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11  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Pattern Review Vogue 2809 on: December 16, 2012 09:58:44 AM
Pattern Review Vogue 2809

This is a fun top with three versions. View A is a short-sleeve shirt length version. View B is tunic length with long, slightly flared sleeves. View C is sleeveless and dress length, with an elastic waist band. Also included in the pattern are a maxi length skirt and a simple pair of pants.

I made a sleeveless version of View B in a soft paisley and animal print knit.
I made one design change. I sewed the front edges of the neckline together at the top of the circular opening. I made a small pin-on velvet bow, which is easily swapped out for a more decorative brooch to dress it up a bit, like the lighthearted fluffy fascinator used in the photo.

The pattern uses bias tape to face the armholes in the sleeveless version and the neckline in all versions. The ivory bias tape I used is visible in the photo, because my mannequin has no neck or arms to hide them.

I made one construction technique change. The pattern instructions use the two rows of stitching, pull up the bobbin thread method to gather the front. I prefer to use the zig zag over dental floss method, mint flavored was what I happened to have on hand.

The top went together quickly, with only 3 main pattern pieces; front, back and a small front facing. To make sure the gathers stayed even when I applied the facing to the circular opening, I used a dozen pins and topstitched from the right side of the garment.

I recommend this pattern. I enjoyed making this top. Im happy with the results and plan to make it again.
Pattern Review Vogue 2809
12  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Pattern Review McCalls 6231 Mens Sleepwear on: December 16, 2012 09:54:11 AM
Pattern Review McCalls 6231 Mens Sleepwear

IMPORANT NOTE: I do not own a male mannequin. The robe is intended for a male, but is photographed on the only available half mannequin, which is female.

McCalls 6231 is a collection of mens sleepwear pieces to mix and match. The robe is shown in two lengths, with a self or contrasting band on the front and sleeves. The pajama top has a patch pocket and is shown with both long and short sleeves, and also in two lengths. The pajama bottoms can be made short length or pant length.

I made the robe View B with a contrasting band. I used a chocolate brown polyester charmuse for the body and belt, and a golden brocade with an Asian design for the contrasting bands.

The only design detail I changed was to add pocket flaps in the contrasting golden brocade.

The only construction technique I changed was the belt carriers. I always end up pinning or sewing bathrobe belts to the side seams so they dont get lost. I eliminated the carriers and sewed the belt directly to the side seams. To make sure it fit right with the belt sewn this way, I had the robes wearer put the robe on and tie the belt. I pinned the belt to the side seams, then later sewed them in place. Now, the belt will never slip away from the robe.
The pattern went together quickly without fuss. The instructions were clear, and the final result looks like the pattern illustration.

I recommend this pattern. The final robe is quite luxurious. The multiple pieces and views make this pattern a bargain, you can create an entire sleep wardrobe to suit your taste.
13  CLOTHING / Shoes: Discussion and Questions / High heels to moderate heels on: December 05, 2012 01:29:46 PM
I just can't wear high heels. It seems like all the pretty shoes today have sky high heels.

Is it possible to have a high heel boot or shoe resoled with a lower heel? Maybe start with a cute boot with a 3" heel, remove the heel and whole sole if necessary, then replace it with a 2 or 2-1/2" heel?  And if it is possible, where and how would I start?

14  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Ideas for a LARGE print on: November 12, 2012 03:43:53 PM
I recently bought some poly charmuse in a very large floral print.

I'm looking for ideas for a knee length dress, with sleeves. I know a simpler design will focus on the floral fabric. This print is to big and wild for anything with a lot of little pieces.

Any suggestions?
15  CLOTHING / Sewing Pattern Reviews / Simplicity 2172 Steampunk on: November 10, 2012 10:17:18 AM
I made this steampunk-esque jacket and corset for Halloween.

The pattern includes a skirt, corset and jacket. The jacket and skirt are not for beginners. The corset would work well for someone looking for a first corset project.

I did not make the skirt, because I had a suitable skirt from a Medieval costume. This pattern is a yoked dirndl skirt with a deep pleated hem. It takes a LOT of fabric. The pleats looked simple but very time consuming.

The corset is interfaced, lined, boned and zips up the back. The front bottom is shaped, the top is a simple arc. The buttons down the front are purely decorative, and I did not have time to add them on mine. I moved the zipper to under the left arm, so it would be easier to put on and take off. This meant using a shorter zipper than the pattern recommends.

The lined jacket is not a beginner's project. The long tail in back requires quite a bit of fabric and lining. I used a fairly lightweight deep green polyester jacquard, because I had it on hand and it went well with the skirt I already had and the piece of upholstery I used for the corset.

The jacket has a lot of pieces, plus all the pieces from the lining. The pattern interfaces only the buttoned section of the front, but I think the jacket would have a better shape if the interfacing extended all the way down the front edges.

I used ruffles scavenged from old wedding dressed for the collar and sleeves, they are bigger and fuller than ruffles made from the pattern. I also added green suede trim. The jacket would have turned out better if I had used a slightly heaver fabric. I may add green suede trim along the front edges of the lower jacket, to help the light fabric keep it's shape.

Another short cut I took was on the jacket back. The pattern shows self-fabric loops and tie for the lacing. I used purchased bodice lacers and green grosgrain ribbon.  

This is not a pattern for casual Halloween sewers, it's for serious costumers. It requires a lot of fabric plus lining, so even fabric that's inexpensive per yard is going to add up. Every piece of this costume requires some sewing experience, and the skirt looks time consuming.

The corset and skirt, if made from the right fabric, would be ok for historical reenactments or recreations. The jacket would not work for that. It could work in a costume with a "tuxedo" theme, like a circus ringleader, or a chorus line dancer.

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