Vogue 1225 Modified

18 Jun


I find that I always need more tops.  And cool blouse patterns are hard to find.  Well. . . at least for me they are.  Most of the time I prefer to devote my energy to dresses because I feel they give me a higher payoff.

It took me forever to figure out what to use this fabric for.  It is the softest knit ever. . . but with thousands of tiny charcoal grey polka dots.  I had enough for a dress, my original plan, but then again, that’s a lot of dots and I’m a lot of girl.

I used this pattern twice in the Spring to make dresses for my trip to Ecuador.  They worked out really well and were comfortable and cool to wear in the extremely hot, I MEAN HOT!, AC-free temperatures.  I decided then, if I ever stopped sweating, that I would finally use that coveted jersey for a cute, not bought from Anthropologie, top.

Pattern Description:  Loose-fitting, pullover dress, above mid-knee, has mock wrap bodice with gathered, draped front, elasticized waist and pockets, back neckline has slit and adjustable drawstring tie ends.

Pattern Sizing: BB(8-10-12-14) F5( 16-18-20-22-24)  I made a size 16.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, despite the fact I made a top in lieu of a dress.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, no problems.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  This is one of those patterns that is a good base but needs a lot of adjustments.  With that said, it is very easy to wear, and very comfortable and perfect for Summer.

Fabric Used:  Unbelievably soft Bamboo Jersey from my stash circa 2006, originally from the most glorious day of finding nice knits ever on the $2.97/yd table at G-Street Fabrics.  The lace was bought on Etsy and came in the cutest little box all the way from Israel. 

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Obviously I made it into a top instead of a dress.  I raised the armhole by 1″, which EVERYONE should do, and lowered the waistline by 1″.  I added lace in the princess seam and topstitched the seam to keep it in place.  The lace also helped me out with hemming the sleeves.  I hate hemming.  Not even ‘ strongly dislike’.  Hate.  Anyhoo, the lace made it easier because I simply serged the lace to the sleeve and turned the inside seam allowance edge  up  and then topstitched it to keep the lace from flipping around.  I made a curved hem.  I serged the bottom like a casing, pressed it with the inside seam allowance up, and then used the topstitch again.  The pattern calls for a self casing.  I don’t like that with this pattern because it makes it too bulky in the front from all of the gathers.  I recommend serging the waist seam and making the casing from another piece of fabric or bias tape- which is what  I used for my first two versions of this pattern.  It has a smoother less bulky finish.  I also closed the wrap front with some stitches and ended up taking an inch or so of ease out of the upper side seams to get the look I wanted. Whew!  A lot of adjustments, but worth it.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  This was my third time, so I think I’m done, but I do recommend it to others with modifications.



15 Jun

Unfortunately, a great chunk of my day was spent doing this:


Instead of this:

We have been trying to potty train our two-year old- without success. I spent a good 45 minutes perched on a step stool waiting for him to go. He didn’t.  I’ve also been working on Vogue 1170- a Rachel Comey design.  I finished the skirt about two weeks ago and now the blouse is almost done.  I need to snip threads and go out and buy some buttons.  I also need to find my buttonhole attachment. . .. so this blouse may be days from being finished instead of hours.

Le sigh.


Vogue 1250 Dress

15 Jun


I know that everyone and their mother, sister and cousin has made this dress but I glad that they did, because I ended up seeing it look so good and jumped on the bandwagon.  Honestly, I never would have made this dress without seeing it on so many blogs.  The pattern envelope is just kind of blah and it doesn’t look special enough to make.  This is my most recent project and  I wore it to work today.  All of the pictures were taken post-work.


Don’t mind my face.  I think I’m telling my husband to take the dang picture already under my breath.

Pattern Description: Close fitting Dress.

Pattern Sizing:  A5(6-8-10-12-14), EE(14-16-18-20)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes it did, or at least it was pretty close.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Very easy. At first when I was cutting I didn’t understand one of the funky curved pieces but as soon as I sewed the first pieces it all came together and made sense and was so easy.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? What is there not to like about this pattern? There are three pieces, it takes no time to put together, and uses little fabric.  It looked nice on even before I did my alterations and the dress is figure-flattering.  I particularly like the neckband piece and the stability it gives.

Fabric Used: Navy Jersey from G-Street Fabrics in Seven Corners, Va.  I found this when I stopped in on Mother’s Day on the way to a friend’s house  AND it was on the clearance table: only $2.97/yard! I wish I had bought the bolt. This jersey is so soft and thick and heavy and yummy l that I had a hard time choosing the right project for it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I originally made the dress in a size 16 bodice and 18 skirt according to measurements and experience. Whenever the skirt is straight or snug fitting, I always go up to an 18. It was okay and I could have gone with it as is but I looked at it some more and decided that there was too much ease.  I mean, I didn’t want a sausage casing, just a curve-hugging knit dress that didn’t read “I got this on sale at Kohls”.  I also wanted to be able to get the look I wanted sans belt.  I took maybe two inches out of  each side of the bust and waist and tackled a sway back alteration by taking at least an inch out of the back waist seam. After these alterations, I couldn’t get the seam to lay right in the hips so I simply continued the side seam all the way down and it worked!  I also used stitchwitch for the hem and plan to go back at some point and do a double needle hem.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will absolutely make this dress again.  It is so wearable and such a instant gratification project that can be done during two episodes of Criminal Minds.  I am currently scouting for fabric and will make it in as many dark jewel-toned hues that I can find.  I can wear it to work, out to dinner, or just shmying around.

Butterick 5599 Dress

12 Jun
I love this dress. I love this pattern. I love this fabric.
The End.
Just kidding.
Sorry, All my dress pictures were taken post-wear, hence the wrinkles.
I knew this dress would fit well [and do well for my body shape] from the start because I have a RTW dress with a similar shape in my closet so I snatched up the pattern during one of the sales and waited for a fabric match. The fabric is from Joann’s but I love it! I have a special place in my heart for all things royal blue.
I wore this dress over the weekend for a wedding and it was perfect. Don’t mind the sensible shoes.  I wore them thinking I would have to chase a two-year old through a reception.  We ended up leaving him at home last-minute but they still worked well for salsa dancing.
Side note: The wedding was really neat. One of Edwin’s friends got married to a guy from Colombia.  She is one of 11 kids and loves Latin culture so it was a huge mix of everyone’s background with millions of kids everywhere!  The Father who performed the ceremony was a young man I recognized from a New Year’s Eve house party a few years back and that made me giggle in my pew.  He did a great job and the whole ceremony and reception was done in Spanglish so that everyone [or no one] could understand it.
Project Details:
Pattern: Butterick B5599 View A
Pattern Sizing: 4-20, I cut the 16 and graded to the 18 for the hips.
Description: Close-fitting, straight, lined, halter-dresses, above mid-knee, have shaped bands and insets, side pockets, pleated skirt front and back zipper.

Did it look like the pattern envelope when you were done sewing it?  Yes it did!
Fabric: Cotton Sateen from Joanns and some kind of white satin for the lining.
Were the instructions easy to follow?  They were pretty easy to follow. I may have had to read a few more than once during the bodice construction.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the style. It is perfect for the summer. I can wear it to my work or out to dinner. I like that it nips at the waist. I can use all the help I can get with that!  The bodice looks really really nice. My coworkers didn’t notice that it was ‘homemade’ at all. I had to tell them. The topstitching really looks good on this pattern.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made? Not too much. I used muslin instead of sew-in interfacing and serged the shell and interfacing pieces together instead of hand basting. It worked fine and no raw edges!!  The directions call for cups, so I tried 4 different varieties and they all gave me “Square Tatas” a-la Danielle from Real Housewives of New Jersey.  So I left them out and used a strapless bra.  The only problem is that I feel a little claustrophobic with bra and fitted bodice- – -but hey! I looked good.  When I sewed the bodice side seams, the top was a little big, so I did take maybe a half-inch out of each side.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would totally recommend this to others. It is a cute wearable dress.  I would only be weary if you have to make a serious FBA.  There are a gazillion pieces I can see that it could get complicated.
Bonus Picture:
What my kiddo was supposed to wear to the wedding before he broke out in a weird rash and we left him behind [with G-ma]

So cute!!! Check out those seersuckers.

Bralterations- Cups

6 May

This week I took some orders home to work on. There were a couple of bustiers and a variety of bras that needed cups in the mix.  Sew-in cups can be used to fill up space, even things out, or just to give a garment a more rounded look.

These are three of the orders:

The one at the top is for a customer who had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. With reconstruction, no one ever fills out the apex of a bra. I can fix that with a hand dart or by sewing in cups. It is really hard to find non-underwire moulded cup bras in a 40C so we decided to make one by sewing in some DDD cups.

This kind of alteration also works for people who need a moulded bra but one is not made in their size. Or if they have nippleitis.

The black bra is for a customer who has about a size and a half difference between breasts. We fit the fuller side and built up the smaller side with a push-up pad sewn upside down.  I would say that 99% of women have a size difference between sides. Some women don’t care, and for the ones that do care, I sew a dart on the smaller side.  Darts are super common anyway because most people don’t fill up the space at the top of a bra, but thats a different subject all together. Since there was a big difference and she was self-conscious  about having the same projection on both sides, the pad was the way to go.

The bra on the right is for a customer who has had a lumpectomy and is more comfortable in a non-wire soft bra [she’s older]. I sew the pads in on the one side, and this gives her enough roundness to match her left side.  This kind of soft cup bra is kind of a pain to work with because the cup is a double layer of microfiber. It takes longer to sew the cup in because you have to be extra carefull about catching layers and the shell layer always has wrinkles after the lining layer  is sewn.  To fix this, the customer has to come in for another fitting to have the excess fabric pinched out and hand-darted.  Nobody likes coming in again and having to wait another week or so for alterations!

So, not all my posts will be like this but I wanted to share what I do for a living!!!  Everyone always asks “What do you do all day!?!?!”, “You can alter bras? Why?” And I thought that this could be an interesting forum to explain what I do and how I do it.

What I’m working on right now:

4 May

I’ve made Vogue 1225 twice now and I’ve decided to use the pattern again for a top.

I’m using the same bodice as the original pattern but with my alterations: raising the armhole 1″, lowering the waist 1″, but I’m going to come up with some other piece to attach to the bottom.  My original thought was to have it be very gathered, but fearing a pregnancy-scare look, I’ll just put this all together and then decide. 

I’ll have to post pictures of the other two dresses, but they are deep in the hand washing pile–and we’ve had lots of wet days.

The fabric is a jersey knit from G-Street Fabrics in Seven Corners, Va. I’ve had it in my stash for 4 or 5 years waiting for the right project. I got it on the clearance table [$2.97/yd]. It is so soft that I considered just wrapping myself in it every night as a blanket.  The lace is from Etsy and is a leftover from another project. 

I want to finish this for a party thats on Sunday but I have tons of sewing to do for work so we’ll see. . .

Simplicity 2584

4 May

Pattern Description: Misses Dress, Tunic and Headband Cynthia Rowley Collection. I made View B.

Pattern Sizing: 12-20. I made Size 16 and graded to an 18 for the hips.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, but I made mine a little longer. I wanted it to be a true dress, not a tunic to wear leggings with!!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. I only used them at the beginning, then I did my own thing.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the versatility of the pattern, and I can imagine myself making this again in a fun colorful print. It is very boxy so I plan to add two small back darts for a little bit of waist definition.

Fabric Used: Embroidered Cotton and Cotton Plisse.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I shortened the width of the shoulder by an inch. This always seems to fix my rounded shoulders issue. I sewed the sleeves with a very narrow seam allowance because I have ginormous upper arms. I added a couple inches of length to the dress and didn’t do the tuck. I also wanted to add some body to the dress so I underlined the entire dress with muslin. I also doubled up the cotton plisse fabric and used the plisse for the facings instead of lining fabric.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes! This pattern was perfect for the look I envisioned and I think the other views are cute as well.

Conclusion: I love this dress and plan on using it as my wedding dress this summer. Not a huge blown out ceremony- just a Justice of the Peace kind of thing. AND I love that I’ll be able to wear it again and again!!!

I can’t wait to find some awesome platform shoes to wear with this!!!!!!