2017 Flashback - Addicted to Plaid


Well lookie here, my camera card still has more unblogged garments on it. There's also 3 different garments that haven't been photographed at all, but now I'm playing chicken with the summer sun. If I could take blog photos successfully in the rain I'd do it. Gotta keep that wet set from falling out before wash day. Momma don't have 2 hours to do that more than once a week.

Anyway I'm going to finally talk about one of my favorite makes of last year that somehow I've mostly kept under wraps until now.  This dress is the complete opposite of the poor Dragnor that didn't really work out.  Several of you mentioned in the comments of that blog post that I look best with high contrast colors and here's proof of that.  The pictures for this dress were taken the same day as the Dragnor pics. All I did was change my hair style and a few accessories.
The pattern here is Hollywood 1857, (pictured below).  I bought it in a lot of 4 patterns and thought this one contained both a romper and shirtdress. When it arrived it turned out to be a romper with an additional skirt you could put over the romper. Oops, probably should have read some of the seller's description about the product.  Sometimes I get excited and bid based solely on the pattern illustration and bust size.
I'm not anti romper on other people, but my romping days are done......if they ever existed. I'll keep my utilitarian english/german/irish/* insert other pale european based people here* legs covered thank you very much.  But about that shirt dress now, couldn't one create one with some minor pattern hacking?  Time to get out the tissue and make it work. Spoiler, hardly any work was required.

The original pattern drafter put the princess line seams in exactly the same location on the romper and the skirt. They also marked the natural waistline on the romper and drafted the skirt to sit there. All I had to do was draw a line across the waist of the various romper pieces and add seam allowance. Didn't have to do anything to the skirt other than omit the waistband. How easy is that!  Thank you past pattern drafter, you did fine work.
Since that part was easy I decided to complicate matters and make this design up in plaid.  Congrats Heather, you now have to match plaids across princess line seams and a waist seam. Oh and you picked a plaid that's not symmetrical.  I'm sure that won't come back and bite you in the ass.  Spoiler, it did.
Decision 1 - Where did I want the bright red plaid to go?  In the lower corner or the upper corner? (Went with lower corner as you can see.)

Decision 2 - Was I going to mirror the plaid across the front seam? I probably would have if the back had a center seam. Since it didn't all the plaid was cut in the same direction.

Decision 3 - How much of an adult beverage should you drink before cutting plaids?  Just kidding, though I wish that alcohol could be blamed for my cutting screw up.

Somewhere during the cutting marathon I flipped the direction of the fabric and cut several pieces with the red plaid block in the upper corner.  (Probably during a snack break......hey it takes a long time to match plaid across 8 pieces.) The mistake was caught before I'd finished cutting everything but there wasn't enough fabric to fix it.  I emailed Linda in a panic and asked if we still had any of this fabric at work cause I'd made a garment ending boo boo. She emailed back that someone had placed an order for this fabric over the weekend but she thought there was a yard left. The sewing goddess was with me because there was 1.5 yards after cutting that order. It was just enough fabric to cut new pieces with the correct plaid match and the garment was saved! Thank god, how else would I have gotten my "blue steel" on otherwise.

Hollywood 1857 - slightly modified into a shirtdress.

Fabrics used
Dress weight cotton plaid from Emmaonesock (Sorry it's long gone.)

Pattern changes/alterations
1. 1/2" Forward shoulder adjustment.
2. 1/4" Sway back adjustment.
3. 1/2" Extra ease added to waist and hips.
4. Waist seam added to create shirt dress.
5. Button placement slightly changed.

 - I have fitting problems with square necklines that don't happen with other neckline shapes. Pretty sure it has to do with my hollow chest and low bust point. The annoying part is one fix doesn't seem to work on every square neckline.  On this dress it's a little too wide in the middle portion and will collapse in on itself.  One of these days I'll unpick my sewn down facings and take in the princess line seam above the bust. Until then I'm just going to wear it as is and be slightly irked about the neckline.

- Is sewing plaid addictive and do I have a problem? All signs point to yes.

Husband Comment
"It's plaid and similar to other things you wear."- the most Pennsylvania Dutch comment to date
Bonus son comment - "I would never wear plaid but you look good in it."

My Final Thoughts
I should fix the neckline fitting issue and make more of these. You can fit a whole smart phone/ipod/tape measure in those pockets. All at once! Also where can I get more summery plaids? Feed my addiction people. A girl has needs.   On that note I'll leave you with this picture of me being weird.  Why am I doing this? No idea. Feel free to speculate.

Hollywood 1413 - The Easter Outfit That Wasn't


Hello everyone, happy summer 2018 to you heat loving people out there. You all are currently flooding my instagram feed with giant smiles on your faces as you gleefully break out your sandals. "Finally it's warm and I can ditch this sweater" you exclaim! I'm glad you are enjoying yourself, heck I can semi empathise having grown up with a beach loving father and sister and a weather neutral mother.  They never thought the summer sun was a hateful orb sucking up all their life essence while simultaneously stabbing them in the eyes. Only I would be huddled under an umbrella hissing with distaste while successfully trying to read in the eye searing glare.  Yes my friends, in my immediate family I'm the sole possessor of the nordic and/or vampire genes of my ancestors.

If you're a long time reader of the blog this is no surprise. I've been bitching about summer for probably as long as I've been blogging and will continue to do so. However I will admit to liking two things about summer. One - fancy summer shoes and Two - wearing rayon dresses. My closet is full of rayon dresses, but there's always room for more. Which brings us to some sewing actually done in 2018......gasp! So let's talk about Hollywood 1413, aka the Easter outfit that never was.
Here in southern Pa you have a 50/50 chance that Easter Sunday is going to be either 55 degrees or 85 degrees. There is no inbetween. In 2017 it was 85 degrees and my version of Hollywood 1025 was not heat appropriate.  I wore it anyway because by god my sewing plans were not going to be ruined by a freak heat wave. However the memory of unwanted sweating did trigger me to choose a flirty short sleeve dress pattern for Easter 2018.  It would look lovely paired with some stashed rayon from Gertie's JoAnn's line from the year before.  See, a match made in heaven.
Hollywood 1413 is full of 40's design detail goodness.  The bodice features a ruched center that is created by putting a seam along the neckline that extends down toward the bust.  This makes it possible for center of the bodice pattern to be extended/more ease added. This extra ease is then gathered back into the seam area and sewn in place.  A jaunty little self fabric bow completes the neckline area.

The skirt features 3 tucks that radiate out of the left hip and a sewn in cascade. The front skirt is pieced at the left hip to give you a seam for the cascade. Finally a bow belt balances out the bow on the opposite side of the bodice.
The back is pretty plain Jane with standard darts and no design details. Not that I'm complaining..... there were plenty of new techniques and hand sewing in this design already.

The sewing goddess has been very generous with larger sized 40's styles this year and this pattern happened to be my bust size of 36 inches.  Would I have purchased this in a 32" bust and graded it up?  Probably not.  That ruched bodice detail might have discouraged me from trying. As it was the pattern only needed minimal grading through the waist and hip to fit.  Used my cheater method of slapping .5" on the side seams and called it good. 

I did reference the instructions a few times since the drafting for the bodice ruching was totally new to me. All the neckline edges are faced which means there is a set order of sewing that needs to happen or you'll bungle the whole thing up.  Good news is that the original pattern drafter did do an excellent job giving you reference/placement points. There are various sized circles in the neckline area to help you line everything up.  After reading the sewing steps twice I was able to see what needed to be done and use these marks to assemble the neckline properly. 

The skirt was a bit easier since sewing tucks is pretty much the same on any part of a garment. The cascade was a no brainer, just hand hem and insert into the seam.  I only wish my nails looked as good as the illustrations while doing a rolled hem.
Hollywood 1413 was finished in plenty of time for Easter 2018, a whole month ahead of schedule! It didn't matter though because Easter wasn't 85 degrees this year.  Instead we came down on the 55 degree side of the coin. Obviously Mother Nature is trying to neg me by looking at my sewing plans and making the weather the opposite of whatever's coming out of the sewing machine.  Oh well, as you all may remember I put on Hollywood 989 and saved this dress for hot weather.  Now we'll be best buddies until the blessed Fall breezes arrive.

Hollywood 1413 (pictures above)

Fabrics used
Rayon from Gertie's JoAnn's line in 2016.

Pattern changes/alterations
1. 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment to both shoulder and sleeve cap.
2. 1/2" extra ease added to waist and hip.
3. Dropped the bust dart 1.5" and waist dart point the same amount.
4. Added a .5" of length to the bodice.
5. Made .25" sway back adjustment.

Not too much to add here for this pattern.  Will note that I spray starched the rayon fabric before cutting to make it less slippery. Then all the pattern pieces were carefully cut out on a single layer, keeping the selvedges parallel with my cutting board. This method worked with with this rayon which was on the less slippery side of the spectrum.

Husband Comment
"The swirly pattern on the fabric works well with the loose fit." - I think loose fit actually means the design elements. If that's the case he might be learning something about sewing after hearing me natter on about it for 13 years.

My Final Thoughts
This pattern perfectly scratched my intermediate sewing skills itch of wanting a bit of a challenge.  It was neither too easy or too hard, but jusssst right. 

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