Saturday, August 24, 2019

A Burgundy Velvet Mermaid Maxi and Venice Beach Beanies for Fall - Sew Fab Summer Blog Tour

A velvet maxi for fall? Yes! The rich burgundy velvet reminds me that cooler temps are coming, and it will easily transition into the late fall/early winter season.
This velvet Mermaid Maxi (by Tie Dye Diva Patterns) is so versatile it will look dressy or casual depending on how it is styled.

A more traditional look would be how I've paired it here. I added a simple black tee, a statement necklace, and black velvet booties.

I love the shape of this as it fits close through the hip and flares out at the knee. Even someone with not much of a bootie (raising my hand here!) looks good coming and going in this maxi skirt. Here's the back.
 Add a plaid top and fringed suede booties for a casual fall look. I went sleeveless as the temps are still in the 90s where I now live. But how cute would a long-sleeved plaid shirt tied at the waist look?
Take a slightly oversized tee, knot it at the side, put on some athletic shoes (mine are rose gold) and you have another casual look.
How would you style this velvet maxi? 

One of the best things about this maxi skirt is how quickly it can be sewn. From start to finish it took me less than two hours. Of course the other great thing is that it is available in 14 sizes to fit hips 34" to 55".

The elastic waistline finish is invisible from the front side.
To hem the skirt, simply turn up 5/8" and stitch in place.
Because I left the optional pockets off of my velvet maxi skirt, I added my label to the back so I could quickly determine the front and back.

In addition to my new maxi skirt, I stitched up a few Venice Beach Beanies by Golden Rippy. The beanie pattern is also included in the bundle (with sizes from preemie to large adult).  I had no idea I needed these beanies in my life until I started stitching them up!  It is such a simple project - about 10 minutes - that it's hard to stop once you start.  Not only is it easy, but it's a great stash buster project!

I tried a couple of different knit fabrics to see how they looked once completed. The red camo is a linen knit, the blue/green camo is a lightweight sweater knit, and the gray is a french terry.
One tip, instead of catching the top of the inside and outside of the beanie by hand stitching, use the bar tack stitch on your machine.
You can wear the beanie pulled down smoothly on your head, or slouchy, which is how I like to wear mine. 
My velvet Mermaid Maxi and beanies are part of the Sew Fab Summer Bundle Blog Tour.  The bundle is a set of PDF patterns from different designers sold as one unit at a discounted price. (The Mermaid Maxi is part of the bundle.)

You can purchase the bundle of patterns here (no affiliation, I just really like the Mermaid Maxi skirt and agreed to be part of the blogger tour!) I also don't know how long the special pricing lasts as this is my first time with Sew Fab bundles.   Check out the projects the other bloggers choose to sew as part of the blog tour.

And before I go, I have an outtake for you :-) Anyone want to caption it for me?!?

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    Wednesday, August 21, 2019

    Butterick 5719 An Explosion of Color Dress

    If colors speak louder than words, what am I saying with this dress?
    I'm not sure what the message is, but I do know the explosion of color evokes joy in me!
    The fabric, Milly "prism in technicolor" stretch cotton sateen, was purchased from Emma One Sock in 2016.
    I ordered the fabric with plans to make a BurdaStyle sheath dress, but when the fabric arrived, the green was more predominant than I had anticipated.  Green is one color that I rarely wear so I put the fabric aside.

    When I unpacked the fabric after our recent move I no longer thought there was too much green and decided it was time to sew myself that sheath dress.

    Instead of digging out my BurdaStyle magazines to trace the dress pattern, I used Butterick 5719. 
    It's a Lifestyle Wardrobe pattern from 2011 that includes a jacket, skirt, and pants in addition to the dress. It also includes separate pattern pieces for cup sizes A/B, C, and D. I used the D cup pattern piece.
     The sheath dress is such a classic that it doesn't matter that this pattern is eight years old.
    This one has princess seams and ends above my knee.  By accident actually. I was cutting out this dress in the wee morning hours (while having one of my bouts of insomnia which have been fairly frequent during my recovery) and I messed up. My dress is actually 4" shorter than the pattern.

    The good news is I didn't need a back walking vent! 
     The dress is fully lined. It's been awhile since I've sewn a fully lined garment, and I found it quite enjoyable. Plus it feels so good to wear a lined dress! 
    The back closes with an invisible zipper and hook and eye at the neck.
     Of course I added one of my positive message labels. This one is my "You Are Beautiful" label.
    Because I didn't have much fabric for a hem I stitched on lace hem tape.

    I'm still struggling with range of motion in my shoulders due to the surgery.  It wasn't easy but I managed to get this dress zipped up completely (by myself) so I could take pics for the blog. But when it was time to unzip myself I tried, and tried, but just couldn't get myself unzipped! I almost had to wear this to my physical therapy appointment, LOL. I took a break, and with a lot of patience (and a bit of a struggle) I finally managed to get it unzipped.
    This is not a style I typically wear, as I've always thought I was too curvy for the style to be flattering. But I wanted a simple, slightly structured dress so the fabric would be the star. Because the fabric on this dress is everything! 
    Before I go, my SLR camera died almost a year ago, and I haven't replaced it yet. I've been taking pics for the blog with my phone and a remote. I don't know about you but when I take my own pics I have so many outtakes that make me laugh. Like this one where I'm clearly wondering "is this thing working?"
    Have a blessed day!

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    Friday, August 16, 2019

    An Oversized Asymmetrical Top: 1980's Vogue 1566 Claude Montana

    Trends from the 1980s have been showing up on the runways recently, which means this is the perfect time for me to stitch up some of the 1980s era Vogue designer patterns in my collection!

    Like this oversized pullover top designed by Claude Montana.
    Sharon wears Vogue 1566, OOP a 1985 Claude Montana pullover top,

    In the late 90s, during one of our moves, I gave my best friend two large totes filled with many of my Vogue designer patterns, including many that are now highly sought after from Issey Miyake and Claude Monanta. At the time I didn't see myself ever sewing them. Of course now I regret that as they are quite expensive when they can be found on Ebay or Etsy, sigh.

    Fortunately she loaned this one to me before we moved so I could sew myself one for our Texas summers! She's still searching through her vast pattern collection to find another Vogue Montana pattern I'd now like to sew.

    The top I'm wearing in this blog post is from Vogue 1566, a Vogue Individualist design that was released in 1985.
    The Instagram hashtag #poselikethemodel inspired this shot :-)
    Sharon posing like the model on Vogue 1566 Montana pattern cover
    I ordered this lightweight tropical print voile from Fabric Mart Fabrics during one of their sales, with visions of an oversized tunic in the style of Chico's.  I was torn as to whether this gave me a carefree, artsy look or if the top was better suited as a swimsuit coverup.

    I decided it's unique and artsy and fun and I like wearing it with my white leggings. 
    Sharon Sews wearing Vogue 1566 Claude Montana pullover top
    The pattern describes the top as a very loose-fitting, pullover top with bands, low armholes, shaped hemline and below elbow length sleeves with slit (left side).

    The top is asymmetrical (which is one thing I love about the design) and here you can see how high the left side is.
    Here you can see more of the design, including the difference in each sleeve.
    Vogue 1566 Montana showing asymmetrical design Sharon Sews
    Here's the back view. 
    Vogue 1566 Back View of Pullover top on Sharon Sews blog
    This was one of the first projects I sewed when I returned to sewing two months ago. This top took me a long time, mainly because of my limited physical ability at the time. However, the construction itself was fairly simple.

    The contrasting neckline facings are sewn to the wrong side, turned to the right side, and stitched in place.
    Here's the left sleeve.
    The bands that are sewn diagonally across the front and back are bias. Since I didn't want to purchase additional fabric, I used a white cotton I had on hand for the contrasts. It had tone-on-tone embroidered stripes, so I tried to line up the embroidery so it would be in line with the neck bands. A detail I probably didn't need to bother with, as I doubt it is noticeable when worn. But it makes me happy :-)

    Here's the front view.
    Here's the back view.
    I imagine I would not have had to cut these on the bias, but I'm guessing by doing so it helps with the drape of the top.

    Before we moved, I planned on bringing my serger in for service, but with the unexpected surgery that never happened. In fact, it still needs service. I recently learned that the local sewing machine dealer services all makes of machines, so I'll be getting my serger fixed soon.

    To finish the seams on this top I turned the seam edges in and stitched in place.
    Of course I finished it off with one of my positive message labels (purchased from Dutch Label Shop).
    I'll admit I haven't worn this outfit nearly as much as I thought I would. I figured a lightweight, loose-fitting top would be quite comfortable in this Texas heat, but honestly I have found that unless I'm going to be inside, the top and leggings are still too warm for outside wear!

    This was a fun sewing project. I've been wanting to sew this design for the past few years, and am happy that I found the time to finally do so.
    Have a blessed day!

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    Wednesday, August 14, 2019

    The New Oia Dress from Itch to Stitch in a Linen Floral Print

    It's my summer for sundresses and the new Oia Dress by Itch to Stitch doesn't disappoint! If you're looking for a comfortable, trendy, slightly more advanced sewing project, this dress is for you.
    I was one of the pattern testers for this dress design and am happy I volunteered to do so, even though this dress was more time consuming that what I've been sewing lately.

    While I was testing the pattern, I kept telling myself "this pattern is drafted so beautifully!"  I had no problems with anything not matching as it should, which made it a joy to sew. The instructions were thorough covering every detail of the dress construction. One tip I have for you when you sew this dress is to be sure to carefully mark every single dot and notch.

    Before I go into any more details, the Oia Dress is on sale for one week after the release date! (It was released on Aug. 13, 2019) It is a PDF pattern, and I think most of you know I lean towards printed patterns, but I had zero difficulty putting this one together. You're also able to print only the bodice cup size you need, which saves you paper and ink.

    The dress features A, B, C, D, and DD cup options for the princess seamed bodice with straps wide enough to cover your bra straps. Did I mention it has in-seam pockets?
    I did two muslins of the bodice to make sure the fit was accurate before I started on my final dress. The first one I started with the size 8 DD, but it was too large. I used the size 6 DD and the fit was great. When you sew this dress be sure to go by the measurements, as they are accurate.

    (Disclaimer, in these pics the bodice looks a bit too large under the arms. Because I still don't have a lot of shoulder flexibility I wasn't able to zip the dress up completely in the back.  When hubby is around to zip it up all the way, the fit is spot on!)

    I had to shorten the straps by 2", but that's the beauty of sewing. You get to adjust components to fit your unique shape.
    The back closes with an invisible zip and a hook and eye at the top. I was slightly off at the waistband seam when I stitched the invisible zip in and didn't bother to restitch.  With the busyness of the print it's not that noticeable.
    I was a bit nervous about adding the grommets as it's been quite some time since I've done so.  Due to my surgery, I'm still working on strength in my hands and had to have my husband add the grommets.

    Did you know you can purchase gold grommets at Home Depot? I didn't until I began sewing this dress. Unfortunately the gold didn't look right against this fabric. With so few local shopping choices for fabric supplies, I was fortunate enough to locate some silver ones at Hobby Lobby.
    My fabric ended up being too thick to make the self-fabric ties, so I purchased this silver cording (at Hobby Lobby) to use for the ties. 

    Speaking of the fabric...I purchased this linen-blend floral print (with metallic threads) at Hancock Fabrics in 2015 to sew myself another Vogue 9112 (the Marcy Tilton Cirque Dress that I blogged about here.)  After I got it home I decided it was too thick for that dress and I put it aside to wait for the right project.  It might have taken four years, but it worked beautifully for the Oia Dress!

    The dress is fully lined making for a beautiful finish inside. I used a batiste I was able to find at Hobby Lobby.  I'm telling ya, being so far away from my beloved SR Harris makes it difficult to get fabric and supplies when I don't have time to order them online!
    The lining is designed to be a few inches shorter than the dress. I added some hem tape I had in my stash. I'm still having some difficulty with hand sewing, but the hem didn't turn out too bad under the circumstances.

    I gotta tell you, it was quite satisfying to sew something a bit more challenging than what I've been sewing lately!

    And, since I'm now a Texan, I have a growing collectionof hats to wear in the hot sun, including this "cowboy" hat.
    Be blessed y'all!

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    Monday, August 12, 2019

    It's a Sunshine Day - Perfect for Wearing my Butterick 6674 Sundress

    I do believe we are starting to adjust to this Texas heat! The other night, about 8 pm, we were exiting the grocery story and my husband exclaimed "Oh, it's cooling off!"  Um, it was still 95 degrees F outside.

    It might be hot and sticky but what better weather for a sundress!
    Sharon wearing Butterick 6674 Sundress
    When these photos were taken we were under a heat advisory, ranging from 105 to 110 degrees F.  Pretty much unheard of in Minnesota. However, I doubt east Texas has ever had to deal with minus 40 degrees F below zero during the winter months!
    Butterick 6674 sundress pattern by SharonSews
    Let's talk about this lovely dress! I feel really good in this dress. The fit is great, and I love the colors in the fabric. I do wish I could wear cute sandals with small heels, but I'm still numb on my left side and balance is a bit of an issue. My nuerosurgeon tells me it could be up to a year before the numbness goes away.
    Butterick 6674 sundress paback view worn by Sharon of  Sharon Sews
    The pattern is Butterick 6674, a fairly new release. The sundress has a scoop neckline, princess seams (with separate pieces for A/B, C, and D cups), a flared skirt, button front, optional patch pockets, and a lined tote bag. 
    Butterick 6674 pattern cover  on Sharon Sews blog
    I'll admit I don't normally like the D cup pattern pieces in the designs offered by the Big 4. Typically there is a dart, and it's a big one.  However, with the princess seams, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the D cup fit me with no alterations.  Bonus, no sneak peeks when I'm bending over.
    Sharon of Sharon Sews blog shows no gaping aspect of Butterick 6674 sundress
    I debated if I wanted something with a waistline seam, as my tiny waist said "bye-bye" years ago. I rarely wear belts or tuck my tops into my pants or skirts any longer.

    In this case I'm glad I did. I didn't overfit the waist so it's very comfortable, and the narrow self-fabric tie belt is a nice little accent. In fact, I think this design makes me appear to have a waist!

    The fabric is a lovely cotton/lycra border print  I purchased in August 2018, at SR Harris in Burnsville, MN. Long before I knew we'd be moving to east Texas! I cut the dress out on the cross grain as I didn't want that solid block of white in the dress.
    Border Print Fabric from SR Harris for Butterick 6674

    I have to pause here for a moment and acknowledge how much I miss my beloved SR Harris! Where I'm living I have two options to purchase fabric locally: Hobby Lobby and Walmart. I was so spoiled with the amazing fabrics, choices and prices at SR Harris! I'm happy that quite a stash of fabric moved with me, and I've already alerted my hubby that I will be stocking up at SR when we make any Minnesota visits.

    Ok, back to the dress. There are no facings as the armholes and neckline are finished with bias binding. Do yourself a favor and make your own. It's so simple to make. When I only need a small amount, like with this pattern, I use the little hand tools and my iron. Larger amounts I use the Simplicity bias tape maker machine (that I was fortunate enough to find for $19.99 at a Tuesday Morning a few years ago.)
    Self fabric bias binding for Butterick 6674
    The binding finishes the inside nicely.
    View of matching bias binding on Butterick 6674 Sundress by Sharon Sews
    There are 11 buttons down the center front. I always do a practice buttonhole before doing the the finals on any garment I'm sewing. That way I can make sure I have the right size buttonhole, and that my stitches look good.

    So why is it that my test buttonhole is almost perfect and my machine acts up on the first buttonhole I sewed on the dress!?!  Grrrrr.  Fortunately, I always do my first buttonhole at the bottom edge just in case something like this does happen.
    Messed up buttonhole on Butterick 6674
    There is no interfacing in the dress. The front band is created by folding the front edge over twice, so the buttonholes are stitched through three layers of fabric. I ended up adding a small piece of tear-away stabilizer under each buttonhole and after that my machine stitched all 11 perfectly.

    The dress truly is an easy sew and if you're looking to squeeze in one last sundress of the season I'd recommend this pattern!

    Butterick 6674 Sundress by Sharon of Sharon Sews blog on dressform

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