Friday, November 20, 2015

Knit Wrap Top Sew-Along #1: Supplies

It's that time! Time to begin gathering supplies for the sew-along. This top is relatively simple and few supplies are needed.
  • Pattern: Butterick 6285
  • Fabric: choose a lightweight moderate stretch jersey. The fabric pictured on the pattern envelope is a rayon spandex jersey, which can be purchased at Joann in red, grey or purple. Check the pattern page for how much to buy. 
  • All purpose polyester thread to match your fabric.
  • Jersey or stretch needles. 
  • A sewing machine with a straight stitch. No serger needed!
And that's it!

Trying to figure out what size to make? I would say this top is pretty typical to Butterick patterns (size chart here) in that you'll probably want to make a size smaller than your measurements. My measurements fall between a 12 and 14, but the 12 fits just fine. Actually, a size 10 fits fine too. There's more wiggle room with knits, of course. But if you're questio;/k,ning what size, I would err on the smaller side.

If you're looking for additional sources for knits, Joann always has nice rayon-spandex solids, and I really like the selection at Emma One Sock as well. 

That's it for now. We'll begin sewing next week. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Enter the Great Gertie Giveaway!

Fabric Traditions is hosting a fantastic giveaway right now. You could win your favorite of my two new patterns (B6284 or B6285) and enough fabric to make the pattern, plus a copy of Gertie's New Fashion Sketchbook!

To enter, comment on this Facebook post (NOT here) and say which pattern you would like to make. If you also share the post on Facebook, you will be entered twice. While I always love your comments, don't comment here to be entered! Go to this post. UPDATE: Seriously, don't enter here! It won't count! 

A big thank you to Fabric Traditions for hosting a fabulous giveaway!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

B6284 in Jacks Print Sateen

My quest to make something in each and every one of my fall fabrics continues! This time it's my new dress pattern B6284 in black and white jacks print sateen.

First, a little about the dress. I really wanted to design something that was meant for a variety of occasions, and could be dressed up or down with different fabrics. Sleeves were important, since this is an everyday winter dress. 

There are gathered front darts, which provides some visual interest and can also be very flattering. 

Plus underarm gussets so the kimono sleeves have a nice close fit. Here's a tutorial on this type of gusset. You can use organza or scrap fabric to stabilize the point of the gusset.

There's a back lapped zipper.

The skirt has six gathered sections and is slightly flared. I'm wearing a chiffon petticoat underneath for a little fullness.

I made a size 12 but ended up taking it in, so I will probably make a 10 next time. Even though I design these patterns and the original sample garment, I still sometimes have to make adjustments to the final published pattern. There's some editing that's done in between stages which means the commercial pattern is a little different from the original paper pattern I sent in to Butterick.

The fabric is an apparel sateen that's easy to sew but has a nice drape. I punched it up with some pink suede heels and a little pink brooch.

And a pink faux fur stole, just because. 

Oh! A second pair of new glasses. These are Kate Spade and I got them at BJs for a good deal. 

Next up in the fall fabric frenzy: the B6285 box pleat skirt in this grey floral sateen. And of course the wrap top sew-along

Monday, November 16, 2015

Announcing the Knit Wrap Top Sew-Along

I'm super excited to announce that I'll be doing a sew-along here for the B6285 knit wrap top! I think this project is perfect for a sew-along because it's so wearable, no matter what your personal style. It goes well with high-waisted skirts and pants but also works as to layer over dresses or longer tops.

It's also a fairly quick project because there are only two pattern pieces! The top front and back are cut in one--no sleeve seams or shoulder seams even! And the finishing is minimal because the whole thing is self-lined. This avoids pesky knit hems.

If you think you'll participate, grab the pattern now! I'll post later this week about fabrics and other supplies. We'll start sewing the week of 11/23 and take it at a fairly leisurely pace.

In the meantime, let me know if you have questions! I do hope you'll participate!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Purple Pom Pom Explosion Skirt

So I have this skirt from Modcloth, and it's the best basic retro skirt ever. Whenever I post pictures
of me in it (which is often, because it foes with freaking everything), I get tons of questions about it. Naturally, this being a sewing blog, people assume I made it. How embarrassing to admit that I didn't! (Any seamstress will relate to this feeling, I'm sure.) Because, while I didn't make it, I surely could have! It's just two circle skirts sewn together at the waistband. It doesn't even have a lining!
Paired with Pink Floral Casual Blouse
Paired with Purple Floral Knit Top
To regain my pride, I decided to make my own version of the skirt. Is it a nice, neutral basic like the original? I'm afraid not. It's done in a purple atomic print with yards and yards of pom pom trim and a purple lace-trimmed lining. I always felt like the original design was a missed opportunity to call out the double hem with a trim, and I'm currently obsessed with pom poms, so it was a natural pairing.

Here's how I did it. I made two circle skirt patterns for my waist size (I always get out my copy of my first book to remember how to do this, but there are instructions all over the internet too). One skirt pattern is 24.5" long and the other is 22.5" long. I cut the longer skirt pattern out in the atomic print, and then cut the shorter skirt pattern out in the atomic print and the lining. You'll need a front and a back for each layer of skirt. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of fabric. But the feeling of fullness with the three layers is fantastic.

Sew all the side seams, leaving an opening on one side of each layer for a zipper. I inserted an invisible side sip into the short atomic layer only. We'll call this the "outer layer" now. Then place the lining into the long atomic skirt, wrong sides together and baste around the top and the zipper opening. Clip into the seam allowances at the base of the zipper opening (this allows you to turn them in and slipstitch to the zipper tape.) We'll treat this unit as the "lining layer" from here on out.

Drop the lining layer into the outer layer and baste them together around the waistline. Turn in the zipper opening seam allowances on the lining lining and slip stitch them to the zipper tape.

Next, I made a waistband! It's two inches high and has a one inch underlap for the button fastening. I inserted petite pom pom trim into the top and bottom of the waistband (tutorial here).

Next, I let the skirt hang for almost 48 hours on my dress form to let the bias settle. Finally, I evened up the hemlines on all three layers (the bias stretched quite a bit on the cotton sateen, but not on the lining). I made sure that the bottom layer was still exactly two inches longer than the top layer. I serged the bottom of each outer layer, then basted large pom pom trim to the very edge, with the pom poms facing upwards. Warning: get 10.5 yards of pom pom trim for this! I had 10 and just barely eked it out. Flip the pom poms trim to the inside of the skirt and then top stitch in place.

I serged purple lace to the lining hem. I love how all the layers look together!

Do a button and buttonhole on the waistband, and that's it! An explosion of purple and pom poms that's surprisingly wearable.

Hey, I also got new glasses! I couldn't find a decent cateye anywhere so I ordered these frames from Victory Optical and had my prescription put in. I love them so much. 

I'm dying to make a version of this skirt in plain black with pom poms. Adding it to the project queue! (I found an Etsy shop that sells pom pom trim in bulk for a really great price. You have to wait for it to come from Asia, but it may well be worth it. I'll let you know!) 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Susanne Bisovsky's Vienna Studio

One of Susanne Bisovsky's designs
One of the absolute highlights of my trip to Vienna and Munich was getting to visit designer Susanne Bisovsky's studio. You know when you meet someone and you think, "When I grow up, I want to be just like her!"? That was my experience of meeting Susanne.

You need to make an appointment to visit the studio, and it is absolutely worth it. Not only did I get to see all of Susanne's beautiful designs, but also the space she inhabits to both work and live. This is noteworthy because, of anyone I've met, she has an aesthetic that permeates everything she does. Every corner of her space is beautiful and filled with lovely things. This is a little nook in her kitchen, for instance!

I was initially interested in Susanne's work because she designs dirndls, but they're really a small part of what she does. Her ready-to-wear line is much larger, and is just stunning. Susanne designs all the fabrics and has them printed exclusively. Every piece I looked at was more beautiful than the last. 

I also learned that she designs dirndls for Sportalm, which might explain why I like them so much.

Her studio is filled has sky-high ceilings, gorgeous fabrics, and crinolines hanging from the ceilings.

I was delighted when Susanne dressed me up like a doll. Look at that beautiful handmade Frida-Kahlo-inspired headpiece!

 She showed me some tricks for wearing headscarves and hats. I was totally in heaven.

I bought the skirt as a souvenir and Susanne packed my bag with little gifts like a pair of these beautiful socks.

I think I've met someone who loves roses as much as I do!

How could I not love someone who collects vintage yarn poodles at flea markets? 

Here are a few more photos of Susanne's designs. As you can see, she's inspired by vintage florals, traditional embroidery, and layered textures and prints. 

A big thank you to Susanne for such a hospitable welcome and dreamy visit!
© Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing. Powered by Cake