31 July 2013

Checking In

I haven't posted in over a week and thought I'd check in.  I have a good reason for the lack of sewing that I'll share soon.  The delay in sharing this good reason is due to a meltdown I had Monday afternoon.  I hope to finish the reunion dress this week.  At this point, I don't know if I'll go to the formal dinner.  More later.


19 July 2013

NL6124: Progress Part 3

Okay peeps.  I need some encouragement.  Something along the lines of "it looks fabulous," "you're going to be a hit," or "absolutely stunning" will do quite well.  Feel free to ham it up a bit if you'd like. =) 

I am having a serious MEH moment.  Why?  The dress reminds me of penguins.

Bad ass kung fu penguins, but penguins nonetheless.  Every time I look at the dress form, I have the urge to travel to Antarctica.

In addition to having penguin-itis, I'm not too sure about the placement of the peplum.  When I basted the dress, I didn't include the peplum because I didn't think it contributed anything to the fit.  But now, I don't think the peplum sits in the right area; it looks way too low.  In the picture above, I've exaggerated the waist-nipping to show how I want the dress to fit. 
Maybe the weight of everything is bringing the seam down.  The side back princess seam isn't stitched yet; I am trying to decide if I should bring up the peplum seam.

I've decided to go with adding a black neckband to the neckline and armholes.  I think this will help to break up the white front panel. 

Okay, maybe the dress isn't THAT bad.  I do like mixing black and white, but I think the contrast might be too stark.  I'm going to keep rolling with it since time is running out.  If all else fails, I do have a back-up dress for the mixer.  I can't work on this too much longer since I haven't even muslined the formal dinner dress.

Yeeeah.  See.  This photo is not helping.  I was going to straighten my hair for the mixer.  Maybe I'll leave off the gold belt.


16 July 2013

NL6124: Progress Part 2

Taking the time to baste the dress together was definitely the right thing to do.  I now have an idea of how the pattern fits in a knit.

It's too big.  Plus, I see that my attempt at lowering the scooped neckline appears to have made it a curved v-neck.  The bust and back fit very well, so I think taking bigger seam allowances in a few places should make it work. 

I picked apart all of the basting and began sewing the skirt side seams.  Unfortunately I think I took off too much width on the side.  Instead, I should have balanced the amount removed between the side and front/back princess seams.  Oops.  Hopefully this won't turn out to be another wadder.  If it does, I'll try to salvage as much as possible and start over.  

What should I do about the neckline and armholes?  My two options are (1) to bind and (2) fold under and coverstitch.  If I bind the neckline and armholes in black, will that make the dress to sporty?  If I coverstitch the neckline and armholes, will the topstitching make it look sporty as well?  I'd make sure the thread coordinates with the fabric. 

Hmm...now I'm wondering if I should attempt to color-block the shoulder/neckline area.  Yeesh.  I need to decide something soon.  The events are three weeks away and I haven't even started on the other dress!


14 July 2013

NL 6124: Progress

Yep.  This is all I've sewn on this dress.  I'm stuck on what to do about the side seams and fitting.

The instructions have you sew the skirt side seams first and then attach the peplum (cut on the fold) at the waist.  Then the bodice is stitched to the lower half, and finally attached at the princess seams.  If I were certain that the dress would fit, then I'd forge ahead.  But since I made my muslin out of a woven and didn't make a second one out of knit, I don't know how the dress will now fit.  

I thought about cutting a new pair of peplums with a side seam so that I could construct the front and back of the dress completely and pin-fit the sides.  But then the peplum will no longer flare out at the sides.  I tried this in my muslin of Simplicity 1650 and I didn't like how it looked.

So that's where I am right now.  I don't know how much sewing I'll get done today. At around 10p EST yesterday, breaking news once again forced a reality check and I am numb.

On another, more positive note I want to thank the lovely and gracious Red Point Tailor for nominating me for the Super Sweet Blogging Award.   Thank you for thinking sweet of me and I will acknowledge the award formally in an upcoming post.


08 July 2013

Great Advice

The people have spoken!  Thank you SO much for taking the time to share your opinions about the mixer dress.  Everyone made great points and I now have an idea of what I will do.

Scooped Neckline:  I won't try to copy the neckline on the inspiration dress.  The NL neckline would have to stay pretty high in order to make this successful and I just don't think that's a flattering look.  Butterick 5827 has a similar neckline, but the collar portion is too high. 

Even though a v-neck will be more flattering, the general consensus is to stick with the scooped neck and lower it a couple more inches. I did a quick photoshop of the neckline from Simplicity 2648 and the NL pattern and I don't think it looks as good as the rounded one.

Black and white/cream:  This is so happening!

Solid Back:  Melody made a good point about sitting in something and having it show with a white/cream back.  A solid black back leaves all of the interest in the front and will definitely be more slimming.

Double knit:  This last minute consideration seems to be the best and most popular suggestion.  I hadn't even thought of it until I looked at the details of the inspiration dress.  The pattern calls for an invisible zipper, though I don't like using them in knits. I'll give it a try and see what happens.

Thank you all again for the advice!  Now comes the task of making this work!  


07 July 2013

Opinions Please!

Last week, I started making muslins of dresses for my upcoming 20-year high school reunion scheduled for the beginning of August.  The two events that I'm considering are the after-five casual mixer and black-tie dinner.  First I'd like to get your thoughts on the mixer dress.

Since the mixer is casual, a cocktail dress is the way to go.  I've been reading reviews and studying styles for a few weeks and decided that I want to jump on the peplum bandwagon.  I made muslins of Simplicity 1650 and New Look 6124 and right now view D of the New Look pattern is winning.  Here's why:

(Dorothy Perkins black illusion peplum dress, polyester spandex, $79)

There are some small differences between the inspiration dress and pattern.  First, the dress appears to have shoulder princess seams and a lengthwise opening at the top.  Second, the peplum extends completely around the waist.  

Question #1:  Should I attempt to copy the neckline?

The neckline on the NL pattern is choke-worthy and with a full bust, it look like I have a uni-boob.  Lowering and color-blocking the neckline area might reduce that effect.  BUT...there's always a 'but'...the NL pattern doesn't have shoulder princess seams and I don't think this is going to look right without them.

If I don't end up copying the neckline, then I will try to swap out the center front for a v-neck.  I made Simplicity 2648 three years ago and think this style does a better job at flattering my upper half.

Now I could just stick a peplum on this Simplicity pattern and be done with it.  The thing is this dress is too big in many places and the back doesn't have princess seams.  I could convert the darts to princess seams, but that still doesn't resolve the fitting issue.

Questions #2:  Should I stick with white/cream center or go with another color?

I intend to make the dress out of silk cotton satin (same fabric as in the black & teal).  I really like the white/cream center, but I don't know if my local non-JoAnn's has any.  Fabric.com seems to have quite a bit, but I've heard they're having shipping problems and I don't want to wait until the last minute to finish this dress.  Plus, I don't know how slimming the white/cream will be.  Here are my other color-blocking choices:


Question #3:  Should the back be solid or color-blocked?

I'm on the fence with this one.  Instinct tells me to do a solid back; a color-blocked back might be too much.

Question #4:  Should I make this in a knit?

The inspiration dress is made of polyester spandex - probably a double knit.  I didn't think of that until this morning.  The fit will be much closer and I'll have to size down my FBA.  

That's all the questions I have for now.  I really appreciate your thoughts and comments!


01 July 2013

McCall's 6078 (knit top): Complete

So far I've made this top four times and really like wearing each one.  It is so comfortable and easy to sew.  Earlier this year, I saw the exact same garment by Ralph Lauren at Macy*s They wanted $98.  I made mine for under $7 if you include fabric, thread, fusible web, and energy.  I can see many more versions in the future!

I sewed the pleats from the outside and toward the right.  This isn't what the directions say to do, but I think it looks nice and the drape of the cowl doesn't appear to be affected.

I finished the neckline, armholes, and hem using my coverstitch machine.  I applied Steam-a-Seam to each area, pressed, folded under, and stitched into place.  From start to finish, this top can take about an hour to construct.

The cowl drape is pretty scandalous, so you may want to adjust it first before cutting out.  Kyle from Vacuuming the Lawn wrote a great post on how to do this.

I wore it with a pair of Jalie jeans and new Kwik Sew jacket for a night out with a friend on Saturday.  Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures because it was cold and rainy, so an on-the-dressform shot will have to do for now.  Plus I have to find a way to take better pictures.  The lighting in my hallway doesn't produce very clear shots.  I have a tripod and can set it up outside, but I haven't had success with getting good shots that way either. 

This is the third of five garments in my mini wardrobe.  I was going to sew a sixth garment, but I will have to postpone that in favor of making a couple of garments for my upcoming 20-year high school reunion.  Until next time, peace!



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