Friday, 31 January 2014

Chloe Redux

I may have mentioned before that Victory Patterns' Chloe dress is one of my favourites. This is my third one, and I think it's my favourite.

Photos are a bit dark, sorry, it's still winter.

I was very inspired by this skirt from Anthro. But since I find skirts very difficult to wear, I opted to make a dress version. New ideas for the Chloe pattern had been swirling around in my head, and this seemed like the perfect combination. And, I had a large piece of olive linen in my stash, just begging to be cut into.

Alright, now for the nitty gritty. I didn't get around to posting about my first sleeveless Chloe, so I'll share with you now. This pattern fit me really well out of the envelope (or fresh off the printer, I should say - side note - I'm very happy that Victory Patterns are available in paper form now!) I shortened the bodice by 3/4" as usual, as well as sticking with my lengthening of the skirt by 4". Other bloggers have noticed that the sleeveless version leaves a quite low armhole, and I would agree. Some have taken the excess out at the shoulder, but the darts were in a good spot for me and I didn't want them getting too high. I was happy with where the sleeve sat at the underarm in my first attempt, so I raised the armhole using the sleeve as a guide. I added width to the back shoulder at the armhole as well, to make sure bra straps would be covered at all times.

It's really tricky to see in this photo, but because I liked the way the princess seams sat on my back, I just made a small angled seam towards the armhole to accommodate the additional width at the upper back.

And yes, I even remembered to take some construction photos, if you are interested in seeing how I handled the lace panel.

Lovely lace close up.

After measuring the front panel, I was relieved to find that I would only need a piece 18"wide by 36" long. A good thing, since this lace was exactly 36" wide! I shopped around, but lace is always expensive, so $30 for half a yard it was. 

First, I soaked the lace in Eucalan and laid it flat to dry. I'm not sure how I'll be washing this dress in future, but a pre-wash seemed like a good idea. And you don't need to rinse with Eucalan, so there was minimal wear and tear on my precious lace.

I marked the hem fold line on the the right side of my front panel linen, then positioned the lace on top, lining up the border with the chalk line. I basted horizontally, and along the edges. Then I trimmed off the bottom selvedge of the lace and serged the two fabrics together.

Upside down! Oops.

I proceeded to put the dress together as normal,  and when I got to the hem, (machined), I was able to lift the lace out of the way and start and stop my stitching right at the edge of the front panel

Hem close-up!

If you look very closely, you can see the machine hem stitches.

So there you have it, one more Chloe for Chloe. As I've said before, it was a match just meant to be.

Let's hear it for the tried and true patterns!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Second Chances Dress

Say hello to V8805, round two. Last spring, I made up this pattern in fabric that I just love, but wasn't happy with the final dress. (See here, worn once, now a top.) However, I really felt the pattern had some potential, given a different fabric, and here we are!

This is the pattern straight out of the envelope, with only one minor change - I added piping between the middle and bottom panels to differentiate them. I didn't want to use a third fabric, but I did want a bit of visual interest. I was even thinking of adding pockets in the seam, (a la Sallie) but it's a bit low, and I didn't feel like moving it up. And unlike many dress patterns, this one is as long as it seems on the envelope. I usually find myself adding a few inches to the length, but not this time.

I threw caution to the wind and decided to make this dress in a knit. I had the black fabric left over from an earlier project, it's a medium weight double knit. The grey I bought for this dress, and though you can't see it in the photos, it has a very narrow black  horizontal stripe. It's very subtle, but it does give the grey fabric a bit more life. I didn't size down, so it's a bit roomy under the arms, but it doesn't bother me. 

As for the back neck closure, mine is fake! There is a button, but it's purely decorative. I bound the neckline instead of turning the strip to the inside. It looks neater, and gives the neckline stability. I finished the sleeves and hem with a straight stretch stitch, which I don't think I've ever used before. 

My winter wardrobe is fairly heavy on the neutrals, so I've been trying to wear some brighter accessories - I've had these beads for a while now, and they go together really well - bonus! I think I've got a real wardrobe workhorse here - I finished it on Boxing Day, and I think it's been worn three times already.

Til next time...

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Happy New Year - with PJs!

Hello 2014! I've been meaning to be a bit more active on the blogging front, so what better way to start the new year than with a new post? And for the record, these were 99.9% finished until this morning. All I had left to do was add a couple of inches to the waistband elastic to make them more comfy, and therefor actually wearable.

Current temperature: -11C, windchill -18C. I blame any awkward posing on the weather.

I did have a pajama pattern in my stash (M5592. Unblogged, sorry. They have very odd proportions), but I decided to spring for McCalls M6659. It's a great pattern, with loads of options. It includes a robe, two distinct styles of tops and pants, and decent instructions for inserting cuff piping. It's a keeper.

Now for the saga of the fabric. I bought what I had thought was a twin sheet set, swept away by the fun eyeglass print, but when I finally got around to opening the package fully, I discovered that there was only a fitted sheet and pillowcase!!! If I'd planned to use them as sheets, they would have been sent right back to the store, but I decided to see how far I could make this one sheet stretch. 

I unpicked the sheet, elastic and all, to preserve as much fabric as possible (two episodes of Downton Abbey). Then I decided to save space by not making the separate piped cuff for the pants, so I simply pinned the cuff pattern piece to the hem of the pant piece, overlapping to eliminate the seam allowances. When it came to the shirt sleeves, I didn't have enough length anywhere to use the same trick, which is why the sleeves have the piped cuff. Design features on the fly! Of course, that was before I realized how long this pattern is - I'm 5'7, and the sleeves and pant legs are both on the long side. The sleeves could almost be finished at the piping line!

Other than my fabric saving, I made the straight size 16, one size up than usual, because I prefer roomy pjs. And I left out the darts in the back of the shirt - again, roomy, and also better with this big print.

Pink accents! I used pink thread for the buttonholes, too, you can see it if you look very closely...

The piping is from my stash, I don't quite remember what it was to be for originally, but it came in handy here.
Sadly there is one more issue with this fabric. Even though I carefully tested a couple of different iron on interfacings, the collar is already bubbling underneath the black glasses. The white fabric shrank a bit (yes, I did pre-wash), but the black did not. But if it has to happen, I suppose it's best if it's something one doesn't intend to wear out in the world.

I hope everyone is having a relaxing New Years Day, perhaps even in their own pajamas!