Saturday, August 20, 2016

McCalls 7429 Twist Dress shortened to a Tunic

This project gave me a bit of stress, but it all turned out well!  This is McCalls 7429, from the recent Early Fall collection.  I almost got this post up before the newer McCalls Fall collection was released, so I was almost on trend.  Oh well.

My fabric for this is a rayon/cotton jersey from Mood Fabrics that is now sold out.  That is very sad because this fabric is a dream, and at $7.99 a yard, the price was right.  I have decided that rayon/cotton blends are my favorite jerseys.  Just enough heft, just enough sheen, and just enough comfort.  The first picture in this post accurately reflects the color - a bright, rich red.

I made a few changes in the end.  I lengthened the short sleeves a bit to hit right at the crease of my elbows, and I shortened the whole dress to tunic length.  Truth be told, that was my plan at the outset, but I was concerned the proportions would not look right, so I made the dress full length first.  It turned out to be uncomfortably short as drafted (I am 5'6", so taller than average, but not too much).  It was several inches above my knee before hemming.  That's when I decided the tunic was happening, and I am really happy with the result.  I think the proportions are fine, and I could use a comfortable tunic top in my wardrobe more than a red dress.

I like the twist detail on this dress.  Twist tops were everywhere 5-10 years ago, and then they were less in fashion.  I kind of hope they are making a comeback.  I think they are really flattering and elevate a basic tee shirt.  This knot being at the waist is a bit different from the usual center bust placement.  As with many twist top patterns, the instructions had me scratching my head a couple of times.  I think there is just no way around it.  Interesting patterns will be a bit more challenging.  I just followed slowly step by step, and everything turned out fine.

There is a center back seam on this pattern, which makes for a great fit, and would make a swayback adjustment simple to do.  Mine fit fine, though.  Oops, you can see the back pockets on my ponte pants through my top.  I will generally wear this over leggings or jeggings, but I was going for a slightly dressier look today for my anniversary dinner.  :-)  Here is my whole look - leopard print pumps and all.

Monday, August 15, 2016

McCalls 7351 Shirtdress

Oh my.  The lengths I went to for these photos!  First of all, it is pretty much always 100 degrees around here until October, so I sit inside, camera-at-the-ready, waiting for a big cloud to block the sun for a bit.  Then, I run out and get set up in front of my favorite Mandevilla bush because - hello, giant, gorgeous pink flowers!

 But wait!  What happened to my giant cloud?  Oh well, press on.

The cloud returned... and then entered the biggest, most-territorial bumblebee I have ever seen.  No joke, this guy decided the bush was his, and he was doing patrols around it so that every time I set the timer for a photo, there he was waiting to scare me off.  I'm not allergic to stings or anything, and I don't even know if this guy could sting, but he was definitely intimidating!  Ok, enough about the bee.  Photographic evidence of that fiasco will come at the end.  First, the dress!

This is McCalls 7351, a popular shirtdress pattern from spring.  I made view D, with the circle skirt and which is used for the sample white dress on the envelope.  This is a fantastic pattern.  It definitely looks best worn with a skinny belt.  I also used this pattern to create my Liberty blouse.

The fabric is this cotton voile from Mood Fabrics.  It says it is "vintage inspired," but it also reads Liberty of London inspired to me.  I was pleased that this voile is substantial enough that it does not need a lining or slip.  The buttons are from JoAnn.  I can't find them online, but I think they were made from a nut shell or something like that.  I like the way they contrast with the flowers.

Ok, on to the funny ones.
Here is my personal favorite of the lot:  Hey, check out my circle skirt!  Oh wait, there is a disturbing-looking bumble bee over there.

Nope, I am not even going over there this time.

Even the dog sees it!

 However, despite multiple attempts, I could not get a photo of the actual bee.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Purse

I was sooooo proud when I finished this purse, and now I am soooooo sad that it didn't hold up.  I got it in my head to make a "perfect purse" for me.  I wanted it to be cross-body and pretty small, but big enough to hold all my necessities.  I wanted to to be colorful but to go with everything, of course.  I wanted professional-looking leather elements and metal hardware.  

I was able to achieve all of these goals, and I used this bag with delight for about a month... and then the problems with a bag made from cute quilting cotton became evident - it was getting dirty and it became so totally floppy as the interfacing got broken-in that I wasn't happy with the way it looked anymore.  I am really happy with how the leather bits turned out, though.  I love the contrasting colors.

I started out with a pattern from the book Zaka Style, but I significantly changed the proportions and pockets.

The only sewing challenges I had was getting that orange pocket to stay straight without being able to pin or even binder-clip it in place since it wasn't on the edge, and the long leather strip just above the orange pocket.  That strip was one of the last things I did, though, and I think I was just getting tired and losing my patience to go slowly.

I was so pleased with my little cell phone pocket on the back with the magnetic snap.

The straps even turned out pretty well.

I really enjoyed picking my fabrics, and not a lot was needed, so it wasn't very expensive to make.  I also had the scraps of leather on hand as well as most of the hardware.

See?  It perfectly held everything I like to lug around.  It is the floppiness that drove me nuts after a while, though.  More interfacing would definitely help, but the issue of it just getting dirty isn't so easy to solve.  Oh well.  I enjoyed it for a while, and then I went out and bought myself a nice little blue cross-body bag that I've been carrying since.  

Monday, August 8, 2016

Snoqualmie Cardigan by Brooklyn Tweed

Ok you get exactly ONE modeled photo of this because the day I took it, it was about 100 degrees out.  We will not discuss why I made a big wool, cabled sweater in summer in Florida.  Some things are better left un-analyzed.  

I actually started this when I stumbled across a knit-along started by Closet Case Files designer Heather.  My plan was to finally make some CCF Ginger Jeans (the low-rise version, of course, because high-rise pants are not welcome here) to wear with it, and I still plan to, but it hasn't happened yet.

The pattern is Snoqualmie by Michele Wang for Brooklyn Tweed.  I would have loved to use the Brooklyn Tweed yarn (like I did for my Cusp) but it so wasn't in the yarn budget, so I went with EcoWool, which turned out to be an excellent substitute.  The wood buttons are from my local JoAnn Fabrics.

I can't wait for fall (which should arrive here in about four more months) so I can use this as my throw-it-on coat.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Make a Lace-Up Top from a Plain Tee Shirt Pattern

I am quite pleased with myself about this one!  I wanted a top with a lace-up detail that isn't tedious to wear.  Here are some examples of what I'm taking about.  I decided I just wanted the look of the trendy lacing, not ones that actually function to hold the neckline together. 

I started with a plan tee shirt pattern that I like.  Mine is McCalls 6886, but any tee would do.  For the neckline, I bound the back neck edge and drafted a simple facing for the front.  I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the front facing, attached it and understitched.  Voila!  That's it!  The last step is adding the metal grommets, which was really easy to do.

I have had the fabric in my stash for a while.  I think it was from Gorgeous Fabrics, but I'm not 100% sure.  It feels like a rayon jersey, very silky.

I tried both this silk cord and a thin leather strip for my lacing.  Both are a little stiff.  Other options would be narrow ribbon, very thin rope, or a tube of fabric.  I wore this top a LOT on my recent travels (nothing fancy, alas, just visiting family).  It is super comfy but just a little elevated from a plain tee shirt.  Now I want to make McCalls 7391 even more than before!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Georgetown Cardigan by Knitbot in Berocco Fioro

This is the Georgetown Cardigan from Knitbot's (Hannah Fettig's) Home and Away book.  You can also buy the cardigan pattern by itself.  This book is a treasure trove of simple basics.  It also contains the pattern for the Lesley pullover I knitted in the spring.
The yarn is Berroco Fiora, a mix of cotton, rayon, alpaca, nylon, and wool.  I was drawn to the cotton content for my warm climate, and I hoped that the other fibers would help it retain its shape.  I am very pleased with the result.  The elbows do eventually bag out a bit, but that is only after several wears, and after washing, they spring right back.  The color is a light gray called Georgia, #3805.

I bought this yarn at Roxy's Yarns in Tampa while out with my mom.  I told her I wanted to make a gray cardigan, and she encouraged me to keep it simple so I would wear it a lot.  Excellent advice.  I have brought it on my travels this summer and am wearing it constantly.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Simplicity 8059

So I thought this outfit from Simplicity 8059 looked really comfortable and Florida-chic on the pattern envelope, so I went for it all-the-way.  I'm not so sure now, though.  It looks a bit "madame" on me (meaning mature, not French).  Like I could see this on one of the fabulous retirees that live down here.  While I have no problem dressing a bit more mature as I get older (rompers not withstanding), I'm not ready to jump ahead that much yet.

I think it all comes down to the top's hem line, and I am thinking of remedying that this afternoon with a little snip snip and sew.  It's funny because that detail was what drew me to the pattern in the first place, but on me, I'm not loving it.  

I do love the fabrics, though.  Both are from JoAnn.  The top is made with this rayon spandex fabric which is no longer at my local store, but is for sale online, and I am seriously considering getting two more yards for a fun dress.  It starts to pill pretty quickly, but I don't mind so much for a simple top, and I just love all the shades of blue.  The pants are a linen/lyocell blend that I can't find online.  They drape beautifully, and the linen look is nice.  They do require a quick ironing after washing, but it is very fast.

The pattern and instructions for the V-neck are excellent.  These are great results, and I will definitely use this pattern for all my future V-neck needs.

I tried the top with some jeggings to see if I preferred that look to the whole outfit together, but I'm still not convinced on the shape of the top.  I think it is getting a snip.