Monthly Archives: August 2014

A quickie

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I’ve been starting a lot of projects but not finishing much. /sigh. Never a good sign. But when this scrap of knit jacquard (can knits be jacquards?) threw itself in my path last week, I thought that maybe it would be something quick enough that I could actually get it out. It was a piece as-is, a cut barely over half a metre, but it had the most gorgeous roses pattern, and it obviously needed to be the world’s simplest knit skirt.

Simple knit skirt.

Simple knit skirt.

It didn’t end up being quite as simple as I might have liked. The wider feature of the roses wasn’t centred on the panel, but I wanted it centred on the skirt—I figured I’d cut the panel so the roses were centred, with a single seam at the back. As it turned out, this wasn’t quite wide enough, so I had to add a narrow panel to the back. We’ll call it a feature.

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I took the opportunity to use a bit of snuggly-soft grey elastic I’ve been hoarding as an exposed waistband. Possibly black would’ve been a better choice as the grey is a bit lighter than the charcoal in the skirt, but I think it works, and it’s every bit as comfy and snuggly as I had hoped it would be.

Waistband

Waistband

Since it’s visible, I didn’t just want to overlap my elastic; so I sewed it right-sides together and then topstitched the seam allowances down to the sides to flatten them. This may not have been the cleanest way to finish the waistband, but it’s serviceable, and it won’t likely be seen often anyway.

I used Steam-a-Seam in the hem and finished it off by hand with catch-stitches for lots of stretch. And that’s about as complicated as even I can make a simple knit skirt.

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It’s almost nice enough to make me excited for fall…

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The Ultimate Sundress

Fabric, Pattern

I’m getting so I have a lot of sundresses. This is mostly OK, since I wear them quite a lot when the weather cooperates (although a lot of them are white, which is less good). But one can never have too many of a Useful Wardrobe Item, especially something distinctive like a sundress.

I bought this fabric more than a year ago, because I fell totally in love with the stylized floral print. Totally, completely in love. It’s a fabric I have sat and patted many a time in the months since, a stretch cotton sateen, which has to be one of my favourite fabrics of all time, by the way. I knew I wanted it to be a flared-skirt sundress; I bought three metres, figuring that would be enough for most anything I could decide to make with it. Then a few weeks later, I found the last metre folded up in the remnant bin. A week or more after that, it was still there. It came home with me. Butterick XXXX was a real possibility, except after I made the Picnic Dress I didn’t really think my wardrobe needed two. Vogue 2429, in the simple flared skirt version, became the new plan. And then it sat. And sat.

Back on Canada Day (July 1st), I checked my schedule and realized that, between my two jobs, I had no days off before July 20th. Faced with the grim reality, I managed to wrangle a personal day (so, one day off!) and committed to self-care in the meantime. Which, for me, means mostly sewing. So I was determined to make something satisfying, simple, and self-indulgent. This sundress fit the bill.

A simple little dress

I usually make a size twelve, but knowing that my fabric was a stretch, and wanting the option to wear it sans-bra, I made the size ten at the bust, grading up to twelve at the waist. I shortened the bodice a wee bit (though the darts are a bit high so perhaps I could have shortened more), and did my usual sway-back adjustment. I keep resolving to skip this on a full-skirt pattern and see what I can get away with, but the skirt for this one, which looks flared on the envelope, is really not much more than a gentle A-line. .

Front view

Front view

It’s actually the only thing I wasn’t super-thrilled with about the dress—I didn’t want a full circle skirt, but a half-circle at least might have been nice. Anyway, I didn’t fuss around with pattern-matching or any of that, so I got this wee little dress out of 1.5m of fabric—meaning I have enough left to try again if I should feel the need. It actually looks really good from the side, but I feel like the skirt looks a bit narrow and flat from straight on.

Piping!

Piping!

The only fun detail I added was a touch of self-piping just along the top of the bodice; since it’s a straight seam I didn’t even bother cutting a strip on the bias, just on the stretchy cross-grain.

Innards

Innards

The bodice is lined with white stretch poplin (left over from the flower jeans), and I used some wide flat-fold bias-tape for a narrow faced hem since I may have cut the skirt a bit on the short side, and I like facing curved hems.

Faced hem

Faced hem

The skirt isn’t lined, but I often wear it with my half-slip as it seems to sit over the hips just a bit better with something slippery underneath.

Hem

Hem

I love how invisible the hem is.

The best shot. /sigh.

Good dress. I intend to wear the snot out of it, for the few more weeks that the weather allows…

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Happy stripey dancey fun.

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It’s been a dancey-sewing summer around here. Probably inspired by having some fun performances happening, although the vast majority of the sewing wasn’t related to that—it has still been fun to have some exciting new gear to wear to class. And, it’s all knits which are quick and satisfying, which is important for me right now always.

Anyway, one of my sewy friends made the mistake, a few weeks ago, of lamenting over a black & purple striped spandex fabric she’d picked up some ends of a few years ago, and never actually used (her sewing has been rudely interrupted by that whole having-children thing the last few years). And then yesterday, while ogling her stash during a visit, she said if there was anything I wanted to use desperately, just let her know—she’d rather see it used than languish in her basement.

Dancey pose!

Dancey pose!

Moments later I was cradling two or three metres of gorgeous fabric in my greedy little arms. I did leave her the other end piece (a metre and a half or so) for some future swimsuit.

It was time for some more Fauxlodias, and, of course, a matching crop-top,

Pants. Jalie 2033 hack.

Pants. Jalie 2033 hack.

For the pants, I pulled out Jalie 3022 again, plus my add-on swoosh.

Swoosh.

Swoosh.

I didn’t want any extra seams in the back to have to match stripes across, though, so I attached the swoosh to the outseam and fudged the two back pieces into one. The back seam is pretty much straight except for a tiny dart incorporated into it at the top—i just shaved an amount equivalent to half the dart off the outseam and centre back seams. Not terribly scientific, but these are knits we’re talking about. Yay, knits. Oh, and after checking that the stretch lengthwise was similar to the stretch widthwise, I decided to run my stripes up the legs of the pants vertically. Less stripe matching to do that way. Also looking cool.

Ruched foldover waistband

Ruched foldover waistband

I wanted to add a ruched, fold-over waistband/overskirt thingy, for a bit more interest and because my hips need all the oomph they can get. I got the inspiration for the construction from the mini-skirt on Jalie 2920, but I didn’t actually use that pattern because it’s over at my sister-in-law’s house since the last time I made leggings for little girls.

Back View

Back View

It’s a short skirt with side-seams, mirrored at the hem, so the hem ends up being on the fold. When sewing up the side-seams, I added clear elastiic, stretched as much as I could, so that they would gather themselves up. Then I sandwiched 1.5″ wide elastic between the two layers at the top, and serged the whole thing to the top of the pants. I decided to put the serged seam on the outside, so that it’s covered by the fold-over of the ruched-up “skirt” when you’re wearing it.

Pensive.

Pensive.

The crop-top is the top of the franken-pattern I put together for my red velvet dress, which is largely Kwik Sew 1288, with a few modifications for fit based on my Nettie, cut on the bias with CB and CF seams to make that fun chevron.

Crop top. Looks better on.

Crop top. Looks better on.

Because I’ve been aching for a good striped knit to try that chevron design. (OK, I could perhaps have tried it with my black and white striped spandex, but I didn’t think of it in time.)

Chevron!

Chevron!

This stripe isn’t quite as nice quality-wise as that black-and-white one, by the way, although it’s close. The fabric is a little thinner, and the stripes were a bit irregular in some places, which is really weird and makes it really hard to stripe-match. Fortunately it’s a knit, so the fit is fairly forgiving. For a finish, I just serged the edges, folded under, and topstitched with a triple-step zig-zag. I feel like this is a legitimate finish for dancewear, at least, if not for regular clothes. 😉

Back view (full)

Back view (full)

Of course, the best part is how excited I am to go to dance practice this week, so I can wear my new outfit… 😉

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