Tag Archives: knits

Maria Denmark Rachel Wrap Dress

22 Sep

Howdy, friends! I hope your week is off to a good start. I have a completed sewing project to share with you today but first I want to give you an update to let you know that my entry in the Pattern Review Sewing Bee was selected to move on to the next round! You can see my entry for Round 2 here and I will get a post about it up soon (but I have to do some traveling for work first).

I promised a giveaway if I moved on, so here it is. I have two Butterick patterns — 6019 and 5895 — both Patterns by Gertie. You can see my rendition of 6019 here. If you would like to be considered for the patterns, just leave a comment on this post below or on my Susie Homemaker, MD Facebook page. I will keep the contest open until September 30 at midnight CST. In your comment, tell me your favorite pattern and your favorite fabric to work with — they don’t necessarily have to go together. The contest is open to anyone 18 years of age and older worldwide. I will announce the winner within a few days after the close of the contest.

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Now on to this garment! I have always been a fan of wrap dresses. I think many of us love the iconic style first brought to popularity by Diane von Furstenberg several decades ago. There is something universally flattering about the forgiving knit dress with a surplice neckline and cinched wrapped waist ties. I have long searched for the perfect pattern or RTW wrap dress. I have even tried on and purchased authentic DVF dresses only to find that they are anything but perfect for my body. They don’t come anywhere near close to covering my bust which isn’t conducive to a flattering look.

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I have mocked up the popular modern Vogue 8379 but found the skirt to be too full. I have several other wrap style patterns in my stash but just haven’t had the gumption to sew any of them up. And a lot of cute indie wrap patterns have popped up on the market, too, but I have managed to resist. Until the Maria Denmark Rachel Wrap Dress came along. I am not sure why this dress won me over but it did and in a very quick fashion. I went from purchasing to printing to taping to cutting to sewing to wearing all in a matter of two days. That is unheard of in my world!

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I chose an inexpensive FabricMart ITY jersey for this first version just in case it was a flop. Thankfully it wasn’t even though my stepson’s first reaction was to tell me that it looked like a nightgown…

For my pattern modifications, I made an FBA since my biggest beef with wrap dresses is the gape-age in the bust. I created a side dart for a better fit and the added waist ease I removed at the side seam to keep the pattern true along the waist (there is no waistline so you have to cut the pattern in two to do the FBA then reattach the top and bottom).

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There is a FBA tutorial on Maria Denmark’s blog specifically for this pattern but I don’t recommend using it. She gives you a method that results in all dart intake being transferred to a waistline seam but since this dress doesn’t have a waistline seam, you end up with a bodice that won’t match back up with the skirt after the FBA. So take my advice, if you want to do an FBA on this dress, do the usual Palmer-Plescht method, not the one on Maria’s website.

My one other gripe with the pattern (well, other than the fact that it doesn’t include seam allowance, GRRRRR!!!), is that the shoulders are cut really narrow. I added 1″ to get to what you see in these photos and I could probably stand to add another 3/4″ to get the seam to fall where it should. My shoulders aren’t that broad!

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But overall I do love this dress. I love the figure skimming skirt and the neckline-hugging wide neckbands. I also love that it only has 4 pattern pieces so it’s easy to cut out and assemble.

I can definitely see myself making this dress up again after I tweak the pattern a little bit more. My goal is to modify it so that a camisole won’t be necessary for modesty at work. Let’s see if I can get the neckline just right! 🙂

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Kirsten Kimono Tee HiLo Tunic Hack

19 Aug

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Howdy, folks! I hope you’re having a good Hump Day. Life is busy in these parts with back to school so sewing and knitting has been happening in waves around here. I have been on a mission to finish some knitting UFOs and I am pleased to report some nice progress in that department. I finished my Aiken pullover by Andi Satterlund (c. late 2014) last night and now just need to block it and I am down to the last sleeve on my Hi-Fi Pullover by Ruth Garcia Alcantud (c. late 2013). I find it easier to pull out knitting UFOs than sewing UFOs. What about you?

So for your viewing pleasure today I have another hack on the Kirsten Kimono Tee, a free pattern by Maria Denmark. You may remember my first blogged version here which involved combining a sequined knit fabric with a regular knit.

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That wrinkle is just from movement — it isn’t a dart.

For this version, I was trying to replicate a friend’s top that I liked so I altered the side seams and hemline to give the top a more relaxed fit and a high-low hem. My friend was sweet enough to send me measurements from her shirt so I was able to use that information to decide how much to add to the side seams and how much difference to have between the center front and center back hem. I also lengthened the sleeves some. I think my top turned out similar but not identical — I wouldn’t want her to think I am trying to be her twin 🙂

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I used a silky soft modal knit from my stash. I purchased it at Hart’s Fabric a few years ago and I think this is the one. Please don’t hold me to it because it’s been a while.

I used my serger to sew it up and fused the hems with double sided fusible stay tape from Emma Seabrooke. While I love her tapes in general, I didn’t love it in this application because the hem looks rumpled unless I iron it every time I wear it. It doesn’t have stretch like the body of the garment so it tends to look bad unless pressed thoroughly. Although not necessary, I stitched over the hems with the coverstitch function on my serger.

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I finished the neckline with a wide band that I serged on. Next time I think I would use a binding instead but the band is quick and neat and you can’t beat that!

This is my third version of the Kirsten Tee and the most worn to date. I am not retiring the pattern any time soon but I do think I will move on to trying a new knit top for some variety, maybe the Plantain Tee by Deer and Doe. Do you have a favorite knit top pattern? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Sallie Jumpsuit | Closet Case Files

5 Aug

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Hi, friends! Did you enjoy the chocolate overload yesterday? I’m back to drinking smoothies and eating kale so I can fit into the clothes I’ve been making. Too bad because those brownies are sooo good and I keep thinking about making another batch!

Here’s another recent make for you — the Sallie Jumpsuit by Heather Lou at Closet Case Files. I bought the pattern and sewed it up not long after it was released. And I’ve even worn it a few times since then but it’s taken me a couple tries to get photos that were good enough to post hence the delay in sharing it with you.

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This pattern is very quick and easy to make up. I think start to finish with assembling the pattern, cutting the fabric, and construction all the way down to the hem took me about four hours. The instructions are good and the methods yield nice results with a clean finished top.

I found certain parts were easier to do on my standard machine rather than my serger. For instance, the neckline seam and the side seams of the bodice were easier to construct with the sewing machine. I did go back over the neckline with the serger to add the clear elastic for stability since my standard serger foot has a nifty little slot for guiding in elastic and I think this is so much easier than adding it with the regular sewing machine, but I do think it is hard to get into the V exactly with the serger.

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I finished the waist and pants with the serger. I fused the hems with Emma Seabrooke fusible tape and didn’t bother stitching them. I used 1/2″ knit elastic for the waistband and it is very comfortable. My fabric is a cheap lightweight ITY knit from Hancock’s.

As for the fit, I selected a 12 at the bust and graded down to a 10 at the waist then back out to a 14 at the hips. I eliminated the pockets because I don’t really use them in lightweight knit garments. I measured the rise on the pattern and found it would be too short on me and that’s not a good look in a jumpsuit. So I added 1″ to the top of the center back and 1/2″ to the inner leg of the back piece, tapering to nothing down the inseam. I also scooped out the curve a little bit. I then shortened the front rise by about 1/2″.

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This all helped and the front rise is great but I need more length in the back rise on my next version as I still feel like my butt is eating the pants a little. I also plan to differentiate a front and back bodice piece on my next version as I need more ease to go over my chest. It doesn’t blouse at the center front like it does at the center back. And I think a forward shoulder adjustment would be helpful. Finally, I find the armhole to be very tight and restrictive, so next time I will lower that a bit.

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But overall, my jumpsuit is very wearable and I think I will definitely try the pattern out again (or maybe I already have…).

Sewaholic Renfrew — My New Sewing Love

30 May

Last week I made two shirts! Are you impressed? The best part is that with a regular sewing machine and about 4 hours (maybe less), you can have one of these tops, too. I love this pattern because it is a fitted t-shirt that doesn’t involve hemming knits — the cute bands on the waist and sleeves solve that problem with style.

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So here’s the first one I made:

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Here are the details:

Pattern — Sewaholic Renfrew, View B

Fabric — Green and white unknown knit remnant I picked up for $5 at a local shop. It is slightly sheer so I wear a white cami underneath. I probably have enough fabric left to make another top. It drove me crazy but I managed to get the stripes reasonably matched up.

Likes — Quick to sew, great length, body hugging style. I also like that the pattern gives several different neckline and sleeve variations. I had to do some tweaking to get the fit right since the pattern calls for a stable knit and mine definitely was not. Also, the pattern is drafted for a B-cup, so I cut a size larger in the bust and tapered back down at the waist.

Dislikes — I hate to even label this as a dislike because I think it is really more a side effect of my fabric (unstable knit), but my waistband is too loose and doesn't hug my hips like I would like for it to. Don't get me wrong, this version is totally wearable, but I find myself smoothing the waistband against my body regularly so it doesn't flare out.

Tips — If you use a less stable knit, consider cutting your arm and waistbands a size or two or three smaller and easing them on. I did this on version 2.0 and it solved the loose waistband problem. I also cut the neckband in version 1.0 15% smaller than the neck opening and this made the neckline lay nice and flat. You may also consider using some clear elastic in the neckline to keep it from stretching out and to make it nice and snappy.

I will try to get pics of my second version up soon. I am also working on the new Sewaholic Cambie dress and I have two delicious recipes in the queue so stay tuned!