Uncategorized

Cashmere Sweater Dress

It’s been awhile, I know.  I had pretty major surgery back in the beginning of October(radical hysterectomy), then had to deal with hormones and getting them settled(still working on that) and then a few weeks of various sickness running through the family and I’m just now starting to feel sort of back to myself.

I would say that I am not the most creative person.  What I am is a good copier or re-creater.  I need something to inspire me and then I can make a garment in a similar fashion/style.  I want the clothes I make to not SCREAM homemade but to look as if I bought them in a store, preferably a designer store at that. So I often peruse designer websites and clothing designs to find inspiration.

A few years ago I found this Oscar de la Renta cashmere sweater dress on some website and I quite liked it.

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Being that it cost several thousands of dollars, I knew I would never be able to afford it, nor would I even want to spend that much on one garment anyways.

I saved the picture and figured maybe someday I could tackle knitting my own version.  Fortune smile on me sometime last year when Knit Picks was discounting their capretta line of yarns, which are fingering yarns that contained a small amount of cashmere.   I scoured Ravelry but couldn’t find a dress pattern that really had the elements I wanted, but I did find a separate skirt and sweater pattern I figured I could use as a guideline to make the basic shape of the dress.

It wasn’t until earlier this year that I finally decided I was ready to tackle the dress. Honestly, the hardest part was finding the right cable patterns I wanted to use and setting up the design.  I originally had a much more intricate design, but it was way too many stitches wide for the bodice so I scrapped it. I did a block for each of the cabling parts I wanted on the needle sizes I wanted to determine how many total stitches I would need.   I don’t know the exact date I cast on for this dress, but I believe it was somewhere around the end of April, beginning of May. By June I had completed the bodice.

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I finished it(other than blocking it) on September 1, which means it took me about 4 months to complete which isn’t to bad when you consider it’s basically a circle skirt(meaning LOTS of fabric/stitches making up the skirt portion).

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The front and back are the same, so it doesn’t really matter which way I put it on.

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There are mistakes of course, places where it should be a left cable but I did a right and vice versa, which if you look closely at the rope cables on each side of the Celtic knot down the center you can probably find the mistakes!

Today was a day I finally felt a. good enough to wear it and b. the weather was right(not too cold since it’s short sleeved, but not to warm either as it is wool/cashmere blend).

I had to use my camera on my computer to take these essentially selfies and they are not the best quality but it gives you the idea of the dress on me(where it fits perfectly) versus my dress form(where it does not fit that well).

 

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Close up of the cabling:

 

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Finally, side by side comparison with the inspiration:

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I love how it looks and how it feels(which, often is not something I can say for the stuff I make, I’m very critical).

-Tamara

Sewing Projects, Uncategorized

Polka Dot Blouse and Thurlow Red Trousers

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I won’t always be posting a full outfit, sometimes just a piece or part of an outfit but I figured for my very first post, I might as well go the whole hog(plus I just completed the outfit and wore it for the first time yesterday so it was begging to be my first post).

A couple of things you should know about me, I’m VERY pear shaped.  I’m talking like 4-6 size different between tops and bottoms, so for most of my life I haven’t been a big fan of pants.  If they fit my hips/thighs they were 10 inches too big for my waist.  When I discovered sewaholic patterns that were designed for this type of body I was in heaven.  I’d guess these are at least my 10th or 11th pair of Thurlow’s I’ve made.

I can make them in about 3 hours from cutting out fabric to being ready to wear(assuming no major interruptions, which in my life never happens but that one time the hubby and kid were out of town I did manage to crank a pair out in under 3 hours haha).

The other thing to know about me is that I love frills and bows, so a blouse that has both is basically dream clothing in my book.  The Jalie Rose fit the bill as soon as I saw it.

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Let’s start with the blouse first.  This is the Jalie Rose from their latest collection.  By measurement, I am a size T on top but I’ve found I need to actually cut out at least 2 sizes larger than what Jalie recommends.  I guess I like a little more ease.  Either way, I cut a size V and as I was putting it together I realized that while it was a good fit in the shoulders/chest, it was quite loose/baggy around the waist and hips , so I used the front and back pieces of the Sewaholic Oakridge to slim out the front and back pieces on the sides.  Of course when I did this I forget about the fact that  that would make the arm opening quite a bit smaller and didn’t enlarge it, so the first time I wore the shirt it was rather uncomfortable.  I have since fixed it and it fits great now. The fabric is a poly faille print from Fabric.com, and I’ve got it in navy , and black with polka dots as well.

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I used French seams on the side and yolk pieces and bias binding for the armscye and hem.  The ruffles are done with a narrow hem.  Pretty straight forward and easy.  It can be worn without the bow but I don’t know that I’d ever do that as I’m such a bow fan!  The fabric is a little sheer so I just make sure to wear a cami underneath(the black and navy fabric doesn’t seem to have this issue).

Now for the pants.  Like I said before, I’ve made these at least 10 times before so I can practically put them together in my sleep.  I used a stretch twill fabric from Jo-Anne Fabrics that I have made 4 other versions of these Thurlows with(and one pair of cargo shorts for the hubby).  IMG_0425

Because the fabric is stretchy, I use larger seam allowances than the pattern calls for (3/4″ as opposed to 5/8″).  This makes them *slightly*more fitted when I put them on but by the time I get to work they fit perfectly.  They actually stretch out a little too much by the end of the day but I’d rather have too loose clothes than too tight.

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The lining for the waistband and pockets is a polyester charmeuse I’ve had for literally ages.  Probably 5-6 years at least.  I used to be a lot less discriminating when it came to buying fabrics.  I wouldn’t buy with specific projects in mind, just buy what was on sale.

I did the waistband a little differently than the pattern calls for because I always find turning under the inner part of the waistband and making sure you catch it when you stitch in the ditch to be quite fiddly.  I have a couple pairs of RTW pants that I used as my inspiration so to speak.

I sewed the outer waistband pieces together at the back and did the same for the lining, then I applied thin bias binding along the bottom edge of the waistband lining and sewed the lining and waistbands together along the top and understitched the lining(just like the pattern calls for).  I then sewed just the outer waistband to the pants then flipped the lining to the inside and stitched in the ditch.  You can kind of see the line of red stitches in the lining about 1/2″ above the bias tape.  I find this way SOO much easier than all the folding and pining to make sure the folded edge of the lining is caught in the stitch in the ditch stitching(say that 3 times fast).

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If you want more step by step instructions/tutorial on how I did the waistband, let me know and I’ll be happy to put one together.

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So now for some photos of me wearing it, cause that’s what you really care about amirite(at least that’s what people who follow my instagram or Facebook feeds always say)?  Just a warning, outfit photos are going to be mirror selfies because I don’t really have any other good way of doing it(until I can teach my kid to take my picture haha).

So yeah, there we go, a long wordy post(my specialty!).

-Tamara