Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Donna Karan Pants

Vogue 2923

Pattern Description: Straight-legged pants has contour waist and side zipper closure.

Pattern Sizing: 4-18. I cut a size 4 in the back and size 6 in the front and sewed 1/2" side seams.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? For the most part.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I really didn't follow them. I tend to mentally plan out the sewing sequence from a logical standpoint and then follow what makes sense to me. Incidentally, it does not match the printed instructions. For example, I sewed the outseams first, inserted the side zipper, sewed the inseams, and then sewed the crotch seam with one leg inside the other.

The instructions don't mention this, but I fused a 1" strip of interfacing along the hip edges on the zipper side to stabilize the curves and to reinforce and smooth out the opening.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the absence of pleats and darts and waistband, which means less bulk and less work. The invisible side zipper and lack of pockets add to the flattering, streamlined, dressier look.

Fabric Used: Vera Wang fuchsia lambswool flannel. I made my own bias tape binding with Vera Wang emerald silk satin. These pants match the chiffon collar jacket that I made three years ago.

Back waist facing
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I shortened the length by about 5 inches and I narrowed the width by about 2 inches.

Would you sew it again? I would if I needed more pants, but I would rather be sewing dresses and tailored jackets.

Would you recommend it to others? Yes. This is a quick sew without the unnecessary details to weigh you down visually or slow you down sewing-wise.

Conclusion: This pattern is well-drafted and produces great results. The simplicity of the design reads as classy, comfortable, and flattering.

For creativity points, I used my embroidery machine and added some whimsy to the front waist facing.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Strawberry Trifle

Strawberry trifle w/cheesecake layer

I've gotten so many requests for this recipe, so here it is:

Layer the following in a trifle bowl and repeat twice.  Chill until ready to serve.

1 layer of yellow cake or 1 loaf of pound cake, cut up into 1" cubes
5 cups sweetened sliced strawberries
Cream mixture

Cream mixture:

2 cups whipping cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar

Whip the cream until stiff peaks form (about 5 minutes).  Set aside.  Beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add sour cream and sugar; beat until blended.  Fold in whipped cream.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Vintage Raglan Sleeve Dress

McCalls 7969 circa 1965

Pattern Description:  Five section dress, with raglan sleeves, has low pleat and zipper in back.  Short sleeved dress has two piece faced & interfaced collar and optional partial lining.

Pattern Sizing:  10-18, bust measurement 31"-38".  I used size 12 (bust 32").

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  It started out looking like the drawing, but it seemed too staid that way.  I added some interest with a contrasting lace collar.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  They seem less streamlined than they can be.  For instance, the bodice is sewn first (much like a tube); then the sleeves are constructed and then sewn onto the bodice like a set-in sleeve (even though it's a raglan sleeve).  Instead, I sewed the raglan shoulder seams first and then sewed the side seams and sleeve seams flat.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  I like the combination of raglan sleeves and princess seams with bust darts.  I love that the muslin fit me pretty well right out of the envelope.  Normally I have to make several changes to fit my forward shoulder/hollow chest.  The muslin actually fits better than the dress, for some reason.

Fabric Used:  Royal blue linen look poly-rayon suiting.  Collar is made of lace and organdy.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The only changes I had to make were to shorten the sleeves and tapered the width by a couple of inches at the hem; I shortened the dress at the hem by five inches, and I lowered the bust dart by an inch.  Easy.

Would you sew it again?  No, but only because I have too many other patterns to sew first.

Would you recommend it to others?  Yes!

Conclusion:  This was my first attempt at sewing a vintage pattern.  It's so nice to have a single size and actual seam lines for tracing.  I was able to add my preferred 1/2" seam allowances instead of the 5/8" standard, and I used 1/4" inch for enclosed seams (such as the collar and neck edges).  The dress came together pretty fast, and I enjoyed the process.