Friday, March 11, 2016

StyleArc Kate dress

I've been looking for a casual but stylish dress that I could wear when I went out anywhere other than an audience with the queen. And I think this dress does the trick. Maybe I could even have an audience with the queen as it is the Kate Dress.

I bravely bought my fabric online without getting a swatch first and I wasn't disappointed. It's Impressionistic Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics and it is unbelievably soft.  I prewashed it in the washing machine on delicate cycle with cold water. There is a 26 inch repeat so I bought extra fabric (4y instead of 2.8y) but it was way more than I needed.  It was a little difficult to cut out as the fabric didn't hang perfectly straight. The straight grain was on the pattern correctly so I ignored the 'hang' issue and cut it on the grain matching up the fabric pattern everywhere including the sleeves.
I thought about eliminating the tucks on the right front because I thought the print might look weird but I kept the tucks and I think it looks fine. I also kept the tucks on the sleeve and the tie in the back.

Instead of the tearaway Vilene and elastic along the neckline, I used 1/2-inch Sewkey knit staytape that I bought through Nancy's Notions. I fused it onto the wrong side of the edge, turned the edge in 3/8 inch and topstitched at 1/4 inch (3mm stitch length). I used 1/4-inch clear elastic tape to stabilize the shoulder seams, sewing them onto the back SA with most of the width of the tape on the SA side.

For all the main seams, I used my Brother overlocker with 4 threads (matching Gutermann polyester thread in left needle, beige overlocker thread in the other 3), differential feed at 1.2, stitch W 6mm, L 3mm and a 75 stretch needle. One little tip: when topstitching the front edges where the belt has been attached, make sure the belt is pulled away into it's final position for tying it before doing the topstitching. I wasn't thinking and didn't do that so had to take out the topstitching at the belt and redo it.

Conclusions: This dress fits perfectly and is so comfortable I could sleep in it. Maybe I better make a rayon jersey nightgown! The hang issue (see above) was not a problem at all. I wore it last night for the first time and my only complaint is that the nor'wester with gusts up to 100 k/h is not an optimal situation for a wrap dress! I would happily make this dress again.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

A Few Quick Sews

Quick Sew #1
Simplicity 7869
Pattern from my stash dated 1968!! Yipes, I really must be getting old. Can't remember which version or what material I used back then. But I bought a cute cotton/lycra print at The Fabric Store in Christchurch that was mostly purple (I never wear purple) and decided to use it on this skirt pattern. 
I made View 5, 25 1/2 inch waist - same size I made in '68! I used a 0.5mmL, 2.5W zigzag fro the seams and then finished them with a 3-thread serge on my overlocker. Although not in the instructions, I underlined the waistline facing. The pattern says to sew the side opening edges of the facing before putting in the zipper but in retrospect, it would have been better to wait til I put in the zipper to do it.

Quick Sew #2
I then bought some 'First Class' viscose/spandex from Harald's Fabrics in Christchurch and made a Sewaholic Renfrew top View A but with 3/4 sleeves to go with the skirt. Of course, the best colour I could find was purple - so now I truly do wear purple! I prewashed the fabric in a cold hand wash.  I used a Janome blue tip needle and tried the Sewaholic's recommendation of a zigzag stitch (1mmW, 2.5mmL) and then overlocked the edges on my Brother overlocker using a ballpoint 70 needle. I'm not pear shaped (I'm 8 bust, 6 waist, 2 hip per pattern!) but I made B8, W8, H6 and it worked fine.  I'm very short waisted so I took out 1 inch at the waist and shortened the hem by 1 1/2 inches (measuring from the size 2 line). I sewed 1/4 inch staytape onto the back seam allowances at the shoulder with just a little going into the actual seam. For the ZZ around the neck, I used 4W, 2L.

Here's how it turned out. I love the top but any wrinkles in the skirt show through the shirt. The skirt pattern called for twill tape on the waist, which I used, but I don't really like it - feels too tight when I sit down. One of the threads has popped already on the waistband of the top so I guess I should have either used a shorter stitch length or just used the overlocker for the seams.

Quick Sew #3
McCalls 7290 jacket, view C, size medium. I bought a lightweight viscose/lycra knit from Fabric Vision in Christchurch. It has a black and white print on one side and 
solid black on the other. I prewashed the fabric on cold in the washing machine.  
I used a 75 stretch needle on my Janome sewing machine and Brother overlocker. I followed the directions as printed, shortened the bodice by 3/4 inch and ended up with a dressing gown (aka bathrobe). Should have made a small I guess! So I folded the sleeves up 2 3/4 inches and made cuffs. I did this by cutting off >1/2 of the back SA, folding the front SA over it and topstitching for the bottom 5 1/2 inches of the sleeve seam. I then pinked the hem edge, folded it over towards the right/print side, then pressed and topstitched it. Then I folded up the cuff and tacked it.

For the bottom edge, I cut off 2 1/2 inches at the back increasing to 4 1/2 inches off at the front. Then rather then just pinking the front and bottom edges, I folded them over to the inside along the bottom edge to approximately where the front edge starts to roll and then tapered to no fold and folded in the opposite direction for the front edges. It turned out fairly well and isn't too obvious where I transitioned. I don't think I'll make this pattern again though. I always seem to be fussing with where the collar and front edges fold. It might have worked better in a slightly heavier, less stretchy fabric. The pattern called for  'Fleece, Sweatshirt Fleece, Jerseys, Cotton Knits, Interlock, Sweater Knits'.