Let’s Meet Up in L.A.

Just a quick save the date announcement . . . there are plans for another LA Sewist meetup on February 21, 2015!

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The plan is to go see the Hollywood Costume Exhibit at 12:00 noon, and then go to Mood for fabric shopping.

If you would like to join us, and want to see the Exhibit, you will need to purchase your ticket here.  (Tickets are $20 per person.)  It is highly recommended that you purchase your ticket in advance because only 45 tickets are sold per timed entry.

Also, we thought it could be fun to make something inspired by a favorite Hollywood movie or movie star to wear to the meetup.  But this is absolutely not a requirement.  ;)

This meet up will be a bit more informal than the epic meetup over the summer, but I think it will be just as fun!   If you are in the LA/Southern California area feel free to join us!

Completed: Another . . . Emery

Okay, I will own it right up front – I am a Pattern Repeat Offender.  I made another Emery.
Emery

I did it for 2 reasons.  First, I needed a palate cleanser after my Dahlia experience. Second, I lost one of my other Emery’s – I think I left it in a hotel room.  (RIP Border Print Emery.) I don’t have much new to say about the pattern, so I’ll keep this short.

Emery

Emery
The fabric is rayon challis I got from Fabric.com.  (I don’t see this print right now, but they have lots of other options.)  This feels super girly and more floral than I usually go for.  But I’m kind of into it for some reason.  Maybe it has a slightly 90s vibe that appeals to my inner teenager?

Anyway, onto a couple flat shots:

Emery Details

I lowered the neckline a little bit.

Emery

One minor difference is that I used one of the zippers I picked up in NYC.  I hadn’t used a YKK zipper before, but I like it, the zipper tape is just a bit more flexible and softer than the Coats and Clarks zippers I’ve always relied on.

Emery Details

And that’s all I’ve got to say on this one.  Thanks for bearing with me on a boring pattern repeat post.  ;)

Emery

Completed: Dahlia Dress

When I saw Colette Pattern’s latest release – Dahlia – I liked it immediately, so when the pattern arrived I set aside my other projects to sew it up.  It turned out that Dahlia almost got the best of me, and this dress almost didn’t happen.  As you probably notice, my finished dress ended up a bit different from the pattern.

Dahlia

One of the things I like about Dahlia is the inset waist.  (Before the pattern came out, I had been thinking of doing an Emery hack to get a look close to this.)  I also really like the princess seamed skirt. I decided to sew the bodice from view A with the skirt from view B.

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I started out by making a muslin.  It seemed to fit reasonably well, except the armhole was too tight and was cutting into my underarm.  The neck also gaped a bit, which is something that I think is a common issue with this pattern.

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To address the issues, I let out the front arm seam, and also took it in a pinch at the neck. It felt better.  But this is where I made my biggest mistake.  I put the muslin on and just stood in front of the mirror.  However, I didn’t really move around and check the range of motion.  Normally, I try to wear my muslins around for a bit, to really test them.  I was feeling impatient and wanted to get to the good fabric, so I skipped this step.

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The fashion fabric I chose is a tiny black and grey houndstooth.  I got the fabric at the Michael Levine Loft, so I’m not exactly sure what fiber content it is.  It pressed and sewed really well though, which makes me think it’s a wool blend.
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When the dress was almost done, I tried it on,  and ugg . . . I couldn’t raise my arms.  :(

Dahlia

This was my maximum range of motion.

It looks like there is plenty of room when my arms are down:

Dahlia

But as soon as I raise them, the fabric pulled extremely tight across my shoulder blades and the top of my arms:

Dahlia

Since I actually need to be able to move around in my clothes, the dress was unwearable. I was feeling pretty sad to just toss it because I had taken the time to line it and everything.

Dahlia

Since I had a little bit of fabric left over, I decided to try re-doing the bodice.  One without raglan sleeves.  I suppose I could have tried the view B bodice, but I personally don’t like those little bias tape straps.

Instead, I pulled out my trusty Emery bodice and hacked away.  The problem was I did this late at night when I was tired, and I made some mistakes.  I forgot to add the seam allowance to the neckline.  I also forgot to remove the seam allowance from the center back.

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Once I had the new pieces cut, I unpicked the dress.

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Then sewed and attached the new bodice.  It took me 6 tries to get the zipper back in. And the little mistakes I made when drafting crept up and made sewing the new bodice really frustrating.  I almost tossed the dress again.

Dahlia Details

I didn’t give up though, because I had invested so much time in this dress.  It made me too mad to just throw it away.  I don’t know if it’s more frustrating to have to spend hours and hours to make an indie pattern work that you paid a premium for, or to invest a lot of time on a $1 special Big Four pattern.  I guess both are frustrating.  But for me when I’ve only spent $1, I think I have lower expectations, and it doesn’t seem as bad.  So I’m kind of turned off Colette at the moment.  Maybe that’s not fair, because I know I caused a lot of my own problems, but that’s just my honest feeling right now.

Dahlia

Dahlia

Dahlia

Some flat shots:

Dahlia Details

On the lining, I turned the under bust gathers into two small pleats to reduce bulk.

Dahlia Details

Dahlia Details

I tried something new for the hem.  I used Hug Snug rayon seam binding as hem tape, and I love it!

Dahlia Details

It’s too bad the raglan sleeves didn’t work out, because I was looking forward to having a dress I could wear without needing a topper.  Oh well, I’ll just go with a cardigan and call it a day.  This dress isn’t perfect and it was a literal and figurative pain to sew – when I was making the muslin, I sewed through the tip of my finger!  (that hurts like hell, btw.)  But it’s done, and wearable, and that’s good enough for me.

Dahlia

Completed: Nurmilintu Scarf

My knitting output has really slowed, mostly due to the fact that I don’t knit it as often I as I used to.  So I’m kind of excited to have a finished knitting project to share.
Scarf

This is the Nurmilintu scarf.  It’s a free pattern, available on Ravelry.
Scarf

This is a pretty easy lace pattern.  It’s knit entirely in garter stitch, so there’s no purling.  The nice thing about this is that the scarf ends up reversible.

Scarf
Scarf

The pattern calls for sock weight yarn.  But I used lace weight held double. It’s Knit Picks shadow lace yarn in the Opal Heather colorway.  I’ve had this yarn in my stash for maybe 3 years, or more.

Scarf

In my pre-sewing days, I used to knit lace all the time.  So it was nice to go back and do a little lace knitting again.

Scarf

Completed: Lady Skaters

Hi!  It’s been a while. Sometimes after not blogging for a time, it feels awkward to break the silence and get back to posting.  So, rather than think about it too much, I’m just going to jump back in here with a couple of new dresses.
Lady Skater 1

A couple months ago, I was getting ready to pack for a trip to NYC.  Pretty last minute, I decided knit dresses would be a good addition to my travel wardrobe.  Enter the Lady Skater pattern. This is another one of those patterns that has been around the blogosphere for a while, but was new to me.  I’m sad I waited so long to try it.  It’s a great pattern and was easy to sew.

Lady Skater 1

I made two versions, one as drafted and one with a gathered skirt.  The fabrics for both came from my stash.  Unfortunately these are mystery fabrics because I can’t remember where I purchased them or exactly what kind of knits they are.

I sewed this gray dress first, and it is my favorite.  The knit is pretty thick and has good stretch recovery.  It’s like a high quality t-shirt.
Lady Skater 1

The only real problem with the dress is the is excess pooling at the back.  I plan to fix this next time I sew the pattern.
Lady Skater 1

I top stitched the neckline with my twin needle.  But, sadly my needle broke right after this, so dress #2 doesn’t have nice double top stitching.
Lady Skater

I also used clear elastic to stabilize the waist.  It works, but sometimes when I move, the seam allowance folds down, and the clear elastic feels itchy against my skin. I picked up some thin cotton-ish elastic in NYC that I’m going to try next time.

Lady Skater

ETA: Here’s a pic of the elastic I got.  I think it’s really for bras, but I’m going to try it anyway.

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For the second dress, I chose a green knit.  I’m not loving this one so much.
lady skater 2

The fabric is really stretchy, so the waist ended up sitting very low — even after I cut a couple inches off the bodice.   It’s also clingy and wants to show every lump and bump.

lady skater 2

To make the gathered skirt, I cut two wide rectangles and then gathered them using the clear elastic.
Lady Skater

Because this dress is clingy, I will probably always wear it with a sweater and tights. I like it much better covered up.
lady skater 2

Here’s a couple of flat shots of each.
Lady Skater
Lady Skater

Lady Skater
Lady Skater

I think I’m an official fan of casual knit dresses now.   These are comfy and were great for traveling.  I’ve definitely got plans to make a few more!