Once it starts creeping into the 90's here, I begin dreaming of summer shift dresses (check out my Summer Frock Pinterest Board), The ideal dress is comfortable in the heat, versatile enough to work in (water plants, sew and run errands too) and look good enough to go out to dinner because let's face it, who wants to cook when it's this hot?! Enter the Margo Dress!
As many of you know, one of my goals as a pattern designer is to create versatile patterns that can be used over and over. It's so much easier to start with a base pattern that you know works and use it as a jumping off point for creative and unique pieces. The Margo Blouse is one such pattern.
I used 2 yards of iridescent linen from my stash and coordinating DMC embroidery floss for the contrast stitching. Here are the changes I made:
Making the dress shorter or adding tiered ruffles would also make a beautiful romantic dress for the summer. Embroidery or lace added to the yoke would make a fun, bohemian feel. So many options! I have a Margo Blouse Pinterest board for even more ideas.
Happy Sewing, Friends!
I just finished a dynamic duo to add to my summer wardrobe. Here's New Look 6413 and of course the beloved Blackwood Cardigan by Helen's Closet in a combo that I got really lucky to find. I've had my eye on this rayon crepe print at Fabricland (my local fabric store in O.C.) and was fortunate to find a dreamy lightweight french terry in a beautiful rose that goes perfectly with the print. When this happens...you have to bring both fabrics home.
This dress is really simple and perfect for a beginner or anyone that needs a quick project. It calls for a front bodice zipper which I thought would be odd but actually looks really nice. It's completely unnecessary for the dress (it would pull over without it) but you would need to put it in for the jumpsuit view. Since I made this as a sample for the fabric store I included it so people could see the pattern as it's written.
I don't think anyone needs another Blackwood cardigan review so i won't add one here but I've made 5 now if that says anything about it. But what I like about this one is the color. It's not a color I would normally look at but it turns out it goes with so many things in my closet! I probably have at least 3 other outfits for it.
Just a quick share today as I've got more dresses in the works.
Nothing makes me happier than when I see someone hack one of my patterns. I don't attach any pride to the pattern by expecting for the pattern to only be made as I first designed it. In fact, The Georgia Top is the perfect simple design to have at it. Now it's my turn...
The cold shoulder trend is hotter than SoCal in August and Georgia needed to hop on that party wagon. This fan print rayon jersey came from my last haul from Craftsy. It's a cream background with peach colored Asian fans and is soft and cool for the warm summer.
This hack couldn't be easier and I think I finished sewing it in under 2 hours. It was one of those pieces I made in the morning and wore to my class in the afternoon. To start, I left the armbands and waistband off of view A. To make the cold shoulder I stitched the shoulder seam from the neck 2" and stitched the last 4" from the shoulder to the sleeve hem. I finished the opening by folding back the seam allowance and stitching in place. Seriously....that's it!
I set aside my selfish sewing for a bit to sew for my favorite girl. She's home from college and a girl needs something new when she comes home, right? I made a wrap skirt out of this rayon challis print she found at Joann. It was quick and easy and she's very happy.
I used New Look 6456 and made View C and made no changes (not even to the length) and it's perfect. You really can't go wrong with a wrap skirt, they're an easy fit and easy to make. The fabric shrunk like crazy so I had a difficult time getting all the pieces out of the fabric. I think figuring out how to make the pieces fit took almost as long as making it. Cutting and sewing was under 2 1/2 hours and I only had a few square inches of fabric left over. Yay me!
She's going away to work this summer and my plan is to make her another one before she gets back. Chambray maybe? I'm going to miss her so sewing for her will make me feel better.
There's still so much more I've made and haven't blogged about. Coming soon!
One of my students brought this fabric into class and I immediately fell in love! Not with my student (although she's wonderful and has amazing taste) but with the fabric. I thought about sliding it into my work bag when she wasn't looking or offering to buy it from her but instead she told me she got it from Craftsy and I was giddy to discover it was still available! Yay! For those of you that haven't purchased fabric from Craftsy, all of the their fabrics either come in kits or in precut lengths. I purchased a 4 yard cut so I still have enough for a blouse or shell.
I made McCall's 7381 View A in a size 12 straight out of the envelope but ended up making quite a few changes after I wore it the first time. This is a polyester/spandex knit and although I usually sew with natural fibers, I love the way this dress looks, feels and washes (which is a good thing since I purchased another knit just like it.) The dress calls for a woven fabric and has quite a bit of ease built in, so sizing down to a 10 would've minimized the alterations I needed (and the amount of time it took to take it apart!).
Here are the changes I made:
I'm happy I took the time to make the changes even though it took me almost as long to make the changes as it took to make the dress. Every time I need to make changes that require a lot of ripping out I spend days deciding if I should do it or not. I'm always happy when I take the time. "Unsewing" can be very discouraging but I highly recommend taking the chance sometimes.
I've been sewing faster than I've been blogging so I have more to share with you. Summer sewing is in full swing and I couldn't be happier.
This is my last spring/summer make and it's taken me a while to post it. I bought this pink fabric last summer for a pair of pants but never got around to making them. There’s never enough time, right? So this year I made it a point to get to it even though it’s almost fall and I really won’t wear them much until the spring. I didn’t pay a whole lot for the fabric so I chose a new pant pattern and attempted a wearable muslin.
I used the Lisette Pattern 6331 by Butterick because I liked the narrow leg (there’s a cute jacket included in the pattern if you’re interested) and the opportunities for topstitching. There is a back yoke on the pants which makes me wonder if I should call them jeans or pants. They’re something like the Chevy El Camino. Is it a car or a truck?
I made all of my usual adjustments to the pattern which included adding 3/4” to the back rise and “scooping” out the crotch and redrawing the curve by copying the curve from my favorite pants pattern. This pattern has a straight waistband which almost never works for me so I ditched the waistband pattern entirely and used my own curved waistband. Typically when there’s a straight waistband on a pattern, the pants/skirt are drafted to sit all the way up to the waist, 80’s style. Now there’s nothing wrong with the 80’s (except for the red suede scrunchie boots I may or may not have worn) however, 1 1/2” lower at the waist would be more comfortable for me.
I don’t remember the fabric content of these pants but I can tell you it has ALOT of spandex and is quite stiff. The spandex thing is such a catch 22, isn’t it? We love how woven fabrics with stretch feel but it’s frustrating when a garment loses it’s shape after just a couple of hours. Don’t you hate the jeans you have that fit great in the morning but get the “baggy butt” by lunchtime? This is only part of my fit problem, however, so I still need some adjustments.
You can see in the photo that there’s too much fabric at the top of the back thigh. In the future, I’ll take out 2” horizontally at the top of the thigh (I know the pic on the right is a sketchy photo and I have no pride, but I wanted to show the problem in the hopes of helping other sewists, right?) and add the 2” back in at the hem before I make the next pair. The adjustment will look like this:
If I make these pants/jeans again I’ll change a couple of things:
I have a Dover Jacket that I turned into a dress under the machine right now. What are you sewing?
I made the tiniest little boy shirt out of this fabric and since the shirt was so small, I wanted to minimize the busyness of the pattern by matching the pattern on the pocket. Actually, if I were to be completely truthful, I really wanted to match the pocket because I love matching patterns and probably would never have another chance to line up "googly eyes". Learning to match a pocket is quick and this method works for prints, stripes as well as plaids.
Here's how to do it:
Here's how to prep the pocket and stitch it on:
I continue to be “The Top Lady” with another top I made to fill my closet. This time, however, I added a nice summer basic that was absent from my wardrobe. This dotted Swiss came from Mood Fabrics in LA and it only took about 1 1/4 yards. I love a project like that!
This is the third time this summer I’ve used New Look 6035. I used it here for a fun shell and here for a basic khaki skirt.
The inspiration for this shell is a yellow top one of my students came to class in. So many times when my students come to class I touch the fabric they’re wearing or zero in on a detail. I’m sure they’re used to it by now but I think I might need to work on my “boundaries” when it comes to touching other people’s garments. I usually ask for permission but surely I forget at times. If you ever catch me touching a stranger’s dress in the grocery store will you slap my hand? Do any of you do this?
I added a center front seam and a 3 1/2” wide band down the front. Originally, I wanted the top to tie in the front above the slit. When I finished it however, the tie opened the top so much you could see the camisole underneath. So awkward. Instead I made a shorter 1 1/2” slit and continued the 1/2” binding all the way around the neck and armholes. I also added my usual back neck dart to eliminate gaping in the back.
Pants are under my machine right now so I’m breaking my top streak. Yay me!
You know how sometimes you just have one of "those days"? Well this has been one of "those projects". You know the ones where it’s supposed to be simple and for one reason or another, or in this case several reasons, it turned to be not as quick and simple as I was expecting. There was nothing wrong with the pattern it was just....one of “those projects”.
I've enjoyed working with fabric prints lately but it's time for me to add some summer basics to my wardrobe. I purchased this stretch cotton slightly brushed medium weight twill a couple of months ago in hopes of sewing up some pants but instead I stitched up an aline skirt using New Look 6035.
For starters, I prewashed the fabric and it came out with stains. I’m not sure if it was my machine or it was damaged when I bought it but, ugh. I counted it as a loss but after a few days I washed it again and got most of the stains out. It wasn't enough for pants but there was enough to eek out a skirt.dit.
The skirt is pretty plain and although I'm looking to add basics to my wardrobe, I wanted to avoid the "Armed Forces" look (there's nothing wrong with a uniform look except when it's not supposed to be a uniform). I looked to my "Sassy Skirts" Pinterest board for inspiration and decided to add pockets and belt loops with top stitching, back darts for shape and 6 inches to the length.
The skirt should’ve gone together easily and quickly and the instructions were good but it took quite a bit longer than the 2-3 hours it should have. I put the invisble zipper in 3 times because I kept stitching too close to the coil (really?), I forgot to put the belt loops in the seam when attaching the waistband and found another stain on the fabric as I was working. Thankfully, I was able to get it out.
Well folks, I persevered and came out with a skirt I’m happy with. For sure someone needs to print a “#sticktoitiveness” t-shirt for me. I’m having a little difficulty figuring out how to style it because the topstitched pockets make it a bit too casual for the tops I wear to work. I think it looks best with a simple t-shirt and sandals or tennies. Any ideas on styling?
A print sundress is under my sewing machine now. I’ll share soon!
I'm happy to announce the newest pattern in the Blue Dot Collection, The Ally Skirt PDF Pattern!
The Ally Skirt is a 6 gore skirt with 2 length options, button front, topstitching and flap or pocket
option (because we love our pockets!) Instructions include directions for a custom fit. View A is above the knee a with flap and has a finished length of 17 1/2". View B is knee length with an inset patch pocket and finishes at 22 1/2”. This pattern is designed for the beginning/intermediate sewer.
She doesn't take much fabric and is a really quick sew. Ally is a great way to add to your wardrobe. I hope it becomes one of your TNT patterns.
Upcraft Club is doing an exclusive release today so head on over and take a look!
The pattern will be available on the Blue Dot Website on June 3rd.
I hope you like it!
Hi! I'm Diane, a wife, mom, sewing teacher and pattern designer from sunny Southern California. I share my sewing adventures here on the Blue Dot Blog formerly Gatorbunnysews. For more info click here.