Monday, July 22, 2013

Simplicity 2588 - Bridesmaids Dress

I finally finished my bridesmaids dress for my brother's wedding!

Fabric used:
Stretch Poly Satin from Joann's - surprisingly satin goes

This dress pattern from Project Runway allows you to choose different skirt and sleeve options.  The bride chose the flat sleeves and the flared skirt.  The flared skirt has a pleat in the front.  I think the outcome is fabulous!  This dress is really flattering for my body type. 

Because the pattern instructions aren't very straight forward, I would not recommend this pattern to someone who has limited experience sewing clothing. 

ZIPPER --- The envelope tells you to buy a 22" zipper, but not what kind.  Use an invisible zipper.  I am taking a free Craftsy class called 'Mastering Zipper Techniques'.  This really helped me to amp up my invisible zipper sewing skills.

I learned that using fusible tricot can help the zipper go in easier:

HEM DEPTH --- I thought it was strange that the pattern didn't say how much to hem the skirt.  There are 5 other bridesmaids sewing this same dress for the wedding, and they may come up with all different hem depths. 

HEM TAPE --- The bride provided hem tape as one of the notions, even though it isn't even mentioned in the instructions.  I feel like hem tape is invaluable when hemming a flared skirt.  The end result is much smoother and looks nicer from the right side of fabric.  Satin can be a nightmare to sew with.  Let's not make it any more difficult, please!

POCKETS --- I also did not think that the instructions for constructing the pockets were very intuitive, but I hate reading yeah.  But I love pockets!  I can just hear Matt Smith saying, "Pockets are cool."

FRONT PLEATS ---The front pleats were harder to construct than I expected.  I think sometimes it's difficult to wrap your head around how to fold a pleat when it's just a flat piece of nothingness.  I figured it out after a few tries.  The instructions tell you to actually sew the pleat together, fold and press it to one side, and then remove the stitching.  There are poke holes in my satin where the seam was.  Not cool!  Does anybody know how to stop this from happening?? Satin is EVIL!

Fitting Alterations:
I made a muslin of the top before I cut it out in satin.  There were some fitting issues so I made the following alterations before cutting out my dress:

-Sloped Shoulders Alteration
-Lowered Armscye
-Shaved off fullness at bust
-Took in the bust seam and side seams
-Added 3/8" Length to torso (I thought I had a short torso, but every Vogue dress pattern I make, I add length to and this Simplicity was no different.)
-I also changed the slope of the yoke because it felt like it was falling off my shoulders.

*One of my readers noticed that my left shoulder looks different than my right, evidenced by the way the fabric is pulling worse on the left side.  She recommended that I scoop out the armhole more on the left.  I was amazed at her skill and eye for detail!  I didn't get to try this out because I'd already cut out my second muslin.

Fit and Overall Outcome:
 So the back view is pretty good.  The only real problem is the zipper.  The zipper puckers a little on the bodice and gets a lot worse on the skirt.  I constructed most of the dress with a walking foot, which was a total lifesaver!  I can't use a walking foot at the zipper, 'cause i need an invisible zipper foot.  Oh well, the relative smoothness of the other seams makes up (at least in my mind) for the puckers at center back.

I think the front view looks great!  The dress fits perfectly in the bust and pretty good at the shoulders.  There is still some pulling at the armholes but this is a raglan sleeve in a woven.  There is also pulling from the torso to the waist but I don't really care.  I didn't want to take the waist seam in any more in case I gain weight.  (I'm back to my pre-knee injury weight.)  My husband loves the cut of this dress.  He says with the amount of time I spent altering this pattern, I should definitely consider whipping it up in a different fabric.  I think I will.

Anyway, thank you for enduring this very long review.  Don't be intimidated by this pattern.  It's completely doable, it just requires a little more time and attention.  If you don't choose satin you'll have a much easier time than I did.  Let me know if you have any tips for sewing with satin or mitigating puckers with invisible zips.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Little Geranium Dress

One of my friends is having a girl any day now, so I had to whip up the Little Geranium Dress.  This free pattern by Made by Rae can be downloaded on her website.  She also has the dress in larger sizes for sale, but I knew this little number would fit my friend's newborn.

I made my own pintucks for the front, and added mustard colored trim.  The fabric is a Lisette made for fall 2011.  I kept holding on to it because it needed something, I just couldn't put my finger on it until I paired it with the yellow trim.  It does a great job of brightening the blue up.

I love the little yellow buttons on the back.  This is a great easy pattern and like Rae explains, has so many options.  You could shorten it into a tunic, add flutter sleeves, change up the neckline and it would look like a completely different dress.

I added my label, to make the dress look more official.  

I am still working on my bridesmaids dress, and should have it done to show off later this week.  It does not look bad, however, "I LOVE sewing with satin!" said no seamstress, EVER.  Believe me, it is not a thing.  Satin is not forgiving, at all.

Monday, July 8, 2013

How to Hem Knit Fabrics with Design Plus

A few weeks ago I went to my local independent apparel fabric store and found this amazing sewing notion, Design Plus:

As you can see by reading the packaging, this product has many uses.  I will show you how to use it to hem jersey knit fabric.  In the Craftsy class 'Sewing with Knits: Five Wardrobe Essentials', Meg recommended using fusible tricot on a spool, 1/4" wide, to aid in hemming knit fabrics.  The problem with this product is that it adds bulk and may not stretch as much as the fabric.  I couldn't actually find the tricot, so it is just as well.

Instead I found 'Design Plus' which is great for controlling knit hems.  It is basically paper-backed fusible web cut into a 1/4" strip.  It is around $11, but there are 27 yards on a roll, so it will last you FOREVER!

I tried this out and it worked like a charm!


Place the fusible side of the strip against the wrong side of your hem edge and press it with a dry iron.  I used a cotton/lycra blend so I put the iron setting on cotton.  If you have a curved edge like I did for this project, you can press 6-8" strips of fusible web. 

Peel off the paper backing and fold your hem over to the desired width.  Press the hem with steam. The hem is now fused in place.

From there, I used my double needle to stitch the hem all the way around.  Sewing the hem on the edge goes so quickly because I am not having to pull out pins along the way.  My hem stays exactly in place where I fused it together.  It looks professional, and I didn't even use a walking foot!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

7 Ways to Use Elastic

I found this great informative video the other day on Pinterest.  Uploaded by Secretlifeofabionerd, it shows 7 ways to use elastic.  I especially liked the information about shirring and elastic thread.  Check it out: