Sew Dolly Clacket: Simplicity 2444

Here’s my contribution to Sew Dolly Clackett.  Whew…I am truly getting this in at the last minute (maybe 20 minutes to spare?), so I will try to keep this brief.
Simplicity 2444
To honor Roisin’s impecable style, I chose Simplicity 2444, and a bright (but sadly not novelty) print.  The fabric is a stretch cotton that I found at a local shop.
Simplicity 2444
This pattern deserves all the hype it gets, I love it!  I did have to add some darts to the back neck to get rid of some gaping, but that’s about the only change I made.
Simplicity 2444
Initially, I was going to swap the skirt for a pencil skirt, but after draping the fabric on my dress form, I decided to go with the full skirt.  So glad I did!  This dress makes me feel happy and girly.
Simplicity 2444
I tried to take pics outside my front door in true Dolly Clacket style, but the sun was not cooperating.  So this was as best as I could get.
Simplicity 2444

Here are some detail shots. I’m really loving the pleats on the skirt and the interesting waist darts.
Simplicity 2444
Simplicity 2444
Unlike most my dresses, this one is not lined.
Simplicity 2444
Simplicity 2444
I used self-made bias tape to finish the facing edge and the armholes.
Simplicity 2444
I also put in my first machine-sewn lapped zipper! Turned out pretty good, I think.
Simplicity 2444
Simplicity 2444
I also went with a quick rolled hem because the fabric was not taking my hand stitches very well.
Simplicity 2444
Thanks to Sarah for organizing this sew along, it’s been great fun to watch all the pretty dresses popping up!  And of course, congratulations to Roisin and Nic!
Simplicity 2444

Completed: Colette Peony Dress

It’s finished!  It’s finished!  My Peony is finished!  Now if only the sun will come out!
Peony

I actually finished this last week, but between gloomy weather and the fact it’s dark when I get home, photos have been a challenge.

Peony

Me and my sewing buddy, Millicent. Hmm…she’s suspiciously taller than me!

I started this dress back during Sew Colette, before the group went on hiatus for the holidays.  I had a difficult time fitting the bodice. Honestly, I almost gave up on this dress. But I’m so glad I didn’t. The fit turned out pretty good, I think.
Peony

My biggest trouble was with the sleeves. I thought I worked out at the muslin stage, but when I sewed them into my final dress, they just weren’t working for me.  They looked okay, but felt tight and restricting.  So I ripped them out, and went sleeveless instead. This is better for wearing with a cardigan anyways, which is what I always wear at work.

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen that I found at a local shop.  Depending on how you look at it, you may see dots or stars.  I really like it, and I think the extra stretch helped the bodice fit.
Peony Details
Peony Details

Here’s the insides:
Peony Details
Peony Details

I lined the skirt with red Bemberg rayon.  I also made some bias strips out of the lining fabric, which I used as a hem tape.  This fabric was fiddly to turn into bias tape, but I think it’s a lot nicer than the stiff store-bought stuff.
Peony Details

I tried a few new techniques on this dress.  First, I used bias tape as a facing for the armholes. After I nixed the sleeves, I didn’t feel like drafting an armhole facing piece. The bias strips worked really well. (I also made this bias tape, using the same contrast fabric from the neck facing.)
Peony Details

Second, I did a Hong Kong finish on the edge of my neck facings.  I used some of the red lining bias strips for this.  I really like this finish, and plan to use it again.
Peony Details

Third, I put in a centered hand-picked zipper.  This worked just as nicely as the lapped versions I’ve been doing recently.  Actually, it might have even been easier!
Peony Details

The sun peeked out for just a minute this afternoon, so I tried to capitalize on it for a quick outdoor shot.

Peony

This dress took me a long time to finish, and I’m happy it’s done. Now I can move on to my next project! Here’s a small sample of the fabric I cut out last night:
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Sew Colette 2.0 – Hazel Dress

Meet Hazel.
Hazel

I finally finished this dress last night.  I’m a little behind the Sew Colette schedule, but better late, than never, right?!

The fabric is a light/medium weight cotton twill that I found on the discount table.  I wasn’t sure about it at first, but as I’ve worked on this dress, it’s really grown on me.

Hazel Back

As for the pattern, I made a few alterations to the bodice, and changed the skirt a little.  Here’s the run-down.

My muslin was a little loose, so I went down a size.  Then I moved the darts down.  (On me, Colette darts always ride too high on my bust.)  And I shaved a little bit off of the curved edge of the B pieces, to make the bust smaller.  I also added about 5/8 inch to the top of piece A, to give me a little more coverage.  When I made my muslin, I thought I’d lower the waistline, but decided against it in the end.

I’m happy with the fit across my bust, but the waist is too big.  The dress kind of sticks out away from my body right under the waist seam.  On my next version, I will have to take it in there.

For the skirt, I wasn’t digging the straight drindle style on me.  So I decided to add a little more flare at the bottom.  I did this by slashing and spreading the pattern pieces.

All I did was slash from the bottom of the skirt to the seam line – but not through it.

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Stop right where the scissors are pointing.

And I made a tiny cut down from the top edge to the seam line – to make a hinge.
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Then I spread the pieces and taped some paper in the gaps.  Here’s a comparison of the before and after pieces:

Hazel Skirt Before

Before

Hazel Skirt After

After

When I first sewed this together, I felt like the gathered skirt looked kinda dumpy on me.  So I pulled out the gathering and did pleats instead.

I also added piping to the top of the bodice and the waist.  This was my first time putting in piping, and it was really easy.  I was able to just use my zipper foot.
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The piping at the waist lines up – yay!

Finally, I added another tagless garment label – my new favorite little detail!
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I didn’t line this one.  Here’s how the insides look:
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Despite my issue with the way the waist fits, I like this dress.  It’s really comfortable.  And I adore the pockets!!  I will definitely be making another Hazel!

Hazel

On the Cutting Board – Hazel

I finally cut out my fashion fabric for Hazel last night.  Can’t wait to sew this up!  I made a slight adjustment to the shape of the skirt (more details later).  Fingers crossed that it works, cause I didn’t muslin it.  I’m also planning to try piping for the first time. I hope I can do it without a piping foot.  We’ll see how it goes.

Hazel Cut Out

Anyone else itching to get started on their weekend sewing projects?

Summer Spark Sew Along: Licorice Dress #2

Whew, I finished my latest dress just in time for the Summer Spark Sew Along.   I was so happy with my first Licorice dress, that decided to make another version.  But this one gave me some troubles.

Licorice Version 2

Actually, I almost gave up on this dress.   I chose a very lightweight cotton/nylon blend fabric, that has the slightest stretch.  I thought it would make a nice cool summer dress that would still be work appropriate.  But this stuff was a nightmare!  It wrinkles.  It puckers. It frayes.  It slips.  It melts.  Did I mention it wrinkles?  Seriously, it’s so bad that I feel like I won’t want to wear it much.  Oh well.  It’s done.

My first problem was the invisible zipper.  I had a really bad bump at the bottom of the zipper.  To get around it, I ended up hand sewing the seam below the zipper for about 1 1/2 inches.  It’s better, but not great.  You can still see it.  😦  My invisible zippers are never as nice as I want them, I think the next time I put one in I’m going to try a new technique. Licorice Zipper Bump

The next problem was the length of the dress.  For some reason this dress turned out too short.  I have no idea how it happened, I used the same pattern pieces as my last Licorice.   Not that I am against short, but I wanted to wear this to work.  So I added an extra band of fabric at the bottom.  Maybe it looks weird?  I haven’t decided yet.  For now, I’m calling it a “design detail.”

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Okay, enough about the problems.  Here’s what I LIKE about the dress – the lining!  Of course, it’s Bemberg Rayon again, in this most luscious purple!  Maybe I should wear the dress inside out – ha!

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I understitched the neckline and armholes by hand.
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And there’s my tagless garment label!!

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Finally, I made a matching belt.  But I didn’t feel like following the pattern directions, because I don’t like trying to turn a skinny tube of fabric.  Instead I folded each side over about 1/4 inch and then folded the belt in half and stitched down all four sides.

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Licorice Version 2 front

In the end, I still love this pattern, even though my fabric choice let me down.  And if I can get past its flaws, I know I will be cool and comfy wearing this dress throughout the summer.