Saturday, August 30, 2014

Feminine Wardrobe: Ribbon Shoulder Shift

Hurrah for pockets!

All hail Japanese sewing books! As you can see from the enormously cheesy grin on my face, I am delighted with my newest make.  This dress is the Ribbon Shoulder Shift from Feminine Wardrobe.  I feel rather Phryne-ish in this dress.  I had to zip to the corner store after work yesterday and plopped my favourite cloche on as I went out.  Definitely Phryne.  Or Lady Mary Crawley minus the bitchiness. 

This dress has a lovely straight silhouette, but narrows at the legs.  It skims over parts I don't want to emphasize - always excellent in any garment - and is wonderfully floaty and light. I used some of my favourite linen, this time in a rich plum.

I whipped it up after work on Thursday night (yes, it's that simple to sew) and sported it to work the next day.  My boss remarked that it's like a fashion show every time I come in|! Heh.  I absolutely adore the shoulder gathers, which are done by inserting elastic in a channel on either side of the shoulder seam, but elected not to include the shoulder ties.  I have broad shoulders and adding the ties made me feel like they were shouting LOOK AT ME AND MY GIANT SHOULDERS! Not good for the social anxiety, folks!

The dress has simple pockets which are sewn into the side seams.  They are just the right size for my phone, which is great as I listen to Sherlock Holmes audiobooks on the bus.  Not music, me, but detective stories.

Striking a 'serious' model pose.  Look out, Zoolander!
Holy cow, this dress is awesome! Really, that's the most succinct thing I have to say.  I love it and am planning on sewing a navy polka dot version.  I think I'll try adding shirring to the back just to see how it changes the look.

If you're interested in trying Japanese sewing books, Feminine Wardrobe is very high on my recommendations list.  It is full of simple, yet beautiful, garments that are easy to sew.  Go for it!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sweet Dress Book: Dress C

I am officially head-over-heels for Japanese Sewing Books.  The designs are exactly what I have been wanting to sew for the last 6 months.  They are simple with minimal pieces, yet the finished garment has big impact.  While I still do wear some of my novelty print fit-and-flare dresses, it's simplicity and comfort which are my new benchmarks.  Easy wear and care is my new sewing mantra.

This is my second version of Dress C from the Sweet Dress Book.  My first version is in the wash and will make it's blog debut at a later date.  For this version, I used some lovely Robert Kaufman red pin dot cotton that I picked up from   Red has long been one of my very favourite colours, although it has taken a back seat lately while I binged on pink.

Silly playhouse pose but you can see my tattoo!

I cut traced a size large and added 5\8" seam allowances.  The only experience I've had with tracing multi-layered patterns has been with Ottobre magazine - a truly eye-bleeding experience.  The patterns in the Sweet Dress Book are overlapped, but clearly laid out.  It took me less half an hour to trace and add my seam allowances.

One of my favourite features of this dress are the front pleats.  I normally have a less than cordial relationship with pleats, but these are straightforward to sew.  I do stitch them down as I prefer this look.

I used some of the techniques from the Washi dress in this dress.  I sewed my patch pockets into the dress side seams.  This didn't work quite as well as with the Washi as my pockets are slightly too far back.  But, it's not enough to bother me and they're more than big enough to hold my phone. I also added shirring to the back to give a more fitted look.  The dress is so easy to pop over my head and go.  I plan on wearing this to work today with a pair of black flats.  Easy!

In short, I LOVE this dress!  I am so happy that I went with my gut and purchased several Japanese sewing books.  They are just what I have been looking for and I foresee a long and fruitful sewing relationship.

Comfort + style = dress happiness!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fern Gully

I've been sewing again and it feels great! I took a bit of a break as Quasimodo was still giving me trouble (I still am too scared to knit for fear of re-injury) and this is my second completed dress this week.  I will be making this dress for my dear friend D, she even chose the same fabric - and I know she'll love it!

Fabricland had an amazing 40% off sale over the weekend and I was able to pick up a few pieces of fabric, this print being one of them.  They had several bolts of this deep indigo cotton with several different prints - mostly Jacobean-inspired - but this simple fern print really spoke to me.  I debated about using this side or the wrong side - a muted version of this - but eventually settled on the right side.

I made no alterations to this pattern.  None!  What a delight!  This dress is New Look 6068, View D but with elbow length rather than long sleeves.  It's the first time in ages that an A-line style dress has fit me well and I feel good in it.  The pattern says that it has 5" of ease, but I say it's more like 4".  

There are very few pieces to cut and it sews up quickly and easily.  The trickiest part was the front facing to create the keyhole neckline.  I had thought I was going to close it with a pearl button, but find I prefer it open instead.  I eliminated the collar facing and used teeny tiny 1/2" bias binding instead.  

The fabric is so soft and airy, but it has a warmth to it that will be perfect for cool weather wear.  I know I'll be pairing this with tights or knee socks and boots when the time comes.  The slightly puffed sleeves fit nicely under my cardigans - a wardrobe staple for me!