Completed: MCalls 6996 Cardigan and MCalls 7085 Dress

Here’s another of the ponte dresses I made a few weeks ago, with a cardigan that I just finished over the weekend.  Last winter I made a black ponte dress and wore until it was ratty, so I needed to replace it.

Cardigan and Dress

The pattern I used for the dress is McCalls 7085.  It suggests woven fabric, so I cut a size smaller than I normally would.  I also omitted the zipper and instead of a neck facing, I did a simple turn and stitch finish on the neckline.

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My pattern alterations were minimal.  I did a forward shoulder adjustment and lowered the bust darts a little bit.  I think the hem of the dress could stand to peg in a bit more, but overall I’m happy with it.   It’s a simple basic that I’m sure will get a lot of wear.
Cardigan and Dress

The cardigan is McCall’s 6696.  I sewed view D.

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I’m a little late to the game on this one, as it was a pretty popular pattern a while ago, but I’m glad I finally tried it.  It was super easy to sew and it fits pretty well.  Definitely repeat-worthy.  I’d love to make it up in a sweater knit.

Cardigan and Dress

This is another piece of fabric from the bins at Michael Levine Loft.  It’s a snake print jersey, that I picked up for muslin making.  It’s probably a poly/cotton blend, but I’m not sure.  I honestly didn’t like this fabric at all, but now that it’s sewn up, I’m kinda into it.  I was careful when cutting so that the lighter less snake-like portion of the print would be at the center front, and I think that helps.

Cardigan and Dress

Here’s a couple flat shots.  I sewed this on my machine with a stretch stitch and then serged the seam allowances.  I suppose I could have just serged the entire thing.  But I like the control the sewing machine gives me.  Plus, I have a hard time committing to the serger straight away.  I think it’s easier to unpick sewing machine stitches if I want to make a fit adjustment as I sew.

Cardigan and Dress

Cardigan and Dress

Does anyone else have serger-commitment phobia?  Maybe one of these days I will just force myself to construct a garment directly on it, I’m sure it would save time.

Pattern Hacking and Mashing

One night about three months ago I was bored and frustrated with a failed muslin, so I started thinking about hacking a pattern that already works for me.  You might remember this picture if you follow me on Instagram.  Armed with some sticky tape and a few I ideas, I played around until I had some design lines I liked.   The line at the shoulder in particular stood out to me.  
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Here’s the final result:

contrast shoulder Emery

The bodice is based on the Emery Dress.  I eliminated the shoulder seam and added a contrast shoulder piece. I also added a waistband.
Shoulder Contrast Emery

The skirt is the pencil skirt from Gertie’s first book.  Surprisingly, the skirt pattern pieces matched up to my bodice pieces really well.  Got lucky there.  🙂 contrast shoulder Emery

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen that I bought at B&J Fabrics in NYC last fall.  I found B&J to be a bit pricey for me, so I only got this one piece of fabric there.  However, I did appreciate how clean and nicely organized the store was.  The solid black is from somewhere online.  (I don’t remember where.  I tend to remember all of my in-person fabric shopping experiences, but online is like a black hole.)

Here’s a closer look at the shoulder detail.
shoulder contrast Emerycontrast shoulder Emery

And the inside.  Nothing to fancy this time around.
Shoulder Contrast EmeryShoulder Contrast Emery
Shoulder Contrast Emery

I’m really happy with this dress, it’s great for work and is pretty comfy because of the slight stretch in the fabric.  One thing I would do differently next time is to add some light interfacing to the waistband.  It’s not too apparent here, but the waistband gets a bit saggy looking after wearing it for a while. contrast shoulder Emery
I’ve got another hack or two up my sleeve, hope to get to those soon!

Completed: A Quilt For Buddy

When the Crazy Dog Lady Sewing Challenge was announced, I knew I was in.  I wanted to make something for Buddy, but I wasn’t sure what.  He already has a couple of jackets I made for him, and he doesn’t need another one.   Then one Saturday afternoon, while I was cleaning out my scrap bin, it occurred to me to make him a quilt.
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See, Buddy is the kind of dog that can’t have a thick fluffy bed.  He shreds them.  Every. Time.  So a blanket or towel usually serves as his bed.  (He also has a cot that he likes and can’t destroy.)  So I thought a small quilt would be nice for him, practical, and would get rid of my scraps.

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Although calling this a quilt is a pretty generous description.  Both the front and back are just strips of scraps sewn together.  Even the batting is scrap, which I pieced together with a zig zag stitch.  I tried some free motion quilting, but it didn’t go well, so I sewed simple vertical lines.  And instead of binding it, I serged the edges.  I know, totally not good.  And totally lazy. But it’s a dog quilt — that may or may not get chewed up.  So, I decided serged edges would do.

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The good news, Buddy likes it, and hasn’t tried to tear it apart yet!  (So maybe one day I will go back and bind those edges for him after all. 🙂 )
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Completed: Polka Dot January Dress

Thanks to daylight savings time, I now get home from work before dark, which makes taking pics so much easier.  So, here it is mid-March, and I’m finally showing you a dress I made in January for the “Polka Dot January” theme I hosted over on the Sewcialists blog.

Polka dot dress

I love polka dots.  Always have.  I can’t image ever tiring of them, to be honest.  Although I do try to restrain myself and resist the temptation to make everything spotted.  I was looking through some old family pictures, and noticed that I come from a line of polka dot wearing ladies.

Here’s me and my great-grandma in the late ’70s.  I think a polka dot shirt dress is pretty timeless, and it could be fun to recreate this dress with shorter sleeves, a shorter hem, and a smaller collar (or in other words McCall 6696, ha).

Polka Dot Ladies

And here’s my grandparents.  Grandma was rocking the polka dot jumpsuit.  Polka dots feel one part classic and one part happy to me, and that’s the feeling I get from this picture.  Classy and fun – which was totally my grandma.  I recently picked up a similar blue polka dot fabric, not sure what it will become though.

Polka Dot Ladies

Anyway, back to my dress . . . . this project started with the fabric, which is a rayon challis. Since I know the the Emery pattern works well with challis, I went ahead and made another Emery.  (No apologies, I love this pattern.)

Polka dot dress

Polka dot dress

To mix things up a little, I hacked the bodice to add an inset waist (using this method).  I added a light interfacing to the waistband piece, and it works nicely.  Unfortunately, I didn’t pay attention to pattern matching, so the top of the waistband certainly could look better. However, I like that this gives the dress a little more waist definition, without needing a belt.

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The rest of the dress is sewn pretty much exactly the same as my prior Emery dresses, so I’ll save you the boring details.  😉

The time change has also motivated me to get back to sewing in the evenings, which I haven’t done in a while.  So hopefully that will result in more finished projects to share soon!

Completed: Machine Repair Class

Whew, the past few days have been exhausting.  A couple months ago, I mentioned that I’d picked up an old sewing machine and was going to take a repair class.  Well, last week, the time finally came, I packed up my machine and flew to Portland for the class.

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Waiting for the plane. Security will give you a funny look when you travel with a sewing machine in your carry on.

It was a very intense three days.  I’m not very mechanical by nature, so I really had to pay attention.  The class was taught by Ray White, who is truly an expert when it comes to machine repair.  He’s also a great teacher.   I had so many lightbulb moments, and I feel like I actually understand how a sewing machine works now.  I’m also not afraid to open one up and poke around inside.

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Since I had flown in for the class I was only able to take one machine with me.  So on the last day of class, when we were set loose to practice what we’d learned, one of my fellow students lent me this old Singer to work on.

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It was pretty dirty inside when I started.

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But it cleaned up nicely, and it works!  This machine actually belongs to a charity thrift shop, so it will go back there, and hopefully now can bring in a little higher price than before.

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It’s hard to boil what I learned down to a few tips, but one thing I learned was the importance of a new needle.  You would be amazed — seriously amazed — at how important this one little thing can be.  So, before your next project, go put a new needle in your machine, it will thank you for it!