Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Simplicity's 2443 Rowley dress meet Neiman Marcus' DKNY dress

My version of the Cynthia Rowley Simplicity 2443 knit dress inspired by a DKNY dress found in a spring 2010 Neiman Marcus catalog. I wasn't able to locate the dress online, but I'm not sure it would provide any additional details anyway.

The DKNY dress is described as "Black/stone/red mixed-print cotton and elastane belted tank dress with knit bodice and woven skirt." Priced at only $245. Which probably looks like a bargain if you shop Neiman Marcus right?

I immediately thought of this pattern when I saw the dress in the catalog and thought ... c'mon, let's say it together "I could make that!" Because that's what we do isn't it?

I'm not certain from the dress description if the dress skirt was knit or woven, but I choose to make the entire dress in a knit.

Red and black knits were already in my fabric collection, so the search began for the fabrics for the bodice and skirt. Yikes! I didn't count on was how difficult it would be to locate a black and white stripe knit! I didn't want 100% cotton. Ugh, I hate sewing with that stuff. Maybe you like it, but I much prefer my knits with a bit of lycra blended into the fibers.

For the bodice I settled for this striped knit from Gorgeous Fabrics. There were some unexpected surprises sewing with this knit but I'll share that with you tomorrow. Edited 6/8 to add link to post about the knit fabric.

The black and white floral knit is also from Gorgeous Fabrics. The overall white to black contrast is on a larger scale than the DKNY dress, but that Holy Gerbera! sure is a fun print.

As far as constructing the dress goes, I knew I didn't want the racer back bodice from the pattern so I used the tank top from Kwik Sew 3497, binding the neck and armhole edges rather than hemming.

This tank top pattern really needed a fabric with more stretch than what I was using, so the first bodice I sewed was too tight. I altered the pattern to add an FBA, recut and resewed the bodice.

In addition to changing the bodice to a tank top, I cut it so it would hit at my waistline rather than above.

The red stripe insert is about three inches wide and the bottom band of black is about seven. I simply sewed the red strip to the bottom of the floral print then sewed the black strip to the bottom of the red.

And of course I kept the pockets. Which are a bit low since I forgot that I had lowered the waistline. No biggie as I probably won't use them much. I just like knowing they're there.

The final touch is a black leather belt in place of the tie belt.

Overall, I'm fairly pleased with the dress. But I'm keeping my eyes peeled for a white and black evenly spaced stripe cotton/lycra knit (at a reasonable price of course). If I find some I'm going to redo the bodice. If anyone has any leads on where I could find some let me know...

Next up? The jacket in a black linen so the dress can be worn to the office this summer.

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Sewing authors, designers and inspiration: Anna Maria Horner and Linda Lee

Bet you thought I'd forget to tell you about these two events didn't you? Well, to be honest I almost did. I guess I was just too busy downloading photos from our mini-vacation and reminiscing about how beautiful and relaxing the trip was.

But vacation is past and life is becoming semi-normal again. To the point where I'm beginning to feel the stirrings of my creative soul awakening.

The trunk show with Linda Lee at Treadle Yard Goods is what kick-started the whole thing. Sorry dear readers, but I forgot to bring my camera. And she had some absolutely gorgeous samples to show us. The small room was packed (and warm) but we sat and awaited eagerly for each garment to be pulled from the clothes rack so we could devour the details with our eyes.

I'm not a Sewing Workshop kinda gal. By that I mean while I absolutely love the look of these garments on others (such as Ann) I just do not feel right when I wear them. I feel dowdy. Which is surprising because these garments are anything but dowdy. Maybe because I typically wear more structured clothing.

Unfortunately, my husband had dropped me off and was waiting precisely at 8 p.m. to pick me up so I didn't have time to ask questions, see the garments up close or purchase patterns or fabric that evening.

But that didn't stop me from shopping the next evening. While I was intrigued by a number of the patterns that I do not own, I only purchased one new one - the Verona Jacket and Coat pattern as it is more fitted than some of the other designs. Plus it has a fun inside curved facing. One of those details that only the sewer knows about.

I already had the Urban T-shirt pattern in my collection and purchased a gray and purple strip knit from Treadle to make the tee. So far I've managed to get the pattern traced so I'm hopeful to have a new tee within a week or two.

The next night was a book signing by Anna Maria Horner.

Dang! That lady is not only gorgeous but she is even nicer than she looks. That beautiful smile on her face is genuine. And I'm pretty sure she was worn out after spending the day at Quilt Market.

Check out this post on True Up about Quilt Market. Be sure to scroll down so you can peek at the adorable shoes Anna was wearing. (From Anthropologie in case you're wondering. You know how much I like shoes so yes of course I had to ask her where she found them!)

I'll admit I wasn't too familiar with her. I knew she designed super cute fabric and had written a few sewing books, but that was the extend of my knowledge. When Treadle announced the book signing I figured I'd check it out. I mean, how often does one get to meet an author up close and personal? And a sewer to boot!

After my few minutes with Anna Maria Horner, I will say this. She is one of those rare people that makes you feel special, as if the two of you are the only ones in the room and she has all the time in the world to chat. My friend Cheryl (Homestead Specialties) has this quality also, but I've seldom witnessed it with others.

I left feeling honored to have spent a few minutes with her. I'm guessing everyone else felt the same way.

Both of her books were purchased to add to my sewing library as well as one pattern, the Multitasker Tote. If I would have looked at the projects inside the books I may have purchased a different pattern since there are totes included the books.

Oh! One more benefit of the author visit. Seeing the pattern garments up close.

All in all, both events at Treadle Yard Goods were good for my soul. They came at a time when I needed a little sewing inspiration.

Be sure to stop back this week as I have a few projects to share with you. A 90-minute knit top from the late 1980s and my version of the Simplicity 4462 Cynthia Rowley knit dress. Pin It


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