Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nadinoo Fall 2011

My favorite designer Nadinoo recently gave everyone a peak at her Fall 2011 fashion line. Love the vintage styled dresses and the whimsical bird fabric she uses. I am very inspired! Check out her blog for more up to date release information.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vintage McCalls 4762 Baby Doll dress Pattern from 1976 aka the Marcia Brady Dress

Marcia! Marcia! Marcia! Finally finished the baby doll dress that I think Marcia Brady would have love. As I previously mentioned I was working on this floral baby doll dress using my vintage McCalls 4762 dress pattern from 1976. I will be the first to admit that I am a fan of fashion from the 60s and 70s. I was a big fan of the 60s and 70s fashion revival that happened in the early to mid 90s. Baby doll dresses, mod styled dresses, velvet leggings, long vests, palazzo pants and bell bottoms. Okay I didn’t really wear the bell bottoms, but I did wear my dad’s Navy issued dungaree pants which were pretty retro to me. I was pretty styling during my high school years. I still have a love for that era, which is probably why I was drawn to this pattern. Very Marsha Brady. I see a whole slew of these dresses made from various fabrics for my Fall wardrobe. For now I finished my first version using Rayon Challis from Fabric Mart.

Pattern Review (The Pros): The pattern was very easy to follow and came together rather quickly. Does this mean my sewing skills are getting better? The dress would have probably been finished earlier if I hadn’t insisted on using French seams to finish the seams for most of the dress. I love how finished the dress looks from the inside.

Back View

The Cons: My only gripe about the pattern as it is for all dress patterns from the 70s is the ease they add into the design. I added ½ inch to the side seams for the bodice and sleeves because this was a size 14, but left the skirt portion alone. I found out that I really didn’t need the half inch for the bodice, but should have taken out at least ½-1 inch from the side seams for the skirt portion. The gathering was so big that it made me look pregnant. I had to sew on a sash to get a more fitted and flattering look.

Gratuitous Picture with Buni

Did it come out like the pattern picture? Yes, except I added a sash, which you could hardly see and lace trim around the neckline and sleeve edge.

Do you need to make adjustments? Yes, because I thought that a size 14 might be too fitted for me. I added ½ inch to the side seams for both bodice pieces. Turns out I didn’t need to add it and would have fit the size 14 just fine. Also because the bodice was so loose I didn’t need to add the zipper and could easily slipped the dress over my head. Had to add a sash to give me some shape because the skirt was too gathered to look flattering on me. I will need to keep these changes in mind for the next version of the dress.

Sad attempt at getting the two kids to pose with me.

Pattern Level: Experienced beginner since you will be doing a sleeve and zipper insertion.

What could I have done better? I should have trusted my gut and not added the ½ inch to the side seams although I felt that the ½ inch to the side seams of the sleeve portion made it a perfect fit for me. Also think I should have used a solid colored fabric for my sash since the busy print makes it blend into the dress.

Would you sew this pattern again? Already in the middle of making version number 2 with the changes I noted from making this dress.

Pattern: McCalls 4762 circa 1976 purchased from Retribution Vintage on Etsy.

Fabric: Rayon challis from Fabric Mart.

Techniques: Sleeve insertion, gathering, French seams and invisible zipper.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Work In Progress: Vintage McCalls 4762 Babydoll Dress from 1976

Spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon working on a babydoll dress that I am planning to wear during our vacation to the Bahamas. I present my current work in progress a babydoll dress made from McCalls 4762 from 1976 using rayon challis fabric from my favorite store Fabric Mart.

I still have to hem the dress and add lace to the sleeve ends. I am also planning on making a sash to wrap around the dress since I made the dress a little big despite it being a size 14. Currently it looks like a maternity dress, but should look wearable with a sash. The rayon challis was a dream to sew with, but I will save the details for the pattern review.

Lace detail
Already have pieces cut out for another dress just like this with a different patterned rayon challis. Hope to post more pictures soon.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Look 6981 Pleated Skirt

Egads! I'm using a modern pattern. A big change for me since as of recently I've been sewing using vintage patterns. I really don't have anything against modern patterns. For some reason I have had very bad experiences regarding fit when it comes to modern patterns. I follow the recommendations for sizing on the pattern and I still get a bad fit. Especially when it comes to skirts. I think its because I have a two size difference between my hips and my waist so it makes fitting really difficult. Especially when it comes to dresses and skirts that have waistbands. Of course I finished my skirt way before I saw this post on the Selfish Seamstress's blog regarding full waist adjustments. Just might try that on my next version of this skirt. Onward to the review.

Pattern Review (The Pros): The pattern was very easy and only required four pattern pieces: a waistband (front and back pieces) and a skirt (front and back pieces). This was also my first time putting in a side zipper (required for the pattern), but it was pretty easy to do. I decided to put the side zipper in using the prickstitched lapped zipper tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch's blog. A bit time consuming, but the end product looks great.

The Cons: I didn't really have any gripes about the pattern, but it lacked any instructions on fitting a waistband that was two sizes bigger than the skirt piece. *Being sarcastic* Because every person on earth conforms to the standard measurement that are used to make patterns so they don't need to add instructions like that.

Did it come out like the pattern picture? Yes, except I added some black pipping.

Do you need to make adjustments? Yes. According to the pattern my hip measurement place me between a size 14 and 16, but the waist measurement placed me closer to a size 18. Not wanting to have a huge unflattering skirt that looked it would swallow me up. I made a size 14 skirt with a size 16 waistband. Sadly this would not fit on my waist comfortably (I blame motherhood for my waist line), but the skirt width was perfect for me. I ended up having to recut the waistband as a size 18 and readjusted the width of the pleats to fit on the new waistband. In the future I might cut a size 16 waistband and do a full waist adjustment as detailed on the Selfish Seamstress's blog.

Pattern Level: Beginner to intermediate. A beginner might have problems when it comes to hemming the skirt. Pleated skirts are notoriously hard to alter. At least for me. I suggest making sure the length is where you want it before you cut out the skirt, because its harder to make sure its even once its attached to the waistband.

What could I have done better? Other than doing a full waist adjustment on the waistband I would do a better job sewing my piping. You can see where I sewed too close to the piping. I would also choose a heavier fabric because the quilting cotton seems to lightweight and tends to puff out.

Would you sew this pattern again? Yes, I really like pleated skirts so I am determined to make this skirt pattern work for me.

Pattern: New Look 6981 purchased from Joann.

Fabric: Quilting cotton from Joann.

Techniques: Prickstitched lapped zipper, piping, pleats and bias tape.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Vintage Simplicity 7500 Bonus Basic Pattern from 1967

Back in February I purchased Simplicity 7500 pattern circa 1967, which is a bonus basic pattern composed of a bodice, optional long/short sleeves and a-line/straight skirt. I was hoping to use this pattern as a sloper for myself after a few adjustments here and there. Of course in my world nothing really goes the way I want it. Of course it’s not the patterns fault. I’ve mentioned this time and time again how my choice in fabric always comes back to bite me in the arse! Fabric Mart was having a 75% Sale on their stretch rayon a few months back so I purchased several yards. The prints were lovely and for $2.50/yard I was sold! Of course when Mom took a look at them she shook her head and stated that although the fabric and print looked nice that I would still have a hard time sewing it. Of course Mom never explained why, but shook her head at me as her way of saying “you’ll see!” First, I am not a mind reader and second I love a challenge. Especially if that challenge is to prove my mom wrong and to wow her with my sewing skills. I think you may already guess where this is going. Read below to find out more.
Front View
Pattern Review (The Pros): The pattern wasn’t complicated and consisted of a bodice that zipped down the center back, skirt and optional sleeves. I liked how the pattern was designed with lots of options where you can mix and match the pieces.

Back View
The Cons: Be warned that you will be sewing darts in your sleep after your done sewing this dress because this pattern requires twelve of them. The bodice itself contains eight darts. This was a pain for me since IMHO marking darts is the second most tedious sewing task second to sewing them. Especially if you are marking darts on fabric that doesn’t take well to chalk or disappearing ink. I guess having twelve darts can be a pro too since you have many places where you can adjust the patter to fit you.

Another gripe about the pattern is that the pattern has almost no ease to it. I’ve sewed several vintage patterns from the 60s and 70s and found that size 16 patterns and some size 14 patterns had a lot of ease added to them. Since the pattern was identified as a basic pattern I assumed that it had the same design ease added to it. I’ve read before that slopers are designed to be skin tight and that you are suppose to add wearing ease and seam allowance to them to make it wearable. I wasn’t expecting to do that with a basic pattern, but perhaps I should. Another assumption gone wrong. So if you are using this pattern than I suggest making a muslin (i.e. mock up) and start by adding a ½ inch to the side seams.
Side View
Did it come out like the pattern picture? Yes, with exception that my front bodice darts don’t line up exactly with my front skirt darts. I must have sewn my front darts a little bit too big, but you can’t tell with print. At least the back bodice and skirt darts match up.

Do you need to make adjustments? Yes, because the pattern was tight on me I had to sew my side seams at ½ inch instead of the recommended 5/8. I shortened the skirt and ended up making it a mini skirt instead of the intended knee length skirt. After wearing it the other day I feel that the dress is a bit tight around the midsection and tad short.

Pattern Level: Beginner to intermediate. I’ve previously warned that there are lots of darts to sew so you really need to be precise. Especially when you are trying to line up your bodice and skirt darts, which might be tough for a beginner.

What could I have done better? Not use the stretch rayon fabric. Okay it’s really not the fabrics fault. I wasn’t prepared with all the fraying and shedding the rayon fabric did while I was trying to sew it. I spent two days trying to sew the fabric pieces together because it frayed, moved around and then frayed some more. I mean I pinned the fabric together-it frayed, I ironed the fabric-it frayed, I sewed the fabric together-it frayed, I looked at the fabric and it frayed. I was so frustrated that I wanted to cry. I let the dress sit there for three weeks because I dreaded sewing the hem because of all the fraying. I didn’t want to mess it up so in the end I begged my mom to hem it. Boo hoo! The experienced novice ran to her mommy crying and begged her to finish the dress! Later on I found out that you can apply this liquid called “Fray Block” to the fabric to stop it from fraying. Too little too late there!

Would you sew this pattern again? I will definitely try again with lots of adjustments because the basic pattern looks very versatile and I would love to make other pieces of clothing using the pattern. Also since I am a glutton for punishment I might use another stretch rayon fabric, but with fabric block applied to prevent fraying.

Pattern: Simplicity 7500 circa 1967 purchased from Dawns Divine Finds on Etsy.

Fabric: Stretch rayon from Fabric Mart.

Techniques: Darts and invisible zipper.