Tuesday, September 22, 2015

"...if you dress for it."
2015/16 Project #3
True Bias Mini Southport Dress w/ Lining

"You can have anything you want in life
if you dress for it."
-Edith Head

Last Saturday, SC's piano teacher hosted a "jam session" for the kids to practice playing with some other musicians.  SC picked "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and practiced all summer.  She was very nervous at first, but after a few trial runs, she did a great job staying at a steady tempo so that the three others (guitar, bass, drum) could play along.  It was a neat experience.

For the performance, I decided to make her a new, fun dress.  She had previously picked out a leopard print cotton from the clearance table at Hancock, and after looking around a bit, I decided to make the Mini Southport Dress by indie designer True Bias.  The clearance table fabric was a very loose weave, making it very thin, so I changed the design to add a full lining for both the bodice and the skirt, but it was simple to do.  I chose a 100% cotton fabric in beige/nude that didn't allow any light through.

First, for cutting, I had to relocate my "helper."  Then, after comparing with SC's measurements, I decided to cut a size 8 at the shoulder and chest area, and then grade out to a 10 for the waist and skirt.  I also cut the pattern pieces for the bodice front, back and the skirt out of lining as well as the leopard fabric.

To make the lining, I basically followed the directions for the bodice twice, once with the leopard, and then once with the lining.  Then, when the directions called for using bias tape around the neck and arm holes, I simply followed those directions using the lining fabric, so that the wrong side of the lining faced the wrong side of the fabric.  When I got to the bodice placket area, I folded the leopard back as instructed, and then used that edge as a guide to cut the extra off with my serger.

Once the fabric was flipped appropriately, the lining fabric would lie inside the placket perfectly. On the neckline, I understitched all the way around, and made sure it was pressed crisp.  After stitching the armholes with right sides together, I had to pull the leopard fabric through the shoulder strap to turn it so that both right sides faced out, away from each other.  Then on the armholes, unfortunately since I was doing a full lining, I was only able to understitch as far back as I could cram my presser-foot, but it ended up being almost to the shoulder seam.  

I chose not to edgestich the neckline and the armholes because I didn't want the line.  Also, since I was doing a full lining and it would be attached at the waist, I would not have to worry about a bias tape flipping up.

The making of the button placket was very simple and the instructions were clear.  I did not have any problems figuring out how to get it to lay appropriately.  The skirt and it's lining were simple as well, just a straight seam up each side.  I turned the lining wrong side to the fabric wrong side, and then attached the waistband casing to the fabric right side, and then attached all that to the right side of the bottom of the bodice.  There was a lot of fabric, with two extra layers, but I finished the seam with the serger and after pressing, it was not as bulky as I thought it might be.

The hardest part of the entire project was making the ties.  Because the leopard fabric had such a loose weave, I had to be extra careful to not tear any of the yarn and leave a hole.  It took almost an hour to get the first tie flipped right side out, but for some reason only about fifteen minutes for the second.  It may be because I started using a wooden kebab skewer to press it through!

Actually threading the ties and elastic through the waistband casing was easy compared to flipping the ties right side out.

Finishing up the dress with a hem, I cut 1 1/2 inches off the lining bottom and finished the edge with my serger, and then did the hem up 1/4 inch, and then 1 full inch.

Here is the finished inside, where the full lining is visible, plus the button placket.

And here is the final dress, front and back ...

and in the rain!!

"We live in a web of ideas ..."
2015/16 Project #2
Seamwork Akita Top

"We live in a web of ideas,
a fabric of our own making."
-Joseph Chilton Pearce

I am new to the world of downloadable patterns, and I wanted something simple to try for my first one.  The "Akita" top from Seamwork magazine seemed perfect, as it is just one pattern piece.  The boxy, drapey style is also very much in fashion right now. 

The pattern was easy to print out and tape together.  However, the way it is supposed to fit on the body, with some definition around the bust, and then drape, would make it look like I was wearing a tent.  The size I was supposed to cut based on my bust measurement would leave a fifteen inch difference between my actual waist size and the finished waist size.  Instead, I decided to cut the front of the pattern from the back, perform a 2" Full Bust Adjustment (FBA), and then tape it back together and cut the size 8, matching my upper bust measure instead.

The splicing and spreading of the FBA was actually much simpler than I thought it would be, and since I didn't actually change anything on the shoulder area, it taped back together well.  Since it is just one giant pattern piece, I did not have a large enough table space to lay it out and cut, so I ended up using the floor and moving my cutting mat around.  This was also my first attempt at using pattern weights and a rotary cutter, and it is SO MUCH EASIER to go around curves than using pins and scissors.  I don't think I will ever go back!  However, it will be even better when our new house is finished and I have room for a large cutting table in my sewing and craft room.

I used a 100% rayon challis fabric I found on the clearance table at Hancock, as I thought the drape would look nice.  I essentially was going to make a potentially wearable muslin, and if I liked the fit and style, make another in a Girl Charlee rayon challis fabric that I have had in my stash for over a year.

Unfortunately, this boxy style just looks terrible on me.  While the top went together easily, it just isn't very flattering.  I attempted to add a sweater, but that didn't help.  What I really need is more definition at the waistline.  I think I may buy a white belt to see if that helps, but I am not sure it will ever look as cute as it does on the pattern model.  I am not sure the neckline will ever lay flat, either, though cutting the size at my upper bust measure should have fixed that.

All in all, it was a great, simple pattern to try my hand at printing, taping and using a downloadable pattern.  The instructions were clear, and on a different body shape, this might be a great top.

10 FOR 10: Trip #8
Southern California

"My dearest friend, if you don't mind
I'd like to sit by your side
Where we can gaze into the stars
And sit together, now and forever
For it is plain as anyone can see
We're simply meant to be"
-"Finale," The Nightmare Before Christmas

Trip number eight on the 10 FOR 10 was an unexpected tag-along trip to southern California that happened to coincide with our actual tenth anniversary.  AC had some work to do in the Newport Beach area, and then took a few days off for the rest of the week to go to Disneyland, visit family, and play on the beach.  SC and I spent the days while AC was working relaxing on the beach, walking the shops, and having leisurely meals.  We also got to spend a good amount of time with my family who lives in the area, which was great.  It is hard living so far away from them and only getting to see them once or so times each year.

We spent the day of our tenth anniversary at Disneyland, and wore these awesome shirts I had done custom with our anniversary date on the back from Otherworld Crafts on Etsy.  I could not recommend this shop more, as the shirts were done beautifully and faster than I could have expected.  We all had a great time, and we love being big kids while we are at Disney.

We also spent an evening at the Hollywood Bowl, listening to the LA Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, which was beautiful and gorgeous.  They played Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, complete with fireworks.  Unfortunately, SC fell asleep just before fireworks started, but she had a good time up to that point.  We had seats high up, which was an interesting hike up the mountain, but the view was gorgeous.

We finished up the trip with a visit to the Discovery Cube in Orange County the morning before our flight back home.  It was a neat space, and I wish we had more time there.  We will definitely have to spend another day there next time we visit.

All in all, we had a fantastic, fun and relaxing time, and it was a great way to celebrate the day/week of our anniversary.

In case you missed the first post ...

In July 2015, AC and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, and previously had been discussing what sort of big trip to take.  However, it occurred to me that we typically take some pretty big trips every year, sometimes as a tag-along when AC works, and sometimes just using all the points and miles he has amassed from his work travels.  I couldn't help but wonder if another trip would really be that special and different.  So, I came up with the idea that instead of just one more trip, we should take ten trips to celebrate our years together.  I told AC, and told him that it didn't have to be just him and me (because SC is also part of our lives, obviously), but that I wanted to take ten purposeful trips, that are focused on celebrating us (and our family) as much as we can.  I told him that they didn't all have to be long or complicated trips, though we had already talked about a few places that will be, and we can start in our tenth year (July 2014) and run through the end of 2015 so that we don't take too much time away from work.  Hopefully these ten trips make this a celebratory year, one that stands out for us as we look back (in another ten years).

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