Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Question For Butterick

As I browsed Butterick during the current $4.99 pattern sale, I kept noticing this dress, B5029:
My thought process went something like this: Oooohhh, it's so pretty! *But you really don't need another midriff band dress pattern.* But look at the lovely graceful pleating in the bodice and midriff! *But where would you wear such a thing, you frivolous goose?* But I really want to make it in that spring green! *But the other version is a halter, and you don't like halters.* I've altered halters before, so phbthblth, sensible self. At which point my sensible self and my pattern-craving self got into a big 'ol hair-pulling catfight that ended with me deciding to pass it up, but just barely. Having selected a few other patterns, I decided to browse the See 'N Sew Patterns, and lo and behold I found this:
It's the exact same flipping dress, amiright? So why does one of these normally retail for $16.99 and one for $2.99? What is the difference? Is there really $14 worth of difference in these two patterns? Did someone at Butterick mislable something? And why do I keep having dreams about really mean sentient zombies? Well, the last one isn't really pertinent to this blog (except I did once dream that I was trying to fight really mean sentient zombies with my sewing machine; yes, such is my subconscious. Suck on that one, Freud!), but really, am I delusional when I look at these two patterns and see the exact same dress but one pattern $14 cheaper than the other? Both have a halter and spaghetti version, ruched bodice, ruched midriff band, and gathered below-the-knee skirt. Both the spaghetti versions are even in shades of pale green! I think the only possible rational explanation for this involves evil-mirror universe pattern designers and a complex conspiracy to drive observant seamstresses insane using a combination of nearly-identical patterns with radically different price points and a fabric-manufacturer blood-oath to only manufacture cute prints in quilting cottons that wrinkle if you look at them funny. The reasons for this nefarious plot are unknown but may involve garden gnomes and the people with the button eyes from Coraline. If that isn't it, I got nothin'.

BTW, I decided on the cheaper version of this pattern. Somehow, the $2 made all the difference, and the whole thing is rendered moot now anyway because all their patterns are now $2.99.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Fabric

So, I came home Saturday from having my senior pictures taken and was completely exhausted. However, I perked up instantly when I saw that while I was cavorting around Berthoud, Denver, and Allens Park with my brother, my Fabric.com order had come in! Yay! I got some seriously cool fabric, and I actually have quite specific plans for at least two of the pieces.
The first was this lovely pink boucle suiting, which is quite soft and drapes beautifully. It's also about three shades darker than it looks in the photo- it's pink, really, I promise:
I'm going to make Simplicity 3673 (http://www.simplicity.com/p-1968-missmiss-petite-dresses.aspx, linked because I still can't figure out how to use Simplicty website pics), out of it, the knee-length slim-skirted version. I think it is going to be adorable!

The second was this nice seersucker plaid:
I've been craving a short-ish pleated plaid skirt like nobody's business for a long time, but it seems that they come in two lengths, Sexy Schoolgirl Stripper and Dowdy Fiftyish Secretary, neither of which exactly suits my needs or wants, so I'm making my own. I'm just going to take the yoke from another skirt pattern, then cut rectangles and pleat them before attaching. I think it should be easy, and super-cute when it's done.

The other two are both the same slinky stretch acetate I got so much of before, because I loved it so much. I don't have any definite plans for them, but I'm leaning towards something '60s styled for the floral and something simpler and more elegant for the brown, which is a lot prettier than the picture.

And finally, this one I actually got with my last order but forgot to post. Isn't it pretty?

For some boneheaded reason, I only got 2 yards. Good thing I have several cute dress patterns that only use 2 yards, or I would be a sad panda indeed.
I can't wait to start sewing all of this up, but first I have to make a red-white-and-blue dress for a chorale performance on Saturday. I can't wait to show it to you all, I think it's going to be adorable!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A Funeral For The First LBD

So, my LBD is officially kaput. I'm not so sure this is the pattern's fault as it is mine, but I'll blame the pattern anyway, 'cause I like to defer responsibility like that. I'm not quite sure how, but all of my lining pieces seem to have ended up different lengths than my bodice pieces, and that never ends well:

It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but in some places the bodice lining is seriously about half an inch shorter than the bodice front, and even on the bodice front the pieces were different lengths. Again, I tried to be careful, and I honestly have no idea how that happened, but it did.
Also, I cut the bodice lining backwards, forcing me to either completely redo it or stitch it on so that the seams ended up on the outside instead of the inside. I was too excited to get the dress done to completely redo it, so:

I suppose I could've fixed these things, but ultimately I think I could sew a better dress in the time it would take me to recut the lining pieces, rip out the seams, and restitch it because this fabric was a major PITA when it came to taking out seams. It was really thin, cheap fabric, and it tore and got runs in it like nobody's business. I found a little sticker on it that said "Alco .60", so I guess it was 60 cents a yard at the Alco in Fort Morgan before it went out of business. You get what you pay for! Even though I'm a little frustrated that this dress didn't turn out, I'm not all that down about it. I learned to be more careful about matching when I cut out pieces, to double-check that my lining faces in the right direction when a bodice requires directionality, and that really thin fabric should be used for lining instead of actual whole garments. I didn't ruin any good fabric, and I can use what's left over as lining and facing on other projects. So it was a failure, but one of the learning-experience kind.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

LBD Part Deux

I've been working some more on my LBD, and I think this is definitely going to be what some sewists call a "wearable muslin"- it has a couple mistakes that I'm glad I've made with cheap not-particularly-special plain black fabric rather than my cool bat knit. I don't know if I am loving this pattern as much as I thought I would, but I guess I'll have to actually finish the dress to find out! (The straps aren't as cute as I thought they would be.) Oh well- if this doesn't work out, it was only $3.99. I have a similar pattern in New Look 6699 (which was actually the pattern I used for last year's prom dress; it's partially visible in my profile picture on the top right corner of the page, and one of these days I will get around to doing a proper post on it!). Anyway, here is the pattern:

I think the skirt is a little fuller in the McCall's than in the full skirt here, but there isn't much difference otherwise. I'll definitely be making myself another all-purpose LBD, probably in the not-too-distant future because the fabric turned out to be a good deal sheerer than I originally thought and I think I'll have to wear a slip under it, which sort of takes away from the super-comfy, throw-it-on-and-go appeal a really good versatile dress ought to have. (Holy Run-On Sentence, Batman, but I'm too lazy to reword. I find it easier to acknowledge and move on with life.) If I do, I'll probably be using this pattern rather than the McCalls', because I also found it easier to work with. More on the LBD hopefully tomorrow; I want to finish it so I can wear it Thursday with my fab stripey socks to Chorale practice and feel awesome while I sing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Little Black Dress

So, I actually have a couple of these, both RTW, already. One is an empire-waisted spaghetti strap in a semi-sheer fabric with sequined flowers on the skirt. It's adorable and comfy and I like it a lot. The other is a long-sleeved sweater dress with a low v-neck and a pencil skirt that flares and ruffles at the knee. It's one of those rare garments that looks crappy on the hanger and excellent on, rather than the reverse. It is very soft and warm, gives me a va-va-voom figure (not for nothing did Lana Turner and Jayne Mansfield et. al wear sweaters in the '50s!), and generally gets compliments every time I wear it. They're lovely LBDs, but they are both a bit formal for everyday wear and neither can really be mix-n-matched with my variety of sheer overshirts. As I start planning for college, I think more and more about reducing my wardrobe down from its current way-oversized state by adding more pieces that are really versatile. I've been thinking about making myself a simple black dress for a while now, and I found the perfect pattern in McCall's 5292.
image of M5292
Isn't it just too, too adorable? I'm a sucker for all things full-skirted because of my large hips, and I just think this has a very retro '50s cuteness about it that really can't be surpassed. The A and B patterns are ok, but what made me grab this so fast I got the wrong size and had to go back for the right one was the C pattern. I don't like the little bow they added, because it's just a leeeetle too twee and girly for my tastes, but otherwise, it's pretty much my ideal dress. The cinched midriff will bring out my small waist, the scooped neckline is flattering to medium-small boobs, and the skirt glides right over my big butt and thighs. It's simple enough to be elegant, but has enough detailing to make it interesting. (I like the gathers under the bust, for example.) I won't bother taking pictures of the first fabric I want to make this in; it's a thin black silky jersey that won't wrinkle at all and is basically indestructible but still looks (and feels!) soft and pretty. I have no idea where it came from; I think it was born in the Rubbermaid containers in our trailer, like a lot of my other older fabric. If this dress works like I hope it will, I think I'll make it in my stripey Batman fabric and my black and silver bat-print satin knit. I'll just have to see!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Starry Nights Dress AND Fabric, Yay!

Tah-dah! Ladies and germs, may I present the Starry Nights Dress, started yesterday and finished today, made exclusively by me for me! Here it is:

The photo doesn't quite look as good as the dress looks in person, which basically means that the flash reflected off the fabric in such a way as to give me some bulges that I really don't have. Oh well, c'est la vie, and I'm too lazy to make my mom take another picture. And yes, you can see my slip line in the photo. No, I really don't care-I'd rather have a slip line than a VPL! I really love this dress. The material is a silky satin knit, so it's way cool and comfortable, and I love the little sparkling stars on it- so pretty. I could not tell you where the fabric came from, but we've had it around the house for years and years. I made this dress with Simplicity 2580, which is actually the pattern I was planning on using for my prom dress before I found the Vogue one. I love the simple elegance of the twisted neck and the skimming lines the empire waist creates. I made a couple of small modifications to the pattern- I stitched up the little "keyhole" in front since it was low enough to show my bra, and I stitched the straps together in the center of the bodice back since it was originally a halter top and I really don't care for halters. I also cut the skirt back on the fold, eliminating the back seam, because I'm lazy like that and this is a pullover dress so it really doesn't need a back seam to insert the zipper in. I really liked the pattern, and I plan on using it again. The fabric was a bit of a challenge to work with- I've never used such slippery fabric before, so it was definitely challenging and I used about 500 more pins than I usually do to keep it in place. I have two more pieces of this kind of fabric to work with-one with little multicolored hearts that I plan on making a full-skirted '50s style dress out of, and one with little silver bats that I'm probably going to make up using this pattern again, because I like it that much. I'm glad to be expanding out from cotton, but at the same time I long for something that doesn't slip around like it was greased when I try to cut it!

Speaking of expanding out from cotton, I got an order from Fabric.com the other day that was almost exclusively rayon acetate slinky stretch jersey, which I think is super-awesome on account of its beautiful drape and how it doesn't wrinkle at all, ever. This is the only piece that wasn't jersey, as a matter of fact:

It's a little bit of a darker yellow than it is in person- I believe they called it "Fiesta Satin" It's really quite lovely- it's heavy and has a nice drape. It also looks pretty and formal without any of the tacky shininess you get with really cheap satin. I want to make it into something with a black lace overlay for character, I think.
These three are all the acetate jersey, and I can't wait to start making stuff out of them. I should maybe use my older fabric first, though, right? Like milk or eggs?

My favorite is the black with the little gold and silver swirls- it's just so fun and playful! I love all of 'em though, and I'll definitely be shopping from fabric.com again. They gave me a $5 coupon that expires October 31st, so I'll have to use that to convince my mom to let me make another order posthaste.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Tantalizing Preview Of Things Yet To Come

Sorry for the MIA, but I've had a buttload of schoolwork. To make up for it, I promise to have an extra special splendifferous post of awesome tomorrow. I'll be showing you my new fabric from Fabric.com and an actual completed sewing project that I started today! Aren't you all too, too excited? I thought you would be!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dress Rescue 3: Purple Velvet Dress

So, I kind of lied to you when I said that this would be last Monday. Not intentionally, but I was doing schoolwork and other important things (What? TV Tropes and the ridiculously pointless yet addicting games on Neopets are very important things to me), and so I just kept on forgetting to do this post. I'll try and do two a day for the next week to make up for it. I know, I am a Bad Blogger. *hangs head in shame*
Anyhoo, now that my self-flagellation is done, here is the candidate for Dress Rescue #3. This is a very boring dress in a very lovely fabric. It's in dark purple velvet for heaven's sake! (If you're starting to notice a pattern in my fabric obsessions, give yourself a cookie.) But look at the style:

(Apologies for the white cat hair fuzzy on the front of the dress; I didn't notice it until after I loaded the pics and I'm too lazy to redo them.) Snore. Yawn. There's nothing intrensically BAD about it, it's just so...blah. This fabric deserves a better dress! I mean, it's dark purple velvet with blue undertones, for Heaven's sake! VELVET! And PURPLE!!! The picture really doesn't do it justice:

This one has boring long sleeves, a boring cut (although I do rather like the rounded neckline), and is just generally...mundane.
Except for this rather bizarre seaming that bisects the front of the dress for no good reason:
And it, hits me at that very unflattering mid-calf length that makes my legs look short and stumpy and generally unappealing. (I'm sure that someone somewhere out there has legs that look fantastic in mid-calf stuff, and more power to 'em, but for me this length is like Kryptonite of the Legs.) So, how am I going to rescue this one? I actually love the neckline, so I'm keeping it as it is, but I'm going to sprinkle it with little tiny rhinestones for a little flavor. I'm going to cut it off at just above the knees, and restructure the sleeves so they're elbow-length and flared. I also have a little purple/blue lace hanging around that I may or may not use. It all depends on if I like it better simpler (unlikely) or want to do it all fancy as is my wont.