Monday, September 15, 2014

M6503 - A Modern Pattern with Vintage Flair (the process in pictures)

So yeah, I really like this pattern... It fits well, it is flattering, it is comfortable to wear, and it is so easy to sew.  

For this version I used Liberty Tana Lawn in a small scale floral print. Typically I like a larger and more graphic pattern, but in this case I made an exception because this fabric is so lovely.  Unsurprisingly, it sews up like a dream and is perfectly suited to this pattern.

So here is that delightfully easy process in pictures...

Step 1: Interfacing - for this pattern you need to interface the midriff sections, collar, and front band.

Then you skip to step 14 and gather along the lower edge of the bodice before moving to step 18.

Steps 18 - 22:

These steps have you attach the interface front band to the bodice front, sew on band facing, flip to the correct side, press, and tack down.  To add some extra detail and finish, I decided to top stitch the front band.

Pastels 23 - 24:  back darts and attach the front and back bodice.


Step 29 - 30: Then I added the collar, and again I top-stitched to finish.  To clarify, the top-stitching is largely because I am too lazy to do any hand stitching.


Then we skip to step 36 - 39 and add and finish the sleeves.


Step 40 - 45: Then I attached the midriff band... At this point I did not follow the directions as written, but rather sewed on both the band and facing with one seam.  


Step 50 - 52:  Next I completed the pleats on the skirt, sewed up the non-zipper side of the skirt, and attached the skirt to the midriff band.


Now we break for a cat... (cue elevator music)

As an aside, I also top-stitched the midriff band.

Step 50 - 59: Zipper and Finishing - I finished the dress by sewing in a 12 - 14" invisible zipper and completing the side seam.  I then sewed in three buttonholes, attached the buttons, and hemmed the dress.

Given the light weight of the fabric I did add a small strip of fusible interfacing along the edge where I ultimately installed the zipper.  This both adds stability and heft which makes the zipper easier to sew in, and it adds some strength to the part of the dress that will likely get the most wear and strain.

Initially I planned on using small red shank buttons, but once the dress was complete it seemed too childish and cartoony.  So I busted out the button box and instead went with a burnished gold plain button.


The final step? Wear your new dress, look adorable, and be photo bombed by your feline assistant!


And yes, I posed with my bike. It lives in my living room so I may as we'll adopt it as an accessory... Also I am really looking forward to riding in this dress!

Because I liked M6503 so much...

I am making another one!

Writing yesterday's post reminded me how much I liked (and wore) the last version of this pattern I sewed up.  But as bright citrus tones don't make very good wardrobe staples, I decided to make another lightweight floral in red, white and blue.  I am using a fabric I picked up at Liberty when I was in London in June.

Since I have mad this before I knew I could cut directly from the pattern and was able to piece out and cut the entire dress today.

This time I am using View D and using some red buttons to add an extra pop of color. 

Let's see how much progress I can make over the weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

M6503...In Canary Yellow

Remember this from yesterday?

Well after that post, I was inspired to buckle down and actually finish this dress meaning that today I had a new outfit...

Now first and foremost I need to warn you that wearing this color takes a shocking degree of undeserved self-confidence as it WILL get you noticed! Comments I heard today:


"You remind me of Mary Tyler Moore!"

"What a cheerful color!"

"I love it, so summery!"



Notice the exclamation marks... Good, bad or passive aggressive, this is a dress that inspires some strong emotions.

Now I am fortunate in my ability to wear yellow without looking as I have been struck with an unfortunate ailment of the liver, bit I nonetheless warn that it is not a shade for the faint of heat.  Therefore, despite this being one of the most comfortable garments I own (seriously why don't I own more shirt dresses?) I highly doubt it will become a wardrobe staple. This of course is solely a comment on my fabric choices and not the pattern itself.

I have actually made up this pattern before to great success:

Full disclosure, I wore the black and white silk version until the fabric started disinograted on me.  That was view D, whereas I made the yellow using view B.  I plan to recreate D with some Liberty lawn I picked up in London this summer.

Now the collar definitely worked better in the stiffer sateen, but overall the fit of the bodice is better in the softer fabric as the stiffer fabric created some odd shapes in the bust area rather than draping nicely. To be fair though, the yellow moves far better than it photographs.

As I mentioned, the bodice is taken from M6503, version B.  I cut the 20 to assure that I would have sufficient volume so that the wrapped front wouldn't gap.  In retrospect, I should have gone with an 18 and done an FBA as the bodice is slightly larger than I would like. But again? Super comfortable.  Who knew it would be so pleasant to wear clothes with ease?

The only chage I made to the bodice was finishing the collar with pipping.

Please excuse the wonky top stitching.  You can't really see it in person so I decided it was good enough.

For the skirt a did a circle skirt with my standard method of lengthening by adding an additional strip of fabric with piping detail.  I also added some self drafted pockets which were also top stitched (poorly).

Overall, I am quite pleased with results despite the imperfect fit and less than flawless finishes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A Very Lazy Summer...

Summer bathing beauties and their alter-egos
The ancient Greeks said it best... "Know thyself."  Sadly, that self knowledge presents a stark contradiction to the self I often wish I were.  I would like to consider myself industrious and clever and driven but the reality is that I am inefficient and slothful.  Many an evening in the past few months I have thought to myself "Self, you should sew something and write a blog about it!"

"Or as an alternative," my inner slug pipes up, " you could drink this box of wine and binge watch the first three seasons of Scandal..."

Now I won't say that the slug always wins, but much of my fall inspiration is suspiciously Olivia Pope-ish.

But before I can get to that, I should first share the few items I have managed to create since I last wrote:

Continuing on the caftan theme, I decided to make a poolside cover up. I purchased this purple J. Crew chiffon from Fabric Mart. It is particularly well suited for this purpose as it is a vibrant royal purple on one side and a deep blue on the other.  This was perfect as there was no "wrong" side so I could finish my edges with a narrow hem folded over onto the "outside" of the garment to create the look of contrast binding.

I also used a slightly different design in order to achieve a fjord flowing and draped shape.  Rather than cutting a neck into one large square, I cut my fabric Dow the middle length-wise into two long scarf -like pieces.  I then finished one long edge on each "scarf." I pinned these right (purple) sides together and sewed a center front and back seam and pressed. I then rounded all the corners and finished the outside edge of the entire larger square.  Finally, I determined where I wanted my side seams and stitched from about 10 inches below the shoulder to about 20 inches from the hem assuring that my side seams were far enough apart to accommodate my widest measurement with ease.

My other big project was a full, flirty summer dress in a large print white and blue floral.

This was also mostly a self drafted pattern.  The bodice was once part of an old Butterick as I recall but it has gone thru so many versions and refittings that at this point it doesn't really resemble he source.  It is simply my go to well fitted top with bust and waist darts and an easily alter able neckline.  My favorite part of this pattern is how well the armholes fit, being both close to the body and without any unfortunate gappage.

The skirt is a simple circle skirt with some scooped pockets that I drafted. But as I often find, a circle skirt cut on the fold on your standard 60" width fabric is about 4 inches to short on my long legged self.  My solution is to cut a long curved strip (matching the curve of the hem) and added it to the hem along with some navy piping. This adds a fun design detail and lengthens the skirt to a more appropriate length! I also used the piping to finish the neckline and pockets.

The fabric is a stretch cotton sateen (pretty much my favorite fabric to sew as it is easy to work with and fit). Because of the large scale of the pattern I had to be somewhat cognizant of the flower placing on the bodice, but otherwise I didn't even try to worry about matching the pattern.  The dress has a side zipper, fully lined bodice and is quickly becoming a go to wardrobe staple. (With a navy cardigan from Banana Republic and nude pumps! So cute!)

Finally, for the last few weeks I have been working on a canary yellow shirt dress.  This is what it looks like now.

What was that I was saying about lazy?