The Mrs. Frizzle Dress aka Lekala 4437

Whoa! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? I feel like I should apologize, but then, I’ve always been more of a social media lurker than a participant anyway. Plus, there hasn’t been a ton of sewing going on here, until I needed a dress for a wedding we went to a couple of weeks ago. Coincidentally, that’s why I’m here today. 😉

I’ve had my eye on Lekala 4437 for quite a while, at least since Hila made hers last winter. Her version is gorgeous and she looks fantastic in it. I’m not sure I pulled it off quite as well, but I really like how it turned out, just the same.

Now you may be wondering how it became the Mrs. Frizzle dress, since I don’t tend to name my clothes. My husband named it. He saw the fabric that I made it in and thought it looked like something Mrs. Frizzle would wear on a trip into space, and it stuck. I’m taking it as a compliment. 😉

Galaxy Fabric

What do you think? Does it look like something Mrs. Frizzle would make a dress out of?

The fabric came from a small local store that has a pretty reasonable sized selection of fabric, notions, sewing machines, and the ubiquitous quilting stuff. I went in with absolutely no idea what I was looking for, and within about 5 minutes I spotted this amazing space-themed ponte (ish?) fabric and knew it was going to be mine. So I picked up 2 yards.

BUT.

Then I had to go back and get another yard and a half because my pattern tetris game was so strong I outsmarted myself. I failed to leave enough room for the circle skirts. D’oh! Fortunately, I really like the fabric, because I think I have enough to make a sweatshirt out of it. So, that’s sort of a win, right? And I had the black in my stash already, so that’s definitely a win. 🙂

Aside from overthinking the collar and goofing up on the cutting, this pattern went together like a dream. Not the PDF, mind you, (I’m never printing on legal paper again!), but the pattern sewed up flawlessly. Speaking of knits, I had to take it in by about 5″ because of the ease included (apparently they expect you to make this from a woven?!), and I could have taken it in a smidgen more, but I was worried about the seamlines not matching up if I went any farther. Oh, and I guess I had to redo the sleeves–the late night sewing gremlins got me the night before the wedding. I swear I read the instructions, and what they said made no sense, but I did it anyway. Except it was wrong, so I ripped the sleeves off the next day (the day of the wedding–right before the 3 hour road trip there 🙄 ), cut new ones, and sewed them on the way that made the most sense to me. Let’s just say that it didn’t involve the recommended bias tape. 😉

So while it sounds like a lot of issues, it really wasn’t too bad and they were mostly my own fault. I managed to sew this thing up in a day, which is pretty fast for me! Bonus, I got quite a few compliments on it at the wedding too, can’t beat that! If you hover, you should be able to see the captions, and as always, click to enlarge!

Well, that’s all for this post, catch you on the flip side!

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A big fat fail. M7350

So, basically every one of my husband’s family is getting married this year. OK, not really, but there are four weddings for his family in 2017, and two of them were a week apart. 3 for cousins, but this one is his sister’s wedding. Which since we’ve been married since she was about 10(?), she’s basically a sister to me too, and I wanted something special.

Except I procrastinated. I waited until the week before the wedding to decide on a dress pattern, and then picked out my fabric. All was going well, I had made some notes about the pattern and my changes which I’ve detailed below in case I ever want to try again…

McCall’s 7350

  • There is 4.5″ of positive ease in the waistline of this dress. This was good for me (although I still needed more room, so I added it in), but it could be bad for you. Pay attention to the finished measurements which are printed helpfully on the pattern–thanks McCall’s!!
  • I added to the waistline by shifting the pattern piece away from the fold 1/4 of the total amount I needed after taking account of the 5/8″ seam allowances. For me, this meant about 1″. This will mean that my bodice/skirt gathering won’t be as dramatic, but I’m OK with that.
  • I usually trace, but since McCall’s must have been listening to my internal (and possibly on social media) rants and nested the pieces inside each other, I didn’t lose any of the sizes when I cut the size 14. Thank goodness for that!
  • I cut the size 12 around the shoulders/neckline, it didn’t take much off, but hopefully it will be enough based on previous McCall’s experience.
  • I did the lazy knit FBA of going back out to the 14 on the side seams. Since I’m petite, I don’t usually need to add extra length, and should probably start taking it out of the back, but I didn’t do that.
  • The length of this dress is probably perfect for someone who is about 5’7″, but I’m 5’2″ or 5’3″, depending on who does the measuring, so I folded out 4″ at the lengthen/shorten line.

But then, disaster struck. You have to cut the maxi skirt pieces on a single layer because they are so wide. I cut two right fronts. I even swore I checked it because I was nervous about doing that very thing, but it still happened. At first I was devastated. I had gotten the end of the bolt and couldn’t find any more, I was two days until it had be worn, and out of ideas. So I slept on it. I went back to the fabric store to see if just maybe they had some. Nope. Then I decided to just use a shorter skirt view and recut the skirt pieces. Worked like a charm, and I thought I was home free.

Except.

As I started sewing up the bodice, I began to have doubts. Something about it just didn’t look quite right, so I pinned it together and had my husband look at it. His mouth said “Well….”, but his face said “NOPE”. So I scrapped it. Well, ok, I didn’t scrap it, I’m hoping to recreate the skirt pieces into something else (maybe a skirt, heh?) And that is how I ended up wearing the exact same dress to two weddings in the same family 2 weeks in a row. After I washed it, of course. 😉

Last Minute Wedding Dress M7121

And when I say last minute, I mean it. I think it was hemmed an hour before we left for cousin B’s wedding. You might not know this, but it’s wedding mania around here for my husband’s family. OK, so there’s only 4 this year, but that still feels like a lot. Probably because the one last weekend was for my SIL, which was a very big deal for obvious reasons. 🙂

The pattern was a repeat of McCall’s 7121, which I made way back when in a much fancier fabric. Since I had worn that dress to my brother in law’s wedding, I wasn’t sure I wanted to wear it to yet another wedding from that side of the family. It just would have been weird, you know? <–[Ed. Note: HA!]

So I hemmed and hawed until the day before the wedding. As you do. I ran to the fabric store, bought the last of a really quite gorgeous ITY (side note: I usually hate 100% poly fabrics with the fire of a thousand suns, but this one was actually quite nice.) and hoped that my children would behave long enough for me to sew it. It turns out, my children weren’t going to be the problem–*I* was.

You see, I made that dress in 2015, but stupidly failed to note the pattern size/changes I made anywhere and also in a fit of complete idiocy managed to throw away the pieces I had traced off with the size/changes I needed on them. So, I did my best to recreate them in my limited time and thankfully, it worked out.

So for future me, here’s my changes, feel free to skip them if you aren’t into that sort of thing.

  • I used the shoulders and neckline from the size 12, going to the size 14 at the side seam (lazy knit FBA).
  • I took about 4″ off the hem (which I need to do on the pattern pieces, because I took that off the dress after it was sewn).
  • I left the center back seam to minimize the yardage used (I got this out of the last 2.5 yards on the bolt with very little waste–I also managed to eek out a pair of undies, and am hoping to make a matching bra from the rest of the scraps.) This will not work for a directional print, obviously.
  • I cut the front on the fold by increasing the indentation on the side seam to account for the addition to the center front. If you want to do the same, you need to adjust the pieces as you trace them off and true your grainline.
  • I joined the bodice and skirt pieces of both front and back. This dress has a lot of seaming so that you can make the cool chevron effect with stripes, but I haven’t managed to try that yet. If you do that, remember to take out the seam allowances at the waistline.

The finished dress is gorgeous, and got lots of compliments–probably because no one could see the dog’s breakfast I made of the hem. Pro Tip: Don’t use your serger to trim off excess hem, it will end badly if you goof even the slightest bit. And I did goof, but thankfully it’s impossible to tell when the dress is in motion and/or everyone around you is focusing on the dance/their booze/the newlyweds. 😉

Anyway, I’m sure that’s enough ramblings, you’re really only here to see the dress, right? (Hover over the images for captions.)

So these were unintentionally lightened. IRL the color is a dark royal blue, almost a royal navy. And I have to say that my dressform doesn’t quite do it the justice that my body does–which is quite a detour from normal!

Anyway, I loved it so much that I actually wore it to both B’s wedding and my SIL’s wedding because: [spoiler] I had a wadder (more on that later). I did actually buy a backup dress for the other wedding, but I just couldn’t make myself wear it when I’d already wasted so much $$ on the wadder. 😦 And to think I’m the one who harps about ‘sunk costs’ all the time…!

So far outside my comfort zone it’s probably on another planet…

I made a dress, and not just any dress, but this dress.

b6241_01

Butterick 6241

My version is actually inspired by a fellow PR member though, who made hers out of stretch velvet. I was *thisclose* to buying the same shade of blue so enamored was I. Ultimately I went with purple because it felt more “Christmassy” than the sky blue, but the blue would have been awesome too. In the end, I feel like it makes me look a bit like the mom from The Jetsons, but that’s OK too. 😉

I actually didn’t finish this dress in time for Christmas, but I did finish it in time for the Pioneer rep appreciation dinner we had the first part of January. Well, mostly. I’ve actually worn it twice without the neck facing sewn down, but who has the patience for handsewing such things when there is an event to wear the dress to?! Seriously though, I need to get that finished, because it’s a royal PITA when I’m ready to wear it to tuck all that nonsense in.

So yeah, I’ve been sitting on posting this dress for a couple of months because I wanted to finish the quilt and get it posted first. It was meant as a motivator, but you can see how well that worked. Ha!

Quick Review:

  • I chose a metallic metal zipper that was a full 3″ shorter than the one suggested by the pattern. It was either that of have a zipper that clashed/was ugly. If you are making it, try to give yourself enough time to order a zipper if you can’t find exactly what you want locally. Learn from my mistakes people!
  • It feels awfully short. I’m 5’2″ and proportionally leggier. I don’t think it looks too short in the pics, but when I’m wearing it I’m constantly worrying that my butt is hanging out–maybe I need to stick to mullet hems?
  • My pockets don’t hang as pretty on me as they do in the pattern image. This may have been due to a sewing or cutting error, or maybe it’s just the fabric, I’m not sure, but be vewy, vewy, caweful when you cut and sew the pockets, they are a bit fiddly too.

Overall, I would recommend it if you want a dress that’s a bit different than the norm. It’s quick to put together, and the end result is quirky and fun.

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Nothing worth doing comes easy

Apparently that’s my new motto, whether I like it or not. It was either that or “congrats on being an incompetent boob”. I think you can see why I chose the former.

The good news is, I managed to finish my dress, just in the nick of time. The bad news is, I don’t love it. I wore it for the whole day, (and didn’t even get too much chafing!) but it reminds me that I’m just not a lady. I’m not ladylike, I don’t sit with my legs crossed, I hate smoothing a dress before I sit down, and I hate zippers touching my skin. OK, that last one has nothing to do with wearing a dress–there are blouses with zippers too, but they just feel scratchy, and I’m not a fan, I can’t be the only person who feels this way. Also, with a fabric this light, I realized how someone actually could get their dress tucked into their pantyhose/knickers and not notice–before I was always kind of like, “how do you not feel that this is happening?!” It didn’t happen, thankfully, but I can see it now.

The dress is (mostly) NewLook 6211, which is a Suede Says pattern. Originally it was going to be all the turquoise with silver topstitching, but it turns out that even 4 yards of fabric isn’t enough to save your ass when you cut the skirt pieces and don’t take your FBA into account. I could have reused the back skirt pieces, but the front skirt pieces were a lost cause (by about 4″), and I couldn’t find any more of this odd shade of turquoise anywhere. Except on this crazy print from Joann’s. I wasn’t completely sold on the idea, not as I took it to the cutting counter, brought it home and pretreated it, and even as I sewed it up. Now that it’s finished though, I think it turned out rather pretty, even if I’m not a dress-wearer. (Seriously, where does one carry their phone, keys, and wallet when purses are a no go?)

The bodice is self fabric lined, and I used this tutorial from Slapdash Sewist to make it clean finished. I also used this tutorial from a blog I’d never heard of before for the french seam under the invisible zip (which mostly worked, but any error was probably my fault for doing it last second and rushing). Oh, and I used this tutorial from Slapdash Sewist for attaching the lining to the zipper. It’s sad she doesn’t post much (or at all??) anymore–she was/is an amazing resource and seamstress.

I just freehanded the sweetheart neckline, and for my first try, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. I do wish I would have “petite-d” the shoulders a little more though–I’m incredibly short from shoulder to apex, and this pattern was drafted for a model whose boobs are quite a bit lower than mine. I also got lazy on the FBA, which was OK, but not perfect. Instead of doing an FBA on the provided pieces, I stole an altered piece from my (unblogged) NewLook 6407 that I converted to an armscye princess seam for my Adventures in Bodice Fitting series. It worked alright, but with movement it gets some “bumps” that look strange. Part of that might be that the lining isn’t tacked to the waistband though. (Mea culpa–I was rushing!!)

I’d guess you want to see this dress that I’ve so gloriously described above, eh? 😉 You’re in luck!

Easter Dress Back

Pay no attention to whatever I’m doing with my foot there…#notamodel

Easter Dress Front

It’s all about that crazy swirly skirt, but sadly, none of my twirling pictures turned out. Boo!

 

My first maxi

I’m not sure what is wrong with me lately, since I’ve suddenly increased my skirt/dress wardrobe by 3 pieces. This is kind of crazy, since I’m very much a jeans kind of girl–not only because I find them practical, but also because I have negative thigh gap. Seriously, they rub together so bad that it literally is painful to wear a skirt or dress for a full day. I wear jeans out quickly too, but at least with the jeans it’s not my skin!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Inspiration dress; who knows how long it will last, but I feel so long and lean in it!

Aaaaaanyway, back to the maxi. Technically, my first ever maxi was the inspiration for the one in this post. I bought it from Walmart a month or so ago, and decided that I should make my own, but it wasn’t a priority. Until I saw a fabric that I knew I had to make the maxi dress of awesomeness out of. I first saw it during my fabric binge, but I left it there, because I didn’t know what to do with it. But it just wouldn’t get out of my head, I kept thinking about it and how it would make a beautiful elegant maxi dress for nights out with my husband… Now I have the perfect dress, I just need to convince my husband to take me out!

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Pattern Review: McCall’s 7121

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Welllllllll, for my particular purpose, I hated all the seaming, but I think I’d like to go back and do the chevron stripes someday, so I’ll probably love them then, HA! I loved how easy it was, and the V-necklines.

Fabric Used: For the muslin, I used a cotton jersey and for the real deal I used some sort of polyester knit with silver threads woven into it.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: On the final version, I eliminated the waist seams and the center front seam. To eliminate the waist seam I used the highly unscientific method of joining the bodice and skirt together overlapping the seam allowances. To remove the center front seam I curved the side seam in the same amount that would be added when I cut the center front on the fold to help maintain some shaping. I also had to shorten the shoulders by 2″ on each side to keep it from being indecent. This length wasn’t an issue on the muslin, and I didn’t realize it was a problem with the final version until I had it completely stitched, so you can imagine I was a bit annoyed when picking a triple zig zag out of the fabric and doing my absolute best not to snag any of those silver threads.

Goofs: When I cut the back pieces, I ended up with some twinning. It was either deal with it and be happy or buy another 2 yards of this fabric (which is rather distinctive and unsuited for scrappy projects.) I also seem to need some more room across the back for my big ‘ol butt, because it rides up a bit. Again, not a deal breaker, it is just really obvious from the Oona-esque angle I had my husband try out here.

This is the second time that exactly what I envisioned in my head came to reality, but my current project (StyleArc Barb, if you’re curious) isn’t working out nearly so smoothly. We’ll just have to see how it goes. I’m sure I’ll blog about it in great detail later on, regardless of the outcome. 😉