Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What I've been sewing lately

First of all, let me thank you for welcoming me back in such a nice and warm way. Believe me, I missed you and missed blogging a lot. I especially want to thank all the new-comers and delurkers. I'm glad that you are here and hope you'll visit and "speak" often. So a hearty welcome to Dei, Catherine, Rose, Gwen, Lelah, Ingrid, Chris, Christy, another Rose, Tracey.

And now let me show you what I made lately, only the skirt was made during my silence period, the rest was done after that. I wanted to sew dresses because I love dresses and I have few. It's more versatile to have blouses and skirts for the office. But I decided to remedy that, with the help of my beloved Burda - I love this magazine, the patterns are so well drafted and I rarely need to do any changes at all besides a petite alteration.

This skirt that I made (please forgive the very poor quality of the picture, I tried to lighten it in Photoshop so you can see the topstitching better, but with very bad results; you'll see the close-up which is a lot better; as I've told you before, my camera takes strange pictures when on self-timer and in artificial light) was the beginning of a capsule that I wanted to make. A summer capsule inspired by this mix of colours in a Burda magazine:



I love these strong colours mixed together and I am going to sew that capsule at some point (not now, because the capsule will be rather for office and everyday life and right now I want to sew for my holiday at the seaside!). The colours are going to be burnt orange, purple, green and turquoise blue. I have fabric for 6 tops and 6 bottoms, plus a viscose chiffon in a print with all the colours mentioned above.

Without further ado, here's the skirt - Burda WOF 02/2008, skirt 111:



This skirt being an important piece in my colourful capsule, I decided to topstitch the bands with the colours of my wardrobe - green, orange, purple and turquoise. I used topstitching thread for that. Unhappily when I graded down from 36 to 34 it seems I didn't grade the front band very well (see it in the close-up below) and the last lines of topstitching don't go all the way around but stop somewhere in the middle (the band was a bit wider at the center than at the end, arghh, why didn't I think of checking that after grading down??).



The photo includes one of my favorite bags, that will go nicely with the entire capsule. And here's a beautiful necklace that will also go with everything.



The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen. A word of caution if you think of making this skirt: you need quite a bit of stretch in your fabric because it is a pencil skirt with no back slit or pleat and it is quite tight around your knees. I like the skirt as it is and it is not uncomfortable, but the next one will have a center back seam and a slit or kick pleat of some sort.

The next dress is a very easy dress from Burda WOF 07/2008, dress 120.



It is made of silk jersey, a beautiful panel bought of UK ebay. This was my first time working with silk jersey and I strongly recommend reading this factsheet on emmaonesock. Very useful tips. If only I read that before pre-washing the fabric! In my ignorance I line-dried the fabric instead of drying it flat and I managed to distort it. It took a very careful steaming and pressing to get it back in shape. See, I told you practice makes perfect! After so many weeks without sewing, I made a mistake at almost every garment that I've sewn.

The front is cut on fold, but the back has a center seam. I wanted to match the motifs on the remaining pieces as well as possible.



And here's a close-up of the not perfect but alright match in the back, as well as the teardrop beads that I used to embellish the end of the string that ties the dress around the neck.



The upper front is self-lined and I also inserted bra cups. I cannot imagine wearing such a dress without a bra and I don't like strapless bras so much. I always feel they are not exactly secure on me (maybe because I'm a B cup). Normally I would have lined or underlined the entire dress but this is a dress for dancing and for hot summers (summer is really hot in Bucharest) therefore I didn't want a tricot lining or underlining and I didn't have silk jersey to line it. So the dress is left unlined.

I also inserted clear elastic in the back. I did remember to stretch the elastic a few times before inserting it (to eliminate some of the stretch) but I still would have liked it to hug my body better especially after some hours of wearing. So next time I will insert regular elastic, or clear elastic, but sewn to the already hemmed back - this way, the clear elastic is in direct contact with the skin and it tends to adhere to it (I know because there's clear elastic sewn to the top of the cups, with this purpose in mind).

To insert the bra cups, I used this very useful tutorial by Diva Gigi on the Sewing Divas blog. I attached the cups only partially (the black lines in the photo below show you where the zigzag stitching stops) because I needed to check if the cups won't prevent me from sewing the ring. I had indeed to cut a bit from the front part in order to accommodate the ring.



Despite the need to match the motifs and the insertion of bra cups, it still was a quick dress. I love knit projects, they are so rewarding! Tomorrow I'll show you two other dresses, both knit. You can easily whip one in one evening.

34 comments:

Katrin said...

Dear Laura,
so good to read from you again. And it is so amazing what you are creating despite having such a busy time. The skirt and dress are absolutely beautiful and so are the colours you chose for your holiday capsule.

Best wishes,
Katrin

Marji said...

So Happy to see that you've found time to sew again too.
Love the colored topstitching on the skirt - what a great silhouette for you and lovely detail.
I also love the silk jersey print. The engineered prints such as this one, and the ones that Cidell and Gigi have been working with lately are fabulous. And that dress is just plain Hot on you - your hubby must love it.

Marji said...

you should go enter this into the one-fabric Knit contest on PR.

Shannon said...

Nice to see you back at the sewing machine. Your two new garments are fabulous!

Audrey said...

I am glad to see you are sewing again. I love the dress and the way you used the print so creatively. It is so unique. Isn't silk jersey wonderful? And it is starting to be more readily available to home sewers.

Audrey

kasizzle said...

Glad you are back.
The skirt and the dress are both beautiful!

Ingrid said...

Wow, your silk jersey dress took my breath away!!! Stunning work as usual, and thanks for the tips and links. I want to make a similar style of dress and this information will be really helpful. It's great to see you sewing again! Can't wait to see your new wardrobe!

KayB said...

I'm swallowing hard - I have to admit. I love the skirt (and the handbag!!!), the top-stitching is a great inspiration to me!
Well, what can I say about the dress. I only can agree with Marji, you should put it into the One-Fabric-Knit contest on PR... but then I don't even have to bother participating! :-) Great work Laura!

Jill B said...

Wow. That's a great comeback post, and all of your stuff is incredible! I especially love the dress, and am so jealous that you found such a perfect fabric for it.

Adrienne said...

I just adore your skirt and dress!!!!

Rose A. said...

so i must admit that i have been one of the people admiring your work from afar. You do a great job and your taste is amazing! thanks so much for the great tips especially the link to the silk jersey knit since I am going to attempt to create my own knit dress.

Christy said...

Laura,
Everything looks beautiful

Tany said...

Oh, Laura, you're a sewing genius! What a come back! The skirt is beyond gorgeous and I miss the words for qualifying your dress, which is so fabulous and sexy, to state the minimum! I love it, the colors/print are so beautiful! It's perfect!

renee/cidell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllisonC said...

Great to see you back sewing again. The multicoloured topstitching on the skirt is a brilliant idea and the dress is absolutely stunning. If there were 40 pounds less of me I would copy it!

Lashell said...

Welcome back Laura. You were really missed. That dress is gorgeous. Great choice in fabric and pattern. It makes me think of a seaside vacay

Lindsay T said...

I love that dress on you: perfection!

Leslie said...

I can't believe you got all that done even while overwhelmed with other things, amazing! The topstitching on the skirt is unbelievable good, and your print placement on the silk jersey is fabulous! Enjoy your new clothes and welcome back to blogland. :-)

Michele said...

Wow!! Your projects are beautiful...and they look beautiful on you!

If I was to put on your lovely silk jersey....I would look 4ft high and 4 ft wide. : (

Super job and just know you look gorgeous!!!!

Magic said...

Laura, love your blog. I always get inspired when I read it. And thanks for turning me on to Burda Magazine - what a great pattern resource. Do you know how I would get a copy of the patterns from past issues that you showcase in your blog - like your skirt pattern?

Magic.

Erica B. said...

Laura, you look fabulous and everything is fantastic!

Nina said...

Laura, i´m so glad that your are sewing again! Your new garments are perfect for sommer.

~ Kimberlee ~ said...

Ok...you better have a man when you go out wearing that dress! LOL! Too cute!

Melissa said...

Love both the skirt and the dress! :-)

Vicki said...

That colourful capsule will be fun to see develop. The skirt is great. Shame about the topstitching but I am sure no one else will realise that it is a "mistake".

The dress is lovely too!

Rose said...

Laura, it's great to see your projects! I like what you did with the skirt--the topstitching really highlights the design. I like to see your interpretations of the designs. I like that skirt and I've been thinking about grading up that pattern so I can sew it. Of course it will look totally different on me. I can't wait to see the rest of your capsule.

Rose/Masouma Rose

susan said...

Laura, You are such an inspiration! What an eye for color and style - It is so refreshing to see such talent. The dress is amazing and the topstitching on the skirt is a great detail. Stretch sateen is one of my favorite fabrics for skirts and cropped pants. Glad to see life has allowed you to find a little sewing time again.

Melissa said...

As always Laura, Teriffic! You are so inspiring. I'm happy you are back sewing.

Melissa

Christina said...

Both pieces are incredible, as all of your work is. Great idea to add the bra cups in the dress. I'm considering making that one too. And I see you added some kind of bead or embellishment to the ends of the neck ties - very nice.

laura said...

Wow! Great job but I love that halter dress!!! Very hot!

Ai said...

The orientation of the print on the knit dress is really nice. The dress looks really good.

Linda said...

Great looking skirt and you look fab in this dress!

Dei said...

That dress is so gorgeous. I have to make it now. And the skirt is to die for! I love the topstitching treatment you did.

mirela said...

Your dress is my favorite now! I'm speechless and everyone else took the words out of my mouth already!
Thank you for the link on attaching the bra cups and the one for working with silk jersey, I love silk in general, where did you find this gorgeous fabric???