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1  CLOTHING / Designer Clothing Homage / Jason Wu on: June 20, 2013 12:36:21 PM
My inspiration was this Jason Wu coat dress, originally ~3K, on sale now for just $1,048
http://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/Jason-Wu-Sleeveless-Trench-Dress/prod145900046_cat43810733__/?icid=&searchType=EndecaDrivenCat&rte=%252Fcategory.service%253FitemId%253Dcat43810733%2526pageSize%253D30%2526No%253D150%2526Ns%253DMAX_RETAIL_PRICE%25257C1%2526refinements%253D&eItemId=prod145900046&cmCat=product

I used McCalls 5847 to make my version. I've posted a review of the pattern itself in the Pattern Reviews

Instead of the taupe, I used a pale blue silk/cotton oxford shirting from preg_replace('/(.{19})/', '$1 ', 'fabricmartfabrics.com')  Another obvious change is sleeves, I added elbow length sleeves with a turned cuff and tab. I used black lace from my stash to cover the lapels and cuffs, the original dress has custom appliques. I used black silk for the collar, sleeve tabs, and covered buttons. I planned to insert welt pockets with black silk welts, but.. I ran out of time! I needed to wear the dress!! And it looks just fine without the pockets.

2  CLOTHING / Designer Clothing Homage / Oscar de Laurenta on: June 20, 2013 12:29:37 PM
My inspiration was this faux wrap dress, originally nearly $2K it's on sale now for just $850.50!
http://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/Oscar-de-la-Renta-V-Neck-Faux-Wrap-Dress/prod153380093_cat43810733__/?icid=&searchType=EndecaDrivenCat&rte=%252Fcategory.service%253FitemId%253Dcat43810733%2526pageSize%253D30%2526No%253D450%2526Ns%253DMAX_RETAIL_PRICE%257C1%2526refinements%253D&eItemId=prod151730021&cmCat=product

I used Vogue 8784, View B, without a collar or sleeves. I posted a review of the pattern itself in Pattern Reviews


The obvious difference is fabric. Oscars is a satiny modern tulip print. Mine is cotton bark cloth, in a traditional Hawaiian print.

Another difference is that the description of the designer dress says "faux wrap", and this dress really is a wrap. The pattern calls for lots of tucks at the tummy area. I wish I would have drafted all the tucks out of the lining, and maybe even out of the hidden under layer. I haven't seen this dress in person, but I'll bet it's made without the excess tucks.
3  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Butterick 4386 on: June 19, 2013 07:13:46 AM
Butterick 4386
Pattern Description:
Semi-fitted straight dress in lengths, with back zipper and back seam slit. Four sleeve choices; long, below the elbow, cap or sleeveless. Options include patch pockets (View D), tied hip band (View A), waist sash (View C), draped hip wrap (View F) and contrast collar with bow (View B)

Pattern Sizing:
Sizes 8 14 or 16 - 22

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?
The zipper. I prefer to install zippers while the garment piece (or pieces) are still flat. Its easier to install a slot zipper into the back of a dress before sewing the side seams, so thats what I did.

Fabric Used:
Polyester faux silk

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None, which is VERY unusual for me!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
If I want another sheath dress, I will definitely consider making this one again
Yes I recommend this pattern.

Conclusion:
I need a bigger mannequin! The dress appears to hang sadly, but, on a body my size its actually quite fitted. The pattern includes side bust darts and well as the vertical front darts, giving the chest area plenty of shape.
4  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Simplicity 1716 on: June 18, 2013 12:49:26 PM
Simplicity 1716
Pattern Description:
Knit mini dress, tunic and top. Front twist or cowl draped neckline. Five sleeve choices.
Pattern Sizing:
Sizes 4 12 or 14 - 20
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?
The style. I made the twist top and its very slimming!
Fabric Used:
ITY knit
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None, which is VERY unusual for me!
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, I plan to make the cowl draped neck view.
Yes I recommend this pattern.
Conclusion:
Some of the pieces in this top have a strange shape, but the instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the top takes shape quickly. I love the style, it is very slimming.
I used a very large print, leftover from another project. I did not have enough material to match the print at the back seam. Thats ok, because I didnt have enough material to eliminate the seam and cut it on the fold, either.
The only modification I would make is to lengthen the middle pieces that form a twist at the center, front. The top hangs on my tiny half mannequin, but I fill it out nicely. It took several tries to get those twist pieces positioned just right so it looked good on me. I think an extra half inch or so at the ends would make the tweaking easier.
5  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Vouge 8784 on: June 18, 2013 09:54:36 AM
Pattern Description:
Lined wrap dress with tucks at the waist. View A has a full, flared skirt and cap sleeves. View B has a straight skirt with elbow length sleeves.

Pattern Sizing:
I was in between sizes and choose the larger size, I think the smaller size would have fit Ok.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I made view B, without sleeves or a collar, and replaced the self fabric tie belt with a purchased belt. My dress looks like view B without sleeves, collar.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. The only tricky part was the tucks. I would eliminate the lining tucks.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The lining. When I read reviews of this pattern I was startled. Reviewers were angry about the lining. Most were upset about a lining in general. I like linings, they protect the fabric from body oils and provide support.
But this lining is cut from the same pattern pieces as the skirt and bodice, and includes the tucks. So when the right and left sides of the dress overlap, four layers of tucks lie across the tummy area. Layer one is right side fabric, layer two is right side lining, layer three is left side fabric, layer four is left side lining. All this tucking makes a lot of bulk at the tummy!
I got the excess tuckage under control by stitching the tucks down. For the top layer, I carefully hand stitched inside each tuck, vertically, three or four inches. The stitches are hidden in the fold. For the lining of the top layer, I hand stitched vertically leaving the stitches visible, but its lining so thats ok. For the left layer, which is hidden under the top layer when worn, I simply machine stitched the tucks down flat, both fabric and lining together. I used two rows of horizontal stitching. The first row is about an inch below the waist, the second is a couple of inches below that.
If I were to make this dress again (or if I had taken the time to think instead of diving in), I would redraft the lining to eliminate the tucks. Id leave the tucks in the left side fashion fabric, but machine stitch them down vertically.

Fabric Used:
Cotton bark cloth in a classic Hawaiian print, with high thread count sheeting for the lining.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Eliminated the collar and sleeves. Eliminated the self tie belt and belt buttonhole. I used hooks and eyes to fasten the dress together, and wear it with a purchased belt (sometimes red, sometimes green).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might, if the right fabric comes along.
I would recommend with reservations, the reservations being all those layers of tucks. I would definitely redraft the lining to eliminate at least two layers of tucks.

Conclusion:
This dress was easy to make and its very comfortable to wear. My version is a cool yet sophisticated summer sundress.
Either view would make a nice office dress if made in a conservative fabric like a light wool crepe. I think view B, without the collar, would make an elegant LBD in velvet or chiffon, with or without sleeves.
6  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / McCalls 5847 on: June 18, 2013 09:51:35 AM
Pattern Description:
Princess seamed shirt/coat dress, in three lengths, with 4 sleeve choices (3/4 with self cuff, elbow with tab, short or sleeveless), collar, topstitching, optional small chest pockets, optional self fabric tie belt.

Pattern Sizing:
Sizes 6-12 or 14-22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Not exactly, because I changed the shape of the lapels.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked the detailed fitting instructions.

Fabric Used:
Silk/cotton shirting, polyester pongee for lining, black silk haboti and black lace

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I widened the lapels, and covered them with black lace. I omitted much of the topstitching. I added a lining (to help the shirting retain its shape, especially in the seat area), black lace on the rolled cuffs, and two black silk covered buttons at the edge of the lapels.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, Id make this again. I like the cut and fit. The instructions were easy to follow and the pieces went together smoothly.
Yes I recommend this pattern.

Conclusion:
I enjoyed making this dress and its quite comfortable to wear. The extensive fitting instructions are a nice bonus. The multiple lengths and sleeve options give this pattern lots of versatility.

7  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Vogue 8854 on: June 18, 2013 09:49:29 AM
Pattern Description:
Loose fitting oversized tunic offers a choice of a collar or hood. View A is sleeveless with a collar. Views A & B have feature a shaped hemline. View B has a front pocket. View C has a high/low hemline

Pattern Sizing:
Sizes XS- M and LG XXL; oversized
I wanted a loose, large tunic, so I made a size larger than usual. But the pattern is designed to be big, so I think I would have been just as happy with my usual size.

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, except I found the front placket instructions a little confusing the first time I read through them. But, when I reached that step, it made a lot more sense and came out just fine.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I liked that it is oversized.

Fabric Used:
Sweater knit, acrylic (I think)

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
No design changes, which is unusual for me!
The only construction change I made was to cover every seam, hem and raw edge with bias tape because my fabric was kinda ravely.
I adjusted the placement of the button and button loop. Instead of a toggle button as suggested, I choose a large, square art glass button.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, Id make this again. I like the cut and fit. It was easy to make. I think View B with a collar would be wonderful in a fleece or flannel.
Yes I recommend this pattern.

Conclusion:
This pattern is easy and goes together quickly. Wrong sides of the fabric show on the inside of the hood, so the center hood seam needs to be finished. I finished all the seams, hems and raw edges with pink bias tape. The hem finish on the rear hem is visible in the photo of the front. The seam finish on the neck and hood are visible in the photo of the back (and my half mannequin is clearly visible, too!)
Its comfortable to wear. I love that it is oversized, and next time I will cut my size (instead of one up).

8  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Burda 7202 on: June 18, 2013 09:43:57 AM
Burda 7202
Pattern Description:
Dress and shirt with draped cowl neck. The shoulder seam leaves gathers and a raw edge exposed, adding a modern, deconstructed touch. The bias cut shirt has a wide hem band that ties in a bow.

Pattern Sizing:
Sizes 10 - 22

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?
I made the top, I like the band and bow on the hip.

Fabric Used:
Polyester charmuse in a ziggy print.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
None, which is VERY unusual for me!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Maybe. The style is unique. But, if made out of a completely different fabric and contrasting hip band (and maybe adding sleeves) it would look different enough for two to fit into my wardrobe. Or I might make the dress.
Yes I recommend this pattern.

Conclusion:
This top was quick to make and is fun to wear. I made the project harder than it had to be by choosing a slippery chramuse fabric. The pattern envelope recommends jersey and crepe, I would suggest those fabrics for a sewist who is not experienced with sewing on the bias.
The top requires quite a bit of material due to the bias cut. The dress, which I did not make, is cut on grain.
I liked the edgy deconstructed look with the exposed raw edges at the shoulders. If this look is unappealing to you, the shoulder can be sewn with a plain seam.
Bias cuts dont ravel much, but some materials, like the charmuse I chose, will fray even on a bias. To prevent excessive raveling, I stay stitched near the raw edge with a straight stitch at the shoulder, then with a narrow zig zag stitch in the cowl neck. Note that edge of the cowl neck in front is also left unfinished. The back of the neck and armholes are finished with narrow bands.

9  CLOTHING / Designer Clothing Homage / A $5K designer dress for ~$25 on: February 22, 2013 11:02:18 AM
The inspiration: A $5K Chado Ralph Rucci knit jersey dress in amethyst purple, featuring snug, wrist length kimono sleeves and a long tie collar stretching to the hem of the dress, held together at the bust with a self fabric tube sewn into a coil. The ends of the tube are decorated with similar, smaller coils. A large quilted self fabric belt encircles the waist. The upper back features a yoke.

http://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/Chado-Ralph-Rucci-Plunge-Neck-Jersey-Dress/prod151990213_cat43810733__/?icid=&searchType=EndecaDrivenCat&rte=%252Fcategory.service%253FitemId%253Dcat43810733%2526pageSize%253D30%2526No%253D30%2526Ns%253DMAX_RETAIL_PRICE%257C1%2526refinements%253D&eItemId=prod151990213&cmCat=product

I used a royal blue jersey from Fabric Mart.

I choose Kwik Sew 3826 Misses dress & top as a starting point. I modified the tie and switched the set in sleeves to raglan sleeves. The raglan sleeves preserve the smooth line at the shoulder and were easier to draft than kimono sleeves. I knew the easiest way to handle the quilted waistband was to make it as a separate belt.

I made the tie coils by sewing a self-fabric filled tube, just a random width that I thought might work, then wrapping about the tube around the ties and tacking it in place, leaving a long, dangling tube tail. I made a smaller self-fabric filled tube for the tails, again just eyeballing the size. I looped the dangling tail back up into the coil and sewed the end in place. Now the self-fabric tube hung in a loop from the tie coil. I cut the loop into two tails, sewed the ends of the tails, and wrapped them with the smaller tube, making mini coils. I tacked the coils in place. Later, I decided that fabric glue was my friend, and ended up gluing the coils.

I drew on my experience making belly dance costumes to create the belt. The belt is four layers: the bottom or innermost layer (against the dress) is jersey, then there is a layer of heavy poplin, a layer of quilt batting, and a top layer of jersey. I am not very experienced at machine quilting or embroidery, so I opted for a simple design of lines echoing the cut of the belt. I experimented with the poplin to form a shape similar to the inspiration dress and used it as a pattern to cut the jersey and batting. I quilted the poplin, batting and top jersey layer together, placed the lining on top, sewed the edges and turned the belt inside out.

The quilted belt looks good on the plastic half mannequin. But, I do not look like the mannequin, so the quilted belt makes me look like a sumo wrestler.

The dress does need something there, I settled on some narrow blue braid.

I think my dress, with the quilted belt, is a good replica of the inspiration dress, considering the original cost $4,950 and mine cost under $25.
10  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Mixing Fabrics on: December 27, 2012 10:34:35 AM
Leather and suede accents are popping up everywhere. I want to make a silk/cotton dress with leather accents (like in the link below),  but I'm worried about how to wash it. I was planning to use scraps from an old leather coat. If I used leather to bind the buttonholes and pipe the pocket edges, could the dress be washed in cool water or will that hurt the leather? Could it be dry cleaned?
http://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/Jason-Wu-Sleeveless-Trench-Dress/prod145900046_cat43810733__/?icid=&searchType=EndecaDrivenCat&rte=%252Fcategory.service%253FitemId%253Dcat43810733%2526pageSize%253D30%2526No%253D150%2526Ns%253DMAX_RETAIL_PRICE%25257C1%2526refinements%253D&eItemId=prod145900046&cmCat=product
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