How I Wore It, sewing

The Knit Caftan Dress – S8911

Hey Guys,

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Today’s make: Simplicity 8911 is a real gem. This may be the best dress I’ve ever made to date….SERIOUSLY.Not only was it easy to make, I feel like it’s super comfortable and flattering to my bodyshape.

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I was initially going to make this in a different knit fabric but I soon realized when I went to cut it out that It wasn’t the correct width, in fact it was not even the correct type of knit.My original fabric had a two-way stretch and not the 4 way stretch that the pattern called for.After searching through my stash I came up with this black and buttery soft 4 way stretch piece that had just the right number of yards requested on the pattern.

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I’ll admit that I was not overjoyed about making a black long sleeve summer dress but at the time it was all that I had that would work.The fact that it was black and long sleeve bothered me so much that I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it…..and then the thought occured to me that I could possibly convert it into a strapless and halter style just by manipulating the sleeves. And there you have it.

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Strapless

I cinched the sleeves together with a black covered rubberband and twisted and tucked each one.

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Halter

I simply turned the dress around to the back and tied the sleeves around my neck.A different variation, can be done by leaving the V-Neck in front and crossing the sleeves over one another and tying around the neck. This creates a keyhole halter effect. I had planned to show this one but forgot about it when we started taking pictures.

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Off Shoulder/V-Neck/Bateau

Off Shoulder was simple. It can be done with the V-neck side in front or with the dress turned backwards.

The dress turned backwards creates a bateau like neckline.

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This is such an awesome dress with so many styling possibilities. It’s great for kicking around the house and so much more.

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I am definitely planning to add more of these to my wardrobe.

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Pattern Review

Pattern Sizing: I made a small in view C.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? It’s quick and easy. Only two pieces.

Fabric Used: 4 way stretch jersey.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I cut the back on the fold because I planned to wear the back as the front. I like the way it looks without the seam.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? yes & yes.

Conclusion: I really love this dress. I was able to style it so many different ways.

sewing, sewjo, weight

Sewing and Weight Changes (Mini Post)

Hey Guys,

Dropping in with this week’s promised mini post.

This week I didn’t sew for myself but I made a couple of dresses for my daughter. Not totally sure I’ll get to post a picture of her wearing either of them but If I do I’ll try to post them.

The subject of today’s post is about the challenges of sewing when there are weight changes in either direction, up or down. Based on my on personal experience,this is a real sewjo sapper.

It’s really hard to put time, money, effort, and energy into making clothing for a body that you aren’t thrilled about or that you view as temporary.

I’ve personally been dealing with this issue for the past 3 years. Right around the time that I lost my mom, my weight started to climb. On a visit to my doctor, I was strongly encouraged to lose weight for health reasons. After leaving the doctor’s office, I was able to lose 8 pounds but I soon put those 8 pounds right back on plus an additional 20 pounds.

Lighter Days – 2016
At My Heaviest – 2017

Basically for me the past 3 years have been a continuous cycle of gaining and losing weight without ever reaching my goal weight. It’s been both exhausting and at times creatively paralyzing.

In addition to not wanting to sew, I haven’t wanted to go back to the doctor because I was ashamed that I can’t seem to get the weight off.

Back in April I decided that I could no longer keep living this way. I realized that nothing would change if I didn’t change. So I committed to walking Monday-Friday on my 30 minute lunch breaks and also with a friend two evenings per week.

Dietwise, I had aready given up sugar and processed foods a month earlier for other reasons but I decided to try Intermittent Fasting also.

Fastforward, exactly a month later and I’ve dropped back to the original weight that I was at 3 years ago when my doctor first said I needed to lose weight.

A Week Ago – 2019

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LET’S TALK ABOUT SEWING

Before I started losing the weight recently , I decided that I am going to keep right on sewing no matter my size with a focus on fit. Wearing clothes that fit my body well, no matter the size makes me feel so much better about myself and my body.

The average amount of weight it takes to move from one dress size to another is about 10 to 15 pounds.

Livestrong.com

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Based on the total amount of weight that I need to lose, there will be a change in the pattern size that I sew so I’ve decided that the next few projects will be quick and easy transitional pieces that can work now and after I’ve reached my goal weight.

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UPCOMING

Here are a few of the projects that I’m thinking about making over the next few weeks while I work towards reaching my weight goal.

Exposed Elastic Maxi Skirts – I don’t have a pattern or picture to post of this look. It’s something that I saw someone wearing when I was out fabric shopping

Semi-fitted Jumpsuit

A-line Maxi

Caftan

DIY, sewing

Another Ankara Maxi – Simplicity 1059

Happy Saturday Guys,

Dropping in to share the details of another recent make. It is the second look that I created for our recent SewingAtlantaStyle photo shoot. This look was created for the Rock Your Style Theme.

I have to admit that I really struggled in choosing what to make for both of my looks but in the end I listened to my heart.

If I had to label my style, I’d say I’m definitely a bold classic girl. I am drawn to simple classic shapes made up with bold graphic prints or simple solids accesorized with statement pieces.

FABRIC

For this look I went with this beautiful blue Ankara that I purchased from Wax Prints Lace and More. The owner reached out to me on Instagram after I’d commented about another beautiful print that I’d seen someone else wearing on their post.

I have fallen in love with Ankara. It’s just so easy to work with.

PATTERN

I used Simplicity 1059 for this look. I cut the size 12 with an extra .25 ” at the back and front side seams

Alterations

My usual short waist adjustment.

Design Changes

  • Extended to maxi length
  • Made a matching interfaced Obi Belt using Mimi G’s free PDF. Although it gets lost in the print, I really love it and I plan to make more of these. I wore it knotted at the back but it can also be worn wrapped around and tied off in the front.
  • Of course I added pockets

fitting, sewing

Better Pattern Fitting, Start Here! – (Mini Post)

Hey Guys,

Over the next few weeks, I plan to put out a series of mini posts. Here’s the first. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject as well. Please feel free to leave a comment or question below.

For most sewists, proper fitting is probably the most challenging and frustrating aspect of sewing. At least that has certainly been the case for me and because of this, going into 2019 my number #1 sewing goal was to focus more attention on learning to fit my body better.

Even when I am making a simple garment with just a few pattern pieces I usually find that I need to make at least 2 adjustments to get the fit right. Case in point, in today’s post I am wearing one of my all-time favorites McCall’s 6886. This particular version consists of only 2 pieces, back and front, both placed on the fold. What could be easier you ask? Why nothing if your body measurements match up exactly with the pattern measurements! But with me and my body this is not the case.

This particular dress required 3 adjustments. 1) a decrease in length between the bust and waist 2) an increase in length between waist and hip, and 3) an increase at the hipline.

Most often when we measure ourselves, we are most likely to only pay attention to the width of our body parts as opposed to the length but this is no good, trust me. For years I was doing this myself.

On any given day, I could easily tell you how wide my waist or my hips were but I didn’t know the distance between the two.

Because this style dress is fitted at the bust, waist, and hip it is super important to know where your bust, waist, and hips are positioned on your frame. For example, if your waist area is shorter in length than the waist area of the pattern this can cause fit issues not only in the waist area but also through the bust, shoulders, and neckline.

When you know your body measurements you can compare and adjust to the sewing pattern as needed or even one day use these measurements to draft your own patterns custom to your body.

And if you don’t sew, knowing this information is just as valuable to you because having this information, will help you to make better buying decisions.

One of the best decisions that I made when I started back sewing was to have my measurements taken by an alteration’s professional. I figured that someone who tailors clothes and takes body measurements for a living, would know exactly what to measure and also how to properly measure.

I also went online and located a printable pdf listing of the usual measurements needed for sewing. (Click here for an example.) We used this as a checklist/guide for the measurements that were taken.

I’ll admit that even after I had the measurements, I didn’t exactly know what to do with all of them or how they exactly related to the garment that I was sewing but that’s okay, the more I sew, the more I learn. Having this information has truly been empowering.

Actionable Step:

Get your measurements done. I was willing to pay for this service but you may not have to. Many of the online pdf sewing measurement guides come with how-to instructions and pictures. If you have a tape measure and a willing assistant, that’s all you’ll need.

While it’s not impossible to take some of these measurements without assistance, it’s easier and probably more accurate to have someone else to take them for you

Next Week’s Mini Post – Sewing & Weightloss.

DIY, sewing

The Floral Maxi Dress – M7081

Happy Saturday Guys,

Today’s post features a maxi dress that I sewed for the spring Atlanta Sewing Style photo shoot.

We sewed two looks, and this is the first one that I am featuring on the blog.The theme this look follows is Springing Florals.

I used Mccalls 7081, view D for the bodice and self drafted my inverted pleated maxi skirt using stylesewme’s “Easy Box Pleated Skirt (No Math Required)” Tutorial.

INSPIRATION

I was inspired by one of my favorite designers, Carolina Herrera. I feel like she designs the most AMAZING shirt dress style gowns.

FABRIC

I purchased this floral African print fabric from a local vender that I love doing business with, Ropuddles.com This print was part of her Big Florals Print Collection. It’s a 45″ large print polished cotton.

PATTERN REVIEW

Pattern Description:
Dresses have collar band, close-fitting, front pleated, surplice bodice, waistband, flared skirt cut on crosswise grain and side zipper.I sewed the bodice for view D.

PatternSizing:.. My pattern went up to a size 14 so I made a size 14 with a 2inch increase at the waistline.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Close, except for the fact that I added a selfdrafted inverted pleated floor length skirt.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes. This was my first time sewing this style of neck opening. I relied heavily upon the instructions particularly for this part of the construction process. I thought they were clear and it turned out great.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that this pleated bodice style accomodates a slightly fuller bustline….so no FBA was needed. However keep in mind that if you opt not to do an adjustment at the bustline, you will lose the depth of your pleats. The pleats may not be as defined.

Fabric Used: Waxed African Print Floral purchased from local vender Ropuddles.com

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 1) My usual shortwaist adjustment. 2) My bustline sits slightly low so I sewed a 3/8 seamline to the top of the waistband. 3) I eliminated the tabs for the sleeves. 4) As mentioned earlier I added my own self drafted skirt with inverted 4″ pleats using Stylesewme’s “Easy Box Pleated, No Math Required” You Tube Tutorial…

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I won’t make this again for myself BUT, I definitely recommend it.

TUTORIAL REVIEW

Like I mentioned in an earlier post, pleats make me crazy so I was excited to find Stylesewme’s tutorial. (Click Here)

If you are like me and you prefer to draft your own pleated skirt without a pattern, this tutorial is for you.Erin is an excellent instructor and her instructions are clear, simple and right to the point. The tutorial is less than 22 minutes.

***ADDITIONAL NOTES***

  • Because I didn’t want to interrupt the pattern design I opted for a dress design with a side zipper opening. I made 2 seperate skirt panels following Erin’s tutorial.
  • Erin demonstrates creating box pleats but my skirt features inverted pleats. The process is the same. To get the inverted pleats, just flip the skirt panel over.
  • I left a 2 inch seam allowance on both sides of each panel just incase I needed additional to accomodate the bodice and inseam pocket placement.
  • My dress waistband measured 34 inches so I went with 4″ pleats for my two skirt panels. If your waistline is significantly smaller (under 32), I suggest you go with 3″ pleats or less.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Because the print of this fabric is huge with very little clear space, I ended up having to focus on pleasing random pattern placement as opposed to pattern matching. My favorite pattern placement is the purple foliage that drips down the back of my shoulder.

It took almost every inch of the 6 yards that I had to make this dress.

Although a maxi dress, this is completely wearable in real life with a pair of wedges sans the under skirt.