Ginger Made: Hazel, V. 2 (Or, the “Insert Portlandia Joke Here” Dress)

Hi, guys! Hope everyone had a lovely and safe long weekend, and those of you in the U.S. enjoyed the holiday!

Today’s dress is kind of a funny one. This is my second version of the Colette Hazel dress- here’s my first version. When I made it two years ago, I wasn’t in love with it and ended up putting it on my top 5 misses of 2012 list because I just didn’t like it. The funny part is that, despite not loving it, I wore that dress a fair amount that summer and over and over and over again last summer. It ticks the right boxes for a summer day dress- easy to wear, easy to launder, doesn’t make me hot and sweaty, doesn’t need special shoes… perfect! So I found myself wanting another version!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

I was so excited to use this fabric, despite the fact that I’ll be a walking hipster joke (everyone’s seen this, right?). It’s a gorgeous wax print from Vlisco- they still have the print, “Speedbird”, in a couple of different colorways. I really love the colors and the striking design. I should warn you, however, against checking out their website- the fabric is SO, SO beautiful that you might find yourself ordering more than you can afford! I’ve admired Vlisco prints since I discovered Cathy‘s amazing creations from her days in Benin, and when Susan of Moonthirty fame told me over Instagram that they ship to the US, I lost my mind and ordered two pieces. It’s been in my stash for a while, just waiting for the right pattern! Right now I’m trying to talk myself out of this print. It’s so beautiful! Must not… buy… more fabric… stay strong… stay… strong…

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Here’s the problem. When I made this dress back in 2012, I noted that the darts are way too long, but if you shorten them to the proper length, they stick out terribly and look worse than when they’re just too long. Welllllllll, I forgot about that when I was making this version- it’s not that noticeable in the soft, light-colored fabric I used originally. Vlisco prints are medium weight cotton with lots of body, bordering on stiff. So, the too-long darts were a pointy DISASTER in this! Sadly, I didn’t realize how bad it was until I had already sewn the dress up completely and trimmed the seam allowances. I resewed and resewed the darts, steaming them, curving them, everything I could think of, but no dice. I finally followed Anne‘s suggestion and didn’t stitch the dart, instead catching the excess for the dart in the stitching line like a pleat. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than the alternative. If I ever make this dress again, I’ll figure out a way to change the dart to gathers, but I didn’t have enough SA left to do that and true things up correctly. Ugh!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Another problem is that I can’t get the positioning of the straps right. I wasn’t really satisfied with how I placed them in my first version, so I decided to make them more comfortable. I futzed and futzed with them this time around, and thought I had them positioned correctly, but after wearing the dress all day, I’m still not loving them. I think they need to be straightened out entirely. Oh, and, I didn’t notice until I edited these photos that the darker stripe of the fabric gives an unflattering shadow to the bust area! Ugh!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

I spent lots of time working out the print placement to avoid any embarrassing birds and to match across all the seamlines. But before I cut it out, I decided to relax and just cut things out carefully, but without going crazy. I could’ve matched everything, but it would’ve used up all the fabric and it felt kind of wasteful. Usually I would annoy myself with matching everything up perfectly, but I decided to just match it across the center back bodice and call it quits. I’m happy with how this looks and I have enough fabric leftover to make a special garment for the next baby girl born into my friend group. Somehow it felt like better stewardship than throwing away tons of odd scraps. But I may not feel that way the next time I’m dealing with a large-scale print… I dunno! Let’s see, what else… I used scraps from my Roller Skate dress for the pockets to conserve fabric, and it’s a fun detail, too.

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

This dress isn’t perfect, and I’m not sure I’ll revisit the pattern again, but I still like it and I know I’ll wear it lots. I mean, there are birds ALL OVER this dang thing- how can I not like it?! Also, it matches my adorable clutch so perfectly! Gail made it for me and brought it when she visited NYC a few weeks ago… she’s the kindest, most generous gal around (and talented to boot)! Thank you, Gail! ETA: I made this dress as part of Heather‘s Summer Sundress Sew-a-long… but I’m forgetful and didn’t remember that when I was writing the post, oops!

Colette Hazel dress | Ginger Makes

Alright, your turn! Are there any patterns that you have a love/hate relationship with? Are you obsessed with wax prints, too? What are you sewing right now? OK, I’m out- it’s time to finish the 4th of July weekend with our annual Jaws screening! Who’s better than Robert Shaw?!

Yoke + Gathers Sorbetto Hack Tutorial!

Ginger Makes | Yoke + Gathers Sorbetto Hack

Hi, guys! I’ve been meaning to share the tutorial for my Colette Sorbetto hack with you for a while (see my Rambo top and my Watch This Lace top) and finally got organized enough to photograph it today! Before we dive in, let me just make it clear that I’m not a professional, so there may be better/different methods for pattern alteration, but this is what I did. Also, if you don’t already have this pattern, you can download it for free here! Got it? Allons-y!

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

First things first: take your bodice front and fold it back along the pleat line, eliminating the pleat.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

To create your yoke, draw a straight line perpendicular to the fold line, below the armhole and above the dart. I drew my line 5/8″ below the armhole- this was a flattering yoke placement for me.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Trace around your bodice above the line you’ve just drawn, and add a 5/8″ seam allowance below this line (the seam allowance for the neck and armhole is already included in the original pattern so you don’t need to add it). Be sure to mark your fold line so you don’t forget it! This is your front yoke piece.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Next up, the bodice front! First, you need to decide how much fulness you want to add to create your gathers. For both of my versions, I added 4.5″ to the flat pattern, resulting in 9″ extra in the piece. You could add more or less- your call! But once you’ve decided, trace along the line you drew to create your yoke and continue it the desired amount past the center front/fold line. Then, draw in your new CF/fold line, making sure it matches the length of your original pattern and marking the fold on it. Next, fold out your dart and crease it so it stays closed. Then trace over your side seam, beginning below the yoke line.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack tutorial

You’ll notice that your side seam is slightly shorter than your center front line. Use a hip curve to gently blend the hem line and give it a nice curve. And before you cut your pattern piece out, be sure to add 5/8″ seam allowance above the yoke line!

Ginger Makes | Colette Sorbetto tutorialNext, take your back bodice piece and draw a line (again, perpendicular to the CB/fold line) to create your yoke. IMPORTANT: your back yoke line needs to be positioned the same distance below the armhole as your front yoke line! It’s going to look super janky if it doesn’t match at the side seams!

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Now, trace around the back bodice piece, beginning and ending at the yoke line.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

Add your seam allowance to the yoke line, mark the fold line, and you’re good to go! Now, you need to decide if you want gathers on the back of your shirt or not. I didn’t add gathers to the back on mine because I didn’t want any extra volume, but you could if you liked.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack Tutorial

If you DON’T want gathers, just trace around the back bodice below the yoke line, trace the yoke line, and add 5/8″ seam allowance above it. If you DO want gathers, extend the yoke line beyond the CB line the desired amount like you did for the front bodice.

Ginger Makes | Sorbetto Hack tutorial

That’s it! This is a good time to double-check that your side seams are the same length, and if they do, congratulate yourself!  To sew, gather your lower bodice piece with basting stitches and stitch to the yoke. Press the seam up carefully, using the tip of your iron, then stitch the side seams together. Finish the neckline and armholes with bias binding as directed by the pattern. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can finish the top with a second yoke like I did for the brown Rambo version. Cut second front and back yokes, and stitch them like you’re sewing an all-in-one facing (tutorials here, here, and here). This will give you thinner straps and a lowered neckline- you can see this in my brown top.

Hope this is helpful! Drop me a line if you have any questions! Also, I’d love to see your finished top if you make one using this tutorial!

 

 

 

Ginger Made: The Rambo Project!

Hi, guys! I’m already giggling a little bit because this garment is pretty funny. A while back, Seamstress Erin asked me if I wanted to take part in The Rambo Project. You can read more about it on her blog, but in a nutshell, she received a box of old turbans, costumes from Rambo III, and sent them to a bunch of sewing bloggers so we could refashion them! I’m super excited about this! I love that we’re taking old, unloved items and reusing them, I love that there’s a Hollywood connection, and I love in particular that it’s to a schlocky action movie. I’m an action movie junkie, and I remember my dad watching Rambo on his Betamax player after I was in bed when I was a little girl. I tried to sneak peeks, but alas, he always caught me and sent me back to bed!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

I wanted to make something really over the top with this, since it was such a fun project. I had a vision of a shorts jumpsuit or little shorts with suspenders. I thought and thought and thought about how to accomplish this out of a scarf-sized strip of fabric, and started realizing that I was descending into one of my patented Ginger Overdoes It moments. I mean, I’m all in favor of overdoing it, but when you start having trouble sleeping because you’re trying to work out in your head how to cut out all your pattern pieces, you’ve probably gone too far. I decided to scrap that idea and keep it simple.

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

The fabric is stretchy, very narrow, and had lots of holes and snags. It had a fun stripe on either end, and solid fabric in the middle (really should’ve taken a before pic!). I planned to utilize the stretch and make a fitted tank top, but it was looking very 1930’s men’s swimsuit-y and, well, that’s a bit too unisex, even for me!  I decided instead on my yoked Sorbetto Top hack.  This worked well with my limited amount of fabric and allowed me to have some fun with the stripe placement.

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

I sewed this up much like the last version, splitting the front and back so I could have yokes and slashing and spreading the lower front bodice before gathering it into the yoke. But this time around I decided to skip the bias tape and finish it off with inner yokes. This makes the straps narrower and gives a more summery look to the top, which I like. It’s also about 1000x less fiddly than dealing with bias tape- win! Well, it helps if you don’t sew the yokes together in such a way that it’s impossible to turn them right-side out, but, you know, you win some, you lose some. It wouldn’t be a sewing project if I didn’t have to pull out the seam ripper at least once!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

All in all, this is super wearable! I know that I’ll snicker a little every time I put it on, which is an added bonus. Action movies hold a very dear place in my heart (I’ve seen Terminator 2 so many times that an old coworker had a t-shirt printed for me that reads “I’d rather be watching T2″, ha!), so I’m excited to combine two of my obsessions in one project! I’m also really looking forward to seeing the other turbans-turned-magical-garments as they pop up on blogs!

The Rambo Project | Ginger Makes

 

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!

I See Maddie’s Underpants + Sew Grateful Week Giveaway Winner!

Dudes.  I’m pretty sure you’ve already found her blog, but if not, get thee hence to Madalynne!  She’s released a brand-new, FREE, adorable pattern for undies that I’m dying to try out (arrgh, couldn’t find the right elastic in my stash to make them this weekend!)!

Are these not the cutest EVER?

Next item of news: I know you’re anxiously awaiting it, but the winner of my Sew Grateful Week giveaway is…

Amy of Almond Rock!

Hmmm, I’m loving the sound of a royal blue Anise!  Happy sewing, girl!

What are you guys up to this week?  Sewing outerwear?  Underwear?  Something in between?  C’mon, dish!

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!

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