Ginger Made: Geometric Laurel(ish)!

Hello! Hope your weeks are all off to a great start! I’m so excited to show you my (literally) shiny, new dress!

For my April Mood Sewing Network project, I picked out this sassy Marc Jacobs cotton/silk blend at Mood Fabrics NYC.  It has a lovely satin finish so it feels extra fancy.  As soon as I saw it, it looked me in the eye and spoke to me: “I’m a shift dress!”  Who am I to disagree?

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

The fabric sewed up easily, more like a cotton than a silk.  I armed myself with a sharp needle and a press cloth, which worked well. I wanted to avoid getting pin holes in the fabric, so I used silk pins inside the seam allowances. The fabric is too special for machine-stitched hems, so I took my time blind-hemming everything by hand.  No other special treatment needed!

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I used the Colette Laurel dress pattern, which I’ve made once before. I had a great deal of trouble sorting out the fit through the armhole the first go-round, so I grabbed the Gather Mortmain dress pattern, traced off the armhole and sleeve, and just made a frankenpattern.  I haven’t had a chance to sew up that dress yet (although I’m looking forward to it!), but I made a quick muslin and it worked!

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I can just wriggle into the dress without a zipper, so I cut the back on the fold to avoid disrupting the print any more than was necessary. The Laurel dress calls for a 5/8″ hem allowance, but I like more weight in the hem of a shift dress, so I added extra length to allow for a 2.5″ hem. I lengthened the sleeves by 1.5″. I also drafted neck facings instead of the bias binding that the pattern called for. Call me crazy, but I think I’ve been converted to a facing fan! They lend a nice stability to the neckline that I’ve really come to appreciate.  There’s only one problem with this dress- it wrinkles a bit, and the satin finish makes the wrinkles really stand out. It’s not the end of the world, though.

Ginger Makes | Laurel shift dress

I really like the mod style of this print combined with the shift style. I have to admit, I’m tempted to stitch up a whole fleet of shift dresses this summer!  I’ll be keeping an eye out for more bold prints!

Ooh, one quick item of business! Just wanted to make sure you’ve all seen the fun new Nettie bodysuit pattern released by my friend Heather of Closet Case Files and inspired by another friend, Wanett of Sown Brooklyn! This is what’s on my sewing table right now- I didn’t know I needed a bodysuit until I saw this pattern, but I’m really psyched to try it out!

EDITED TO ADD: I just found a free downloadable shift dress pattern, Simple Sew‘s Brigitte dress! So if you like this style, and a new pattern’s not in the budget, this might be a good option! I haven’t tried the pattern, but let me know if you do- I’d love to know how it turns out!

How about you guys? Do you like the shift dress style? Do you like large-scale prints? Anyone else making a bodysuit?  Do you agree that I definitely need a pair of blue heels to wear with my new dress?  What’s new with you?

Colette Laurel, Or the Jurassic Park Twinsies Geeky Awesomeness Dress!

Hold onto your butts!  OK.  I really, really, REALLY like this dress.  I’m just going to say that right now.  I know that it’s ridiculous, but I still really like it.

A little backstory: like many people my age, I’m a huge, huge, HUGE fan of Jurassic Park.  So when I spotted a set of JP sheets on eBay a while back, I snapped them up for a song.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, so they hung out in my stash for a year or so.  Fast forward to this spring when I did a massive stash cleanout and decided I didn’t really need two whole sheets.  I brought one to our meetup/swap with Lauren, and Devra suggested that we send it to Cindy (genius suggestion!), a fellow dinosaur enthusiast.  Cindy, also a genius, emailed me recently, suggesting that we make projects at the same time and reveal them on the same day (remember how much fun it was to see Andrea‘s S.O.S. Challenge?).  Great idea, huh?

I decided to use the Colette Laurel dress pattern for this, and it really worked out well!  It’s the perfect pattern for a large-scale print, since there aren’t many seams to break up the print.  I squeezed two WHOLE brachiosaurs onto the dress!  TWO!  Major accomplishment, people!

Brachiosaur! His head is comically undersized!

The pattern is a straightforward, quick make.  I made two muslins for it because I had the weird armhole pulling issue thing that a few other people mentioned.  I filled in the armscye (as described in this Flickr photo), narrowed the shoulders a bit, and lowered the bust darts about 1/2″.  I also added 2″ to the length, and I omitted the zipper, cutting the back on the fold, as I can *just* wriggle into it without a zip.  I decided to leave this version sleeveless for some reason– it just feels like a happy summer dress to me.  I lined it with white cotton batiste from my stash and used packaged bias tape from my stash to finish the neck and armholes, so the whole shebang is a pretty giant stash-bust for me!

Look at all my patient little hand stitches!

I love this style!  It’s so sassy and youthful!  Unfortunately, Man Friend is not a fan, as he offered his usual critique of anything not terribly fitted (“Needs a belt”), and he doesn’t want to go out in public with me in this dress.  I guess I will just go have amazing adventures by myself in this dress, then I’ll just photoshop Cindy into all my pictures so we can have tons of fun together in our matching dresses, thousands of miles apart!

Also.  It says “Danger!” on my dress.  Like fifty times.  Win!

I’m a mighty T-Rex! Fear me!

Who else is working on a Laurel dress?  Anyone else have a thing for a younger Jeff Goldblum?  A friend of mine wants to know…

Alright, guys, now go check out Cindy’s dress here!

Sew Grateful Week Giveaway!

****THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED****

Happy Sew Grateful Week, everyone!  Isn’t it the best?  I love having a dedicated time to express my thankfulness to this community for the support, inspiration, and all-around awesomeness that you so graciously bestow on me!  So, as a little token of my gratitude, I’d like to offer a giveaway!  After all your kind words about my Anise jacket, I thought it would be fun to offer one of you a chance to make your own!

Leave a comment below (by 11:59PM EST on 2/10/13) to enter to win a digital download of the Anise jacket by Colette Patterns.  I’ll pick a winner at random on February 11, 2013!  I’d love to hear what your plans would be for the jacket, so do spill the beans!

Ginger Made: Anise Jacket

Here she is– my first make of 2013, and my very first jacket!  I’m so excited to add this little piece to my wardrobe!

This is my January contribution to the Mood Sewing Network.  I went to Mood NYC with every intention of leaving with a bright, saturated fabric, but once I laid eyes on this gorgeous Ralph Lauren wool, I couldn’t put it back!  It’s a twill-weave suiting with lots of drape, and the warm, paprika-red shade is really easy for me to wear.  I picked out a fun silk charmeuse in a Tetris-like print for a contrast lining.

I used Colette Patterns’ Anise jacket pattern, which is perfect for beginners.  I bought the The Anise Companion when it was on sale a while back, and it’s a great confidence booster if you haven’t sewn a jacket before.  There’s quite a bit of helpful information about how to correct various fit issues, but as it’s pretty straightforward to fit, you probably don’t need the companion guide if you’re an intermediate (or beyond) sewist.

Oh, look! There’s a mouse in my pocket!

The whole jacket is underlined with lightweight muslin, which helped to stabilize and secure the fabric (like most twill weaves, this stuff frays like a mother!).  I used Pro-Weft Supreme Medium-Weight Fusible Interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply after Gertie recommended it for her coat sew-along.  The interfacing feels like a quality product and didn’t pill, bubble, or come unglued the way that cheaper products sometimes do.

The shoulder pads gave me a bit of trouble.  I used 1/4″ shoulder pads, and I had a great deal of difficulty getting them to lie nicely and not look lumpy and unattractive where they meet the sleeve.  I think this was due to my fabric– since it’s a drapey, lighter-weight wool, the pads were really visible.  I solved the problem (mostly) by drafting sleeve heads out of cotton batting (instructions for how to do this are included in the Anise companion).  The weight of the batting makes the sleeve cap a bit more substantial, so it looks worlds better now.

All buttoned up…

I made a size 4, but cut the shoulders and sleeve caps as a size 2.  If I made this again, I would narrow the sleeves a bit more as they’re a tiny bit baggy (I was worried that they would be too tight once they were lined and I had a shirt on underneath the jacket).  I also added 2″ to the length to keep a cropped, vintage feel but avoid flashing my tramp stamp lower back when I bend over (don’t worry, ma, only kidding!).

The jacket comes together easily, but it’s really time-consuming.  I spent basically every spare evening/weekend moment this month working on it (granted, I’m pretty slow, but still…).  Steps like constructing the welt pockets are explained really clearly, but they do take time to do correctly.  I hand-basted the markings for the buttons and buttonholes, hand-stitched the lining pieces together to avoid slippage when I sewed them, and spent ages pressing and steaming to get everything to look right.  I’m really glad that I took the time to do a good job, but it was really hard to keep other projects and ideas on the back burner while I slogged away at this one for a month.

This jacket is a little dressier than what I usually wear day-to-day, so I just machine-stitched buttonholes and used 1″ faux-tortoise buttons to keep it looking casual.  But I think this would look really cute (and very early ’60’s) with bound buttonholes and covered buttons, maybe even paired with a skirt to make a sweet little suit.

Overall, I’m happy with this jacket and think it looks alright for a first attempt (although it’s definitely not perfect).   The wool suiting is really easy to work with, too.  It presses neatly, is warm but lightweight, and the seams aren’t bulky at all.  I highly recommend the pattern for anyone looking to make their first jacket.  But I can definitely say that I’m looking forward to making a few quick and dirty projects after this one!

What about you guys?  Are you tailoring fiends, or are you working up the nerve to make your first jacket?  Do you like investing time in slow projects, or do you prefer to sew a top in a day?

[Note: If you're a Mood Sewing Network reader, you may notice that my posts are different there than here on my blog.  I keep my posts pretty brief over on MSN, but I thought that you guys might want to read more details about construction and the pattern.] 

Workin’ On It: Iris Shorts #2

So.  The shorts.  Ladies.  Muslin #2– still too small in the waist, and I’m getting this weird pooching out below the waistband in the back (forgive me– I can’t bear to post a photo on the internets).  I’m starting to think that part of the problem is that these are meant to sit a little higher than they do naturally on me.  I thought this could be a rise issue (maybe I have a low rise?  A high rise?  I don’t even know what the proper terminology is…), but when you look at the only photo that shows the rear view on the model, you can see that they’re a little… wedgified?

Excuse me, miss... your butt seems to be eating your shorts.

So yeah.  Maybe they’re supposed to sit like that, but I can’t really deal with that, so I think I will have to cut a size larger in the waist and somehow taper it at the sides (so the hips won’t be way too big) without screwing up the way the rise sits.  Sigh… like every project I’ve embarked on lately, these shorts have plunged me into a swirling abyss of fitting hell. OK, maybe that’s a tad bit dramatic, but sheesh, can’t a gal make anything a barrage of baffling fit issues?

Winner: Colette Patterns Spring 2012 Giveaway!

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Hooray!  I’m so excited to announce the winner of the Colette Patterns Spring 2012 Giveaway!  I counted 97 comments total (one being mine, one a duplicate, and two from gals who didn’t want to enter), so out of 93 comments, the winner was #28, Jennifer of The Musings of a Dedicated Housefiancee!  Her makes are all so darling– be sure to check out her blog and stay tuned for her finished Iris shorts!  Yay!!

Workin’ On It: Iris Shorts

Hi, friends!  I hope you’re all well!  I’ve been having so much fun reading your comments on the Colette giveaway post (and I can’t wait to draw a winner!)!

So cute... but so tiny. :(

Guys.  The Iris shorts have been soooo fun to put together!  I’ve been working on a muslin in every spare moment after work, and they were really looking cute!  I attached the waistband last night and… they’re way too tight to close around my waist!!  Waaaayyyy too tight.  I started muttering about the pattern drafting and stomping around the house until, just for fun, I decided to measure my waist AND… turns out I’ve added about 1 1/2″ inches to my waistline since I last measured myself.  NOOOOOOOOOO!  I guess it’s a relief that the error is on my end and not the pattern’s, but… I guess I will have to quit eating so many bagels!  So sad (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear or two last night…).

So yeah.  I’ll be cutting out a new muslin in a larger size (just to make sure it fits!).  And word to the wise, gals– bust out that tape measure every time you start a new project!

What are you guys working on?  Any fun weekend plans?  I’ll be frantically writing tonight for my last class tomorrow, then revising like crazy for my showcase Sunday evening, so I won’t have too much time to work on the shorts.  But I should have lots more free time after this weekend!

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