Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pattern Review: Simplicity 3503 Maxi Dress

This is actually my second go around with this pattern. I made view B back in 2009 and reviewed it here. I was hesitant to make the maxi length because of my petite stature. However, I took the plunge and am glad I did. It is one of my current favorites.

Pattern Description: Misses' knit dress in two lengths with bodice variations. I made view E.

Pattern Sizing: This pattern comes in sizes 6-22. I went back and tried on the other dress I made with this pattern and found that it fit very well, even with my post-maternity body. So I stuck with a 14. What this means- the pattern runs large.

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? The instructions were very easy to follow. I did not find the errors with this view as I did on the other version.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? This is a "Best of 2009" pattern for a reason. It is easy to sew up. It has great lines and is very flattering for any body type. I love the neckline on this view. I like the bodice gathering and waist definition. No dislikes.

Fabric Used: Rayon jersey. Cannot remember where I got it- was in my stash.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I had to shorten the length by 5 inches. The only other thing I did was change the way the neck band was sewn down. I hand sewed the facing in place. The pattern has you edge stitch the neck band which catches the facing in place. I found that hand sewing it down created a much neater look.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, this one is a keeper!

Conclusion: Another great version from this pattern!


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Book Review: More Fabric Savvy

I am waiting for my photographer (the hubby) to get his buns in gear to do a photo shoot. I've got lots of garments to show off. In the mean time, I thought I would do an occasional book review.

I've got quite the sewing reference collection going. I love to learn new tricks and techniques in order to improve my skills. This is one of my top go to books right now: More Fabric Savvy: A Quick Resource Guide To Selecting And Sewing Fabric by Sandra Betzina. (Disclaimer: this blog is not sponsored by anyone or any company).

I love this book because it has everything you need to know about working with different types of fabric from easier fabrics like denim and linen to more difficult fabrics like sequins and velvet. Sandra Betzina describes all of the nitty gritty like prewashing, fabric layout, marking, cutting, thread and needle selection, stitch length, pressing, seam finishes, hemming, and more on each type of fabric.

There are sections at the back of the book describing how to make certain types of seams and different hem techniques. There's even a section for stain removal for different types of fabric.

I recently made a silk chiffon blouse (in the pile to be photographed). I have not done a lot of sewing with chiffon and could have just winged it. However, with the help of this book I was able to quickly read up on the special handling chiffon needs such as using a fine cotton thread instead of polyester, using a smaller needle and stitch length, using french seams, and different hem techniques.

Even if you are not a book collector like me, this one is a great reference to have on hand.


Monday, May 9, 2011

Pattern Review Burda 7376 Dress

Hello everyone! I've actually made a ton of things while I'm on maternity leave but had not had a chance to have photos taken. Surprisingly, I am able to get sewing done with the new baby. I squeeze in some time during his naps. I'm also working on getting back into shape- I've got about 8 more pounds to go before I'm back to pre-pregnancy weight. Sewing for my new shape has been challenging. I don't know if my hips will ever be the same! I used to be able to sew a straight 16 out of the envelope but I think I will be doing more custom sizing now with the new shape.

I found this rayon challis print at Hancock Fabrics on sale for about $6 a yard. Those who have been following me for a while know that I challenged myself to not buy any fabric until my stash was down into the single digits. An update: I am down to 13 projects from my stash. I did break down and buy two pieces of this rayon challis at Hancocks though. I fought the good fight- I had not purchased any fabrics since March, 2010!

I wore this yesterday for Mother's Day with some turquoise jewelry and black flats. I got lots of compliments from the hubby!

Pattern Description: Dress or tunic has front and back v-necks, pleated shoulders, and tie waist.

Pattern Sizing: This one is available is sizes 32-46. I made a 44.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? For the most part. The dress shown in view A leads one to believe you can wrap the tie belt around your waist twice and tie it in back. This is not the case. You would need to make the ties much longer to accomplish this.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were very easy. If I were able to sew this one straight through without any baby breaks, I could have done it in about 2 hours.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I was drawn to this pattern for the dress. I love the simple yet flattering shape with the waist definition created by the ties. Love the double v-necks too. My one dislike is the length of the ties as stated above. I would have liked them to be longer but this can easily be done for the next time.

Fabric Used: Rayon challis from Hancock Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I wanted the ties to be a little wider than the pattern pieces allowed. So I did a 3/8" seam instead of 5/8". To make some ties that are even more fashion forward, I suggest cutting them even wider and longer. I shortened the length of the dress by 1". I also understitched the facings to keep them rolled to the inside which the pattern does not instruct you to do.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would sew this one again and I do recommend it.

Conclusion: I love this casual dress with the native print! I would like to make this one again in a more formal style- perhaps with black crepe or satin.

And here are some baby shots! He is getting so big although he's still small for his age. He has doubled his birth weight and is 10 weeks old today!