Thursday 29 October 2009

Vogue 1117 by Michael Kors - part 1

Thank you all for the comments on the green Cynthia Rowley dress, I wasn't sure about the style for me before I made it so I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Next up for me is the Michael Kors dress 1117, this is a very early progress report so not the most interesting post I'm afraid.

The pattern is rated "average" which I think is a bit optimistic. It has an interesting cut with side front and back inserts which are not easy to sew. With the caveat that I am not much of a teacher or photographer and there may be better ways of doing these steps ( I'm certain it wasn't done this way in factory production! ), here is how I inserted the side fronts and backs - steps 7, 13, 20. For sure the pattern instructions are somewhat lacking, but the illustration does show you what you are trying to end up with.

The photos below illustrate step 13 - the left front bodice, but the basic technique is the same for all - essentially don't try and stitch to the side and underarm in one pass, instead stitch them separately stopping at the pivot point.

Here I have stitched just the side seam, stopping at the pivot point. (the line of stitching nearest the cut edge is the staystitching from the previous step). It's easiest to see where to stop if the bodice front is on top. Pin first and check from the right side just to make sure that the square piece of fabric required for reinforcement hasn't got caught in the seam. Edited to add; Told you I was hopeless at tutorials, I was so carried away with taking photos I didn't read the instructions! This left bodice seam should be left open below the dart.

Next pin the curved seam that follows the underarm, again with the bodice front on top - you can just see the pivot point from the previous line of stitching.

Flip it over to check before sewing the seam.

Stitch in place (you can see I used two rows of stitching to get it right (I finished too short of the pivot point the first time), so you might want to baste in place first!). Press and trim the seam allowances, grading them to minimise showthrough on the right side.

The finished upper front piece (oops just realised this final photo is actually the right front!).

Step 13, the bodice back, is a little trickier in that you have 3 sides to stitch - I did it in the same way - first the side seam, then the underarm seam and lastly the seam joining to the lower dress. Looking ahead in the instructions I see that the lining is constructed similarly so there is plenty of opportunity for practice!

I hope these photos help pad out the instructions a bit. Ok, back to work on the dress.....

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Dress 2 of 7 - Simplicity 2497

A reminder of the pattern, a Cynthia Rowley design;

I made View C, the version made up on the envelope, except I left off the pockets as I can't quite get my head around pockets in cocktail / evening dresses.

Learning my lesson from last time I did make a quick muslin, more to check the style on me than anything and liked it enough to go ahead and cut my emerald silk dupioni. I wish I had checked the fabric more closely before cutting as there is a very prominent stripe on both the bodice and the skirt, but I can live with it. I had washed this fabric once in the machine to soften it a bit, and I also added a lining to the skirt section. It is an easy pattern to make and goes together quickly.

This is a fun little dress and I will definitely be making the scoop neck version in a more casual fabric

Some more detailed photos;

Sunday 11 October 2009

Dress 1 of 7 - Vogue 8594

Well as you can probably tell by the big gap between my posts this was not as quick a project as I had hoped, despite Vogue's "easy" rating. Technically the sewing is easy, but what is not obvious from the line drawings is that the diagonal seam on the skirt front needs to meet up with the side back seam. This means there is no room for any fitting adjustments on the side seams - if you make this dress a muslin is absolutely essential. When seams meet in a chevron you can get away with fine tuning the fit as you go, but when they are diagonal it's impossible.

Of course I did not do a muslin and discovered too late that the dress was too big on the hips (surely a first!?). I didn't have enough fabric to recut the skirt pieces so I ended up redrafting new front triangle pieces so that the seamlines would meet where I needed them to. Very fiddly and very boring, - I was glad to get this one finished I can tell you. That said I am really happy with the finished dress and it gives me a good excuse to wear these purple shoes - a bit matchy-matchy, but I don't care!

Click to enlarge (or maybe not, please don't look too closely at the seam matching!)

Next I am making Simplicity 2497, the Cynthia Rowley dress. I'm working on view C, in an emerald green silk dupioni which I washed to soften it up a bit. This pattern really is easy (so far...).

I also really want to thank the ever stylish Cennetta over at The Mahogany Stylist for giving me a Kreative Blogger award. I truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into all the sewing blogs I read - thank you for the inspiration and motivation.