Hawthorne on Hawthorne!

Ah yes, once I finished my new Hawthorne dress I felt compelled to pose in front of Hawthorne Ave in our neighborhood.  It was fate!

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I made my Hawthorne in a turquoise plaid chambray.  I absolutely love shirt dresses, and this is not my first so I found the construction to be very easy.  The tough part was matching up the plaid. I actually ended up having to switch sides for my buttonholes in order to match it up just right. I think the placket on the skirt looks a little stiff or off somehow but I guess I can deal with it.

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Colette Hawthorne

 

I really like the little collar on the Hawthorne, it gives it a vintagey look with the flared skirt.  I read some reviews where people didn’t like that it was in three pieces and would have preferred it in one, but this really didn’t bug me too much. It assembled nice and easy without too many adjustments.

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I used these turquoise  buttons that I bought at the flea market in a grab bag, I had to dump out my jar and find all the matching ones. Luckily there were plenty of these and they matched my colors just right. I made my dress a little loose in the bodice, mostly for comfort.  I find that overly fitted bodices in shirt dresses can pull in weird places and give you “peek-a-boos” between buttons.

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Check out my matching plaids! I’m always happy when my matching works out as planned 🙂   This is a great dress, and a good one if you are wanting to try out a shirt dress for the first time.  It is definitely less complicated than some others I have tried.  Colette is the best y’all!


Meeee-yow

Spring is here and that means it is time to start breaking out the dresses! And no tights! Thank you Lord! I have had this little obsession as of late with shirt dresses, and those ole Lisette patterns too! I just can’t stop, I am like a moth to the flame. I got into my pattern stash and found Simplicity 2246, I have made view A a couple of times now, but haven’t attemped the short sleeved version C yet so the time is now! I stumbled into this black and white cheetah print cotton and I immediately had visions of a cheetah print shirt dress with a flared hem dancing in my head… grrr baby very grrrr!

This dress actually went really quick! I think I’m getting the hang of this shirtdress thing. I made the whole dress in this cotton print instead of going two toned as they feature it on the envelope. It buttons all the way down the front and gathers around the waist. I decided to leave out all the interfacing except for the collar, this cotton is pretty heavy and didn’t really need any extra stablizer. Its a good thing too because you can’t see underpants through the white material!

I had to take the hem up about 4 inches, and I still have it hitting just below the knee, I like that it has a bit of 40’s spunk but the cheetah print brings it more up to date. I didn’t use the the button guide, I placed them strategically to avoid any gaping holes.

I am pretty excited about this dress! While he was taking these photos I told my husband I wanted to bust this out at work tomorrow, and he acted astonished and said I should save it for a special night out. Save it? Special night out? I think not! This cheetah needs to see the town! Reeewr!

 


Lisette shirtdress round two

Over my Holiday vacation, I took advantage of my time off and caught up on some projects that I have had on the back burner for a while, a couple were some remakes. I have found that I really like wearing shirtdresses and have gotten a lot of wear out of the ones I have made. One of which is the Lisette shirtdress 2246, I made this a while ago in a green gingham blogged here. I absolutely love this dress, its cute comfy and stylish for any situation, I get tons of compliments on it. I had bought blue mens shirting fabric quite some time ago to remake it in, similar to the picture on the pattern. The plain blue looked chic but adds a professional flair to it so I could pair it with tights and wear it to work. This material however ended up being pretty heavy and stiffer than I remembered and I don’t think it was well suited for this dress.

The stiffness didn’t allow for any movement and made the bottom flare out more than I would prefer. It also bunched and crinkled with my waist belt and overall I think it made me look bigger than I am. I am keeping my fingers crossed that a few washings will soften it up a bit but not shrink it down too terribly much.

The contruction of the dress was much easier this time, even though its been quite some time since I made the last one. I opted to only use interfacing on the collar since the fabric was already thick as heck, and than goodness for that decision! I decided to go with snaps again, I swear I’m a snap addict. The pockets and stitching came out pretty clean, I was pleased with how these turned out.

This one turned out ok, but hopefully it’ll get a little more worn in and become as beloved as its plaid sister.


McCalls 6167 comfy tunic shirt and leggings

Now that winter has rolled in I am really trying to avoid the jeans and sweater rut that tends to happen with cold weather and laziness. I really love to wear leggings and boots because they are so comfy and always look cute and stylish, but I don’t have too many tunics. I have a weird complex with the length of items I wear with leggings, they aren’t tights so I don’t feel like I can wear anything too long or too fitted because I feel like I am wearing pants with a dress. On the other hand, leggings are more or less spandex pants, and if you wear something too short then it looks like your ass is hanging out or you just forgot to put on your bottoms. This is where the tunics come in, not too long, not too short. They are the goldie locks to leggings! I recently saw The StitchyWitch’s post on McCalls 6167 and I was totally inspired. I love how her version turned out, its cute, casual and comfy, but its a nice variation from jeans. I wanted to make this in a more lightweight material, so I found this white shirting material on fabric.com. It is real airy and has textured purple, blue and white dots, and it was on sale for like $3 a yard- booyah! I think it is still available right now too if anyone is interested.

I actually really enjoyed making this tunic. Lately I’ve been making super easy projects so it was nice to have something a little more challenging. I have made the Simplicity Lisette shirt dress 2246 previously, which btw I LOVE- I have worn the crap out of that thing! So having one shirt contruction under my belt, this one wasn’t too bad. The collar instructions looked a bit boggling upon first examination, but luckily they included a good picture guide. I actually think that the method they provided to piece together this collar is way easier and less hair pulling than the Lisette dress. I’ve been wanting to make another version of the Lisette shirt dress and I may reference these instructions once I get to the collar.

The cuffs were something new for me, they had the slit opening on the sleeve like a men’s shirt and had to have a “continuous lap” binding- maybe this is a common sewing term but it was my first encounter. The cuff was easy enough, it had to be folded in half, sewn and inverted. I can see how this instruction would be confusing but I brought my patience to the sewing table and got it workedout quickly. Unfortunately when I cut the slits on my sleeves I forgot to flip the pattern piece over so the slits would match up with my right and left hands- woopsies! Oh well, I like the look of the shirt with the sleeves rolled and tabbed better anyways. Live and learn…

And speaking of the tabs, I loved this feature on the tunic! As you can see, as usual I substituted pearl snaps for buttons. I am obsessed with these western style snaps, I just think they add so much more pizazz to a piece and are much easier to deal with for easy wear.

I am looking forward to breaking out my tunic in public, I am really pleased with the way it turned out. The beauty of these shirt based pieces is that you can remake them over and over again and make them look completely different each time. I am already planning on finding a cute bright plaid to try out on this pattern, I may add the pockets next time too…  Here is one last shot in front of our very fake and very vintage Christmas tree, it has seen much santa action over the years. My upcoming planned projects will be very Christmas themed and (poor) Harper might be getting a new doggy christmas outfit! Stay tuned…

 

 


Orange-ya glad for Seersucker? McCalls 4769

This has been one HOT ass summer in Louisville, we’ve had heat advisories and humidity that can melt tires. I have been crazy busy with school and work (the reason why I haven’t been posting much lately) but since I am stuck in these places for so many hours its nice to have some cute summer friendly outfits to wear while I am there. My downtown office is air conditioned, but since I work in a cubicle I find that in order to maintain my sanity I need to get out at lunch and go for a walk. Pants are just miserable in this heat so I have been trying to make more office friendly dresses. This McCalls 4769 pattern is a button down dress and it has a bit of Marilyn Monroe flair to the skirt which is so chic! I have really been wanting to try a seersucker number for a long time now so this one  made the cut!

I chose the sleeveless version as obviously this one provides the most relief with heat. I really really like the eyelet dress that the model is wearing, I have never worked with eyelet material and this is really inspiring to me. Oh well, I guess I will just add it to my growing list of projects… maybe someday!

I used orange seersucker since it seemed like a fun sunny summer color. Seersucker is kind of an oddball fabric, clearly it is made with cotton but since it is striped and has ridges it also wrinkles easily (but not as badly as linen). The plus is it is not heavy and won’t made you feel constricted. I decided to go with orange pearl snaps instead of buttons- can you tell I am obsessed with snaps? I just think they are so fun and add more spunk to a garment than buttons. These matched perfectly too!

This dress took me a while, but mostly because I haven’t had too much time to focus on it. It was kind of a pain, I cannot lie. I have made a button down dress before- posted https://mystitchnbitch.wordpress.com/category/shirtdress/. It was not difficult to make or interpret the instructions, but this dress was so interface happy it was unreal!!  There was interfacing in the collar, both plackets, and the facings for the collar and plackets all of which were long and narrow and had to be adhered in sections for incremental amounts of time. The time I spent adhering the interfacing was ridiculous, I refilled my Rowenta with water three times because the steam was flowing nonstop. I also let these dry overnight before sewing them because I just don’t like to work with wet pieces. Frankly, I think it was way too much interfacing, the next time I make this dress I would limit the interfacing to the collar and plackets only. I also noticed a lot of reviews on this dress people said they were confused with the directions for the collar attachment, I thought it was pretty straightforward, and if you had problems following the directions you could easily just wing it. 

The main dress pieces were simple, just normal darts in the bodice and attachment to the skirt. Now that I have Brother Sergio, I have been using him to finish all the seams and hems that I possibly can to make my garments more professional. This dress has pockets, and I decided I would go ahead and serge them on along with the front and back skirt seamed. Woopsies… I ended up messing up and the knife cut the pocket edge too far, it left a big hole at the bottom of the seam pocket. I used my Singer and fixed it by straight stitching outside the tear, but the effect left an odd pull on my seam. I don’t think it is too noticable though, I asked my husband to zoom in and take a close up of the flaw and he didn’t know what I was talking about until I physically pointed it out to him. I guess this just goes to show that we are our own worst critics.

In the end I am very happy with this dress, the bodice is a little bigger than I would like, but at this point it is not so big that I am going to spend anymore time making alterations- too many other projects, Next!! This is a cute dress, great for work or a brunch on a hot summer day. I would make this again in the eyelet fabric they featured but with less interfacing next time.


A Snappy Shirt dress

As the Spring weather rolls in, it sometimes is difficult to find some in between options to wear that won’t leave you freezing…. or sweating. I recently found this awesome shirt dress pattern from the Lisette line of Simplicity.

It is perfect for Spring, and I have never made plackets or button holes before so this was a great guinnea pig piece. I actually made this dress twice, the first one I found some discounted sky blue gingham (which was very sheer, but I didn’t notice it until it was too late). The first one actually turned out really good, when making the plackets though an iron is your best friend! They were surprisingly easy on this pattern, you just use interfacing and fabric for facing. The button holes were also simple and FUN! Here is the first dress I made:

One thing I will say about this pattern, is size up! Shirting material doesn’t have much stretch, so if you have some hips like myself you’ll want to go a size bigger. Since patterns generally run small anyways, that means I had to go two sizes up on this one. This dress turned out good, but I will be donating it to one of my thinner friends for sure!

The second dress I found some homespun fabric, meaning the print it the same on both the front and back as fabrics were spun by hand back in the day. This fabric is thicker and it was more of a peacock green gingham which I liked. I wanted to add a bit of embellishment to the second one, so I tried out metallic silver thread on the pockets. The thread looked good, however it was very thin and ended up causing my pockets to pucker, I couldn’t get them to lay perfectly flat no matter how many times I ironed them, unlike the first attempt in which I used regular thread. Its not really all that noticible, but it does bother me a bit.

I also decided to substitute out the buttons for pearl shirt snaps, like the ones used on western shirts. Those were incredibly easy to use as well, no sewing! Just get a hammer and some shops sell tools you can use to aply them easier for $5. Here is my final product:

I am really looking forward to the warm weather so I can wear my shirt dress to some of the fun outdoor events they have here in Louisville, like Waterfront Wednesday that starts this week!