Tag Archives: skirt

McCall’s 6706 | Carolina Herrera Skirt

12 Mar

Howdy, friends! I have another completed sewing project for you today! But before you get too excited, this is a project I completed sometime last year (probably Summer 2014), and just never got a chance to get good enough photos to blog.

Luckily, we finally had some pretty weather this past Sunday and there is a cute spot outside our new condo, so I took advantage and enlisted my handsome stepson to play photographer. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until after the photo shoot that there was a large smudge on the lens so you will have to excuse the blur around my feet 🙂

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This skirt started with the fabric. I found it at Promenade Fine Fabrics in New Orleans, one of my favorite fabric haunts. It was milled for Carolina Herrera and is a silk organza with blue flowers with black outlines embroidered on it. Maybe there’s a better term for the way this fabric is embellished but I don’t know it. The black outline appears to be clipped to have exposed threads, kind of reminds me of velvet, but the blue looks like embroidery. Any info on this type of fabric would be appreciated. The fabric was very pricey ($58/yd) so I knew it had to become something that didn’t require much yardage and that I could make without any errors.

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I decided on McCall’s 6706 (rendered once before in a drapey rayon challis), to create a simple, elegant, pleated knee-length skirt.

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Then I found this photo of the designer herself wearing a very similar skirt in an almost identical fabric. I never could find any garments in the exact fabric.

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I decided to underline the fashion fabric with plain silk organza so I could finish the raw edges like I did in my red Hollyburn skirt and to give it a little more opacity and body.

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I also lined the skirt with a bone colored silk crepe de chine from Promenade. At first I thought I would line it with black, but the neutral silk really made the white of the organza stand out.

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Finally, I decided to use some fabulous, authentic Petersham ribbon for the waistband. This notion also came from Promenade and Herbert says that it is some of the only truly legit Petersham that is still made. I wish you could feel it through the computer — it is so thick and luxurious. Another pricey option ($32/yd), I purchased just enough to go around my waist twice for the waistband and facing.

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Construction was pretty straightforward. As I mentioned above, I underlined the skirt panels with organza then hand basted the pleat lines and lightly pressed the pleats into place then machine basted them across the top.

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For the lining, I basted it to the skirt along the top then treated it and the outer skirt as one piece when applying the waistband. I laid the Petersham ribbon directly on the waist seam line and used my edgestitch foot to stitch just inside the outer border of the ribbon. Then I matched the other piece of ribbon (the waistband facing) up with the top and edgestitched along the top border to connect the two. The I did one final row of stitches to secure the bottom of the facing to the bottom of the waistband. Fortunately, these stitches just melt right into the ribbon and you can’t see them, otherwise I would have been doing a lot of handstitching!

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I finished the lining with a 1/4″ machine hem and the outer skirt is finished with a 1″ hand stitched hem, catching my stitches in the organza underlining.

All in all, I love this skirt even though it was not the cheapest project. It is one of a kind and I feel like it looks like a designer piece. I think I will be able to enjoy wearing it for many years so I don’t mind the little splurge to create it.

What about you, my fair readers, have you ever splurged a little bit on a project? Did you play it safe with a pattern you knew would sew up well or did you do something more daring? I would love to hear in the comments!

I hope to be back soon 🙂

Sewaholic Gabriola Skirt in Silk Cotton Voile

15 Apr

 

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Howdy, friends! I hope you have had a good Tax Day (ha!). I have another finished sewing project for you today — the newly released Sewaholic Gabriola skirt.

 

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Let me start off by saying how much I love my finished skirt. It is flowy and feminine and manages to be elegant and casual at the same time. The first chance I had to wear it was this past weekend when we took a mini vacation to New Orleans. I wore the skirt while strolling through the French Quarter and then eating the best brunch ever at Restaurant R’evolution — beer battered crab beignets, ’nuff said. Then we headed to the Audubon Zoo and I swished about in my fine skirt among all the animals. I am pretty sure I overheard some of the zebras singing its praises.

 

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I love the seam lines of this skirt — I wish Tasia had released this pattern a few months earlier as it is very similar to the self-drafted one I made in August for the Grand Summer Ball (that skirt has since been sacrificed to make other projects). Of course, I like her version better.

 

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My fabric is the delightful “Georgia” silk-cotton voile from Sawyer Brook Fabrics. It has a smooth hand and a great drape for a project like this. It is a bit sheer so I lined it with white Ambiance Bemberg, also from Sawyer Brook. Because both my shell and lining fabrics were only 43″ wide, I had to have 5 yards of each, meaning this was not the most economical project ever. But I know I will wear this skirt a lot this spring and summer. In fact, I am thinking about wearing it as part of my Easter outfit this Sunday.

 

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Now let’s talk construction — this was not the easiest make ever. Because many of the seams are cut on the bias, you have to be very careful to stabilize those edges before handling the pieces too much. I wish for the sake of beginning seamstresses that the pattern instructions called for this. I used extremely fine fusible woven stay tape from Emma Seabrooke on all my bias seams.

I also wish she had outlined other possible seam finishes for various fabrics. I used French seams for the shell and stitched and serged seams for the lining. The French seam caused a small hiccup at the point in the front but it was pretty easy to make work.

 

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I substituted the curved waistband from the Megan Nielsen Tania culotte pattern as several reviewers noted that the included straight waistband tended to gape. I also replaced the prescribed regular centered zip with an invisible one and I attached the lining to the zip by machine.

 

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For hemming, a very sweet local seamstress (who does alterations in her home), marked by hem for me and I stitched it up using 1/4″ Steam-A-Seam for a clean and even finish. I used the rolled hem on my serger to hem the lining about 1″ shorter than the shell.

Overall, I love my new skirt but beginning seamstresses should proceed with caution before cutting this pattern out.

Thanks for reading along and have a happy Easter!

 

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A Little Housekeeping…

19 Mar

Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope your week is going well. I am writing this post to cover a few loose ends that are dangling around. First, I have entered my recent Elisalex dress in the Pattern Review New to Me Pattern Company contest. If you are a Pattern Review member, I would love to have your vote — go here.

My next piece of news is that I hosted a sewing workshop at my house today for girls in my stepson’s school. We sewed poodle skirts for their upcoming sock hop! It was lots of fun but unfortunately I don’t have any pics yet. I will try to get some Friday at the event.

This was my first time to really “teach” someone about sewing and I enjoyed it immensely. One of the young ladies had never touched a needle or thread before and the other two were beginners. I am pleased to say, after only 2.5 hrs, each girl left with a completed skirt waiting only for a hand stitched appliqué. We made self-drafted circle skirts and inserted a simple zip and one piece waistband. Since we made the skirts from felt, they didn’t require a hem. Yay!

I prepared a few treats for the girls to sustain them during our sewing — my mother’s lemon bars and some Ghirardelli brownies (don’t tell, but I like those better than scratch made!).

Per my husband’s recommendation, I put out some of my hand sewn-garments for the girls to look at for inspiration — I would love to inspire the next great seamstress! As I was pulling things from my closet, I was shocked by how many completed garments I have that I consider wearable. Come on Me Made May 2014!!!

Here’s a photo for you of some of the clothes I put out on display.

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Other pair of curtains are waiting on their hem (for the past 18 months, lol!).

And here are a few pictures of my sewing room. I don’t think I’ve ever shown it to you so I figured I should take pictures while it was clean for this special occasion. As soon as the creativity strikes back up, it will be messy again!

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Finally, if you are a Pattern Review member, I would love to have your vote in the New to Me Pattern Company contest where I entered my Elisalex dress. You can vote here. Thanks and have a great rest of the week!

Megan Nielsen Tania Culottes — Take 1

3 Mar

Hi, friends! Today I am showing you more of my “resort collection” that I created for my recent cruise vacation (you can see the first installment here).

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When I first saw the Tania culotte pattern from Megan Nielsen, I wasn’t sold on it. I guess I have too many scary memories of culottes from the 80s.

But as more and more versions popped up across the interwebs, the ingenious design started to grow on me and I gave in. For those of you not familiar with this pattern, it appears to be a cute circle skirt but it has pleats in the front and back that disguise the shorts aspect of the garment. Really cool if you ask me!

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I decided to make my first version up without any alterations. I just chose my size based on my waist, and cut it out and stitched it up. This first version is definitely wearable but is a little short in the crotch. In subsequent versions, I have added a little length to the back crotch.

You will notice from the pattern cover that these culottes run short. On this version, I cut the medium for everything except I cut the XL for the length. Even with the extra 1″ or so, they are still really short and a good gust of wind will have you inadvertently revealing your bloomers.

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For my fabric, I chose a cheap ($1.99/yd) poly crepe with great drape. I picked this up from a recent FabricMart sale and it was perfect for this application.

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For construction, I followed the instructions for the most part. I sewed down the waist facing by topstitching from the right side. I installed an invisible zipper and attached the waistband facing to the zipper by machine.

For the hem, I let the culottes hang for a few days then my husband helped me level it up with his laser level (thanks, honey!). The rolled hem function on my serger made quick work of what would have otherwise been a very tedious job — these things have miles of hem!

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These shorts are definitely lots of fun to wear on non-windy days. I already have one other finished pair and another almost done on my sewing table. Stay tuned!

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Flirty Skirt — McCall’s 6706

1 Mar

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Hi, friends! I am finally sharing a completed sewing project with you. It feels like it has been ages!! Want to know the best part? It’s been about 6 months since I made this but since I wore it to work recently, I decided to snap some pictures and share it with you.

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Be warned, though, this photo shoot took place after 10 hours at work and seeing 40+ patients. You will see wrinkles, stringy hair, and a tired face. And since I conducted this photo shoot with the timer on my camera, my head or feet may be missing in some photos 🙂

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This skirt is made from McCall’s 6706, a great little pattern for a quick and satisfying project. I have not become a huge fan of the hi-low hems yet, but I thought this skirt made in some free fabric would be a great way to test it out. The fabric was a remnant given to me when I went fabric shopping in NYC. It came from Elliot Berman and I am guessing it is rayon challis. It was easy to sew and has a light, floaty feel.

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As for the pattern, it was very easy to sew up and required minimal fitting. All you have to do is select your size based off the finished waist measurement printed on the tissue. I looked for the size that was closest to my waist +1″ of ease. Since it is so full in the hips, adjustments there will likely not be necessary.

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I installed an invisible zipper and finished the waistband facing by stitching in the ditch from the right side. The hem is a narrow 1/4″ machine hem using this tutorial. No hand stitching on this baby!

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My only regret is that I should have used a sturdier interfacing in the waistband.

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And that I don’t look good from behind in this hi-low hem skirt 😦

Oh well. Live and learn!

Red Wool Crepe Sewaholic Hollyburn | Red October

30 Oct

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Have you heard about the color-themed sewing going on among the Sewcialists? For October the color is red and I am squeaking in just under the deadline with my contribution.

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You may recognize this pattern as I have made it before — the Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt. It is so quick and easy to sew and doesn’t really require any fitting changes if you pick the right waistband size. For me that was an 8 in the shortest length.

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Skirt: Made by me!
Top: Nordstrom — with the cutest red heels all over it!
Necklace: Tessyla on Etsy
Shoes: Cole Haan

For my fabric, I used a vibrant red wool crepe I have been stashing for a while. I had it steam pressed by the dry cleaners before sewing.

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Pretty close to perfect invisible zip.

To make this project a little more challenging, I used this technique to underline the skirt with silk organza and finish the vertical seams all at the same time. I also omitted the pockets as I wanted a more streamlined look.

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For the hem, I applied the red and white dot bias tape I picked up in Bath, England, last year then handstitched it to the silk organza underlining.

I am very pleased with this skirt. The underlining technique is a great one to have in your arsenal and I know I will get lots of use out of this wardrobe basic this fall/winter! Thanks for reading 🙂

Grand Summer Ball Ensemble, or Vogue 8849 and a Self-Drafted Skirt!

8 Sep

Happy Sunday, everyone! I hope your weekend has been a fun and productive one. Mine has been very busy but I have been hammering away on the sewing machine as much as possible. A few weeks ago, my husband and I attended the annual fundraiser gala for the hospital where I have privileges. I always look forward to this event because I love any excuse to get dressed up and be “fancy.”

The event takes place at the beautiful Marriott Grand Hotel, right on the shore of Mobile Bay. I love visiting the Grand Hotel (and have since childhood), because it is old, Southern, and charming. There is lush vegetation everywhere, the staff is friendly and gracious, and the whole atmosphere is very relaxed.

 

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As I have been honing my sewing skills in recent years, I have begun to enjoy creating outfits for specific occasions, and the Grand Summer Ball was the perfect opportunity. I first started dreaming up my ensemble around the end of last year but didn’t actually finalize my plans until about two months before the ball. But no matter how much I plan and brainstorm in advance, I was still stitching a hem and sewing in the zipper the day of the event (but with plenty of time to spare to get ready).

Want to see a picture of my handsome date before I go into the details of the outfit (and I might get a little wordy)?

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Alright, now on to what I wore. First, I decided I wanted to wear separates this year — long skirt and top. I started with Vogue 1310, a Chado Ralph Rucci number. You will notice that my colors are similar to those in the pattern photo; I think this is why I initially gravitated toward this pattern. I muslined the skirt and it was awful! The wrap tie created a huge poof across my midsection and it just wasn’t flattering.

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So I decided to draft my own skirt. I wanted something that would skim my hips then flare out at the bottom. I relied heavily on my copy of Patternmaking for Fashion Design (given to me by a sweet friend who was a fashion major). I started with creating a basic one-dart skirt sloper (one dart in front and one in back). Then I closed the darts and transferred the fullness to the hemline, pivoting at a point around knee-level.

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I also added a godet to the back center seam for extra fullness. I decided to create the V-shaped yoke as an added design feature. I cut the yoke on the bias thinking it would skim my hips better but I think this just created more trouble with ripply seams (even though I interfaced the seam lines). I added a simple 1″ waistband and handpicked a centered side zipper. The clincher with the skirt came when I realized that somehow part of the back hemline was 2″ shorter than the front, resulting in a skirt that hit at my ankle instead of grazing the floor like I had planned. Overall, the skirt was wearable and served it purpose, but it isn’t my most favorite make and all of its silk may get repurposed at a future date.

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On to the top. It is my favorite thing that I have sewn so far and I am so proud of it! I started with the bodice of Vogue 8849 and made 4 muslins before I got the fit just right. For construction, I referenced this blog post by Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics, who described her experience of sewing a lace bustier during a Susan Khalje class.

I started with a base shell of some sort of poly satin. Then I constructed my boning layer from muslin and inserted 6 channels for spiral steel boning along the bust princess seam lines, back dart lines, and side seam lines. I used boning casing to house the boning and these supplies came from Corset Making Supplies. I then hand-basted the muslin to the shell fabric and treated them as one for the duration of the construction.

Next, I cut my lining from the same fabric as my outer shell, then sewed the lining to the shell, right sides together, along the top seam. then I inserted the boning and sewed the lining to the shell right sides together along the bottom seam. Once turned right side out, I had clean-finished seams along the top and bottom and two open ends. These open ends were important and you will see why in a minute.

Next, I placed the bustier on my dressform for draping the lace. This is the most use I have ever gotten out of my form. I decided I wanted the lace edge to run along the bottom edge of the bustier, so I positioned the lace as such and started pinning it to the shell layer underneath, easing as I went. Because lace is very moldable, you can shape it over the curves of your body without having to use seams and darts. If you look closely at my detail photos, you will see the seams of the bustier shell underneath but no seams in the lace. I was very glad it worked like this because I was terrified of having to match lace patterns!

For the top of the bustier, I folded the lace over to the inside and did not try to use the lace’s border here. Next, I started tacking the lace to the shell/muslin layer by hand, using the open ends to access the area between the shell and lining. This was the most time-consuming part but also the most enjoyable. I have never been much of a hand sewer but I thoroughly enjoyed the process of making this bustier. I worked on my handstitching in the evenings, at the office between patients, and any other time I could squeeze in. All total, I probably spent 4 hours tacking the lace down.

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Next, I hand-picked a centered side seam zipper. I used the advice in Ann’s blog post and used a full-length dress zipper instead of a separating zipper. The longer zipper makes it easier to get in and out of the bustier and to zip yourself up in it without help, and the long tail is tucked up inside and snapped to the zipper tape. The bustier was finished off with a hook and eye at the top of the zipper.

And let me tell you how marvelous it was to wear! I didn’t spend all night hiking my top up or worrying about wardrobe malfunctions. I didn’t put a waist stay in yet, but I plan to add one soon. Photos from the event can be found here, here, here (with my sis), and here. I purchased my garnet necklace from the Etsy seller Alison Storry.

My fabrics were all purchased locally at Ely’s Fabric Warehouse in Mobile, Alabama. They have a nice selection of formal wear fabrics and lace. The skirt is made from a beautiful crimson silk charmeuse and the bustier’s shell and lining are poly satin and the lace is a beautiful, heavier-weight lace with a finished border along both edges (sorry I don’t know my lace terms).

While I will have to revisit my skirt drafting skills, I will definitely be making more iterations of the bustier top in both casual and dress versions. I think even this bustier can be dressed down a bit, perhaps with jeans for date night or like I wore it today to church.

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If you’re still there, thanks for reading about my mini-venture into couture sewing. Stay tuned for more!