Tropo Camisole Nightgown

Over at the Curvy Sewing Collective I have a full write up of the Tuesday Stitches Tropo Camisole. It’s a really nice wardrobe basic and I hope to make many more as pajama and work out tops. However, I thought I’d also try it out as a nightgown because summer is here and it is so hot at night!

img_2400

Erin has a tutorial to make the Tropo into a dress so that is a great place to start if your thinking about lengthening the design. One thing to keep in mind is there a lot of negative ease at the hip of the tank. This is great for anchoring a shirt, but not so great in dress form.

As you can see my nightgown is pretty tight across my midsection. I freehand cut the skirt section with about 4 inches more in ease, but it was not quite as much as I’d like.

img_2399

It won’t stop me from wearing this nightgown. It’s made from a soy blend knit I picked up on my trip to Portland back in January. I’m definitely considering ordering it in a couple more colors because while it is a little snug, this nightgown is incredibly comfortable. I need to see how much yardage I would need. Maybe 1.5 yards?

img_2443

I made this second nightgown from a firm cotton jersey from Sahara Fabrics and this time I swung out the hem more to add a bit more room. It is also a bit more snug than I’d like, but that is partly because the jersey is a little on the heavy side for the pattern. I’ve come to realize I need to shorten it above the waist. If I pinch out about 1 inch in length suddenly the whole bottom half fits. Whoops! This is also the first version I made without a shelf bra because I ran out of coordinating fabric.

In fact after making two tanks and 2 nightgowns I’ve run out of fold over elastic and the soft elastic I’d bought for the under bust band. This was a good little stash busting project, but I really feel like I’m not done. Just too perfect as a useful and quick project!


Otherwise in our lives we are settling into a summer routine. Though we’ve had some sort of virus rip through the family this past week. As the kids have gotten older we are experiencing fewer illnesses, but when something hits us, it hits us hard. Oh well. Thankfully we are all on the mend and 6 days of being house bound have given me plenty of time to catch up on my sewing to do list.

Advertisements

Ottobre Norma Blouse and the Dress Like Your Grandma Challenge

 

This year I just barely managed to participate in the Dress Like Your Grandma challenge Tanya (of Mrs. Hughes fame) made into an annual event. I aspire to sew as many vintage patterns as Tanya manages to produce! Anyways, I didn’t have a ton of time available to tackle this look and so I’m not quite pleased with what I was able to put together.

My mom’s mom is on the left looking saucy and rocking those ankle strap shoes. I’m not sure when this was taken, but my grandmother’s always been a bit of a ball buster. Definitely not one of those soft and sweet grandmothers who bake cookies. She’s more likely to ask me when I’m going to lose weight and can I sneak her some Jack Daniels? But she loved my grandfather and they are so adorable in the photos from their youth. Based on their wedding year and the fashion in this picture I’m guessing this is when when they were dating. (Any idea mom?)

img_2149

Trying to find a blouse pattern like Grandma’s was really tough. I didn’t have time to draft my own and I didn’t see anything readily available to download. Ottobre Magazine sent me a couple magazines to try out so I flipped through the pages and found the Norma Blouse. It’s a really cute little 1940s style shirt with a yoke at the shoulders, gathers at the shoulders, and fish eye darts for some subtle shaping.

I’ve never tried an Ottobre pattern before this, but the blouse turned out really nicely. Maybe a tad big in the shoulders, but I was trying not to do too many adjustments. Aside from blending sizes (44/48/50) I also did a full bust, sway back, and full bicep adjustment. I feel like I’ve been overly picky with fit lately and it was nice to just step away and accept the finished project instead of over analyzing it.

I also haven’t made a blouse in years. Or frankly anything with a button front. Unfortunately I probably need a touch more bust room, but otherwise I think I did a pretty good job making a professional looking shirt. I feel like my breasts look SO BIG in this and yet I probably do need to go down a size and do an even larger full bust adjustment.

img_2146

The Norma blouse was super easy to sew together. Ottobre sells magazines in English and that’s a big plus! I’m working on a project from another European magazine and it is just not as smooth trying to translate sewing terms.

The fabric for this blouse is the leftovers from the girls’ Baptism dresses and it was just perfect for a blouse. I’m really getting my money’s worth out of this purchase The Fabric Store. I still have even more!

So what do you think of the fit of this blouse? Does it look okay? Or is it worth narrowing the shoulders and doing an even bigger full bust adjustment? I think it is worth keeping this pattern and using it again. My husband said this is his favorite thing I’ve made in a long time and it is a pretty wonderful shirt.

 

Baptism Dresses

This spring felt a bit crazy for our family, so I’m playing a bit of catch up! We decided to take a family trip to Hawaii over spring break and it was wonderful. Our littlest one keeps asking to go back (like every single day, multiple times) and our older daughter loves volcanoes so she’s very interested in the eruption taking place right now. I mean how often does a 6 year old visit a volcano and then have it erupt a month later? Pretty cool in her world.

Then we got home. Our plane landed at the airport at midnight and that very same day we had to get ourselves together to attend Baptism class at our church. I’d always intended to baptize our kids, but before last June we were very infrequent attendees of services. Since June the girls and I have attended nearly every week. We love our new church home! So I started seriously looking into having the girls baptized. I opted for the mass baptism date held as part of the Easter Vigil services so that it would be easier for friends and family to attend, particularly my mother in law who would be traveling quite a distance (hi Widget!).

img_1860

Our kids were the oldest and I was tempted to make their dresses in something other than white. Delicate white fabric is not really the best for rambunctious kids who have a mother who likes to procrastinate on the laundry. Tradition won out and so the girls wore this darling white dresses.

 

For inspiration I turned to this sweet little dress at the V&A Museum. The original is from about 1870 and made with velvet with satin ribbon and lace. I just love this dress so very much.

img_1889

Poor Chi Chi. Easter is so rough on 3 year olds! Anyways I think my version of the V&A dress makes enough of a nod to the original, but these were a little easier for me to make under a deadline. Plus I just could not afford that amount of lace and ribbon times 2 dresses! I splurged on some lovely trimmings, but there is a limit to what I’m willing to spend on a one time use garment.

The fabric is some lovely super sheer shirting I grabbed at The Fabric Store. I bought 8 whole yards! Way too much, but now I have plenty of leftover for another project or two. Then I lined them with cotton lawn. The lawn was a slightly different shade of white, but it isn’t noticeable in the finished dresses.

img_1861

I drafted the pattern from The Building Block Dress from Liesl Gibson. It’s a genius little book that is well worth the cost. I’m not afraid to slash and spread a pattern, but it is nice to have a little hand holding from a trained professional. I used the basic bodice with a puffed sleeve and gathered a-line skirt. Thankfully the bodice size for both girls was the same as at Christmas so I could use those dress patterns as a starting point.

 

I doubt these dresses will be wore very frequently, but they did turn out so perfectly and I’m glad they got at least two days of wear out of them, Baptism and Easter. As for the baptism ceremony, the girls were just perfect. So happy to participate and then come home for cake and presents. Just as fun as a birthday!

Scroop’s Miramar and Gertie’s Side Pleated Skirt

Earlier this week it was 90F here in LA, so here is one last winter post before this space turns into sundress city!

I’ve been eyeing Scroop’s Miramar pattern for a little while. I need more tops that I can wear to work with skirts, but I struggle to find knit styles I like. I don’t want a t-shirt and I already have some wrap top options. Miramar works as something different, but a little more elevated than a basic tee. I also like the dress pattern. I’ve been wearing a ton of skater dresses and I’m kind of sick of sewing the same pattern over and over.

I’m a little torn over how my first two attempts worked out.

img_1486

This is my first try. I went with the dress version and cut out my size (40B/42W/44H) based on the size chart. In the pictures it actually looks pretty good from the front. The sleeves are slightly snug, but I figure the main problem is the fabric. This is a rayon blend from JoAnn’s and so clingy that I can’t see wearing this as a dress. It needed a slip underneath, but you can see all the seaming and my bellybutton. Boo.

img_1492

The back view reveals another problem, the massive pool of fabric at my back. This was not a deal breaker since I often need the back length shortened on patterns and a sway back adjustment. Given this was my first try at the Miramar Dress I thought it was a pretty good starting point.

img_1501

For version two I made a shirt so I could work on the back pooling issue without committing to an entire dress worth of fabric. The shirt only took 1 yard, so I could actually make two of these with the white jersey I’d also purchased from JoAnn’s. But ugh, I hate this shirt.

img_1505

Even though the fabric had the correct amount of 4 ways stretch, it wasn’t at all a good fit for the pattern. The Miramar directions recommend fabric with a soft stretch and well duh. This jersey doesn’t not have that at all. It is much more firm and that’s why this shirt didn’t work. But it was still disappointing to have it turn out so unwearable.

So I’m still on the fence about Scroop’s Miramar. I don’t think the dress will ever work for me. I’m not comfortable with soft knit fabrics on a clingy dress, even with a corrected back length. The shirt is much more promising in the right fabric, but finding 4 way stretch fabric in natural fibers is not something I’ve done very successfully. I’ve found plenty of polyester, but not many other options. Maybe this pattern gets put away until I find the right fabric to try again. I’ve ordered several fabrics that claimed to have the right stretch and hand but none of those have been true to their description. Boo.

All of these items were made a couple month ago when I got in some sort of craze to make something right this second. I don’t know what processed me. I finished a project and didn’t have the next fabric pre-washed so I launched into making a skirt that I probably shouldn’t have made.

img_1494

This is the Side Pleated Skirt from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book with a waistband added. It is actually a really cute skirt, but it too has a issue. I really wanted to make a skirt with the corduroy, but I had an odd amount. There wasn’t enough for my plan A or B. I even had to majorly alter the width on Gertie’s pattern to make it fit 45″ fabric. This should have been a sign to walk away, but instead I persisted.

img_1498

The corduroy fabric clings to everything including itself. It is really annoying to wear. Wearing the Miramar dress tucked into this skirt does actually help some. And when I wore the ensemble to work I got a lot of compliments. But the color combination feels more November-February than April so off to storage it goes. I guess I’ll wait and see how I feel about both pieces in the fall. The white shirt is a definite no. But white jersey is good to have on hand, so it’ll probably live again as a kid garment.

Birthday Girl – 6!

My oldest daughter turned 6 earlier this month and for once I went with a simple birthday dress instead of planning something complicated. No piping. No lace. Just jersey knit…with mermaids!

img_1576

In previous years this child would only wear dresses and fancy shoes but kindergarten has changed her from a toddler into a real and true kid. She still likes a fancy dress sometimes, but t-shirts, leggings, and tennis shoes are more her speed these days.

img_1577

Making this also made me realize a lot of my sewing patterns are in toddler sizes and not kid sizes. However perhaps I shouldn’t worry. I made the bodice up in a size 5 t-shirt pattern shortened for a dress and it is still huge. This is Made By Rae’s Flashback Skinny Tee which I’ve used tons of times, but clearly I should have actually measured Lu’s chest and not assumed a 5 would be right.

img_1582

The mermaid fabric is from Sahara Fabrics. I stashed a bunch of their prints a while back and I’m slowly working through them. This came as a panel which I used on the front of the bodice and mermaid printed yardage I used for the skirt and back of the bodice. I have a 2nd panel and more yardage I’d like to use for my younger daughter so I cut carefully to leave large enough remnants.

img_1579

Since the weather is unpredictable in March I went ahead and added long sleeves like a faux under sleeve so there isn’t the bulk of having to wear a whole shirt underneath. Then I used the same pink jersey from my stash for the neckband to tie it all together. I’m thankful I added the sleeves since all our winter weather has decided to land in March after having a hot and dry December, January, and February!

img_1590

The dress was a hit on her birthday. Lu asked for a Chuck E. Cheese birthday for 6 months so we gave in. It was pure chaos, but she had a lot of fun and that’s all that matters! Happy birthday to Lu!

Colette Myrna

Oh Colette. Their patterns are often so cute and just my style, but their fit issues have become legendary in the sewing community. Like many sewers I followed along with Rue-gate and the reorganizing and rebranding that followed. I’ve really liked all 4 patterns Colette has released since the Rue failure, but the samples have been pretty awful. Why don’t they make samples to fit the models? I just don’t get it. It makes it so hard to know if the patterns just don’t fit the models or if the drafting is terrible. Maybe both?

Anyways, I’ve been avoiding Colette patterns because like many others I was a little worried the quality was poor. It’s a real shame because with their increased size range Colette should be a go-to brand for curvy sewers and it’s just…not.

img_1469

But then Colette released the Myrna dress and I loved it. I loved it so much I was willing to take a chance on Colette again and see if I could get the pattern to work for me. It has a few features that make this an easier pattern to fit.

First off, it features a cut on sleeve. This makes is way easier to fit through the shoulder. I have narrow shoulders and often have a hell of a time getting that part of a pattern to fit, but with this type of sleeve it was less of an issue. I will say the shoulders are pretty straight across on this dress. That works in my favor as I have a pretty flat shoulder line. I also found the sleeve opening to be generous so that I didn’t need to enlarge it. I have 14.5 inch biceps and almost always need to do a full bicep adjustment. Also the bust gathering is generous, so even though I wear a F cup bra I didn’t need to do a full bust adjustment.

However I won’t say the dress was perfect for me as is. I encountered one big issue that is apparent right in the pattern photos, the bodice is too damn long. And because I have a full bust that’s not so perky anymore, I chose not to alter the pattern at the lengthen shorten lines. Instead I took the extra height from the midriff piece in the front, 1 1/2 inches total. I was able to decide how much height to take out by measuring my sloper and comparing the length to the Mryna pattern pieces.

Ultimately the length adjustment was the only thing I changed for this version. I went by the chart and blended sizes as needed for my measurements, 14 for the bust and 16 for the waist and hips.

img_1474

The dress was super easy to construct and I love the finished dress, but the fit is still not great. The whole bodice is too long still and too big. I put in a side zipper as instructed, but I can throw this dress on without even needing the zipper. I’d guess I could go down a whole size in the bust and waist and take out more length. I’ve been slowing losing a little weight, but not that much! I picked the sizes that correspond to my current measurements and yet…too big.

However I wore this dress to work last week and it still got favorable comments. It’s not a total loss. The fabric is big and bold. I picked it up on a destash from Mary of Idle Fancy fame and the colors are super fun. Plus the pattern was busy enough that I didn’t need to worry about pattern matching. I just tried to avoid getting a obvious spot right on my bust apex. I see I only kind of succeeded. Whoops!

Will I make another Myrna? Yep. I probably will. I think if I go down a size and take out a touch more length this could be a really solid pattern for me. Light and cool for summer, but totally work appropriate. Will I tackle more Colette patterns? Of that I’m not sure. I think I’m still unlikely to try anything with a set in sleeve, but I would be open to using sleeveless or cut on sleeve patterns in the future.

Dartmouth and Fantail Revisited

It rained! There was actual water falling from the sky! I didn’t think it would happen this year and started sewing up some spring clothes, but then dang. Mother Nature is showing me who is boss. Ha! I’d planned to share my thoughts on the Colette Myrna today, but I like to wear my makes before I review them and the weather suddenly stopped cooperating. Hopefully I’ll get be able to test it out soon!

Instead today I’m revisiting a couple patterns I’ve made before, Cashmerette’s Dartmouth Top and Scroop’s Fantail Skirt.

img_1478

I’ll start with the Fantail Skirt. It is easily my favorite skirt pattern. Both of the skirts I’ve made are in constant rotation! This new version is made in black wool twill purchased from Renaissance Fabrics last fall. It looks like it is no longer in stock, but sometimes they are able to restock popular fabrics. This is a size 42 waist blended to a 44 hip and it went together so smoothly. Since my serger is now set up all the time, I went ahead and serged the seams before sewing the skirt together. It makes it so much easier to wash without all the seams unraveling as often happens with this type of weave. There is only one thing I dislike, the interfacing I used. I went with some left over Pellon I found in my interfacing drawer and I much prefer using silk organza instead. Oh well! I’ll try to remember for next time.

img_1482

And the Dartmouth Top? It is not my favorite. I feel like I gave it a fair shot. I’ve made 1 short sleeve, 2 long sleeve, and 1 dress. They are all just fine and totally wearable tops, but they just aren’t what I pull out when I want to feel good.

Back when I first reviewed the pattern, Jenny recommended using a lighter fabric and so this fall I went in search of some good choices. I settled on some solid green rayon blend jersey and this sort of brick colored modal blend jersey from Harts Fabrics. Both fabrics were easy to sew up, but neither shirt looks like I’d hoped. It looks okay in the photos, but they seem pretty big in person.

img_1484

Could be because I’ve lost a few pounds since I first made this pattern. I made a size 14G/16/18, but it looks like I’ve lost just enough weight to need a smaller size. When I made my (awesome favorite) wrap dresses I used a size 12G/14 for the top and that fits a lot better. But aside from the sizing changes I think I will still skip Dartmouth as a top. I really prefer to wear my tops tucked in and having 4 layers of hemmed jersey on my hips is not helpful. Oh well! The pattern is well worth keeping to make more mock wrap front dresses.