Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lemons and Jasmine

Colette Jasmine

Colette Jasmine with McCall's M5591

Colette Jasmine
The blouse:
Colette Patterns. Sigh.  I am so glad there is a little independent pattern company out there...and a designer whose taste I adore. 

I just love the wide v-neck and long ties on this blouse.  It is hard to find a blouse with ties that doesn't look like it just flew in from 1987.  I was very excited to make Jasmine (so excited that I already had two fabrics lined up), but had a ton of trouble with the muslin.  I think I made it 3 times before I got it right.  The issue was the neckline.  It was so very wide it would slump off one shoulder a la Flashdance, but when I made a smaller size, it just began to look high necked.  So, as usual, I had to improvise.

I started with a size 4, which is my go to size in Colette.  First, I changed the location of the darts to fit my bust. Then I drew on a new neckline.  I made it narrower from shoulder to shoulder, while maintaining the intended shape and plunge.  I also added a little curve to the v.  Of course, the collar had to be adjusted to follow the new neck.  In the end, I came up with something that looks pretty close to the drawing on the pattern, but fits like a dream.

Pattern: Colette Jasmine
Size: 4 with alterations
Fabric: 100% cotton

The skirt:
Sometimes, I need a palette cleanser...something that doesn't require a muslin, or a bunch of tailoring...something that is just silly and fun.  I have an odd obsession with fabrics that have fruit on them and in the bleak mid-winter last year, these lemons spoke to me.  Incidentally, this very same fabric showed up as Sheila's golf shorts on Suburgatory.  Go lemons!

Simple, straight forward skirt, with pockets (I love skirts with pockets).  I took in the waist a bit, but that is it.  Being both anal and averse to ironing, I understitched every pleat.  Makes them sharper and less of a pain to keep up.

Pattern: McCall's M5591
Size 14 with alterations at the waist
Fabric: Fabulous lemon cotton

Plaid Jumper

Simplicity 3673
I found this wool plaid in the winter and was just DYING to use it.  Once again, I had been falling head over heels for the day dresses in Mad Man (what did we do before that show?!).  So, I got this little 1950s retro pattern and went for broke.

The dress is fully lined, not just in the bodice and the pattern instructs.  I've really gotten into lining thins lately...keeps them from sticking to you stockings.

My bust being what it is, the bodice that fit my ribcage was too small to cover the front, so I had to improvise.  I added fullness to the bust and lengthened the bodice front (which originally hit me at about the nipple line, ack!).  I also narrowed the shoulders, armscye, and shoulder straps.  I think I'm finding a theme here.  Narrow shoulders and chest, ample bosom.  No wonder nothing fits.  I also took in the waist on this dress and took out a little fullness in the hip.  I am terribly pleased with it. 

A note on fabrics:  Being an only recently employed wife of a school teacher (who is the sexiest man alive), and living where I do (the only store within an hour's drive is JoAnn), I do not have access to the finest fabrics around.  So, when I got my hands on this 100% wool, in all of its warm, soft, stable weaved glory, I flipped.  A long time knitter, I have a special romance with wool.  Nothing else feels so comfortable in my hands.  The fabric for this dress made it that much more fun to make.  Sigh.

Pattern: Simplicity 3673C
Size: Bits of 6, 8, 10, plus some alterations of my own
Fabric: 100% wool plaid from JoAnn


Simplicity 2648
The pattern for this dress is called "AmazingFit."  You get a bunch of different pattern pieces and mix and match them to fit your body.  Cool!  Also, this was my first project with princess seams.  Scary.

I chose a very loose, drapey fabric, which makes the dress feel pretty casual.  It would work beautifully in wool suiting, tailored very close to the body.  I had to experiment with the sizing quite a bit, but once I had it figured out, the dress came together quite nicely.  I didn't like the seam at the waist, so I added the trim (the pattern comes with pieces at the waistline, but none really fit this fabric).  It is a comfy little number and good for a dinner out in the summer.

Pattern: Simplicity 2648
Size: D cup, curvy.  Bust: D cup, sz 8, Waist: 10, Hip: curvy, sz 14 - with finessing of the side seams for the best fit.
Fabric: blue synthetic from JoAnne

Peter Pan Polka Dots

Colette Violet
Colette Violet detail

I bought this red polka-dot fabric (rayon chiffon, I think?) in a little fabric shop in Ashland, OR...coincidentally, the same shop that turned me on to Colette patterns in the first place.  I didn't know what I'd do with it, but thought this little peter pan blouse would be adorable.  I discovered three things while I was making this piece:
     1. I absolutely hate working with sheers,
     2. non-fitted blouses just aren't my thing,
     3. armscyes are the devil.
I fought with this blouse a bit...okay, to be honest I nearly tore it to pieces in frustration.

I started with a size 4, but the shoulder was quite wide, so I made it a bit narrower (is that a word?).  The armscye was all wrong for me and had to be re-cut, with sleeves to match.  Then I tried on the blouse and just hated the boxiness of it, so I added waist darts.  I don't know exactly what I did, but by the time I was ready to hem, the bottom of this blouse was nowhere near straight.  Guess my novice seamstressing and the loose weave of the fabric combined to spell disaster.  So, I put the darned thing on the dress form and eyeballed a shaped hem (like the bottom of a men's dress shirt).  It turned out quite nicely and I just love wearing it with jeans.

Pattern: Colette Violet
Size: 4, with alterations
Fabric: rayon chiffon from Fabric of Vision in Ashland, OR

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dream Job

New Look 6917 and 6808

New Look 6917 and 6808

How do you get your dream job?  Make the perfect interview outfit!  Okay, I don't know if it was prefect, but I did make this skirt and blouse combo and I did wear it to an interview for my dream nursing job, and I did get the job, so draw your own conclusions.

The skirt is pattern # 6917, version E.  It is a mix between a size 12 (waist) and a size 16 (hip), with about 2 inches taken off of the length to accommodate my shortness.   I found the fabric on the remnant table at Pacific Fabrics in Everett and, hence, got a killer deal on a very nice piece of purple plaid wool.  The only thing I would do differently in the future is I would underline the whole garment.  Having never worked with this sort of fabric, I didn't realize how much it would stretch.  Underlining would help the skirt hold its shape.

The blouse was a last minute thing because my perfect black sweater was dirty.  This is New Look pattern # 6808, version C, size 12, in black stretch poplin.  No alterations, if you can believe it.  The collar was a pain to figure out, but that is because I am a collar novice.  Fun little blouse.  Love the bow.  I will make more of these.

Patterns: New Look 6917 and 6808

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Knitting needle roll-up

I needed a pick-me-up project after hearing that my kitty had been hit by a car yesterday.  It was a very sad day, and I deal with grief by keeping busy and trying to ignore it (healthy, no?!).  My insane box of kitting needles had been driving me batty for a while, so I decided to make a roll-up organizer patterned after a few I had seen on the internet.  I chose bright fabric to boost my spirits. I think it is pretty happy.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Knit this up for Ruby Jane, who was born about a month ago.  The pattern is from Itty Bitty Toys, by Susan B. Anderson, one of my favorite books.  The only change I made was that I used worsted weight yarn on size 5 needles (small for the yarn) instead of using two strands of sock yarn together. Now, I know that knitty folks get all obsessed with expensive yarns, but I am really liking simple, natural, washable fibers these days.  This 100% cotton yarn is super cheap, but knits up very cleanly (is that a word?) and feels surprisingly soft and squishable.  I love it.

The hippo was fun and easy to knit, and the final product is extremely snuggly.

Pattern: "Hippo" from Itty Bitty Toys
Yarn: Sugar 'n' Cream, 100% cotton, various colors