Monday, June 30, 2014

Mission Not a Maxi

Ok, right off the bat I must come clean and say there’s no maxi in this post.  If that’s cool with you than keep reading, otherwise I suggest you check out one of the hundreds of true maxis out there in the internet.
Moving on!  This is Jamie Christina’s Mission Maxi dress that is much beloved out there in home sewing land. Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow even dedicated an entire week of Me Made May 2014 to it.   I’ve had this in my pattern stash for a while and now that the temperatures are heating up I figured it was a good time to try it out.
I started off with the tank version to check out how it fits.  I used some leftover turquoise wicking mesh thinking it would make a nice running tank.  I made this mostly on my serger except for topstitching the bands on my regular sewing machine with a longer stitch length.  Not my best topstitching, but close enough for a wearable muslin most likely to be regulated to workout gear.  And I couldn’t be bothered to break out my double needle to properly hem it.
Always important to crop booty shorts when Seattle pale!
As is I think it fits pretty well, no obvious pulls, bagginess or tightness.  I wore it around the house to make sure it was comfortable and traced out the maxi length on the pattern.  Someday hopefully soon I’ll actually get around to the maxi length.
I had a yard of this orange printed interlock I got last winter when I bought some jersey online for my Mom’s Christmas gift.  It was one of those times when you love a fabric online but are a bit disappointed when you see it in person.  I knew it didn’t have much stretch (15%) but the printed design was super stiff and cheap feeling – even after prewashing it didn’t feel much different.  I knew it wouldn’t work for the top I intended it for and so it sat in limbo in my stash.  This was a real shame because I really loved the print.  On a whim I pulled it out and decided I’d try it out knowing I wouldn’t be heartbroken if it didn’t work.
Ignore the bra strap - I forgot my convertible
I laid out my pattern pieces and cut them out, preserving as much length as possible.  I moved the pattern piece up and used the curved bottom edge to cut the hem.  The stiffness of the fabric made me doubt it would fold nicely for the binding when I remembered my royal blue Renfrew.  I held the Renfrew next to the orange print and discovered that it matched the blue leaves exactly.  I dug through my knits scrap bag and pulled out what little royal blue interlock I had left.  I just used my rotatory cutter and clear ruler and cut strips as long as I possibly could, counting on the stretch to make up the difference.
Finally!  A good reason to hoard hold onto those little knit scraps that I couldn’t even cut a pair of underwear out of.  Although now that I think of it I could probably cut some Plantain elbow patches out of them too…
This time around I used my sewing machine to sew the shoulder seams instead of my serger.  Last time when topstitching the binding, it got a little fiddly going over that serged seam. By sewing it I was able to press the seam open and that made everything much flatter to sew over.  I also sewed the shoulder and side seams before attaching the binding in the round.  I even went so far as to switch from white to blue serger thread before working on the binding.  I realized I was out of matching blue thread until I pulled out the spools that came with my serger.  Maybe not the strongest thread, but it worked pretty well for topstitching the binding.  Then it was over to the ironing board to blast the binding with steam to tighten everything up.
I did a lot of thinking before deciding on what thread color to hem the dress with.  I tried the blue I used for topstitching and white on a scrap but wasn’t really thrilled with either one.  That’s when I remembered I had a spool of orange thread originally used for topstitching a bag I made years ago.  I recently used it to attach binding to a baby blanket so I had a bobbin filled up and everything.  I used a twin needle for the hem and the thread blended in perfectly with all of the oranges.
I bet you can’t tell which side I redid!
I immediately tried my new finished dress on and discovered that somehow it had magically softened up some more and didn’t seem so stiff anymore.  Maybe it was the steam…  I did notice that it stuck out a bit by the arms which I didn’t notice with my tank.  At first I thought I hadn’t stretched the arm binding enough so took the time and effort to rip out the topstitching and serging.  I took two inches out off, reattached and topstitched it.  After trying it on again, I really didn’t notice much difference so I haven’t bothered to do the other side yet.  I’m blaming the lack of stretch in the knit.
In the end I’m really pleased how this dress turned out, especially since I had low expectations.  I got a lot of comments on it when I wore it on the last day of Me Made May.  As a bonus I have the option of wearing it with the matching Renfrew for a separates look.  Plus the thicker interlock does wonders for avoiding VPL.  I can see making more of these to wear this summer as the go together so quickly and don’t take much fabric at all.  In fact, I’m even planning on conquering my irrational suspicion of maxi dresses and making the pattern as originally intended. I just need to figure out what shoes to wear with it.  My initial thought is platform sandals but maybe flats/sandals would be more practical?  What type of shoes are you supposed to wear with maxis?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Me Made May Week 5 & Wrap Up

Whew!  Another Me-Made-May is over and done with.  I hope everyone had as enjoyable a month as I have.  Seattle had some great weather which allowed me to wear more of my summer clothes which I definitely prefer in both my me-mades and RTW.  First up is my final week of outfits.

 Day 26
It’s Memorial Day and I was feeling patriotic so my seersucker Crescent seemed appropriate.  It was a little too warm for my red ¾ sleeved Renfrew so I went with an old red tee I’ve had forever.  As a bonus it was a lot easier to tuck in and show off the shaped waist of the skirt.

Day 27
Sewaholic Alma
Last summer on the Anthropologie website I saw a yellow top paired with jean shorts & a floral statement necklace.  It immediately reminded me of my yellow eyelet Alma and this similar necklace I really liked but didn’t wear too often.  This is also the top that started me wearing yellow again.  (I was so glad I took this picture in front of this rhododendron bush because just a few days later about half the flowers had fallen off)

Day 28
Today was another cool day that caused me to dip into my cold weather wardrobe.  Despite really liking this top I hope this will be the last time I wear it until fall.  This is one of those fabrics that made me ignore fiber content – I loved the navy & green wide stripes with silver threads separating them so much that I ignored that it’s 98% poly.

Day 29
Deer & Doe Chardon
I normally don’t wear a lot of black and sew even less but I really like this skirt.  I think it’s because despite being a black chambray, the white cross-threads makes it appear grey.  I have a couple of Andi Satterlund’s cropped sweaters planned that will be perfect to pair with this skirt come fall.  Assuming of course, that they’re done in time!

Day 30
This was one of those makes that after wearing it I immediately wanted to wear it again.  Always a good sign for my closet, but not so great for my pledge this year.  I managed to restrain myself until today and see this getting a lot of wear this summer.

Day 31
Sewaholic Renfrew & Jamie Christina Mission Maxi
Finally the weather warmed up enough to wear my latest dress!  In my mind a bright orange print requires lots of sunshine and high temperatures, or at least Seattle high, to be worn.  But when headed off to class in the morning I wasn’t sure how the day would turn out so I threw a Renfrew over it.  Briefly during the afternoon the dress was perfect on its own but I was glad to have the tee for most of the day.

Overall I’d call Me-Made-May 2014 a success.  In fact during the first few days of June I automatically went for me mades while getting dressed.  Sure, I had to check photos a couple times to check I didn’t wear the exact same thing twice but there were also some past favorites that didn’t get to come out and play.  Sometimes it just comes down to what’s newest and shiniest.  As for my hope to finish a couple pairs of jeans… that’s what Jeans June & July is for.  I did get work done on my Jamie’s but got ahead of myself and topstitched when I should have basted to check for fit. I debated including a photo but I fear there’s too much excess fabric in the crotch for the internet.

Separates & Jeans
Last year I felt I needed more non-Renfrew tops and I think over the last year I improved that.  I would like to continue in this direction.  That said when wearing separates they were usually paired with RTW.  Despite being pretty satisfied with my RTW jeans, I want to make finish some of my own.  Some of the pairs I have are pretty old and those styles stopped being made years ago. During my last duplication class at school I copied a pair but I’m not sure if I’ll get around to making/finishing three pairs in June and July!
Deer & Doe & Indies
Last year I wore lots of Sewaholic so it made sense that those were the patterns I wore most this year - 13 times.  The #2 pattern company did surprise me as I only tried a Deer & Doe pattern last fall and yet wore one 10 times this month.  Clearly I’ve found another favorite!  In general I seem to wear more indie patterns than the Big 4, partially because I find those are the patterns I tend to make (or plan to make) multiples of.  I guess it’s my way of justifying the higher cost compared to the 99¢ sales at the big box stores. 
In general I’m happy to see that I wear a high percentage of what I make which when it all boils down spells out success.  I didn’t include any me-made PJs this year because they’d be my most worn garments and would totally skew any results.  It’s been a long time since I’ve bought any RTW and haven’t felt like I’m missing out.  (The only exception was my much loved Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Championship locker room tee.  Not exactly something I could make on my own or as a proud member of the 12th Man miss out on!)  That’s not to say I don’t wear RTW anymore, I just have really high standards and often run in to problems with things fitting correctly.  All reasons why I started sewing my own clothes in the first place!  I hope everyone achieved their goals for the month and got tons of inspiration for future makes, I know I did!