Saturday, November 15, 2014

I Been Busy! V8876, Cake Pavlova, J. Peterman ReFashion

It's a Dashing Eccentric post jam-packed with fresh weirdness!

Or, rather, all new clothes.

I'll start with the star, my newest version of the Beatrice, Marcy Tilton's nationwide best seller Vogue Pattern 8876. For my third version of this gorgeous and useful design, i added sleeves and left off the hem bands to make a species of frock coat in stretch denim. It came together easily (after all that practice it should) and I love wearing it. I purchased the stretch cotton denim from Stone Mountain and Daughter, it's terrifically comfortable and is wearing well. Marcy Tilton has some very similar denims in beautiful prints for sale right now; i've been mulling over the Havilland for a while now. This frock coat is so easy to wear and so fun i may have to pull the trigger - a duster in the vein of Ivey Abitz would be devastatingly chic.

 As it happens, i'd been eyeing the light colorway of this fabric on Marcy Tilton's website for a couple of weeks when i saw the darker colorway for sale at Stone Mountain almost a year ago. I liked the darker version better for winter/fall so i snapped it up. As much as the internet has cut into brick and mortar sales, this is the third or fourth length of fabric i've purchased at Stone Mountain after seeing a similar style online and having time to gauge it's usefulness in my wardrobe. I do my best to apportion my fabric budget between the various stores which i want to stay in business.

I chose a separating zipper in an antique bronze hard plastic for the closure. I added a large hook and eye just under the bust for another closure option. Not much to say that hasn't been said already about this great design (much of it by me), though here you can see a mind-bogglingly sweet endorsement of this piece if you click through. I'm still seeing sparkles!

I made the polka dot top using Cake's Pavlova Wrap Top pattern. This is my first version of this pattern. What an easy, rewarding, useful make! And this draft works wonderfully for a bigger bust. I cut the rayon/lycra ITY fabric out in size 35 with no alterations, stitched it up (by hand, still sans machine), and bob's your uncle. All the pluses of a wrap top - sleek fit, adapts to changing sizes - with no downside of gaping at the bust. You can wrap this top over or under the bust; here i'm wearing it under and still no gaping. There's plenty of  room to wrap over the bust as well, with even less likelihood of gaping.  I cut the  longer sleeve option at just past the elbow, my fave length. Pavlova offers a shorter sleeve length as well.

I was delighted to see a lengthen/shorten line clearly marked on the pattern. This is a major plus, as figuring out where/how to lengthen this design would be tricky. I have two more lengths of fabric who've been looking for their best pattern and now find themselves in the pipeline to become Pavlovas (one is the rest of the digital print i used for these leggings) .  You can wear the Pavlova alone, over a tank or long sleeved tee. Sweet! I am very happy to have a new TNT for winter wear. Thank you Cake!!

Original MaxiDress
Underneath it all i'm wearing a black silk slipdress - oohlala! It started out as a maxi dress from J. Peterman, via my fairy godmother (next door neighbor who volunteers at a charity consignment shop and sends goodies my way). The bottom 3-4" at the back hem were kind of chewed up, so i knew i wanted to hem that away. I also wanted to change the fit through the torso. The original looks okay from the front, but from the side view all that shockingly abrupt ballooning around the bazooms did not create the elegant line i covet. I removed the band, took a couple of small darts under the bust, and gathered in the skirts to the bodice. This created a bit of shaping without too much trouble and allowed me to keep the pockets (yay).

The following picture shows the hand stitching better than this one does
The original dress bodice had wide facings with an acetate lining. I prefer the feel and drape of silk, so i removed the lining and hand stitched the facings through to the right side of the dress using contrasting topstitching thread. Luxurious to wear and a great look.

Hand stitching nicely captured
I originally changed the hem to get the effect of an Ivey Abitz frock, but the overall silhouette wasn't working. I would need more fitting through the torso to balance out all that weight and commotion, and it would be a huge amount of work to change the silhouette if it were even possible. I knew i would like to be able to wear this piece as a slip, so i just hemmed the dress to echo the shape of the V8876/Beatrice dress i made in black and white linen, just an inch or so longer, and loved the result.

Whew! the needles have been flying! I've not got much done the last couple of weeks, as DH and i got down to brass tacks and bought a new car. We've had our Scion XA for ten years now so it was time. Our new car is an automatic transmission and driving it is so much easier on my leg!

The weather has turned cool as well, so i am busy re-making a distressed cashmere cardigan into elbow length fingerless gloves. Over at Acorn Cottage Indigo Tiger is tackling an entire 6PAC designed to keep a girl warm - scrumptious!  Is your wardrobe ready for winter?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Make Your Own Three Tier Skirt

I received some interest from Shelley regarding how to make this skirt. I made it without using a pattern, but it's super easy. So i wrote up some notes and made a video. I hope it's useful enough for any interested parties with some sewing experience under their belt to whip up one of these skirts on their own.

To recap on the general construction steps: I first would cut out the inner skirt/tube and the tiers. Then i would mark the placement of the two top tiers while the inner skirt is still flat. (The bottom tier is placed right along the hem so no marking is needed.) Next sew up the center back seam, and finish the hem and the waistband.

ON EDIT: i realized i haven't addressed the issue of 'how big around do you want the inner skirt to be". In the end it depends on how much ease you want. If you're using an elastic waistband, you need the skirt to go over the widest part of your hips. You will also need ease for when you sit and move - more for a woven fabric and less for stretch. If you're using a stretch with 5% or more lycra you may want your finished circumference to just be the same as the widest part of your hips plus an inch or two.

For woven, non-stretch fabrics you will need more. My hips measure around 37", the finished circumference of this inner skirt is 43" at the hem (the darts at the waist take out a couple of inches). That is 6" ease. If you are a lot smaller around you may want less ease, much bigger or taller and you may want more. My ease of 6" is 16% of my hip measurement of 37" so try starting out with adding 15% of your hip measurement as ease. Baste up a tube of that circumference in your fabric and try it on to see how you like it. Be sure to try sitting down in your mock-up as some of our hips spread out more than you might expect when we sit. END EDIT

 For the tiers: Sew any seams needed to form the tiers into tubes. Finish the upper edges and finish the hems/apply trim (I used a narrow machine hem of 1/2").  Make your gathering stitches along the upper edges (i find that two lines of stitches about 1/4" are easier to work with. I also recommend that you divide your stitches into at least two halves - so you would have gathering stitches run all along the half of the tier going on the front of the skirt and having thread tails at the beginning and end of that sections. Then start another set of gathering stitches with thread tails beginning and end for the back half instead of trying to adjust your gathers all around the entire skirt in one go. Here's a nice video on the basics of gathering fabric.) Lastly, adjust your gathers and sew on your tiers.

You're done.

A few more bits of information. This skirt hits me below the knee and a bit above mid-calf and i'm five foot five and a half inches - this may help you with your own dimensions. I forgot to mention that i have an overlap between the top of the two bottom tiers and the hem of the tier above - about 3/4". I believe i was shooting for a 1" overlap but my calculations got away from me. I think as long as there isn't a gap you will be okay.

Most importantly - please let me know if you have any questions! And have fun sewing, whatever you make.