Monday, July 30, 2012

This shirt dress thing is getting out of hand.

My current shirt dress obsession:

Land's End Woven Pique Shirt dress

Some times I wish I could just buy the things that I want instead of obsessing over how to create them myself. This dress is sooo pretty. It's $90. I find that ridiculous. It's just a cotton shirt dress. It's not worth $90. Sorry, it's not. I've ordered dresses from Land's End before and was unimpressed with the quality for the money spent.

Instead of trying to budget $90 for a dress, I'm going to make my own. Deciding on a shirt dress pattern is the least of my concern at the moment. To achieve this look, I would combine the bodice of Vogue 8829 with the skirt (shortened, of course) from McCall's 5801.

Vogue 8829 (bodice) + McCall's 5801 (skirt)

Finding just the right fabric is my problem.  I want a shade of plum-meets-eggplant-meets-aubergine in poplin, or pique or heck, even broadcloth. Mood Fabrics has an eggplant poplin that may work. I already have a swatch and the price is right ($10 a yard).

Cotton Poplin from Mood Fabrics

It should be easy, right? I don't know if I like this shade of eggplant. The fabric has a sheen to it and could make the dress too dressy to wear to my super-casual job. Also, the fabric is really stretchy. I'd have to take extra steps (fusible stay tape) to tame it.  Hmm. I'll keep looking. We'll see how this goes.

In other news, I've acquired this beautiful cotton lawn and I have no idea what to do with it:

Robert Kaufman "Sofia"

Suggestions? And no mention of maxi dresses. They make me look pregnant. That's not the look I'm going for.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I want to make this dress.

I have fallen in love with a vintage dress pattern.

Vogue 9019

I love View B with the short sleeves. I found the pattern on Etsy, but of course neither of the patterns I found were close to my size. I'm not adept at pattern grading. To be honest, I don't possess the patience necessary to grade a vintage pattern. I have broad shoulders and a wide waist. Vintage patterns were not designed for my rectangular body type. Just thinking of all the possible fit alterations including pattern grading makes me nauseous.  Perhaps one day I will feel differently. Today, not so much.

Anywho, the thought of combining a couple of patterns I already own crossed my mind.

I have this out-of-print New Look pattern that I could use for the collar piece (View D):

New Look 6831

That part was easy enough. Trying to find the right dress is proving to be much more difficult ('cause I'm picky).  The first dress that comes to mind is one from Simplicity:

Simplicity 1810

I like that it already has pleats at the shoulder, which can easily be changed into gathers to mimic the Vogue pattern. The dress has a bit more shape and is really cute (seen here and here). I like it but then I don't. I'm not quite sure why.

Another idea is Simplicity 1796:

Simplicity 1796

Finally, Salme patterns has a dress pattern that could work:

Pussy Bow Dress

I'm still on the fence about the whole thing. I'll continue my pattern research, perhaps I'll find something closer to the vintage pattern. Perhaps I'll just break down and grade the vintage pattern. Nah. I'll keep looking.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You wanna know what annoys me...

...discovering the new Vogue Patterns five hours after placing an order for old Vogue patterns.

I guess I'll be out another $4 for shipping because I'm about to place another order. I usually wait for pattern sales at Hancock Fabrics or Joann. Last time the new patterns came out, I spent a week calling around to see if they were in stock. I'm guessing the employees at the Austin area Hancock Fabrics or Joann don't keep up with new releases. "But our pattern numbers only go up to..." Yes, I know that. These are new. That's why I asked if you had the new ones. Sigh. By the time they did show up, the pattern sale was over. There's no way I'll pay full price for a pattern if I know I can get it for less than $5.

This time around I refuse to perform the "do you have the new patterns?" dance.

There are only two patterns that I'm excited about. Both are regular wardrobe staples that most people won't really get excited about: a wrap shirt and another shirt dress. However, I have yet to find a satisfactory wrap shirt pattern (read: one that doesn't require a full bust adjustment) until now.

Vogue 8833

This wrap shirt patterns come with separate pieces for different cup sizes. I nearly wept with joy. I am a women who enjoys the little things in life. I love all things wrap.

Here, we have yet another shirt dress. I like that the skirt is flared. I'm not a fan of straight skirts since they do absolutely nothing for my rectangular figure. I've also grown tired of pleated and gathered skirts. Sometimes I need something a touch more modern and slightly less 1950s.

Vogue 8829

The other new Vogue patterns don't really interest me much. As usual there are some that make me scratch my head. Like this one:

Vogue 8826

Very 70s indeed. It looks almost wearable if you're a fan of the 70s. I then scrolled down the page and took a look at the line drawing. It looked eerily similar to a choir robe.

Vogue 8826: Holy Vogue? Choir chic?

 I can safely say that I won't be sewing up this pattern any time soon.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Simplicity 2215

I actually attempted this dress back in February but it it didn't work out too well. At the time, I didn't know that I should shorten the waist on most patterns. The original dress ended up in my UFO basket and I had no intention of ever finishing it. I honestly don't know why I picked it up and decided to give this pattern a second chance. However, I decided to use some cotton shirting I picked up at Metro Textiles during my NYC trip. You can buy the same fabric at Gorgeous Fabrics.


Aside from shortening the waist 3/8", I eliminated the side zip and used seven 1/2" buttons instead of four 7/8'" buttons. Also, the dress is fully lined in cotton/poly batiste. I made a hem facing as the dress was already short. Hem facings are great and super easy.

Simplicity 2215: Not too shabby.

I may make this again, probably in gabardine for the fall.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

All about shirt dresses

Just as with wrap dresses, I often find myself obsessing over the perfect shirt dress. If I could get away with it, my entire wardrobe would consist of shirt dresses, wrap dresses and Wiksten Tovas. I've yet to complete a wrap dress. Not for lack of trying; my Colette Crepe is in my UFO basket waiting for me to acknowledge it once more.

I've just had better luck with the shirt dress. I have four in my closet at the moment with a fifth one waiting for a hem. Yet I want more. Many, many more. I find myself overwhelmed (as always) by my choices.

On my sewing table I have this lovely shirt dress offering from Simplicity/Cynthia Rowley:


It's a bit boxy but I managed to make it look cute. I'm quite proud of this one and I may actually photograph it and show it to you. Yes, I know I always promise photos and never deliver. I've felt a bit camera-shy for the last few months. But I digress. On to the next shirt dress.

I've mentioned McCall's 5801 before. It's one of my favorite dresses. It's out-of-print but still available on the McCall's website. It comes with pattern pieces for different cup sizes. A definite win for me.

The Lisette Traveler dress (Simplicity 2246) is one of my favorite patterns. I have View A cut out and ready to sew. I'm using my recent Liberty Lawn acquisition to make it happen.

However, before I sew it, I want to make another View C. This time I want to remove the collar completely so that it looks more like another shirt dress that I adore: New Look 6587.


This pattern hasn't garnered many raving reviews. Fitting seems to be the biggest issue. I have no desire to fiddle with a pattern that I already know will be difficult. Instead, I want to combine what I love about this dress (the neckline of View E) with a dress that I know already fits (Simplicity 2246 View C). I'll start work on my muslin sometime this week. I hope that it works out.

Of course there are more shirt dress patterns out there. I've barely scratched the surface. I'll continue this time. Perhaps then I'll have some photos to post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Start. Start. Quit. Start something else.

I've been in a bit of a sewing funk lately.

I find myself really enthusiastic about planning a project. In fact, my project notebook is full of fabric swatches and ideas just waiting for their chance to become reality.

As soon as I start cutting the fabric, I begin to lose interest. I try to maintain it by taking a break and coming back later but that hasn't really worked. I'm not sure why I'm having such a tough time.

Instead of trying out new patterns, I decided to use patterns that I've sewn before. I did a bit a tweaking but nothing major as far as alterations go, in the hopes that an "easy" project will get me motivated. I decided to go with the Lisette Traveler dress. It's simple, the fit is nice and I should be able to finish it in a reasonable amount of time.

This has not been the case. I cut it out and immediately lost interest in sewing it. In fact, I used some of my Liberty Tana lawn. And It's not happening. My UFO pile is growing steadily each week.

I think I may be a bit overwhelmed. I have so.many.ideas. that I will never have enough time or money to complete them. It doesn't help that I constantly compare my sewing efforts with every sewing blog in the blogosphere. I long to make something simple and demure and photographed beautifully with instagram.


My current project is my fourth Wiksten Tova in this Lecien lawn:


All I have left are the sleeves and collar. I could have finished it tonight. But no, it was not to be. I just felt so blah.

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

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