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.

public.jpeg

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.

public.jpeg

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.

public.jpeg
public.jpeg

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

public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg
public.jpeg

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!

Read More

Crowdsourced V9251: an Anthro-inspired wrap hack

This project has been a long time coming so I'm excited that it's the first proper pattern review I'm sharing here.  It started when I picked up a few yards of floral (gasp!) rayon last December at Michael Levine with a summery dress in mind.  I'm so fickle when it comes to prints that I usually fall in and out of love with them before I even reach the checkout.  But this one seemed different and it fit in the budget, so it came home with me.  Fast forward to the end of March just before it was announced that the #sewtogetherforthesummer theme would be wrap dresses.  I came across this one in an Anthropologie ad and I immediately thought of that floral rayon I had. 

IMG_1746.JPG

 

Spurred along by my ever-resourceful Instagram pals, I suddenly had several pattern options that could help bring this inspo photo to life.  I went with Vogue 9251 after seeing it's versatility in versions from Jessie and Bryanna.  There were quite a few changes it needed in order to match my inspiration and seeing their hacks was really reassuring.

Pattern: Very Easy Vogue V9251.  I've only ever made a couple of Big 4 patterns, but I'm guessing this one was categorized 'very easy' because there are very few pattern pieces.  In my opinion that's a bit deceiving.  Especially since it's recommended to be made up in rayon, the instructions are sparse- almost cryptic and some of the methods a little tricky.  There's also no reminder or indication of when to finish seam allowances.  I think the indie pattern-maker favorite skill level "adventurous beginner" is much more accurate.  That said, I found the pattern to be very well drafted and final product matched the illustrations beautifully. 

IMG_1747.JPEG

Fabric: Paradis Woodland Art Gallery Rayon from Michael Levine (out of stock there, but still online in other shops)  This fabric is sooo dreamy and buttery, assuming you dream of butter *or like me a really good plant based alternative*.  This is a bold, saturated print but to me the design and color pallete are sophisticated and refined.

IMG_1748.JPEG

 

Size: I made the size 12 based on the finished bust measurements.  I could have graded down slightly at the waist but figured I'd just cinch it in with the ties.  A quick look at the cut of the skirt indicated it was generous enough to graze my hips freely so a straight 12 it was!

Fit: I'm very happy with the fit and fortunately the adjustments I made worked out great.  The waist does not tighten as snugly as I hoped, but I'm okay with it.  I really love the way the bodice hangs delicately with the perfect amount of ease.  The curve of the wrap skirt is something I was concerned about for modesty, but actually it has great coverage.  I can't say as much for the top but that might just be me (not a fan of cleavage).  Fortunately a safety pin is enough to keep the girl's out of sight.  I'll put a snap on soon to avoid snagging the fabric.

Changes: So many!  Starting from the top I raised the back neckline 1/2" which I think is more flattering on me.  The plan was to omit the sleeves so to keep it from being too restrictive I deepend the armscyes by 3/4", then finished them with bias binding.  There are options for two skirt lengths but since I wanted mine knee length I was on my own in adjusting it.  I know you're technically supposed to us the lenghten/shorten lines for this kind of change, but the placement of these made no sense to me.  Had I done as instructed I would have ended up with a waaay more voluminous skirt than I wanted (half circle skirt status).  I went rogue here, managing to preserve the curve of the of the front hem without adding on anything to the width.  I think I ended up shortening the midi version by about 11 inches.  I did not make a muslin, but I did carefully consider the impact of each change and made them to the pattern pieces before I cut into my fabric.  Holding the pieces up to myself and my dress form helped me feel confident I was on the right path.

The Frill:  As the main feature in replicating the look of the Anthropologie dress, this beast gets it's own section.  Truth: I own nothing with frills and invariably replace gathers with pleats in all skirts so the extent of my experience up to this point was gathering sleeves for insertion. I'm sure there are better ways to have done this, but this method got the job done.  I sewed together 4 inch wide strips of fabric totaling the required length plus roughly 50% extra for gathering.  I folded the one *very long* strip in half, stitching each end closed and sewed gathering stitches.  Gathering 195 inches of fabric was a way bigger undertaking than I imagined, especially since I thought I could do it with only one row of gathering stitches- a total ruffle rookie mistake.  If you attempt this, please save yourself some grief and use two or even three rows to keep everything in place.  Once the gathered frill was pinned on I attached it beginning at the outer waist tie, all around the hem and back up to the inner waist tie.  All three layers of the seam allowance were serged together and pressed toward the skirt.

inside the frill

inside the frill

 

Construction: The construction was pretty straightforward, but the wording in the instructions and minimal illustrations left me overthinking what was to be done.  In the end I did what made the most sense to me, which may or may not be correct.  I think the look of self bias binding is so much more refined than pre-made, so I made it in the continuous loop method with this tutorial from Itch to Stitch.  For reference I used a 12" square and cut 1 inch strips and I had enough to bind the armscyes and all around the wrap and back neckline of the bodice with about 12 inches left over.  Making bias tape with such delicate fabric is a real pain and mine is far from perfect.  The same is true of my application of it.  I regret not making my strips 1.25" instead of 1" because I think those extra millimeters added to the folds would have made the binding sturdier.  Added to the fact that I'm super rusty at bias binding in general, I'm not certain it'll hold up in the washing machine so I'll probably stick to hand washing.  One thing that did help in making the bias tape was *heavily* spray starching the fabric square before cutting and again when putting it through the bias maker.  On that note, my top tip for working with shifty rayon in general is to handle it minimally.  The cut fabric loses it's shape very easily, so never stretch or pull on it in the slightest and to never let your cut fabric hang off the edge of your work surface or even from your hand until you've got it all stitched together.  

self bias tape

self bias tape

guts!  

guts!  

the inner wrap

the inner wrap

the outer wrap

the outer wrap

front wrap

front wrap

Verdict: It's floaty and romantic and swishy and breezy.  Definitely not a look I'm known for, but I'm really pleased with it.  It had been ages since I made anything other than a simple skirt with rayon, and I had forgotten how hard it is to wrangle.  And with so many changes and fiddly finishings it took me ages to complete but it was all worth it in the end.  Stay tuned, I will be making a short sleeved version of this pattern soon sans frill very soon!

 

Photo Jun 13, 6 43 28 PM.jpg
Photo Jun 13, 6 43 31 PM.jpg
very roomy pockets

very roomy pockets

Photo Jun 13, 6 43 34 PM.jpg
Photo Jun 13, 6 48 16 PM.jpg