Thursday, 30 May 2013

My first strapless dress, mermaid-style :) Vogue 8766

I decided a week ago that I was going to make this dress for the Natural Fibers Contest on Though this pattern is labeled as "Easy", it took quite a few hours for me to finish it.  I'm sure this is due to my inexperience sewing this type of dress. I usually sew with polyester/spandex, but I know I need to expand my sewing horizons :) This fabric is 100% cotton (I'm pretty certain its quilting cotton, I got it from the clearance section at Fabricville).

A couple weeks ago, I was checking out project photos on PR for this pattern, V8766, and one reviewer referred to it (in view B) as a good "mermaid dress"( here). That immediately caught my attention because my wedding dress was a mermaid style. I went out to Fabricville and bought the pattern and found a nice quilting cotton (both women who made view B, used quilting cotton, so I was gung-ho to find some!) Here is the other review. I wish I would've decided to do the contest right away, because I would've had more time to sew it and do a proper blog post and review on PR. Oh well! :) My review on PR can be found here.

My "Mermaid-style" wedding dress :) <3

**These two photos wearing the cardigan were taken June 9 after our evening service @ church. It was more appropriate I think :)
I prefer these black strappy shoes also. I bought them at Payless Shoes a couple of years ago and they seem to go with everything!

Fabric is like a cat-magnet. They just can't seem to resist cozying up to it :)

Caper making herself at home, must be the pretty floral print :)

Boris on my sewing basket :)
Trying to steal the spotlight :)

I had to get Dan to take photos of me this morning before he had to work, as this was the only time we could take some outdoors (I was just not photogenic indoors last night!). I took this one inside to show the fabric better.

Close-up of the ruffle. I was a bit unsure about how it would look, but I LOVE it! I find it give a bit of a Mexican flare. :)

Inside of the dress. I basted the lining inside, then stitched-in-the-ditch on the outside through the bodice and skirt seam. I slip-stitched the lining to the zipper.

Yes, I know this photo is sideways, my computer was having issues...

This is how long the ruffle piece is before gathering. I tried to gather it the "proper" way (by using 3 rows of basting stitches) but was finding it difficult. Enter my good friend Google :) The page I found, showed how to gather by sewing zigzag stitches over a length of emery floss (I used twine). This technique made my life SO much easier!


         This is what I had my sewing machine set at. 4 being the zigzag stitch. :) In retrospect, I think I could've had the stitch a bit tighter, but it worked fine :)

Sewing over the twine. Oh! I must mention, I used my "N" foot. It has a groove in the middle that made it really easy to guide the twine. I was able to sew the entire length of the ruffle without piercing the twine (which would not be good :)

 All pinned up before basting. I found it very helpful to pin through the twine to further secure the gathers.

I know its not the easiest to see, but trust me, the gathering turned out really well! The ruffle is my favorite feature of this dress, and I want another dress with it! :)

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Call of the Wild

Yes, I've sewn yet *another* version of Vogue 1314. I couldn't help myself! :) As another PR reviewer put it, "there's something addictive about it". I'm going to put it aside for now and move onto something else, but I'm certainly *not* ready to retire this pattern!

Review on PR here.

I realize I'm standing next to a "do not shovel snow against this fence" sign! Note to self: Next time be more aware of where I'm posing
for photos! Oh well :)

Good news, the weather here in Nova Scotia is finally getting warm! It was nice to not be freezing to death when we took these (well, Dan took the photos and I tried to look pretty, I even painted my nails red for the occasion :)

I was getting rather bored of posing indoors! It's just *sooo* much nicer outside (even if the outdoors is just in the parking lot behind our apartment building :).

I must note that for this version I left out the lining. The fabric I used was also a Polyester/Spandex knit (like my last two). This fabric in particular seemed very stable, so I chose to leave out the lining. After wearing it, I conclude that I don't think a lining is absolutely necessary (depending on your fabric of course).

The obligatory "Vogue Pose". Notice my cat, Caper, wants in.

Oh Caper! She often likes to join me when I'm on the couch. I guess she didn't realize I was posing for the camera and it wasn't cuddle-with-Rikki-time!

If you've seen any of my other blog posts, you may have noticed I like to use hockey pucks as pattern weights. I *hate* pinning and cutting with scissors. I find it rather tedious, so unless necessary, I prefer to use a cutting mat & rotary cutter.

Most of the hockey pucks I have are from Value Village Thrift Store. This Halifax Mooseheads puck is the only one I paid full price for. Souvenir from last weeks (amazing!) game.

Boris on my lap as I was sewing :)

I took this shot of the cats when I was at the ironing board, thinking they were so cute wanting to be close to me as I worked! Then I noticed they were in front of the fridge giving me "that" look...

Stretch stitch #15 :)

Since I've already posted two reviews of this dress, I don't need to repeat most of it. One thing I did do differently this time though, is narrow the skirt slightly. I pinned it while wearing and then used a fading fabric marker to dot where I wanted the new seam to be. I used a Fashion Ruler to true the seam (I think that's the right terminology :)

I basted the seam first (not shown) and then used a stretch stitch as shown on the above photo (#15 on my Brother Sewing Machine). Then simply trimmed along the new seam line.

I've had difficulty in the past hemming narrow sleeves, but this time I discovered a much easier way. I pulled up a sleeve on a sleeve roll and turned the hem up (I wanted 3/4 length sleeves). In my case, I turned it up 1" and pressed.

Next I took the sleeve off the sleeve roll and opened out the pressed area, turning the fabric in to meet the crease, pinning all the way around. Press again and let cool.

Here I'm opening up the hem to insert a strip of "Steam a Seam Lite" (I think it's called "Lite 2", sorry, lost the packaging!). This stuff is great, as I find the polyester/spandex fabric slippery to hem. For this hem, I cut the strips lengthwise as they were too wide.

This special type of fusible web stretches with knit fabric (regular fusible web does *not* stretch with fabric!)

Press with lots of steam and it makes topstitching sooo much easier! I suppose you could try it without topstitching, but I like the look of the two rows, and the extra security of stitching :)

Another bonus of "Steam a Seam, lite 2" is, it helps to prevent unsightly "tunnelling" which can occur when a double needle is used on knit fabric (the fabric kinda puckers between the two stitching rows). Seems like I get that more often than not (tunnelling, that is), even when I try different needle sizes :/  Wash-away-Wonder-Tape also works well too, but this stuff is cheaper :)

One more thing: this is the first time I've used a Teflon foot. Made sewing over clear elastic so much easier! Here I'm using clear elastic for the gathers. This time I basted the front and back pieces together before sewing on the elastic to gather, which helped a lot. The instructions say to gather each side separetely, but I was a little impatient.

Thanks for checking out my blog post :)