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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Hippie vibes and acceptance: Hey June Phoenix

Standing out can be great when it's your choice to do so.  But what do you do when you'd rather blend in?  I have some experience in not fitting in and generally feel comfortable in my own (figurative) skin.  Funny enough, one difference I haven't always embraced is my complexion.  See, I'm from sunny Orange County, California and was born into a beachy kind of family.  My dad is a sun-worshiping surfer.  My mom, an olive-toned former islander hippie.  I remember my blonde + bronzed older sisters perpetually glistening with tanning oil.  It was our tradition to spend vacations on the sand, and I felt that was part of my identity.  I loved this image and thought covering up or sitting under an umbrella were very uncool.  My conforming mind somehow thought I could train my skin to love the sun, and I was in complete denial about how I should care for it.  Many years, sun beds and painful burns later I began to come to terms with the fact that I will never be tan.  And that it was actually okay to be pale.  Figuring out a way to be in the sun without getting burned has been a little tricky and to this day I haven't gotten used to how much planning it takes.  Yet again, sewing has come to the rescue for me and at long last I have the cover-up of dreams.

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Pattern:  Hey June Handmade Phoenix Blouse

Fabric: Island Breeze Gauze in Olive from Fabric.com  This is not a very high quality fabric, but I tend to view my handmades as precious and I think I'll wear this more freely since it didn't cost a fortune to make.

Size: 6 based on bust measurements

Fit: I need your help on this!  I have very little experience wearing loose/blousy clothes.  My first instinct was to take in the bodice and under the arms, but I decided to leave it be.  What do you think?  Is it hanging properly, or should I have sized down?

Changes:  As soon as I saw this pattern, I could see it as a dress.  For this hack, I extended the full-length version by about 4 inches, widening the hem about 1 inch on the sides of each pattern piece (for a total of 4 inches around).  The tier/frill on the bottom is two long rectangles stitched together at both short ends.  Rough measurements: 8 inches wide x hem circumference + 50% for gathering.  The rest of the dress was sewn up exactly as instructed for the blouse.

Verdict:  There's a reason why Adriana has a reputation for great patterns with detailed instructions and my first experience was great.  She puts out a quality product at an incredibly reasonable price.  The trickiest part for me was sewing the front yoke with split neckline and only one of my corners is sharp and smooth.  This is mostly because I am very lazy when it comes to transferring pattern markings.  Next time I will use tailors tacks to achieve nice sharp corners.  I'm not tripping too hard on that though, because I am so happy with the end result.  I'm really starting to embrace this laid back hippie vibe and look forward to wearing my Phoenix on many sunburn-free summer days to come.

The back yoke detail is my favorite.

The back yoke detail is my favorite.

Perfect for a casual stroll in some seaside town...or down your neighbor's alley

Perfect for a casual stroll in some seaside town...or down your neighbor's alley

The subtle bell sleeve is a statement but still practical.

The subtle bell sleeve is a statement but still practical.

I remembered to use two rows of gathering stiches for my tiered skirt!

I remembered to use two rows of gathering stiches for my tiered skirt!

Channeling my inner folk-rock songstress.

Channeling my inner folk-rock songstress.

Oh, hi!

Oh, hi!

I prefer my ties done up, and it gives me a little extra coverage on the chest.

I prefer my ties done up, and it gives me a little extra coverage on the chest.

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It's cute open too.