"Why in the world did you pick this name for your blog?" ...so glad you asked...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Socialite Dress - Pattern Review

I was never interested in sewing this dress and now it has become the new favorite in my closet. I think a big factor in why I didn't want to buy this pattern was the styling of the finished product on the pattern jacket. (You can see it here.) No offense to the stylist or to Anna Maria, but the fabric chosen, the gray tights and the seeming lack of shape to the dress were all unattractive to me. I'm starting to learn to catch a vision for things and really make them fit my own personality and figure needs. This dress is a perfect example of that.

Pattern Description:
All the sophisticated swank, but none of the suffocating seams. This little number will graciously flatter your sewing skills and your sense of style.

Pattern Sizing:

I chose an XS since I read the pattern runs pretty true to the sizing guide on the jacket (as it should).

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yep... only better. hehe.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
This is where I have to gush about Anna Maria Horner. The first pattern I sewed by her was the Multi-Tasker Tote. That thing is crazy amazing in it's design. It's complex and simple at the same time. I was soooo impressed with her pattern design and instruction skills and that made me excited to see what the design and instructions would be like for the dress. Suffice it to say that she is definitely in my top three on my list of pattern writers that I admire. In my opinion the steps to making this dress couldn't be one bit clearer.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I WOULD have disliked the armholes if I hadn't known from reading other reviews that I should add at least an inch at the shoulders when cutting out the pieces. That means adding to the front and back of the dress pieces AND to the front and back yoke pieces AND their coordinating facings. If I make this dress again, I won't hesitate to add a little more length even than I did this time. The armholes are just ALMOST too tight.
I particularly like the fact that the inside of this dress looks almost as pretty as the outside. Well, not really, but it's the most finished looking inside of a garment I've made to date.

Fabric Used:
2 yards of Amy Butler home decor fabric in Trumpet Flowers. (found for $10/yd on Etsy) I have had a love affair with this fabric from afar ever since the LOVE collection debuted. I have nowhere to use it in my home, so I decided to swath my body in it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
The shoulder lengthening mentioned above was the only change I made.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don't know how many of this style dress I want in my closet, honestly. I HAVE to belt it, because I don't really go for the sack look and my derriere sticks out considerably in the back causing the dress to gather and sit on top of it after any bending or sitting. What I'm saying is, it might not be that versatile. I could make it in a solid color to get a completely different look, but I've got other dresses to sew before I resort to that.
PLEASE, if you are an intermediate sewer and you are looking for a new pattern, try one of Anna Maria's. You won't be disappointed.

This dress turned out to be the perfect easy-to-wear option for the event it was worn to and I'm very proud to have it in my closet.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Me Made - Days 3, 4 and 5

I actually exceeded my goal for the first week and wore THREE me made items.
The third was my Anna Maria Horner voile circle scarf that I wore while we traveled for 13 hours by car to our week-long vacation in St. Simon's Island, GA.

MMJ Week 1, Day 3

This scarf is HUGE! I got precut strips of fabric in a kit for $20 and, my goodness, there is not way you could buy a scarf this beautiful, soft or massive for $20. It's so nice to be able to sew, isn't it? :)
I plan to make another with AMH's new Loulouthi voiles and maybe one with velveteen on one side for winter. mmmmmm! yummy! I can tell you one thing for sure, I will not be making my fabric cuts quite as long or quite as wide as these were. This is a lot of scarf for a little person.

I started off the second week with some me made lounge pants.
I was introduced to Matilda Jane clothing by my cousin and have admired the little girls' clothing for a while, but didn't know until fairly recently that they also made ladies clothing. I thought their big ruffle pants for "big girls" were so neat, but I didn't care for the one fabric available in their fall line. Enter the "I can just do it myself" attitude and off I went to Hancock's to find some material I liked. I found this soft grey sweatshirt fleece on the remnant table, drafted a pattern from my fave Gap lounge pants (+ an 8" ruffle) and just did it! The waistband needs some work. It's a little wavy in the back and the center seam in the back isn't totally centered after some fitting adjustments, but I do love them so and I always feel cute and unique in them. I mostly wear them for sleeping and lounging, and then in the winter, under a long sweater or dress. I want to try again for another pair I could wear as regular slacks, but I haven't found the right material yet.

My second me made for week 2 is my Sis Boom Jamie Dress. This dress is becoming more and more of a favorite. It's just one of those dresses that I'm not worried about how it's laying or fitting or what it's showing or hiding while I'm wearing it. It just works for me and my body. I already have some cotton fabrics washed and ready to make another whenever I decide to fit it into my sewing queue.

MMJ - week 2, day 2

That's all for today!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Socialite Dress

ven though I still have patterns coming out my ears and I HAVE been making some of them into actual garments, I find I'm having a hard time committing.  I have fabric to make at least three more garments, but I'm just not totally sure which fabric should make which garment.

So, instead of using the fabric and patterns you have, you should just buy another pattern and more fabric to make it with, right?  That's my logic.

Above All Fabric had a sale today - BOGO half-off patterns.  I went right for the Oliver + S.  I've had some of Leisl Gibson's lovely City Weekend knit in a soft pink just waiting for the Hopscotch pattern to be made into a cute shirt for my 3 year old.  It's been waiting and waiting because the Oliver + S patterns don't go on sale and I can't just use my Hancocks 40% off coupon.
$16 is a bit hard to swallow, since I could buy a couple or three items of clothing for her with that amount.  So, as I mentioned, Above All Fabric was having a sale that essentially made this pattern half off, but I couldn't find a second pattern I wanted... until.... the Anna Maria Horner patterns were added to the sale later in the day.
A Ha!  here's my chance to get something for my girl and a little something else for me on the side.  I picked up the Socialite Dress pattern for myself and, in it, saw the chance to purchase and use some of my favorite Amy Butler fabric.  I've been salivating over Trumpet Flowers for some time.  I have toyed with the idea of making a pillow cover or floor cushion or SOMETHING with this fabric, but, alas, the colors just don't go anywhere in my house.

So I'll just WEAR them, doggonit!
I wouldn't normally pick a home dec. weight fabric for a dress, but Anna Maria herself seems to suggest that it would be ok by using her own home dec. fabric in pictures of the dress. 

I actually wasn't a big fan of this dress until I started looking at examples from the Anna Maria Sewing Pattern group on Flickr.  Unbelted, I think it looks like a sack.  Belted, it's easy elegance.  Not something that describes my wardrobe, but definitely a direction I'd like to be headed.

I've got to start a queue for my sewing patterns.... all I can say right now is that I'm so excited about finally getting the chance to use this fabric that this pattern I don't even have in my possession yet has jumped to the top of the list.
Probably before I make this, I'll make another Jamie Dress in some fabric I picked up at Jo-Ann's while I was in Atlanta some weeks ago.  I'm so enjoying wearing the first one I made!

Update: dress photos and full review here.


Me Made - Day 2

I was planning on making a scarf out of this fabric. Boy am I glad just about now that I changed my mind. :D

I finished this skirt up this morning. I've been such a good girl with following patterns lately, but I fell off the wagon with this skirt. I went back to my old ways of thinking "That's not that hard, I can just cut something out, sew it together and it'll be fine."
Well... that might be ok for me when I'm cutting $1 a yard clearance fabric, but not lovely Anna Maria Horner voile.

In the spirit of my blog. I did get myself into a bit of a pickle. I started out with the vision of an A-line maxi skirt with an elasticized waist. Easy enough. Did that. Hated it. Too plain, too poofy and looked home made, which is NOT my goal.
Shirring to the rescue. I just crossed my fingers and shirred row after row hoping that would kill the poof. And it did.

I liked the way it looked on my hips after shirring the waist, but I didn't like the plain a-line going down to a plain hem. I used the REST (as in ALL, NONE LEFT, no room for mistakes) of my fabric to create a ruffle at the bottom. I didnd't want to cut off any of the beautiful fabric to make it shorter before adding the ruffle, so by default, it became a high-waisted skirt.

(sorry for the fuzzy pics.  I've learned to use my timer on my camera, but not how to make it focus on me...)
I think, worn over the tank top of my choice, it will just look like a dress, which is perfect. I could not be happier with how it looks and the comfort level in the heat is phenomenal.
This will be packed in my suitcase for vacation next week.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Me Made - Day 1

I don't plan to do extensive posts with each day I wear a Me Made in June, especially since there will be some repeats, but I do want to document my observations. This challenge is to keep my efforts to sew meaningful by keeping me accountable to actually wear the things I put my time and effort into. It's also to make me think about how much I enjoy or don't enjoy wearing a certain piece of clothing so that I can make better choices in the future and know which patterns would be good ones to reuse.

Observations about this McCalls 6112 dress:
I've only worn this dress one other time and I didn't have the elastic for the waist. I hacked it by using a drawstring from another dress and totally forgot until I put it on again today. The drawstring is working fine, but I'm very aware that there is a purple drawstring inside my skirt, even if others don't know.

The neck is too big to wear without slipping to the side and revealing a bra strap. It would be ok layered with a bra-strap concealing tank, but it's way too hot to layer in the summer in Jackson, MS.

I didn't hem the skirt because knit doesn't fray. Well, this knit is all ragged looking at the bottom now, so I need to hem it.

I'm always concerned about a panty line in knits, but after really staring hard at my butt in the mirror, walking around, coming back to a mirror and staring hard again.... I don't see one. This knit is pretty thick, so I think I needn't worry. I was still nervous wearing it out. I hate panty lines.

I remember this dress being quick and easy to put together and I think it would be a great idea for me to make view A to add another comfy dress to my closet.