April 10th, 2013 by Girls in the Garden
I know you all think all Lori can make is jackets, right? Two of my three posts have been jackets for the Mood Sewing Network. Well, I am going to up the odds to three out of four. I do have a thing for jackets, especially in the spring, when a light jacket is just what you need for the cool, crisp air. This time I wanted a very versatile jacket, one you could wear with so many outfits. I also wanted to use a good color for spring, something to freshen up my closet and existing garments, so I picked this seafoam linen - which is very similar to the popular mint color.
The description from Mood’s online store: “This is a medium-weight woven linen blend with a very soft yet textural hand.”
With this description in mind, I selected a jacket I had made before, Simplicity 2250, which is also a favorite of fellow Mood Sewing Network blogger, Erica
.Since I had made this jacket before, I had a few changes: make a size bigger (I never liked how close-fitting my first one was), lower the bust dart, add 1″ to the length of the body and make the sleeves long instead of 3/4 length. I wanted the ability to roll up the sleeves, so I sewed a partial flat-felled seam on the sleeve, to clean finish the seam.
So follow along with a picture-filled post, showing the jacket with many items from my closet. I think it shows how much use I will get with this jacket.
First with a maxi-dress:
Next up black and white knit tank dress:
How about a gray knit maxi skirt and white v-neck t-shirt? I think yes.
Two pictures of that one, so you can appreciate the 25-30 mph winds, doing good things to the clothing and the hair!
Keeping with the white v-neck t-shirt, change to white jeans and floral wedges…
…another winner, I think.
Finally, skinny jeans and a striped t shirt:
Which was to be my outfit for dinner out with hubby on Saturday night, but dinner out turned into visiting our 5-week old grandson for two hours. I am sure my grandson thought Nana looked great! That was a great date night for me.
Here is a close-up of the jacket, so you can see some of the details:
My seafoam linen is the perfect weight and drape for a spring to summer jacket, I love the color and the possibilities for my wardrobe. Plus, Simplicity 2250 is a great pattern. My favorite look is probably the maxi-skirt, followed by the white jeans, oh, wait maybe the striped t-shirt, but wait, I like the stripe dress, too. Oh, forget it, just like a favorite candy bar, I can’t pick just one. What about you, do you have a favorite?
Final parting shot, this is the picture my camera took as the wind blew over the tripod
I did run up and catch it before it hit the ground, didn’t know I could move so fast!
April 8th, 2013 by Goodbye Valentino
Sometimes I make embarrassing mistakes, and for a while I thought ordering this white cotton/nylon lace from Mood Fabrics was one of those times.
The flat lace reminded me of a tablecloth upon pulling it out of the box, revealing my inexperience in selecting lace. What can I say – I felt stupid for placing such an order when so many beautiful laces were available.
B u t w h a t ’ s a g i r l t o d o ?
After three worrisome weeks, I bought my first bottle of Rit Dye.
Thirty minutes later….. I had a new attitude,
and two days later, I had a new dress!
Still energized by sewing with lace and the Sew the Perfect Fit Craftsy course led me to make one more dress with Vogue 8766 for an annual event my husband and I attend – this year with Regis Philbin.
This pattern is designed to be cut on the crossgrain. Since I wanted to take advantage of the fabric’s pretty scalloped border I cut the skirt’s lower edge along the border and included the long, darted sleeve (my first). What beautiful shaping darts add to a sleeve – so much better than easestitching !
I followed the exact method and instructions as I did for the navy lace dress. Since I was working from a carefully constructed muslin, there were no fitting issues, though early on I melted the nylon netting in four spots on one of the back pieces. Recutting the pattern piece and using a press cloth got me back on track. After toying with several waist embellishments I opted for none.
The dress is lined with Mandarin china silk from Mood which was designated for another project. I found that the silk’s beautiful depth of color and sheen nicely complimented the matte quality of the lace.
After exploring the lace scene this spring I get the feeling no two laces are alike in appearance or handling. However, sewing with lace need not be scary and I plan to learn more about a fabric that I once considered mysterious.
……….and the Rit dye? Oh my goodness! Did you know the Rit Dye’s website provides formulas for 500 different colors? I am a changed woman!
So how did my dress go over last night? I’m still a little self-conscious circulating my homemade frocks amongst hundreds of $$$$$$$$ garments, but I recognize a driving force behind putting forth my best efforts is wearing my projects – i n p u b l i c .
When I walked in the venue with a very wealthy woman who repeatedly told me she wanted my dress I didn’t dare go into my tablecoth, Rit dye and sewing saga. Instead I relaxed and remembered Diane Von Furstenburg’s motto that always rings true – “Attitude is Everything!”
Speaking of attitudes……….. my next project up is the Oonaballoona dress!
April 3rd, 2013 by Goodbye Valentino
When I realized the weather would be too cold to wear my navy lace dress for Easter, I set it aside for Mother’s Day, but I didn’t give up on such a pretty lace making its Easter debut, and made daughter Mimi a skirt with the extra lace from Mood Fabrics.
During the Mood Sewing Network Lace Challenge, several readers suggested lining the lace with white or nude to make it pop which was a great suggestion!
To give the fabric the structure it needed for a straight skirt I underlined it with a medium weight silk organza and constructed the skirt the Susan Khalje way – basting the organza to the lace, and catch-stitching the seams to the organza. Then I lined the skirt with navy china silk.
Wow – I forgot how using these techniques move a garment into a higher echelon of clothing!
Had I been making the skirt for myself I might have inserted an invisible zipper, but for Mimi the on trend metal zip prevailed. How I would love to find some pretty zipper pulls!
I used the K a t i e Spade Judy Skirt pattern to complement her cute Kate Spade top. Today Mimi wore a chartreuse sweater over her blouse, but for my blogging purposes she set aside comfort and warmth to model the skirt.
Sew far I can say sewing with lace produces high impact results and I believe I am hooked!
As far as my Easter outfit – to avoid freezing I resurrected a tired Doncaster suit by reworking the skirt, but next year Easter falls on April 20th – surely a perfect day for a navy lace dress.
April 1st, 2013 by Lladybird
Confession: This is my first crack at trying out ponte knit. Can you believe it?! During one of my fabric sprees in New York last month, Carolyn diverted my attention over to the ponte knit aisle and strongly encouraged me to bring a couple of yards home to play with. I was a little unsure at first (ponte just seems like it should be like that extra thick, extra hot polyester from the early days, yeah?), but I spied leopard print and decided to trust her judgement call.
Lesson learned: trust Carolyn’s judgement.
This stuff is NOTHING like the knitwear of yesteryear, even if it does mimic the body and heft of the former. It has a good bit of stretch, yet at the same time the fabric is quite stable. Honestly, it was an absolute joy to work with, especially when it came time for my twin needle topstitching. Usually I have to play around with the tension and stitch length to get a good smooth stitch without that weird bump down the middle, but with this stuff the stitches just sank right in. It also presses really well – which yeah, pressing a knit seems kind of weird, but I like to press my hems before I topstitch as I find it makes it easier to sew. And while it’s nice and cozy, I also think it’ll be totally suitable for warmer months.
This is my third (!!!) make of Butterick 5078 – and likely not my last, although it probably should be for right now. I love this pattern, although I’ve had to make a few modifications to get it exactly where I want it – shortening the skirt, eliminating the waist runching, and streamlining the sewing process. It appears to work well with a variety of fabrics, from slinky to ones with lots of body. Now that’s a versatile pattern, yeah?
As I mentioned before, I switched up the construction order for this to makes things easier. I basically just sewed everything flat on my serger, and then swooped up the side seams at the very end. This is what I love so much about knits – having those open side seams means it’s really easy to suck everything if you need to size it down a little. Which I ended up doing, since the super stretch of the fabric made the dress too big originally. I also narrowed the width of the midriff section, as the skirt is very heavy and the weight was pulling it down.
Also, I wasn’t thinking when I bought this stuff (well I was thinking, but more along the lines of “OOH LEOPARD OOH SEXY DRESS LET ME WRAP MYSELF IN THIS HERE BOLT OF FABRIC), and I only bought a yard and a half. It would’ve been enough if the bodice wasn’t cut on the bias. Whoops! I spent foreeeeever trying different cutting layouts to get this to fit on my piece of fabric. In the end, I shortened the sleeves to elbow-length, took an additional 2″ off the skirt, and now the bodice back has a seam.
Sewing the actual dress took barely any time at all, though. Seriously. It took me 45 minutes to stitch the thing together, once I got past the cutting process.
Consider me a ponte convert! I don’t even know if I can bear to get back to my regular knits, not after feeling the magic of this stuff. True love, y’all. True love.
March 29th, 2013 by Erica B's DIY Style
Let’s call this look,”Devil in a Blue Lace Dress”.
When the Mood Sewing Network decided that it was time for a group project, that was not what I wanted to hear. I don’t even do sew-a-longs because I truly prefer to roll solo when it comes to sewing. It’s not that I don’t play well with others, it’s that my sewing is personal. It’s dictated by my mood and what’s inspiring me at the moment… not a consensus plan. And to be quite honest, lace was not on my radar. Sure, it’s pretty and one of the hottest trends of the season. And even though I probably would’ve gotten around to doing a lace project eventually, I was just not in the mood now. I’m obviously not oppose to lace, I’ve made a great lace dress before. But, being part of a group means that sometimes you have to go along to get along.
I can’t even begin to tell you how difficult it was to decide on a project. I even began to curate a Pinterest board dedicated to lace, for inspiration. Then there was selecting the fabric. Have you any idea as to how many variations there are of lace? The only thing I was definitive of is that I wanted it in a bold color. And thanks to Carolyn, I found the perfect one at the Mood NYC store. Editor’s note: Mood has loads of lace fabrics online, or you can contact our stores in NYC (212-730-5003) or LA (323-653-6663).
The lace is beautiful, but has a lot of stretch. I knew that would be a nightmare to work with. So my way of working with it was to spray it down with fabric stabilizer, allowing it to dry and smoothing out its crinkly texture with my iron. After that, this beautiful lace was a dream to handle. I underlined with a matching blue fabric… a stretch satin. I opted not to line the dress. I actually like the way the dress wears… it has the look of a dressy/cocktail frock, but the comfort of a knit.
At first, I had my heart set on a lace trench coat, a la Burberry Prorsum. Ambitious, I know. But the varying factors (i.e. the weather here does not permit spring coats; and who really wants to underline all of those pieces?) swayed me. So I went with something more wearable: a lace dress.
Lace dresses can be really conservative or coquettish… really twee. Or they can look really skanky and trashy. And neither look define me. So I picked a style that suited my personality… a peplum sheath. I used Simplicity 1650.
I altered the pattern by adding 1/2 an inch to the waist and 3 inches to the skirt. To me, it ran short.
Now that I’m no longer feeling all devilish about this project, all in all, this was a great project that allowed me to challenge myself. And what I learned? That sometimes when you go ahead with an “out of the box” project, you just may learn some things and enjoy it.
March 27th, 2013 by Oonaballoona
When Carolyn and I set up camp in the lace shelves at Mood Fabrics NYC over a month ago, I couldn’t help but pull every technicolor bolt out for a snapshot. Carolyn quite rightly reminded me: Oooooooooona. We’re here for everyone else.
I am not the best listener. She had to remind me of this repeatedly.
But I abstained! I did not walk out with my own lace that day! (The promise of Lazzara’s pizza helped.) Instead, I let the bolts simmer in my head for a week, and returned to find this crazy pink and orange diddy hanging out in the fancy lace section. Putting on airs, for sure. This poly assault on the senses did not belong in the Fancy Lace section. I carted her lovingly over to Silk Prints, and found her mate in this jungle boogie cacophony. (Did you click the link? Oh, do. Please do. Otherwise how will you see the folly of my ways? That’s a zebra colored cheetah with butterfly wings. For realz.)
After I made my drunken picks, I emailed Carolyn with utter joy: I’m going to look like Willy Wonka! Three weeks later, still eyeing my intended match folded on my sewing desk, I realized with utter dread: I’M GOING TO LOOK LIKE WILLY WONKA.
Yeah. Well. Something had to be done, obviously. I had set myself the goal of two lace posts, and a Kalkatroonaan does not like to accept defeat. Enter six iterations of this lace. At one point it was attached in flatlocked pleats to this pale-as-ice blue ponte knit (meant, bien sur, for leggings). It was the definition of overworked. One could even call it underpaid. Then a memory of Janine’s excellent comment on my feathery skirt came floating back to me: “Note to self: KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).”
Simple! My kingdom for simple! Yes, the built in columns in this candy hued lace wanted to fall into pleats. But they didn’t have to be hammered into submission position. You would have thought I’d used a saws-all and cement mixer to make this dress. I wish I’d snapped a photo before coming to my senses and severing the parts, but alas, a Kalkatroonaan also does not care for incriminating evidence. After amputation, I attached a soft lavender lining to the skirt, and folded over a waist band, inserting a nice wide flat elastic. The gathered waistband relaxed into instant pleats, with no work whatsoever. Oh, the hours of cursing wasted.
Although some of those hours were not for naught. This lace pattern runs vertically to the selvedge, with selvedge edges being nothing special. I say this because I heard fairy godmother Susan Khalje in my head, her teachings at a Mood Lace Seminar echoing back: pay attention to the pretty bits and include them in the garment. Before the amputation, I spent several sessions handstitching the side seams together into a disappearing act, and I carefully trimmed a long column of leaf motif and handstitched it to the hem of the dress. Of course it’s a beginner’s crack at it, but I think it kind of looks like the edges were made that way, non? I AM EXCEEDINGLY PROUD OF IT, YO!
I cropped the top just enough to show off the waistband. I find that, on me, if you can’t see the waistband on gathered skirts, I suddenly have no waist. Ooooh hey, guess what else I don’t have? A C CUP. Tell that to my new bra. This Burda tank top fits, I swear. But not when I’m having delusions of grandeur.
Speaking of grandeur, I got so caught up in the lace aspect of this March challenge, wanting to make something spectacular with a fabric I’ve always adored playing with, I forgot to listen to the yardage in hand. It was amazing how it fell into place when I stopped trying to make it extravagant. Now I’ve got a great staple in my closet!
(Yes. In Kalkatroona, this is indeed a neutral staple. See: Willy Wonka. And see this online lace for your own sugary treat.)
March 26th, 2013 by Girls in the Garden
Lately, I have been seeing a certain color combination of navy and mustard in fashion and I have been wanting to introduce it into my wardrobe. I found this Donna Karan mustard poplin
add this stripe jersey from Mood Fabrics
and now I have the perfect combination for new spring garments.
At first, I was thinking a skirt and top, like this picture from my pins, but I really don’t wear skirts that much and I wanted garments that I will wear quite often. A jacket for spring is always a welcome addition to the wardrobe and I selected BWOF 6/2006 #104 for my pattern.
Once I had settled on my pattern, I could start to plan. What else could I add to this jacket that is on trend and stylish? Floral, of course. Using a floral from my stash, I added piping to the pocket flaps and collar, then I used the fabric for the under collar and cuffs. It adds just enough to really accent the mustard color and keep the spring fashion theme.
Here is a post with a few construction details for this jacket. The jacket itself didn’t take long but all the extra piping did add a bit of additional construction time to the jacket. But I think it was worth it.
I knew all along the stripe knit was going to be the Renfrew t-shirt, it is one of my new favorites. The knit has some color variations, more of a fading in the yardage. I love how this looks, gives the fabric some depth and movement. The stripe comes in four different colorways, I purchased the one called gray 02 stripes. To my eye it is more navy and just the color I wanted paired with the mustard jacket.
I paired it all with a black ponte skirt from my closet and I think with the black you see more navy with the knit stripe.
When I order fabric from Mood, I usually have a garment or a pattern in mind to make. This project was quite fun, I had the color combination first, then what I thought I would make. After touching and feeling the fabric, then contemplating what my wardrobe needed, my plans changed. I really enjoyed the evolution of this jacket, from something plain to something a bit more suitable for spring and on-trend.
The poplin turned out to be prefect for the jacket: It has nice body, stretch for comfort and a finish that lends itself to outerwear.
March 25th, 2013 by Ginger Makes
Hi, all! I hope you guys have enjoyed the lace project posts this month as much as I have! Now, it’s probably pretty apparent that I’m not much of a lace girl, so my goal with this challenge was to make a garment that I would actually wear and love. I decided to avoid anything overtly floral or feminine, and with this in mind dug through a gazillion bolts of fancy lace (inadvertently missing an entire section of what I guess is “not fancy” lace, whoops!). I settled on this gold mesh-like poly lace:
Pretty cool, right? I decided to pair it with a black cotton sateen. Dude. There is TONS of cotton sateen at Mood Fabrics (and tons online, too!), so I was having a hard time deciding which to choose when Michael pulled out the perfect bolt. Moral of the story: talk to the folks at your fabric store! They know their stuff! I had no idea that humble, inexpensive cotton sateen could feel so luxe! It’s medium-weight and has an amazing sheen and body… I could hardly bring myself to cover it with the lace! But I did.. and here’s how it turned out!
I used the Belladone pattern from Deer & Doe (which I’m now MADLY in love with). The pattern suggests using a soft, drapey fabric, but I thought it would be fun to see the pleats in a more structured fabric. I think it worked out pretty well!
Since the lace is pretty stretchy, I basted each piece to the sateen underlining by hand and pulled the lace just the teensiest bit taut as I pinned it. I basted the layers together up the middle of each dart (like I always do when I underline fabric). The poly lace couldn’t handle a ton of heat when I was pressing it, so it’s a little baggy in places and I really had to work to get the darts to lay flat. I decided not to line it A) because the dress was already pretty heavy for a sleeveless dress with a back cutout and B) because I’m in love with the sateen and wanted to feel it against my skin. I just serged the seams, which worked really well… until I caught a wee bit of the bodice in the serger and cut a hole right at the, um, apex, of the bust… sigh… I had to tons of hand stitching to repair that screw-up. It’s not invisible now, but it’s not immediately apparent.
The neckline and armscyes are finished with handmade bias binding. Cotton sateen is pretty heavy for bias tape, so if you want to use medium-weight fabric, you have to really grade the seam allowances to reduce as much bulk as possible. I made the waistband out of just the sateen to
The only thing I’m unhappy with is the hem. I stitched a machine hem, thinking that it would make the dress look a bit more casual, but I don’t think the stretchy lace played well with the feed dogs so there’s some twisting and such around the hem. I’ll probably rip it out and do a blind hem by hand.
Overall I’m pleased! The color is a bit more drab than what I usually wear, so I was nervous as I was constructing the dress that I was going to hate it. But luckily I really like it!– it just feels so fancy and fun! I love the way the skirt hangs in a full-bodied fabric– I felt like a Parisian princess when I slipped the dress on (and not like someone who’d spent the better part of the afternoon cleaning up after a sick dog!). Maybe I cheated a little by not choosing a really lacy lace, but I’m still going to count this as a successful lace project.
How do you guys feel about lace? Like, love, hate? What are your tips for sewing with lace? I’m especially interested to hear if anyone has any tips for sewing lace with a bit of stretch!
March 25th, 2013 by Mood Sewing Network
(Greetings from Meg at Mood! The Mood Sewing Network bloggers are letting me participate in this month’s Lace Challenge. Here’s my take on lace.)
Ok, I admit it. I am crazily obsessed with bomber jackets this spring. This is the second bomber jacket I’ve made in a month, and I’m working on number three right now. They’re easy to make, easy to wear, so what’s not to love?
Version #2, graciously modeled above by Marianne, is made from neoprene and lace using Burda pattern 7210, available at Simplicity.com. (You can get more pattern and sewing details here on the Mood Sewciety blog, where I wrote about Bomber Jacket #1, made of Marc Jacobs cotton brocade.) Readers, I cannot stop singing the praises of this particular neoprene we carry at Mood Fabrics. It was made in Italy for Bill Blass, and it has a soft and spongey hand. Very similar to a double knit in weight and stretch, but much more pleasant to wear. This bomber jacket feels like a cozy sweater, that’s how comfy it is. And Style.com calls neoprene the “material of the moment.” (You know me, I’m a shameless trend follower.)
I needed a solid, light-colored jacket in my wardrobe, so I was never interested in adding color once I had decided on using this ivory neoprene. To add a little bit of contrast and texture, though, I placed re-embroidered poly lace on top of the bodice panels in the front and back. I’m really pleased with how this looks. And it also goes to show how pairing disparate fabrics like neoprene and lace can work well together. In fact, the reason why I think this jacket works is that it pairs high and low: You’ve got an athletic-style jacket meant for jocks, but here it becomes soft and feminine with the introduction of lace.
I opted not to line this jacket, as neoprene doesn’t require a lining at all. To finish the seams I serged them together, then bound them with narrow petersham ribbon (stitched by hand) to finish them off. Note: I actually don’t recommend serging the seams of this neoprene fabric, as they end up being rather thick. For a jacket I think I’d try a Hong Kong seam finish; for a dress I might stitch near the seam allowance edge and then pink the edges. Or maybe stitch seams, press open, serge the edges. At any rate, test seam finishes before you proceed with your neoprene garment.
Other construction details:
- I attached the zipper (a Riri) by pick-stitch, allowing the silver metal teeth to show
- I topstitched the seam that goes down the outside center of the sleeve, and I like the way this provides a sporty accent
- The pocket bags are made of ivory four-ply silk I had in my stash (always hang on to silk scraps large enough to cut pockets and/or bias trim from)
(Above, some examples of neoprene fashions found at Net-a-Porter: (l-r) T by Alexander Wang neoprene dress, Clover Canyon printed neoprene skirt, Tibi lace and neoprene sweatshirt. The Tibi may have been the subconscious inspiration for my bomber jacket.)
Neoprene is a delight to sew, because it doesn’t fray or slip around on you, and it’s great to wear. It feels like a double knit but it’s better at containing the jiggly bits most of us have. Since neoprene comes in all different weights and textures, always get a swatch first if you’re ordering online. Mood NYC carries this particular Bill Blass neoprene in the ivory I used here and in navy and purple as well; call 212-730-5003 and ask for the wool department if you interested in it ($25/yard; very limited quantities). Laces are available here and in both stores.
So I’m off to put the welt pockets in Bomber Jacket #3, where I’m pairing a silver metallic brocade front and back with taupe leather sleeves. Fretting a bit about the lightness of the bodice and wondering if I used enough interlining for support, but I think it’s gonna be ok. Stay tuned for the reveal! –Meg at Mood