Summer sewing – WIPs


What are you working on? Projects for summer and fall? Now that summer solstice has come and gone, I feel pressure to get going on the summer clothes. One good thing about living in California is that it stays warm through September, even in the Bay Area, where the weather is a lot cooler than Southern California – so I’ll be OK even if I don’t finish my summer sewing projects by the end of August.

I’ve just finished making another Deer and Doe Chardon skirt – this time out of some heavyweight linen fabric. Here’s a sneak peek of the main skirt fabric, which I got at Britex Fabrics and my side pocket:

Linen fabric - pocket detail for Chardon Skirt -

Hopefully, I’ll be able to take photos of it in the couple of days so you can see the finished version with the red linen contrast band. This is my fourth Chardon skirt. (Here are the links to my first Chardon, my second one with a black contrast band, and my maxi version.)

Also on my list – dresses – one each from the Japanese sewing books, Basic Black by Sato Watanabe and Stylish Dress Book: Clothing for Everyday Wear by Yoshiko Tsukiori. I want to make the dress on the cover of Basic Black. (I made a 16-paneled skirt from this book earlier this year.)

Basic Black by Sato Watanabe -

I already got some black seersucker fabric. It’s a perfect project for the Sundress Sewalong, hosted by Handmade by Heather B! It starts on July 1 and continues to August 31 – plenty of time to finish it! Thanks, Heather!

Sundress Sewalong 2015

The other dress is one I thought I would make for the Japan Sew Along (hosted by Tanoshii) but I was only able to complete one garment, the A-line Block Skirt (from Basic Black) by the end of the sewalong.  This is the pattern…

Stylish Dress Book - sleeveless dress with ruffles -

… and here’s the pretty purple cotton voile fabric I got for the dress:

Fabric - cottons and wool -

Oh, and let’s not forget tops! I cut out my mock-up of the Asymmetical Top from Drape Drape 2, which I’ve been meaning to make ever since I saw a couple of MaciNic’s versions on her blog The Somnolent Dachshund. I cut a straight size L/XL. I’m using a drapey rayon knit so we’ll see how well it fits. My guess is that it will be tight in the hips. The top was a bit of a pain to cut out because it is one huge pattern piece. So I had to lay it out on the floor. It’s waiting to be sewed.

And way back in December I cut out a mock-up of the Renfrew top, Sewaholic’s best-selling and versatile knit top. It got pushed to the bottom of the project queue when I started making my Chardon skirts, Japanese sewing patterns, and my Spring for Cotton dress. I need to sew this up as well.

I also bought my first Blueprints for Sewing pattern – the A-frame skirt, which looks like a great stashbuster. Just think of the color blocking possibilities!

A-frame skirt - Blueprints for Sewing
(image from Blueprints for Sewing)

The drawing is unique – rather rustic but don’t be put off by it, the design is rather elegant with two options – an A-line and a pencil skirt. And the pocket detail is quite lovely. You can see more versions of it on Blueprint’s blog.

Another pattern I got earlier this month is the Flutter Blouse by Papercut Patterns. I like the floaty sleeves. You could make it tunic length and wear it as a dress (check out SewBusyLizzy’s version here). I don’t know if I would make it tunic length – like SewBusyLizzy I worry about it looking like a sack. My hips are rather wide so I don’t think that will be flattering on my figure. It will be fine as a blouse though.

Flutter blouse - Papercut Patterns -

I love the packaging on Papercut Patterns!

There are other indie patterns on my to-do list as well – Deer & Doe’s Bruyère Shirt, maybe another By Hand London Anna Dress for the International Anna Party (I’ve made two so far – one with a border print and a color blocked version), and Sewaholic’s Granville Shirt. What’s on your sewing list?

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WIPs: 1952 Wrap Blouse and Vintage Vogue Pattern

Deacades of Style 1950s Wrap Blouse -

I’m happy to say that I have two WIPs (works in progress). I traced and cut two patterns last weekend: Decades of Style’s 1952 Wrap Blouse and a dress from a vintage Vogue pattern. If you aren’t t familiar with Decades of Style Pattern Company, this Berkeley-based business reproduces vintage patterns from the 1920s through the 1950s. I made another pattern by this company, the 1940s Girl Friday Blouse, a couple of years ago. (You can see my version on this post: My Fall for Cotton 1940s Girl Friday Blouse Is Finished!)

I’m going to use this red polka dot cotton voile to make the Wrap Blouse. I originally got about five yards of this fabric on sale at Fabric Outlet in San Francisco to make a dress but it’s fall now and I’d rather make a top, which I can wear in the fall. Even thought it’s fall, it’s still pretty warm in the Bay Area so I think I can wear it for a while.

I’m making size B, which is for bust sizes 36, 38, and 40. Size B yardage is 2 3/4 yard (about 2.5 meters) for 44 wide, 2 yards (about 1.8 meters) for 60 wide. However, this fabric was 54″ wide, which meant that 2 yards would be too little. So I had to use about 2 3/4  yard to accommodate the large front pattern piece. As you can see from the photo below, my table wasn’t wide enough. I had to work on the floor to cut this pattern piece.

Wrap blouse front pattern piece -

But I did finish cutting the pieces and searched my stash of Petersham ribbon and found that I had a yard of red – yay. The pattern says to use grosgrain or Petersham ribbon for an inside belt. The pattern includes a belting guide so you can mark the center front and underarm areas. you can see my chalk mark on the ribbon below. I’m going to take a risk and just make this blouse as is. I’m hoping I won’t be swimming in the blouse because I’m not doing an SBA (small bust adjustment). I’m hoping that because it is a wrap blouse, it will be fine (fingers crossed!).

1952 Wrap blouse pattern pieces cut -

I can’t remember where I got this vintage Vogue pattern. It doesn’t have a copyright date but I think it has an early 1970s feel. What do you think?

Vintage Vogue 8343 dress patter -

The pattern pieces were really wrinkled! The previous owner just crumpled them up and stuffed them in the envelope. :/

I had never seen a pattern that wrinkled before. (The horror!) I’m the kind of person who will spend 15 minutes refolding patterns exactly as the printer folded them. I had to iron each piece and then discovered that the back facing piece was missing. But it’s just a small curving piece so I figured I could just draft one by tracing the top curve of the back pattern piece, which I did.

This dress has six sections – two front pieces, two side front pieces, two side back, and two center back.I think it would be fun to color block. I traced the woman in red on the pattern to see how that could look, which you can sort of see in the photo below.

knit wool color block - vintage Vogue dress -

I spent a small fortune at Britex Fabrics on two pieces of wool jersey – one was this black remnant and the other was this beautiful deep red from the first floor where all the expensive silks and wools are. I got 1 1/4 yards (1.14 meters) of the red – just enough for the center front and back pieces. I have plenty of the black for the sides and sleeves – if I make the long-sleeve version.

I traced the pattern pieces and decided that I needed more room in the armhole. The sleeves are fitted so I decided to drop the armhole about an inch. You can see the penciled in line below.

Sleeve - vintage vogue 8343 -

Oh, and before I forget – let me just mention that I broke out my new erasable highlighters for this pattern. Thanks to Brooke of Custom Style for her great tip, I now highlight all my pattern notches and markings so I don’t forget to mark my fabric before I remove the pins. (Brooke is a costumer and expert seamstress. You can see her various project in progress on IG (@sewbrooke).)

I like to use the pink highlighter because I’m not fond of pink so I won’t ignore the notches. 😉

Erasable highlighters -

I like this particular highlighter by Foray because you erase the highlighter using the other side – a white tip, which is also a marker but when you run it over the highlighter markings, the highlighter disappears like magic.

Foray erasable highlighter -

Pilot also makes an erasable highlight but it erases via the friction or heat generating from erasing. When you use the eraser end on it, your mark disappears but you can also tear your pattern paper from the rubbing motion. Because it is heat sensitive you could also use an iron to erase it but that could get annoying – turning on your iron to erase a highlighter mark.

You can get both of these highlighters at office supply stores.

I’m going to make a muslin of the dress from some brown jersey in my stash. It’s not really the same weight or hand, plus it has a touch of lycra in it, but I think I can at least check and see how the arms fit. Then maybe I’ll get some other knit fabric that is closer to the hand of my wool jersey and make another muslin. If you know a place where I can buy some really cheap wool jersey, please let me know.

Have you made anything from wool jersey? This will be my first time sewing wool jersey. I’ve only sewn cotton jersey, rayon knits, and fleece. If you have any tips, feel free to pass them on.

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