On A Roll

I felt like blogging today, so I decided not to fight the impulse! Part of the drive comes from having worn my new shirt last night and the fact that I am now in possession of a crappy iPhone mirror selfie of me actually wearing it.

Excuse the quality, focus on the pretty!

Excuse the quality, focus on the pretty!

I’m so proud of and in love with this shirt! I even made a headband/sash out of the same fabric, because who doesn’t love matching accessories? Especially when the fabric is such glorious shades of golden yellow and bright red with little ladybugs sprinkled in among the flowers. Cherry on top? The boyfriend loves it almost as much as I do. The cuddles were pretty much a constant flow at dinner last night, and his only defense was, “It’s a really pretty shirt!”

And now on to one of the promised dresses! On another 99-cent Joann’s pattern binge (that time it was Simplicity), I ran across Simplicity 1080, a sweet smock dress and tunic pattern designed by Dottie Angel (who has stopped actively blogging, but has left her blog intact). I was looking for some more casual things to sew for the summer, and I loved the shape of the dress, so I scooped it up and made my plans. However, I decided I wasn’t going to stick to the demurely rustic look of the packet picture – I wanted color! Pizzazz! Something bright and cheerful, with notes of a preschool teacher on an adventure. I picked up some cheap quilting cotton in colors I loved, contrasting single-fold bias tape, and went to town.

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Please excuse the wrinkles, it was hanging over the car seat for a while and *may* have ended up under some things.

For the most part, I followed the pattern straight out of the envelope, although I decided against all the exquisite finishing of seams with bias tape that was detailed in the pattern instructions. The few things I tweaked were: Moving the shaping darts down an inch and a half to accommodate my elongated torso, omitting the pocket bands, binding the neck and sleeve edges with bias tape instead of using the bias tape as facing, cutting away part of the sleeve edge that was meant to be turned under with the bias tape facing, and replacing the self-fabric waist ties with longer ties I made by folding the bias tape in half and topstitching along its length. The last was a variation I based mostly on the fabric I was using – the ties are used to give waist definition, but I didn’t want an expanse of quilting cotton pulled tight across my midsection without so much as a bow to break the monotony. Being able to wrap the ties all the way around give me the defined waist I thought such an otherwise smocky dress needed.

Altogether, it’s a sweet little casual dress that I’ve worn several times with a great deal of enjoyment. The pattern is simple and the shape is flattering, although I actually may have moved the darts down a little farther than I needed to. I love the deep pockets at hand level, and I was very pleased with how my color choices came together in the final product. Half the fun of wearing this dress in public is seeing people react to a 5’11” woman wearing a dress that looks like it could have been made by Crayola! I’d like to make another in a less stiff, wrinkly fabric eventually, just to see how it changes the shape, but for now I’m content with my crayon-colored smock and cosplaying as a runaway kindergarten teacher.

Coming soon: a shoe dress!

A Sheepish Return

Well… my adventure into blogging didn’t have much staying power, huh? I feel bad about the hiatus, but I didn’t want to post again without pictures to make things pretty, and I kept not getting pictures of me in things! So I’ve finally given up and photographed things on a hanger. Sigh. You win some, you lose some.

Anyway! Here’s the long-promised pictures of that shift dress!

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Here’s that pesky but oh-so-cute organza collar:

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And the lovely lime green zipper:

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You can also juuuust see the messy extra stitching from where I machine-stitched the facing along the zipper instead of hand-stitching it invisibly like a good sewer – but I like to think the lime green distracts from that. I do love a good colorful zipper. Altogether, I like to think this is something Oonaballoona would wear if she were in a 60s mood. I pretty much want to be Oona, y’all, it’s becoming a little bit of a problem and has resulted in some seriously colorful sewing projects this summer!

I’ll be getting my rear in gear soon to put up some of the other dresses I’ve made during my haitus (at least one reaching even greater levels of high-intensity color!), but to tide people over I’m going to post – this!

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Two things:

  1. I love this fabric so much it hurts (red tag sale at Joann Fabrics, and you bet your ass I bought all they had)
  2. I may have found a favorite blouse pattern.

This is McCall’s M7127, view A. I scooped it up during a 99-cent McCall’s sale at Joann’s, and at the rate I’m going I think I would have gotten my money’s worth even if I’d paid full price. I’ve already made two, with plans for as many more as it takes to allow me to wear one every day. (I’m only kind of kidding.) I made my first one up out of a remnant I had lying around, a scant 7/8 yard of a stable knit, which is the kind of fabric the pattern is designed for. I was planning it as a wearable muslin, just to see if I liked the fit and the pattern in general, so I didn’t do any hemming – which meant that from cutting to the final finishing, it took me maybe an hour and fifteen minutes. Instant gratification is my jam! I slipped it on and fell in love. It’s a simple silhouette that I’d been worried would be too loose, but the fit was just right at a straight size 16, and as I expected the low back was exactly where I wanted it. It hung well, but there was still a decent amount of ease, and I got to wondering: would it work with a drapey woven fabric?

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A shot of the back – I promise it looks better on!

The answer is yes. This is what I think would be classified as a voile, very drapey and thin but not too slippery, and with absolutely no stretch whatsoever. I stuck with the size 16 and crossed my fingers, and luckily I was right – there’s enough ease built into the pattern to allow a comfortable fit without stretch fabric. The fit once it’s on is closer than with the knit, which I actually like for a slightly more dressy look.

The construction was slower with this one than my knit version (I promise I’ll put pics of that up later (we’ve heard THAT song before…)) because I actually had to follow the pattern and hem the whole thing. Holy rolled hems, Batman! Even so, I think in total I only spent about two and a half hours from cutting to finishing, and I used a bright turquoise blue thread for contrast to keep myself interested and provide that pop of color I like to put into my projects. A very fun, simple make, and a finished product I know I will wear the bejeezus out of – I already have plans to wear it to a casual dinner party tonight! As for the future, I know I will be making more of these, probably to the detriment of my wallet. I made the mistake of clicking a link in one of Closet Case Files‘ posts, and it led me to Art Gallery Fabrics. Y’all. Their fabrics are SO PRETTY! And they have an amazing selection of patterned knits (I am in particular danger of succumbing to this one and this one). They don’t sell directly from their website, but they do have a locator for stores and online retailers that carry their fabrics – the best price I found online was at Hawthorne Threads, who have all their Art Gallery stock arranged by designer and collection, which I thought was a nice touch.

Coming next time: dresses!