Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Simplicity 1873

 I finished this dress back in December but I was so busy packing, moving, and unpacking that I didn't take any photos until last week.

So this is pretty much the most basic dress ever but it fills a wardrobe gap; I need a dress to wear with my hand knits. I find that I have surprisingly few items of clothing to wear with my knit and crochet cardigans.

I used Simplicity 1873 for the bodice. I made view C in a size 10 with no alterations. I used the view C circle skirt pattern from McCall's 6955, also in a size 10 because I don't like the Simplicity pattern's skirt. Those pleats look so weird to me. They're just like an arrow to your crotch or something. I don't know.

Bust: 35.5"
Length: 35"

I used a cotton/spandex stretch sateen from the Red Tag section at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I think this fabric is appropriate for all seasons even though it's a tropical type print. I love the colors and I really like that the pattern features both blue and black so I can wear this dress with navy blue and black cardigans. But I'm not sure that I'm a huge fan of the pattern itself. Like the actual tropical leaves.

Total Cost: $10.08
  • Fabric: $8.76
  • Zipper: $1.32

I feel like I missed a great opportunity for a bright, mismatched zipper. For whatever reason, I used a boring black invisible zipper instead.

The waist is a little low. I think it looks less obvious in these photos than in real life. In literally every other blog post I've ever written I say that my clothes look better in person than in pictures, so this is a unique turn of events.

I didn't line the bodice because I'm lazy. I used a narrow facing/bias tape hybrid to finish the neck and armhole edges. And I didn't feel like turning on my serger so I just pinked the seams. 

I was in a rush to get this finished for my work Christmas party, so I machine stitched the hem. I don't know the last time I machine stitched a hem; I generally believe that hand stitching hems is way easier. But I machine basted, pressed, and machine stitched and things worked out just fine. It might actually be easier to hem a circle skirt by machine. 

Besides the fact that I don't love this fabric, I would say this dress is a win. It's comfortable and it matches everything ever, which is the whole reason why I made it.


Look how cute it looks with my Agatha Cardigan and my Mei-Mei Cardigan!

And, of course, here's Sox using my dress as a bed:

Friday, February 13, 2015

Crochet Mei-Mei Cardigan

I actually finished this cardigan in June, finally took pictures in July, and then totally forgot to post about it. So these photos were taken back in Massachusetts when the weather was nice and warm and there wasn't 6 feet of snow on the ground.

The pattern is the Mei-Mei cardigan from Doris Chan's book Everyday Crochet: Wearable Designs Just for You. It's worked top-down in one piece.

I was inspired by Constance's (of the blog Yarning Over the DaysRed Mei-Mei so I decided to copy her.

I used Cascade 220 worsted weight yarn in Christmas Red. I bought it online from Webs. I got the button at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I really love the button.

Total Cost: $12.78
  • Yarn: $11.18
  • Button: $1.60

This was a very quick project and I have plans to make a black Mei-Mei in the near future.

I love that Mei-Mei looks good both open and closed. That's a real bonus because I have made some cardigans, like Pike Place and Agatha, that only look good closed and I feel like that limits their wearability. (Side note: My Agatha cardigan doesn't look good open because of my yarn choice, not because of the pattern itself.)

I think this cardigan would look great in a drapey cotton yarn for summer. I'll probably make one someday since it only takes a couple of hours to work up.

All the construction details are available on my Ravelry Project Page.

Sox really loves wool. He's always all over my projects made from wool.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Bruce's X-Mas 2014 Sweater

So my fiance, Bruce, and I have moved out to Lemoore, CA. The road trip from Massachusetts was pretty brutal, but we are here in an adorable two bedroom apartment. I have my own sewing room! 

So I made Bruce a Christmas sweater. I figured the boyfriend sweater curse wouldn't apply to a fiance...Right?? I have never knitted anything so big. The finished bust measurements of the sweaters I make for myself are like 34". A 46.5" sweater is huge. And it took a long time. But I think it came out nicely. 

I used KnitPicks Capra DK weight yarn in Hunter.  It's 85% merino, 15% cashmere. I knew Bruce would love a cashmere sweater and the yarn was on sale so I scooped it up.  The yarn very soft and comfortable but the sweater started to fuzz after about a week of wear, which is disappointing.

Total Cost: $67.08

I made this while Bruce was across the country at a naval training base. I didn’t know any of his measurements and I couldn’t actually take any of his measurements, which made this a difficult project. I did have one of his RTW sweaters to use as a reference, though.

This sweater has a 46.5" chest. After taking his chest measurement (38.5”) and referencing other men’s sweater patterns, I apparently should have made it like 4 inches smaller. But I don’t think this sweater looks huge. It’s definitely on the looser side, but I wouldn’t say it’s too big. And he loves it and says it fits perfectly, which is what matters most.

I copied the seed stitch pattern from a pattern available for free online but I made a lot of changes to the fit and construction of the sweater. I decided to make a set-in sleeves instead of raglan sleeves because I didn't like the look of the raglan sleeves. And I changed the neckline width and depth, the body length, and the sleeve length.  As in, I drafted a whole new pattern. All the details are on my Ravelry Project Page.

I am not 100% happy with this sweater.  The neckline is too wide and the sleeves could be 2" shorter. But I think it came out pretty well considering I had no idea what size to make.

Don't you love the tag? I got it from KnitPicks. 

Sox enjoyed this sweater as well:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Simplicity 1776

Since I made a dress for my engagement party, I figured I should also make a dress for my bridal shower, which was in October.

The pattern is Simplicity 1776.  I made the sleeveless round neckline version.  The bust and hips are a size 10, the waist is a size 8, and I chopped 6 inches off the bottom.

Bust: 35"
Waist: 31"
Hips: 38"
Length: 30"

I used a shimmery black rayon/linen blend from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I know linen is a summery fabric, but I feel like this dress is totally appropriate for fall and winter.  I apologize for the wrinkles; the hot iron melts the shimmer finish, so I am trying to avoid ironing this dress as much as possible.

Total Cost: $7.15
  • Fabric: $5.40
  • Zipper: $1.75

I originally sewed this dress in August 2012.  I made a size 8, which was too small, and the zipper was a mess.  So I went back and took it out at the side and shoulder seams.  Let me tell you, fixing a dress is way harder than making one from scratch.  Thank God I didn't trim my side seams.

I faced the neckline and used single fold bias tape to finish the armholes instead of doing a full lining as called for in the pattern.  Don't judge me for this mediocre display of sewing.  This was one of the first times I'd used my serger, I made this over two years ago, and I whipped this dress up in like two hours.

I like the silhouette of this dress.  I think it's really easy for shifts to look boxy, and I don't think this one does.  Probably because I took it in at the waist.  And I like the length; it's just short enough that it doesn't look frumpy, but it's not too short. 

The neckline has a tendency to gape a little bit, but I don't know why.  I don't think that facing the neckline instead of doing a full lining would cause that to happen, but maybe that has something to do with it.

I took out the old invisible zipper - which was an ugly ecru color - and I replaced it with a hot pink zipper because I knew I would be wearing this dress with my hot pink heels or my black heels, which have a hot pink sole.  And I like contrasting zippers anyway.

Here is a picture of me and my maid of honor, Simone at the shower. (She took my engagement photos and is wicked talented and you should look at her website: www.simoneschiess.com.)  She's wearing the bridesmaids dress, which is from ModCloth.

And here are some action shots from the shower:

That's me and my mom!

And, of course, Sox:

I've started packing for my move to Fresno and it has made me realize how much sewing stuff I have.  I think I bought every single thing in the Jo-Ann notions aisle.  Really though.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Engagement Dress

I got engaged!!!!  To Bruce, the soap on a rope to my loofa and the recipient of the crocheted earflap hat.  I went to visit him at his Naval base in Pensacola for the Fourth of July and he proposed!  It was romantic and fabulous.  He came home to visit in August so I obviously had to make a dress for the engagement party and photos.

My lovely maid of honor is a professional photographer, so she took the photos for us.  She is so talented! If you live in the New England area you should hire her to photograph your events.  Check out her website (and more pictures of me and Bruce) at www.simoneschiess.com.

Now, about the dress:

The pattern is McCall's #7575 from 1995.  I sewed up the size 8, which has a finished bust measurement of 35".  My grandmother volunteers at a secondhand shop in Kansas and collects old sewing patterns for me.  She also got me Simplicity 5357, which I made in the spring of 2013.  (Side Note: Simplicity just re-released 5357 so now it's available to the general public, which sort of makes my sweet vintage halter top less special.)

I made the size 8 with a 35" finished bust measurement.

The fabric is a cotton border print from Journal Fabric in the LA Fashion District.  I bought it in January 2013 when I was out there visiting a few of my sorority sisters.

I bought 2.5 yards of this fabric (well, I only paid for 2 and the guy at the store gave me a half yard for free because I saw a spot on the fabric - yesssssss) and I was really cagey about how I used and cut it for this dress.  To conserve fabric I used muslin from my stash to line the bodice and for the back and side back.  So I think I have enough fabric left to eke out another dress.

Total Cost: $13.25
  • Fabric: $12
  • Zipper: $1.25
  • Muslin: stash

The pattern called for armscye and neck facings, but I decided to fully line the bodice since it is a bra-less kind of dress.  I actually started this dress in May of 2013 and had everything done except the sleeves and when I went back to sew it I decided I wanted it to be sleeveless.  So I pulled apart the bodice and lining and I'd already trimmed my seam allowances and the moral of the story is that I have visible side seams.

The bodice front has two waist darts, which is why I chose this dress pattern for this fabric.  I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the floral pattern, so I didn't want to make a dress with princess seams or with bust and waist darts.

The skirt is a 60" x 20" square.  There is an invisible zipper at center back and I used three hooks and eyes on the back waist to keep it from gapping too much.

I love this dress so so much.  I had a lot of fun making it and I got lots of compliments at the engagement party.

And here are a few photos from our engagement shoot:

And a couple photos of Sox getting involved in the dressmaking process:

Bruce has been stationed in Lemoore, California and I am moving out there to join him at the end of the month!