Dressing like my Grandma in Simplicity 8084

Dress like your Grandma is a sewing challenge run by my friend and fellow CSC editor, Tanya. The basic premise is to get a vintage picture and copy the outfit. It could be of your grandma or just a vintage photo. I also think if people wanted to dress like their Grandpa, that wouldn’t be an issue at all. This is the second year it has been running and my first time participating. I really really wanted to participate last year but couldn’t get a picture of my maternal Grandmother or my paternal Nana. This year, I managed to come across this picture of my maternal Grandmother with my Grandfather on my Dad’s facebook page and I knew I wanted to use that picture.

My Grandma is wearing a shirt waist dress with a simple A-line skirt. My grandparents appear to be going to a wedding or church or something else formal and the date on the picture is December 1958. My grandparents were farmers in rural Southern Ontario so this would have been a special occasion for them. My mom told me that my Grandma would often wear dresses like this. She sewed her own clothes. I wouldn’t be surprised if she sewed this dress.

I knew the overall style would be easy to duplicate. I wanted to modernize it a bit, though, since I don’t often make things that I will only wear once. Most of the costumes I make are also worn multiple times for cons and our shows so I try to make everything wearable.

I chose Simplicity 8084 for this dress. It has a lot of the elements of the inspiration, but a more open neckline, a banded collar, a loose fit, and a comfortable drawstring waist.

This is my first Mimi G pattern. It went together well. The fabric I used is a telio rayon voile from fabric.com. It’s very lightweight and almost see-through, but luckily not. I hate wearing slips! Actually, I’ve never made one so why start now.

The fabric does stretch a lot. Rayon is prone to this and everytime I work with it I take extra care to staystitch and sometimes use interfacing, especially for the neckline. I really regret not following that practice for this, because the neckline, in spite of staystitching, got super stretched out and I had to lengthen the neckline piece. This causes the neckline to not sit nicely at all. I’ll take extra care should I make this again in the future.

The only other error made was to sew on my sleeves and sew up the side seam and then realize I needed the sleeve tabs. D’OH! They should be up higher, but this was as high as I could manage without ripping out my side seam.

Like the other Simplicity shirtdress I made recently, this one also has extremely wide sleeves at the hem. It doesn’t get smaller closer at the hem and is as wide as the widest part of the bicep. I decided to keep them wide this time. I also widened the sleeves and made the gathered. We all know my preference for puffed sleeves.

Let’s discuss fit. Unlike other Simplicity patterns, the shoulders on this one are fairly wide. I checked the pattern piece just in case the shoulder had also stretched out, but they are wide. I usually have to make shoulders smaller in every single pattern, but that alteration is maybe 2 inches. This one would likely need 3 or maybe more.

The fit on the dress is meant to be a loose fit so I think elsewhere it fits correctly. I will add more to the back skirt, though, since when I sit down it isn’t as loose as I would like. Not tight by any means, but not as loose as I like.

I didn’t go for the curved hem on this dress as per the length. I decided to go with a straight hem to mix it up. I also didn’t go for the hidden button placket since I wanted to use pearlesque buttons like my inspiration picture. In spite of the fit issue and sewing issues, I really like this dress. I think once the fit is perfected I will probably want to make a bunch more.

My mom has told me that I am a lot like her mother both in looks and in personality. I seem to have inherited her height and her overall body structure, including the flat feet. My mom and I have speculated whether my Grandma had EDS since she had joint issues but we’ll never know for sure. Grandma died when I was a toddler. I never knew her except in pictures and stories from my mother.

I wish I had known her from the way my mom talks about her. I loved this challenge for making me feel a bit more connected to her. I really wanted to get the challenge completed for Mother’s Day for my mom, but was sewing away still on Mother’s day. Mom will have to accept the fact that her daughter is always late with gifts. 😉

I am looking forward to next year. Hopefully the challenge will continue, because I am going to my parent’s place this summer and I am going to find a bunch more pictures for inspiration!

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8084
  • Pros: Great size range. Easy to follow instructions. Comfortable dress to wear.
  • Cons: Why does the sleeve hem need to be so wide? Shoulders are also unnecessarily wide…
  • Make again?: After a few modifications and with care that the neckline doesn’t stretch out.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4/5 stars

Simplicity 8140

Simplicity patterns haven’t been widely available in Canada since the distributer issues years ago. Fabricland (Canada’s chain fabric store) stopped carrying them and even smaller independent fabric stores don’t carry them. Jen from a Maker Heart saw me lamenting about that and offered to send me a bunch on the next Joann’s sale. Tanya has also sent me a few Simplicity patterns in the past as well. It’s nice to have such amazing sewing friends. ❤

Simplicity 8140 popped out at me as a style I might like. I was excited to make it. Fabricland had a sale on yarn-dyed plaid flannel fabric and I started imagining a plaid version of this pattern with a lace yoke. I had a remnant of a navy lace really wanted to use it. Through some miracle, I had *just* enough fabric for it. The patterns calls for lightweight fabrics and while the flannel isn’t lightweight it still works well.

I made size 28W. I did widen the sleeves for puffed sleeves. Sorry not sorry for loving a puffed sleeve. I have super narrow shoulders so I like the way it gives me the appearance of having wider shoulders and I also love the mobility the extra fabric gives my arms without changing the size of the armsyce which often leads to other fit issues. So for me, a puffed sleeve is always going to be my default.

It was always my intention to wear a belt with this dress. Without the belt, it does resemble the nightgown Ebenzer Scrooge wears throughout the Night Before Christmas….

You’ll notice that I didn’t put the pocket on the bust. To me, bust pockets on a person with my size of bust need to be super tiny or not there at all, because they just tend to empasize that my bust is waayyyy bigger than the pocket and then people stare at the pocket in awe. So I moved the pockets down and cut them on the bias to avoid print matching.

I used the scallop edge of the lace on the back. I reallly reallly love the look of it. The dress certainly has a strange cool/warm thing going on and I find myself sort of wanting a shawl. The pattern does call for lining the lace, but I didn’t want to do that.

With the belt, the dress looks awesome. I made no attempt at pattern matching, but it doesn’t look too bad especially with the bias cut button placket and pockets.

That hem looks wavy, but I think it’s just the way it is draping because it is flat… I pressed it a bunch. Burnt my fingers and everything.

This was really easy to make. I followed my favourite method for the button placket and have all the raw edges hidden inside and then the boxed “x” topstitching. I used a glue stick when sewing the collar facing down and it looks amazing. I should really take more detailed shots of these finishes, but I sort of feel like sewists have probably seen enough collars in their lives…

Perhaps my only criticism is the sleeves are really wide at the hem. Instead of tapering down to the hem, they are straight from the armsyce to the hem. It would have looked ridiculous keeping them like that so I tapered them a bit at the hem. Even though they are meant to be rolled up, it doesn’t really make sense to me to have such a wide hem. Also, the 3/4 length that you are supposed to roll them to is really long. I get that I have short arms, but these are basically full length on me… For my next version, I will definitely be moving where that sleeve tab sits for them to actually be 3/4 length on me.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8140
  • Pros: Great size range. Love that hem.
  • Cons: The sleeves are weirdly large at the hem.
  • Make again?: Absolutely after a couple more adjustments to where that sleeve tab sits. I really want to make the top version.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-md4.5/5 stars

Simplicity 8137 Wrap top

Disclaimer:  I received this pattern free of charge in return for a review on the CSC. All my opinions are my own. 

Today, I am sharing my thoughts on Simplicity 8137 in a navy blue crepe lined with black rayon. The pattern includes a top, dress (knee length and full length), and pants. I made the top. I was given the pattern for free as part of Curvy Simplicity Week on the Curvy Sewing Collective. My review appeared on CSC yesterday.

Simplicity 8137

I made a size 28W and did very few adjustments! 

I narrowed the shoulders by 1 inch and did a large bicep adjustment of 3 inches as well as adding 1 inch to each side seam in order to give adequate room to the armscye for the bicep adjustment. After doing a quick tissue fit, I figured an FBA wasn’t necessary since the princess seams crossed the apex in the correct location, but narrowing the shoulder and a large bicep adjustment would be necessary.

This is actually the least I’ve done for anything I’ve sewn up in a while from the Big 4. Simplicity patterns aren’t widely available in Canada due to a pricing dispute between the major distributor and Simplicity. The shipping/duty charges tend not to make ordering from the website manageable so this is only the second time I have used a Simplicity pattern, but after seeing how few adjustments I needed for the plus sized pattern, I will be asking my US friends to send me a couple of patterns in the future. I also have a few in my pattern stash that are probably going to go up in my sewing queue now!

Edit: Turns out the shipping costs have gone down significantly since the last time I was looking a few years ago. But the currency conversion and higher cost/lack of sales/duty charges are still an issue and overall it is more inconvenient to order online rather than buy locally.

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/126731784@N05/30247840170/in/dateposted-friend/

The construction process went okay. The instructions were a bit…lacking. I looked over them several times, but didn’t see where it referred to actually sewing up the lining before you sew the lining to the bodice or sewing the side seams. They aren’t the kind of instructions for a beginner to follow, but I was okay. The pattern doesn’t have a difficulty rating, but I would place it in advanced beginner simply based on the instructions. With better instructions, there is nothing at all complicated with the design or construction and a beginner could complete it, but the missing parts would confuse them.

I decided to save time and not slip stitch the lining at the waist by hand during construction and simply treated the lining and main fabric as one piece in attaching the peplum to it. It worked out just fine, but is maybe not as neat of a look as the design intended. I finished all my seams on the serger.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/126731784@N05/30546383045/in/dateposted-friend/

 

I think the pattern fits pretty well! I do think it tends toward being wide and low in the v-neck. For someone who works in a conservative setting, this is a slight issue. I felt more comfortable wearing a camisole underneath the top as it does go quite low. The wrap top is fixed by snaps and the ties don’t actually have much function beside a design feature and a bit of cinching in at the waist. They don’t pull in the fronts as much as traditional wrap tops where they are affixed to the ends of the bodice and slipped through at the waist. That makes the construction a lot easier since they are sewn in at the side seams and waist but it doesn’t help keep the bodice v together like traditional wrap top designs.  I think the wrap design is great for my body shape and would work for a lot of people since it goes in at the waist and flares at the hips adding a nice curve. Overall, the fit is really good except for the low front.

Simplicity 8137

I will make this again for sure. I will probably add another couple of snaps to this version to cinch in the front and make the v-neckline a bit less revealing. In future versions, I will raise the neckline, as well as add in extra snaps so that the v shape stays in place. I can see this becoming a staple in my wardrobe in both the top version and the dress version. I doubt I will make the pants, though, since my hips do go beyond the 28W sizing and I don’t really wear pants anyway. I can also see how this top would look nice with a pencil skirt or even a circle skirt on the bottom. So, it works quite well with my wardrobe.

I can see this becoming a wardrobe staple for me and think you’ll be seeing a full length dress version on me in the summer next year!

https://www.flickr.com/photos/126731784@N05/29913081843/in/dateposted-friend/

 

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Simplicity 8137
  • Pros: Design is super flattering due to the princess seams, ties, and the flare of the peplum.
  • Cons: Instructions were lacking a few details and the v isn’t as cinched in as I would like it.
  • Make again?: Yesabsolutely. I will add more snaps as well as raise the v for modesty reasons. I love a good revealing top, but my work environment is a bit conservative for that.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

 

Winter Round-up and Spring Sewing plans

Winter Round Up

Well, the rest of winter went by super fast and I wasn’t in the sewing mood for most of it. Let’s see how I achieved my objectives for the sewing categories I set out in my Winter Sewing Plans:

1. Underwear:

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I managed to clone my Elomi bra. I also this weekend tried Seamwork’s Florence lounge bra pattern. I will talk about it in a separate post. I also made another pair of underwear from my self-drafted pattern. I compared it to Seamwork’s Geneva knickers pattern, but found that the pattern ran very large for me and decided to go with my own pattern instead.

2. Outerwear:

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I made Golden Rippy’s Omega Angel Jacket and M6614, my Hello Kitty hoodie.

I did not get to making my raincoat M6517.

3. Skirts:

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I made my Tenterhook Patterns’ Snapdragon skirt in pink denim.

I haven’t blogged about them yet, but I made 2 dirndl skirts and have 2 more cut out and ready to go. I’m planning on blogging all four together to talk about the techniques I used for them and to not bore you with several posts of the same skirts. I’m hoping to get them done this week, though.

I did not get around to making a Sewaholic Hollyburn or a Bluegingerdoll Betsy skirt.

4. Men’s Clothes:

My poor understanding fiance. I have neglected this category completely.

5. Dresses:

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I made a Bluegingerdoll Violet Dress in snake print jersey with red accents.

I did not get to the Burdastyle tunic.

6. Tops:

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I made one white Jennifer Lauren Vintage Bronte top.

No Sewaholic Oakridge blouse, no M6649, and no M7094.

All in all, I did something in almost every category, but not everything. It was my goal to hopefully make something in every category, but not my goal to achieve everything. Planning posts are meant to direct me a little and inspire my sewing.

That being said, I am going for less ambitious plans for Spring sewing this time. We’re in full wedding planning mode and my desire to cuddle my fiance in the evening is stronger than my desire to sew right now.

Spring Sewing Plans:

1. Outerwear:

I swear I will get that raincoat made sometime this year. As a reminder, these are the fabrics I plan to use:

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Pattern M6517:

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I also want to make M7100:

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I have a major lack of Spring coats for weather that is in between. I plan on making this jacket twice in two fabrics with black rib knit and metal zippers:

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I bought the black/white fabric at the thrift store and the floral denim was from Joann fabrics. The black/white is actually a very small houndstooth with a loose weave and feels like cotton. I am pretty sure it will fray like crazy so I need to figure out how to line the jacket.

2. Men’s clothes:

I swear I will get this done. I plan on cutting out the first one this weekend. I have narrowed down the pattern to Simplicity 1544:

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View A with just the collar stay and not the full collar in black cotton from a local store.

3. Dresses:

Well, number one here would be my wedding dress, which I plan on posting in a few stages: planning, construction, and then the reveal, which won’t be until July…. Sorry! Want my dress to be somewhat of a surprise for my family. 🙂

Other than that, I am shifting my Winter plans of sew all the skirts into Spring plans of sewing all the dresses. I don’t plan on making any more skirts until after the wedding, but I love Spring for wearing bright colours and gorgeous dresses.

Surprise! I want more M6696 shirtdresses. You’ve seen my other versions:

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Well, now I want to create a Spring version using these complementary purple prints:

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I have a few printed fabrics, including an amazing Wonder Woman fabric that Tanya sent me:

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I want to make them into simple dresses that don’t hide the prints: darted bodice and gathered skirt. I tried to find a simple darted bodice in my stash, but sadly wasn’t able to find one that I liked. The plan is to create a muslin with the bodice of Lekala’s free dress pattern #8000 and then add a gathered skirt to it. Instead of the back zipper, I will be making a side zipper and in-seam pockets. I’ve done this twice with my dirndl skirts. I like the look of the Lekala bodice, but it will be needing some fitting tweaks to work for me. Luckily, it’s just the bodice that I will need to fit. I will probably need to lengthen the bodice as I don’t feel like Lekala really accounts for the extra fabric needed to get around huge boobs.

I still want to make the Burda tunic dress:

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I also want to make Simplicity 1459:

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I really love Tanya’s versions of this and have been wanting to make this for a while. I have two fabrics for two versions; a lovely white and navy gingham cotton and white and blue polka dot cotton:

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Finally, I’d like to make another Muse Pattern’s Melissa dress using the final version of the pattern, but I don’t have any appropriate fabrics for it yet. I’m hoping for a sweet thrift store score sometime for that.

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4. Top:

Only one top planned. The same M7094 from the Winter plans:

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With this fabric:

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I managed to pick up this drapey hunter green polyester crepe at the thrift store and there is more than enough to make view B with the button tabs, but with the tunic length/shaped hem from view D.

5. Lingerie

I plan on making another cloned Elomi bra with the changes I noticed from wearing the previous version. Here are my fabrics:

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I am also planning out more underwear to finally write up the post on that. I have some more tweaks and learning from the version I made this weekend. My fabrics are all scraps for that from previous projects or clothes that I am deconstructing so I am not going to post them. You’ll just have to wait for the finished versions.

Those are my plans from now until June 21st. Less ambitious from my Winter plans or more depending on your view…? What are your plans?

Pajama Party!!

I made pajama pants for myself using the same pattern as my presents to the kids. I thought I would go into a little more detail than in the previous entry, because this time I made them for myself. Making gifts you have a different mindset than when it is for yourself.

The pattern is a free one from Simplicity so the price is right! It’s a pdf and is absolutely horrible to put together, because it doesn’t quite match up right. Unlike other pdf patterns that have tabs in the middle of the pages to show where to join, this pattern has them on the side and there are three indicators only one of which is the one you go by to match up the pattern. Now that the pattern is together, I will never need to go through that torture again, but it was seriously horrible.

The pattern is pretty straight forward and meant to be a very loose pj pant. Wearing them on myself, however, I noticed things that didn’t pop up or occur to me as I was making them for other people. The pant leg tapers in at the bottom, which makes it difficult to hem the bottoms. The tapering is actually more extreme in the larger sizes and something I will be straightening a little more for any future garments. I made smalls for the kids so I didn’t notice; this is graded to an XXL, because I wanted a super loose pj pant, but the XL is still pretty massive.

Other than that, it’s a great free pattern and a breeze to sew up: sew up the pant legs, sew up the crotch, sew the waistband, make the drawstring, put in the elastic and the drawstring, hem the pants. Basically an hour or less even with my standard french seams. I think all in all the two pairs took me two hours with fitting checks. When I made them for Christmas presents, they took even less time: more like an hour and a half for two. A note for the drawstring: I didn’t sew it inside out and then turn it around. I did that in one of the pj pants for Christmas and wanted to scream. Instead, I pressed it under like I was making double fold bias tape and sewed up close to the fold. At the ends I turned the raw edged into the folds. It’s way way easier that way than the sew and turn method. I even used tricks for that method and it was just not my thing.

I probably won’t make this pattern again for a while. I really want to make Sewaholic Tofino pants in the short version as part of my summer sewing plans.

The fabrics are flannels from Joann’s.

TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: Free Simplicity PJ Pants
  • Pros: Did you read free? Also, very simple pattern. And it’s free! FREEE!
  • Cons: Tappered pant leg makes it difficult to hem, especially in the bigger sizes. Recommend straightening a little more for future garments. PDF is an absolute pain to put together. And of note, if you are making it for other people, the pattern doesn’t provide a standard measurement for the elastic. I recommend doing a quick standard measurement search for that.
  • Make again?: Absolutely! Considering I never will put that pdf together again.
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md3/5 stars (star lost for pdf pattern torture)

Here’s a goofy pajama party photo shoot:

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