Papercut Patterns Sway Dress!

Hellooooooooo! How are you guys doing? Everybody having a good day? I hope so! So, do you ever notice themes in your sewing? Lately my sewing has been all about fun fabric in a simple shape. Fussy sewing and fussy garments just aren’t very cool in the heat! So, for August’s Mood Sewing Network project*, I decided to stay the course and make one more fun print + simple silhouette dress. Why not keep the streak going? :) I chose this beautiful rayon print because I loved the abstract images… I mean, are these birds, or are they palm trees? My vote is for palm trees, but that might just be because I love them!

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

The fabric has a delicious crepe-y texture, and it’s ever so slightly sheer. I’m hoping that the voluminous shape counteracts the transparency of the fabric. I think it works- no sneaky peekies on display in these photos, anyway! However, I finished the seams with pinking sheers because I worried that serging or Hong Kong binding might show through or look lumpy on the right side. Instead of using fusible interfacing for the facings, I stitched in silk organza, because I’m a very fancy person and definitely not because I ran out of interfacing and accidentally ordered the wrong replacement. ;)

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

I really enjoyed working with this fabric. The texture of the fabric gave it some grip, so it wasn’t slippery to cut or sew, and it responds beautifully to steam. I was careful, though, not to press with the iron on the right side. In a crepe fabric, the texture comes from the twist and crimp in the fibers, which can easily be crushed with the iron. When that happens, you get gross shine marks… no good! So I pressed from the wrong side, steamed from the right, and used my fingers to mush the steam into the seams. Super technical stuff! :)

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

The pattern is the Papercut Patterns Sway dress, the long variation with a tie belt. Katie sent me a copy to try along with the Guise Pants. Thanks, Katie! Now, I was really drawn towards the shorter, trapeze-ier version, but I figured I’d give this longer length a try just for kicks. It feels a little frumpy compared to the shorter dresses I’ve been wearing lately, but I may just need to wear this a few times to get comfortable with the length and the belted waist. The pattern is very easy to put together and the instructions are nice and clear. I generally avoid anything with bias seams as I hate leveling out the hem, but it was really pretty painless. I’ll definitely revisit this pattern!

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

The dress has center front and center back seams, and I was concentrating so hard on fitting all the pattern pieces on the fabric with the print all going the same direction that I didn’t even consider matching the print. Whoops! Hopefully it’s not too noticeable.

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

WHAT IS THIS SORCERY?!?!

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes
Why, it’s a reversible dress! Since it only needs to fit at the shoulders, it can be switched around and worn with either the v-neck or the round neckline facing the front! Tricky business!

Man Friend review: “The belt is nice”.

OF COURSE.

Papercut Patterns Sway Dress | Ginger Makes

Alright, now please tell me- what’s on your sewing table right now? Simple silhouettes with fun prints? All solids all of the time? Complicated tailoring projects? And, are you Team Palm Trees, or Team Birds? Do tell!

*Once a month I receive a fabric allowance from Mood to make something fun! I blog it first on the MSN blog, then over here. If I use stash materials or things purchased from another source, I’ll let you know in my post. :)

Marimekko + Xerea + giveaway!!!

Hi, guys! Happy Monday! Hope your day is off to a good start! OK, I am sooooo excited to show you this dress, so I’m just gonna dive right in!

Pauline Alice Xerea Dress + Marimekko | Ginger Makes

Erica from AlwaysMod.com contacted me a while back to see if I was interested in choosing a Marimekko print for a project*. Um, yes, please! I’m a huge fan of Scandinavian design in general and Marimekko in particular… the prints are just so vibrant and unique! I agonized over the choice for ages, but in the end I went with this gorgeous print, “Siirtolapuutarha”. It’s the Finnish word for “allotment”, which is a nice aside– it was inspired by urban gardens! I like that. :)

As you can see, this is a really large-scale print! It’s probably intended to be used for things like curtains instead of clothing, hence the huge scale, but I’m not one to shy away from a big ol’ print! I almost chose something with a smaller scale, but I’m glad I didn’t- this one really makes a statement!

Pauline Alice Xerea Dress + Marimekko | Ginger Makes

For this ’60’s-esque print, a ’60’s-esque silhouette seemed like the right thing to do, so I decided to make another Pauline Alice Xerea dress. I’ve been wearing my first version so much that I was really eager to make another! I enjoy seeing the way that one pattern looks when it’s made up in different fabrics. Since this fabric is much heavier and crisper than the barkcloth I used before, it really holds the tent shape! I love it, actually, although I totally get that this look isn’t for everyone.

Pauline Alice Xerea Dress + Marimekko | Ginger Makes

I thought quite a bit about print placement for this dress. I didn’t want to break up the print too much, but I also wanted to feature all the different colors in the repeat. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out, although, really, I think I would have been happy no matter how I used the print! It’s just so cheerful! I’m especially fond of the little eyeball-shaped bits by the pink flower… they’re so Muppet-y! Get this: Man Friend likes this dress! I know… it’s shocking! That’s a pretty big win, in my book!

Pauline Alice Xerea Dress + Marimekko | Ginger Makes

I *almost* managed to fit the entirety of this giant flower on the back… not quite! :) Let’s see, the only change I made in sewing up the dress from my first version was to do a 1/4″ narrow shoulder adjustment. It’s much more comfortable to wear now, although I think I could’ve taken out a smidge more. The dress was MUCH simpler and quicker to sew this go-round since I didn’t have any cutting mishaps like I did the first time! :D

Pauline Alice Xerea Dress + Marimekko | Ginger Makes

OK, now for the fun part! A giveaway! AlwaysMod is giving away two yards of the fabric of your choice, yay! Unlike most of the giveaways I do on the blog, they’re dealing with all the logistics, so you can head over here to enter for a chance to win! The only catch is that you need to sign up for their newsletter, but you can unsubscribe whenever you want to so you’re not locked into a marriage with them or anything like that. :) They’ll pick a winner on or around August 25th. Good luck, everyone! In the meantime, here’s a YouTube video that I stumbled across that shows the printing process in the Marimekko factory in Helsinki- I found it totally fascinating! Anyone else have a sudden urge to do some screenprinting?!

*Fabric was given to me by AlwaysMod.com to review. I super love it. No affiliate links in the post.

Southport Dress!

True Bias Southport Dress | Ginger Makes

Hello, all! Hope you’re well! Guys, I’m super excited about this dress! It’s the True Bias Southport Dress, aka, the perfect summer dress! Kelli sent me a copy of the pattern to try- thank you, lady! I can’t say I’m an unbiased (is this a pun? I hope not!) reviewer, though, as I have a total crush on Kelli’s style and seriously love every. single. thing. she makes and designs. Fun fact: the clothes Kelli makes for her daughter basically make up my ideal wardrobe. Plus her daughter’s like 5 years old, but she’s got a better closet and much better hair than me. Seriously, if there’s a better-dressed kid out there, I don’t wanna know about them… I can’t handle that kind of competition! Ooh, that reminds me! There’s a mini Southport dress pattern for kids sizes 4T-10! Check it out!

True Bias Southport Dress | Ginger Makes

OK, so, I love this dress. It’s one of those magical patterns that pop up from time to time in the sewing blogosphere that just looks great on everyone who makes it. Don’t believe me? Check out: Meg, Heather, Katie, Jenny, Coco, Lorene, Amanda, and Andrea. How awesome do all these ladies look?!

True Bias Southport Dress | Ginger Makes

The dress is sleeveless, with a button placket (but if you checked out the links above, you can see that some people chose to make a non-functional placket, and others to omit the placket altogether and just cut out the bodice on the fold). There’s a knee-length skirt, or a maxi variation with a front slit. I decided to do a maxi this time… go big or go home, right?

True Bias Southport Dress | Ginger Makes

The dress was easy to sew, and the instructions are clear. I really like the way that the drawstring casing is formed- it’s very tidy and looks really professional. My only regret is that I used packaged bias tape instead of making my own. I had some in my stash that was the perfect color, so I was excited to use it, but it’s much stiffer than this rayon challis. Whoops! Speaking of rayon challis, this ridiculous Hawaiian print came from Fabrics for Less on 39th Street. My buddy Sam gave me a “special deal” on the fabric- the price marked on the sign, ha! It’s a pretty stupid print, but I love it!

True Bias Southport Dress | Ginger Makes

To summarize: I love this dress. You should make one. Everyone should make one! I’ll just leave you guys with the Man Friend review:

“I don’t hate it. [pause] I hate parts of it. It looks like pants. Is that, like, a thing people do?”

True Bias Southport Dress | Ginger Makes

Whatever, Man Friend, I love it!

Xerea!

Hi, guys! I’m writing to you on a super sticky Saturday in New York– it’s a scorcher out there! Luckily, the sure-fire way to beat the heat, besides eating popsicles for every meal, is a new summer dress!

Pauline Alice Xerea dress | Ginger Makes

This is the Xerea dress pattern by Pauline Alice, view B. I keep telling myself that I will never buy another pattern, never ever. But somehow, despite my best efforts to stop myself, this one landed in my cart! 8 euros and 21 pages for the PDF wasn’t too prohibitive, so here we are.  Plus, a swingy, 60’s-inspired mini dress? Be still, my beating heart!

The design lines are really fun- front and back yokes, a deep inverted pleat, and cool curved pockets. Of course, these details are totally obscured by the print, but trust me, they’re there. :) And lucky for me, the crazy print also hides a terrible secret… I made a huge mistake when I was cutting this out! I was squeezing the dress out of 1.5 meters of narrow fabric, and for greater efficiency, I was cutting the pieces flat instead of on the fold. I trace one half of the pattern, flip it over, and line it up with notches on the fold line before tracing the other half. However, instead of lining up second half with the CF notch at the bottom, I accidentally lined it up to the pleat line notch, so my front piece was about 2″ too narrow and was tilted off grain. Noooooo! There wasn’t enough fabric to re-cut the piece, so I had to do a crazy patch job, basically filling in the gap with scraps of fabric. Not ideal, but the mistake isn’t noticeable unless you’re close up, and everything is back on grain and hanging correctly. I’m calling it a good save and not getting hung up on the mistake! YOLO, dudes!

That topstitched seam isn’t supposed to be there… ooooops!

The pattern is a very straightforward sew. There is a small error in the pattern that’s been addressed in a new version of the PDF, but basically, the pleat line isn’t marked in the correct place. I didn’t see Pauline’s post until I had already made the dress, and I assumed I had accidentally stretched out the yoke, so I just eased the seam to fit. Next time I make this, I think I’ll do a small narrow shoulder adjustment. I usually skip them, but I should get in the habit of doing them… they definitely improve the fit of my garments.

The wind wasn’t helping me in all the pics with the back view, so it doesn’t usually hang like this, but I wanted you to see the back neckline!

Let’s talk about the fabric! Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s a cotton barkcloth from Miss Matatabi. It’s got this great texture and weight, but it’s still really drapey… perfect for apparel! There’s a pink/yellow/brown colorway on sale- you should totally buy it all so I’m not tempted to! Good work, team! You bought it all! :) The fabric was a gift from the lovely Gillian… I sent her some stretch denim and she surprised me with this beautiful print! Isn’t it perfectly my style? Orange, blue, and mint? I love it! Thanks, G! Also: why is it so hard to find nice denim in Canada? What gives, dudes? And, do Canadians use the term “Canadian tuxedo” for denim on denim, or is that just a rude Americanism?

Pauline Alice Xerea dress | Ginger Makes

I know this is a simple dress and it’s basically a muumuu, but I really, really like it. It turned out just how I’d hoped! Well, with a minor detour to fix my scissor mishap! :o Tell me– what’s your favorite sewing pattern this summer (or winter)? Any new favorites in your collection?

Pauline Alice Xerea dress | Ginger Makes

Marianne Dress x 3!

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all having a great day! It’s funny… now that I’ve got a couple of frustrating projects behind me, I feel so free and easy and I’ve been so productive! It’s such a bad feeling when your creativity is all bottled up after a few failures, so it’s nice to shake loose of that and just happily make things again!

Christine Haynes Marianne dress | Ginger Makes

This is the Christine Haynes Marianne dress, and it’s a dress that I didn’t mean to sew (for myself, right now). My brother gave me the pattern for Christmas (thanks, Tim!) and I’d planned to make some cute long-sleeved dresses, but didn’t have time before the weather warmed up. Fast forward to a Friday evening in late June, when I had that horrible “OH NO I’VE FORGOTTEN A BIRTHDAY!” feeling. I never know what day it is, and so I’m always running behind in life… I just can’t figure out any way to stay on top of my calendar! So Friday night I realized my sister Cam’s birthday was on Monday, and I wanted to sew her something that I could mail out before the post office closed at noon on Saturday.

I thought about making a couple of Renfrews, Plantain tees, or Briar tops as I’ve already made those patterns for her, but for some stupid reason I wanted to try something new. Suddenly, I remembered Heather’s Marianne dresses and thought they would be a quick sew, so I grabbed the pattern and went to work!

The pattern is a breeze to sew, especially if you omit the sleeves and collar, like I did. :) I am not a quick sewer by any standard (I’m way too easily distracted), but these two dresses were both done Friday night in a super painless manner. Shoulder seam + clear elastic, neck band, side seams, sleeve hems, hem! It just doesn’t get easier than that!

The fit of the dress is quite nice. I liked the two dresses I made for Cam so much that I decided to make one for myself, oops! I don’t like to wear tight knits, but I also don’t want to swim in them, but the ease included in this pattern lets it sort of skim over the body. I also thought the skirt might be kind of saggy or gross, but it really looks nice! The neckline is higher than I’m used to wearing, but it could easily be scooped out if you prefer a lower neck. I never really wear knit dresses, with the exception of very beefy knit dresses in the winter, so I was really shocked that I liked this! Now, you could easily size down for a closer fit, but like I said, I’m not really into that, so my fit may be a lot looser than you prefer. Just check the finished measurements! :)

OK, let’s talk fabrics. The raspberry polka dot came from Girl Charlee ages ago, and in a big order purchased to make back-to-work clothes for Cam. It took me a while to sew through all that stuff, but now the only thing left is the blue and white stripe… it’s much more sheer than I thought it would be, which kinda limits the garments you can make out of it. :( Anyway, this polka dot knit is kinda stiff and not very stretchy, so I was worried that it wouldn’t work well, but it seems to be working. The pink floral is from Fabrics for Less on 39th St., bought a while back for $5. Either it shrunk tons or was cut wrong, but I was shy of a yard by a few inches. I toyed with the idea of just making a top, but I really wanted it to be a dress, so I just shortened the dress until I could squeeze the pieces on the fabric. My sister is 5’2″, I think, so I figured she could get away with it! I’m so happy it worked and really glad I could use fabrics that have been in my stash for a long time!

Christine Haynes Marianne dress | Ginger Makes

The peach fabric for my dress was also bought for my sister, I think from Girl Charlee as well, but I forget. It was intended for a Moneta, which she liked the looks of, but then she changed her mind so it’s been in my stash for a while. It’s not really one of her favorite colors, either. Now, if you’re wondering why my dress has a non-contrast yoke, it’s definitely not because I got too involved in my audiobook (guys, would you believe I’ve never read Pride & Prejudice? I feel like a dope for avoiding it because it’s so much fun!) and accidentally cut the front with the stretch running the wrong direction. I also definitely didn’t sweat and sweat until I figured out I could make it work using the pieces for the version with the yoke. DEFINITELY NOT WHAT HAPPENED.

Christine Haynes Marianne dress | Ginger Makes

Long story short, this is a sweet little pattern and works really well for gift giving since it doesn’t have to fit super precisely. I’m looking forward to making some Breton-style dresses when the weather gets cooler… won’t that be fun? And it’s nice to know that next year, when I lose track of the time and have to make a last-minute gift for Cam, I can crank out a few of these babies overnight! ;)

What have you been sewing? Whatcha up to these days?

Carolyn Pajamas!

Hi, guys! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend, and if you celebrated Canada Day or the 4th of July, that your weekends were extra festive!

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

OK, while I have, overall, a really serviceable wardrobe that’s starting to reflect my style, I have to admit that when it comes to the “unseen” items, the situation is dire. Socks, underwear, pajamas… they’re all in sad, sorry shape! Since I began to sew very seriously a few years ago, I just haven’t had the interest in shopping, but it’s also seemed quite silly to spend time sewing things that will never be visible outside my house! So when evening rolls around, you’ll usually find me in a shabby t-shirt and a pair of nearly-transparent men’s pajama bottoms. Sexy stuff, I know! So when Gillian #sewingdare-d me to sew a pair of pajamas, I was excited! Just the kick in the pants that I needed to sew up some respectable jams!

I decided to make myself some fancypants PJs for the Mood Sewing Network*, so I picked out this crazy cotton poplin because, well, it includes: dogs, cats, cows, rabbits, birds, frogs, chickens, and farmers in straw hats! How could I say no to that? Then I opted for a bright lime-green shirting to use for the piping. No reason to wear boring pajamas!

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

The pattern I used is the Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas. The pattern was a gift from Heather– thank you!!! These are classic, vintage-style pajamas with a modern cut. The pants are fitted a bit more through the hips than other pajama patterns I’ve made in the past, and the rise hits me right where I like it to in pajama pants, so they are really a much nicer fit than any of my RTW pajamas. There’s a notched collar and chest pockets on the top, and slash pockets in the bottoms. You have the option to do cuffs with piping, if you like, or you can sew plain hems. There are short- and long-sleeved tops, and you can choose from pants or shorts. Because the pants are more fitted and less unisex, trust the size chart and don’t size down.

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

The pattern instructions are very clear and easy to follow. The notched collar construction was a bit different than others I’ve sewn in the past because there isn’t a back neck facing, and while I found it quite difficult to attach the collar neatly at the neckline (by “quite difficult”, I mean, I had to unpick the collar approximately ten times, no exaggeration!), but I finally got it done and it looks pretty good. If you haven’t done piping before, Heather walks you through the steps quite clearly. Let’s see… I used buttons from my stash and I went rogue, using 1″ elastic instead of 1.5″, because that’s what I had in hand. LAWS ARE MEANT TO BE BROKEN! I made no attempt to pattern match because life is too short… they’re PAJAMAS. Oh! One last thing! I’ve never used a copyshop pattern before because they’re so expensive to print at chain office stores, but I discovered Flash Blue Printing in Brooklyn- you email them the PDF, and they print them out for $5/sheet, regardless of the size of the sheet. Even better, they understood me immediately when I told them I needed them printed without scaling. They’re pretty far off the beaten path, but it might be worth it to go when you have a few to print out at once. Definitely worth the price to avoid sticking together a million sheets of letter paper. And folks in other towns, try to find a blueprinting shop!

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

Here’s the funny thing about the piping… now that I’m doing fancy upholstery, I spend SO MUCH TIME making and applying piping. So it’s kind of goofy that I would elect to do it in my free time, no? But instead I was excited to use the technique for a garment, kinda like when my job was sewing with faux fur and then I made a faux fur coat. Maybe I’m just nuts. ANYWAY, piping isn’t hard to do, but it does take some time. I made my own using cotton cording, which I covered in bias-cut strips of shirting. Don’t forget to pre-shrink your cording if necessary… it would be a real bummer if you went to all that work and then things went crazy in the wash! Also, there are special cording feet that you can purchase to make piping with, but personally, I just use the adjustable zipper foot that came with my Juki (it looks like this). You can stitch very close to the cording with it and you don’t have to worry about using a certain size of cording… one size fits all with the zipper foot! If you’ve never made your own piping before, I really recommend giving it a go- it’s fun to sew and it really adds a nice touch to your finished garment!

Closet Case Files Carolyn Pajamas | Ginger Makes

Not gonna lie, now that I have these, I’m pondering a second pair of summer bottoms and a nice flannel-y set for the fall! I feel pretty fancy swanning around the house in them! Thanks for the pattern, Heather, and thanks for the dare, Gillian! Alright, guys, ‘fess up: what sad items lurk in your wardrobe, begging for an upgrade? Saggy sweatpants? Stained t-shirts? Come on… tell me I’m not the only one with dark secrets hidden in my closet!

Just add coffee!

*Once a month I receive a fabric allowance from Mood to make something fun! I blog it first on the MSN blog, then over here. If I use stash materials or things purchased from another source, I’ll let you know in my post. :)

Françoise: A Story of Failure

Woe is me, gentle reader, and woe is she who heeds not my words of warning! Do not make ye a dress from fabric which wants not to be that dress! Warning: the following tale contains fabric abuse and a gratuitous amount of self-pity. Proceed with caution!

It all started out so innocently! Ages ago, when the pattern was first released, Tilly sent me a review copy of her cute Françoise dress. Now, I love the look of French darts and the yoke detail is extra cute, so I was looking forward to sewing this, especially since I tried and failed after a couple of muslins to fit both a vintage pattern with French darts as well as Burda 7031 (I’ve seen some cute versions of the latter, but when I tried it a few years ago, my fitting skills just weren’t up to the task of making lots of changes without screwing up the shape of the darts). So I figured, a chance to redeem myself! What could possibly go wrong?

When I first saw the pattern, my immediate thought was, “ORANGE!”, followed by, “ORANGE ORANGE ORANGE ORANGE ORANGE!” I desperately needed an orange shift dress! Since it was winter when I received the pattern, I searched high and low for a winter-weight wool crepe with a hint of stretch (suggested by Tilly for comfortable close-fitting sleeves). No dice, friends! This perfect fabric existed only in my imagination! But it had to be orange, so I waited for summertime and resumed the hunt. I found this fabric at Mood and POUNCED on it! A crisp, bright, beautiful, deep orange! EXACTLY what I wanted! Only… it has the feel of, I dunno, like, a windbreaker? An umbrella? THIS WILL BE PERFECT FOR A DRESS, YES?

A student of classical mythology may interject at this point in the saga, wondering if there was, perhaps, a wise soothsayer who, rising from the mist, predicted my downfall. My Tiresias was Oona, who tried in vain to save me from myself. “Are you sure that you really want to wear that?”, she queried. “I love it and it will be great!” “Don’t you think it’s a little… stiff?” “It will soften in the wash”. Oh, readers, the folly! The hubris! As you can see, this fabric just doesn’t want to be this dress. It doesn’t want to mold into soft, shaped darts, instead forming a big hot mess in the chest region. And I didn’t slow down to check the fit before sewing away, hence this fantastic look:

Let’s sidebar from the tragedy a bit to talk about the pattern. The instructions are clear and detailed, with photos accompanying each step, so even the most timid of beginners should feel confident going into this project. I didn’t bother making a muslin, instead opting to make a straight size 3, even though my waist and hips fit in a size 2. Why, readers, why? This was a huge mistake. I should have made the smaller size and done an FBA, but because I didn’t, the dress was huge through the back shoulders. I pinched out 1″ darts on each side of the back neckline as a quick fix, but it looks pretty messy. I thought the flare of the skirt looked pretty costume-y, so I slimmed it down a bit from the waist to the hem, which probably brought it down to the size 2 lines, which I should have cut from the get-go. I’m still on the fence about this shape, but honestly, I never wear anything a-line, so I think I’m just not used to it. But just because I jacked up the fit doesn’t mean it’s not a good pattern. Smarter, better, non-risk-taking seamstresses made adorable versions of this. See: Lorelai, Marie, Roisin.

Lest ye think the tragedy ends here, take a look at this awfulness. In haste and foul temper, I accidentally ripped it under the arm when I had only the hem left to do. This happened over a month ago, and the dress has been in a timeout ever since. I could fix it, for sure, but dealing with a patch, interfacing on the wrong side, and redoing both the dart and the armhole binding has just been a bigger task than I can think about. Moreover, I don’t really like the looks of the centered zipper that I put in… I just didn’t have a matching invisible zipper in my stash so I went with the regular, and I’m not very happy with it. Considering my general bad feelings about this dress, even if I fix it, I doubt that I’ll ever wear it. So it will probably be chopped up into a happier project. UGH, am I right? But, you can’t win ’em all… especially when your project is just a string of bad ideas! Sorry for butchering your pattern, Tilly! :(

But… can we at least all agree that this shade of orange is PERFECT?

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