Summer Diane Kimono Dress

It’s so hot this summer, I just want ice water or maybe the garden hose! Which led me to sew this little dress, a favorite pattern from Serendipity Studio. My first version, below, was sewn in March, 2012, and many subsequent versions are scattered on the blog.

I’ve always sewn this in a print, primarily in quilting cottons. All these fabrics are Keepsake Calico from JoAnn – I like the mix:

Sewing notes:

  • I sewed the Size small with minor tweaks to lengthen the bodice by 1 1/2″, and raise the v-neck by 1″. The designer, Kay Whitt, is a petite lady, and the pattern tends to reflect her dimensions. Adjustments are easy.
  • This version is between tea length and ballerina length, at 31 1/4″ long from my waist. The finished width of the three tiers, top to hem are: (1) 22 1/4″, (2) 3 3/4″, and (3) 4 1/4″. Hemlines are such a mystery and confusion – here’s a graphic I found on Fashion for Real Women:

Micro – high thigh
Mini – mid-thigh
Above knee – 1 to 2” above the knee
Knee length – at the knee
Below knee – 1 to 2” below the knee
Midi (or tea length) – mid-shin
Ballerina – between mid-shin and ankle
Maxi – ankle
Floor Length – floor length to an inch above

  • It’s really tempting to cut rectangular bands for the skirt tiers, but I wanted to preserve the A-line of the skirt, so I drafted tissue for each tier from the original skirt tissue.
  • I like using rounded buttonholes in general, but they really serve for use with ties. To avoid any raveling of thread tails, I work them through the buttonhole on the inside.

Pics!

Ciao! Coco

New Look 6352 variation – new dress

Deep summer…and a new dress aspiration. I am decidedly tired of ruffles and gathers, I’m looking for something more flattering to my, yes, youthful silhouette. So I’ve been drafting and sewing and tossing a bit 🙂

I went searching for a maxi dress with ‘willowy’ lines, something that would work in a soft material. Bingo.

Actually, I’ve been looking at this pattern for years, really years, since it’s in my stash, and finally decided to give it a try.

I have the original envelope, and, rather than cut it, I drafted my pattern to keep the original intact. I altered my draft to have the neckline and armscye of the Tessuti Lisa dress. I have broad, square shoulders, and I like the way the Lisa dress accentuates that.

So the Lisa dress bodice is my main change. I sewed this in a lovely random polka dot challis from Fabric.com, Telio Devon Rayon Poplin Print Floating Dot Black/White, nice. Pics!

This is actually the first thing I’ve made since spring that I really embrace. I look over the many things I’ve sewn and tossed. What is this!! I’m trying to get my mind in a good place, I read a lot – 11 books in the last 3 weeks or so – and continue to study the difference between and applicability of differential and integral calculus. In addition to slogging my way through Sir Winston’s books on WWII. The included preponderance of exchanged letters can be daunting.

A happy face, nonetheless. I am letting my wiry white hair grow, a challenge by itself, but when I can do a fun bun, well, there you go.

Ciao! Coco

Tessuti Lisa dress in voile

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With summer approaching, I cannot resist another Lisa dress, this time in Telio rayon/cotton voile from Fabric.com. Actually, several of my long Lisas have been in this fabric. It is a delight to sew and wear. The combo of rayon and cotton makes a wonderful voile..

The Lisa pattern (the side light is the inspiration for the longer, ruffled versions I’ve made, 4 of them!):

A change-up – this dress is the original pattern, length, etc. Sewing notes

  • I sew the size small in this pattern.for the original version, 3 yd @ 54w (add a yard for a ruffle).
  • As before I used a facing on the neckline. I think it makes a world of difference in how the dress looks, hangs, and wears.

And topstitched:

  • My serger obsession – I always practice and adjust both my serger and my sewing machine before any project. A skewed serge can destroy the lines of a garment.

  • How to hem – if you do a double-fold narrow hems on voile or challis, they are likely to turn up and fly or fold to the inside, keeping you awake at night. This hem is serged and turned up 3/4″, and I know from other garments that it will behave.

Pics! I had to change the battery in my Xenova camera remote thingie to get things going. Having done that, I feel totally empowered…

Awesome – I was wearing something else all day, to an appointment for a DEXA scan, to the grocery – but I changed into this dress for photos. Think I’ll just go with this, incredibly comfortable, and I feel pretty 🙂

Ciao! Coco

Fibre Mood Tilda dress variations

Fuzzy photo time – apology! I’ve been working on this dress for what feels like ages. I started with an inspiration dress and blouse, and landed on the Fibre Mood Tilda because of all the possibilities. My targets:

and the Tilda, with planned changes:

Being wary of the curves, I did an entire muslin, with and without a sleeve. And worked it until it fit.

OK, I think this is really blah on me. And it will be shortened to blouse length and worn with white summer pants.

Nonetheless, some sewing notes:

  • The fabric is a Telio rayon/cotton 50/50 blend. The cotton adds just enough structure to make this a dream to sew. From Fabric.com by way of Amazon.
  • My dress is a meld of sizes 12 – 14.! Because the pdf file is layered, this is fairly easy to do.
  • I printed my pattern without the offered seam allowances, which vary from 3/8″ to 1/4″, and I added a 1/2″ SA everywhere. I never never ever use a SA of less than 1/2″ on woven fabrics because raveled edges are such a hazard.
  • I left off the collar and faced the entire neckline (the pattern suggests bias binding on the neckline). IMHO a facing is essential to anchor a garment built in lightweight fabric.
  • And I totally cheated by stitching down the closed front placket in line with the button placement, to prevent those unsightly gaps that can happen when one is seated. My buttons are sewn through the facings, not a buttonhole in sight!

In the end, I think I have a decent blouse pattern and a perfect template for a lovely v-neckline. And I’m off to work on my jigsaw puzzle. This dress was exhausting and remains an object for contemplation in the closet for now.

Ciao! Coco

Spring sewing plans…

La de da – it’s spring. And I’m finally thinking of sewing again (yes, my sewjo has run away for several months).

After weeks of cruising the internet, here’s what I’ve planned:

I ventured again in the world outside the Big 4 and purchased the Fibre Mood Tilda dress. Having sewn the Ermine blouse and the Rya shacket, I am so happy with the designs, drafting, instruction sets, and support from Fibre Mood. Any trepidation is offset by huge photo galleries and reviews from other sewists – which I love as a reference.

I think this is a subtle pattern. Sewn as a blouse it very closely resembles the more expensive Friday Pattern Company Patina Blouse. As a dress, it has lots of options. Here’s how I envision my first version, no collar, cap sleeve:

Rayon/cotton voile, Fabric.com

And how could I move into spring and summer without a couple maxi dresses. I’m using a favorite, McCall 6559, in two ity fabrics.

Meanwhile, I’m staying out of trouble by working on my latest jigsaw puzzle!

For now – Coco

Hot Patterns Trilogy Dress Part 2 – the muslin

Here we go, proof of the pudding! I admit i get a kick out of doing muslins. I think it’s because I get to write all over them in ink!

I sewed my muslin of the Trilogy in an inexpensive double gauze. I’ve been planning to venture into the world of double gauze for a while – so many sewing sites are ‘wild’ about it for summer garments.

Before I move on to the pattern, here’s a look at the fabric post-laundry, before and after a thorough pressing: And it’s rather nice – soft and easy to sew(I used a walking foot). In white, it is also sheer. I can understand, though, why it is a popular fabric for swaddling blankets.

On to the pattern and muslin. In short, the muslin has been binned. I’ll just touch on a few points:

  • I sewed size 12 based on the HP size chart and my full hip measurement.
  • My worst moment: when I realized that the pleat in the front shoulder line is very, very deep. Two and 3/8″ deep in fact. I was expecting a soft dart-like pleat. Just to be sure that my fabric had not ‘grown’, I verified the shoulder seam against the pattern tissue – perfect match. To me the pleats resemble a tabard.
  • The armhole is very deep, wide, and fly-away, The shoulder seam is 10″ long and not the softly curved shoulder line in the pattern envelope art.

BTW, I drafted my pattern with 1/2″ seam allowances. The pattern comes with 3/8″ SAs, which make me uncomfortable with most woven fabrics. And I curved my back hemlines to match the front, just a personal preference. The pic below is before hemming..

I’m not really fussing, but I am disappointed by how how poorly the actual pattern aligned with my expectation. Lesson learned…

Whew – I’m going to sew only my favorite patterns for the rest of the year! This and my un-snuggly robe are quite enough experimentation for now 🙂

Ciao! Coco

Hot Patterns Trilogy Dress Part I – the jigsaw

Summer is coming, and I’m on a quest for midi dresses, comfortable, stylish, drapey… I’ve been looking at the Trilogy pattern for years, and I finally decided to try it. Hot Patterns have a way of discontinuing their patterns, so better now than later!

The jigsaw: the pattern has 3 lengths – ‘top’, tunic and dress. Rather than build a PDF file with separate outlines for the 3 versions, they built a jigsaw. Top + add-on = tunic or Top + add-on = dress.. Which I really appreciate, since the approach saves paper and ink, not to speak of tape!

But gritting my teeth, it’s time to whine:

  • The PDF file is not size-layered. In this day and age, this is just plain silly.
  • Hot Patterns has a no-trim approach to their PDF files. Nice. But I cannot, no matter what my printer setting, get the entire page to print. My printer does not handle a borderless print. Even on a4 paper, some details would be missing. I spent about an hour and lots of printout trials trying to overcome this weirdness. I caved, and I just assumed the path of any empty spaces between pages.
  • More aggravation: how to put this tjigsaw together. There is nothing in the pattern file, which includes the instructions, to provide a clue. I found the answer in a remote corner of a file called Trilogy Arch E.pdf. I copied just this bit and printed. Here you go, pure gold, remember me…

CUT THESE INSTRUCTIONS OUT AND KEEP THEM…How about if Hot Patterns just put this graph in the instructions!!!

Exhausted. This is not my first go-round with Hot Patterns, but we’ll see where this goes. Part II, coming soon, the muslin! Why am I feeling so forgiving and complacent about something on which I’ve spent and entire day? 🙂 Coco