Happy Birthday to Me!

I squeaked out one more dress for 2016! I really didn’t think I had the time, but the fabric was washed, the pattern was something I’d made before, and I had a couple free evenings! Plus my birthday was falling in a pocket of cooler than typical weather.

This is Cashermette’s Appleton pattern in some gorgeous green merino wool jersey from The Fabric Store. I’d purchased the yardage last December on my first visit to the Los Angeles location, but then I started to doubt my ability to sew with it!

I’m glad I waited. This past year I have learned a lot about sewing knits on my Janome. It doesn’t have the lightening bolt stitch so I’ve had to repair many of my dresses as the various test stitches have popped with wear. This jersey is so fragile that I don’t think the seams would hold up to the wrong stitch. As I’ve mentioned before I now use something like baseball stitch and it work really really well. Then I use a faux coverstitch for the hems. I own a serger, but I enjoy sewing on my regular machine. I also don’t have a dedicated sewing space, so it is frankly easier to have one machine out all the time than swap them out with every project.

The finished dress is a breeze to wear. Since my birthday is so close to Christmas this dress will do double duty for both events and keeps me nice and warm as well. The only negative thing about it is the fabric is sheer in photos taken with flash. So I’ll be sure to wear some good undergarments!

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Groovy Girl

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Cultural Heritage Foundation. Are you interested in saving Victorian architecture?

Hope everyone in the USA had a lovely Thanksgiving with their family and friends. We took our first family road trip to visit my sister. Two kids, two adults, and one dog all jammed into a car for 6 hours. Really it was a lot of fun, but so hard to get back and head right into Lamplight at Heritage Square!

This is the biggest event the museum holds each year and and this year I was assigned to be one of the tour guides. I was super happy with my role as getting to weekday rehearsals is really tough with two small children. As a guide I only had to attend the 3 main rehearsals. But there was a catch, the tour guides were actually characters this year! We played the museum founders and spend the evening talking with guests about the importance of Los Angeles’ Victorian architecture and why it was important to save. It also meant we all dressed for roughly 1970. Groovy!

Every year I spend waaaaaaay too much time and energy trying to get my clothes as accurate as possible. This year was no exception. As soon as I knew I was aiming for 1970 I started scouring my pattern stash and looking for inspiration. It was a little harder than I expected because searching for 1970 brought up a lot of clothing for the 1970s that was too late for my particular needs.

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I settled on Simplicity 1059, one of their Jiffy patterns that was originally published in 1969. The big selling point was this pattern had sleeves! As a tour guide I needed to spend a portion of the evening outdoors at night in cold (for LA) weather. Sleeves!

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It was also a very simple shape. Here it is without the sash so you can see there are no darts, no waist seam. Really it was just a front, back, sleeves, and facings. All the bust shaping is provided by one pleat at each shoulder. I simply graded from one size at the bust to another size at the waist and hips to ensure enough wearing ease.

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The pattern was not without it’s issues though. If you look really closely at the pattern art you’ll see the neckline was supposed to be a deep V. What I didn’t realize is the V would go really low, like you could see a significant portion of my bra. I’d cut the front on the fold instead of putting in a front seam so I could avoid pattern matching down the front. I’d even raised the neckline a tad to account for the lost seam, but apparently it wasn’t enough!

I did play around with the idea of buttoning the front closed, but that pulled the shoulder pleats out of alignment, so the finished dress has a triangular piece sewn in for modesty. I tried to sort of line up the print to make it less noticeable.

Also I spend a lot of brainpower and timing putting in the invisible zipper and matching the pattern down the back only to find I could pull the dress over my head without ever unzipping the back. Sob!  If I make the pattern again I will cut both he back and front on the fold! Can you spot the center back seam?

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For the fabric I knew I wanted to use rayon. I wanted long sleeves, but it had to be thin fabric because my jacket sleeves are quite tight and thick fabric wouldn’t fit. So I started looking for some 60s/70s prints online. I sent the choices to my mom who helped me pick the best of my options. We settled on this print from Free Spirit Fabrics. It cost a tad bit more than I anticipated, but I can wear this dress to work.  A++ would buy again.

Was I cold? You bet! But I was only outside for 5-10 minutes at a time so I’m satisfied with my choice of fabric. Even though the dress isn’t a shape I usually wear, I really love the way it turned out. Especially such a dramatic sleeve!

And now with Lamplight behind me I’ve moved onto Christmas gifts. Anyone else doing some holiday sewing?

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