Friday, July 22, 2011

The One-Hour, "That's so cute" Top

A one-shoulder top. I've been wanting one for about 14 mos. now. Last summer I bought Simplicity 2364 and was itching to make it. Problem was, I didn't. Then DD#1 comes home from school in May and says she wants a one-shoulder top with a flounce. I showed her S2364 and she didn't seem that impressed. Until last night. I whipped up this one in one-hour, never even reading the directions. It was immensely helpful to me that Simplicity included the 6-14 size range in one envelope for this pattern!

Here are two front views:

DD#1's response: "That's kind of cute." Translation: She likes it. She wants me to make her something like it. But she says it without much emotion because she knows if I see her excited about it, I'll ask her if she would like to sew one up for herself lol. What I would give to have at least one daughter interested in sewing!

Here is a back view. (I need a reminder to make some Jalie capris from my jeans pattern. I loathe back views with RTW bottoms!) :

The fabric...well I couldn't remember! I made another summer top from this fabric a couple of years ago and had to look up my PR review. The fabric was purchased from Metro Textiles in NYC during PR Weekend 2007.

I can't really comment on the directions for this pattern because the top is pretty straightforward, and I didn't read them at all. However, I did look at the pattern guidesheet pics so I'll tell you, actually show you, what I think is really bizarre about this pattern.

First, this is the normal part. You're looking at the basting stitches for gathering the front and back shoulder seams. You stitch the gathered shoulder seams with a stabilized strip of whatever, then the side seams. Okay. Fine and dandy.

Now here is the bizarre part! What the heck is a facing that long doing on a shirt like this!?!?

Yes, that is the facing! And look at the size of that facing!! I think that piece actually goes right to the full bust or at least quite close to it. Do you know what that means? Very likely you will get a tell-tale facing line. Not only that, that's a double layer of fabric that goes at least a third of the way down the shirt. So...three things I'm concerned about. One is facing "creep", Secondly, tell-tale facing line. And lastly, well, it's just so darn hot out now! Why do I even need a facing at all???

Suddenly, I got *that* kind of feeling. The smug feeling I sometimes get when thinking I know better than the pattern designer and instruction writer. Sometimes I end up being humbled at my lame-brained smugness, other times I feel like I showed them! This time, yes! I showed them.

I'm sure there was a reason for the facing, but it's just not necessary for the one-shoulder version in my ITY knit. It has good stretch and recovery. However, let's say my knit didn't have good stretch and recovery. I'd still make it without a facing and would place clear elastic along a portion of the front and back neckline when topstitching if it needed it. Yes, the neckline is on the bias, and it could stretch out a bit. Even if clear elastic wasn't inserted from the get-go, I could still add it later. Therefore, I maintain this top does not need a facing. IMO, it should be optional and noted as so. I just did the turn-under-and-top-stitch method. (Note: cut the armhole SA down to 3/8" before turning under and topstitching. The curve is too acute.)

Let's move on to sizing. Paula from PR mentioned doing a post about size morphing here are my pics explaining just that.

My neck, shoulders and high bust are a 10. From the high bust down I'm a 14. For my figure, morphing between the two is a breeze resulting in a pattern that needs minimal alterations. The problem is, many patterns are multi-sized up to a 12. The next size range starts at 14 on up. This beauty of this pattern is that it has the 6-14 size range. THANK YOU, Simplicity! You made my day when I bought this pattern. Actually, it probably was THE reason I bought it. Here is how I morphed the pattern blending from the size 14 at the side seams and lower armhole to the 10 from the notch up. Shown is the front piece only, but I did the same on the back as well.

Showing the armhole and shoulder area:
Here's the shoulder and angled front:

This morphing between sizing produces a great fit for me with minimal alteration effort. The only alteration I made to this pattern was to move the entire shoulder seam forward a 1/2". You might be thinking, "Well, what alterations would you being doing if you weren't using a multisize pattern?" Here's a list of some that are typical for me depending on the pattern:

1. Narrow shoulder.

2. Forward shoulder.

3. Removing neckline gape

4. FBA

5. Swayback

6. Broad upper back

7. Tweaking the side seams to fit

Among others...

Realistically, morphing a multi-size pattern may not work for everyone, but it works great for me. It's something to try and, depending on your figure, you might be very happy with the results.

Getting back to my assessment of this pattern. I really like it! The only thing I'm going to change on my second version (yes, I'm actually sewing this weekend because it's hot as you know what!) is to remove some width of the shoulder and drop the neckline on the front and back. My daughters concurred with my feelings on that. The area that is shaded in red lines is what is going to be removed from the pattern for my next version.

What's on tap for my next version? A royal blue, cotton knit top. DD#2 will try it on, critique it, then I'll modify the pattern to make a one-shoulder royal blue, cotton knit summer dress for her. Hopefully it will get made this weekend. The top, sans facing, takes about one hour to make. Piece-of-cake sewing! Off to do my review of this pattern at PR. This will be my 100th review! Well, there are actually many more things for me to review, it's just getting enough time to do them :) .

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Rectangle Dress

Here is DD#1 in a self-drafted, draped rectangle dress made according to her specifications.

The story behind it...

DD#1 came home from college in May and showed me a cell phone pic of a dress she liked in a store. The price tag was $40, and not a price a poor college student was going to pay for a simple knit, summer dress. She said, "Mom! I want you to make me that dress!!" Easy peasy. No need to use a pattern :) . The dress is basically rectangles :) .

The problem was she wanted that dress in orange. I couldn't find an appropriate orange online and went to my local fabric store to see if orange knit was in stock. The owner said no, but she would order some for me. While there, I found a teal knit that was perfect for a test dress.

At first she didn't love the color but as the dress shaped up, she liked it. I created a double layer bodice with the fold of the fabric at the top edge. It was pin fitted on her to determine the CB seam and the front, vertical darts. I chalk marked a horizontal waistline seam. Okay. Done with the bodice.

For the skirt piece, I measured her hip and added 3". She doesn't need more ease than that because she's slim, muscular and toned. A CB seam was basted and gathering stitches added on the back and front. There is no gathering at the sides because IMO that would not produce a slimming profile at the waist when viewed from the front and back. DD#2 agreed with that call. I checked with her on the strap width and created 2 interfaced tubes for the strap with a finished measurement 1" wide.

I pinned the skirt portion to the bodice at the CB, CF, and pinned the straps into place. DD#1 tried on the dress, and I pulled the front and back gathers to fit the bodice, rechecked the waistline seam and darts, and fiddled with strap length and placement. Made the necessary adjustments, then permanently stitched all seams.

The end result? DD#1 really likes the dress. The one change we will make on her orange dress will be making the straps 1 1/2-2" wide. We both felt they were too narrow. My only other issue is with the darts. She says she was wearing the same bra for fittings but I don't think so (I distinctly remember her wearing a pretty VS pushup bra during one of the fittings!). A strapless bra produces more east/west action vs. an in/up push-up bra. They appeared to be in perfect position during the fittings, but not so much now. Not like she cares anyway. Just as long as the general look is there, she's happy. She's uninterested in bust dart issues like the general, non-sewing population. In addition, I think we will go with 4" of ease on the skirt next time, doing a little skirt dart and gathering on the back. Those curvy, muscular glutes are calling for about 1" (maybe 2") extra of ease. Sometimes the dress back seems to get hung up there.

As for that $40 RTW sundress? Mine ended up about $7 including thread and interfacing. No pattern needed too, just rectangles draped on her figure. Easy patternless sewing! BTW, she just sent back to college for a weekend and saw her cousin. Now her cousin wants me to make her a dress too :) ! Luckily I have a few extra fabric scraps and have started on some muslin tees for Riley too. I created a pattern and whipped up a muslin tee for him last night, and he looked SO cute running around in it. The hardest part was getting it on him. I forgot the neck measurement has to be begin enough to fit over his head lol! At least I discovered that before even attempting to put it on him though. The girls were laughing over this little Sphynx kitten running around in his teal t-shirt. He looked so cute.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Time to Sew, But a Good Reason Why!

There has been no time to sew the last 1 1/2 weeks. And the reason is below. Our precious little baby boy, Riley. He's a Sphynx, and Oh-So-Cute!!! That is, if you like the look of hairless cats lol. He's a little lavender boy with handsome green eyes. We got him from the same breeder as Jake, our Devon Rex.

Our cat boys are doing their best to get along. Jake loves this new little boy and trills like crazy. We have to keep them apart at night because they both love to play, however, Jake is a lot bigger than Riley and can play harder. Not always "fair play". Riley sleeps in the boys' room at night, and Jake sits outside the bedroom door trying to open it. In the morning, he meows like crazy for Riley to come out.

It is truly like having a newborn baby in the house with an older sibling. They have to constantly be watched. Yes, kittens are cute, but they take a LOT of work. Off to take my shower while the cat boys are napping...

Here are some pics of our little youngster:

My youngest son holding Riley at the breeder the day we picked him up.

Little Riley likes being between the couch cushion and back. I can't adjust my slipcovers because of him!

The boys together on Riley's second day home:

Even boys need their beauty sleep:

Zoning out in our noisy house:

Still zoning...

Jake and Riley trying to bond:

Those eyes! Same color as my sister's lol. Bright, light green!

More beauty sleep for a very active kitten!

What does he feel like? A hot water bottle! He has a slight downy feel, but very warm to the touch. I'm going to pull some knits out of my stash today and make him some clothes for cooler days. There's plenty of fleece in my stash for nice Fall/Winter/Early Spring attire as well. Nudey beauties like Riley need clothes for cooler weather ahead. Good thing his Momma sews!!!