Monday, May 30, 2016

Sewing for Hot Weather

Well, it's time. If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember back when DD1 went off to college in Oregon. In fact, it was four years ago. She graduates in the next couple of weeks. I'll be heading to Oregon for the occasion and it appears that the weather may be in the 90s.

The 90s.


My least favorite weather to dress for is hot weather. And my least favorite sewing is clothing for hot weather. That, and home dec. ;)

I think I've figured out what I'll be wearing for the occasion, though my first try wasn't completely successful.


Tank Dresses

When I visited Hawaii in 2014, I made a tank maxi dress. I used Style Arc Annie's Cami pattern and lengthened it to full length, flaring it to 60" at the hem. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed wearing that tank dress with my black voile tie top.

For that dress, I used a fabric that I received in a free FabricMart bundle. There was a problem, however. Every time I wore that dress, it sagged out around my bottom. My rear isn't that big—but the fabric was poor quality. After wearing the dress a few times and being annoyed by the bubble butt effect, I got rid of it.

I thought maybe the outfit I made for Hawaii would be a suitable outfit to wear to DD1's graduation if the weather is hot. I ordered 2 yards of a colorful viscose/lycra jersey from Marcy Tilton. (I can just barely squeeze a tank dress out of 2 yards if it's 60" wide. I can get away with a bit less if the pieces can be cut without regard to direction.) I also dug a black & cream, rayon/lycra, ikat print, jersey from my stash.

I made the pattern exactly the same as before, except I cut the dress 1" longer, based on the notes in my blog post. I made the black and white dress in a few hours on Friday evening, and the colorful one in a few hours on Saturday morning.

At least summer clothes can be a fast sew. ;)

I like these dresses, and they will be great to wear in hot weather, but once I saw the photos, I realized that these outfits are wrong for the graduation. They are too casual and the black tie top is too... heavy looking. It's very lightweight, but it doesn't look lightweight.

Back to the drawing board. I'm working on another ensemble.

Meanwhile, these dresses will come in handy. I am spending a week in NYC this summer. The fact that I'm going in the summertime shows you how determined I am to visit NYC, given my dislike of hot weather.

I like how nothing shows at the armhole - no bra peeking through.

I finished the neckline and armholes with self made binding: I cut 1-3/4" strips from selvedge to selvedge (the stretchiest direction). I pressed them in half and then "walked" them along the pattern, stretching more where I want a closer fit (at the bottom curve of the front and back armhole, or at the bottom curve of the neckline, for example) and stretching less where I want less of a body hugging effect. I cut them to that length, and sewed them into "rings" with a 1/4" seam, pressed open. I divided the openings, and the binding rings, into quarters, and pinned them at the one-quarter markings, placing the seam at CB. I sewed the bindings to the dress with a 1/4" seam allowance, stretching more in some areas, and less in others. The finished bindings show from the right side.

Necklaced purchased maybe 5 years ago, by Teresa Goodall

Floaty Top

On Sunday afternoon I was inspired to whip up a hot weather top. Not to wear to the graduation, but maybe when traveling to Oregon. In any case, it will be useful for one of the rare hot days we have in San Francisco or Mountain View.

Last summer (maybe when Patti F was visiting?) I purchased a wiggly, tie-dyed, striped, 100% rayon challis from Satin Moon. I finally had a flash of inspiration on how I wanted to use it: McCalls 7194, an asymmetric top. I made this top before using a very different fabric - a knit with holes. This fabric has zero stretch but beautiful drape.

I liked that this pattern would put the stripe on the bias, at least the way that I use it. I left a slit in the side with the long seam. I omitted the sleeves and finished the neckline and arm holes with self made bias binding. (Cut the stripes 1-1/2" wide, on a 45° bias, folded in half and pressed, and sewn to the openings with 1/4" seams. Then turned to the wrong side and topstitched in place.) I finished the hem and side slit with micro seams. I also matched the stripes at the side seams.

This top is floaty and easy to wear. The high quality rayon challis does wrinkle but, in my experience, the wrinkles tend to fall out quickly, especially when the garment is cut on the bias. (I love wearing the bias cut top I made from a rayon challis border print. And the wrinkles really do fall out.)

I'm wearing it here with bare arms, but I also ordered a 3/4-length sleeved, ivory mesh, Sleevey Wonder, so that's also an option.

Pinwheel earrings by Eccentric Designs


I was recently invited out after work for Frocktails.

Have you heard of Frocktails?

Well, let me enlighten you. The term originated in Australia in late 2015. Sewers were invited to wear a self made frock to a cocktail event. Voila, frock + cocktails = frocktails.

I became aware of the event, and a subsequent Frocktails event, on Instagram.

Savage Coco, pattern designer, invited me for drinks at a club in the Financial District. At first I thought she was using the word "Frocktails" loosely—she's wicked witty—but when she mentioned that she would be wearing this dress, I abandoned my idea of wearing my favorite Presto top (her pattern) and jeans. I had to try harder.

I don't own many frocks, but I dug into my closet and found McCalls 6028, made from Scuba knit and wool doubleknit. Luckily it was a chilly day in San Francisco, as I don't have any warm weather frocks. I topped it with my purple donuts coat and my metal thingie cowl.

Meeting SC was perfectly delightful! She sews beautifully, is wonderfully witty, and very glamorous. I look forward to many more Frocktails get togethers! You can follow Savage Coco Patterns (or me) on Instagram.

Pressing Tools

I've blogged before about my collection of much loved pressing tools, particularly those from Stitch Nerd.

I still wanted a contour custom ham. And when I saw this wonderful quilting cotton at Britex, I bought one yard and sent it off to Stitch Nerd to sew into a contour ham and a pressing mitt.

I seem to be alternating sewing for my Paris wardrobe and for hot weather. I expect that to continue, though I have many items in the queue for Paris, so I can't take my eye off that deadline. In fact, I am working on another layer for Paris right now. It's requiring a lot of hand sewing, and I'm not yet sure how much I like it, but I feel it's worth taking a creative risk. The worst thing that can happen is that it doesn't make the cut for Paris. Or maybe I lose a little fabric. ;)

Join me on Patti's Visible Monday and have a great week!