Sunday, May 13, 2012

Anthropologie Knock-Off w/ Simplicity 2560

Ever since I saw Suzannah's post about Simplicity 2560 over at Adventures in Dressmaking, I've been anxious to try out the pattern. I'm quite certain I could own a shawl-necked cardi in every color of the rainbow and never get tired of them. 

I feel like many might pass up this pattern because the outfit on the model looks a little dated. But if you can get past that, it is a great little pattern. 

First, I tried out the pattern in a straight forward manner. I made a grey cardigan with View D, and followed the directions exactly. I cut a size 14 so that all the drape of the shawl neck would be in the center. I could probably stand a little smaller if I wanted to wear it more open. In any case, the result was a comfy cardigan that can be dressed up or down:

I particularly love the way the sleeves on this pattern fit me, so I'm guessing I'll be using it as the base for many shrugs, cardigans and tops. 

Next, as I was searching the internet for DIY Maternity clothing, I happened upon Miriam's tutorial for a maternity dress inspired by an Anthropologie top. I like tops more than dresses, and I tend to wear them more, so I headed on over to Anthro's website to check out the inspiration piece:

Super cute, and could be maternity friendly. As a bonus, the low neck makes it nursing friendly later on! My shawl neck cardigan pattern was just waiting to be adapted. Here's a mock up of what I intended to make, complete with my fabric:

Here are my altered instructions:

My Materials:

about 2(ish?) yards of semi-sheer yellow striped jersey knit
Some 3/8" elastic
Sewing machine with stretch stitch
Simplicity 2560 Pattern
Blank newsprint
Yellow thread

1. My pattern has an empire waist all the way around, and I wanted to remove the gathers in the back. So, I converted the back bodice/sleeve and back pieces into one piece:

2. Since step 1 removes the need for a seam, thus lengthening the pattern a bit, I added a seam allowance to the front bodice/sleeve and front pieces, as well as the neck band:

3. I cut the pattern pieces for View D - front bodice, front, back (my altered version),  and neck band - as well as 2 rectangles that were about 7.25" x 20" to make the twist pieces. I actually made these narrower at first, but didn't like them so I went back and cut new ones.

4. Gather lower front pieces between notches (I used 3/8" elastic to do this rather than a gathering stitch). 

I cut the elastic longer than necessary to give me something to hold
onto while I stretch the elastic and zig-zag it to the fabric.

5. Pin lower front to front bodice/sleeve, matching notches, and stitch. 


6. Pin front to back at shoulder seams only (not side seams), and stitch. Press seam open.

7. Pin two neck band pieces together along short side and stitch. Press seam open.

8. Pin neck band to shirt: Start in the center back of the back bodice, matching small and large dots to shoulder seams and empire waist seam. Here is what it should look like once this step is done. The neck band is the part I'm holding out with my left hand.

9. Sew front center seam along edge of neck band to desired length. I made mine stop about even with the empire waist seam, so the shirt is very low necked. I will wear a camisole underneath, but I wanted it to be usable as a nursing shirt later. 

10. Press remaining edge of neck opening under, and hem if desired (I just pressed, we'll see how it does after washing)

11. Add elastic to the seam at the nape of your neck, if desired (makes it gather more naturally, with less fiddling). 

12. Using the two small rectangular pieces, fold in half and sew to make a tube. Turn right side out and press flat. These will be your two waist band pieces.

13. Intertwining the two, pin waist bands to shirt front, matching edges with empire waist seam. 

14. Pin front to back, making sure to catch your waist bands in the seam, and stitch. Stop the seam at large dot to leave sleeve opening.

15. If desired, add elastic across middle front portion of the shirt. I find this decreases the amount of fiddling I have to do to get the shawl neck to lay right. 

16. Hem sleeves, and hem the bottom, and you're done!

Anyways, here's the finished product:

Overall I am very happy with the result. I think it would be slightly better made out of sturdier knit. The front twist pulls at the back a bit, and I think the addition of some elastic across the back to act as a countering force would help, but with my semi-sheer fabric I didn't think it would look good. 

I plan to make another version with a narrower neck band, made out of woven fabric rather than knit, so that all the fullness is in the front lower piece. I think this will give it a bit of a kimono-like look. We'll see how it goes!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Did it again: Simplicity 2248

So, I liked Simplicity 2248 so much I made another dress with it! This one is to wear to my brother's wedding.

Since I've already reviewed this pattern here, I'll just hit the highlights that are different this time:
I used a very light weight polyester satin that is red w/ tiny which polkadots. 

I used the original pattern for the yolk (rather than extending to cap sleeves like I did on the previous incarnation). 
I did modify the directions for the yolk fairly extensively: 

- The back yolk is fully lined, rather than having  facing at the neck. I assembled the yolk completely, lining and all, before attaching to the dress. The zipper starts just below the seam joining the yolk to the dress. The neck is plenty wide for the dress to slip on over my head easily. 
Interior of the seam joining the back yolk to the dress.
Desaturated because the red version makes it hard to see the details. 
- The front bodice facing was extended to include the lower armhole. After the yolk was attached, I hand sewed the edge of the facing down to keep everything smooth. 
Armhole facing turned under and hand sewed to the inside of the back yolk.
This gives the armhole a nice smooth look.
- I did not include the "designer's addition" sash on this version of the dress. I thought about making a simple white sash to tie around it, but I don't really think I need it. I plan to wear a white shrug over the dress to add a little style.

- I left out the pockets because I was feeling lazy.

I was really excited when I realized my vintage pumps would match this dress!

- I added twill tape to the seams making up the neckline to give it some stability.

Overall, I love this pattern. I'm tempted to make a shirt out of it, too, but my list of things I want to make is getting rather long!

Pattern Review: Simplicity 3799

Today I will be reviewing Simplicity 3799, a sportswear pattern in Simplicity's "Easy to Sew" line. It contains a dress/tunic, a jacket, and pants/shorts.

Details for the pattern on the Simplicity Website.

I made the tunic. The pattern sizing has two options: XXS-XS-S-M or M-L-XL-XXL. My bust measurement is 37" and I made a size small. I am happy with the fit overall, however I am 19 weeks pregnant. I think if I were to make this once I'm back to my normal size, I would make an XS, and possibly remove some excess fabric towards the bottom of the garment, as it is rather tent-like. 

A sash tied around makes it less tent-like,
but it actually looks okay without the sash, too. 

I used a polyester, matte-finish, drape-y fabric, which I got on sale at Hancock's. It is pink, off-white, and charcoal grey. I plan to make a charcoal grey jacket to match the shirt later. 

This pattern was a snap to cut out, and went together fairly quickly. I made the whole shirt in a few hours.  The directions were clear, and I more or less followed them exactly. I thought the method for finishing the armholes was nice, and fairly simple to do. The only alteration I made was to pleat the upper edge of the front rather than gathering. 

The only tricky part of making this shirt is pressing up a curved edge. Stitching along the line you want to fold up makes this much easier, and the directions prompt you to do this. 

If I were to make this pattern again, I would follow this tutorial from Phat Chick Designs for removing "neck gape", as the circular neckline does gap a little bit. I would guess this mostly is a problem for this pattern if you are rather full busted compared to the rest of your size. 

Makes a great maternity shirt, at least for now.
Made out of stretchy fabric I think it would fit all the way through pregnancy.