September 9, 2016

M6559 Visits San Juan

At the end of June we left on an epic vacation.  I'll post just pictures and tell you about that soon - promise.  I just realized we haven't even been back for 2 months yet - but it feels like vacation was years ago!  

Like just about every person on the planet who makes their own clothing - I had to make some new dresses right before we left.  The week before I made my very first McCalls 6559 (this isn't it - but this was the first one that got photographed in San Juan)

San Juan, Puerto Rico was amazing!  We loved the island and would love to go back.  We stayed in Old San Juan and didn't have a car, so all of our exploring happened on foot and we only got lost a couple of times!

As so many of my makes seem to be - this one was inspired by Carolyn.   She made several M6559 last summer.  I love how easy and cool these dresses are and they can be dressed up or down with your shoes, cardigan or shawl and jewelry. 

Because I only packed for a week - and did laundry on vacation and we were gone for almost 3 weeks - my clothes got worn quite a bit while we were on vacation, but these pictures were all taken in San Juan - but on 2 different days. 

The first time it was worn, we were just wandering around town.  We might have done some shopping or sight seeing (because the entire trip involved shopping and sight seeing). 

So - there is nothing earth shattering to tell you about this pattern.  I did the easy version - 2 pieces and other than adding some width at the hips.  I sewed the dress up on my sewing machine as my serger is still not being cooperative.  The fabric came from Fabric Mart sometime in the past year and according to the sticker - I paid $3.50 a yard.  There wasn't enough left to keep the scraps - so this dress cost just over $10 in fabric and about an hour of my time.

The next time the dress saw sunshine was the day we toured Bacardi.
The wind was crazy  - but Jay got a good snap!          



And here's both of us - having a rum cocktail before the official tour started.
It was a good day!

August 3, 2016

Never To Be Seen Again

At least on me.  This is Simplicity 8104 and it's a lovely dress with great details, which I will make again, I should just never wear this one again.

There is a fine line between comfortable clothing and sloppy too big clothing. 

Pretty sure I tipped the scales the wrong way with this make.   Again, it's my own fault.   I've been eating better and moving more and even though I take measurements before starting any garment now, I still have no idea what size I am.   In my head I see a very large woman with disproportionately large hips.   I'm not looking for confirmation here, just understanding.  

With that knowledge in mind, I take measurements, then I flat pattern measure, then make any 'necessary' adjustments.   For this pattern, I added 3" in length below the waist, I did a 3" sway back adjustment and I added 4" in width at the hips.  

The first time I wore this dress, I felt comfortable and confident and while I did realize that I had over-aggressively added to the hips, it didn't feel 'sloppy' big.  BUT the second time I wore it - sloppy big.  And I'm not sure why. I was on vacation for almost 3 weeks and all that healthy eating pretty much went right overboard.

But, let's go back to the beginning.  I did the pattern work and cut this one out back in early March.  I spent a couple weekends in May working on this as I got the puppies used to hanging in the sewing room.

I went right to the 'good stuff.'  My first thought was I have to muslin this pattern.  The next one was, I'm out of muslin, guess I better go buy something.  But then I shook myself and said - really?  There isn't anything in the stash closet you can use?   I pulled this lovely purple-grey striped linen and this floral.  I had originally bought them together to make a different dress 3 years ago.  Since it hadn't been made yet - why not use this fabric?  If it didn't work - I obviously wouldn't miss it.  

First - the linen is very thin - like I need to wear a slip under it thin.  Second - I made a few calculations errors when deciding to add the contrast.  I wanted the under collar, collar stand, button band, the underside of the buttonhole band, sleeve tabs, continuous lap and underside of the cuffs to be in the contrast.  Oh, and the hem facing.  Most of this worked well.  But the button/buttonhole bands are not separate pieces and when I 'guessed' where to cut them to make separate pattern pieces - I guessed wrong on the button side.  The button hole side worked fine.  The button side is sewn together, turned to the right side and then handstitched down.  Yep - not the right way to do it at all.  But it got done.   

Next - I think I did something I never, ever do.  If I remember correctly and I haven't had the time or desire to look yet - I remember cutting the tissue to make the alterations.  Rather than tracing, cutting the tracing up and having an intact pattern when I need to go back to the beginning.  

So - what's the gist of this?  Will I make this pattern again?  What will happen to my striped/floral version?

Yes - I will make it again.  But I'll go back to the beginning and not add at the hips.  You can see from the horrible #workbathroomselfie that there is too much at the hips and it wows out, rather than hanging nicely.  

And this version?  Well it will take a trip through the laundry and then go into the donation pile.  Someone will pick it up and love it - but not me.  I'm not comfortable in it any longer.  

My how our tastes change. 

So tell me - what did you think fit okay the first time you wore it, but rethought that after a second wearing?  Did you keep it?

June 12, 2016

Something I've Never Done Before

 I made Cashmerette's Washington dress.  I was not originally sold on this pattern.  But then I saw the dresses that Jennifer from We Bought a Manor and I was smitten!

I picked up a bright floral stretch twill at JoAnns and then I walked around and around trying to find a knit that worked with it.  I really didn't want white, so - then what?  I went with a dark plum that was in the print.  I knew I had a textured pleather in the stash cupboard.

At the end of May I cut this dress along with several others.  And this was the first one I sewed up.  I waited about a week before wearing it - and it just didn't feel right.  Something was off.  Not sure you can tell in these photos - but the dress is just too big.  The top of the waist piece falls just a bit too low, I could pinch out 2" on each side at the hips, the curve on the waist piece was wrong.

And I'm telling you now - those issues?  They were totally my fault because I don't trust my measurements.

JB did a great job with these photos - because the dress looks good here.   But I took a selfie the day I wore this and sent it to Carolyn.  She asked some very good questions like what don't you like, what doesn't fit.  And then she said, "May I ask why you chose a dark top?"  Honestly - I got very defensive - which wasn't fair - I asked her opinion and I wasn't happy with the dress as a whole.  I love all of the individual parts, but as a whole - just wasn't in love.

So then - then I did something that I never do.  EVER.

I unpicked this dress and remade it.  What?!  Yep - you read that right - I unpicked this dress and remade it.  I told you - I love all of the individual parts.

So first - I pulled the pattern out and retraced it - 2 sizes smaller in a straight size 16.  In the original dress - I traced an 18 in the bodice, grading out to a 20 at the waist and a 22 at the bottom of the waist band.

Then I went to the fabric cupboard and found a piece of white lace that was beautiful.  It was a small piece - just a bit more than enough for the top.  So an entirely new top was cut and sewn.  I did make the sleeves a bit wider, but no other changes to the top.  

I overlapped the skirt and waist band pieces and laid them over the skirt and recut them.  

I had to redo the hem and this time I added lace to it.  Which you can't see.  Now - this cracks me up - which I first finished this dress - I put it on and went upstairs - as I do whenever I finished any dress.  JB looked at it and said I like that purple thing you have under it (the top is completely see through lace, I was wearing a camisole under it).  Then he says "You need a purple bra to wear under that!"  This from the man who thinks a dress is tooo short if my knees show!   do not understand.  

I think the second version of the dress is a bit snug.  It feels like the waistband is riding up to find room.  But it sits better at my waist now, not too low, I don't feel like I have 4" of extra room around my waist and hips and I'm still eating Whole 30 - so I'm gonna assume it will be much more comfortable soon.

So - did you figure out what it was that I never do?  I have NEVER remade a garment.  Once it's done, it's done.  If something doesn't work when I wear it - I make note (usually mental) and make changes the next time I use the pattern and the garment goes on to the goodwill box.  These pieces deserved to be remade.  I am so happy with the second finished dress!  Thanks go to Jennifer at We Bought a Manor for inspiring the original dress and to Carolyn for always being a supportive and honest friend.  And finally - to Jenny for making wonderful patterns for curvy girls!  

So do you remake something that you love that doesn't quite work right?  
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