Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Lilly" peplum top

I'm not sure if I feel more like Scarlett O'Hara or a Project Runway contestant after making a top for my daughter from a shower curtain.

Lilly Pulitzer clothing is adorable and spendy, and the fabric isn't available for purchase. The bedding/bath line is the best resource for yardage, although selection is limited to just a few patterns.

The fabric is 100% cotton, and not treated to be water resistant. 
When my daughter spied the Lilly shower curtain I had ordered, she immediately dreamed up a summer top. Specifically "a peplum top, with a fitted bodice, straight top and wide straps." 

I pulled  Vogue 8184 from my pattern file. This was the pattern I used for her first dress-up party in middle school and I recall it needing a ton of altering to fit her teeny-teen figure. Eight years later, a quick muslin of the size 8 was just about perfect! She envisioned a "circle" peplum, rather than a gathered one so I grabbed the skirt pieces from Layla's sundress and used them to cut a little 6" flounce. I removed some fullness the same way to avoid a "tutu" effect. 

I cut the label from the shower curtain and stitched it into the top. Not sure why my picture won't rotate. 

The shower curtain is 72"x72" so I have plenty of material to play with. Here are a few other things I have used it for...

A sun hat for a dear friend's baby girl using a free Oliver and S pattern.

A couple of these frame clutch purse for my etsy shop.  

And I still have about 3/4 yard left!! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Layla's Sundress- McCall's 6646

Back in April my husband and I traveled to Belgium to visit our son and his girlfriend. On a day trip to Bruges, she spied this dress in a store window, 

Knowing that they were planning a summer visit to the US, I offered to make her one. A few days later we visited a fabulous fabric store in their hometown of Brussels so she could pick out the fabrics for her dress. 

 She loves vintage style dresses with very fitted bodices and full skirts and McCall's 6646 was perfect!  It  offers the sweetheart neckline and circle skirt options, among several other design styles. The pattern photos and drawings were mostly party and formal style, but the basic lines were just what I was looking for.

She sent me her measurements and I did my best to adapt my dress form. Basically, this involved making it as small as possible, then beefing up the bust with my daughter's bra and a yoga top to hold it all together. Whatever works, right? 

 Here you can see the tissue fitting process that I use with pretty much every pattern. I'm not a big muslin maker and in this case, a muslin really wasn't an option. I needed a mostly finished dress so I could do a final fitting when they arrived and have it completed before they went home.Layla is very petite and curvy. Here's how I adjusted the bodice pieces. Actually, I would probably call this is a small waist adjustment since that is really where I had to make the most changes.

This is the side back seam where you can see how much I had to pin out of the pattern.

Experience has told me that many of the Big Four patterns have more fullness in the skirts than I prefer. Keeping Layla's petite frame and the inspiration dress in mind, I folded out quite a bit of fullness from the pattern pieces.

I didn't take pictures of my process in adding the contrast fabrics to the bodice. Basically, I constructed two bodice fronts, from center front to side seam, and two bodice backs, from side seam to center back, then I pinned sew in interfacing over the right sides and traced off the finished contrast pieces. Then I added seam allowances and cut them from my contrast fabric. I pressed in the seam allowances and sewed them at the lower edges. I knew it would be fiddly to match the side seams but this would allow me get more of it made before the final fit. I did, however, trace off the contrast waist band after the final fitting and before sewing the bodice to the skirt in order to make a seamless piece. My inspiration dress had a contrast button front band and my pattern didn't. This was easy enough to modify and actually made fitting and matching a little easier. The button placket on my dress is stitched down and the buttons are purely decorative. The pattern called for some boning in the bodice which I did not use because I knew this was an everyday dress to wash and dry. I did reinforce the bodice pieces with fusible interfacing and additional strips of sew-in interfacing along the top seams for support. I think that the contrast fabric also added additional support to the sweetheart neckline.

For the final fitting I had basted the side seams and tacked the shoulder straps in place. I ended up having to still take out about 1" at the center back, but otherwise, my tissue fitting was pretty much spot on!

She specifically requested a tie at the back.

Here's the finished product on the very happy, and very adorable designer-

 This was the perfect "blank slate" pattern for creating a fitted sundress. As usual, I think the bodice pattern pieces were too short and resulted in more of an empire waist. While this was fine for our dress, if you are planning to have it hit the true waist, be prepared to add some length. 

And how close did we come to the dream dress?  Let's compare...