Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Music Class Blouse & Skirt........a Pattern Review and an Upcycle, too!

The Music Class outfit from Oliver + S is my current favorite pattern, both for ease of construction and adorable design!  This outfit is just darling!

music class blouse + skirt sewing pattern

And...........in real life..............

I picked up the fabric for the blouse months ago, because I KNEW I would buy this pattern soon.  It is City Weekend Corner Florist Pink, I think?

I also knew I wanted to make the skirt in denim, so Ava could wear it with many shirts.  However, I am kind of a tightwad when it comes to fabric, so, even though I splurged on the blouse at $10/yd., I could not make myself pay that much for denim.


Well, I think it's because I couldn't find that City Weekend fabric anywhere on sale, but just HAD to have it.  Denim, on the other hand, is readily available at your local thrift store in the form of an outdated dress.

For $3.45.  :D

This is where the Upcycle began..........


This dress was in great condition, and had just enough fabric for this skirt.  It was a women's size XL.  I even used the existing hemline, but only because I needed to make the skirt a little longer.  It also had lovely pearl snaps on it, which I was hoping could be salvaged for another project.  I'm disappointed that I don't think that is going to be possible or a valuable use of my time.  However, if you've ever done it, please share how! The scraps are about to go into File 13........

I made the blouse first, and was a bit disappointed with the sizing.  Here, you can see how boxy it looks.  And short.  I made a size 12, even though I know very well that Ava is tall and slim.  My thought process was that I wanted her to be able to wear it a long time.  She could easily have worn an 8, lengthened, but I was concerned it would be too narrow in the shoulders.  I will have to do a little research the next time I make this and see which would be the best size to make and modify.

She is showing you how much excess fabric there is on the sides.
There was about 12" of ease.  Too much for this blouse.

I thought about adding a slight ruffle to the hem to lengthen it, but decided to take it in at the sides first.  I serged off about 3" from each side.  Funny, then it didn't look so short on her!  I think the extra width was making it hang funny.

I decided to hem it and just see how it looked paired with the skirt.

A close-up of the pintucks......

The skirt was so fun to make!  I was just giddy the whole time and kept saying, "Wow!  This looks so professional!"

She likes the pockets.  :)

The denim was a medium weight and was very easy to sew through.  I worried how the pleats would turn out with a heavier fabric, but they look great!

Those of you who have made this skirt before may notice an extra panel at the top of the side panel.  Uh.......yeah..........that was a flub on my part.  I lengthened the skirt a couple inches, but my sewing math really stinks.  I calculated how much length to add to both the front and side panels, but somehow the sides ended up too short.  Doh!

Not having enough fabric leftover for a new cut, I had to create new little panels to add to the top to make it long enough.  Goodness gracious.  Well, I really don't think anyone would ever notice if they weren't familiar with the pattern already, so I just added more topstitching to make it look "on purpose".

That's how I roll.  Well, first I freak out a little bit and panic that I'll have to start all over with new fabric, but then I calm down and figure it out.  :)

This pattern was very easy to sew.  I think my end product looks just like the picture on the pattern--so professional!  I made both pieces in a size 12, took 3" off each side of the blouse and lengthened the skirt by 2".  I will definitely sew it again (I'm thinking a white eyelet blouse....) and highly recommend this pattern.  Even a beginner would have success with this pattern, though I might suggest starting with the skirt.

Oliver + S has the cutest patterns...........you really must check them out!  They also have digital downloads available for many of the patterns for those of you who like instant gratification.  But I wouldn't know anything about that.........

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A dress for me! Simplicity 0269

Simplicity 0269 Amazing Fit,  "The Wrap Dress"

I saw this pattern at Joann's last week and really liked it.  It calls for stretch knits.  In fact, I almost bought the very same fabric to make it up in, but chickened out!

I can do that with fabric.

I carried it around for a while and even looked at it draped around me in front of  a mirror they had in the store, but finally decided I would likely never try a dress on in the store if it was that color green and probably shouldn't spend so much on it not really knowing how I'd like it on me.

And that's how I talk myself out of lovely things.

So, I found this "black lace" poly/spandex stretch knit in the Red Tag section for $6 a yard instead!  It really is much more "me".

I wore a black cami under it as it is a bit low cut for my taste.

I found this fabric an absolute bear to cut!  It moves if you breath near it.

I used a dull rotary cutter to cut it out.  Hmm....maybe the dull blade constantly snagging the fabric added to my difficulty.  You think?  I have since replaced that dull blade and have reveled in it's smooth-as-butter performance ever since.  Gee, it's the little things.  :)

Based on the pattern measurements, I made a size 14 "curvy fit" and graded up in the hip area.  Because "curvy"  just isn't curvy enough for me.  I had to laugh when I saw the curvy fit was only an inch wider than the regular fit.  I would definitely need more than an inch!

See what I mean?

Once I had the fabric cut, it went together so quickly!  Well, quickly for me.  I am slow, so it took me about 4 hours start to finish (including cutting).   If you are a speedster, you'd probably finish in a couple of hours.

I just used a straight stitch and stretched the fabric ever so slightly while stitching.  I found this to be better than using a stretch stitch, zig zag, or overedge stitch.  Go figure.  I didn't even finish the raw edges.  Knits are so great that way.

Of course, that was also before I had a serger!  I will likely be using it to do all the sewing on knits in the future.  Love that thing!  Thank you, Jackie!

Overall, I am quite pleased with the results!  Not bad for my first dress for me, huh?

I would label this dress as EASY.

I should also tell you the pattern calls for basting the dress wrong sides together first, then pinning any adjustments, picking out the basting stitches, and re-sewing the entire thing.

I did NOT do that.

I just sewed it up, tried it on and figured I'd pick out any trouble spots if there were any.  Can you believe there weren't?  My sewing mojo would have been severely wounded if I had followed those directions and then had to pick out a million stitches when there were no adjustments to be made!

Good thing I'm a rebel.

I think this dress would be flattering for so many figures.  I do wish I'd made it just a bit longer (I already added 2"), but that's just how I like my dresses.


My 9 year old little boy kept snapping pictures just as I would say, "Did you take it???"  He smirked everytime.  Wise-guy.

Now I want to go back and buy that green fabric I chickened out of buying and make another!