Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cruz Bay Top

Usually I'm the kind of girl that likes for my clothing to be fitted.  Not necessarily tight, just appropriate for my size.  I've always thought that dresses that nip in the waist and slim-fitting tops show off my figure better.  I've noticed the growing trend in very loose, flowly clothes, especially for summer.  I never thought I'd buy in but I finally did!  I saw this crazy fabric on sale at JoAnn and immediately thought of a loose casual top.  I love the summery colors and it's super soft.  It's something that I would've liked to have worn while walking around steamy Cruz Bay, the main town on St. John.

Fabric: Lightweight stretch jersey from JoAnn
Pattern: McCall's 6359, view A (99 cent pattern sale!)
Year: 2011
Notions: None!  Yay!
Time to complete: About 2 hours
First worn: July 2011
Wear again: Yup!
Total cost: About $7

I cut a 12, one size down from my measurements and the size I usually cut, but I definitely could've gone down to a 10.  I had to take in the sides right under the arms by about an inch and a half on both sides.  View A has facings, which I thought was a bit weird for a stretch jersey top at first, but I decided that I'd turn the interfacings into a bandeau bra with elastic to help keep up the strapless bra I knew I'd need to wear!  I just held the facing pieces up to a store-bought tank top with the look I wanted and elongated them accordingly, by roughly 2".  I used some 6/8" elastic that I had and cut it to my underbust (correct term?) measurement minus about an inch and stitched it to the facing using a zigzag stitch.  I tapered the facing in on the sides by about an inch and added darts to the front, but still I had to stretch the elastic a lot to fit!

Here's a shot of the front of the bandeau bra from the inside.  Sorry it's not super easy to see!

I also had to shorten the straps considerably.  Stitching the straps to the front is the last thing you do, so it's easy to get them exactly right.  Still, I think this top might work better in a woven material because as I've worn the top the straps have already stretched out.  

I love the racerback with the soft gathers.  The straps are first basted to the facing and then the facing is stitched to the back piece.  It's a bit of a pain to get the straps aligned correctly, but overall it's not a problem.

Hooray, it looks just as cute tucked into a skirt!  You know, in case I need that nipped-in waist look.

I'd love to make this top again, maybe in view C with lace as the straps and racerback.  I've come to realize that loose tops can actually be very flattering, and super comfortable when it's hot!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Dress Refashion of Yesteryear

Hi all!  I thought I'd share a dress that I made a few years ago.  It's gotten a little tight in the bust so I don't wear it much anymore, but I still love it!

Note the almost complete flat-chestedness of 2009.

This was before I had my own machine, so I didn't do a ton of sewing.  When I did, it was on my mom's machine on the dining room table, which drove my family crazy because I always left a mess!  This dress was made from an old velvet dress of my mom's and a children's size lace dress that I used to play dress-up with.

Basically I just chopped off both dresses at the natural waist and sewed them together.  I must've also taken in the velvet to make it so fitted, but the lace isn't gathered at all.  There's a back zip that extends below where the velvet was cut.  I did a pretty shoddy job of attaching the lace to the zipper, but it looks alright.  This was my one and only time working with velvet and it's HARD!  My armhole hemming is wacky, with little threads sticking out, but luckily I didn't have to mess with the neckline.  When I pulled out the dress to inspect the finishing I realized I hadn't even attempted to finish the waist seam.  Yikes!

I also added buttons from my stash to one shoulder for some extra detail.  I actually got a lot of use out of this dress; I wore it to the symphony a few times and to a couple dinners with J.  It's shorter than what I normally wear but I love that it makes my legs look miles long!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


What do you think of the new layout?  The very talented Andrea from Andrea's Garden did it for me.  She was fantastic about incorporating the ideas I had with her own.  I'm so clueless about layout design that I could never have done this on my own.  Thanks again, Andrea!

My family and I got back from vacation on the 28th and I would love to say that I've been super busy and that's why I wasn't able to post, but I haven't!  I've just been relaxing.  Boyfriend (J) visited over the weekend and we had a great time exploring the city and watching the fireworks.  He bought me a beautiful vintage dress which I'll post pictures of once I get my act together!

For now, even though it isn't sewing-related, I'd love to show you a few pictures from my trip to the Virgin Islands.  It was beautiful and so relaxing!  Some of these were shot with my Mom's nice SLR and the rest were with my little point and shoot.

Cruz Bay

 Trunk Bay

Maho Beach

 Down the driveway of our rental home

Kayaking around Princess Bay

Crazy looking three-foot iguana!