Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Blue striped linen swing-y shirt dress

I just can't get enough of shirt dresses this fall. They are all variations based on the Kalle Shirt Dress pattern. 

The inspiration for this one was the Ace and Jig.

I would LOOOVE to get some gorgeous hand-loomed textiles like the ones Ace and Jig are famous for... but the best I could come up with was this lovely stripe from Fabrics-store.com. It is a soft, smooth yarn-dye linen, and the stripes are actually blue and black but the overall effect is a wide stripe. 

One of the things I love about the inspiration dress is how full and swing-y it is. I started with the Kalle shirt dress pattern, but I made quite a few changes. 

I added about 3 inches to each of the fronts to create pleats, and added an extra inch or so to the pleats in the back. I also added an inch or two to the back band, and extra to the side panels. I extended the back yoke 1.5 inches so that it would wrap around to the front, and removed a corresponding 1.5 inches from the front panels. 

I decided to stick with the inspiration and use a non-kimono sleeve, so I pulled out my Liesl Classic Shirt and borrowed the armhole and sleeve. I took out all of the taper to the sleeve and made it 3/4 length, cut on the cross grain so that the stripe would be horizontal. I finished it with a wide hem. 

To made the side panels made the front 3 inches narrower, and did the same to the back. I used those 6 inches to make the side panels, adding seam allowances and cutting on the cross grain. I made side seam pockets in the seam between the front panel and the side panel. 

I made the Kalle hidden button placket. The inspiration has a popover placket, but I like the versatility of the full placket... maybe I'll wear it as a duster jacket sometimes. 

The length of the dress was determined by the amount of fabric I had... with my 3 yards, this is the maximum length that I could manage. I went with a totally straight hem, finished with bias tape. The inspiration dress is longer, but I think this length will get more wear in my wardrobe.  

The inside is completely finished with french seams. 

The "proper" way to make all of these changes to the pattern would be to trace them out and make new pattern pieces. However, lately I've taken to making changes right on the fabric while cutting, folding the pattern pieces or measuring and marking on the fabric with tailors' chalk. It is quicker and allows me to be spontaneous. 

Of course sometimes I make mistakes, but most mistakes can be fixed with an extra seam or two. For example, I totally forgot I wanted to add a pleat to the front of the dress when I was cutting the front panels. So I cut the front panels vertically where I wanted the pleat to be, and added in a 3 inch strip of fabric. I french seamed both sides of the added strips. You can hardly tell the pleats are seamed in, stripes are so forgiving. 

With all this ease, I definitely needed a belt. I cut 3 inch wide bias strips from my scraps and seamed them together until I had enough for a belt. I folded the long bias strip the long way, wrong sides together, sewed a narrow seam, then turned the tube. I finished the ends by tucking them in and sewing, then tied a little knot just for fun. 

It is swishy and fun to wear! I think it will end up in high rotation for as long as my shirt-dress obsession continues. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

What Workout Dreams are Made Of, or the Jalie Anne-Marie 3463

I decided this summer that the workout top situation was becoming sort of desperate. My stash of pre-sewing workout wear had been quite large, but it's been over 10 years since I stopped buying clothes, and even the best of workout wear wears out.

I primarily run and bike, so the natural choice seemed to be the Fehr Trade XYT which is marketed as a running and biking style top. I gave this a try about three years ago. I blogged it, and it's funny that I labeled that Fehr Trade XYT top a success... because making it was such a traumatic experience that I did not attempt any workout tops for another 3 years.

The fit was all wrong, and trying to get a binding that looked like my favorite RTW self-fabric bound tops was unpleasantly challenging with only a standard sewing machine. I think fold-over elastic is suggested, but I don't like the look or feel of FOE. I did end up making it work with a ton of unpicking and fussing, but the resulting top has turned out to be rather annoying to wear... the built in bra is soooo tight, even after adjusting to add additional room, that it is a struggle to get in and out of, so it sits sadly in the back of my drawer.

When I went looking for a new workout top to try, I ended up considering the Jalie Anne-Marie. It wasn't immediately apparent that this would be a good style for me, as it appears at first glance to be primarily a tennis top/skirt. But that third view, without the cutesy skirt elements, looked like it had possibilities. There were also some very promising reviews, so I decided to give it a try.

I rashly jumped in with no muslin, grading between sizes as indicated by my measurements. Whatever the pattern, I pretty much always need to go up a size or two for my hips, and take out any waist shaping, and I did that here. I also added a few inches in length, since I truly detest workout tops that don't have plentiful coverage in the midriff area. I think I also joined the two side panel pieces... I didn't need that extra bit of color blocking, and one less seam to sew.

The fit is PERFECT. Just the right amount of ease without being baggy. The neckline is modest but still attractive. The built in sports bra is also just right. Just the right amount of support for cycling and gym workouts, without being a struggle to get off afterward. For the first couple of times I ran in these tops, I wore a sports bra underneath, but then one time I forgot and I didn't miss it at all. So for me, it's also fine support for running.

The best part is the clever finishing techniques. Rather than binding, this top uses elastic sewn to the inside seam allowance. The length of the elastic is indicated by a chart, like Jalie bathing suit patterns. Brilliant! Just the right amount of support, and no fussing with messy bindings. Also, it's super smooth, so no worry about chafing. In typical Jalie style, the instructions are terse but complete and well thought out.

The built in bra is finished by wrapping the fabric around regular elastic, so no special notions needed. Although I did have plush backed 1-inch elastic, so I used that in the botanical bra top.

The blue color-blocked top uses the supposed Lululemon fabric that Peak Fabric sells. It is lovely stuff, I'm still working through a huge order I placed years ago. The botanical print is from Zenith and Quasar. The bra top in the blue one is made with self-fabric, and the bra top and lining on the botanical top is white mesh. The one lined with mesh is noticeably lighter, I tend to wear that on super hot days.

And I can't tell you how much I love that pocket. Simple to sew, and fits the design beautifully. Huge enough to stuff your windbreaker into! I might devise a second pocket though... I typically take my phone and my keys, and it is nice to have two pockets so they don't jingle against each other.

The leggings are the Helen's Closet Avery Leggings. They aren't the sportiest, but the fit is so good on my body. Someday soon I might hack them to have sporty style lines or pockets. The fabric is Pinecrest Supplex either from Zenith and Quasar (listed there as "heavyweight supplex") or Fabric.com.

These two tops are in constant rotation ever since I made them this summer. I really need to make a couple more!