesting but it shows the subtle shaping of the t-shirt. I toyed with the idea of making the sleeves different color knits but I'm glad I just went with the base color for those and kept the color block to the sunburst area. 

Color block tee test

Before I make any color block item I play around with the colors with whatever is to hand, here a combo of colored pencils and sharpie markers. Just to see how it would look. And I decided to repeat the colors which the pattern also calls for. Not sure if I did it just as they did. I just cut them out as I went along and laid them out so I wouldn't get confused. Then it was pretty simple to sew together in order and construct the rest of the t-shirt. 

So that's the latest on my speedy little t-shirt. Up next, I've sewn a couple of summer dresses which I have had some nice chances to wear - so much better than 2 summers ago when we did so much backyard/Zoom socializing. 

I'm teaching classes in person at a couple of shops in the Bay Area, and I'm going to create a page here on the blog so I can list them as they get on the calendar. 
But my favorite class is coming up - yes, Blazer jackets! My online/live class which I did last year is starting on Oct. 4.   Here's the link to register on the Hello Stitch Studio website. 

The never-ending garden project is in the final stage, the back is complete (well is a garden ever complete?)  and the front should be done in the next week or so. Then I can rest, hahahaha, I mean rake leaves, prune shrubs and battle gophers. 

Happy Summer Sewing,

Today's garden photos - a bonanza of photos at this blooming time of year. 

Kwik sew t-shirt sunny day

I should show you some closeups of the grapevine behind me in that photo - I sewed little mesh bags to protect my grapes from squirrels. 

And below, a beautiful purple hydrangea to match my t-shirt :) 

hydrangea purple