Saturday, July 25, 2015

Double Gauze Desert Rose Dress

I love this new dress I made for Little Sister so much!

I don't have a lot of time left for sewing projects while I'm here in Tokyo (we move back to the US in less than 2 weeks!), but I knew I wanted to get this one done so that she could wear it in this hot, humid summer climate.

This dress is the Desert Rose pattern from Caila Made, and I just loved it from the first time I saw the pattern.  Of course, I am a cheapskate, so I just admired the pattern without buying it.  In this case though, it paid off, because eventually this pattern was featured as a Friday Fiver, and I was able to snap it up for just $5!  However, this was months ago, and although I printed the pattern out right away, it still took me ages to get going on it.

The main fabric for the skirt is a beautiful double gauze by Nani Iro (called Fuccra).  When I lucked into finding a 2-meter cut for less than $10 because of a small print error, I knew it was perfect for my Desert Rose dress.

See that little white stripe?  That was the only error in the whole 2 meter cut!
And I had a lovely lightweight coral batiste that matched perfectly that I could use for the bodice--I wanted the whole thing to be floaty and light and comfortable for the humid heat of a Tokyo summer.

The breeze really does pick it up--it's a good twirler too!
I wanted to make sure the bodice didn't gape, so I made a size 3 bodice based on Little Sister's measurements (her chest measurement matched the size 3 exactly on the chart, even though she's 5 years old) and it fits perfectly.  Since my bodice fabric was so lightweight (semi-sheer, actually, so it's nice that it's lined, and I used the same fabric for the lining), I interfaced the button placket on both sides and it feels secure.

I thought I would be clever on the skirt--I used the angled tunic skirt with a size 3 at the top but a size 8 in length, thinking that would get me to dress length without printing the dress skirt pattern pages, but I wasn't thinking about the fact that the size 3 bodice is shorter than the size 5.  So my dress was shorter than I wanted.   Next time I'll go ahead and assemble the skirt pattern pages to make sure I get the length I want!

However, I was able to cut it perfectly to avoid the print error!
Fortunately, I really like the look of the 4" panel of the bodice fabric at the hem.

How pretty is that Nani Iro fabric!?
 I really liked the way this pattern came together.  It all looks so professional inside!  I used french seams on the skirt since double gauze frays pretty easily, so there are no raw edges on the inside anywhere.  AND no hand-sewing on the bodice lining, since you topstitch the outside of the bodice instead!  I loved that.

Also, this pattern has pockets--I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of them, since pockets are usually my favorite feature.  I guess it speaks to how much I love this dress overall that the pockets are practically an afterthought, although they came in handy yesterday when my daughter had some drawings she wanted to carry around!

Now I've got to see if I can squeak a top for myself out of the remaining meter of that Nani Iro Fuccra double gauze!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Skirting the Issue 2015: My contribution

Hi!  This is a quick post to show you a couple of quick skirts that I made and tell you about a really cool project going on this month, Skirting the Issue.  Simple Simon and Company host this event in order to inspire sewists to donate skirts to kids in foster care, just in time for the start of the new school year, and they are collaborating with several sewing bloggers this month to provide lots of free skirt patterns and tutorials.  The goal is to collect 1000 skirts this year, and if you'd like to participate the details are in the link I provided above--the basics are that you sew a skirt (or several) by August 15th and donate it to an organization in your area that provides clothing to foster kids.  Then you let the ladies at Simple Simon know how many skirts you made so that they can keep track.

I made this simple elastic-waist full skirt from some fun Melody Miller Rubystar fabric:

size 3T

And this knit a-line skirt with a yoga waistband, using this tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional:

this one is a size 5, but was totally too big for my skinny 5-year-old!
I'll be mailing my skirts to With Love Oregon, an awesome organization that helps set up foster parents with great quality clothing and other supplies they need to help them successfully bring a foster child into their family.  I'd be happy to provide you with a mailing address for your donations if you'd like to participate!

Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer Outfit from Free Patterns!

I have been struggling with getting decent pictures lately, which makes me less motivated to get new things up on my blog.  For some reason, I just could NOT get the photos of this outfit in focus.  My least favorite thing about doing this blog is getting photos of myself--sometimes, using the remote is easy, but more often than not I just can't get the focus or exposure right when I don't have anything to focus on.  As I was going through these photos, I can see my facial expression getting more and more strained as I failed to get the shots I wanted, and of course I feel weird whenever people walk by.

BUT!  I will still share the outfit, because these are good patterns and you should try them out.

You get the idea.
First, the skirt.  This is the free Simple Summer Pleated Skirt pattern from Sew So Easy, and here are my thoughts about it.

1.  The pattern goes together easily and looks really professional.  Here's my back zip!  I really liked putting it together.

Pattern matching WHAT!
2.  The pattern suggests using a lightweight drapey fabric, and I concur.  I used a stiffer Japanese linen/cotton blend, and I'm not in love with the way it falls.  This pattern is not meant for a structured skirt.  You could, however, use a more structured fabric for the waistband but something with drape for the skirt.  I was thinking the structured fabric would give the skirt more of a pencil look, but it doesn't.  I'm thinking of trying Delia's pleated pencil skirt to get the effect I was going for here.

3.  The pattern runs big.  I cut out the appropriate waistband based on my measurements, and had to cut out over 3 inches altogether.  Be sure to test your waistband size before you attach it to the skirt.

4.  There are POCKETS!  Yay.

The top is the free Perfect Cap Sleeve Tee from iCandy Homemade.  I have made this top a few times before, and I love its simplicity.  The free pattern is a size medium, and it works well for a loose top on me.  This time though, I was going for a more fitted look, so I tried cutting this one smaller just by placing the pattern off the fold a little bit.  That was not the best way to do the fit adjustment because now I don't like the neckline quite as much and the sleeves fit a little weird (I added the sleeve bands, but that's not the problem), but it's still baggier than I want in the torso.  I will have to play around with resizing this pattern differently to get the fit I want.

This fabric is a slub knit from Girl Charlee.  It's almost see through but not quite--I can get away with it if I wear a nude bra.  Anyway, I like this outfit better with the shirt tucked in (NOT my usual M.O. but in this case...)

Anyway, there's an outfit I made lately and am moderately happy with but not excited.  It can't all be perfect!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sleeveless Out and About Dress

Another dress--my favorite thing to make!

This dress is a sleeveless version of the Out and About Dress from Sew Caroline.  I sewed up a 3/4 sleeve one from a thick knit a few months back, and knew I would need a sleeveless one for summer. When I found this lightweight knit for 100 yen per meter, it was time to give it a try!

I struggled a little bit with the sizing on this dress--as a matter of fact, it was an issue the last time I made it as well, but in that case I was using a more unfamiliar fabric and thought that was where the problems came from.  According to my measurements, I am between a medium and large for this pattern, leaning to the large.  I cut out the medium but used slightly smaller seam allowances than the 1/2 inch the pattern calls for...and it was really too big. 
First I thought I would try adding elastic to the waistline on the inside, maybe giving the top a loose, blousy look.  But it didn't really work; the whole bodice just seemed to pull to the back.

well hello there, munchkin.
I actually wore it out like this, with a belt, but decided by the end of the day that it was a no-go.

In the end, I had to remove the elastic and re-sew the side seams an inch further in on both sides (so removing almost 4 full inches from the bodice!)  Also (and this actually made the biggest difference, I think), I shortened the bodice by about 2 inches.  

That's better!
This was a problem I had the last time I made this dress too--the bodice just looks too long on me!  It doesn't look that way in the pattern photos, so I don't know why mine keeps coming out wrong.  It's also strange because I have a long torso--I am typically lengthening things, not shortening them, but I guess when it comes to a bodice seam line I just like mine a little north of the natural waist.  Looks like it's time to slice the bottom of off my bodice pattern pieces!

Other modifications: surprise surprise, I made the neckline a little bigger, as usual.  I also made the skirt panels about 3" narrower so that I could just use the whole width of my fabric.  The pattern calls for the skirt panels to be 30" wide, but my fabric was 54" wide so I just cut two 27" panels.

All that said, I really do like this dress and this pattern.  Now that I THINK I've got the fit dialed in, this dress should go together really quickly.  It's comfy and it's got great pockets and lots of sleeve and length options, so I'm glad it's a pattern that's in my repertoire.  

Oh, I also wanted to show you a close up of this fabric.  It's really light and soft, with a neat diagonal texture to it, and I like the way it looks on the neck and arm binding:

I'm sure that part of my fit problem was because the fabric is verrrrry stretchy, so I should have cut it smaller to account for that.  Ah well, you live, you learn!  It's pretty great to be able to buy fabric so cheaply so I'm not afraid to just mess around and try new patterns--if it didn't work out, I would only have been out about $2!  Plus my time, of course.