Author Archives: kksmith2010

Seamwork Mesa Dress (a tale of woe)

I like Seamwork magazine; it is well produced, I like Colette patterns and I’m happy to support the effort.  When last month’s issue arrived I was excited at a “relaxed fit” “go to shift” that would take less than an hour to work up.  Just what I need for North Carolina summers and to use up my burgeoning stash of knits.  It would be a good entry for my stashbusting Sew Mama Sew online sewing match challenge 2 – the dress.

My first problem came when I looked at the sizing.  While I am a comfortable size 10/medium for Colette patterns, I found that the finished garment measurements had about 3 idressnches of negative ease. Even with a knit, this doesn’t match anyone’s definition of “relaxed fit”.  No, problem, I simply cut the size that would match the measurements of a favored RTW Tee Shirt dress.

I don’t mind putting together PDF patterns, and soon had it traced.  I used some Art Gallery knit fabric in my stash.  I love these knits because not only are they a really nice weight, but the pattern, selvedge and grain of the knit all line up, so laying out the pattern and cutting is easy.  But soon further problems followed.  When I put it on, I found the the upper hip area was very tight (which puzzled me, as I had measured the pattern pieces), and there was a funny little “wing” right around the top of my femur.  I realized that this dress had a very pronounced curve from waist the hip (not shown in the line drawings) and a very long torso.  I’m 5’4′ and in order to have the curve for the waist to hip transition match my body, I had to shorten the torso by 2.5-3 inches.  I have never modified the torso length in any pattern (or any RTW for that matter).

My second version was out of an inexpensive lightweight cotton (shown here; bonus shot of my sweet kitty on the chair, wearing her “cone” to stop scratching) from Girl Charlie fabrics.  I love the print, but the fabric is not of the same quality as the Art Gallery fabric.  I shortened the torso by 3 inches and the torso/hips fit well.  Because the fabric is a lot lighter and stretchier, it is a bit big on me, but I should have anticipated that problem.  Unfortunately I had to make a number of other modifications to the dress.

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Octopus kimono tee

octopus teeI’m jumping into the community competition in the Sew Mama Sew super online sewing match, although circumstances may keep me from my sewing machine from mid July through mid August, so I’m not sure how many garments I’ll make.  However, I’ve decided that the challenge will be stash busting for me – no new patterns and no new fabric for now, as I have plenty of both.  I put the Sutton blouse in my “pattern to get” list on my Pinterest page, and used a self drafted kimono tee pattern.  I also used some great octopus material I got from Spoonflower a year or so ago for my first entry, the top challenge.  There are many ways to self draft a kimono tee, but I used this tutorial from Makery as a start.

I like this kimono tee for several reasons – it is quick and doesn’t use a lot of faIMG_0818IMG_0810bric.  It has a nice easy fit (which is good for our hot summers in North Carolina) and it can be used for knits or light wovens.  I can also use the same basic draft for the front and back, although I usually change the neckline just a bit.  This means that I can make a reversible shirt, with a slightly different look on the two sides.  I think it came out as a very cute make!

ps.  For those of you wondering about the octopus, my husband and I are both biologists, and he is a marine biologist who works on octopus and squid – I can’t resist a good octopus design. Continue reading

The National Quilt Museum

quilt museum My friend Nell and I took a trip to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  It was a great trip and I’m really glad we visited the museum.   There were several different exhibits, and the museum has a huge collection, which they rotate so the quilts on display are always different.  I was very impressed by the design, artistry and workmanship.  Below are a couple of illustrations from the Museum’s website – they don’t allow photography.  The museum is well worth a visit if one is in the area (or up for a road trip).  It is hard to imagine that the two lovely pieces below are quilts! portofcassis-sm Forest Walk Lo-Rez Continue reading