Ruffle-Front Blouse? Not Anymore!

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Hey friends!

So, I more or less ignored my children today (OK, not really - but they did play happily for quite some time) and got to work making a muslin of the banded collar ruffle front blouse (Burda 04-2010-105). Of course, I got so into making the ruffles and checking all of the instructions to be sure I understood everything, it wasn't until late tonight that I realized that the ruffles on the front of this blouse just aren't my thing.

First off, the ruffles were HUGE. I tried cutting them in half, but it still just looked like I was wearing a bib. The top itself fit very nicely, and I really liked the collar and the neckline, so I started playing around. The slit neckline is at least an inch and a half too low for my lifestyle, but I think that rather than try to engineer a new slit, I think I will add a cute button and loop right at the fullest part of my bust. I think the button will add a bit of interest to what will be a fairly plain top since I am eliminating all of the ruffles.

I also added fisheye darts to the front, to give the top a bit more shape. Without the darts, I could pull the top over my head without a zipper in the side seam, which makes it easy to wear, but it puffed out funny around my stomach. I just tried on my new and improved muslin and I am terribly excited! Now I just need to make sure I have matching thread and appropriate buttons and I am all set to make a couple of summer blouses! Stay tuned for some photos...

Then it's back to the realistic sewing of making a couple of knit dresses for spring.


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Today I am not feeling 100%. I may be about to come down with whatever bug has the rest of my family. I am certainly in a funk of some sort. I stayed in bed for a long time this morning and then this afternoon I got back into bed and mostly stayed there.

I wasn't tired enough to sleep and I am all caught up on my promised sewing (well, except for one shirt, but I still need to measure that friend), so I decided to pull out my most recent fabric purchases and my pattern notebook. Without further ado, here are the fabrics:

Nice, eh? I definitely gravitate towards cool pinks, purples, and blues. I also tend toward black in the summer, but charcoal grey in the winter. Here are some of the ideas for the fabrics:

I am hoping I have enough blue batiste/lawn/voile for that ruffled blouse (Burda 04-2010-105). The blue is the third from the left in the top photo. It is quite sheer, however, so I might need to line it. If that pattern turns out well, I'll make it again in the white and purple print silk-cotton batiste/lawn/voile (it's between the stripe and the darker purple print) which would also need lining.

The tie-dyed jersey will become the drapey dress (Burda 05-2010-105). I am hoping it will look edgy rather than dumpy. I'm not sure about the ruffled skirt dress. At this very minute I am not inspired to make it, so I should have cropped it from the photo.

I'd like to turn the grass-green jersey into the bubble-sleeved top (Burda 02-2009-118). And I am intrigued by the idea of making the godets of the girl's skirt (Burda 05-2007-138) out of the polka dotted lawn, but that would require a coordinating fabric in just the right weight for the rest of the skirt.

The raspberry jersey (near the polka-dot lawn) and the aqua jersey will become more Simplicity 3775s, though the aqua will have short sleeves and a round neck (and maybe the twist at the midriff rather than the ruching).

A closer look at the black fabrics.

I'd like to try turning the batik into the princess seamed shift Simplicity 8884 (vintage: from my mother-in-law) albeit with a bateau neckline. The embroidered eyelet will become the spaghetti-strap dress (Burda 05-2007-124).

Some of the other fabric shown has plans in store for my little girls. Perhaps I will trace those and post them later.

A little this, a little that

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I'm in that wacky stage of being between sewing projects. I really want to sew something else for myself, but I don't quite know what and I have other obligations first.

I did make a wool plaid jumper for Clara (this was actually before I made the red and black print dress for myself). Her wool is less fuzzy - more of a suiting - but her plaid was rectangular, so everything is straight - no bias. She loves it a lot (wore it three days in a row!). It's fully lined with the remnants of some blue Bemberg from this Burda dress. (That dress is completed, but needs to be taken in on the sides.)

This time I put a tad more thought into my construction, which resulted in far less handsewing to make things work. I still underlined the pleated skirt while lining the bodice in a more traditional manner. This time I used my rolled hem foot to hem the lower edge of the bodice lining before I catch-stitched it to the skirt.

I also scored by finding a nearly identical colour of bias rayon seam binding in my stash. There was enough left to use as piping along the accent band at the dropped waist. I don't know where one might purchase bias rayon seam binding these days. This bit was from my mother's box of sewing gear.

I whipped out another shirt and a pair of sweatpants for Peter. Good old Kwik Sew 3234 for the shirt and Simplicity 9949 for the pants. I've had them cut out for months, but recently, in a fit of cleaning up my sewing space, I finished them up. Of course, Peter has sprouted up in the last month or so, so these won't fit him for long.

The next big thing is checking my draft for a hooded cape. The kids' drama group at our church needs eight of them. I made Simplicity 5512 for Peter for Halloween, but the hood is too pointy and not drapey enough. They want the hoods to drape heavily, reminiscent of Palpatine's hood. They want the feeling to be evil, not elvin. I think I have the hood figured out, but I need to plan out a swift method for making the capes and then organize a group sewing night to get them done. All I need to do is buy some fabric to make a sample with.

While waiting for a chance to go to Dressew (my closest fabric store),  I pulled out an unfinished dress from my closet, tried it on again, took apart the horizontal bust darts, repositioned them and stitched them back down. The darts aren't perfect now, but they look a lot better. Definitely wearable. Finishing the dress, however, will require a helper. When I cut out the dress, I wasn't sure exactly how I wanted to install the back zipper, so I added a fair bit to both seam allowances. Of course now I have no idea how much extra there is back there. I need someone to come over and pin me into my dress and then mark the seamline with chalk. Then I can go over the chalk with thread basting and figure out my zipper insertion method from there. Unfortunately, my dear husband is not the best pinner. Anyone local up for the task?

Having hit that stopping point, I traced off one of the dress patterns for the girls, Simplicity 2825, thinking I would try changing it up to be a pull-over knit dress. All of the tissue work went well until I laid it out on the fabric. I don't have enough for the skirt! Maybe I can find a coordinating solid knit in a similar weight for the skirt. That might actually really help the dress look more like clothes and less like PJs.

And in thinking-about-sewing-but-not-actually-sewing-news, I checked out two Threads DVDs from our central library. Industry Insider Techniques and the Waist and Hips fitting DVD. I also picked up Pattern Making made Easy by Connie Amaden-Crawford, because really, making my own patterns would be so much easier, right? LOL! Seriously though, I might get there one day. For right now, this makes good bedtime reading.

That '70s Dress

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This is hot off the press - er - ironing board. I finally jumped on the (now OOP) Simplicity 3775 bandwagon (along with nearly everyone else who sews dresses). I'm not sure if I like it. Well, I do like the pattern and it fits really well, but I'm not certain about the print on my fabric.

This fabric marks my first online fabric purchase and my first eBay purchase. I purchased this lovely thin, heavy, drapey modal jersey from highendfabrics. This seller will not ship to Canada, but Vancouver is pretty close to the border and there is a company called Hagen's of Blaine (about two minutes across the border) that will receive packages for a small fee. Thankfully, I was able to coordinate picking up the fabric with visiting my friend who lives nearby, so I wasn't spending gas on fabric alone.

The fabric does seem to be of very good quality. It is not sheer, even though it is quite thin. I had hoped that the lighter portions of the print were white, but they are actually a very yellowy-beigey off-white. This was disappointing once I tried on my dress partway through construction, because I don't find warm off-white suits my colouring. It was the black and red portions of the print that really drew my eye. I am not normally drawn to prints next to my face. Now I get to find a way to make it work.

No gaps!

Usually I muslin new patterns - at least partially, but I was so eager, that I just dove in. I cut view F in size 10 (flattening the curves on the midriff panels out to the size 12 at the waist). Everything went pretty smoothly. I did pull the overlap a bit farther across to raise the neckline a tad, and I also stretched the neckband a bit more than prescribed to keep the neck from gaping. That seemed to work very well. I cut the shorter length skirt and still cut off five inches and hemmed it one inch more.

Because this fabric is so thin and because the colours of the print feel more like fall and winter, I wanted this dress to be warmer. I used a similarly thin white nylon/rayon/spandex blend jersey to underline the bodice (fronts and back) as well as the skirt. I left the sleeves one layer.

All in all, it is a comfortable cozy dress. I am having difficulty coming to terms with the all-over print. EEEEK! It just feels like it screams late '70s. At least the '70s are still "in" in the fashion world.

Pardon my wonky posture - we were in a bit of a rush this morning...

After I finished the dress, I scanned through all of the reviews (88 of them!) of this pattern in the gallery at Pattern Review. Guess what? Almost every single dress that I thought looked spectacular was made in a solid colour. LOL! There were two that were a print that I also liked, but one was a windowpane print and the other was tie-dyed fabric. Go figure. I guess next time I will make it in a solid colour. I will also shorten the midriff band by half an inch or so. I may make the round neckline and add more length to the sleeves, as well.