True Bias Southport Dress – new!

To open – thank you so much for the supportive comments on my last post. I’m feeling a bit better and have really enjoyed doing some sewing!

And look what I did – I sewed the new Southport dress from True Bias, using the embroidered lawn that I was contemplating earlier.

This dress is every bit as comfortable as it looks. The embroidery in the lawn gives it just weight it needs to drape smoothly, it doesn’t have wrinkles because it is wrinkled, and it’s very opaque, no lining required.

I actually bought the Southport because it reminds me of a vintage 70’s pattern, McCalls 6544. I ordered the McCalls after seeing Sara’s version last year on her blog, Mixed Emotions. But I’ve delayed sewing it because I knew I would do as Sara did, i.e., redraft the back, and probably the front as well, to minimize the neckline gathers.

Worth the wait…

McCalls 6544
Southport

The Southport has nice options, such as a front slit and two lengths. The long and short versions have separate pattern pieces for the skirt, which I like. And the bodice has bust darts – yea! The dress is drafted for a C cup, which works perfectly for me. The skirt is not buttoned, fine by me, I wouldn’t have drafted the McCalls dress with all those buttons anyway.
Now – it’s not perfect. In fact, IMO, the drafting on the Southport bodice, and the sizing, are, well, difficult…
I started with a size 12 bodice and size 10 skirt, based on the given measurements. On my initial draft, I made a number of changes:
  • The front shoulder looked funky – it flew up at the neckline and, indeed, did not match up with the back shoulder angle at all. This is a small but horrible drafting error, since the resulting shoulder would not work well. But it was easily fixed with a little redraft. 
  • My next change was to drop the bodice dart by 1 3/4″. I always have to do this, but I’ve started doing it a little differently. Instead of boxing the dart, cutting it out, and moving it down, I copy it onto a square of tissue and put the tissue piece into place on top of the original pattern.  A little curing of the side seam and voila! On a multi-size pattern, this approach keeps the original dart lines available.
  • I knew, from the few versions available for online viewing, that the dress had high floppy-front-neckline potential. To adjust, I used a hollow chest adjustment on the inside curve of the neckline. Hollow chest adjustments are very personal depending on one’s build, this one works for me on low, round necklines. And I think the term ‘hollow chest’ is hilarious 🙂
Edited on 4/23/2015: Apology I missed this in my notes! An additional change I made – before I bound the neckline, I found the front neckline to be too wide and wavy. I folded the center front and ran a 5/8″ seam from the neckline, curing to 3/8″ at the bottom edge. This explains why my neckline looks more narrow than the pattern, line art, and True Bias site version.
  • Since the pattern is fitted on a 5’5″ model, I added 1″ to the bodice length, front and back. I was planning to add 1″ to the skirt as well, but it is 43″ long, plenty for my height (5’7″), with a generous hem.

Time out for a pic:

And back to sewing…
  • Once I had my bodice sewn at shoulder and side seam, I had very gaping armholes! and the width at the bust line was 1 1/2″ wider than I expected. I took in both side seams by 1″ (back and front). Much better and the bodice fit to the skirt perfectly. 
  • Finishing the neckline and armholes was simple – I used self-fabric binding for both. OK, it wasn’t so simple. The embroidered fabric was way too thick for a binding. I cut out the bias and removed the embroidery from the pieces. It was so easy that I did the same for the drawstring as well. 
My cheaters:

  • Since the dress clearly slips over one’s head, I eliminated the functioning button front and used a faux button tab. For the pattern, I cut the front bodice on the fold, using the center front marking. 
  • I noticed that the back and front skirt are basically the same, with just a little bit more width in the back. Since it is cut on the fold, I drafted only one skirt pattern, with two center back lines. Perfect.
  • Out, out, drawstring! I did put it in and then took it out. Instead I used 1/2″ elastic in the casing and secured a shortened drawstring in each open end. It’s sooo much easier to keep the gathers aligned around the skirt!
Maggy London embroidered lawn, Fabric Mart
And I love my new dress. 
Parting shots – orchids are blooming in the guava tree and on the ground. Oh, BTW, I saw Mr. Cuban Knight anole in the tree last week. He’s huge, at least 20″ long. The tree is blooming, but is some weeks from its fruit. Nonetheless, Ms. Squirrel challenged him (bad idea) in anticipation.
Cymbidium – about 11 years old, it’s a frequent bloomer, really year-round.

Epidendrum radicans – a ground orchid and newcomer to the garden.
I bought one in a pot and split it into three for planting.

Vanda and one of my first orchids. This one is about 12 years old
and has been split and repotted. Two now!

A previous pic of Mr. Anole. He’s hard to photograph, he slips away so fast.
But this time he froze when he saw me. Lucky shot.

Ciao! Coco

Virtual sewing…

 Hugging the pillow – again. I’ve been sidelined for about a week, I’m tired of not feeling well! Whine…

But I see my PCP at Cleveland Clinic in 2 weeks, and I want every test! so I can beat this intermittent issue that’s been challenging me for over a year. Believe me, I’ve been tested like crazy and everything is working great. So why do I feel so awful? I’m sure it’s tied to my scleroderma and its effect on nutrient absorption.

I had been feeling so well since early December, but I started stumbling during Ashley’s wedding weekend at the end of February. And was in the ER once more in mid March. aarrggh.

Meanwhile – for the last day or so, I’ve felt well enough to do some online window shopping and to think about getting back in the loft. I’m feeling an urge to do something different for spring and summer. Uh oh, dangerous territory. New patterns are implied.

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Have you heard of ‘lagenlook’? From the German word, it translates as ‘layered look’. I didn’t realize there’s a term for this style of clothing, I really hadn’t thought about it. Now I find there’s a big world of lagenlook designers, retailers, bloggers, sewists, Pinterest boards…I’ve done a lot of looking. The approach is so appealing to the loose clothing/maxi lover that I am.

I was tipped in this direction by recent Pattern Reviews by rivergum and twotoast, focusing on designs by Tina Givens. What? I love Tina Givens fabric! Her designs are romantic, creative, intricate, and well articulated. Now I’ve fallen for her sewing site (what a relaxing exploration, it’s beautifully done) and her patterns.

She has 6 freebies, and all are really appealing patterns. I picked up two of them right away:

The Plinka pants. Well, OK, I might not do the ruffled hems, but how about very full pants, something between a gaucho and a culotte.

 

And the Bloom dress, which seems very foundational – many of her designs appear to be a play on this basic style.

That was so much fun, no money spent, and new ideas garnered.

Well no, I just couldn’t stop there. I purchased 3 more! but with a generous newbie discount.  This is so typical of me. I like to ‘fullsome’ anything I’m doing. Artwork, crafting, sewing, gardening – I always end up surrounding myself with everything and anything I think I might need. Apparently I need 3 more patterns to complete my initial Tina Givens journey.

Gypsy jacket

Phoebe shirt and pants

Suzanna jacket

These designs are so calm

Lightweight linens, voile, blends, jerseys – finding the right fabrics will be interesting, especially on a retiree budget. But I’ll pace myself! I have lots of broadcloth in the stash for muslins, which will keep me out of trouble for a while.

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Early this morning, I rambled through my Bloglovin’ update email as usual. This and the Pattern Review update are company to my first cup of coffee, every day. It has become a pleasurable habit. And I found a new pattern by True Bias – the Southport dress.

(Yes, True Bias of the Hudson Pants fame…great pattern).

Of course I had to have this. Fresh, pockets, long – I can already feel this dress. I have a gorgeous, soft Maggy London embroidered lawn that has been languishing in my stash, just waiting for the right pattern. The fabric is a bit challenging – the flowers are large and need a proper display. I think this will be a good marriage.

And I stopped there! I’m looking forward to all the cutting and taping of pattern pieces (these are all PDF patterns). I really am – I enjoy getting on the floor with my cutting board and drafting tools, and putting on a good movie or watching Big Bang Theory (my geek side – I have all of the episodes).
Hoping everyone has a nice weekend – bye for now! Coco

McCalls 6996 – A long cardigan at last!

I’m laughing in this pic – I don’t usually open a post with shot of this side of a garment. But this cardigan has such a cute skirted back!

Cardigans are perfect for Florida winters and trips to the grocery (I get so cold in there). I have a favorite pattern for short ones, but finding a long cardigan has been hard! I just don’t want lots of drapey folds or layered ruffles down my front.

I made View B, which has very nice clean lines, a lovely raised and gathered back neckline, and slim sleeves. The back skirt is slightly flared and beautifully curved right at the waistline.

I sewed a size large in a mini-rib ponte knit from JoAnns. It’s almost a sweater knit, very light. The last of my grey fabric – yea! But I might keep this one, I really like it.

A note on sewing: I used the elastic/lightening stitch on all my seams, and cut/serged them to finish. The shoulders are reinforced with twill tape (I don’t use elastane – allergy). And the hems are simply turned and topstitched. May I say I love my Juki F600 – it sews knits beautifully. I haven’t used steam-a-seam to do hems since I got this machine. And the elastic stitch is perfect. Sigh.
 


My only alteration was to remove a little of the downward slope at the enter front, as shown by my red lines in the line art. The design is a little easier to see on the inside, on Emile:

More pics! I’m also wearing True Bias Hudson pants in black ITY knit – these are like my fuller leg version. They feel like silk, and the poly/rayon knit does not cling to them at all.

Fun project, interesting to sew, and a keeper. Ciao! Coco

True Bias Hudson Pants…


My first fall pants…I came close to some of the Pantone Fall 2014 palette!

I never thought I would sew a chevron print – chevrons just haven’t appealed to me. And I made it through a full year of chevron-mania without buying any. But this ITY knit from fabric.com is so outrageous, I fell for it. Drippy chevrons on a reptile print background.

These are the Hudson Pants from Kelli at True Bias Patterns – her first pattern. And it’s wonderful! I’ve seen the pants described as track pants and as workout pants. They look kind of like sweatpants. Hanes, Champion, Nike, Land’s End…

Source: aliexpress.com. BTW…aren’t the buttons on the faux fly and cuffs of these a cute idea?

But I like to think of them as glam sweatpants 🙂

Back to the pattern: Slash pockets, a drawstring waist with elastic, and cuffed legs. However, the legs on the Hudson pants are a bit different – full in the abdomen and hip, and then fitted through the leg.

I really like the fit on these pants – I cannot believe I’m wearing knit pants without a tunic top. Thank you, Kelli!
A few sewing notes:
  • I made the size 16, because my hip is exactly the width of the size 14, and I wanted a little ease.
  • The fitted leg is a bit scary to me. I’ve spent most of my life trying to camouflage the fact that my love handles are at the top of my thighs – so I’m not likely to sew something that highlights the fact! My fix was to redraft the inside seams. I marked a point 1″ out from the bottom edge and cured down from the top edge. This added the softness you can see in my pants legs. 
  • I also narrowed the cuff and lengthened it a bit to accommodate the additional width at the bottom of the leg.
  • Being practical, I knew I wouldn’t use a drawstring (they bump out in shirts and drive me nuts), so I ditched it, narrowed the waistband by half, and used 1″ elastic in the casing. The resulting back rise fit me perfectly, and I only needed to add 1/2″ to the front rise.
I think a 4-way stretch like this ITY is perfect for these pants! no baggy anything. The ITY feels heavenly. 
A couple more pics with McCalls 6928 tunic top…

A definite win. I happen to have some more outrageous ITY knits in my stash, so now I have a pattern to go with 🙂

Ciao! Coco