Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pillowcase to Summer Top

Sometimes you find yourself in a discount store which sells two pillowcases for $2. A thought wanders through your mind - could I turn that into something? It's great fabric it'd be a waste not to try for $2. Clearly this was the conversation happening in my head. I'm not the only one that has an inner fabric bully right?

I brought them home, rifled through my pattern stash and decided the amount of fabric I had in two pillowcases would be perfect to use for this free pattern I'm still raving on about.

For those that follow me on Instagram or Twitter you may have seen the above photos during the process. It was pretty simple really:

1. Unpick the seams of 1 pillowcase
2. Iron the fabric
3. Lay out the pattern pieces and cut them out
4. Sew in darts
5. Sew up side seams and shoulder seams

At this point I made a fake placket with fabric I had left over from the pillowcase. It's not necessary though, I think this top would still have looked good without it. Also I just love wooden buttons and I'll take any excuse to sew them onto things. And considering I bought 400 buttons once it's nice to actually use them on something.

I decided to finish the edges off with bias binding made from the second pillowcase although the cotton is a bit heavy and thick so it could work out better with a facing.

I had a moment when I first tried it on where I realised that there just wasn't going to be enough fabric to go right the way around my hips. I had suspected as much when cutting it out. So I cut out these long skinny triangles and sewed them into the side seams for a bit of extra room.

All that was left was to hem it and handsew the buttons on. Now I've got a vibrant, graphic top that I can layer through spring and wear alone in summer.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Purple Sun Dress - Simplicity 2591

I've had this pattern in my stash for a while now and I've seen some great versions around blogland so I thought I'd give it a try on this great fabric (found here). It turns out I didn't have enough plain cotton fabric to make a muslin out of so I read a whole lot more reviews on the pattern before getting started. Every review said it turned out two sizes too big so I knew I could err on the side of caution and cut a slightly smaller size. So being all brave I cut into the real fabric and got started.

They were right. They were absolutely right. The dress turned out huge and I ended up sewing it up the sides to the equivalent of about 2 sizes. Then I tried it on again and figured out that wasn't enough and I'd have to take it in another couple of centimetres. Seriously. So if you intend on trying this make a muslin or just cut one out two sizes too small and save yourself all that fabric!

In fact it chewed through so much fabric to make it in the first place that I ended up having to cut the side pieces on the weirdest angle - thank goodness the print is really forgiving! Also the pockets aren't as deep as they should be because I ran out of a little bit of fabric there too. Oh and then I realised it was going to be sleeveless because I couldn't fit the sleeve pattern piece across the scraps I had left. Bah!

So in the end this changed from being a pattern that gives a little nod to the fifties with a boatneck and little capped sleeves to being a regular summer dress. I figured if I was going to go sleeveless I might as well make it summery and cut a bit of a scoop neck into it so I could wear it on hotter days.

I loved the light blue colour peeking through between the purple print and decided to sew it up with the light blue thread as well as a light blue zipper. Although I think I did something weird when sewing the pockets up but again I think the print is pretty forgiving with that.

In the end I really like this pattern. I love the deep pockets and the A line skirt which brings your waist in. I also like that I paid enough attention to cut it to a more comfortable length than the Mint Herringbone Dress - I love that dress but I cut it just a little too short for my comfort.

I think I'd use this pattern again. Maybe with a solid colour or colourblocked on the side panels seeing as it's really simple to do that with this design. It was certainly kinder to me than Simplicity 2444 so I'm really glad, of the two, that this was the one I didn't make the muslin of.

Now bring on summer so I can get frollicking in the sunshine!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mint Herringbone Dress - Simplicity 2444

So it's a little windy in Sydney right now. You may not be able to tell from this photo but I was leaning into that wind just to stand up.

So here it is - my take on Simplicity 2444. I adore this pattern. I've seen so many other people make really flattering dresses from it like this one here and here to name just two. I read a lot of reviews on it before I started because I wanted to get it just right. I took some advice on cutting the front piece on the fold to eliminate a seam line down the front. Really glad I read that before I started.

The muslin was really easy to sew up. In fact this dress is really simple to construct on a whole which was why it was so unfortunate I had so many fit issues with the bodice. I tried it on and found that I had to cut 1.5 centimetres off the top of each side to raise the bodice which meant I had to reshape the neckline. Then I realised I had to deepen the armscye which in turn meant I had to redraft the sleeve. Ugh! Enough with the redrafting already!

I have a feeling all of this could have been helped if I knew where to even begin with a SBA on a bodice that had 4 darts crossing the bust (!). I think it really was just an excess of fabric that I was battling with.

I'm really happy with the fit in the end and the final result is certainly worth the effort but I'm a little scarred.

Despite all the fussing about with this bodice I do love these long darts and how they bring the shape in towards the waist. The pleating which meets up with it is also really pretty. I had a little moment where the fabric didn't want to behave under the needle when sewing the zipper which is why you can see the gape below. Although for that to be the only noticable thing at the end of the battle with this dress is quite miraculous. So I'm letting it go.

I'm not sure that I love the pleating in the back. It looks nice in this photo but the pleats very rarely behave when you're moving around. I'd like to try a version with no pleats in the back so it doesn't drive me crazy.

Oh and did I mention I love me a dress with pockets? Because I do. I love them.

I love this fabric that I used and it was the perfect weight to be light enough for summer but heavy enough to hold the pleats well. It's called Modern Meadow Herringbone Pond by Joel Dewberry and I bought it in a big order from - the direct link is here.

Overall I'm really glad I tried this pattern. I'm not sure that I'll be making it again anytime soon and if I can find a pattern with a similar silhouette with a bodice that behaves I'll surely be using that instead. But, never say never.

It turned out well and I adore it.