Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Blog Tour: Two Versions of Pattern Review's Winter Street Dress

My turn, my turn! 

Well, welcome if you're here for the PatternReview blog tour of the Winter Street Dress! Thinking I had some spare time to sew, when Deepika put a call out a few weeks ago for pattern testers I threw my name into the mix.  

Silly me.  By the time Deepika sent the PDF pattern and instructions my free time had already disappeared. Why do I share that with you?  Because even with the small amount of time I had available to test this pattern I was able to sew two. 

Yes. Two. Because it really is that simple.

So let's back up a bit.

The dress itself is designed for knits, either long or three-quarter length sleeves with or without ruffled flounce.  The neck is nicely scooped - not too low, not too high, just right.  The skirt has two inverted pleats on the front and back.  The bodice is drafted for a C cup.  Sizing ranges from XS to 4XL.

Step one was to download, print and tape together the PDF pattern.

Ugh!  I discovered I'm not really a fan of that task.  It's so tedious!  

But my little buddy was there to keep me company. And by company I mean she scattered the papers all around as soon as I had everything lined up and then curled up for a nice long nap.  Snoring loudly too.

Anyway, back to the dress.  I decided to sew version number one - the pink dress - with minor alterations, using the recommended knit fabric. In my case a hot pink ponte knit. 

That I realized I had put aside to use for another partially finished project.  Of course I remembered the half finished project about oh, five seconds AFTER that last snip of the scissors. Oops!

The minor alterations?  A forward shoulder adjustment and adding 2" to the length across the bottom of the front bodice.  On the back I added the 2" to the side and graded back to the original pattern cutting line. 

At the testing stage, I did not have the final, detailed (and nicely photographed) instructions to follow.  As Sherril mentioned in her blog post, when we began testing the pattern piece for the neck band was not yet included. I used a 2" wide knit to bind the neck edge. 
On the test pattern there were no markings for the gather lines on the sleeve flounce - just general instructions to gather the center portion of the flounce only.  I left 2" on each side flat.

The fit of the pink dress is okay - but not quite where I would have liked it to be.  Even though this is drafted for a "C" cup, if I were to sew this again in a ponte knit I will need to an FBA.  You can see how it is too tight across the bust. I ended up taking in the waist at the side seam an 1" on each side and it's still loose.  I tried to pull it in with a belt but I think that just emphasizes the tightness of the bust. I would also peg that hemline more.

On the bright side - the back fits  very nicely. And don't let that innocent little face fool you - she's a little terror  when it comes to ripping paper!

I was done at this point, until  I started seeing all of the FABULOUS dresses on the blog tour. Yikes!  Mine looked so simple. So plain. So boring.   What to do, what to do, what to do....A-ha!

I remembered a piece of fabric I had ordered online about a year ago. It had this interesting pattern of boxes that grew in size from tiny at the selvage, to large in the center, back to tiny at the selvage. I was rather surprised when it showed up as that part wasn't clear when I ordered the fabric. 

Never one to shy away from using a border or unique print (see maxi dress, asymmetrical top, orange knit dress, baseball style tee) I tucked it away until the perfect project came along. It just so happened that was the Winter Street Dress.

I had to think carefully about how to place the pattern pieces as that yellow/green could not be near my face. Unless I wanted to hear "are you sure you feel okay" all day long. 

The small  boxes were used for the bodice, large boxes for the skirt and purple boxes for the neck edge.

As I was sewing the dress I kept thinking it was too much.  But I like it.  Both the fabric design and the fit. 

It's interesting that I cut and sewed this second version EXACTLY the same as the first. The only difference was the fabric.  This fabric is a lightweight sweater knit.  It works much better on my curves.

The back view.

I'm glad I was able to test this pattern because in all honestly I might not have purchased it as I thought the design was "too young" for me. (But what the heck does that mean anyway?  That's another post for another day. )

Be sure to check out the other dresses on the blog tour:  
The Winter Street Dress pattern can be purchased at PatternReview.com

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hurry Up Spring! I Want to Wear my Vogue 8711 Knit Skirt

Spring has officially arrived. Well, at least according to the calendar.  I think someone forgot to tell Mother Nature as the ground is still snow-covered and temps are still hovering below the freezing point.

Even though I continue to don my down-filled coat for my morning commute, I have begun my seasonal closet transformation in anticipation of warmer weather.

As I unpacked my Vogue 8711 skirt I couldn't help but mutter to myself,  "Hurry up Spring!  I want to wear this skirt!"

This knit skirt was one I began sewing last year to help take my mind off of a late spring snowfall.

The beautiful floral knit fabric was purchased in February 2013 from Emma One Sock.

I knew I wouldn't want to wear a slip even though the knit was light-colored and would require one, so I underlined it using a tricot knit that I had purchased at a local thrift shop.  

Once the skirt was underlined the construction was straight forward.  Although there was a bit of bulk to deal with where the yoke is attached to the skirt front. 

I'm not a fan of tight clothing - and this is designed to be tight - so I went up a size in the hip area.  It's still form-fitting enough to dress up, but not so much that it's inappropriate for  the office. With the addition of a simple cardigan sweater and low heels I was able to wear it to the office on casual dress days.
The skirt was one of my favorites last spring and summer and I'm already looking forward to the first time I can wear it this year. 


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Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Once a year I pull out the brooch and earrings my beloved Grandmother loved to wear on St. Patrick's Day. She was very proud of her heritage and I'm proud to honor her memory by continuing the tradition of wearing her costume jewelry. 

I know most everyone is just a wee bit Irish today! Have a happy - and safe - celebration!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

McCall's 6519 pullover top - version two

A second McCall's 6519 top,  this time sewn with fabric from a local fabric store that recently closed shop. 
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

McCall's 6519 pullover top

Great Fabric + Simple Design = Wardrobe Staple.

When I found this striking black and white designer print online at Mood Fabrics (no longer available) I wasn't positive what I wanted to sew. I just knew I wanted it to be simple. The top from McCall's 6519 was the perfect choice as the simplicity of the design let the fabric take center stage.

Before deciding on this pattern I did a little online snooping to see if I could find what the designer had made from this fabric. The only item I found was this tank style top, so who knows if the fabric was used for something other than a top.

Having sewn the McCall's top a few months previously, I knew I would benefit from a small FBA. The lines below show the final altered pattern front. Instead of sewing the dart I eased the extra fabric the front to the back along the side seam.
Instead of using purchased bias tape per the pattern instructions, I made self-fabric bias binding. Because it looks good...and I really like making bias binding! 

The armholes are hemmed with the bias binding.

As is the neckline.  The bias bindings are turned inside and topstitched in place.

A narrow hem finishes the bottom edge.

This past winter season I paired it with black pants (or skirt), a brightly colored jacket or sweater and for warmth wrapped an infinity scarf around my neck.
The pants in the Instagram pic above are the Burda Slouchy pants I blogged about back in January. Of 2009!   While I'm happy I can still fit into them,  I must admit they are getting rather snug. It just might be time to retire them and sew a new pair of black pants.


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