Saturday, December 28, 2013

Yearly Round-Up!

I don't normally do a year-end blog post due to Christmas busyness, but I'm in Cotton Creek, AL for the holidays, not sewing (how unfortunate), so why not?  Here goes:

By my math skills, which are admittedly poor, I made 17 garments this year.  That is extraordinarily productive for me, especially since one of the projects was the slow-sewing Butterick coat.  2013 was definitely the year of the shirtdress, and by my count I made eight (one of which I have not blogged about yet).  

So rather than a whole year-in-review, let's go with some highlights and lowlights, the disasters first so we can get them out the way.

My top two, didn't-work-for-me projects were:

1.  The "My Favorite Things" wrap dress I blogged about here.

I don't see any reason to enumerate all the pattern's deficiencies, as I covered it pretty thoroughly in my original post.  So, moving on:

2.  Vogue's 8648, the Couture Dress that I attempted to make without the Couture Craftsy Class:

It looks fine, but the bodice neckline and armholes are too low.  I've worn it exactly once, which is the day these photos were taken.  It is a shame too, because not only was the dress a joy to sew, there was endless matching and lining and the fabric is a wonderful silk/wool blend.  Except for the fit, I love it. This, dear readers, is the shining example of why a muslin is important.  Although I haven't quite figured out how to fix the fitting issues, so I'm not certain a muslin would have helped, other than it would have discouraged me from making the dress in the first place.  I want to make it clear, however, that the pattern drafting was not the problem with this project; it was my execution.  

Let's move on to the winners in an effort to throw off the "why didn't I muslin" blues.  Here's my top three highlights of 2013.

1.  My coat, of course:

 You've certainly seen plenty of Butterick 5824 from my endless blogging about it here and no more needs to be said except that I haven't stopped thinking of this coat as a miracle, that it actually turned out and functions as, well, as as coat.  I wore it NYC earlier in the month and I was toasty warm.  

2.  My Lock-And-Key shirtdress, vintage Simplicity 6584.  I ended up wearing this constantly throughout the summer and receive compliments on it where ever I went.  I'm going to have to make more of these:

3.  And finally, one dress that I will definitely be making more of is the Hawthorn.  I made two:

Probably in more linen fabrics.  My white Hawthorn was the first linen I had ever worked with and I am now hooked.  In a big, big way.  My only change to the Hawthorn will probably be that I will make the collar a little wider.  I was reading some blog posts on the Hawthorn and someone pointed out that the collar was a little narrow, which I never noticed, but once someone mentioned it, I thought, well, yeah, it kinda is.  I think I will widen it by a half inch and see how I like it.

So that is 2013.  I have big plans for 2014 - more to come when I return to Richmond, VA to sort through fabrics and match up with a seemingly endless supply of patterns.  First up - a yellow wool skirt.  Hopefully next weekend.

Today is the fourth day of Christmas, so Merry Christmas, y'all!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Christmas Dress Complete - Butterick 4919

All I have is cell phone photos but here it is:

(Above with Tammy.)

Here's a full length:

And here's a photo that shows the silk's beautiful sheen:

My prior post on this dress is here.  Some final notes on this dress:

1)  As previously noted in my prior post, I did not enjoy making this dress.  I do not know why.  It was one of those dresses that was a real pain to sew, but I loved wearing, unlike Vogue 8648 which I loved making, but wore only once.  The last step for this party dress was sewing the hooks and eyes on the back bodice, and I delayed until 4:00 pm on the day of the party.  Definite procrastination.  

2)  The color ended up being wonderful.  I really loved it when all was said and done.  The color changed with the light and ranged from blue/turquoise to green depending on where I was standing.  

3)  The money I spent on the 6 yards of silk for this dress was totally worth it.  The fabric made the dress; I had perused the "fancy fabrics" aisle of my local Hancock's while I was in the planning stages, wondering if I could get away with a cheaper synthetic material given the cost involved with silk, but decided no.  Real silk was necessary.  There is nothing like the rustle of a full length silk skirt for a party.  

4)  The neckline was low.  Real low.  But there was still sufficient coverage in the bodice that I didn't feel exposed or inappropriate.  But I mention it in case you would want the neckline raised an inch (or two!).

5) I ended up hemming the dress according to the instructions, and the length of the skirt was perfect.  (Hem was 5/8 inch.)  But I am 5'5", and most patterns are drafted for women who are 5'6".  If you are shorter or taller you made need to adjust your skirt length accordingly.

6)  I thought about wearing the crinoline under this dress that I wore with my wedding dress, but in the end I decided the crinoline would make it a little too costumey.  The lack of crinoline made the circle skirt less full looking, but it resulted in a more modern silhouette.

I went to my hairdresser for an "up-do" for the party and I really loved the result:

I've decided if I ever get rich, I'll get my hair done more often!  What fun!

Next:  I was in NYC this week and went to Mood Fabrics.  Next blog post will be all about my haul!