Wrap dress- Vogue 8379


DSCI0082In keeping with items I really need, I pulled out Vogue 8379 for the Pattern Stash contest. I was able to add the Vogue Rebecca Taylor dress and the Sewaholic Gabriola skirt last month into rotation. But I still feel like I am wearing the same items all the time. So I would like to make a couple more dresses to wear.

Vogue 8379 is the most detailed knit pattern I have worked on since the swimsuit last year. The swimsuit caused my previous sewing machine to have fits but following the sew-along really helped me out. This time, there was no sewing machine problems. I think all the troubles I had were caused by my inexperience with knit fabric.

I cut a straight size 14. I put clear elastic in the shoulder seams, neckline, and waist seam. I am not sure but the fabric may be a little heavy for the pattern. It was from a Fabric-mart mystery bundle and it was just labeled as jersey. All vertical seams have been getting the triple stretch straight stitch while all horizontal seams were getting a small zig-zag stitch. After that, the seam was finished on my serger.

Everything seemed to be going well, until after I finished serging the side and shoulder seams. I realized I put one side in backwards. I had to take the seams apart, re-cut the front piece (it isn’t salvageable) and redo all that I did. I wished Lala would have hopped onto the fabric and kept me from making the mistakes. Silly bunny is always sitting on the fabric when you don’t want him to but stays away as you are making a mistake. Then I noticed there were more sewing problems with my bodice.

Thankfully, I had enough fabric to cut the bodice. This time I went ahead and basted the side seams so I had the pieces correct before stitching. I didn’t want to have to unpick anymore (one try was enough for all that). The second time around the bodice went together much quicker.

Everything seemed to be going smoothly after the second bodice was put together. But that was deceiving. I ran out of thread in the bobbin in mid-seam. Then as I was refilling the bobbin, I ran out of thread in the top. So there was a dash off to the fabric store to get thread.

Vogue 8379 is the most detailed knit pattern I have worked on since the swimsuit last year. The swimsuit caused my previous sewing machine to have fits. This time, there was no sewing machine problems. I think all the troubles I had were due to my inexperience with knit fabric. In the end the dress did look like it was home-made; there is no way anyone would think this is ready to wear. I honestly don’t know what I did wrong with the pleats. Maybe the oddness is because I should have went up a size in the waist or made the pleats smaller? The neckline is all bunched up because I pulled the clear elastic a bit too much. I used it so there would not be gaping at the neckline.  Looking in the mirror, I knew it was sewn together terribly, but after looking at the camera pictures it is worse than I thought.

I want to go back and try this pattern again but I may wait awhile until I have completed some other simple knit fabric projects. I think the next knit fabric pattern I will be trying will be Tilly and the Button’s Coco pattern.

Last two patterns planned for the Pattern Stash contest are the Deer & Doe Airelle blouse and Simplicity 2246 (Lisette Traveler dress). Since I had to redo parts of the Vogue dress, I am not sure if I will be able to finish both for Pattern Stash.


From Doris Day’s Closet- McCall’s 5884

First up for the Pattern Stash contest is McCall’s 5884.  As I am wearing the blouse, I just feel like I pulled something out of Doris Day’s closet.  Granted when I did a Google search for Doris Day, no tie collar blouses were in the image search.


It was so much easier than I thought it would be.  For view A (sleeveless), there are only 4 pattern pieces which means it is quick to cut.  I don’t know about anyone else, but the more pieces the pattern has the more I dislike cut it out.  Granted switching to the rotary cutter has sped up cutting patterns a lot and made it easier.  I think all total, this top took me about 3 hours to make.

Any other versions of the McCall’s pattern would definitely need to have the front neckline raised.  It is a little low for my preference.  I would probably also change how to do the collar.  The instructions have one sew the ends of the collar then sew it to the neckline.  I would like to try out putting it on the neckline first then folding the collar in half, pin, and top stitch down the entire length of the collar.


This pattern could work well with a stable knit too.  I can’t think of any reason why it would not.  The shoulder seams would definitely need to be reinforced with clear elastic.  The sleeve pieces would need to be borrowed from another pattern for a t-shirt style sleeve.

I have also made the Burda magazine 10-2010-118 which is also a tie front pull-over blouse.  So a quick comparison of the two, in instructions the McCall’s pattern is so much better than the Burda magazine.  But that shouldn’t shock anyone.  I really dislike the little button on the Burda pattern.  I really like the front of the McCall’s pattern with the gathers on it.  I feel like I got a better finished product.  For any beginner to sewing, the McCall’s pattern would be much easier for them to make.

As I am typing this out, all I can think of is version D with the long sleeves in the snake print rayon Challis that I passed up over at the fabric store’s clearance section.

Peplum Cutie- Lee & Pearl Wrap dress 1031

DSCI0069I had just picked up Molly Waves Goodbye from Lee and Pearl at the end of April.  A couple of days later, Lee and Pearl came out with the ultra-adorable Wrap dress pattern.  I think I lasted about 2 days before I decided that I had to have it for my dolls.  If my dolls were pets, they would be classified as spoiled rotten since they are always getting new clothes (either store-bought, patterns, or handcrafted).

I had just finished Marie Grace’s blue lacy dress at the end of May.  There wasn’t enough of that fabric left to make another blue lacy dress.  But there was enough of it left for one or two wrap tops from the new Lee and Pearl pattern that I had just picked up.


So for a woven fabric, this is rated easy.  Otherwise, the knit fabrics have an intermediate rating on them.  For my cotton top, the construction was easy.  I did have one boo-boo where I put the pleats on the wrong side of a front piece.  But that was me not paying attention to what I was doing.  It was easy to fix.

For the sleeveless versions, fabrics with nice drape would possibly work better.  Since I used what I think is a cotton broadcloth, I had a little trouble getting a nice clean finish on the tight curve of the arm area.  Some of the white serger thread is showing.  If you are using a quilting type cotton, you may want to consider using bias to finish the armhole or a rolled hem foot.  I haven’t really mastered my rolled hem foot yet, so I didn’t use it here.


I did notice that my pleats look different from the pictures in the pattern.  At first I thought it had to do with the cotton fabric, but looking back at the instructions I realized I top-stitched the pleats instead of basting them.

Summers can be Murder-Vogue 1344 (Rebecca Taylor dress)

Last weekend was murder mystery weekend!  This time my mom and I tried out the murder mystery weekend at the Higher Ground Hotel out in Independence Missouri.  This was different from our usual murder mystery weekends.  It was an immersion style play which was centered around Harry S. Truman (whose house is across the street from the hotel).


We started out with going out to the garden to get pictures of my new me-made dress.  There was a brief thought of waiting until the Saturday afternoon for the garden party, but luckily we did not wait as there was rain forecasted on Saturday.  After pictures in the garden, we went to dinner.  All the dishes for dinner came from a Bess Truman cookbook.  The characters come in and mingle with the guests.  President Truman and Bess arrive after the salad course.  By the end of the dinner and reception with President Truman, Archie was dead.



Saturday, the detective came in and told us what housekeeping found in Archie’s room.  We take the paper with clue locations and went out to Independence Square to search for the clues that Archie left.  After that, we went back to the hotel and relaxed.  I read and kept an eye on the World Cup game.  My mom took a nap.  In the afternoon, there was a wine tasting and hors-d’oeuvres party.  It was supposed to be out in the garden but about an hour before, the rain started.

At dinner, the characters came back in and mingled with the guest.  We got to hear about their night in the police station.  At dessert, we filled out our solution form and turned it in.  After a few minutes, we found out who the murder was.  My mom and I had the correct answer and the correct motive.


On to the pattern review:

As mentioned before, I was able to get pictures of my new dress out in their pretty little garden on Friday night before dinner.  Here is my dress for Handmade by Heather B’s Summer Sundress Sew-along.  It is Vogue 1344 from designer Rebecca Taylor.  I didn’t do a muslin and cut a straight size 14.


I tried to squeak this dress out on what was left of the teal rayon Challis from the Gabriola skirt but it wouldn’t work.  I just didn’t have enough to make the front overlay.  So scouring through the fabric stash yielded the floral rayon Challis.  I was able to get everything to fit on what I had and had room to spare for bias (for the arm area if needed) and possibly a couple of doll tops.  That was with putting a seam in the center back skirt only (the only cutting change I had to make).

I really didn’t follow Vogue’s recommendations at all.  The pattern is designed for charmeuese, crepe de chine, and voile.  All of those are lighter than the rayon Challis I had in my stash.  So I didn’t use the lining.  Since I didn’t have the lining I could not follow the instructions for the waistline elastic casing.  I just zigzagged it on the waist area.  I may see about picking up some bias tape and making an elastic casing for the waist.


I started my pattern a little differently that the instructions.  I went ahead and did the skirt section first before putting together the bodice and all those pleats.  The nice easy section of the dress.  The second night was for tackling the bodice pleats.

I used my serger to over lock all of the seams.  After I had over-locked the waist, I went ahead and tried the dress on.  It was then that I realized I did the wrap front backwards.  There was no way I was going to unpick the over lock stitch and the regular straight stitches out of the dress.  So it stayed that way.


The neckline facing is all hand sewn at the bottom so it would not flip out.

I probably could have used the size 12 at the shoulders.  They are a touch big.

Pattern Review is starting their pattern stash competition in July.  I have already scoured my stash and came up with 4 lovely patterns to try.  Two are tops (McCall’s 5884 and Deer & Doe Airelle) and the other two are dresses (Vogue 8379 and Simplicity 2246).

Ruffled Earrings- Beadwork Feb/ March 2011

After finishing my Gabriola skirt, I really wanted to make a bracelet to go with it. I found a pattern I liked in a magazine and ordered the beads I wanted for it. So while I was waiting on my shipment of beads, I decided to follow the suggestion in the pattern and make a pair of earrings using the link components.


All the beads used were from my bead stash.  I decided to use the blue fabric background for the pictures because the colors of the earrings are bronze, gold, and silver.  I wasn’t certain if the gold would show up on my tan-colored sofa.  But I guess it did not matter because the blue seems to wash out the gold also and make the silver look like blue.

The pattern used is Ruffled Chain Bracelet by Laina Goodman. It was in Beadwork Magazine February/ March 2011 issue. It uses circular peyote stitch, herringbone stitch, and picots.

For each earring, it took about an hour to make.




A Fine Summer Day- Sewaholic’s Gabriola Skirt (1401)

Late morning, the humidity is starting to climb up. Let’s get out before it gets too hot and humid Toby.

DSCI0157 DSCI0161


After Toby’s walk through Strang Park, I went out shopping with my mom. Nothing too exciting. We did find our favorite Pacifica face wash though.

Later in the afternoon, we caught up on the world cup and lounged around enjoying a good book. I actually finished up “Good Luck of Right Now” which is the book of the month over at A Beautiful Mess blog.

Summer skirt and Kansas heat/ humidity, so for me that means the best light weight woven fabric is rayon Challis. I have used before so was also familiar with how it behaves as sewing and care. I wanted a cool pattern for my skirt, but all the patterned Challis at my local fabric store had black in them. I like my brown sandals better than my grey sandals. So I didn’t want any black in the pattern. Next best thing was a bright solid color. I picked out the teal fabric because I thought it would go better with what I currently own.

On to construction:

I knew beforehand that the skirt would be too long for me. I was torn on whether or not to shorten the skirt. I wasn’t certain the best way to grade over the shorten/ lengthen line. I figured I would be taking about 4 inches out at the line. In doing that, I thought I would have lost the shape of the flare in the skirt. I had never made any patterns from Sewaholic before also. I was apprehensive of doing too many changes at once. So, I decided it was best to keep with the pattern’s original length. My dad got the pleasure of crawling on the floor to pin where the skirt touched the floor. I did end up losing some of the flare by taking off the bottom edge of the hem.

I had cut a size 10. After I had the front of the skirt together, I was a little concerned that I cut the wrong size and would need to adjust the waist area. But everything was fine. Because of my waist area concerns I had cut a 12 on the waistband, so I went ahead and used that with a little more overlap in back.


I did have a little difficulty with putting together the yoke pieces. I didn’t feel like I was putting the pieces together right and kept seam ripping them apart. I broke down and pulled up the Gabriola sew-along on Sewaholic pattern’s blog. I hadn’t originally pulled it up because I was using my computer to live stream the FC Kansas City game against the Western New York Flash (National Women Soccer League). Totally off topic, but Kansas City won the game and Kansas City’s home field is at the University of Missouri Kansas City. That is where I went to college at.

The pattern marks of the yoke pieces kept confusing me. The waist and the yoke only had one triangle. So I wasn’t certain which one went where on initial look. Having a center front marked on the upper yoke pieces or waistline would have made it a bit more clear for me. The sew-along through clarified what I was having troubles with.

The only item I did differently was that I added an extra hook to the waistband.


A nice surprise for me is that the high waistband won’t rub across the surgery scar. Now I have another piece to wear on those days that I can’t put a band-aid on it. About every 4 days I have to plan outfits around this.

For future Gabriola skirts, I think the next time I make this skirt (as long as it is a solid or pattern), I may try to put the two yoke pieces together in one piece. Then I would be able to cut that on the fold if I wanted or not. I know that I can’t take all four or five inches out at one area across the pattern. I plan on trying to take the length out over four or five different sections at and below the shorten/ lengthen line. I think I would be about to take an inch out per section. That should help keep the flare line better. Last item I would change for the future is the waistband. I think a thinner waistband would look nicer with the long flowing skirt. My skirt’s waistband gapes a little at the top.

Up and coming sewing patterns include Lee & Pearl’s Wrap peplum top, Vogue 1344 (Rebecca Taylor dress), and possibly Wearing History’s Sailor Girl Playsuit shorts. I am almost thinking the shorts will not happen (at least not this year) and instead another Gabriola skirt, summer dress, or top.

Lacy Finery: Heritage Doll Fashion Harriet’s Yellow Dress

One of the last patterns from my recent doll pattern spending spree was Heritage Doll Fashion’s Harriet’s Yellow dress. I think I got it mostly because it looked simpler than a couple of the other patterns I had purchased. After looking at the directions, they were the least intimidating. So that means it was the first to try out.


According to Pixie Faire website, this pattern is rated as intermediate. I don’t know if I quite agree with that. It was fairly easy to put together. But, this isn’t a dress that you can put together for your dolls in a couple of hours. It took me about 8 hours to complete this dress. I did get it finished all in one day but I started early in the morning. However, Harriet’s yellow dress isn’t a pattern that someone who hasn’t sewn before could do by themselves.


All the work is in the details of the dress. I think the intermediate rating probably comes from the amount of lace on the dress.   This dress took a lot of lace, 4.5 yards of lace. All of that lace had to be pinned on. So by the end of the project, my poor fingers looked like Swiss cheese with the amount of times I pricked myself with pins.


After I put the new dress on Marie Grace, I had to remove her hoop skirt (from AG) and her petticoat (that I made) also. There was just too much at her waist to neatly fasten the Velcro in back. It was bulging and that was even with the undergarments waistbands at different locations. So, now all that Marie Grace has on under her dress is the chemise (from AG) and her pantalettes.   If you are going for the “traditional” look with undergarments, you will need to add to the waist of the dress some.


I forgot to look at the receipt for the price I paid for the lace. So roughly guessing, I think this dress cost me $15.00 to make.