Grey button-front skirt

by brae  

I made this skirt from Vogue 8363 - using a combination of pattern pieces from Views C and D.  The fabric is a heathered grey woven suiting from Joann's.

I adore pencil skirts!  I also love button detailing.  Combine the two into a buttoned front pencil skirt, and I'm over the moon.  Well, that is until I sit down and the whole thing bunches up and the fabric gapes between the buttons and I spend more time making sure I'm not flashing anyone than looking smart in the marvelous new skirt I just made.  :[

To fix this problem, I stitched the buttoned front closed between the waistband and the bottom button and put in a zippered back instead.  :D  Here's how I made the changes to this pattern:

I sewed the back of View C with a zipper, but excluded the back vent. Before attaching the back to the front, I prepared the front pieces from View D with faux pockets.  Pockets also tend to gape when sitting, but I liked the visual interest they added.

I cut two partial pocket pieces from fabric scraps to obtain the sides of the skirt that complete the front.  I marked the two circles and then set these aside.

click image to enlarge

I basted the main front along the pocket seam.  This edge would have been lined by another pocket piece if I had kept the pockets intact.

click image to enlarge

I clipped to the lower circle and pressed the basted edge.

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

I pinned the partial pocket piece behind the pressed edge of the front, matching the two circles.

click image to enlarge

I edgestitched along the pressed edge to join the two pieces together and removed the basting threads.

click image to enlarge

On the wrong side, I cut the partial pocket piece along the edge of the seam allowance.

click image to enlarge

I then bound the unfinished edges together with a zigzag stitch.

click image to enlarge

So, I ended up with the pocket details without the nuisance of gaping pockets!

I then prepared the front facings before sewing the skirt together at the side seams.  Lapping the right front over the left, I pinned the center fronts together from the waist to the bottom buttonhole marking and tried the skirt on for fitting before proceeding.  I didn't end up having to adjust the fit at all.

I turned the skirt wrong side out.  I opened out the right front facing and edgestitched the fold of the left front facing to the right front facing, making sure to not catch the right front in the stitching.  (I hope the next photo helps, because I am having a hard time putting into words what I am talking about!  Hahahaha.)

I turned the skirt right side out and blind stitched close to the edge of the right front facing from the waist to the bottom button hole.

click image to enlarge

I had cut out the pattern piece for the front-opening skirt waistband to get the lapped front with a button, so I had to modify it in the back to accommodate the zipper.  I cut the View D waistband one size larger than the waist size, applied the interfacing and turned under the unnotched edge per the original instructions.  I sewed both front edges of the waistband and pinned the waistband to the assembled skirt from the front around both sides to the back.

click image to enlarge

Since I had cut a larger waistband size, there was enough extra to split the waistband piece at the center back.  I could then finish the back of the waistband per the original instructions for View C.

click image to enlarge

I "stitched in the ditch" to catch the facing of the waistband.

I left the back edges open above the zipper so the waistband wouldn't bind when sitting.

After attaching the waistband, I sewed the mock buttonholes (leaving them uncut).  The waistband isn't perfect but it worked fairly well for figuring it out as I went along.

Now, I can sit comfortably and not worry about the fabric gaping between the buttons.  :D

shoes: B. Makowsky 'Sindy'

Snow day, sew day - Red wrap dress

by brae  

The company I work for closed the office due to the blizzard, so I had some extra time for sewing today.  Here's the view from my front window.

click image to enlarge

The dress I finished today was made from Vogue 7693, View A.  I have the wrap pinned in the middle to keep it in place for the photo to keep it from gaping...such is the usual problem with a wrap top, but they look so nice.

shoes: B. Makowsky 'Sindy'

I wish I had more of this heathered red woven fabric.  It finishes nicely, and the color is so rich.

Looking at the five fabrics on the front, you can see you could make it over and over and have a completely different dress each time. There are some challenging areas of construction, notably for the front facings.  I think an intermediate or advanced sewer could handle these areas but a beginner might find it difficult.

Update 2/16/11: I ended up blind stitching the front wrap from where the two center fronts meet to just before waist to keep it from gaping.  The zipper in the back makes the front opening unnecessary for getting in and out of the dress, so the stitching worked out well.

Dark olive ribbed knit dress

by brae  

The other day I spent some time going through patterns and my fabric stash.  I've had this beautiful ribbed knit fabric for some time now and finally decided to find something to make from it.

The dress was made from Vogue 8663, which has some nice detailing at the neckline in the form of pleats.  I originally cut sleeves for this dress, but the knit fabric didn't have enough stretch crosswise so it felt uncomfortable at the shoulders.  I had to cut them out after they were sewn in place, so the armholes are slightly larger than they would have been if I had made the sleeveless version from the start.

I find that pleats often stick out in ways I don't care for, so I topstitched them all in place.  I think it worked well since it still has visual interest without pulling or puckering across the front.

click image to enlarge

Parent-Teacher Night Skirt

by brae  

Being an admirer of fashion (well, good fashion), I often e-window shop and find delightful creations that I save photos of in an idea file.  I've even been known to save photos of paper dolls that had fantastic clothing.  :]  These are things I get inspiration from, pull elements from for other projects, or one day hope to find the time, proper fabric and pattern that allow me to reproduce them on my own.

One of the hundreds of items in my idea file is the Parent-Teacher Night Skirt from Anthropologie.  I'm not sure when this was in the stores, but my electronic file is dated October 2008.

I think it's a rather classic design, so my version finished here in January 2011 still seems current and wearable to me.  In honesty, I cut this skirt out and marked the pleats sometime back and am now just getting around to sewing it together.  I think it was all the pleats and topstitching that put me off so long.  Wouldn't you know, it took longer to mark them all than it did to sew them all up.

I couldn't even tell you what the fabric is - some sort of blend with a nice weight to it.  I will likely stitch the inner edges of the lower pleats to make the line of the skirt neater; it looks fine on the mannequin, but on me the bottom sticks out a bit in random places.

The fabric sash is silk.  I remember seeing the original garment in the store and not caring for the skirt fabric - it was too brown and had a fuzzy quality.  I had wished it were more reminiscent of menswear, so that's why I chose these fabrics.

click image to enlarge

I topstitched the pleats 12 inches down from the top edge.  It adds nice detailing and also keeps all the pleats in place on the inside.

click image to enlarge

I used Butterick 4686 as a basis for the skirt with very little modification - just added topstitching and pressed the pleats flat to the bottom edge.  The sash was made from another pattern in my collection, but I don't recall which one.

My other hobby

by brae  

I have spent all of my blogging time on miniatures, but I've been sewing since long before rediscovering a passion for minis.  Since miniatures have taken a back seat to some positive life changes recently, I've delved back into sewing in the minimal amount of free time I have.  I miss blogging, though, so I decided to add a section to my blog dedicated to the things I sew.

My great-grandmother, grandmother and mom taught me to sew.  I started sewing when I was eight, mostly making teddy bear clothes and craft type projects as I was growing up.  In high school, I started making my own clothes regularly and nowadays make just about everything I wear other than sweaters, knits, leather goods and the random pair of jeans (though I almost always wear skirts and dresses).

I do most of my work on a vintage Singer 401A inherited from my grandmother.  My boyfriend's mother loaned me her machine so I can work on things while at his place, too.  What I like most about sewing is that you can work a little each day (even five minutes to do a seam or two) and the project gets finished.  With minis, there tends to be more of a single time commitment, the requirement of at least an hour or two to work on building, finishing or assembling.

My usual inspirations come from e-window shopping -- places like Anthropologie, Nordstrom and ModCloth just to name a few.  I never learned to draft patterns, though I would like to learn, so I usually sew from commercially available patterns that I can alter and combine to get the look I want.

I haven't taken many photos of my creations in the past, so this new blog might be a nice way to document the things I make going forward.  For now, here are a few of my past dresses.


Owl Dress

For this particular dress, I turned some butter yellow eyelet from a failed dress attempt and a brown skirt ruined by shrubs and burrs during a hike into a new garment altogether.  When I first saw the owl fabric (On A Whim by Amy Schimler), I knew I had to have it.  I love owls!  :]  But, making an entire dress out of it would have been a bit off for an adult, I think.  So, I used a tiny bit of it to tie the dress together.

I used brown venise lace to trim around the owl fabric and butter yellow braided trim around the neckline.

This was made from Simplicity 5591, an older pattern that I've had in my stash a long time.  I've used it a number of times since it's a basic dress that works well in many different fabrics.


Sunflower Dress

I searched a long time before finding the perfect iron-on sunflower appliqués from M&J Trimming.  They have a three-dimensional quality that I especially like.  I used only six of the nine sunflowers called for in the original design because it was too busy when I pinned them in place.

This dress was made from Vogue 8234 using a teal linen-like poly blend fabric trimmed with gold braid.  The original pattern called for a handkerchief hem, but I didn't care for that look for myself.


Red Goldfish Dress

I fell in love with this cotton print from Fashion Fabrics Club and bought it without having any real plan for it.  The pattern I used for this dress is Butterick 4849.  The accents are black woven rayon, and I lined the goldfish fabric with white posh lining fabric (it was rather sheer and lost the brightness of background without it).

So, there's a very small sample of the things I've made.  I plan to write about my future projects here and maybe pull a few older ones out of the closet to photograph and share.  :]

1 2 3 4 6