Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Summer Dress

And today I have a wholly seasonally inappropriate blog post to share. There's currently snow on the ground for crying out loud! Yet, yesterday morning, my sister came downstairs wearing this dress.

(And no, none of these pictures were taken yesterday, they were all taken back when it was warm, and green, outside.)

I teased her that she was dressed for the wrong season. She just grinned and informed me the dress makes an excellent nightgown. Well, ok then. This dress can win the comfy award.

Anyway, I made this dress for my sister back in June or July. She was in need of a coupleof new summer dresses, having outgrown the majority of her wardrobe, and I didn't have time to make her the usual, somewhat elaborate, woven sundresses I've made her in years past. Quick and easy it would have to be. Something made with knit fabric that wouldn't require any closures or a million seams.

Earlier in the summer, or sometime in the spring, my mom ordered a selection of jersey knits from Fashion Fabrics Club to be turned into clothes for my sister. So I started this dress by choosing a fabric from that trove.

For the quick and easy summer dress I chose this white jersey, covered in red, grey, and lime green doodled flowers. This fabric was one of my sister's particular favorites from the order. It was slightly see-through, so I also picked a lining fabric from my stash - a red rayon jersey I'd picked up from Walmart at some point in time.

Fabric picked, it was time to figure out the pattern. I chose to use the Agnes Dress pattern by Halla Patterns - if you join the Halla Patterns Facebook Group there's a code to download the pattern for free!

To take full advantage of the fabrics I was using, I made a couple slight changes to the pattern. Since I needed to line the dress anyway for opacity's sake, I opted to make the red lining layer longer than the patterned outer layer for a fun layered look.

And, well since I had to line it anyway, I opted to finish the neckline and arm holes by sewing the outer and lining layers together via the "burrito method", and forgo the neck and arm bands the pattern was supposed to be finished with.

This worked out pretty well, but I really should have added extra seam allowance to the neckline and armholes as without the extra height, bands would have added, they wound up lower than prefered. But oh well, the dress is still quite wearable.

And wear it my sister has done! The dress got worn throughout the summer, a now it apparently works as a nightgown.

That said, no sooner did my sister inform me the dress made a good nightgown, then she was putting on her coat and boots, heading outside to feed hay to the goats.

So, apparently, with the proper layers, this dress works for year-round wear. Who would have thought?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Jeans and a Hoodie for my Mom

Several years ago, on a road trip, my mom and I found a jeans pattern at a cute little fabric store we visited. It was the Simple Skinny Jeans pattern, by Sew Liberated. Featuring a stretchy waistband, a faux front fly, and faux front pockets, the pattern closely resembled my mom's favorite Maurices skinny jeans. Thus, we bought the pattern, with the thought in mind that I could make my mom some jeans from it. At the time sewing jeans with a real front fly terrified me, so I was absolutely not going to attempt to make any "real" jeans. But these simple stretchy waist pants masquerading as skinny jeans? These I could probably make successfully.

A month or two later, I made up the pattern in some cheap stretch denim from Walmart, and my mom tried them on. They were wearable! The fit wasn't perfect, the back rise needed some height added to it, but they weren't bad for a wearable mock-up, which is what they were intended to be. Now I knew how the pattern needed to be adjusted for my mom, so the second pair would be even better. I fully intended to make that second pair pretty quickly for my mom, but, well, that didn't happen. The second pair took nearly three years to come into existence.

For Christmas this year, I finally made my mom the second pair of jeans. Thankfully my mom hasn't changed size at all in the past three years, so I was able to just apply the fitting changes I remembered the first pair needed (primarily raising the back rise a couple inches) to this pair, and all was good!

I used a light weight dark wash stretch denim ordered online (from I don't remember where) sometime last fall. I'd intended for this denim to become a pair of jeans for me, but when it come it was a much lighter weight than what I prefer for jeans. However, my mom handled the fabric and commented that is was the exact weight she liked for skinny jeans. Point taken. The fabric got set aside to be turned into my mom's Christmas present.

The week before Christmas I pulled out the lightweight denim and the simple skinny jeans pattern, put them together, and made a pair of pants for my mom. This really is a super simple pattern, taking less than three hours to make, start to finish. And, while they really are the "easy version" of skinny jeans, the construction still includes my favorite part of jeans making - embellishing the back pockets.

I took the first pocket to the sewing machine with a general idea in mind, and just kind of "free handed" a design on it, until I was pleased with the outcome. Then I had to repeat the design on the second pocket. So I pulled out some transfer paper and a tracing wheel.

I laid the un-embellished pocket face down on the transfer paper, then laid the finished pocket right side up on top of that, lining up all the edges. I used the tracing wheel to trace over the decorative stitching.

This transferred the design to the un-adorned pocket so all I had to do was sew along the faint white lines to get a matched set of back pockets.

As mentioned above, I finished the jeans in one morning, wrapped them up, and stuck them under the Christmas tree.

Christmas morning, my mom unwrapped them, exclaimed with delight, immediately put them on, and they fit perfectly!

I only had one regret - I hadn't had enough time in the week leading up to Christmas to make my mom a top to go with her new jeans! This would need to be remedied at some point.

It got remedied in January, when my mom came to me with a request. She asked, if she provided the fabric, if I could make her a striped shirt similar to the ones she was admiring in the L.L.Bean catalogue. I agreed, and she went off to Hobby Lobby in search of the right striped knit fabric.

She returned home with a pink and black (or pink and dark navy?) cotton/spandex jersey fabric. Very soft, and the perfect shirt weight. We discussed the design a bit more and decided the fabric would become a hooded shirt, with a shaped hem, finished off with a ruffle. I had the perfect pattern for this already in my stash! Simplicity 8790 - designed by Sew House 7 (the designer I tested the Montavilla MuuMuu for last summer)

I made view D of the pattern, adding a ruffle to the bottom and a lining to the hood. It turned out splendidly and my mom loved it!

She liked it so well in fact, the following weekend I made her two more hooded shirts from the same pattern!

Now I just need to find the time to make her a couple more pairs of simple skinny jeans - as this pair has been worn constantly since Christmas!

But for now, this outfit is done - and I love seeing my mom wear it!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

The Quickest Valentine's Day Outfit Yet

The annual Valentine's outfit discussion happened again a few weeks ago. My sister wanted a special outfit for Valentine's Day, and I would be making it for her. This has become a bit of a tradition, but this year it went a little different than usual - my sister supplied half the outfit herself.

Any time I wind up dying fabric, my sister finds something of hers to throw in the dye bath too. When I was attempting to dye silk burgundy for trim on my 1898 scalloped jacket, my sister produced a ivory t-shirt that needed a color change.

My sister received the shirt in a bag of hand-me-downs from my cousin. It was brand new with the tags still on. Never worn because the pale color made it nearly see through. Into the dye bath it went - the shirt already wasn't getting worn, so there was nothing to lose by changing the color.

The body of the shirt is a polyester/rayon blend. Polyester doesn't take dye very well, but rayon dyes decently well, so the shirt came out a rather pale maroon color. The lace on the shoulders is nylon, which takes dye very well, so the lace came out a lovely dark maroon - the exact color I was attempting to dye the silk in the same dye bath. (no the silk did not turn out that dark unfortunately.)

Once she saw how pretty the dyed shirt turned out, my sister declared it would be her Valentine's Day shirt, she just needed a skirt to go with it - So I got right on that.

I decided to make her the Gretel Skirt by Mother Grimm - it has wonderful large pockets perfect for holding valentines to pass out at class parties.

My sister wanted the skirt to either have hearts or roses on it for a particularly "valentines-y" feel. Thus, I needed to find a fabric, that would match the shirt, featuring one of those motifs. A quick look through my fabric stash revealed the perfect material.

A sky blue polyester double knit, probably from the 1970's, and covered in roses which happened to be the same color as the lace on the newly dyed shirt. It had the perfect amount of stretch and body for the Gretel Skirt - and my sister liked it!

To tie the whole look together I used a solid maroon polyester/spandex blend knit for the waist and pocket bands.

The skirt only took about an hour to make one evening, so this is probably the quickest and easiest Valentine's Day garment I've ever made my sister - yet it still looks fabulous!

Now, in other news, as you may have gathered from the baby goat in the pictures, kidding season is well underway here!

Zillah started us off by giving birth to a large single doe last Friday afternoon.

Then Sunday night Sugar Plum graced us with triplets, two does and a buck!

The littlest triplet, a doeing we've named Buttercup, had to be bottle fed as she was too little to compete with her siblings for food. So, she currently spends her nights in the house and is absolutely adorable - I've never had, and only once seen, a goat this gold color before! It will be interesting to see if her coloring changes at all as she grows!

And the youngest of our babies so far is this big single buckling of Skylena's, born Monday afternoon.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2019

1898 Scalloped Jacket - Finished!

Well, I suppose the weather decided to be "co-operative" for a wintery photo shoot once I finished my 1898 scalloped jacket, the final, major, piece of my late 1890's winter ensemble.

Everything was coated in ice from freezing rain the night before, and snow was gently falling, just dusting the ground like powdered sugar.

The wind, however, was less than gentle, blowing every which way and trying to turn myself and my sibling photographers into icicles.

It quickly became obvious that I must add gloves, all the gloves, to my historical wardrobe. My hands were freezing!! And, besides that, people wore gloves pretty much whenever they left the house back then (yes, I'm generalizing), so it's rather historically inaccurate of me to go without gloves when wearing this ensemble!

My hands (and face!) may have been cold, but my wool jacket and skirt kept the rest of me nice and toasty - just as I'd intended when I decided to make this ensemble a year ago!

The wind made getting decent pictures rather challenging, but there were some fun surprises because of it when I went through the pictures later!

I'm very impressed with the way the wind blew the front of my jacket open here so you can see a hint of the crazy paisley lining on both sides!

I'm less impressed with the way the wind kept blowing the lapels out of place, but hey, here you get to see how the front is shaped when the lapels aren't turned back.

Lapels blowing out of place again. . .
Despite the cold and wind troubles when it came to photographing this thing, I love it!

I'm thrilled with how the whole jacket turned out.

The partial collar, extending just past the shoulder seam but no farther, blends nicely with the front edge scallops.

 And it stands up perfectly!

Please excuse the stray thread, this jacket came straight out of the sewing and into the snowy outdoors!

The back pleats fan out nicely, but I do think I ought to make a small bum pad to wear under my skirt next time to really show them to their full advantage!

The back in general fits nicely, even through the shoulders! I'm very happy with the effect the curved seams give!

And the sleeves, oh the sleeves, they are probably the part of this jacket I am most pleased with! (And the part I had the most trouble with when it came to patterning.)

They have just the right amount of "poof" for the very end of the 1890's.

The sleeve flounces turned out great as well, even though I wasn't able to pipe them the way I wanted due to a fabric shortage! They make the sleeves the perfect length.

When I began planning this jacket and thinking through each element of it I was rather overwhelmed by all that it would require - the materials, the pattern, techniques I'd never used before. In some ways this was a more intimidating project than the ball gown I made back in November! I'm confident in my dressmaking skills, but a tailored jacket - that's something else!

So yes, I'm thrilled with how my 1898 Scalloped wool jacket turned out! The color is perfect, the scallops are beautiful, the fit is great, and it matches my inspiration fashion plate even better than I'd hoped!

This is the first time I've ever re-created a garment from a fashion plate, so it's pretty exciting that my first try went so well!

It was finished about a week late, but, other than being a project I've planned for over a year, this is also my entry for the first Historical Sew Monthly challenge of 2019 - Dressed to the Nines! I'd say silk edged scallops fulfil that prompt pretty well!

What the item is: 1898 Scalloped Wool Jacket

Challenge: Dressed to the Nines. I feel like the scallops make this jacket fancy enough to count for this challenge. Also, there are 9 scallops down either side of the front opening. And, this jacket is based off an 1898 fashion plate, so it would have been perfect acceptable to wear in 1899 as well. 

Material: a mid-weight wool for the main fabric, cotton for facings, silk (harvested from a tie) for the piping, and some sort of synthetic fabric for lining (found in a box of fabric someone gifted me. It was labeled as silk, but a burn test proved otherwise. I still used it because I didn't feel like tracking down another lining material. I may change it out later)

Pattern: Butterick B6400, heavily altered.

Year: 1898

Notions: Thread, cotton crinoline for interfacing (in place of hair canvas which I could not find locally), cotton yarn for piping

How historically accurate is it?The shape and overall look are good. Construction is plausible. Materials are good with the exception of the synthetic lining and thread. I'll say 70%

Hours to complete: I don't even know. A lot. I binge watched multiple seasons of Gilmore Girls while sewing this.

First worn: 2/7/19 to try it on as soon as I finished hand sewing in the lining and get pictures! No real outing yet.

Total cost:about $20 for the wool and $4 for the cotton crinoline. The rest of the materials were in my stash. The tie I used for piping and the lining material were both gifted to me. So, adding in the materials from my stash that I did buy once upon a time, approximately $30

Incase you missed any of them:
Here's the blog post on finding the right materials and pattern for the jacket
Here's the blog post on making the jacket.
Here's the blog post on the plaid wool skirt.
Here's the blog post on the shirtwaist.
And Here's the blog post on the black velvet belt.