Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Some Garment Sewing

I've been threatening all of you for a while now that I would burden you with some garment sewing for myself, and here it is. I made this dress for various dressy occasions occurring this summer. It's a silk jacquard that I picked up years ago from M and L Fabrics in Anaheim.

I decided to try out this Simplicity Amazing Fit pattern, 1715. The instructions have you measure yourself very carefully and step you through the fitting process. It works reasonably well and now I have a dressy dress that fits well. One thing that I hate about shopping for ready to wear clothes is that right now all the dresses are knee length, and I like my dresses to be longer. But then, that's why we sew, isn't it? I was somewhat nervous with the whole process and made a muslin to check the fit. I only needed a few adjustments around the waist and I was off and running!

On thing about heirloom sewing is that it makes you very fussy. I underlined the entire dress with silk organza. Here I've catch stitched the princess seams to the underlining.

I hand picked the zipper with tiny backstitches. Note that this is not an invisible zipper. I need more practice with those! Hand picking a zipper is incredibly easy, although time consuming. You have to pin it, adjust, baste, then finish with the backstitches. It takes time, but the results are worth it.

The skirt of this dress is flared, which would mean there would be a lot of pleats in the hem. I hate those pleats as I never get them even and they sometimes show through to the front when ironed. So I turned under the hem 1/2 inch, and made a long 2 inch bias strip of cotton fabric for a hem facing. I ironed under 1/2 inch on each side and basted both sides to the hem and dress. Then I used tiny fell stitches first to stitch the bottom of the facing to the turned up hem, then the top of the facing to the silk underlining. Very, very time consuming, but now I have a perfect hem that doesn't pleat or show through the front of the dress.

I even made the top facings larger than normal, edged them with pretty lace from my huge stash. By the way, I used batiste for these facings, but quilt fabric for the hem facing.

And here it is, live at our son's graduation. He received his PhD in Physics from Yale University in May. We are so proud of him and glad that it's over. If you look closely at the diploma you'll see that it's in Latin.

My sister decided that the beige was too bland for me, so insisted on the orange bag. The earrings match and so do the shoes. I was supposed to wear this at our niece's wedding last month, but with 106 F forecast I opted for a simple silk sleeveless dress. But I will bring this with me to another wedding in Michigan this coming weekend.

Then I made this sweet little blouse. It's made from cotton dotted swiss and was pretty easy to make. I have a small stash of German Interfacing that I used for the collar and cuffs. It is so easy to use and much nicer than the ubiquitous Pellon. It's a woven cotton fusible made for the shirt making industry and pretty hard to find. You can mail order it from Love and Stitches and I guarantee you will love it if you try it out.

The pattern is Simplicity 1941, another of their Amazing Fit patterns.  I really like this blouse and will definitely make some of the other styles.

My next construction project will be pants! Yikes!! Fitting them well is the Holy Grail of sewing.


  1. That turned out so well. You look very pretty in the dress and I agree that the orange bag sparks it up. Lovely work. The zipper looks good to me.

  2. Wow, congratulations all around! Really great job with the dress, I'm sure you must be so pleased every time you wear it.

    Is your son's dissertation published online anywhere? I'd love to have a look. I started out in Physics too, but I bailed after undergrad. What's next for him now?

    1. Thanks! He is publishing it pieces; here is a link to the abstract.
      Enjoy reading it! I can't even understand the title, but then my degree is chemistry, not physics (and it was a very long time ago).

    2. Mine was Chinese Studies, with postgrad in translation, so I would be lost with both of you! Please tell me, how do you adjust your Blogger settings to add a 'reply' to the comments?? I want to do that on my blog too.=)

    3. Thanks, Cynthia. The link is not right, but I found him. Theoretical Physics! That's a difficult space to inhabit, I think I have too practical a soul. His supervisor looks fun, though! I guess your son will be staying on for more postdoc work. Now that the stress of the degree is over, I hope he enjoys himself!

  3. Very well done! A lovely piece.=)

    I'm looking forward to the time when I can see that my hubby's PhD is over too and I can attend his graduation. However, living on just one student scholarship between two, I won't be doing anything with silk organza at that point!!=)lOL I'll need to wait until he's really earning again...

    Congrats Dr Gilbreth!


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