Friday, November 07, 2008

Flashback Friday - 1983 and the red dress

No photos from 1983.

Just the red dress.

But oh! what a dress it was.

This red dress spent many Saturday evenings out on the dance floor.

And many Saturday evenings enjoying dinner and drinks before the dancing began.

Isn't it just oh-so-eighties?

Look at that deep v-neckline.

And that fitted corset-look waist

And those long dolman sleeves gathered at both the top and the bottom seams.

A close up of all of that fabric tightly shirred along the seamlines to form the draping.

Oh dear, all those horrible, uneven stitch lines

Well at least the thread was a good match!

Um, more poor sewing here

The zipper is puckered along one side and wasn't hidden too well in the midriff section

But wait!

There's the bottom of the dress.

The asymmetric pegged skirt is draped from the fitted midriff

...and it looked fabulous when a leg peeked through adorned
with sheer black hose and high strappy heels


Why, of all the clothing I've sewn over the years is this one of the few dresses that survived the dozens of moves? Who knows. As you can see, it certainly wasn't because of the exquisite sewing or attention to detail! It must have been the memories of the fun and laughter that accompanied the wearing of this dress that caused me to save it all these years.

By the way, the dress was sewn from Simplicity 6204 - a Diana Ross design - that I repurchased off of Etsy to go into my sewing scrapbook (along with the stories of fun-filled nights with my friends).
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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Dogs on Thursday - Posing Paws event

Sophia and Brandi - Posing Paws 2005

For the past eight years or so we have participated in the annual Minnesota Valley Humane Society's Posing Paws . After the first year, we knew better than to try and get our pets in a photo with Santa so now it's just the dogs and hubby and I.

This photo is the last Posing Paws photo of Brandi (the fox terrier-mix mutt in the front). She was such a wonderful, loving, gentle dog but oh! how she would get so nervous at this event!

If you've never participated before, and you live in the Twin Cities, MN area, I would highly recommend the event. It begins this weekend, Nov. 8 and 9 and continues the following weekend, Nov. 15 and 16.

You bring your pets (and family if you'd like) and they supply the photographers, Santa and three set designs to choose from. They usually have a table of festive attire that your pets can borrow for the photo shoot.

For only $50 you take home a CD with about ten professional quality high-resolution photographs of you and your pets. Because everyone volunteers their time it is a wonderful and easy way to donate to the MVHS.

If you see us there, be sure to stop by and introduce yourself.

(more dogs on Thursday posts here)

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I voted!


Most important thing to do today: Vote.

Hubby and I lined up at our polling place at 6:15 a.m. and were done voting by 7:15 a.m.

How long was your wait? Pin It

Monday, November 03, 2008

McCall's 5752 - it is indeed "The Perfect Knit Dress"

Two thumbs up for this dress. It passed the "is it comfortable enough to wear all day at the office" test with flying colors.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I experienced some frustrations while sewing this dress, but it had nothing to do with the pattern itself. It was a combination of my fabric choice (a soft cotton/lycra knit with a lot of stretch) and the fact that I cut the bodice in a size 12 even a I was thinking perhaps I should cut a size 10. Turns out I should have begun with a 10.

The actual construction was a breeze. The pattern instructions are thorough, well-written and well illustrated. I didn't find mention of it in the instructions, but I stabilized the shoulder seams with stay tape. Sometimes I use clear elastic for this step, but the stay tape happened to be closer to the machine.

The bodice is self-lined, gathered with the right crossing over the left. All of those fabric layers are sewn to the midriff section, which also consists of two layers of fabric. See the photo below. Because of the bulk, I eliminated the inside stay facing.

By the way, the front midriff is nicely shaped with a gently curved seam. In the photo below, I lightened the bodice and skirt so you can see the seam.

The wide back waist inset is also gathered along each side seam giving a nice shape to the waist area.

I did not follow the order of construction as noted in the instructions. Instead, I sewed all of the front sections, than all of the back sections, set the sleeves in flat and then finished by sewing the side seams.

At this point I tried the dress on to make my side seam adjustments and discovered that it was way too large.

Not just take-in-the-side-seams-so-that-it-fits-snug big, but oh-drat-the-neck-shoulders-and-bodice-are-too-large big.

So I sighed a big sigh, set the dress aside and walked away from the machine for the evening. Normally this would have become a forgotten UFO tucked away inside a box only to be rediscovered years later. However, this time I decided I would persist to the very end. And I'm glad I did.

The next night I patiently ripped out all of the stitches, took apart the entire dress, recut the bodice to a size 10 and the midriff sections to a 10/12 and bravely began resewing the dress.

A much better fit, but I still needed to sew larger side seams at the midriff so that the fit was snug preventing the knit from sagging. I can't tell you for sure if it was the fit of the pattern or my knit choice so keep that in mind when you sew your dress.

I used a cotton/lycra knit purchased from Hancock Fabrics in February 2008. It is a very soft knit with a lot of stretch. I think I'll choose a different knit for the next version of this dress, perhaps an ITY knit.

So how do I know that I purchased it in February of 2008? Because I had attended a local ASG workshop featuring Pati Palmer and this was one of the knits I bought on break.

And speaking of Pati Palmer I have to share this because I found it to be such a nice gesture. When I first posted about this dress I was surprised to see an email from her in my inbox. She had sent a short note asking me to let her know how the dress turned out. I was amazed that someone with such a busy schedule would take time to send an email to just another sewer asking about a dress sewn from one of her designs. I think that was very kind of her to do so.


A full review on PatternReview can be read here.


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Sunday, November 02, 2008

McCall's 5752 - Done!


*** EDITED 11/3 **** added link to blog post with additional details on the construction as well as more photos of the dress including me wearing the dress.

McCall's 5752
Palmer/Pletsch pattern
The perfect knit dress

The dress is done! I'm so glad I didn't attempt to complete this in time to wear to the wedding last weekend as it would have been a major frustration.

That being said, the frustration had absolutely nothing to do with the pattern. It was my choice of knit fabric combined with the fact that I originally cut and sewed this dress one size too large. The pattern itself was great - lots of fitting tips, clear instructions and pattern pieces that fit together properly.

I'll post a full review tomorrow as I still have lots of it's-Sunday-night-and-I-have-to-get-this-stuff-done-before-the-work-week-begins chores to finish before heading off to bed.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Have you visited Pattern Rescue lately?

Looking for larger size vintage and retro sewing patterns? Check out the recycled section over at Pattern Rescue. The Nov. 1 patterns have been posted and there are quite a few in medium to larger sizes with busts ranging from 36 to 44.

Of course as you continue to browse you'll notice that there are also plenty of patterns available in the bust 34 and 32 range as well as children's patterns.

I even recognized a few that I sent to them for the recycle section. My fear is that one day I'm going to request a recycled pattern that I actually sent to them *LOL*. Somehow they look so much more desirable on their website than they did sitting in storage boxes.

So go! Browse, request and don't forget to donate to they can continue to offer us this service. Pin It

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