Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Flirty Hinterland Dress

Last summer, I made two Hinterland Dresses and wore them regularly. I knew I wanted more of them, and when I saw this pink leopard print rayon challis at La Mercerie, I ordered it ASAP. I mean, pink leopard print? My dream.

Shortly after I purchased this fabric, Jess decided to stop carrying fabric and to exclusively sell yarn, so I'm sorry, you can't get any more of it! The fabric is so beautiful. It was a typical rayon challis, shifty as all get out. I made sure I staystitched like a good girl and I'm happy with the sewing results. The hem is finished with a rolled serger hem.

My previous Hinterlands felt a bit too big in the skirt, so instead of a size 10 skirt, I cut an 8. It's just a gathered rectangle so I had no problems sewing it to my size 4 bodice. I omitted a front placket because I wanted to elevate the dress a bit, and because the print was busy enough as-is.

I cut the shorter length skirt and when I tried it on, I felt like it was too short (I'm only 5'4"). I took a risk and decided to add a ruffle to the bottom. It's a gathered rectangle cut the full width of the fabric. I call it a risk because skirt ruffles can easily take a look from "cute" to "nightgown". I did include the waist ties on this version so that I could pull in the silhouette and define my waist.

Styling is the most important feature of this dress. In these photos, I went with a full face of makeup and heels. I've tried a few necklaces, but they just get lost in the print. Some bangles on my wrist would help. Anything to keep you from thinking "nightgown"!

I think you can tell, I love the way I look in this dress. Unfortunately, I haven't worn it anywhere yet! Maybe I shouldn't have sewn a sleeveless dress in January. I've raided my closet for cardigans or jackets I could wear on top, and I just don't have any that work. I close-fiting pink cardigan would look cute, or a solid black blazer. By the time I get around to sewing either of those, it will be spring/summer and I won't need them. So, this lovely dress gets to hang in the closet, waiting for a special day.

The only issue I have, and it's not specific to this pattern, is the tendency for my bias tape facings to flip outward. It's most obvious in the above photo on the neckline. What's the solution here? Stitch closer to the edge of the tape? Use narrower tape? Help me out!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Icicle Creek Top

Instagram followers will already know that I recently spent a warm, sunny afternoon frantically photographing six months worth of garments. I definitely sew faster than I blog! So if you notice similarities in the next gazillion blog post photos, you're not imagining things, I did take them all on the same day! I'll start with the oldest garment just to make sure there's some kind of order. First up, the Icicle Creek Top!

Holy guacamole, the Maker's Retreat was five months ago! That's where I was when I made this shirt. Originally a retreat-exclusive pattern, Kimberly has recently released it for everyone to buy. She also added a second tunic-length view. At the retreat, Kimberly provided 2 yards of white rayon knit (I *think* she said it was from Dharma Trading Company) for all of us to either indigo dye or ice dye. I opted to ice dye mine. We did sew up the shirt before dyeing it, although we had a chance to practice the ice dyeing process on some tea towels first.

The Icicle Creek Top is a dolman-sleeved shirt with a half button placket. I made a size 2 graded out to a 4 around the hips. Per usual, the placket was the only challenging part of the top, mostly because knits can be fiddly to press neatly. I recommend trimming away as much bulk as possible before trying to topstitch everything together. The top can also be made without the placket altogether, and I think that's what my next one will be. I sewed my buttons directly through the placket so they are not functional on mine.

For such a basic design, I really, really LOVE this shirt. Not just because of the memories of sewing it up surrounded by an amazing group of talented ladies, but the fit is spot on for me. Kimberly is tall and drafts that way. I am 5'4" but long-waisted and I prefer my tops long. I did not remove any length in the bodice or the sleeves. I'm particular about how long sleeves fit me, I like them at just the right length and tight enough to push them up, but loose enough to not feel constricted. These sleeves are just the way I like them!

As I said, I sewed the shirt and then dyed it at the retreat, but I opted to bring it home to do the hems with my coverstitch machine. The rest of the top was sewn on a regular machine, we had no sergers at the retreat. A super quick explanation of ice dyeing: you put ice on your fabric, then powdered synthetic dye on the ice. It melts and dyes the fabric.

Choosing colors for ice dyeing was SO hard! There was a tendency to want to choose all.the.colors. I tried to channel the ocean as my inspiration. It was difficult to keep any cross-contamination of color off the fabric, so there are some tiny spots of colors I didn't intend. But it all leads to a one-of-a-kind garment.

I have some drapey pink rayon knit picked out for a second Icicle Creek and can't wait to sew it up!

Retreat photos were not taken by me! Used with permission from Kimberly Payne.

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