Thursday, July 11, 2019

Rayon Crepe "Zamy" (Zadie + Amy) Wrap jumpsuit

It's wedding season! Of course, nothing in my closet would do.  


The fabric is a rayon crepe that I picked up at Emmaonesock earlier this spring. I don't know whether to call this a border print or a panel, but I was immediately drawn to the layout and colors of the print. When I received it, the hand was even more luscious that I could have imagined... it has the most beautifully drapey, textured matte surface.


The basic pattern is the Zadie jumpsuit (Paper Theory), but highly modified. I've made one Zadie that I have yet to blog, since the fit is quite far from right. The crotch is miles too long, and possibly poorly shaped for my body. But I love the idea of a wrap jumpsuit, and I thought a wrap would be perfect for this print.

Also, to make the best use of this spectacular print, a waist seam was not desirable, and considerable swishy-ness on the legs certainly is desirable. 

Soooo.... I laid the Zadie on top of my beloved Amy jumpsuit pattern (Closet Case Patterns), and proceeded to trace out a hybrid. My love of the Amy jumpsuit is well documented! Let's just call this a Zamy, shall we? 

The hybridization went smashingly... I made a muslin and it was nearly spot on. It is difficult to say exactly where Zadie ends and Amy begins, but I took the wrap shape and pleats from the Zadie and the crotch curves and length mostly from the Amy, and retained all of the volume of the wide legs from the Amy. 


No waist seam. Pleats were retained, sewn to be open on both ends. I drafted facings, rather than use bias on the neckline, for a more elegant finish. Side seam pockets. Frenched seams. The sleeves are finished with self-fabric bias binding that is invisibly hand sewn down.


I also decided to add button closures (tabs sewn into the side seams) so that it can be worn with or without a belt, a technique borrowed from the Highland Wrap Dress (Allie Olson).


I made the belt twice as wide as the original Zadie ties, sewed the two ties together, and interfaced it so that it would lay flat (another thing I didn't like about my first Zadie is how the waist ties wrinkle up) and left it completely unattached. 


The wedding was lovely, the bride and the groom very sweetly exchanged handwritten vows on a perfect summer day. It is always such a beautiful thing to see two young people starting out together in their lives. As for my position as the recent wife of the father of the groom-- let's just say everyone has history. However, if one has to stand around smiling graciously, making small talk and feeling generally awkward, one might as well do so looking glamorous!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Amy Jumpsuit Cross Back Hack

I love my Amy jumpsuits (you can see them here (bw print), here (black linen), and here (navy sequin)) but they all share one problem... the straps just won't stay on my shoulders. 

So on my latest Amy, I made the straps cross in the back.


This was a bit of a trick, I went through several bodice muslins trying different solutions to get the straps to cross with a minimum of gaping in the back. But in the end, I decided the best solution was the simplest. I made the straps longer, and attached them so that they followed he angle of the back bodice coming from the armpit. I also removed about 1 inch from the top of the bodice at the center back, grading to nothing, and adding that inch back in at the side seams (1/2 inch on each side). I did this all on the pattern, so that when I cut the center back stripe would be on-grain. 



I also added the side zip. Since the straps are pretty secure, it is still a bit of a wiggle to get on and off... but not much worse than my other Amys. Next time I'll probably make the back just a bit deeper, or allow the front to sit a touch lower, so that the opening on top is just a bit wider to get on and off. 



I love it! Having bare shoulders without the straps sliding down all the time is wonderful. 


The fabric is yet another linen from Joanne Fabric! This one seems a bit lighter than the other two I've sewn with, but still lovely for summer.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Closet Case Charlie Caftan in Striped Linen from Joanne Fabric

Several days before our recent beach trip, I decided I just had to have a Charlie Caftan!


This is another linen from Joanne Fabrics. Not the finest linen ever, but actually quite perfect for a lightweight beach dress/cover up, and the slight rough texture is charming in this context.


I sewed View A, short with the diagonal pleat detail and the wide sleeves. I also covet a floor length, dramatic caftan, but I thought I'd start with the more practical version!

I just LOOOOVE the diagonal darts. So fun to sew, and a lovely design detail.


Following my measurements, I graded out at the hips, and otherwise sewed it entirely to spec. I was not so careful cutting, so I did lose a bit on the center front seam trying to get the stripes to meet in an an elegant fashion.


Overall the fit is quite good, body skimming but not too sloppy. The bottom of the skirt is the tiniest bit constricting... I'm not very good at maintaining lady-like postures, so I might add some side vents next time. 

Also, as other sewers have noted, the front V is quite deep, and the wide arms are very wide! This is all fine in a beach dress... desireable in fact! But if I was making one to be a bit more of an everyday dress, I'd raise the front V another inch and use the less-wide sleeve option. I might even like it enough to make another later this summer to wear in the fall to work, I think it would be a nice option.



I love all of the little details on this pattern... the stitched down facing, the angled sleeve cuffs, the front inset, the pockets. Of course, the diagonal pleats... but I've already gone on about those.

The inside seams are all frenched, except for the inset, which I finished with bias binding. I was a little surprised that there didn't seem to be any instructions for finishing the edges of the inset... or perhaps I missed them.


This caftan saw daily wear on the beach this last week-- it was the perfect garment to throw on over a swimsuit or to hang out on the deck in. LOVE!!!


Monday, July 8, 2019

Rainbow Striped Linen Closet Case Kalle Shirt Dress

Long time no blog! Quite honestly it's been a challenge just getting to sewing, never mind taking pictures of my makes. However, I just photographed my recent burst of productivity, so here comes the first in a short series of posts. 

I just can't get enough of the Kalle Shirt Dress. This is my 5th one, I think, not including the shirt and tunic length Kalles. Several of these are long sleeved for winter, some others are here and here. They are just the most easy, comfortable dresses to throw on, and I think the collar and buttons make them look classy. My favorite secret pajamas!

Early in the season, I was searching desperately for the perfect striped linen to make a great summer Kalle. When Sara from The Sara Project posted hers, that was EXACTLY what I wanted to make. I immediately ordered the same fabric from Joanne Fabrics and made my own. It was even in stock at my local store. I'm sorry to be a copy cat, but it really was exactly what I was looking for. Thanks Sara, I would NEVER have thought I would have found the perfect fabric at Joanne Fabrics! 


The Joanne linen was a great price with coupons, and washed up beautifully. It is soft and has a nice linen-y drape. The weight is just right for a summer dress. 


I'm happy with the stripe placement down the front. I wasn't too scientific about cutting this out... matching the stripes on a hidden placket was making my head hurt, so I just cut it out and hoped for the best. With a little finagling, it turned out just fine!


I played a bit with the hem on this one, cutting it almost flat in the front with a bit of an exaggerated tail. It's also significantly longer than the original Kalle pattern, since I wanted it to be appropriate for a broader range of venues, without wearing leggings. 


I cut the collar on the bias, and the back yoke and sleeve cuffs on the cross grain. 


These shots have a bit more movement in them thanks to help from my 7-year old photographer in training! 


And, did you note the shoes? These are my first Hasbeen Sweedish sandal/clogs. When I saw that these gorgeous yellow ones were on sale on the Hasbeen site, I had to see what all the hype was in the sewing community over these shoes. While I wouldn't want to walk miles in these, I have to say they broke in really fast and are great for long periods of standing and short walks. 


And they look great with all of my me-made dresses and jumpsuits!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Pucci Dress turned Classic Shirt

I've always admired Emilio Pucci patterns, so when I found this one I bought it up right away!


I made it up into a hybrid Liesl Classic Shirt/Kalle Dress. This was made as part of my entry for the Pattern Review Sewing Bee Finale, you can read the details here. The challenge was to design a "superhero" outfit, so this dress was for a supermom, and is embedded with sayings about patience-- something moms can never have too much of!

I added a few details to make this dress extra special, in honor of the contest and the lovely Pucci print. I added volume to the sleeves by slashing and spreading, then gathering the excess at the cuffs. I made a hidden button placket and piped with a solid fusia sateen. And I added a deep border trim with mitered side slits. 


The border fabric (which is also used as the cuff facing and, collar stand, and inside yoke) is linen with hand painted script on it, done in colors to match the print, with sayings about "Patience."



The pockets have a little something extra... one has "Patience" embroidered inside, as a tactile reminder, and the other has an embroidered daisy, a reminder to "stop and smell the flowers."



In practical wearing, the dress ended up having a few major flaws. The first is that the cotton shirting sticks like velcro to all of my tights! In the pictures above, I'm wearing knee-highs to alleviate that problem.

Second, which is related to the first-- the short length was chosen to work with leggings! I love the proportions of a long sleeve dress that falls mid thigh, but for modesty, I would almost always wear leggings of some sort with a dress of this length, but due to the velcro problem stated above, this is not practical.

What about a slip you say? I've always found slips to be incredibly fussy, and if I sew something that I think I'll need a slip for, I tend to just line it instead. I've since thrown away all of my old polyester slips, and making a few natural fiber slips is on my long list, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

There is also the problem of drape. I generally don't mind a slightly crisp drape in a shirt dress-- it is a shirt dress afterall. Somehow, though, the drape on this dress just didn't feel right to me.

Soooooo... after it sat around in my closet unworn for a month or so, I CHOPPED IT! Made it into a shirt. And I love it.


I left a long, dramatic tail, and finished the hem with bias tape that matches the piping.


There is something about this bold print that just works for me in a shirt. Sedate lower half, dramatic upper. And the crispness is perfect for a shirt.


I'm wearing it here with linen True Bias pants, showing all of the wrinkles of having sat at my desk for too many hours this afternoon. I've worn it twice in two weeks since making it into a shirt, the colors fit the spring-y weather!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Coral and Stripes Fulton Sweater Blazer

It finally feels like spring here in the Finger Lakes! When I was thinking about the predicted 60 degree weather today, the coral pink of my Fulton Sweater Blazer was irresistible. 


I made this weeks ago, as the first challenge of the Patternreview Sewing Bee. The challenge was to sew an open front cardigan that used Pantone's "Living Coral" color either literally or figuratively. This color was so jarringly outside of my usual dark-neutrals winter color scheme that I decided to go for it!



I knew right away that I wanted to sew the Alina and Co. Fulton Sweater Blazer. I've made dozens of cardigans, but the crisp collar of the Fulton is just so chic, and I thought it would elevate a simple knit cardigan.



I bought this fabric on Amazon! I've never in my life bought fabric on amazon before, but who else in the fabric world will guarantee 2-day shipping on a cut of fabric? It was just the right color, and a stable knit ponte was perfect for the pattern. It does have higher poly content than I usually would prefer, but it was a lovely weight and very soft when it arrived. FYI, I made a sweater for my daughter with the extras and it has pilled quite a bit, but kids clothes do take a beating.

Speaking of leftover fabric... I think the fabric requirements of this pattern must be generous, because I had A LOT of leftover fabric. It calls for 2.75, and of course that means you have to buy 3 at most online fabric stores. I'm pretty sure I used less than 2.

Anyhow, I did a quick muslin, and it fit beautifully, so I jumped right into cutting and sewing.



The pattern is totally straightforward if you have sewn a cardigan before... except for the collar. However, the instructions really walked you through it step-by-step, including helpful tips like marking and which side of the fabric to sew on. The illustrations were spot-on and did not involve any head scratching to figure out.



I also love the cuff detail, and I chose to highlight the roll up cuff option with a contrasting stripe knit that I had in stash. I used the stripes to do a hong-kong seam finish for a beautiful interior. I also love all of the other little details of this pattern like the neck facing, deep hem and generous pockets.



I love this cardigan! I might, however, add just 1/4-1/2 to the shoulder seams and upper arms next time to give a bit more room to layer over the slightly oversize shirts that I tend to prefer. You can see it pulling a bit in the pics. Actually when I put it on today it seemed to fit better, even over a long sleeve shirt. So go figure.


Quite honestly I have only worn this once since I made it... but today it was just the thing to highlight one of the first spring-y days of spring!


Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Thaw Jumpsuit-- Patternreview Lillian Dress and Closet Case Amy Mashup

It has been a crazy winter here in the Finger Lakes. Freezing cold days and whiteout snowfall mixed with periods of 50+ degree weather. All of that has led to a lot of freeze thaw cycles. On the edges of the lakes and the canals and inlets, the ice forms then breaks into intricate patterns. 


This jumpsuit was made for Round 3 of the Patternreview Sewing Bee. The challenge was to make a specific pattern, the Lillian dress, your own. 

If you've been reading the blog for awhile, you might have noticed that I haven't made any knit dresses lately, and I pretty much never make anything with a bib, other than overalls. 


So how to make this particular pattern my own? Well, I decided to convert it to a woven, and to make it into a jumpsuit. I stayed true to the pattern by using the style lines of the bib to make a sort of princess seam down the front, and I turned the neckline into a high cross front style. For the ease and shape of the leg, I used the Amy Jumpsuit pattern from Closet Case Patterns. 

Converting to a woven was relatively easy-- I sewed a size two sizes higher than my measurements. I also ended up having to cut and slash some more ease into the sleeves, since they were too restrictive when sewn in a woven. 

The wrap front worked out very well for getting in and out of the jumpsuit... no other closure is necessary. 


The fabric is hand painted, in a pattern that is inspired by the patterns ice makes when it thaws. 


My fabric was a white linen, and I painted it with very watered down speedball printmaking ink. I had this color sitting on a shelf, staring at me-- I had mixed it for a previous project, but ended up using a different color set. The color was mostly dark blue, with a little turquoise mixed in. 

The lines in the pattern are created using clear gutta resist... I had a tube in my stash that I had bought to try out several years ago. It worked beautifully! 

The speedball ink is very pigmented, so even the darker areas maintain a suppleness. I have not yet washed it, but I have high hopes that it won't fade, since getting speedball ink out of clothes where it has landed by accident is nearly impossible. 



I painted the cut pattern pieces before I sewed them, so that I could control exactly how the pattern fell on the jumpsuit, but the style lines created by the panels would still be visible. There was of course the risk of the pattern pieces stretching out of shape while they dried, but I handled them very carefully and this seemed not to be a problem. 



The front of the jumpsuit closes with a hidden zip. This was the part that took the most time... I had to figure out exactly where the facings needed to be so that my non-matching black zip wouldn't peek out. A couple of hook and eyes with thread loops keep the facings in place. 


The inside of the wrap is secured with a button, a trick I learned from the Highland Wrap Dress.




The armholes are finished with matching bias binding. 



The legs are hemmed with a machine blind hem. The insides, including pockets, are french seamed for a clean finish.


And, the finished jumpsuit! It is such a statement piece that I haven't found the right place to wear it yet. But I think soon, as we come to the big spring thaw, this jumpsuit will make its debut. 

You can read my contest entry here, and see the other entries here