10.11.2017

Hey June Trevi Dress in Black Rayon Poplin



Does a post count as a throwback if the garment was made 6 months ago? haha  You guys, I can be so bad about getting projects on the blog. Try as I might, I often can't resist wearing newly finished garments. This dress was definitely not an exception! It instantly became a new favorite and gets worn on a very regular basis. It became such a go-to, I actually forgot that I hadn't yet posted it!

This probably wins the record for the fastest I've ever purchased a pattern after seeing its release. Coincidentally, I'd been looking for a very similar pattern just the day before Adrianna posted it! I had dreams of a pink crepe version after falling down a rabbit hole, as one does, and stumbling on a simple, chic designer dress. (More on that in an upcoming post. Spoiler: I didn't find crepe, but I did make this in bright pink!)

Just as I'd hoped, this pattern was everything I'd wanted in a summer dress: designed for flowy fabrics, a modern sleeveless cut, and a breezy silhouette. And, as I'd expected, it was well-drafted, went together perfectly, and fit exactly as described. This is my second Hey June pattern and I love it just as much as my first. I can tell her patterns are going to be reliable, TNTs. And as a bonus, they've both included built-in FBAs!

Since this is such a simple (but well-designed) pattern, there's actually not too much to review.  Everything went together as it should (the PDF, the pattern pieces), the sizing was accurate, the instructions were clear and well thought out, and it went together rather quickly. Oh, and it has that nice finishing where the button band is cut-on and finishes both the neck edge and the hem edge (Love that! So easy and so clean.).

So, here's what I did. I:

  • used black rayon poplin (from Hancock's closing sale), Gutermann Mara and Maxi-Lock threads, mystery sheer knit interfacing (which turned out to be crap haha), and 8 mottled black buttons.
  • blended from a size 10 (with the FBA) at the bust to a 16 at the hips, based on the size chart.
  • serged the hem instead of stay-stitching. (This was just for speed and I did finish with a double-folded hem as instructed.)
  • substituted 1/2" handmade silk bias tape, using a 1/4" sa, in place of the recommended 7/8" (I do think 7/8" is a bit wide for a neckline in a drapey fabric, but I do not recommend sizing down to 1/2". It was what I had on hand and I'd decided to try to save my leftover poplin for future projects.)

And I've already made it again in pink and, as a top, in white. I think it's safe to call that love! :D  I definitely expect to pull this pattern out again next summer. Maybe play with the hem a bit? Add more of a high/low look to it (which is also really helpful for sitting when you have a full bum like me haha). I may also try one without the buttons, with just a keyhole at the neck. I really love the button back, but a little variety never hurt (and I only ever open the top one or two buttons anyway).

I also think this one is going to wear well into the fall.  It tends to stay warm and humid here for much longer than I'd like, so I actually end up stretching many of my sleeveless items well into November or December, by adding a cardigan as needed. No added bulk from sleeves and perfect for when it unexpectedly jumps back up to 90F (32c). I have an olive Blackwood cardigan coming up in my queue that I think will work well!

So, what do you think? Do you love the Trevi too? Also, on an unrelated note: could you also send me your tips for wearing hats? haha  I need to start wearing them more for added sun protection, but I find they make me a little self-conscious. Any pointers?

Happy sewing! xo


Dress: Hey June Trevi in black rayon poplin  //  Hat: Banana Republic (currently on sale!)  //  Necklace: by Gene Russell  //  Handbag: Sanctuary  //  Shoes: Hush Puppies (on sale!)

How awesome is this lady's photobomb!?
Also, word of warning: this dress does catch the wind haha

9.04.2017

Pattern Testing: Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress


Disclosure:  I received this pattern for free in exchange for my honest feedback. No blog post or promotion was required and all opinions are my own.

Side note: I currently have "Let's Get Ready to Rumble" stuck on repeat in my head. Well, really just the beginning.  I don't know why. Buuut, I thought I'd share :D

Anyway... so, back for fit notes are ya?  Alright, I can do that.

As I mentioned in my blouse post, the fit on this dress is just a little different. But, the good news is, Gabriela took everyone's feedback and made a few minor but very effective changes that I think minimized the alterations that would need to be changed by most sewists.

This dress is meant to strike a balance between loose enough to get it on without needed additional closures (read: the dreaded zipper) and fitted enough to show off your silhouette.  There are optional ties if you want to wear it a bit more fitted through the waist. Personally, I'm torn on the ties. I rather like the fit as designed, but my fiance prefers it nipped in a bit more, so I added them to the dress and will likely add them to the next dress I make with the pattern. Oh yes, there will be more. I can always tie them a bit loosely as a compromise, right?

As for altering the pattern itself, here's what I did:

  • I cut a straight size 10, based on the size chart. Yes! You read that right... a STRAIGHT SIZE! Excuse me while I have a little dance party, because, as a pear, that NEVER happens! But, my measurements fell in line with a 10 perfectly and the skirt has so much room that I didn't need to blend up anywhere.
  • I shortened the bodice at the l/s line by 1/2", because despite being tall, I can run a little short-waisted in some patterns and this put the waistline at a more flattering spot.
  • I also shortened the bust darts by 1/2", because I am "tall" from my bust up, so my bust point is a little lower than the pattern is drafted for.
  • Despite lengthening the skirt of the blouse version of the pattern, I opted not to lengthen the dress.  This was partly due to a desire to save fabric and partly because I tend to find I prefer my hemlines a little above the knee, particularly in summer.  Not that I think longer hemlines are unflattering, I just find I hate the feel of fabric on my knees when walking in the heat haha
  • Also, not fit related but I tacked the sleeve at the shoulder seam and underarm seam after folding it up, to hold the fold. 
So, very few changes on this one and I'm very happy with the fit! It's roomy enough to be comfortable in the heat (or after a big meal), but not excessively so. And the silhouette of it appears to be universally flattering. I have yet to see one that doesn't look great or a sewist that doesn't look great in it! I've even gotten in-person compliments from strangers, which is always a good sign in my book :)

-------------------------

Oh, one last thing. About the fabric. It's not available anymore (I think it's been in my stash for 4 years!), so I won't bother specifically bashing it, but let me just say that it turns out there is a range of quality of rayon challis too, just like any other fabric. To be honest, I've bought big box store quality and "designer" quality before and both levels were different, but good, easy to work with. But, this stuff! I would have rather sewed chiffon! The fraying, the stretching, the tearing... it was horrible.  I'm pleased with the dress now it's done, but the scraps went promptly into the textile donation bin because I can't be bothered trying to do anything with them again. So, what I'm really trying to say there is, if you don't have experience with rayon challis and you hate working with your first one, it shifts a lot, it frays, it just doesn't sew well, it may not be you! Don't give up! Step away from that fabric and try another from a reliable shop. They aren't all created equal and a nice challis will be relatively easy to work with and is a dream to wear.

In fact, who wants to guess what my next project is made from? You betcha! Nothing can tear me from my beloved rayon :)

Tell me, do you share my love for it?

Happy sewing! xo

Dress: Fringe Dress, Fabric: FabricMart (sold out)  //  Necklace: vintage  //  Shoes: Hush Puppies (currently on sale!)



8.31.2017

Pattern Testing: Chalk and Notch Fringe Blouse


You guys, I really love Instagram. I mean, I hate it, with it's nonsensical algorithms and shadow banning, but for discovering new sewists, fabrics I have to have, and pattern companies, there's just no beating the non-stop, ever-encouraging "sewists of Instagram".  It has also meant I get to try amazing new patterns like this new one from Chalk and Notch.  The second I saw the post featuring this dress with a call for testers, I pounced.  I immediately fell for the mix of utilitarian-look sleeve tabs with the dainty curved hem.  And let me tell you, those are still my favorite features!

Right, so I pounced.  Then, I was lucky enough to be chosen as a tester (obviously) and was added to the Facebook group where I discovered that Gabriela (the designer/owner of Chalk and Notch) is amazingly detailed, organized, interactive and seriously helpful and friendly.  She tests her patterns in phases, ensures the range of sizes, as well as views, are covered, and gives prompt feedback.  It was so fun watching the phases progress and see the little changes that went into making this such a great pattern!

The top I'm showing here is phase 2, but I've got a dress coming that I made using the last phase and can attest that the final version is even better! But, more on that in my next post.  This top was actually my "wearable muslin". My fit garment, so I could give thorough feedback and get Gabriela's as well, regarding the fit.  But, I sewed it up exactly by the instructions, which are so, so thorough by the way, and it's fully finished inside and out.  And, who doesn't love a breezy white blouse in the summer?  Particularly in rayon challis!  I just don't recommend wearing it with a black skirt, as I did for the first set of photos I sent in.  Can you say waitress hahaha!  I expect I'll typically wear it like I did here, with a more casual bottom.

I won't go into the fit with this one, except to say that the recommended sizes seem spot on and I'm 5'10" (all legs) and I lengthened the skirt of this by 1.5".  The fit of the bodice changed slightly between this one and the next, so I'll go over my alterations in my dress post.

What you do need to know about though, are the instructions.  The whole instruction packet is so well organized and illustrated and if you're someone who likes to use the instructions on your computer or tablet, rather than print them out, there's an additional feature for you.  I was genuinely impressed when I saw it because I've never used a pattern that had it.  There are links at the top of every page so you can easily navigate to the sections you want to read (including an abbreviated set of instructions, if you just want an overview).  The pattern file also has a handy adobe feature.  Each size is set as it's own layer, so once you pick your size, you can select and print only the size (layer) you need.  I love this feature because it really speeds up the cutting process.  No "wait, which kind of dots am I again?" haha.

All the categories at the top of the page are actually handy links :)

And, of course, the pattern itself is just as good as the instructions.  Everything came together easily and just as it should, making it an easier project than it seems.  And as a bonus, for those who are concerned by sewn on button bands, this one is more an illusion.  The band is just a facing on the inside of the top, top-stitched in place. Also, the sleeves are set-in flat. So basically, this is a deceptively easy shirt haha.

I’m sorry.  You know I love a balanced pattern review, but I just don’t have anything negative to say about this one! Unless you don’t like cut-on/drop sleeves? I don’t know.  What do you all think?  Are you in love with Fringe yet?

Stay tuned for the dress view and full fit details in my next post :)

Happy sewing! x

Top: Fringe Dress (View A Blouse), Fabric: Hancock Fabrics  //  Shorts: Simplicity 1808, Fabric: Hobby Lobby (blogged here) //  Necklace: Vintage  //  Bag: Sanctuary via TJ Maxx  //  Shoes: Clarks