Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Did It Again!!!

And I'll do it again and again and again! 

I previewed my first version of the Jamie Christina Mission Maxi dress in this post I wrote up earlier today and decided to write a post of my second version I finished a few days ago.  Here it is:

I got the idea to mix and match some black/rayon lycra and stretch lace in my stash to create this Jamie Christina maxi dress last month.  I love this version as it is just a "little bit sexy" with it's lacy bottom half.  It shows some pretty, peekaboo leg but I have to find just the right kind of shoe to wear with this dress. 

Any suggestions, people?  I'm open to options for shoes.  I've been looking but can't find any I like to wear with the dress.

I'd like to thank my oldest daughter for the rayon/lycra.  She went in to NYC last month and purposely stopped at Spandex House to buy me a belated Mother's Day present of fabric.  She chose this along with some purple snakeskin ITY I was lusting after on the website.  The stretch lace was purchased from Spandex World.

For alterations or changes, click on the link above in the previous post.  The only changes I made on this one were:

1.  The obvious--splitting the pattern into two pieces and adding seam allowances for the top and bottom of the dress.

2.  Tightening up the waist side seams.  Rayon/lycra hangs differently (more drape) from cotton/lycra and it had more stretch.  The dress was actually a little big in the waist.

3.  The lace hemline was serged using a normal 4-thread serger seam.  No turning under, just a serged edge.

That's it for now.  I foresee a club-style short version of this dress for my oldest daughter in the near future.

Stay happy, keep sewing!

Jamie Christina Mission Maxi

There are patterns, and then there are PATTERNS!  This is a blog post which is a big shout-out for the Jamie Christina Mission Maxi pattern.  I LOVE THIS PATTERN!  Did I mention I love this pattern?  Yes, I do!!!  Every couple of years there's a pattern that I can absolutely rave about it, and this one is it.

Here it is:

I was totally sold on this dress when I saw Deepika's version around the time this pattern came out.  Hers was absolutely outstanding, then every subsequent review was just as fabulous.  Before making this dress, I looked at every PR pattern review.  Working with an independent pattern can be tricky due to sizing.  I ended up making an 8, which is 35 Bust/26.5 Waist/35.5 Hip which worked out great.  My measurements are about 35.5-36 FB/27-27.5 Waist/ and 35 hip.  I did whip up a quick top from this pattern to ensure the fit was good, and it was.

I was forewarned about too narrow straps and a low neckline from pattern reviews so I raised the front neckline about a 1/2" and made sure the finished straps would be 1" wide.  I also lengthened the pattern several inches which probably wasn't necessary since I ended cutting off a few inches (I'm about 5'7"), but it's definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Let me talk about the binding technique for the armholes and neckline.  I love the technique used, and it's like "Duh!  Why have I never thought to do it this way???"  So easy, and it produces professional results.  I do want to note something that I always do to necklines and armholes like the ones found on this dress:  I stretch the binding just a little while attaching to the dress and pin.  My younger daughter asked how much (she's a beginning sewer).  Can't tell you exactly, it's all in the "feel".  When you've been sewing as long as I have, how much to stretch is instinct.  Then I stretch as I sew the binding to the edges so both layers fit.  This way, there is no worry about a gaping neckline or armholes.

I used a teal cotton/lycra from Spandex World in NYC ( which was a nice weight--not too beefy, not too thin.  Actually, it might be too heavy for 90+ degree days, but it's fine and comfortable for temps under that.

Shoes and accessories?  Wow.  I had nothing but black to coordinate with this pretty teal color so I googled a color wheel to find the opposing color which was a nice orange shade.  I headed out to AC Moore and found some nice round, orange beads and made two stretch bracelets, then picked out orange ribbon to embellish some brown sandals I picked up at Kohls.  Kohls did have some great orange, jewel embellished flip flop type of sandals, but of course, they were not in my size :( .  Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do and make her own.  I'm showing off my bracelet and shoes in the left pic :) .

The back of the dress is a typical racerback.  Boy, I sure had a hard time finding a nice racerback bra this summer.  Don't know what happened to the one I bought last year, but I had to settle for one that isn't nearly as comfortable as my MIA bra.

So the verdict?  A super comfortable, stylish dress that can be dressed up or down.  It's relaxed, yet dressy.  Great for a casual barbeque or a dinner at a quaint restaurant.  I love this pattern, and am going to make a few more dresses from it as well as tops.  I'll modify the back to create a regular tank style as well.

Stay tuned for my second Mission Maxi dress!  I'm loving Version 2.0 just as much as this one.

Be happy, keep sewing!

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Surprise of McCalls 6326

Here is one my recent sewing projects, McCalls 6326. The pattern has several style options which are really cute, and I loved the version with the neck strap.

I really liked the way it turned out and think this is a great pattern, but...I had to do a LOT of pattern alterations to get this one to fit.  I read all the pattern reviews and some said it fit great, a few said it was very big.  I'm in the "very big" camp.  I made a 10 at the neck and shoulders and a 12 from full bust down.  This usually works quite well for me.  It ended up being so large that I had to take at least 3" or more out of the mid-back, created darts at the front chest which can't be seen due to the print, as well as creating small darts on the band which goes around the neck.  I'm pretty sure I took a good deal off the band which goes around the neck as well.  Really, I'm wondering if an 8 would have fit.  I've never used a size 8 pattern before, but I found the draft to be immense on me. 

In addition, the horizontal front seam was way too low.  It look terribly odd on my figure, so I removed an inch of length at the CF tapering back to the original seamline at the sides.  This looked so much better!
The fabric used was a nice, stretchy knit purchased from Spandex House or Spandex World in NYC.  I also used this fabric for my dress entered into the PR Knockoff contest this past Spring shown here.  Is it possible this fabric had too much stretch?  Maybe.  If I made the same top in a cotton/lycra knit, perhaps I would not have had such extreme sizing issues.  Therefore, I can't place true blame on the draft unless it is made up again in a knit with less stretch.  Every knit stretches differently, and that could make a big difference in fit.

Now let me talk about how the top feels.  Love the look, don't like the feel of the strap going around my neck.  I've never particularly cared for the feel of halters, but I do like the looks of those too.  That's just a personal thing and no reflection on the pattern. 

Will I make this pattern up again?  Probably, but not in the same style.  I really like the single strap, pink version shown in the pattern photo above.  However, I WILL do a quickie muslin for fit purposes. 

Overall though, the top was a success, and I really like it paired with my black leather mini.  Probably will wear it out to dinner and after a glass of wine, I'm sure that neck strap won't be bother me much at all lol. 

I leave you with a pic of one of my sewing sweethearts.  Yes, he is a gloriously nudey, super-friendly and loving Sphynx boy.  He's always on top of my new Elna 740, and is a much better camera model.  What is it about cats and boxes and cats and sheets?  Whenever I put up my sheet as a backdrop, both my little boys come out to play and sometimes take the whole thing down!
They're lucky I find them adorable and irresistible!

In conclusion, McCalls 6326 is a great pattern which includes several styling options.  But do your homework first, as in sewing up a muslin so you have no fit surprises.  I don't know what it is with McCall's lately, but I'm loving their pattern styles.  There are some cute, hip options that I like, and more importantly, ones my daughters like and their older teen/early 20-something age group is mighty hard to please.  I hope McCalls keeps some trendy Bebe and ArdenB style patterns coming to inspire the younger generation to sit down and sew.  I'm doing my part by encouraging and teaching my younger daughter to sew, and it's time for the pattern companies to do theirs.

Keep cool and keep sewing everyone!  We're only halfway through summer where I live so there are a number of summer garments needing to be stitched up.  Stay tuned for some great maxi dresses I just finished this past week and some maxi skirts I'm working on for my oldest daughter.