A Retro Summer Glam V8577 with IndieSew

The project that follows was made in collaboration with Indiesew.  The fabric was provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Confession: I do not always think things through. My cart is admittedly before the horse more often than not. And since I’m pretty good at make-it-work situations I’ve found little need to mend this character flaw of mine. If I’m honest, having more wins than losses in this arena has only enabled me. So while I know that one day I’ll be lamenting my lack of foresight, today is not the day! Instead I bring you a perfectly delightful happy accident in the form of of this Vogue 8577 shirtdress in IndieSew fabric.

The pattern had been in my stash for several months and on my radar even longer. I feel my best in a button front, especially a shirtdress, and when you know what works why question it? The only obstacle is how fabric hungry this pattern is and how cheap I am to spring for the required yardage. Enter my quarterly stipend from IndieSew and this barn red rayon cupro. I was immediately sold on the color and thought little of my lack of familiarity with cupro. My allowance got me 3 yards of 62” fabric and I figured I was golden. After I placed my order I watched Allie on Stories describing cupro’s known use as a garment lining and began to panic. Was I about to make an entire dress out of lining fabric? And would the combination of red + sheen read ‘winter holiday’ and give off a seasonally inappropriate formal vibe?? I put my fears aside since all I could do was wait. When the fabric arrived it was as beautiful as expected and much weightier than any lining I’ve seen. It had a really cool crinkle that I hoped would come across as casual and the sheen was muted with a suede-like finish. Optomistic, I tossed it in to wash and dry.

When it came time to cut, I realized my second oversight: the dress was meant to be fully lined. So that generous 3 yard cut was only about half of what I needed. I considered buying a lining fabric but then remembered I much prefer wearing slips to lined full skirts and figured worst-case I’d draft a neckline facing and bias bind the armholes. In the end I was able to squeeze out the full bodice lining and the skirt is so full and dense a slip is completely unnecessary. See how I’m rewarded for my impatience and lack of preparation? But what about the look of the fabric itself? I think it’s great. That sueded finish and crinkle were enough to convince me that I don’t look like I’m wearing my lining on the outside. Mr. Old Bones’ exceptional eye for choosing buttons was key in toning down the fancy factor as was styling with these cazh brown peep toe wedges. I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome or proud of my tenacity and follow through.

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Now for some details about the pattern! I cut a straight size 12 based on the finished bust and waist measurements and I think the fit is fantastic. The fullness of the skirt (approximately a half circle) made the hip measurement irrelevant. This pattern, like all my commercial patterns, has the main finished garment measurements clearly marked on the tissue. This takes away any confusion about sizing you may have had previously, so cut confidently! I can also say I’ve found Vogue and McCalls patterns to be very consistent with sizing and I pretty much always go with a 12 up top. I made no adjustments at all.

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I found the construction of the bodice to be a little strange, but that *may be in part because I did not add the skirt lining. First off, commercial patterns seem to have an aversion to the burrito method which is far superior in my opinion. Instead they have you finishing the armholes of a fully lined bodice with bias tape. Ludicrous and… completely unnecessary? Of course I did not do this. Second there is a front placket piece that runs from the V neck all the way to the hemline. It gets sandwiched between the bodice shell and lining but shows on the inside of the garment. Mine ended up precariously close to peeking out and I had to fold it under and topstitch at the neckline to prevent this. It seems to me this could have been omitted in favor of some interfacing, at least along the bodice front. If I sew the pattern again I will explore this possibility. For me I found the waist dart points to be a bit too high (I should have lowered them close to an inch) and the hemline of view A to be slightly too short for this sort of look. I think I’d prefer the skirt about 2-3 inches longer. And speaking of hemlines, keep in mind that this skirt is made up of 5 panels cut mostly on the bias. That hem will drop! I let mine hang about 48 hours and trimmed off as much as 3 inches in some places.

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My favorite things about the pattern are those massive statement pockets and the gathering at the shoulder seams. It has immense twirling swishablity and a super unique 50s/80s vibe I’m kind of obsessed with. I put a little extra into this photo sesh, doing my best to present it to you in a fresh, fun way. Let me know what you think and as always, if you need any help making this pattern feel free to reach out.

xo April

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Here Comes the Sun: a fresh Spring look with IndieSew

The projects that follow were made in collaboration with Indiesew.  The blouse fabric and jeans pattern were provided by Indiesew, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I write, my head in a perpetual fog brought on by too many days without sun.  This California girl is a true sunflower, and when she begins to wilt must find a way to brighten her view. Today this great new outfit is the golden remedy to my current blues.

The top is a modified Hey June Key Largo in striped goldenrod rayon crepe from Indiesew.  Choosing this fabric was a no-brainer.  It practically chose me. Perfectly drapey and lightweight with that subtle crepe crinkle, it promptly identified itself as a statement blouse for spring.  I toyed with a couple of pattern ideas before stumbling across the Key Largo.  Unfairly overlooked all this time (at least by me) Key Largo is classic Hey June:  a separate that fits effortlessly into any wardrobe, with comfortable practicality and subtle stylish versatility.  The pattern as written was almost exactly what I wanted, with the exception of the neckline.  Eager to replicate a Madewell top I’d been eyeing, I just needed to modify Key Largo into a V.  A more patient maker may have gone about this in a more methodical way, muslining and such.  But that just isn’t me.  So while I can’t provide you with a reliable tutorial for this hack, I will let you know what did and didn’t work.

Holding up the original front pattern piece to myself, I attempted to measure how low of a V I wanted.  I decided on four inches lower than where the scoop landed and marked that point of the center front.  From there I simply drew a diagonal line starting about where the shirt would hit the collar bone down to that point.  I traced around my new neckline from the shoulder (adding SA) to the point of the V and drafted a facing about 2 1/2 inches wide.  At the same time, I raised the back neckline 1/2 inch, and drafted a back neck facing to match. Instead of one of the binding methods included in the instructions, I attached my facing with raw edges serged, then understitched and topstiched 1/4” from the serged edge to secure.  Once sewn up, I found the V to be much top low for my taste.  Fortunately this was easily resolved by taking up the shoulder seam, leaving my beautifully shaped V in tact.  In the end it seems lowering the neckline 2 inches would have been the better choice.  But it’s true that all’s well that ends well and I just love the finished article.  I made a straight size 8 which is one size larger than my high bust measurement, and that worked well for this relaxed look. 

Now as  to the fabric itself, it is extremely beautiful and lovely to wear.  But if you value your sanity at all,  you may want to avoid projects that require a lot of precision or stripe matching.  Aside from the shifty nature of rayon, the crepe crinkle can make lining up stripes a challenge.  Personally I broke out into a bit of a sweat trying to match the center seam on my front pieces.  Even so, it was well worth the effort and I’d highly recommend snatching up a couple of yards before it’s gone!

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Now what’s that on my bottom half?  Yep, new jeans!  A new-to-me jeans pattern: the Megan Nielsen Ash jeans.  After four iterations of the Ginger jeans, I was eager to check out a different designer’s methods.  The vision was for a very fitted, minimal pair of dark jeans that would be great pared down or dressed up.  To achieve that look I went with version 1 of the 4, the skinnies.  I’m really happy with the result and stoked to add this pair to my me-made jeans collection.

As far as sizing goes, I measured between a size 28 and 30 and my fabric had less stretch than the pattern recommendation.  Having opted for grading between sizes with my Gingers, I decided to take advantage of a clean slate and take a new approach.  I pooled all of my resources on fitting before deciding on a method from Sew Over It’s pants fitting course.  Armed with that tutorial and experience from previous attempts at fitting my body, I decided to cut a straight size 29 with a 1 inch full thigh adjustment.  Next I got some help at mapping out my full calf situation, marking the fullest points on the pattern pieces and grading out the side seams to accommodate the width.  In the past, I’ve felt I needed a flat pubis adjustment, which I did by straightening out the crotch curve.  Finally, I added an additional 3/8” to the outer leg seam allowances to give myself a full one inch as a safety. 

Since I didn’t have enough of my fashion fabric (10oz Indigo Cone Mills slub denim from D&H Fabrics) to make a muslin, I bit the bullet and did the cutting from my adjusted pattern pieces.  After baste fitting, I decided that the flat pubis adjustment did not work, so I went back and scooped out the crotch curve as it was intended.  I also took advantage of 1/4” of the additional seam allowance from the lower hip to the hem, but kept the original 5/8: from hip to waist.  All in all, I think the sizing of this pattern is very true, and any discrepancy was to be expected since my fabric did not have the proper stretch percentage. 

Now I know what question comes next: which pattern do I prefer?  Ginger or Ash. I honestly don’t know.  The idea of both of these patterns is for them to hug all of you curves, so the final result depends greatly on how you choose to fit them.  I will say I favor the pockets of the Gingers: both the front pocket stay and the fact that the back pockets come in different sizes.  But I much prefer the shape and size of the back yoke on the Ash, which I think is a key element to rear end shaping.  I think I’ll have to make a couple more versions of Ash in different fabrics before it’s clear which pattern I’ll keep going back to.  Whichever way you decide to go, both patterns are conveniently available on the IndieSew website.

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If you fancy a chat about sewing Ash or Ginger or need a little direction in hacking your Key Largo into a V neck, feel free to leave me a note.  I’d love to be of support!

xoxo

April

 

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State of Flux: Two between-season dresses with IndieSew

Figuring out when to stop sewing for one season to start on the next can be tricky, can't it?  Me, my determination to get to the end of that never ending list sometimes blinds me to when that time has come.  Fortunately enough Indiesew had some fantastic options for cold and warm weather when it came time to choose my blogger projects and the result is two fab dresses that have me ready for whatever climate change has is store!

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