Goodbye 2016!

2016 has come and gone. Last night we had storms passing through, but today has arrived cool, clear, and with a beautiful bright blue sky. Like many others 2016 was not my favorite year. Beyond the political landscape, it was just an okay year for our little family. We got by fine, the kids grew and thrived, but it wasn’t an easy year. By the end of it I felt quite worn down by the routine but also by the instability.

There was a lot of good stuff coming out of our house as well. I spent a lot of time on my sewing skills. I now have a much loved skater-style dress I make and wear frequently. I also discovered I do better when I work off the Gertie block then the Cashmerette block (for wovens). I’m sure in the coming year I will buy more patterns, but I also hope to make my own block again. I have a lot of ideas of dresses I’d like to make, but I think making my own block would really help me spend less time fitting and more time designing.

I made some misses too. A few poor fabric choices and a few patterns that just didn’t work for my shape. And sometimes things turn out okay, but they fail to make it to the regular rotation. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a sewer who doesn’t have a few flops every year.

And then there are my sweet girls! Not as much sewing for them as with previous years. Mostly because Charlie can wear so many things I made for her sister and she’s stayed quite tiny. Partly because Lu finally grew enough that she can wear commercially produced school uniforms! I ordered a select number of skirts and dresses in August and Lu’s been set for school since. I am incredibly proud of their swimsuits and plan to make them new suits for next summer. So much fun and really simple.

What’s next? I still have some quilts to finish. One for my bed and the girls matching quilts for their room. We moved all the baby stuff out over the winter break and we’re contemplating bunk beds this summer, so I’d like to get those quilts done. Otherwise I’ll just keep looking for new inspiration. I organized my fabric stash a bit this week and remembered I have fabric to make the Sewaholic Pacific Leggings, my SIL bought me the Decades of Style Lara Dress pattern, and I have more wool jersey to make a skater style dress. Maybe I’ll get to those things, but if I don’t it is okay. I can’t wait to see where 2017 takes me!

Not Quite Utopian Dress

This dress started off so well. I picked some bright and beautiful fabric from the Utopia collection from Art Gallery Fabrics. So cheerful! So summery! Perfect for a dress to wear to the office.

I dutifully picked a pattern. Something breastfeeding friendly and nice for work. Something to highlight my smallest point and gloss over my still pudgy midsection.

Then I cut out the pattern…and made the first mistake. I didn’t layout all the pattern pieces before cutting. I never do. But this time I misread the layout on the directions and had cut the pieces with the fold on the wrong edge. Which means when I went to cut the very last piece, the front skirt panel…there was no fold to cut it on. But I soldiered on and cut the skirt to have a seam down the middle. Not ideal, but also not the end of the world.

And then I sewed the dress together.

This was how it fit the first time around. Notice the gaping in the bust and the huge amount of ease in the underarm!

yellow dress bustYellow dress underarm

Okay, at this point I should back up and explain. You see when I picked a pattern the only size range in stock was the plus size version Simplicity 1653. It’s one of their Amazing Fit patterns with options for make a pattern to fit multiple bust sizes and body shapes. I had researched to see what other people had done with the pattern and seen over all positive results. I had also studied the pattern to see what size I should cut and landed on the 20W curvy fit. In theory the pattern should have come out pretty close to perfect, but as you can see the reality was different.

In order to make it wearable I took it in 4 inches overall from underarm to waist. And I took it up 2 inches in the shoulder. That made it a lot more wearable even though it also make the bust darts a little too high. Whew!

Then I started hemming the skirt and…cut a hole in the fabric. Seriously. This is the dress that just didn’t want to be.  But I was stubborn. I love this fabric. I was going to make it work.

And I did.

I even fixed the whole in the fabric pretty nicely. But when I wore the dress to work I got so annoyed with the tie. Its bulky and every time I moved or had a pumping session I would have to wrestle the dress back into shape. It was annoying.

So I took it back to the machine and took off the tie closure and sewed the wrap into the side seam.

It made the dress a tad bit tight. I didn’t have any extra fabric to extend the front panel a little bit, but at least now I want to wear the dress. Before it would have just sat around unloved. Ease of wearing is just such a deal breaker right now. Plus I wear cardigans all the time, so the pulling isn’t so noticeable at work.

In the end this is not a pattern I’ll be attempting again. There were just too many issues. But at least I got one mostly wearble dress from all the time I put into it. And with weaning only 3 or 4 months away I can start dreaming of sewing clothes without boob access as the #1 consideration!