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  • Strapless

    When I was given the opportunity to create a line of patterns for McCall Patterns, I knew I wanted to create something that was quintessentially me.  Keeping in mind that my style isn't for everyone, I also wanted patterns that can easily be altered to accommodate your own personal aesthetic.  When I decided on this strapless tunic, I thought about the beauty of a woman's shoulders and the idea of minimal layering.  This top makes you feel completely covered and sexy at the same time. A top like this requires fabric with a lot of movement.  I used a polyester crepe from moodfabrics.com that's unfortunately sold out but here is a collection of  polyester crepe at moodfabrics.com that would work just as nicely. Not familiar with polyester crepe? It's a thinner fabric that generally provides a great drape, doesn't pill, shrink or fade and keeps it's new look.  It's easy to cut, sew and iron all at an economical price. The pants were previously made here. Sunglasses-Valley Eyewear Bag- Bally Heels- Narciso Rodriguez McCall Tunic_Mood mccall tunic2 McCall Tunic3 McCall Tunic4 McCall Tunic5 McCall Tunic6
  • Finished: Italian Brocade Sheath Dress

    I'm calling this my Anna Wintour dress, because it reminds me of the brightly patterned sheath dresses the Vogue editor favors. I like the classic and timeless appeal of this particular design. It looks like it might stay in style for a few years, right? I figure this dress will be my number one pick to wear to weddings, graduations and other spring/summer events.

    Ok, so here are the construction details, to recap:
    • Used McCalls 6460, and I highly recommend this basic pattern with different cup sizes. I made a muslin and worked it enough so the finished dress fit me like a glove. The only variance I made was to omit the bias binding around the neck (more just a lack of time factor than anything else).
    • Fabric is a poly-blend brocade from Mood, available in the NYC store and LA stores, and here at Moodfabrics.com. Take a look at this photo below and you can see how vivid the colors are and how interesting the texture is.

    • Interlined the entire dress with silk organza. This did two things: Gave the fashion fabric a little more body, so it does not wrinkle at all, and allowed me to hide catch-stitching in the organza rather than in the brocade.
    • Lining is fuchsia silk charmeuse, which I attached to the dress by fell-stitching at the neck, sleeves and back zipper seam.
    • Back zipper is pick-stitched. Originally I had inserted an invisible zipper, but I did not like the way it pulled and showed the teeth (told you this dress was close-fitting), so I opted for a pick-stitched zipper. (Do not be afraid of pick-stitched zippers: They are fast and easy to insert.)
    • If you want to make a dress quickly, go with a raglan sleeve pattern. You can save a lot of time if you don't have to obsess over a perfect sleeve head. (I'm a sleeve-head obsesser.)
    • I had the fabric-covered belt done by a woman in California who makes covered belts and buckles. She works quickly and her rates are reasonable (unfortunately she does not have an online site.) Details: Pat's Custom Buttons and Belts. Call her at 1-209-369-5410 to receive a catalog, or write to her at Pat Mahoney, PO Box 335, Lodi, CA 95241.
    Bottom line: This dress is a keeper! The fabric is a little pricier than what I usually spend on fabric, but it is the star of the dress and looks rich and expensive. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and family members were very complimentary when I wore it to a Father's Day dinner last Sunday. (Usually I have to fish for compliments from my husband and kids, as in "Ahem, would you please look up from the TV and tell me how wonderful I look in this [insert article of clothing here] I made?" I'm needy when it comes to compliments about the things I've sewn.)

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    Speaking of Italian brocades, we just got in a huge shipment of beautiful and unique brocades from Italy. Some really stunning fabrics in this collection, and now they're also available at MoodFabrics.com.

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    Birthday boy Swatch with his fans in the NYC store today.
    Happy 5th birthday to our beloved mascot Swatch! He's been coming to the store with owner Eric Sauma since he was a wee pup, and he is definitely our most popular salesperson. The Mood staff loves Swatch too, and we miss him when he takes a day off due to rain or snow (he does not like either). XOXO to you, Swatchie!  
  • My Dress-in-Progress Report

    I'm making McCall's 6460, a simple sheath dress with raglan short sleeves, out of the silk-blend matelassé I blogged about May 22. Here's a quick recap of my sewing process so far:
    1. Since this pattern was new to me, I made a muslin
    2. Made minor adjustments to the muslin to accommodate my shape (rectangle)
    3. Cut out pattern pieces in silk organza (I'm using silk organza for interlining) and transferred all markings (darts and seams) to it
    4. Pinned organza pieces to the matelassé and cut, using organza pieces as guides
    5. Hand-basted organza to matelassé at seams and thread-traced all darts (two layers of fabric now neatly held together as one)
    6. Hand-basted dress's darts and seams and tried dress on for fit (just because your muslin fits doesn't mean your fashion fabric will behave the same way)
    7. Hooray! I got lucky and the fit is spot on
    8. Machine-stitched everything, which went super-fast because so many seams and darts were already held together by basting (skipped pinning)
    You probably read steps 1 through 6 and thought aaugh! that's a lot of work to do before even sitting down to a sewing machine. Truth be told, the prep work goes quickly, and you avoid ripping out stitches in your fashion fabric (and potentially damaging it). Work out your fit issues before you machine stitch and you'll always save loads of time in the long run. Now I just need to construct my dress's lining, attach it and that's it. How do you feel about hand-basting? Hate it with a passion, or think of it as peaceful communing with your fabric? Let me know!