12:00 AM

Silk Crepe de Chine Soft Pleated Maxi Dress, a tale of last minute struggles



So before I get into this garment, I need you to know I spent 10 (yes 10) days home with this fabric.  I took a mental staycation from work and just did a bunch of nothing with kid time sprinkled here and there.  I woke up Superbowl Sunday morning to a phone call.  It was my best friend that asked what I was doing for the day to which I responded "I need to sew something, anything today".  She responded, "what did you end up doing with the green silk"?  Yup.... I forgot this dress was due this week.

The fabric used 4.5 yards of  kelly green silk crepe de shine from fabricmart which I snagged during the sale a couple weeks back.  It is no longer available, but check out these alternatives (HERE), (HERE), & (HERE). My plans were to make some sort of maxi with pleats, so I had a good starting point.  This dress will be one of many garments I am making for my upcoming birthday trip to Guadeloupe.  I didn't have much time to play around, so I flipped through my pinterest for some bodice ideas.

I came across a simple yet effective top with spaghetti straps and thought.... hmmmm I can do that!  I draped the bodice on my dress form, cut my fabric and began to assemble to pieces.





Somewhere between all this and the final construction, it all fell apart.  Too many adjustments were needed, my patience was short, and I didn't have time to go back to the drawing board, so I trashed it.  Fail #1

While I pondered what bodice I would make with the remaining yard of fabric, I began to work on the skirt.  I cut 2 panels that were 45" (the fabric width) x 50".  

There a several techniques that you can find on pleating.  You can make a pleat board, or something as simple as measurement marking.  Because I was working with silk, I had to get creative.  The difficulty involved was keeping silk stable. 

I laid out my measuring mat on my cutting table which is the ONLY surface that could accommodate 50 inches of fabric in length.  Next I had to determine the method of pleating I would use keeping in mind, I could not put anything on this fabric (i.e. starch,).  I used my drafting ruler to measure out my pleats.  While this method would have proved to be beneficial for sturdier woven knits, I quickly realized this was not going to work.  So in the spirit of time, I decided to freehand pleat from top to bottom.  I used my pattern weights (thank God) to hold the pleats in place until I was ready to press each one down.  


After these 7 pleats, I knew it would be a long day..... 


This is one panel completed.  I measured 15 inches exactly #winning.  Looks like I heading in the right direction right?  I put masking tape along the ends of the top and the bottom to keep the pleats in place.  A little tip I learned (HERE).


In the end, I had 30 inches for my 29 inch waist.  With freehand pleats, this worked out better than I could have imagined as I did not have to cut off any extra fabric or re-adjust any of the pleats #wonthedoit. 

Now back to the bodice.....  

I scrambled through my patterns which I recently reduced from over 200 down to less than 20 and found V1524.


Using silk for this pattern bodice is NOT recommended for this pattern, so I knew there was a potential for fit challenges.  I omitted the stand up collar, self lined the bodice with silk, and added Pellon fusible knit interfacing & underlining to the pattern pieces that served as the lining.  This was my first time using this type of interfacing, and I happen to have JUST enough for this project in my stash.  This interfacing was very soft and a great option for this type of fabric as it does not take away from the natural drape. 




I constructed the bodice, attached it to the skirt, added an elastic band to the seam to also serve as a facing for the back, and hemmed the skirt.  

The last thing I did was adding the hardware.  In this case, it was the invisible zipper on the skirt, the one inch metal release buckle I ordered months ago for this pattern found (HERE), and the metal zipper used for the upper back.  I shortened a zipper I already had for the upper back which was the first time I actually took to the time to do so.  I pulled out my tools searching for the right pliers to removed and replace the stopper.   I found out I had a leak under my basement sink while looking for tools and got rusted tool water ALL over my bodice top while discovering the tool kit I was pulling out was full of water.... WHY LAWD?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?  Fail #2.  I quickly removed the bodice from the skirt, hand rinsed the bodice and threw it in the dryer on delicate.  At this time, I just sat down in time to watch the halftime show.  By the end of the halftime show, the bodice was dry.  I reattached, finished the zipper, and had hand sewn the metal buckle on.  Finish at last and I was beat!


Moral of the story... plan better!










I hope you enjoyed my last minute struggle, until next time, Happy Sewing!
Jenese 
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2:00 AM

Needles and Fashion Coat Challenge 2017 - Over-sized Wool Full Length Coat.





It is no secret... coats, gloves, and the whole concept of laying is just-not-my THING.  Even though, I am originally from NY and now live in MD, somewhere along the way (living in FL) I began to deny winter until it was over.  In many ways, even today, the season I have the least amount of shoes, clothes, and outerwear is Winter.  Who likes winter anyway????

As a means to ramp up group activity and actually make an attempt to own a "functional" piece of outerwear, I began looking for inspiration for wool coats.  I found a great deal of short coats, but came across very few full length coats (light bulb moment).  I wanted something that would be stylish as well as functional for the cold temps.

The fabric I used for this coat is from Fabric Mart's Melton Wool coating collection (HERE).  The colors I used are no longer available, and I am sure its because the of the awesome 60% off sale that was going on, but there are some great selections that are still left.

In my continued attempt disconnect from the pattern world by improving my draping and pattern making skills, I decided to drape this coat from scratch.


I began with the front.  Knowing I wanted this coat to be over-sized to accommodate several layers of clothing, I went with a wide sleeve casing.  Because of the size of adjustable dress form, I had to manipulate the placement of the fabric in order to get size desired.  Once I completed the front, I duplicated the sleeve casing on the back and pinned the sides for fitting.  


I didn't cut a large enough piece for the back, so I made notes of how much fabric to add when cutting out the final fabric.  



Once this was completed, I trued up my pattern pieces and cleaned up the lines.  It was then I noticed that I did not have enough fabric to create this coat with the wool facing I wanted.  So I put everything aside and ordered more fabric.  Prior to this development, I had 4 yards of the orange Melton wool.  I decided to order an additional 3 yards of the black Melton wool in order to create a color block.  I decided to go in this direction because well... when have I even stuck to a plan?  


I started off with this....


and ended up with this!



I created notches and duplicated the diagonal separation from the back piece as well.  


Now.... Both front pieces are self lined with contrasting black wool, while the back and sleeves were lined with a double knit that had a lightweight sweater feel to it.  I also faced this lining with the orange wool and added my label :). 






Because I self drafted this coat, I constructed it in the most backwards way possible without ruining the garment as I finagled my way through the entire process.  I marked and adjusted my back pieces to account for a kick pleat and constructed the sleeves last.  








 Overall, I am extremely pleased with this coat.  It is super functional and the perfect length for my high heels.  I will definitely be wearing this often ( I wore this to work after taking the pics minus the boots).   The only thing I would change is the shoulder width.  I cut it a tad bit too thin, but got away with it because the coat is over-sized.  All I need know is a nice black wool scarf which I will be making from the remnants of this project
.  

Pants: 7 for All Mankind Coated Jeans
Shirt: Generation Love half leather/ half Jersey Shirt
Shoes: YSL boots
Gloves: Isotoner Smart Touch 

Until next time, happy sewing!
Jenese
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