THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

June 13, 2008

Distinctive Prints: Final

Filed under: Accessories,Fabric,Gigi,Patterns,sewing,Uncategorized — Gigi @ 2:44 pm

I finally finished my dress today! This fabric was so much fun to work with and I’m so happy with the way it turned out. Luck was on my side as the ties turned out to be long enough to wrap around the back and to the front. They aren’t long enough to tie in a bow but I think they look good just like this.


I can also tie them to the back for a different look


Here are the miters at the hemline. I doubt anyone will notice them because the skirt is a-line but it needed to be done!



I’ve decided to wear the dress with these gold Via Spiga platform sandals (I also have some gold flats that would dress it down a bit)


and my black Mulberry bag. I LOVE the casual chic of Mulberry bags! They look like some vintage leather bag you’ve been carrying forever – a true rich hippie look.


Jewelry: yellow and white gold dangly earrings, an armful of yellow and white gold bangles (these will join the silver and gold Cape Cod bracelet that I never take off) and a beautiful amber and silver ring I bought in Alaska.


Last but not least: I meant to mention this in one of my previous posts but completely forgot about it. This is the complete idiot’s guide to cutting perfectly mirror-imaged sleeves! Cut your first sleeve then use it as a pattern for the second sleeve by laying it face down on your fabric, matching the pattern exactly. Foolproof! Notice that I centered the motif with the shoulder notch on the sleeve.


In case you missed my previous posts, here are the links:

Distinctive Prints: Part 1

Distinctive Prints: Part 2

Distinctive Prints: Part 3

Distinctive Prints: Part 4

June 12, 2008

Distinctive Prints: Part 4

Filed under: Fabric,Gigi,sewing — Gigi @ 2:46 pm

Today I am working on the ties for the dress. I wanted them to match the print of the midriff inset which is cut from a crosswise piece of the print. The lengthwise stripe is only a single stripe while the crosswise stripe is double so I had to piece it so that it would match.


Because I only wanted a narrow fuchsia stripe along the length I cut my seam allowances at the center 1/4″ from the outside of the fuchsia stripe and it’s mate 1/4″ from the inside of the fuchsia stripe – hopefully the pictures illustrate what I’m talking about.


When sewn you will see a fuchsia stripe on the right side and on the seam allowance of the wrong side.


I decided to not make the ties match the midriff exactly. Instead, for interest, I made the ties with a fuchsia striped border. Once everything is pieced together you can hardly tell! I tried to be very careful about matching everything up.

I know you are probably wondering why I did not border the midriff inset with fuchsia, aren’t you? Well, I am pretty short-waisted and didn’t want an additional 1/4″ in length so (instead of doing the right thing and removing 1/8″ from the top and the skirt to compensate) I basically took the easy way out and omitted the fuchsia stripe (which I’m now sorry about because it is pretty).


Because I just had enough of the striped border for the ties I backed them with a different part of the print. I also did not have as much length as the pattern called for – and didn’t want to purchase a lot more yardage to get it – so these will probably tie to the back only. Since I’d already used 5 yards of fabric for this dress I really didn’t want to order more.


Not that any of my huge scraps will go to waste! I am going to make a top like this one that Ann made. I love the way she cut the print for a completely different look! I think it’s very artsy.


See Ann’s review of this top HERE.

June 10, 2008

Distinctive Prints: Part 3

Filed under: Designing,Fabric,Gigi,sewing — Gigi @ 4:18 pm

My extra fabric arrived last Friday so I’m finally able to work on my dress this week (make sure you hit the back button to come back here). I didn’t have much sewing time today but I was able to assemble the front and back pieces and bind the neckline.

It’s been said before but I’ll say it again: the neckline is very low even for someone like me who likes a very open neck (this is the HP Cosmopolitan Dress – a favorite). I raised it up by 1″ at the center front and added a ribbing-style finish and it’s perfect. Had I wanted to use a facing, a binding or simply turn in and topstitch it would have been too low. Remember too that a heavy knit will drag the neckline down even more. Best to make it higher and then trim off the excess later.


I am off teeny bits here and there with my pattern matching but overall I am very happy with the way this is turning out. The print is so busy that I doubt anyone will notice my little 1/8″ flubs. I am very annoyed that the binding is not centered! I was very careful to align everything but the fabric must have shifted and I did not notice until I was finished serging. No way was I going to take all that stitching out! My fault for not machine-tacking it.


Hopefully I will have some time tomorrow to get to work on those ties. There will be some piecing involved and I want to make sure it is perfect. Then I just have the sleeves, side seams and the hem – woohoo!

June 2, 2008

Distinctive Prints: Part 2

Filed under: Fabric,Fit/Pattern Alterations,Gigi — Gigi @ 1:42 pm

The dress is on hold for a couple of days as I await the arrival of an additional yard of fabric. I needed/wanted more of the border for the ties. They looked fine cut from the main print and I made sure they mirror-imaged each other but cut from the border they will look even better. Besides, there was a new jersey print over at Gorgeous Fabrics that I really wanted so that gave me an excuse!

So, yesterday I worked with another distinctive print that required careful cutting and matching. This is a rayon/lycra jersey that I purchased from Lucy’s Fabrics a few months ago. The pattern is Jalie 2449 – a TNT favorite of mine.


I made sure a full dot fell on the hemline and that the center fronts lined up.


I also adjusted the width of the neckband to allow for a full dot on the band. This meant the neckband ended up 1/4″ narrower than what the pattern called for. You will need to raise the body neckline up 1/4″ to accomodate the narrower width of the band. I simply marked the foldline on my band pattern piece and lined it up between two rows of dots. Easy!



To change the pattern a little, I added ties for a wrap-look. I did this very unscientifically: I sewed two long ties and pinned one to each side of the top I was wearing and tied them. Then I measured how much I wanted to cut off of each side. Notice that I also adjusted the width of the ties to the print. Because the dots are narrower on the lengthwise grain the ties are a bit narrower than the band but I still think this looks best. Once I tie a bow the differing widths are not noticeable.



Another thing I’ve been meaning to share with you are the wonderful china markers that I have been using to mark my fabric. I first read about them on Fashion Incubator and they are great! I use the yellow ones and the white ones to trace around my pattern or to mark within the seam allowances. I also use them to mark dart points about 1/4″ away from the actual point so that the dot will not show if it leaves a mark. If you are interested in buying them I was not able to find them in OfficeMax or Office Depot stores but I did order a box of each online for local delivery from Office Depot – weird that you can have them delivered but not pick them up yourself.


I wore this top today and a woman in the grocery asked me where I bought it stating that it was “her colorway and style”. I don’t think she believed me when I told her I had made it myself because she asked if I’d made it with a pattern and sewing machine and “everything” and if I’d been doing it all my life. Isn’t sewing great? A couple of hours and you have something unique!

Stay tuned for progress on the dress later in the week when my fabric arrives!

May 24, 2008

Distinctive Prints: Part 1

Filed under: Designing,Fabric,Gigi,sewing — Gigi @ 11:34 am

There are times when nothing but cutting single layer will do. Yes, we all hate it but we do what we have to to Make It Work! Sometimes it is necessary when we are short on fabric or need to match a print, stripe or plaid. I believe it is the sign of a quality garment when care and thought has so obviously been put into the layout of the pattern. The little bit of extra work will bring you so much pleasure every time you wear the garment. Plus, it prevents those embarassing giant flowers on the bust apex!

I am currently working on a dress using a bold print from Gorgeous Fabrics. The print reminds me of those scarf panels that were everywhere a few years back: large square motifs surrounded by a border. For the last few days I have been trying to work out the cutting in my head. The center motif is large so I allowed about 1.5 yards of extra fabric to give me plenty to play around with. Now this is where a dressform and camera really come in handy! I started with the largest section – the skirt – which took up an entire motif. Then I cut the rest of the front, pinning each section onto my dressform. I find that taking a picture really gives me the best feel for how pleasing and flattering my pattern arrangement is. Once I have the front worked out, the back is easy as are the sleeves which will each be cut from the center of the motif – the white area.



Because the skirt was a little wider than the square motif I wanted to make sure I matched the border at the hemline front and back. Here I’ve pinned the hem edges together to make sure I have a match. The white triangle you see at the bottom is the white selvage.


Once I pin up the hem you won’t see the white part at all.


In order to make a match at the hemline I had to cut the skirt back with a seam. Because the outer edge beyond the border was different on each side I also had to cut the skirt upside down. In the photos above, the outer edge is black – on the other side it is the green print.

I’m so mad at myself that I’m off a little at the center back. The hem edges miter perfectly so the fabric must have shifted a little. If I have enough fabric left I will probably recut this. If not, I doubt anyone will notice but me. I’m just OCD enough to order another length…


Sorry about the crooked photo, I haven’t even had my first martini yet! :-O

I still haven’t decided how I will finish the neckline. I have some of the coordinating beaujolais rayon/lycra that I could bind the neck with and introduce as piping in other areas or I could use the border cut on the cross grain – I’ll work that out as I go. Stay tuned.

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