Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Little Red Dress

Sometimes you just need a bright red dress.  The LBD has the popular vote and the Little White Dress puts up a good fight in summer, but it's hard to ignore the Little Red Dress.  This is McCall’s M6754, released this summer with a cute tank flared dress or peplum top with sleeved options for the winter.  Made for knits, I decided to try it out in tango red poly/rayon blend ponte.   With a fun color name and a just about circle skirt it feels perfect for dancing.  (And yes, it is this bright red in person!)  I probably should’ve picked a stretcher knit but I was feeling like a rebel and loved the feel and color of the fabric.  It turned out as there’s enough stretch for me to shimmy into it.

With only a few pieces to the pattern it was easy to cut out, especially using a rotary cutter.  Construction was pretty easy too and I used my serger on the back and side seams.  The only problem I had was when I serged the bodice to the skirt it resulted in some pulling, despite it not being there when I basted it together.  A belt covers is up pretty much but I may still go back and try and fix it.  Depends if I get in a “seamripping a serged seam” kind of mood or not.  (Probably not)

 I really like how it turned out.  At first I was worried how low the back was until I tried it on and happily discovered I could wear a regular bra without it peeking out.  Things are so much more wearable if I don’t have to worry about wearing special underwear with it!
 The neck and arm holes were finished with a narrow hem and then topstitched by ballpoint twin needle.  This gives them a nice stretchy and secure seam with the stitching close to the edge.  I figured stitching so close to the edge might look a little weird on the skirt hem so I just serged the edge before pressing it up 5/8”.  The twin stitching is about ½’’ from the edge and took forever!  My machine handles the twin needle best at a slower speed and a circle skirt has a lot of hem to stitch.  Definitely worth the time to avoid ripping it out or a wonky hem.
I have plans to make winter versions with sleeves for both a dress and peplum top.  McCall's rated this pattern as easy and it definitely is.  With some focus I could easily whip this up in an afternoon from cutting out to hemming.  It's a simple, comfortable dress for summer that can easily be dressed up or down.  Plus it'll transition nicely into fall with boots and a sweater.  That's my kind of dress!
BTW: These photos looked fine on the camera but on the computer I suddenly turned into Casper the ghost.  I may be pale, but not glow in the dark and any adjustments turned me various shades of Oompa Loompa.  But I couldn't be bothered to retake them!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

"Hello baby" Chantilly

Whew!  I finally finished the dress I started before getting distracted by my flamingo cross stitch project.  (Which is complete as well.)  This is Colette Pattern’s Chantilly and came together really quickly despite all the interruptions.  Colette drafts for a C cup which I’m not, but figured all the bust gathering wouldn’t require any altering.  (Plus Tasia of Sewaholic has made a couple adorable versions and the enhanced bustiness didn’t look excessive.)  The only alteration I made was to take in the sides about an inch or so for a closer fit.  Next time I will lower the armhole slightly, it feels a teensy bit high after removing so much excess fabric and adjust where the gathering starts on the side.  But I’m already thinking up my next version.

I love this polka dot lawn, it’s part of the Sew Lisette fabric line at Jo-Ann’s.  It’s lined in white cotton with the exception of the neck facing which I made out of self-fabric to avoid any white showing.  I thought about a blue or green lining but couldn’t a. find any that matched and b. like how the white intensifies the print.  I’m one of those people who aren’t that into pockets in skirts (I just rarely use them!) but had never put a pocket in a zippered side seam and wanted to try it out.

This dress took forever to hem!  It has a six panel gored skirt that required a lot of gathering at the waist but it didn’t sink in until hemming time.  I ran a quick 5/8” basting stitch around the edge to make turning it up and ironing quicker and more even.  Machine hemming went easily but still took a lot of turning and checking if the end was near!  I had one nervous moment when I hung it up and worried if the lining was showing.  Luckily it was just on the hanger weird and didn’t require any seam ripping and rehemming.

It was perfect for a sunny Saturday and a BBQ at some friends’ home.  I did have a couple Marilyn moments when the wind caught it and I had to quickly pull it down, but nothing too major.  It’s a fun skirt to twirl in when I can control the flyaway action.

BTW I’ve had “Chantilly Lace” by the Big Bopper stuck in my head all day and most of the time spent making this dress.

In other news I’m attending the New York Fashion Academy where I’ll earn a certificate in Fashion Design & Construction.  I applied and was accepted the end of June for the summer quarter which started last week.  I’m really excited about the prospect of turning my obsession hobby into a career and as a bonus the school is located really close to me.  It’s very hands on so I’ve been busy drawing, draping and sewing already.  I may post some projects along the way.  I just hope I continue to have time for some personal sewing as well!