Romy, oh Romy

For whatever reason I default to the same few pattern companies over and over, but that means I often miss smaller releases, like the Tessuti Romy top. But then I spotted one over on HollyDolly and it clicked! I’m sort of vaguely restricting my pattern purchases to ones that really do something different than those in my existing collection (not just wider/shorter/more gathered/more buttons, or whatever). I don’t have any tank patterns with a bust dart, and I thought the high necklines and strap placement could be transplanted onto dresses or jumpsuits.

At least that’s what I thought I thought, until I realized I just saw this neckline everywhere in street style and I’m as much of a susceptible muppet as anyone else!

Anyway I’d already made it twice by that point. Whoops. Don’t mind me, I’m just assimilating over here.

I sewed mine at size ‘95% of M’, because I forgot to check the printer settings. But I didn’t want to waste paper, plus the printer is upstairs, UPSTAIRS, PEOPLE. So printing once was enough. That’s roughly equivalent to a size S.

This top is surprisingly long (would I say…unnecessarily long?? Yes I would), but I didn’t need to grade out for my hips! What witchcraft is this? The pattern calls for 1 meter of fabric; I bought 1.25 yards of 60” wide linen, and I squeaked out a full-length and a cropped version, with an assist from some scraps of cotton voile for facing the cropped one. I think somewhere between full-length and cropped would be my sweet spot for tucking in.

I had some issues with my first draft. One was technique – I don’t have a loop-turner, so turning the straps was tricky, and mine ended up more like fettucine straps than spaghetti straps. The other was fit. I had read somewhere that Tessuti drafts for a lower bust point, but it was NOT low enough.

I feel like every time I learn something about fitting my bust I get confusion, not clarification. Normally I have to shorten above the bustline, but now these darts were floating well above the apex! Where are my boobs??? Do they wander?

Regardless of big-picture boob position, I would need to lower the dart. Also, I wanted to raise the bottom of the armscye, so my bra wouldn’t peek out. It seems to show more on one side consistently, so either my sewing or my top story is asymmetrical.

Plus back neck gape, which is pretty standard.

None of these changes are complicated, so I tried them simultaneously. I lowered the bust dart like so by ¾”. I also raised the bottom of the armscye by ¾” and made the curve shallower for more coverage. The back neck is narrowed by ¾”, so I guess that was my magic number. Finally, I had to extend the facing – I made it 1” longer so I’d have room for my lowered bust dart, plus a little extra for the hem! There wasn’t much wiggle room between the dart intake and the hem before.

I think it’s a definite improvement! It’s possible I would have avoided some woe by omitting the bust dart entirely, but dang it, I bought the pattern at least in part to try something new. And it’s much more accurate now!

Okay, so was it worth it? I bought the PDF, and it’s fine, but just fine. The lines for each size are hand-drawn with an identical weight and color. I ended up wasting a lot of paper printing out the pattern pieces for tear-away Vilene, which they recommend instead of stay-stitching. Needless to say I just stay-stitched! The directions also instruct you to interfacing the facings. Nooo, thank you. I changed the order of sewing, too, so that I could French-seam the side seams.

Basically I used the What Katie Sews order of operations for the Ogden cami, with the main difference being that I sewed and understitched the straight necklines first, and then sewed and understitched the armscye curves, instead of one continuous line of stitching per front or back. As long as you don’t get the pieces twisted, this is a much easier way to construct the top!

While it seems like this simple shape would be a good pattern for a beginner, I’d hesitate to recommend it. It’s not really a ‘teaching pattern’. That being said, I’m happy with the results!

I’ve gotten some good use out of these this summer. They’re not revolutionary tops, but they’re cool and useful. It’s possible I would have had more detail shots, if I hadn’t gotten distracted by some friendly strangers…

You don’t care that I don’t use tear-away Vilene, do you, pretty horse?

Pattern: Tessuti Romy top I & II

Pattern cost: $8.62

Size: 95% of M, with changes, above

Supplies: 1.25 yards white linen, Sewfisticated, $8.74; scraps of cotton voile from stash (for facings); thread from stash

Total time: 2.25 hours/1.5 hours

Total cost: $17.36 for both tops

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Thick Thighs Save Lives

Several of our friends and family members are having or have just had children, so Professor Boyfriend and I took an international bambini tour! Plus we took advantage of this baby-greeting travel to revisit Oxford, a city we lived in for four years (him) and a year and five summers (me). This has nothing to do with my new shorts, but everything to do with these photos, since we took them in beautiful Port Meadow. I got nettlerash! Because I was wearing shorts. Sooo. Duh, I suppose?

To be specific, I was wearing the Afternoon Patterns Fern shorts. I experienced an interruption of shorts service this summer; my body got bigger and all my existing shorts were suddenly up my crack. I couldn’t think of a shorts pattern I *had* to have, so I used The Foldline’s Pattern Database and rustled up the Ferns.

Pros: turn ups, high waist with a traditional waistband (I’m not hating on elastic, I just don’t like sewing it), and I saw it modeled on plenty of bloggers with a similar heft to their hips and thighs to mine.

Cons: invisible side zipper.

OR IS IT?

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the invisible side zip to a full pirate’s booty of front fly buttons. I needed this pattern to work with a front fly if we were going to be a thing long-term, as every invisible zip I’ve ever installed looks like poo and breaks immediately.

I was mildly hornswoggled to print and assemble my pattern and discover all sizes shared one outseam line. My most meaningful grading, then, would occur along the crotch curve and inseam, and that’s where I proposed to make major changes.

Luckily I had a long enough straightaway on the crotch, grading from D to E, to pop on a ‘self-drafted’ fly extension (it’s a rectangle with a curved bottom, I wasn’t exactly designing a rocket ship). I made a decision on the fly (HO HO HO) to use my crotch to display a golden rivet trove and then enjoyed this very excellent button fly tutorial and did so.

My fly is actually longer than necessary! I don’t have to unbutton the bottom button to get in and out of these. But if you’re going to have four shiny gold eye-catchers up your front rise, why not have five?

I extended the waistband by 4” to accommodate the over- and under-laps. It’s a rectangle, so, again, ‘drafting’ seems like a strong word. I also cut two belt loop pieces and divided them each into thirds, instead of one piece into fourths, as directed.

First try-on was a success. I was really very happy with the crotch curve! It’s comfortable and stays the hell away from both North and South Wedgieville. And hooray, the buttons buttoned. The legs were a smidge too wide at the bottom for my liking, so I took an additional ¾” seam allowance on the outseams, starting from the hem and blending at the hip.

Hey, why is no-one talking about front darts? Front darts are THE BUSINESS. My diameter changes by a foot from waist to hip, give this girl some front darts. I look forward to playing with these – there are pleated shorts in my future!

Basically, I’m a happy bunny! I made this trial pair in leftover rigid Cone Mills denim, and I liked them enough to immediately cut into my other large denim scrap.

I had less of this dark denim so these have a 3” inseam and no turn ups. Also, a traditional fly zip. On this pair I curved the waistband slightly, removing about an inch from the top edge. Sorry for the lack of detail in these photos – we had to run home to change (I wasn’t getting my pins out in Public Nettle Meadow) and we lost the light!

I do have a fun story about this pair of shorts. I got to England right before that series of record-breaking hot days and tried to change into these shorts right away, only my dang button had broken at the shaft. Not the thread, the actual shaft. So no more button! I was staring down the barrel of 97°F with only one pair of shorts in my suitcase when I remembered…OXFORD HAS A JOHN LEWIS NOW.  

I’m not sure anyone who DIDN’T move away from Oxford months before the opening of its John Lewis can understand the slow but certain blossoming of joy in my heart. To those not yet lucky enough to go, it’s like an employee-owned Mega Target. And crucially, it has a haberdashery! So I could buy a button!

THIS BUTTON!

Separately, before setting off for England I bought a new watch (I don’t have a smartphone, so it’s a pretty crucial tool, especially when travelling). My last one was a $15 stopgap that lasted two years while the band slowly dissolved like wet cardboard, so I’m pretty pleased with the new guy.

It’s from The Horse, for any other analog fans.

To sum up: I dig my new shorts, sewing them was a snap, fly fronts + front darts 4 life.

I’ll be back soon to talk about the top I’m wearing in these photos – with other, nearly indistinguishable photos!

Pattern: Afternoon Patterns Fern shorts I & II

Pattern cost: $8.14

Size: D at waist, E at hip, with changes, above

Supplies: scraps of Cone Mills denim in Mint; scraps of Wrangler overstock denim; 1/2 yard of Dear Stella Aweigh North Sailor Toile Sand Fabric, Gather Here, $5.75; thread, Michael’s, $2.39; zipper, Sewfisticated, $1.40

Total time: 6.5 hours/4.5 hours

Total cost: $17.68 for both pairs

Summer of Love, Part Five: Farewell, My Lovely

This is my final post in the Summer of Love series. I decided to include one more outfit – not one that got worn publicly much, but one I made just for me!

Luckily I only travelled locally for the weddings etc., but when I did spend a night away from home, I wanted to wear something a bit more fun than my everyday jimjams (I had a sort of instinct that my usual grey tee/sweatpants combo wasn’t maximum festive). Rare Device has a lovely post on investing in the clothes you wear when you’re by yourself, and while self love or care has been monetized almost past recognition, I thought my celebratory PJs were still worthy of being the finale of my Summer of Love. Not to mention I spent several weekends after the binge lounging around and recovering my social appetite and you know I spent that time in pajamas!

This post is a little disingenuous though – because while I made this robe/nightie combo last summer, I didn’t make the robe really truly wearable until the Sewcialists announced the Over/Under theme month. So 1. Oops and 2. Hooray!

The pattern is Seamwork Almada, and I fell for it immediately on its release. Many robes seem to be a collection of rectangles, but I thought the Almada looked like an Erté illustration, like an elegant twenties egg. I also loved the double gauze Seamwork used for their sample. It took me a while to make this pattern since it called for 3 ½ yards of fabric, and I was saving my credit card cashback rewards until I had enough for the big dog – Nani Iro! This is a fabric from her (their?) Rakuen collection.

I sewed a size large, originally with no changes. I was surprised at the Seamwork directions; I assumed that a pattern that called for luxurious fabrics would also call for fine finishing. Especially given that it only has four seams, I would have recommended French seams. They didn’t, but I used them anyway! I also invisibly hand-sewed the bias binding that finishes the opening – easy to do on double gauze, because you can just pick up the inner layer with your needle.    

My favorite homemade bias binding is from this super-soft grey-green-khaki cotton that goes with absolutely everything.

I needed every inch of my yardage – that’s how I ended up with the printed selvage visible inside one sleeve cuff!

I swanned around in my finished robe from time to time, admiring the fabric, but I didn’t use it much as a practical thing. The ties were placed low and wide, buuut so are my hips. The robe required too much arranging and tugging and still wouldn’t stay shut. I wore it as intended for wedding travel because inconsistent coverage was better than none, but after a year of non-use, I FINALLY unpicked and reattached the ties. And only because of Over/Under month!

Half an hour of sewing to move the ties six inches up and six inches towards the center, and now my fancy robe finally fits!

Double gauze is soft and vibrant, it’s like wearing a whisper, and it’s generally easy to sew. When topstitching, however, a friend of mine described it as “like sewing bread”.

Not my neatest sewing ever, but eulalia! I can wear it now!

On the other hand, there’s almost nothing to the nightie – no special saving for fabric, no long-awaited sew, no last-minute rescue. Just a 7” lengthened Ogden cami from leftover fabric I didn’t have quite enough of to make daywear. It’s my all-time favorite summer nightgown.

Love strikes willy-nilly!

Thus concludes my Summer of Love! See you soon, I hope, for more everyday dressing. : )

Previous Summer of Love: here (part one), here (part two), here (part three), and here (part four).

Pattern:  Seamwork Almada

Pattern cost: $3

Size: L, with the ties moved

Supplies: 3.5 yards Nani Iro Gauze in Rakuen Flower, Etsy, $69.20; thread from stash

Total time: 5.5 hours

Total cost: $72.20

Pattern: Ogden cami

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 8 at bust, 14 at hip

Supplies: leftover rayon poplin from stash, thread from stash

Total time: 2.25 hours

Total cost: $0.00

 

Summer of Love, Part Four

Why hellllooo, here’s the fourth entry in my self-declared Summer of Love series! This outfit is sort of a round-up of my greatest hits: slouchy linen-ish outerwear, short shorts, and a wrap top that needs a safety pin so my bra doesn’t fall out. And guess what? I LOVE IT!

Yes babies, ignore the stink-face (why do I always have such a stink-face? I promise I’m very smiley in real life), I finally worked out a dressy(ish) outfit I feel comfortable and happy in! First, the creative brief: I needed something to wear to a rehearsal dinner with the equivalent fanciness of an average wedding, but since it was immediately followed by, you know, the actual wedding, my Kielo had to keep. Also, it was in a country club! First and only time I’ve been in a country club. Country club tip: forge an alliance with the man who holds the crab cakes. Yesss. Now you are ready.

Also, I was being romantically haunted (think Phantom of the Opera, Patrick Swayze as Ghost, basically those but with boundaries) by the idea of a Summer Suit. And I figured what the hecko! If not now, when! And because I love ongoing usefulness I decided to sew another Victoria blazer. I made all the changes listed in this blog post, and also I swapped in pockets purloined from the Lupin jacket (mine here).

Here is a picture of a pocket for anyone who is recently born or very forgetful. You’re welcome.

Another Patented Poundcake tip (I’m sure that crab cake thing is already paying dividends): make sure your shorts are at least a little longer than your jacket, so you don’t look like a flasher from behind.

So that’s the outermost layer of my onion! Next is a sleeveless Anderson blouse, and I made the adjustments listed in my post here, except for the armscye because this was my first draft in fact and I hadn’t noticed that issue yet.  Simple pimple.

Finally, the third piece of the ensemble – pants. I imagined cropped, pleated trousers with a tapered leg. “But Lia,” I hear you say, “Surely that’s your knees I see before us?”

PATIENCE.

Exactly at the equator, these are MN Flints. I used its (dare I say iconic?!) waistband and pocket construction.

There’s a hook and bar fastener inside, and the ties outside. Also, for once, my waistband isn’t crumpled horizontally by my mighty middle. I used BanRol! I’d bought some in a hazy panic when a local fabric store was closing, with the vague sense you put it in bag straps, but it’s for waistbands. It really stays flat! I only realized its use because of the magically impressive Shauni (she’s so cool).

So I had my waistband figured, but I wanted tapered pants and the Flints, well, aren’t. So I used the leg (sans pockets) of the Turia dungarees! I darted the back to fit, and pleated the front. It was actually pretty straightforward to get these patterns to mesh.

Then, an eagle-eyed observer might be able to spot, I just went ahead and cut the legs off anyway.

Frankly the pattern mash-up made for a nice pair of dressy slacks, but when paired with the blazer, I was getting major zoot suit vibes! So chop chop, now they’re shorts. The finished inseam is 2.75”.

This isn’t my finest sewing (those pleats are not centered on the front crotch seam, for one) and there’s some practical issues (the shorts wrinkle like crazy where they’re crushed by my butt, the blouse is a little too short to tuck in *really* securely), but for once, I don’t care. Because I feel like myself in this outfit and that makes me happy.

You may also notice, despite my claims, that I have HEELS ON! These were grandfathered in because I bought them for my sister’s wedding in 2012. Even just taking these pictures reminded me why I only wear them once every 20 months. They gave me that lift to spot my crab cakes friend from a distance though. Plus who can resist a classic grey…beige…combo? LISTEN I’m good at wearing normal clothes, okay!

My embroidered pin is from Coral & Tusk, by the way.

And my face, as apparently always, is right out of stink-ville!

See you soon!

Previous Summer of Love found here (part one), here (part two), and here (part three).

Pattern:  BHL Victoria blazer

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 10/14

Supplies: 2 yards of Brussels Washer linen/rayon blend in grey, $20.78, fabric.com; 1.5 yards of Cambridge Solids cotton lawn in Grey, $13.20, Gather Here; thread, $1.79, Michael’s

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $35.68

Pattern: SOI Anderson blouse

Pattern cost: NA

Size: XS (!!!)

Supplies: 2 yards of ivory rayon, $15.00, Gather Here; thread from stash

Total time: 3 hours

Total cost: $15.00

Pattern: MN Flints/Turia dungarees

Pattern cost: NA

Size: L (Flints)/44 (Turias)

Supplies: 2 yards of Brussels Washer linen/rayon blend in grey, $20.78, fabric.com; thread, hook and bar from stash

Total time: 6.25 hours

Total cost: $20.78

Summer of Love, Part Three

This dress was pants! Briefly! Well, culottes. This is the tale of its transformation. Welcome to episode 3 of the Summer of Love!

This was very, very temporarily a pair of midi-length Tania culottes, size L in old money. I’d been wild to make them for a while, but I rarely buy 3+ yards of fabric at a go. Happily Gather Here had a summer sale at the beginning of wedding season, and the Tanias seemed just right for an upcoming casual-nice engagement party!

I finished the culottes with about 18 hours to spare (maybe you’ve sung this song yourself) and popped them on for a triumphant fashion show. Twist!! I must have fudged the grainlines because instead of falling from the widest part of my hip, they hugged my leg to about mid-thigh and then abruptly belled out. NOT triumphant. Not even close. Triumph sent its sincerest regrets but would not be attending my legs.

Without a back-up plan, I unpicked the ol’ leg-bags and freestyled a dress. The culottes became its skirt. This was simple to engineer – I cut off the crotch extension of each piece and smoothed the waist, like so.

Then I pieced the skirt front and skirt back at the center seams. Since the Tanias are so full, that left a respectable amount of swing and flare, even sans crotch.

Unfortunately, I ended up with four little holes, from what used to be the ends of the big box pleats (the red dot on my diagram above).

Using about a square centimeter of scrap fabric and fusible hem tape, I ironed a jiffy patch to the wrong side of each hole. So far they’re holding!

For the bodice, I used the Workroom Social Tate Top (free to newsletter subscribers) in the cropped length. I had previously made this pattern as a scrap-buster. As a crop top, you can really squeeze it onto random odds and ends, especially if you add seaming. I got this from the culottes off-cuts with nothing to spare!

Rather than using a zip, as the pattern recommends, I divided the back bodice horizontally about 5” down. Then I cut the two upper pieces and hemmed the vertical edges separately for a simple opening. It closes with a thread chain and mother-of-pearl button, but I can get in and out without unbuttoning. I’ve definitely made versions of this with no opening at all, but you know your own coconut best!

Then I just gathered the skirt top to fit (it didn’t take much gathering), stitched them together, pressed that seam up, and topstitched. Crossed my fingers for another first try-on and hey presto! A dress!

With a handy belt leftover from a Halloween costume (I was an Egyptologist, Professor BF was a curséd mummy, it was adorable, we’re very proud), I was party-ready.

Oddly I find the Tate cropped length borderline too short for a shirt but definitely too long for a dress bodice! But by then I was sleepy. So I wore the finished dress to the engagement do, and then forgot to adjust it, and then wore it to other Summer of Love events – a bridal shower, another engagement party. It’s not quite fancy enough for a fancy wedding, but it worked great for these Bacchanals/Burning Mans/just kidding we ate finger food in a backyard.   

I wore my Halloween belt with this each time, but I might prefer it casually unbelted!

You know what – seeing this steadily and seeing it whole, I’m gonna tweak it again. I love the color and the weight of this fabric, but the bodice never sat quite right, especially in the back, and it’s a smidge tight at the underarms.

Once more for the chop, dear dress!  

Previous Summer of Love found here (part one) and here (part two).

Pattern: MN Tania culottes

Pattern cost: $9.50

Size: L, in the old MN system

Supplies: 3 1/4 yards Kaufman Essex linen/cotton in Seafoam, Gather Here, $28.60; zipper and thread, $4.60, Gather Here; button from stash

Total time: 5.25 hours

Total cost: $42.70

Pattern: Workroom Social Tate Top, as dress

Pattern cost: $0.00

Size: 8

Supplies: disassembled Tania culottes + leftover fabric

Total time: 5 hours

Total cost: $0.00

Summer of Love, Part Two

Welcome back to the Summer of Love, where I share what I wore to the weddings and wedding-adjacent events that ate summer 2018! Inevitably, I made a Kielo. But this Kielo has a twist. I don’t actually like it very much!!

Ho-ho, it’s a GRUMPY twist. My feelings about this dress didn’t crystallize until I took these photos, in fact. Normally I forget unpleasant sewing experiences in the satisfaction of a finished garment, but when I jumped headfirst into this stretchy green tent they were waiting inside!

More on that later! First I want to talk about the jacket I sewed to pair with this, since venues are often too cold. Venues AND spaces are too cold. Sometimes areas too. Brr. It’s a Lupin!

Bonne journée, Lupin! Conversely, making this was a madcap ride of pure sewing joy. These were my first welt pockets and my first jacket lining. I had so much fun making this, I spent much of the time thinking of when I could make another. It almost doesn’t matter that I don’t like it very much either?!

I love it as an object, I just don’t love it on me.

The exaggerated lapels, the blousy back – it seems like too much fabric to me. Or maybe it’s the color? In an olive drab or a mossy green, I could see this working. This light blue isn’t as versatile as I expected. My Lupin is a straight size 42 and the fit is fine really but it feels (and I think looks) a smidge long.

With a linen/cotton shell and rayon lining, it’s the perfect weight for weather of about 55° – 65° F, which is a great transitional layer. Again, um, for someone who likes it.

 The directions were really clear; my only changes were to skip the topstitching on the lapels and omit the epaulettes. I also used two different lining fabrics, because the solid one had been gifted to me and the other…

WAS THIS MAGNIFICENT ½ YARD OF VERY EXPENSIVE RAYON. It’s gorgeous. That half yard cost me $10 and was absolutely worth it. I should wear this jacket inside out.

And it coordinates so well with this Fearsome Beast pin!

The upside of relying almost exclusively on blue and green for color in my wardrobe is effortless coordination, baby!

I felt very appropriate in this outfit. Picture that remark, in say, a Regency drawing room, and you might get a sense of how withering I’m being. Ms. Poundcake! Fie! It also packed well (an away wedding must) and clearly communicated my desire to be a fancy friend. It also also contains some of my junkiest sewing this side of a seam ripper.

Let’s talk turkey.

As seen here in this photo of me, apparently, playing a small invisible violin, the fit is fine. It’s totally acceptable! I’ve put all my points into fitting pants, so learning how to fit my top half has accidentally gotten nerfed in the meantime. Luckily I had the lead of Erica from Handmade Wardrobe to follow. I shortened the front bodice by 1.5” above the dart, the back bodice by 1” above the armscye notch, and narrowed the top back 2” total (1” from each center back starting at the neck, tapering to nothing about 6” down). I also raised the back split by about 2”.

Bunching at the front armscye/above the bust seemed to be a common issue with the pattern, so I was pleased to have avoided it! But then came…THE SEAM FINISHES.

The pattern instructs you to use bias tape to finish the arm- and neck-holes. Okay, fine, you can bias bind the neck. But the armscye is continuous with the side seam! There’s no division, just a notch marking it!

Ignore the incoming armpit hair and stick with me here. I guess it’s possible to miter the binding for that corner somehow, but I lack confidence with knits, let alone knit bindings, so I just serged the seam allowances separately, pressed them open, and topstitched – effectively turning them under once, which I repeated for the neckline so the topstitching would be consistent. Consistently stretched-out-ish. : P Not to mention the wobbly back seam and the bulgy dart points!

But my worst, worst sewing is at the top of the split. That split, elegant from a distance, is an uneven mess inside. It changes width, there’s some serging that just…trails off, and I had to snip into the seam allowance, which kind of stresses me out even when the fabric won’t ravel. I tried WonderTape for the first time (as in “I wonder if I’m doing this right, because I’m having a crummy time”) and it did not seem to improve my experience.

And in conclusion: PANTY LINES.

I had an un-fun time sewing this slinky knit and now that the un-fun isn’t being actively opposed by cheese boards and Whitney Houston tracks, I feel it. I just don’t trust a dress I can’t press with steam!!

None of this is to say you shouldn’t sew it. Heck, I’m not even saying I’ll never wear it again. Maybe time will massage my yucky feelings to indifference? Or even better, maybe I will Grow As A Person and stop caring? It’s not an A-plot level arc, but growth is growth.

So, no moral to the story. Not yet, anyway. But the dress did its job, and there’s only one way for this post to end…

Flying squirrel!!

Previous Summer of Love found here.

Pattern: Named Kielo

Pattern cost: $14.00

Size: US 8, with adjustments, above

Supplies: 2 meters bamboo jersey knit in Spruce, Blackbird Fabrics, $32.50; $4.41, WonderTape, Amazon seller; $4, thread, Michael’s

Total time: 7 hours

Total cost: $54.91

Pattern: Deer & Doe Lupin jacket

Pattern cost: $13

Size: 42

Supplies: 3 yards Essex linen/cotton blend in chambray blue, 1/2 yard Menagerie cotton rayon lawn in Monstera Midnight, Gather Here, $36.40; thread, Gather Here, $3.10; vintage bemberg rayon, gifted

Total time: 9.25 hours

Total cost: $52.50

Summer of Love, Part One

Put your hand up if the following apply to you:

  1. You’d rather get dressed than get dressed up.
  2. A clutch of weddings either has or is about to rain down upon you.

I know the Year of So Many Weddings will seem like a safe harbor when I’m swimming with the sharks of Look at All These Babies, Do I Really Have to Remember Their Birthdays, but literally every weekend but one from June to October 2018, I went either to a wedding or a wedding-related event. And I wore the same few outfits to every last one of them! And so, honored guests, let me welcome you to the next few posts on my blog: what I, an un-fancy person, wore for chronic wedding attendance, a.k.a., The Summer of Love. Part One!

I have THOUGHTS about weddings in general (thoughts on thoughts on thoughts! So many patriarchal rituals! So much free labor, usually performed by women! So much dang money! But also the possibility of spending that money locally, often at female-owned businesses! Thoughtful marry-ees are working hard to erode the gendered baloney! Also I like passed hors d’oeuvres and theme parties!) which is why I look forward to never having one myself, but I do have fun at other people’s. I consider my main duty as a wedding guest to be 100% danciness all night long.

IMG_9013

This familiar friend is V1501 (Rachel Comey mock-tuck dress for Vogue) and you’ve probably seen it everywhere. I saw it first on What Katie Sews and now looking back, did I make the wrong size? Hers is sassier! Oops, I guess your marriage is annulled, friends. ANYWAY, this satisfies dancing requirements: it’s comfortable, the skirt’s swishy, and nothing is going to pop out. That seems like faint praise, but it’s about as high as dress-up clothes are going to get.

I did have fun sewing this though! I used my favorite yarn dyed linen/rayon blend, Kaufman Brussels Washer in Redrock (the same one I used for my very first post on this blog!). The skirt is a size 14, and when I wrapped the waistband pattern piece around my waist I made the instant call to add 2.75” inches to its length. I must have made a bizarre tracing error, because the lengthened waistband fits me comfortably, if a little loosely (I could have added 2.25” and been okay), but when I went to attach it, the skirt top was 2” wider than that (but hooow?).

I added another 1” dart to each skirt back, so now there’s 4 darts in total. I’ll have a close-up later, but it solved the problem, even while leaving me, to this day, baffled and confused.

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The skirt pieces are wider at the top than the hem! I’ve never seen this before! It makes sense, I guess – I’m wider at the hips than the knees. They’re seamed at the center front and center back, and the extra-wide front pieces allow for generous pleating.

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Swiiish! I used the selvage edge for those seams, since they’re straight lines and I’ve never met a millimeter of fabric I didn’t want to scrounge and save.

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I made a whole buncha changes to the top. I shortened the back bodice by 3”, topstitched the front pleats (why?? I don’t remember! Well, too late now), and raised the split at the sides by 4”. I did this little by little after the bulk of the bodice was complete, so I could push it juu-uu-ust to the edge of my bra. But if you have a cute bra you want to share, excelsior!

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Consider them dancing vents! I made this adjustment to the angle from hem to side, to make it more acute. The width at the hem of the bodice is unaffected, but the side seams meet higher up. I think in my fabric choice this dress is right on the edge of frumpy, unless you have the drama or gravitas to carry it off. I don’t! I don’t wear makeup or heels so I was comforted and sustained by the little bit of visible side.

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Naturally when I finally tweaked that angle to my own satisfaction it was also the time I hemmed the back inside-out. Tra la la. You can see the double darts here if you look closely, and the invisible zipper without looking closely at all! I still struggle with invisible zippers! Either you can see them, or I break them. This seemed the lesser of two evils.

I followed this EXCELLENT tutorial from Crafterhours to sew the all-in-one facing. I did skip the gussets and shoulder pads, so I can’t speak to integrating those with the facing! Finally, I took a cue from many bloggers who have sewn V1501 before, and sewed the top and bottom as separate pieces, joined by buttons on the inner waistband.

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My buttonholes are not centered either vertically or horizontally because I was slapdash! That’s between you, me, and the mulberry tree. I can store this puppy on a hanger no problem, though. Flex.

I might use the skirt separately, with a tank or cami, for like…a summer fête? If I ever need to act ladylike on a riverboat? A grift where I pretend to lose the church roof fund and also carry a lace hankie? IS THIS WHY PEOPLE DRESS NICE?

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More wedding guest outfits coming soon, in this the Summer of Love!

Pattern: V1501

Pattern cost: $10.29

Size: 12 top, 14 skirt, with variations, above

Supplies: 3 yards of Kaufman Brussels Washer Linen Blend in Redrock, fabric.com, $33.42; buttons, zipper, Gather Here, $3.60; thread from stash

Total time: 13 hours

Total cost: $47.31