halter maxi1

Pattern: Simplicity 1800, view C
Fabric: rayon challis from Metro Textile
Size: 10 graded to a 12 at the hip

How have I not sewn a maxi dress until 2014??  I am so in love with this dress and how easy and elegant it is to wear.  If I could have a closet full of maxi dresses I would…well maybe not a whole closet, because I do like to show my legs in the summer, hahaha.

Sewing this dress coincided nicely with Oonapalooza month – you know, “What would Oona make?” (could we all get W.W.O.M. bracelets?).  Loud, bright colors and a funky print? Check.  Saucy silhouette that’s classy at the same time? check and check.


halter maxi2

This pattern is part of Simplicity’s Amazing Fit collection, which I’m a fan of – any pattern that offers different pattern blocks based on body type is a win in my book, especially when it comes to fitting the bust.  It’s hard to tell with the paisley print, but the bodice is constructed with princess seams that continue down into the skirt, which make bust fitting really easy.  I was very happy that I didn’t need to alter the bust when I tissue-fit the slim pattern block, woohoo!  That rarely happens.


halter maxi3

I’m planning on making the other views of this dress for the fall, with sleeves, and I have a feeling that the overall dress may fit better with those versions – here’s why.

The directions instruct to make an elastic casing at the top of the bodice back pieces, which I thought was odd for a halter dress, but the intention is for the elastic to support the back of the dress.  It didn’t work so well, even after tightening the elastic – the back bodice did not fit snuggle against my back.  In retrospect, I should have taken in the back bodice pieces and the side seams of the dress to get a better fit.  However, I just don’t think this piece was drafted correctly for a halter style dress, and instead was a cropped version of the regular back bodice piece.

I also had to make small tucks in the top of the bodice by the straps to prevent the top from gaping open – this wasn’t evident as I tried the dress on during the sewing process.  I ran into this problem before with another halter dress I made, and it was an easy (and invisible) solution to the fitting problem I had.  The problem stems from how the straps lie – they collapse and move in a bit when wearing and don’t support the top of the bodice, causing it to gape.  When they’re adjusted to lay in the correct position, the bodice is flat against my chest.  My theory is that if I make the other versions, the dress will lay correctly because of the sleeves supporting the neckline and fitting properly, and I won’t have a problem with gaping.


halter maxi4

The skirt is pleated in the front, which makes this dress great for eating a big meal…however it also makes me look a little preggo from the side!  A soft fabric is definitely best for a dress this style, anything stiff would make the skirt look like a tent.


halter maxi5

The way the pockets incorporate into the seam lines is genius, it’s like a little surprise, especially with a busy print.  They’re not too deep, but I can’t help putting my hands in them as I walk around.

Isn’t this fabric gorgeous???  I bought three yards with the intention to make a Sewaholic Lonsdale dress, but since the paisleys curve in one direction, and the Lonsdale requires a print that is mult-directional, it wasn’t meant to be.  No matter, I’m absolutely in love with the garment that this fabric turned into

Did you sew anything for Oonapalooza Month?

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belcarra and floral pants 1

Patterns: Belcarra, Simplicity 1696
Fabrics: top – eyelet from Joann Fabrics; pants – stretch cotton from Metro Textile
Size: top – 6; pants – 10

Sandals: Tahari

Before I share two of my newest makes, I wanted to thank everyone for posting their thoughts on my last post about fast sewing – when it comes down to it, it’s really all about what’s right for each individual sewist, and we should (and do!) applaud each other for our efforts.  Imma do what’s right for me from here on out, ya know?

So yeah – I made pants!  Floral ones, to boot!  The fabric is leftover from the dress I made for my trip to Florida earlier this year and these pants were intended to be a muslin for this pattern, but they ended up being a wearable muslin – even better.


belcarra and floral pants 2


I would say I have the fit about 95% of the way there.  I went down a size than I would normally cut out for pants, based off of the way I wanted the pants to fit and to account for the stretch in the fabric.  The fact there’s different pant blocks based off of body shape is great too, I used the slim block based off of my measurements and the adjusting I needed to do wasn’t anything major.  I took in the inseam quite a bit in the back to get the butt to fit better, and took a small amount in at the front center crotch seam.  I think the waist could still use some adjusting.

Here’s my problem with these pants – the longer I wore them, the more they grew!!  When I left the house in the morning, they were nice and fitted, a bit loose in the waist.  By the time I got to lunch, these pants were huge on me all over – maybe because of my body heat and sitting at my desk all morning?  Luckily I had a pair of jeans to change into (I was travelling that day), otherwise I would have needed a safety pin or something to keep these up.  I never saw a baggier-butt pair of pants in my life.

Why did this happen with my stretch cotton, oh wise sewists of the sewing blogosphere?  I’m planning on making more of these pants in stretch cotton after I tweak the fit a little more.  After I washed the pants, they snapped back to normal, but I can’t always change my pants halfway through the day when they stretch out again, hahahaha.


belcarra and floral pants 3


Can I get a “what what” for faux welt pockets?!  They’re my new favorite sewing detail.  I don’t need real welt pockets in my pants, and I never use my back pant pockets, but I like having the look of a pocket on my backside.  They need to be lowered a bit on the next pair, they’re up a bit too high for my liking.


belcarra and floral pants 4


On to Belcarra – this is my go-to summer top this year.  It’s a beautifully drafted pattern!  The shape is really flattering – I don’t feel like I’m wearing an oversized woven top like some other patterns I made in the past.  Raglan sleeves are always a winner with me as well.


belcarra and floral pants 5


Since I made this, I’ve worn it several times already, and I have plans to make a few more with some variations.  This top goes together so easily (I think it took me two hours max to cut/sew this?) and can be paired with high waisted skirts, skinny jeans, jackets, you name it  – this is a brand new TNT for my sewing pattern arsenal.

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lisette jacket 1

Pattern: Lisette Round Trip Jacket, Simplicity 1419
Fabric: linen blend from Joann Fabrics
Size: 10

Dress: McCall’s 6752

Had it not been for Me Made May this year, and following Liesl Gibson’s Instagram feed, I don’t think I would have discovered this pattern.  I guess it’s because the model on the pattern envelope is shown wearing only the dress, and the jacket is just an illustration that blends in with the dress it’s paired with.  I would have flipped right past it, since it seemed like just another fit-and-flare dress pattern, but when I saw Liesl pair her jacket with a tunic and pair of pants, I loved the shape and silhouette.  The perfect summer jacket!

(Disclaimer: I tried using my remote control for the first time outside with these shots.  They aren’t up to my usual photographic standards, but with a “creative director” who works different hours than I do, and a backlog of projects waiting to be shot for the blog…ehhh whaddyagonnado.  So yes, my head is cropped off in almost all of these pictures because I was on a hill.  Hah!!)


lisette jacket 2

Ever since my sister came up in March and we went to H&M, I’ve been on the hunt for fabric for a white jacket.  I tried one on I fell in love with when we were in the store, but hated the puff sleeves and how it fit (and who buys fast-fashion anymore?  Not me!).  It was the fabric that was to die for, a heavy knit with a neat, basket weave texture.  This linen is nowhere even close to that fabric, but the H&M jacket put the idea in my head that I wanted to make a white jacket or blazer.  I think I still want to make another white jacket, more blazer-style, this summer.


lisette jacket 3

The pattern was very straightforward and easy to sew, a beginner could make this jacket.  It’s not designed to be very fitted or tailored in any way, so it was a great jacket to make coming off of my Anise project – my mom laughed when I told her I was making another jacket!  It’s unlined, which makes it easy to wear with sleeveless garments.  I’m sure you could draft a lining if you wanted to, but I didn’t want to bother with it.

What I did do, though, is underline the front and back pieces of the jacket: the white linen is a little see-through, as you can see at the shoulder seams, and I didn’t want all of the seams and darts showing through.  I underlined the pieces with some white lining fabric I had kicking around in my stash, and serged all of the raw edges to finish the seam allowances.  I didn’t feel like underlining the sleeves, since heck, that would be a full jacket lining!


lisette jacket 4

I think I’d make this jacket again, because I love the angled lapels.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the ruffle/peplum, it’s a little too “sweet” for my liking, but it’s starting to grow on me.  The ruffle stuck out like a tutu when I finished the hem, but it’s been in my closet for a week or two now and the fabric relaxed a bit.  Maybe it’s possible to leave off the ruffle on the next version, lengthen the jacket a little turn up the bottom to hem it.

Is it starting to feel like summer where you are?  Memorial Day always feels like the ushering in of summer, and we had some beautiful weather over the holiday weekend (Chris and I went to the drive-in on Sunday!).  Except it’s supposed to go back down into the 60’s again this week…the pool is open for the season now, and the lifeguard on duty must be so bored.

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simplicity 2054_3


simplicity 2054_2

Pattern: Simplicity 2054 (View A)
Fabric: poly knit from Joann Fabrics
Size: 10/12

Tights: iParty
Boots: Michael Kors

No, this isn’t my zombie Halloween costume I’ve been working on, but instead a costume to wear to work today (you know, zombies aren’t a work-place friendly costume.  Blood and everything).  After seeing Sarah’s Grim Reaper costume, it seemed like a quick and easy idea to whip up.  The most challenging part was getting the makeup right.  Sadly, I didn’t make any little children scared today but I did get some gasps and double takes from customers.


simplicity 2054_1

As far as sewing the pattern goes, the only part I needed the instructions for was the construction of the cowl scarf.  Other than that, it’s a simple straight up-and-down long sleeve knit dress.  If I was to make this again (out of a cozy sweater knit or something), I’d do a complete size 10 instead of a 10 graded into a 12 – it was little baggy and I like my knit dresses fitted.  A belt I had in my closet was an easy solution.


simplicity 2054_4

The cowl also double as a fabulous hood.

What are your Halloween plans?  Did you get rained/blown away by Sandy and have parties later this week?  My Halloween party is Saturday night, so I’ll definitely post pictures next week of my real costume, complete with a “zombie survivor” boyfriend that I’ll try to attack all night long.

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simplicity 2418

simplicity 2418

(The sleeve caps stick out more than I’d like them to)

Pattern: Simplicity “It’s So Easy” 2418 (OOP)
Fabric: Cotton gauze from Mood Fabric in NYC
Size: 10 graded to a 12

During last year’s shopping trip to NYC (you know, the one that I bought fabric for this top) I also found this yummy orange cotton gauze.  Orange isn’t a color I wear much (not at all, actually), but there was something about this bright pop that jumped off of the shelves and beckoned me to buy it.  And I’m not one to buy fabric without having an idea first as to what I’m going to make out if it!  The fabric has great drape and seemed perfect for a tunic pattern I picked up a few years ago and had hanging out in my stash.

(I’m a pretty bad pattern hoarder, btw.  I’ll buy them and not sew them up.  Hmm I should sell some of them…)

simplicity 2418

(This is a little see-through but I don’t need to wear a tank underneath)

Construction:

Honestly, the hardest and most time consuming part of making this pattern was cutting out the fabric.  The pattern is cut in a single layer on the bias, which gives it such nice drape, but was a pain in the ass getting a nice and smooth cut edge!  Once the pattern was cut out, it took about two hours for me to stitch the top together.

The best part of this top is that there are no exposed seams.  I used french seams to enclose the side seams and narrow turned hems for the cowl and bottom hem.  The yoke was a little fussy – the wrong sides of the front and back are attached to the yoke and the yoke is then top-stitched over the raw edges of the front and back to completely enclose the seams, as can be seen below:

simplicity 2418

It makes it more RTW, but still fussy.  I love the gathered detail in the back.

I’m not sure if I’d make this again.  Sure, it was an easy top to put together in a short amount of time and fits well, but it was more of a “what can I make with this fabric” type of situation (that way I could justify buying more fabric on a recent trip to NYC).  It’s a great basic, but I think I’d rather try and make some other patterns before coming back to this one again.

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