Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ethereal Dress by Figgy's Patterns

With this post I'm finally through the piles of clothes that happened as a result of a sudden sewing surge I had in the end of spring. Clothes were hanging and laying everywhere in my sewing room and it feels good to have gotten it all out and into the girls' closets.

Today I'm talking about the Ethereal dress by Figgy's Patterns.
I never meant to make them matching dresses. 
Let me tell you what happened....

But first let this post be a great example to why I usually insist on photographing the clothes before they get to wear it. After the first wash the clothes just loose that crispy look that they have when they are fresh from the sewing machine. I always prewash my new fabrics before washing them and that takes a tiny bit of the crispness but not too bad. The first wash after sewing though...that's another story.
The dress to the left (above photo) has been washed and ironed again. The one to the right has not been washed yet at this point. It's quite easy to see the difference between the two dresses. Oh well, whatever. I just felt the need to point it out, ha.

So why the matching dresses and why has one already been worn?
I have sewed quite a few Figgy's Patterns lately and little sister E has been a size 4/5 in all of them. So that was of course the size I made for her when I decided to make her an Ethereal Dress. I tried it on her before hemming to determine length (which I had added) and it was WAY too big. Too big to the point where it didn't work. SO that dress moved on to big sister W (who is 7 years old and pretty average height and weight though to the long and slim side) and the dress fit her perfect...except for length which I fixed by adding the contrast double folded cut on bias piece of fabric (can you tell I'm not quite sure what the correct technical term is, haha).
Little sister E was of course not happy with loosing a dress that was originally for her so I promised to make her a new one in a smaller size. Luckily it's a fast and fun sew.
And right around that time we got a note from preschool asking us to dress the kiddos in red, white and blue for the upcoming preschool graduation and DING...the rest is history.

The graduation dress was finished last minute and there was no time for photo shoots before graduation and that's how the washing before blogging disaster happened, hehe (too dramatic? okay okay!).

SO besides being WAY too big in sizing it's a great pattern. I did found one more mistake though (by checking the paper pattern - see previous post HERE if you want to read about the advantages of doing that). To me it seems that the front asymmetrical flounce is a bit too big. In this case you have to use your measuring tape, turn it sideways and measure the sewing line (not the outer edge) on both the bodice's and the flounce's neckline. They do not have the same shape since it is the curve of the flounce's neckline that creates the flowy shape and you can't just put them on top of each other to compare.
SO I measured and I measured and then I measured again and to me it looks like the flounce is a total of 2 cm too long (from one shoulder seam to the other). Then I measured the front armscye of the bodice and the flounce (which is sewed into the left armscye only) and here it seemed like the flounce's armscye was 1 cm too long.
A very quick fix to all this was to remove 1 cm (3/8") from both of the flounce's shoulder seams. Just like if you had to remove seam allowance from the shoulder seams. 
I hope I'm making sense without photos?!
When that was done it all went together perfectly.

For some unknown reason I decided to make the back closures different. Honestly I barely remember doing it, ha. I noticed it when I took the photos.
The left one with the button and slit is the suggestion from the pattern and the right one has an invisible zipper. I guess I'm just showing you options here...or I'm loosing my mind. Take your pick, ha.

The light blue fabric is tencel chambray from Robert Kaufman and the red dot flounce is made from Nani Iro Kokka Pocho. The neon orange dot flounce is quilting cotton from Michael Miller. I googled around and I think THIS is it even though it does not look like neon on the website at all(??).

And yeah I just had to make a collage of all those faces. Little sister always has to go one step further...it's sort of in her dna I think, ha.

Get your own Ethereal Dress pattern HERE.

Thank you!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dear Prudence Dress by Sew Pony

I love clothes with fun details and the Dear Prudence Dress from Sew Pony is exactly one of those.

The shirring in the center front neckline is such a beautiful detail and a fun one to sew.
It was one of those details where I had to consult the pattern's tutorial to see how she did it and when I realized she put elastic in the very top row I sent Suz a virtual high five. Genius!

If you follow my Instagram you already know that this was W's Fourth of July dress this year. I do not normally sew patriotic dresses for them but little sister E had one that I made for her preschool graduation in May and so of course big sister felt entitled to get one too. And since I really want them to feel that it is an advantage for them that Mommy sews, I felt this was a request I wanted to fulfill. Of course with the small payment of blog photos, ahem.

The two fabrics are a stripy cotton shirt poplin. And a cream double gauze with red dots from Nani Iro Kokka Pocho. To my delight (and my credit card's horror) did I realize while writing this post that Miss Matatabi still carries it in her Easy shop HERE.

I changed a few things on the pattern. I changed the shape of the pockets from square to curved. I felt that went better with the rounded collar (and yes, I'm probably way overthinking it, haha). And then I changed the lining a bit. I basically changed it into a facing instead by shorten it. The whole upper bodice is lined and that is overall a great idea. Except if you live a place where July is burning hot like we do. Suz very cleverly uses the bottom of the back lining to create a casing for the elastic, so I had to find another solution for that feature.
Since the dress already had shirring elsewhere is was an obvious choice to add a couple of rows of shirring instead. When using shirring instead of a measured piece of elastic you loose a bit of the control regarding the width of the back. It all depends on fabric, numbers of rows of shirring, the machine's tension and techniques used. My shirring might be the reason for the front skirt to pull towards the back side like you can see on the photo above but it's not a big deal to me.

And sometimes I really wish I followed my own advice! If someone asked me if it is clever to sew rows of shirring on a back waistline in a straight line, I would have said nope. Since the waist is shaped somewhat as a cylinder you really need a curved line for it to appear horizontal/straight. What happens if you do a straight line, you may ask? Well, look at the photo above, ha.
What I should have done was to put the dress on the child and then put a few guiding pins in what appears to be a straight/horizontal line and then sewed my shirring after those pins. OH WELL...there is always next time!

The collar is perfectly drafted and drapes SO well! I will always recommend to make your inner collar a tiny bit smaller than the outer layer. I have a trick somewhere in THIS post that makes it all super easy. 
I wish the collar had notches though to help placing it on the neckline where it meet the shoulder seams and where it stops (and the shirring starts) at the front. It just makes the sewing process more smooth and it helps eliminate mistakes.

Oh boy, this dress is just so freaking cute!
There is one thing I think I will change with the next one I make and that is the width of the front bodice's waist - although I first have to look into if the problem is my back waist shirring being too gathered. But on W there was just a bit too much fabric when the dress hung freely on her. It could be easily fixed by gather the bottom of the front bodice a bit and then gather the front skirt a bit more than it already is. I'll have to experiment, ha.

I also want to add that I have a habit of checking the paper pattern before I even touch my fabric and I cannot recommend this enough for several reasons.
One reason is the obvious which is to check if the seams matches up. You can never trust seams when they are cut in fabric because they can stretch or the fabric has shifted a bit while cutting. But the paper never lies (if it is printed and taped together correctly of course, ha). 
And yes, on my list of posts-I-will-probably-never-get-done is certainly How to Check a Paper Pattern. Gah!

Another reason is that it helps you understand what you are about to sew. You can't check a paper pattern if you do not know which parts go together. So you might spend 5-10 minutes checking paper pattern pieces but you will gain that time or maybe more in sewing time because you know what goes together now. And when you get more experienced it will also help you with the order of the sewing process. I know you have the tutorial from the pattern but again, the less you have to consult that, the more time for sewing.....and maybe you will start feeling more courageous about finishes etc. Who knows where it can leads when you start checking paper patterns haha.
Lastly it will help you with your general understanding of patterns and how they go together.

I originally wrote the above because I found a small mistake in the length of the front and back side seams but it is all fixed now! Phew, for pdf patterns that you can fix, update and send out a new version.

Going cross-eyed is a new feature in this 7 year old's facial expression vocabulary so naturally we needed that in the post too.

So the conclusion is a GREAT dress which will work all year round since it comes with 3/4 length set-in sleeves too. I could totally imagine this dress in a thin lovely wool and fully lined of course. Oh my head is already spinning. I love the cap sleeves for warmer weather.

Suz has her Dear Prudence tour going on at the moment and soooo many amazing dresses are popping up over there. Check it out yourself HERE.

Get your own Dear Prudence Dress HERE.

Thank you! And ehhh happy belated Fourth of July to my American readers!