Dressing like my Grandma in Simplicity 8084

Dress like your Grandma is a sewing challenge run by my friend and fellow CSC editor, Tanya. The basic premise is to get a vintage picture and copy the outfit. It could be of your grandma or just a vintage photo. I also think if people wanted to dress like their Grandpa, that wouldn’t be an issue at all. This is the second year it has been running and my first time participating. I really really wanted to participate last year but couldn’t get a picture of my maternal Grandmother or my paternal Nana. This year, I managed to come across this picture of my maternal Grandmother with my Grandfather on my Dad’s facebook page and I knew I wanted to use that picture.

My Grandma is wearing a shirt waist dress with a simple A-line skirt. My grandparents appear to be going to a wedding or church or something else formal and the date on the picture is December 1958. My grandparents were farmers in rural Southern Ontario so this would have been a special occasion for them. My mom told me that my Grandma would often wear dresses like this. She sewed her own clothes. I wouldn’t be surprised if she sewed this dress.

I knew the overall style would be easy to duplicate. I wanted to modernize it a bit, though, since I don’t often make things that I will only wear once. Most of the costumes I make are also worn multiple times for cons and our shows so I try to make everything wearable.

I chose Simplicity 8084 for this dress. It has a lot of the elements of the inspiration, but a more open neckline, a banded collar, a loose fit, and a comfortable drawstring waist.

This is my first Mimi G pattern. It went together well. The fabric I used is a telio rayon voile from fabric.com. It’s very lightweight and almost see-through, but luckily not. I hate wearing slips! Actually, I’ve never made one so why start now.

The fabric does stretch a lot. Rayon is prone to this and everytime I work with it I take extra care to staystitch and sometimes use interfacing, especially for the neckline. I really regret not following that practice for this, because the neckline, in spite of staystitching, got super stretched out and I had to lengthen the neckline piece. This causes the neckline to not sit nicely at all. I’ll take extra care should I make this again in the future.

The only other error made was to sew on my sleeves and sew up the side seam and then realize I needed the sleeve tabs. D’OH! They should be up higher, but this was as high as I could manage without ripping out my side seam.

Like the other Simplicity shirtdress I made recently, this one also has extremely wide sleeves at the hem. It doesn’t get smaller closer at the hem and is as wide as the widest part of the bicep. I decided to keep them wide this time. I also widened the sleeves and made the gathered. We all know my preference for puffed sleeves.

Let’s discuss fit. Unlike other Simplicity patterns, the shoulders on this one are fairly wide. I checked the pattern piece just in case the shoulder had also stretched out, but they are wide. I usually have to make shoulders smaller in every single pattern, but that alteration is maybe 2 inches. This one would likely need 3 or maybe more.

The fit on the dress is meant to be a loose fit so I think elsewhere it fits correctly. I will add more to the back skirt, though, since when I sit down it isn’t as loose as I would like. Not tight by any means, but not as loose as I like.

I didn’t go for the curved hem on this dress as per the length. I decided to go with a straight hem to mix it up. I also didn’t go for the hidden button placket since I wanted to use pearlesque buttons like my inspiration picture. In spite of the fit issue and sewing issues, I really like this dress. I think once the fit is perfected I will probably want to make a bunch more.

My mom has told me that I am a lot like her mother both in looks and in personality. I seem to have inherited her height and her overall body structure, including the flat feet. My mom and I have speculated whether my Grandma had EDS since she had joint issues but we’ll never know for sure. Grandma died when I was a toddler. I never knew her except in pictures and stories from my mother.

I wish I had known her from the way my mom talks about her. I loved this challenge for making me feel a bit more connected to her. I really wanted to get the challenge completed for Mother’s Day for my mom, but was sewing away still on Mother’s day. Mom will have to accept the fact that her daughter is always late with gifts. 😉

I am looking forward to next year. Hopefully the challenge will continue, because I am going to my parent’s place this summer and I am going to find a bunch more pictures for inspiration!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8084
  • Pros: Great size range. Easy to follow instructions. Comfortable dress to wear.
  • Cons: Why does the sleeve hem need to be so wide? Shoulders are also unnecessarily wide…
  • Make again?: After a few modifications and with care that the neckline doesn’t stretch out.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars
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Burda Magazine Jersey Blazer 08/2016 #134

The Curvy Year of Sewing Jackets and Blazers theme was the perfect opportunity to finally make this Burda blazer. I keep talking about making a million blazers and then never doing the thing. I think starting here is a great gateway into maybe finally making the Vogue Claudia Shaeffer blazer of my dreams.

The Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue is a lined jersey blazer with a shawl collar and patch pockets. I’m not sure if you know, but I am a fan of Burda. I can always rely on their drafting for getting a good fit with some adjustments. Mostly, I love the classic styles they have. I don’t love their lack of instructions, however, and they certainly are famous for sparse instructions in their magazines. Burda plus sizes range from size 44 (39.25 inch/100 cm bust) to size 52 (48 inch/122 cm bust). Admittedly, not the greatest size range, but it works for me with minor adjustments.

My measurements are: 51/52 bust, 46 waist, and 54/56 hip (depending on my swelling that day due to my chronic illness). I made a size 52 with a 2 inch FBA (adding 4 inches overall) and a 2 inch full bicep adjustment. I added 4 extra inches to the bust to allow for a button closure. The original pattern is meant to sit open, but I often want to pull blazers closed and quite frankly I think the look works well with the Cashmerette Rivermont, which was my planned pairing for this blazer.

Let’s talk fit issues. The blazer is long on me. I am a shorter person at 5’3″ and I have short arms. I prefer longer sleeves that cover my hands since they get cold easily. The back could use a sway back adjustment as well as a bit more room in the hips, which would help the pulling at the front button. I think the bust looks good. I do wish I had but in 2 buttons and may be adding that later, but we’ll see if I ever get around to that. For future versions, I will shorten the length overall, as well as do a swayback and full hip adjustment.

I love the blazer in spite of that and for most non-sewists those issues are minor.

My favourite details of this blazer are the purple piping along the lapel and the small purple buttons on the sleeve vents. Speaking of the sleeve vents, the instructions weren’t very good to help me do my first sleeve vent. I actually used this tutorial from Patterns Scissors Cloth. It was fantastic in holding my hand throughout the process.

I used a medium weight poly blend jersey in a dark grey. The piping is Wrights pre-made piping from Funky Monkey Fabrics. Buttons are sourced locally. I didn’t line the blazer. I don’t think it needs the lining at all. I used my serger for the most of the construction so the insides are nice anyway. I made shoulder pads for the blazer using the grey jersey and some poly padding I had leftover from a previous project. Easier than buying shoulder pads and they match my blazer.

Construction, except for the sleeve vents, went together really easily. With the tutorial, the sleeve vents were a breeze. The instructions were no help there. My one issue with the pattern is that the back facing seemed unnecessary. The lapel is cut on and then facing is sew on. The front facing pieces attach at the back and then get sewn into the seams below the pockets. The back facing is supposed to be attached to a cut out part on the front facing and then sewn into the seams on the shoulders and back neckline. It is likely my error with adding in the seam allowances (since I eyeball them when cutting out the pattern) and not using a lining, but the piece wasn’t necessary to me and could have been incorporated into the front facing piece which has a seam at the back anyway. I was able to sew the front facings to the back neckline and the shoulders without the back facing piece. Likely my error, but also possible not. I will see the result with a more stable knit since I plan to use a tan knit next time with blue piping.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Burda Jersey Blazer #134 from August 2016 issue
  • Pros: Great size range. Jersey means comfort! Opportunity for customization. Love those princess seams.
  • Cons: A little long. Burda does tend to think that plus sized equals tall so I often have to shorten things. Unnecessary back facing piece possibly. Easy to draft out, though. Terrible instructions.
  • Make again?: YESYESYES
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Miss Bossy said McCall’s 7624…so I delivered…

Miss Bossy said make McCall’s 7624 so I made it!

You know, I never was one for being ordered around and told what to do. I can get really stubborn and dig my heels in before I listen to someone tell me what to do. But occasionally, I listen to and follow orders. When it makes sense, I am willing to do it. And sewing always makes sense to me. 😉

  

I chose view C but with the ties from view D. I love the sleeves in view B, but wanted something for summer. Before I started sewing, I had to do an FBA…ughhhhh. I have never done an FBA on a bodice with a cut on sleeve like this, but I was up for the challenge. I chose size 22, which has a 44 inch bust. The finished measurements have it at 49.5  inches (edit: oops forgot to input the finished measurements for size 22). My bust is at 51/2 depending on the time of the month. I did a 3 inch FBA to add 6 inches overall to give me the extra ease that the pattern calls for. I also added 4 inches to the back skirt and the front skirt panels as well as 3 inches to the waistband pieces. I did my best to maintain the original neckline on the bodice so that I could avoid gaping. I didn’t manage to do that completely. There is still some gaping in the neckline, but it is not too bad. I will account for that in the next version. The tutorial I used for the FBA is from the Closet Case Files sewalong for the Kalle shirtdress. It worked out really well. I think the only adjustment that I would make for the next version other than the neckline gaping would be to add a bit more to the front skirt panels to balance out the fullness in the back. Or…alternatively take out the extra inches in the back. We’ll see when I make it again.

  

What else can I say? I just really really really love this dress! It looks fucking fantastic on me!

  

You can see how much I love this dress from these pictures.

  

And the sheer number of pictures I took!

  

The fabric I used is rayon fabric from Fabricland/Fabricville. It was lovely to sew with and pressed beautifully.

I think this will be a summer fixture in my wardrobe!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: McCall’s 7624 
  • Pros: Possibly the perfect summer dress with loose sleeves, drapey skirt, and elastic back for comfort.
  • Cons: Let’s talk about how crappy that size range is! 44 bust? Gimme a break, McCall’s. Your size range is the worst! Patterns rarely go above size 22/44 inch bust. McCall’s better wake up and start seeing the plus sized market!
  • Make again?: Absolutely! I love it. I just need to fix the neckline gaping a bit more and I may or may not make an alteration to the skirt fullness.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

 

And the winner is….

M7624 WINS!!!!!

Thank you to everyone who voted!

The voting was super close for those two dresses:

For a while it was stuck at a tie and then I posted on IG asking people to not let it tie, please! Someone tried to be funny and voted for the Simplicity blazer after that. D’oh! I plan on making all three at some point, though, so no worries to the ones that didn’t get picked. 🙂

In other news, I have been sewing like crazy. I have two Cashmerette Cedar Dolman hacks to show you plus M7094 and S8140 and sew (har har!) many other plans. April is looking like a busy sewing month. We’ll see how much I can cram into it. I feel super energized and really obsessed with sewing so I am positive that I can cram a bunch.

But of course when I prioritize sewing, it means that pictures don’t get taken and blog posts don’t get written so I need a bit of time to do that. Hopefully next week I will have a chance to do that. 🙂

Hope all is well with everyone!

Happy Friday!!

Miss Bossy is back!

Over on the Monthly Stitch is a super fun challenge for April that I am taking part in:

Miss Bossy is back for April! She knows that I have way too much fabric and way too many patterns that I need to use up so she’s being quite Bossy about me using them up.

The objective is for me to post a poll on my blog and have my readers vote to choose what I make. I’ll keep the poll open for a week and then snip snip… I’m cutting into my fabric! YIKES! But I better.

It’s pretty close to summer so all of my choices are based on that. I paired the fabric with a pattern that I haven’t used but thought would work really well with it.

1. Pink dot cotton & Designer Stitch Pippa wrap dress

I have 4 yards of this lovely cotton that are begging to be made into the Pippa dress. I got the pattern as part of my Indie pattern month prize last summer and haven’t made anything with it yet. The fabric was found at the thrift store. I am also excited about those flutter sleeves since they mean minimal sleeve fitting. I will be focused on making sure the wrap is appropriate for work, though. A muslin will definitely be needed to check that but the project seems pretty easy.

2. Tropical Rayon fabric & McCall’s 7624

I will need to do an FBA on this McCall’s pattern and possibly size up, but the sleeves for sure have enough ease in them for me not to worry about them too much (I really hate fitting sleeves lol). The only thing I will have to look out for is them perhaps revealing my bra on the side. I will also use a coral rayon I have for the contrast in the bands at the waist, neck and sleeves.

3. White Crepe Suiting/Coral Satin lining & Simplicity 2340

Simplicity 2340 is out of print, but I love it. View B has been on my list for a while using this white crepe/coral satin lining and I have just been putting it off and putting it off. I hate sleeve fitting and doing an FBA. Ughhhhhh. But maybe Miss Bossy will make me do it. It might not be done for the end of April though since it involves more complex fitting and sewing than the other two choices.

Vote now!

Seamwork Jill Coatigan

And now for something completely different…

The last time I made a Seamwork magazine pattern it was a complete and udder (HA!) disaster with the Florence bralette pattern. I would still love to find a bralette pattern that works for my bust size (gargantuan). That experience definitely turned me off of the patterns, but then I started thinking that maybe I might perhaps….. try another.

I’m not extolling the virtues of Seamwork or Colette, but my Jill Coatigan did work out very well. I had bought some other patterns before I made the Florence bralette. I also ended up getting the Audrey jean jacket. Of course, the patterns are very tempting because they go up to a 54 bust and 58 hip. But are they actually worth it? Colette gets some pretty warrented criticism from the sewing blog community for their drafting, especially in the sleeves.

I took the plunge, though, because I wanted a boxy coat for the Spring and really wanted to use some wool knit I had in my stash for the project. Megan and I spoke and decided to do a Same Pattern, Different Bodies for the CSC for the Curvy Year of Sewing theme of jacket/blazer for March/April. You can read more about Megan’s coat here. All of these things kind of meant I was committed to another Seamwork pattern.

  

In spite of the loose fit for this pattern, the arms were still going to be a bit tight for me. They would have *just* fit so I added 2 inches there and had to add a bit to the side seams to accomodate. I also initially shorted the pattern by 7 inches. I am 5’3″ and regularly have to shorten patterns quite a bit. 7 inches would have meant the pattern would hit my mid-thigh. But then due to fabric constraints, I needed to shorten further to get the pattern to fit because I *had* to use this fabric. I think in total it is shortened by about 15 inches. If I were to make it again, I would go with the 7 inches instead.

In terms of fit, it fits as boxy and loose as the pattern suggests. I made a 2XL. The arms are a bit long but I do prefer jackets and coats and cardigans and long sleeves in general to be long on me to protect my always cold hands.

Things I didn’t like about the pattern are the slightly curved seam at the front. Comparing the curvy block to the regular block, the curve is a bit more in the curvy block. With the curve going up to the centre front, it doesn’t make any sense to me since it then doesn’t look like a straight hem from the side view. My bust pulls it up further as well. If I make this again, I will definitely be correcting that.

The instructions were so strange in some places. It suggests top stitching the facing down but then it would show from the right side in places so I noped that. It’s a simple pattern and would work for a beginner, but some instructions might be tough for them to understand and could be done in an easier way. So for the most part, I ignored them.

I started off by binding all my seams with a bright green cotton bias tape. I sort of abandoned that after a bit because I found the process tedious. Do you ever do that mid-sewing? The back seam/kick pleat and the edge of the facing all are bound, but the rest is finished with my serger instead.

 

The main fabric is a grey floral knit with a stripe on the wrong side. The floral shows on the collar facing but I used the stripe for the main parts. I liked the floral but not enough to make it the main look. I added a belt and belt loops to the coat. I used a darker grey wool coating for the tie and the pockets for a bit of contrast…..hahahha because I ran out of fabric. Luckily, I had some in my stash from a trade a while back so my lack of fabric worked out okay.

 

I love the look of the tie and those pockets are enormous and can fit anything in them. I put my kindle in it as well as some cards during a respiralogist appointment recently. Very useful.

The other good thing about the pattern is that it is quick to cut out and quick to make. It is pretty satisfying to have a pattern like that. I think you know by now that I enjoy quick projects. I do love an involved one, but definitely need a few quick ones in between those.

 

What more can I say? I love the coat. It’s great for this in-between weather and an alternative to my Pepernoot coat that I made 2 years ago.

Before I finish this post, a quick update on my health. My new respiralogist has been amazing (I literally cried in his office after he promised he would get my cough managed). He put me on some new meds and increased others and my cough has improved dramatically. Initially, I thought I might need to return to him sooner for an appointment because my cough was bad for about a month with the transition of the new meds, but it just started going away and now I cough only if I forget my meds. At the first appointment, I was using 80% of the normal lung capacity. Now I am at 120%, because I am a major overachiever. 😉

Of course, the disclaimer to this update is that while one part is more managed by medication, other parts of my chronic illness are not and I am still a person who lives each day with health issues and chronic pain. The thing about devoting all my time to breathing normally is that it allowed me to ignore or push aside the pain. Now that I can breathe again without coughing fits, I am noticing the pain more and how much it has increased in the past year. I have a growing instability in my lower spine and my left hip (my right hip has a labrum tear so it is always in pain), and my costochrondritis is flaring horribly making deep breaths extremely painful. But I take the breathing again as an extremely amazing victory! And knowing I have remarkable lung capacity for a person of my age, weight, and height, is fantastic news! Yeay lungs! When they work, they sure make breathing easier! 😀

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Seamwork Jill Coatigan
  • Pros: Simple pattern with a good size range. Great for beginners who need a gateway drug into coatmaking.
  • Cons: Instructions are a bit weird and could be improved. Strange curved front hem….
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments and in the mid-thigh length. How many coats does one need? Well, quite frankly, I think all the coats would be the answer. ❤ I have a tan non-stretch knit that would work well for this pattern so I will probably use that for another version since it sews up pretty quickly.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Blank Slate Forsythe Trousers

As part of the Curvy Year of Sewing, I decided to make the Forsythe trousers to fit the pants/trousers theme for Jan/Feb. I made Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers, an elastic waist trouser with front pockets and back welt pockets. The trousers can either be full length or capri length. The Forsythe Trousers go up to a 55″ hip. It’s not an amazing size range: my 55″ hips just make it into the pattern’s 3XL size. I have a double belly, big booty and a waist that is about 7 inches smaller then my full hips. I haven’t done a lot of pants fitting and have only just begun with it, but this pattern is great for beginners. They are like secret pjs and are so so sooooo comfortable to wear.

The first version I made was with a lightweight denim with deers and stars on it. I made the capri length in anticipation of wearing the pants for a trip over the holidays to Cuba. The fit wasn’t perfect. I did my usual adjustments before this pair by adding to the back rise (big booty adjustment) and scooping out the front crotch. The back fits pretty close to perfect for my first version, but the front crotch definitely needed more scooped out of it as there is some pooling of fabric in that area.

I forgot to mention in my CSC post that I changed the waistband so it was 1 inch elastic. That, of course, means only skinnier belts can go through the loops. It does also bring the rise down a bit more. I prefer rises to hit under my belly button.

My second version is made using a lightweight stretch suiting material with stripes throughout. For this version, I scooped out more in the front and actually lowered the rise a bit at the center back. There is maybe a few more tweaks that could be made, but overall they fit pretty well and I really love them. You’ll notice in both versions I left the back pockets out. I am not a fan of back pockets in general. I have them on a few other pants I made, but I just don’t like them. I never use them and find that they don’t really add any benefits for me. I do, however love the front pockets and think they are a great size. My phone fits in them so that makes me happy.

I took about 4-5 inches off the hem to get them to fit correctly. I didn’t go for the cuffed hem, but instead made a 2 inch deep hem.

 

Blank Slate Patterns always has great instructions that are easy to follow. I also find that their patterns are pretty standard and I can make the same adjustments. I actually used my Barton shorts pattern to help me get a good fit with my first pair by comparing the pattern pieces to make my adjustments.

 

I’m a big fan of how the pattern looks on me and I am definitely going to make it again.

It’ll be a great addition to my work wardrobe.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Blank Slate Patterns Forsythe Trousers
  • Pros: Simple pattern. Great for beginners with great instructions. Fits well with minor adjustments.
  • Cons: Size range could be a bit better, but I do fit into the size range so that is something.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments. Destined to become a TNT pattern.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars