Friday, August 30, 2013

Summer Sewing

I just brought our daughter, Amanda, back to school in Virginia.  We had a great time this summer and did lots of different things.  My favorite was teaching her to sew.  A number of years ago, I think she was about 10, I tried to teach her and one of her friends to sew starting with the basic gingham apron.  This was my first sewing project in 4-H so I thought it would be easy for them with sewing lines built right into the fabric.  They both finished the apron but soon lost interest.

Here we are eleven years later and Amanda decides that she is really tired of the fashions available to her.  The fabric is often flimsy or the styles are too revealing for her taste so she suggests that we sew.  Our tastes are vastly different, naturally, so a trip to the fabric store was an adventure!  She picked out several patterns for both dresses and blouses which I looked over to see if they would be too difficult for her to begin on.  We agreed on one blouse pattern and one dress pattern.  (On sale at Joann's for a dollar!)  I hadn't made any garments for myself in a while so chose a simple dress pattern. 

The blouse pattern she picked was McCall's M6558 that also included a maxi dress.  The dress was her first choice to make but I suggested she make one of the blouses included in the pattern first.  The project would be quicker and she would have finished a garment, giving her a sense of accomplishment.  This pattern calls for medium weight woven and moderate stretch knit fabrics.  She picked out two different fabrics - one was a paisley sateen and the other was a colorful splashy crepe de chine.  The blouse pattern (View A) has only four pattern pieces.  The difficulty came in cutting out as both fabrics were slippery.  The pattern is relative simple to put together.  It can be a bit confusing, though, as there are no traditional arm holes and the neck ruffle tended to get in the way while constructing.  If she decides to make it again, I will suggest constructing the body of the garment first and then adding the ruffle.  There is an elastic casing, formed from the seam allowances, at both the neck and the waist.  

Here are the finished blouses!

Detail of neck edge elastic casing

Detail of paisley blouse with ruffle pulled up
I learned that it is difficult photograph garments, but I hope you get the feel of the blouse.  (I wanted Amanda to model but....)  I thought I had taken one of the paisley as it would be worn, but must have deleted it.  The fabrics that Amanda chose made these a bit hard to sew on, but the pattern was forgiving and since both were made from detailed prints little mistakes don't show, especially where I sewed the casings!

I have been wearing a lot of sun dresses this summer.  Two reasons - my shorts don't fit me and it's too hot to wear jeans to go anywhere in the south!  I found a very cute and very easy pattern - McCall''s M6744.  This pattern is for knits only.  There are several view option - maxi or short length, faux-wrap skirt or one-piece skirt, tank top, wrap top, or racer back top.  I chose to make the wrap top and skirt for my first dress.
I found this fabric in the markdown bin at Joann's.  Very summery!  (and inexpensive!)  I made the XXL View C.  The cap sleeves (all one piece with the bodice) have casings made from the seam allowances for elastic, giving the shoulders a nice ruffle.  The waistline is also elasticized, making a casing from the seam allowance attaching the bodice to the skirt.  I did make a flower from my scrap fabric as this is open to the waist.  Also, I had to pull in the seam allowances on the bodice as it was way too big for me.  This was easy, even after I added the skirt as the arm openings are just narrow-hemmed. 

Here are some close-ups of the details.

Scrap fabric flower pinned to bodice

Waist line elastic casing - I zig-zagged this to finish the seams.     

This dress only took me about 2 hours to make.  I liked it so much that I made a second one.  This time I didn't use the mock wrap skirt though.  

Sorry about the exposure on that one!  I made the bodice a size smaller on the sides, but kept the length of the larger size.  The fabric for this one is a bit more dressy.  If I make this again I will make it a bit longer.

Bodice detail - purchased brooch
I hope you enjoyed our summer sewing projects.  It was a lot of fun to sew with my daughter and to teach her a new skill.  Can't wait for her to be home for Thanksgiving so we can pick out a new project!

What did you sew this summer?  Let me know!!

Happy Sewing!!


Friday, August 2, 2013

The Lazy Days of Summer

I haven't posted in a long time.  The summer has flown by for my family and me.  And I haven't had  any crafty inspiration either.  I think it is the hot humid summer days of the South that have done that to me!  My daughter and I did some sewing before our recent vacation to NH so I will post pictures of the garments that we made.  This was her first time sewing a garment and the blouses that she made came out beautifully. 

Our trip to NH to visit my family was busy.  It was very hot the first 4 -5 days we were there so being by a lake was nice.  We spent time at the Market Days in Concord, visited the Nubble Light in York, Maine, took a boat ride out to the Isles of Shoals, and visited the White Mountains.  Enjoy the pictures!

View from the Thomas Laighton of Smuttynose Island

View of the back side of the Star Island Hotel  

Mount Chocorua

Swift River along the Kancamagus Highway

The water was about 45 degrees!

Sabbaday Falls    

The Nubble Light, York, Maine

Hope you enjoyed this! NH is so beautiful and will always be a part of me!

Happy Crafting!