Archive | July 2014

Deer & Doe Airelle

What does one do after a sewing disappointment? One starts another project. Alright, technically I probably should have done another knit fabric project to work on those skills. But the other patterns planned for the pattern stash were woven fabric. It is best to stick to the plan. I will admit that my ambition to get this made quickly went down the drain after the Vogue knit wrap dress. I just knew I would not be getting the 4th pattern done before the end of July so I took my time.



I graded from a 42 at the bust to a 44 at the waist. I just used the triangle notch to determine the waist. Then from the 44 I graded out to a 46 at the hips. There is more room at the hip area than I had thought so I could have probably used just the 44 to the hip area.

On future sleeveless version, I may look at doing an alteration at the arm area. In the back there is a wedge of extra fabric which looks like it is wearing ease for the sleeve but I am completely guessing on this.


The back of the instruction book has a view of using the Airelle blouse pattern for a dress. I wish I had snapped a photo of that to share. I would like to make it again as a dress.

Finally, an apology for the not so great pictures. This was the best I could do with the timer and late in the evening.


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).