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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Lovely Linen

Nothing says the end of summer like finishing a sun dress on Labor Day!

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But that is exactly how I spent my weekend when I wasn’t focused on potty training our toddler.

I love this dress. After so much frustration with getting something to fit I am thrilled I gave it one more try before moving onto another pattern.

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This is a mash up on my heavily modified Gertie bodice with the gored skirt from Cashmerette’s Upton Dress. When I made my Liberty dress a few weeks ago I made the mistake of lowering the bust darts way too much. This time I did all the same alterations only I lowered the bust dart 1/2 inch. Such a difference.

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Still not 100% perfect, but oh so close. Once I tried it on I had to take it in 1/2 inch at the under arm. No big deal and easy to adjust on the pattern piece.

But damn this fits my bust well.

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And in the back I got the back adjustment just right in the upper back. But then I forgot to re-add the width to the waist. Whoops! Also easily added to the pattern piece for next time. So you can see a bit of pulling there.

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The fabric is a linen/cotton blend from The Fabric Store. I purchased it right after the Upton pattern came out, but then it sat in timeout while I battled my fit issues. The fabric is quite open in weave so I lined the entire dress with some bright apple green Free Spirit voile I purchased when my local fabric store went out of business. The lining took just 2.5 yards, so I still have another 3 yards of voile for another project.

Thankfully here in Southern California we’ll have warm weather for another 2-3 months so still plenty of time to wear this beauty through fall!

 

Making a Muslin – Liberty Edition

After feeling frustrated by my recent attempts at making woven dresses, I took a step back. What pattern has fit me the best? Could I work with it? Well I thought on it for a while and determined the Gertie dress I made a few months back is still my favorite. Light as air to wear and with a good fit. It only needed a few tweaks. So I’m saying goodbye to the Upton pattern for now. Maybe, just maybe I need to stick with misses patterns and grade out rather than starting with plus patterns. Worth trying!

So I put on my Gertie dress to access the fit. Lots of little tweaks, but nothing huge.

  1. Take out 1/2 inch the front neckline
  2. Increase the waist front darts 1/2 inch
  3. Lower the bust darts
  4. Make back darts end higher
  5. Make sway back adjustment less severe

Looks like a lot, but most of these were easy to accomplish when re-tracing the pattern. Then I conquered an adjustment I’d been mulling over for a while. A narrow back adjustment as outlined in this Threads Magazine article.

Now, one would normally use something like muslin fabric or something purchased cheaply, but I’m running low on wadder fabric. I used my Liberty!

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It worked! Well, not quite! The finished dress is beautiful, but it turned out I’d over done lowering the bust darts! I had to rip it all apart to redo them. In the end that worked out well because now I have custom fit darts.

I’m thinking I might take that approach more often. These are some of my most successful darts and it wouldn’t be terrible hard to do. I could just sew the top and bottom of the side seam then try on my dress and pinch out the darts as I wanted them.

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This was supposed to be a muslin to test my newly re-drafted bodice, but then when the darts were all wrong I couldn’t bear to fix the darts and then rip this all apart to trace off the pieces. I guess that’s what happens when one decides to test new ideas with Liberty of London lawn. This stuff is too expensive and dear to rip apart, but I love all my stash fabrics too much to make a wadder.

I ended up picking this yardage piece because it had been sitting unloved for too long. It was only 2 yards of Penrose Rose (color D) I purchase on an Massdrop a while back. Part of me wanted to see if I could get a whole dress out of such a small piece and I’m thrilled that I could!

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One of the other issues I encountered was a lack of lining fabric in my stash. I seriously need to pick up some nice lawn to have on hand! I dug around a found a few scraps of ivory lawn left over from my 1912 dress. It wasn’t enough to make the all in one facing I’d planned. It wasn’t even enough for bias tape! But the awkwardly shaped scraps were just enough to make some very narrow facings.

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These worked perfectly and do not flip out the way full sized facing usually do.

The other issue I encountered was when I finished the dress it looked too plain. It was just a simple thing with a whole lot of patterned fabric. I dug around through my lace scraps and found a length of antique cotton lace that was leftover from a 1930s dress I made years ago. It definitely made this dress look less homemade.

Lastly for the skirt I took the leftover yardage after cutting out the bodice pieces and determined I could just eek out a skirt that came to the top of my knees while still being able to line up the subtle striping pattern at the side seams. it also means the skirt is a full 100 inches wide! So wide! To keep the width from becoming overwhelming without a petticoat I pleated the fabric using my own fingertip as a guide on how large to make each pleat.

I’d thought about making a less wide skirt, but I didn’t want to have an awkward piece of fabric leftover. In retrospect I could have used the leftovers to make bias tape, but now that the dress is done I am so glad I went for the super pleated skirt.

Since I finally have a dress I love I’m trying to decide what to make next. I wanted to make a shirt dress this summer, so maybe that should be next. While I ponder I have a couple quick knit things to make. What do you all think I should tackle next?

Easter 2016 – Part 1

I promise! Pictures of cute girls in adorable homemade Easter dresses are coming soon! Today I’m going to talk about momma’s Easter dress. The one that I decided I needed to make less than a week ago!

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And oh my goodness I am thrilled I took the plunge.

It all started when I saw By Gum, By Golly’s review of the book Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book.  A whole book about making dresses? Yes please. But ugh. I’ve been having so much trouble getting a good fit lately. Did I really need another book. Well, Tasha’s review mentioned how well the neckline fit using Gertie’s patterns so I decided to give it a try, but not before going to our local book store to give it a quick look first. What I found was a book filled with exactly the style of dresses I love most!

Lots of different styles of bodices and different kinds of skirts (non of them dirndl, thank goodness).

I was immediately smitten with the dress in the upper right corner. It features a v-neck, puff sleeve, and pleated skirt. I took a quick dive into my stashed and pulled out the dress quantity of Tiger Lily lawn I’d stashed several months back. Originally I’d planned to make another Washi for the winter, but I’ve been excited to make non-elastic waist clothes lately. Plus butterflies are totally Easter appropriate!

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This pattern did end up needing some significant alteration. Like, I had to make the front darts smaller and the back darts larger. I also had to make the same alterations to the skirt. That wasn’t such a big deal. Normal for me. The hardest alteration to figure out was the sleeves. Those are always always always too tight on me. But this time I was determined to get the fit right.

There was a lot of swearing and seam ripping in my house last weekend as I tried and tried again to get the sleeves to fit. Then I had a light bulb moment and pulled out my sleeve sloper. My sloper is a little old, but I figured my shoulder shape hasn’t changed that much. Worth a try.

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Oh yeah, that is a big difference! My sloper shows I needed a much taller sleeve cap! Once I made that discovery the whole pattern alteration process went smoothly.

The sewing process wasn’t without its bumps though.

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I’d really wanted to use white piping in the neckline like the rickrack in Gertie’s. I even had white piping on hand. But ugh! I just could not get it sewn in correctly no matter how I tried. Of course 2 days later I realized I’d been trying to sew piping with a zipper foot. Whoops! No sense in ripping it out by that point. I’ll save that plan for next time.

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I also tried sewing in my zipper 4 or 5 times. Every gosh darn time the fabric puckered at least a little bit. I eventually settled for matching facings and waist seams figuring that after taking a seam ripper to lawn 3 or 4 times it wouldn’t survive a 4th or 5th attempt. Moving on.

And really that is a minor complaint in a dress that looks really great and is so light and comfortable I’ll be able to wear it to work all summer long.

Lastly, this is what happens when you ask a 4 year old for modeling ideas. Ha!

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