Transparent Reverse Applique and Burda 6890

When I was preparing for my second Craftsy heirloom techniques class, I wanted an adult garment showcasing my Transparent Reverse Applique Windows and Hem techniques. I had several children’s garments, but nothing for women. Fluffy and frilly for grown-ups is not “me,” so I wanted to make something with classic, simple lines, and just a bit of embellishment. Something that I might choose to wear.

It doesn’t get much more classic than a sheath dress, so that’s what I was looking for when I went pattern shopping. This is what I chose.

Trans rev app B6890

A straight, semi-fitted sheath dress, with darts front and back. I chose the sleeveless version (because I wanted to use as little as possible of the really awesome shadow-check linen that was in my stash!) This sample was for display only, and the dress form in the studio is a size 10, so that’s what I made. Besides, when you’re travelling with dozens of garment samples, smaller is better!

2429 resized

I wish I could wear the dress, but I haven’t been a pattern size 10, which is much smaller than a ready-to-wear size 10, since I was in about 7th grade. And this is a very fitted size 10! One thing I did notice about the pattern is that the dart points at the bust are very close together – they end only about an inch apart, so the person wearing this would have to wear a pretty pointed bra! Other than that, the pattern was well drafted and went together nicely.

Here’s a photo of the dress with backlighting.

trans rev app

I underlined the shadow-check linen with light pink cotton batiste. The edges of the linen were shaped with water-soluble stabilizer for the Transparent Reverse Applique Window at the neckline…

Trans rev app window

…and the Transparent Reverse Applique Hem.

Trans rev app hem

Pink silk organza was pinstitched to the shaped edges. The techniques are covered in detail in Heirloom Sewing More Classic Techniques. I made a little slit in the silk organza hem for a little extra room in this very straight dress (even though no one will ever wear it!)

I think my sample turned out to be a very classy dress, showing that heirloom sewing for women doesn’t have to be frilly; a dress that many women of different ages and sizes could use as inspiration!




New Tops for Me, Part 3 (and more tips for working with knits)

This is the final knit top I made myself last week. I liked New Look 6343, the pattern from yesterday’s post, so much that I had to make it again!

black 1

This time, I used black Swiss 4-Way Stretch nylon/acetate/lycra from Gorgeous Fabrics (it’s the same type of fabric I used in the green top.) This was a piece left over from a top I made my daughter last year, and I had to really work to be able to fit the pattern pieces on! The white lace fabric for the sleeves was from my stash, from Emma One Sock, I think, several years ago. I’m not sure of the fiber content – maybe a poly or nylon mesh, with cotton motifs? In any case, I washed and machine dried it (although I’ll never machine dry the top) and it came out beautifully, although it did shrink a bit.

black 2

I wanted the contrast to really show off those angled armholes! This top is dressier, but not so much that I can’t wear it with jeans.

For this version, I did a FBA and added a bust dart, and I scooped out the neck about 1-1/2″ in front. I lengthened the sleeves about 1″ (standard for my long arms) and cut the top to the same hip length as the green top. I also used one size up for the sleeves, because this pattern is for knits, and the lace has a bit of mechanical stretch, but is not as stretchy as the black fabric. I also added about 3/8″ to the top of the sleeve cap. I pressed the seam allowances away from the sleeves and topstitched, so the seam allowances don’t show through the lace.

I like the black cuffs on these sleeves! I think it adds a bit of a surprising touch.

black 3

Knits can be a bit slithery to work with. Here are two tips that can be helpful:

  • When making knit bands, such as the neckband and wristbands on this top, you stitch the fabric into a loop, then fold the loop in half and stitch the doubled raw edges to the garment. Easy, unless your fabric slides. To make it easier and allow you to use a LOT fewer pins, use water-soluble glue stick (sparingly) to hold the raw edges of the band together. No slithering, no uneven edges, and no twisted bands!
  • When stitching a hem, use narrow strips of lightweight fusible web to “baste” the hem in place before stitching. I cut 1/4″ strips of Lite Steam-A-Seam 2, which is slightly sticky and repositionable, position them near the cut hem edge, remove the remaining paper, fold up the hem, and fuse in place. Then stitch. It keeps the hem from shifting and twisting. Lots of people use a double needle to hem knits, but for whatever reason, I have never had good luck with that method. So I just use one of the stretch stitches on my machine, play with the width and length and tension until I like the look, and stitch away!

I think I’m done sewing for myself for a while. Now, it’s time to get to work writing instructions for a class, working on a magazine article, and quilting a challenge quilt. But at least I have some new clothes to wear!