Sunday, February 23, 2014

Buffalo Check Shirtdress

You guys, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I CONQUERED PLAID. Okay, okay, it's a buffalo check, which isn't quite as complicated as an unbalanced plaid, but whatevs. I agonized for hours over matching the plaid as I cut it out in a single layer, so this definitely, definitely counts.

If it's not clear already, I'm so, so happy with this dress. It really fits my style - a little tomboy but still feminine, nothing fussy or twee or overly trendy. And the finished product 100% matched the vision in my head.

I picked up the last of this bolt of buffalo check flannel for a song at my local fabric store, Gail K. Fabrics (highly recommended, if you're in the Atlanta area), with a shirtdress in mind. I figured if the plaid matching  went terribly wrong at least I hadn't invested much. But, if you'll forgive me for bragging, I showed this plaid who is boss. And I in no way cheated by using a gathered skirt and bias-cut placket. Those were, um, strictly aesthetic design choices. Yeah.

This is View C of Simplicity 2246, with the sleeves and pocket from View A. I made View A, the Lisette Traveler Dress a few months ago, and while I still adore that dress, I figured the more masculine flannel needed a more fitted silhouette.

I cut a size 10 in the top half, but the waist was a little tight so I let it back out by 1/2" on each side. I think I was too generous, as it's a little loose now and you can see there's some bunching around the waist in the back. I was hoping the back bodice darts would fix the fabric pooling issue I always seem to have in the small of my back, but not quite. One of these days I'll figure it out - maybe I need a swayback adjustment? For now I'll just pretend it's not there and enjoy how supremely comfortable the dress is.

I didn't want the skirt to be as voluminous as the pattern drawing, so I cut a size 6 in the skirt and trimmed down the side of the front pattern piece so it wouldn't have such a dramatic A-line. I used the skirt front from my Lisette Passport Dress (now sadly out of print) as a guide.

I think this may be a new TNT, because I didn't do many alterations. Like the other view, I did a SBA and added 1/2" to the sleeve and back piece to accommodate my broad shoulders and avoid the straightjacket feeling. This go around, I also lengthened the bodice by 1" and took the skirt up by about 4". The skirt is drafted crazy long. Like, perfect for a modest giantess.

My only complaint is, once again, the collar. It's a single piece instead of two, and as a result it tends to be floppy. One of my new goals is to learn to sew a beautiful shirt collar with perfectly pointy lapels - I had a hell of a time getting this collar to look half-way decent, and there are definitely things I wish I could change. I shudder to think of how janky this thing would be without my beloved edgestitching foot. Don't look too closely...except here's a close-up, because we're all friends here.

So it's a flannel buffalo check shirtdress, just in time, spring? I made this dress during not one, but two snowstorms (a rarity in Atlanta), and now, just as I finish, it's a beautiful, sunny 60 degrees. Ah, well. I've been dreaming of sundresses for weeks, and now I have every excuse to sew one up!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Life Lately: Costumes and snow

My friends are not the kind of people that only dress up on Halloween. Ohhhhh noooo. Just about every party has a theme and needs a costume, and I freakin love it. Already I've been to three costume parties this year, with a hair metal birthday and a fancy English tea coming up next month.

In early January there was an Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party, for which I made a "Painting the Roses Red" fascinator. I made the roses out of felt using this excellent tutorial, McGuivered together the base out of a cereal box and more felt, and hot glued on some hair clips.

At first, nobody got it, and then after I explained, several people were impressed that I made it, having assumed I bought it on Etsy. I'll put that in the win column. The tunic I'm wearing was actually my wearable muslin of the Lisette Traveler Dress (never blogged).

Then there was a 90's birthday party, which I sadly fell down on the job. I tried to throw something together at the last minute, but my husband gently told me I looked more like a crazy person than a recognizable Gwen Stefani. I still had the greatest time, and really enjoyed hearing my friend's amazing 90s cover band, Tomagotchi.

Last night was a midcentury tiki party - meaning Mad Men meets Hawaiian. I had no idea, but apparently Tiki culture was huge in the 1960s, and it was fun to be a little fancy and drink fruity cocktails. I found the perfect dress at a thrift store, but it was a little big. No problem, I thought, I'll just take it it in. Famous last words. I spent waaaay too much time futzing with the fit, but at least I learned some new alterations skills. It's also a really good illustration of how a good fit makes a huge difference.

And, on a completely different note, it SNOWED last week. The entire city shut down for 2 1/2 days, and several of my friends were stuck in traffic for hours on end. I was very, very fortunate to get home before things got bad. I had never seen so much snow in my life, and I was giddy with excitement.

I can't remember the last time life felt so magical.

Hope you have a magical weekend too!