Friday 31 May 2013

Sewaholic 1202 Cambie Dress

I haven't been massively inspired by the Big 4 pattern releases lately, but still needed a pattern fix.  After hearing so many good things I ordered a few patterns from both Style Arc and Sewaholic and now I have a few new things in the works.

First up the Sewaholic Cambie dress.  I am going to a hen party where the dress code is black cocktail which should be simple enough to follow, but I just wasn't inspired by anything in my wardrobe and decided a few days before the event that I needed to make something new, as you do.

I popped to a local fabric store and found this lacy fabric and when I got home my Sewaholic order was waiting for me in the mailbox - it was a sign!  I could easily have spent 2 days I didn't have mulling over which pattern to make so this was a good thing.

This pattern has been extensively reviewed and there are some great tutorials on the Sewaholic blog, but here are brief details of the changes I made - or will make next time.

The size charts put me between an 8 & 10 and since this brand is new to me I went with the 10 and used the lining as a muslin to roughly check the fit.  I also copied Sunny Gal  and changed the order of construction so that I could sew the side seams last and tweak the fit.  I ended up taking the bodice in and also shortening the sleeves at both the shoulder and bodice seams - I think next time I will start with the size 8 and shorten the sleeves and bodice a bit (fortunately I traced off the bodice pieces).

One thing to watch is the width of the neckline, I recommend leaving a bit more of the front neck seam open and then positioning the straps to make sure your bra straps won't show (this is advice I realised after the fact so I have to pick the right bra to wear with this dress).

I left the pockets off the skirt for this version, moved the side seams to the side - they are towards the front in the original pattern - and just used the width of fabric I had to cut the skirt pieces and gathered them to fit the bodice.

Although I didn't really use them I will say that the instructions are excellent and give you a very RTW construction method with no hand sewing needed.  If you know your size this is the way to go to make a new dress in next to no time.

I also changed the sweetheart neckline to a straight one and ended up removing the gathers in the sleeves, just because I liked how it looked.  You can see that the excess fabric just wrapped round to the lining side.

It's good to know there are lots of variations you can make with this seemingly simple dress and I will definitely be making more versions.

And a couple of outtakes.......

Photo bombed by my cat, Barney!

 Now I understand why people get excited by twirling shots, not easy to do!

Tuesday 14 May 2013

Simplicity 2497 - Cynthia Rowley dress

I've made this dress twice before, a cocktail version, view C and a casual version, modified view A, the latter long removed from my closet as I wore it so much over 2 summers.  Here's the pattern:

Simplicity 2497

This is a great pattern so out it came again to pair with the garden birds cotton print I bought recently.

I did attempt to add piping on the bottom of the neck band to minimise the effect of cutting off some of the birds heads at the seams, but the neckband is pretty curved and the piping had the effect of easing in the fabric so much that joining the band and bodice together was an exercise in major frustration.  Then I decided to lighten up about the print and just treat it as a floral and I'm happy with how it came out despite having a few decapitated birds round my neck and waist (that sounds weird...!).

I made View A, size 12 with no changes other than adding a full lining since my fabric was on the thin side.  In my previous versions I have left out the side seam pockets but I decided to add them this time.  I must admit putting a side seam pocket where you also have a side zipper threw me a bit, but after some pinning and checking I got there in the end.

Here is the inside of the dress, the cotton I originally planned to use for the piping became contrast facings.  I actually quite like how this looks so maybe a solid version with contrast neck and waistband is on the cards.  The pattern comes with separate sleeve lining pieces which act as a stay for the puffed sleeve in view A.

Look, functional pockets!

I did wonder if the bird print, puffed sleeves and gathered skirt would end up being too cute and girly a combination for me but I really like how it turned out and I'm sure this dress is going to be worn till it falls to bits like it's predecessor.