Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer Sundress

So it looks like the warm temperatures of the last few weeks have gone and left us with some chilly days. Which means I'd better tell you about my pretty sundress before autumn decides to fully take over. ;) This one I made to wear to a good friend's wedding, three weeks ago, although in the end I decided that it wasn't quite elegant enough for the occasion. I wore it to breakfast the next day, though. ;)
The bodice, as with my Oonapalooza maxi, is the sundress bodice from Gertie's book. I love that sweetheart neckline! And with the shirred back, it needs no zipper and fits really nicely! The skirt is just a pleated rectangle, because the fabric I used has such a pretty lace border. However, instead of doing just straight box pleats, I used the idea from an RTW dress and angled them a bit, which gives a nicer fit. I haven't seen this in any pattern before, but I think it makes actually a lot of sense, because the sewn part of the pleat follows the curves of the body between waist and hip before the fullness springs out. Does that make sense?
I'm not sure if you can see it very well, but the pleats are trapezoid instead of rectangular, kind of like a dart that isn't sewn all the way up to the apex.
The dress acutally ended up too long for my taste, ending slightly below the knee (sorry for the blurry pic - it was the night before we left for the wedding!). Which is why I cut off half the lace border. Um yeah, I know. All that pretty lace! But I like it better that way. :)
The leftover lace was actually snapped up by a friend of mine, who now uses it as a kind of belt with a pink dress. So we're all happy. Yay! ;)
I'm also happy that I managed to blog about this just in time before the end of the Summer Sundress Sew-along!
Are you still doing summer sewing or are you already working on your plans for autumn?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bandelettes

I've been meaning to tell you about these for weeks. Months, almost. Although I'm not quite sure how to go about it, without sounding like a commercial... ;)

At the beginning of summer, I bought a couple of pairs of Bandelettes.

I'm not sure if you've heard about them. They are a lacy pair of bands that you wear around the top of your thighs, to keep from chafing. I heard about them sometime last year, when Mary from Young, Broke and Fabulous got a pair for review. I thought about buying some then, then thought about possibly making some myself. But they have these strips of silicone at the top and bottom, to keep them from slipping, plus, they're not actually that expensive. (Shipping from the US to Germany was only 2$, too!) And I think that the guys (gals?) that developed and patented them deserve a medal.

Why?
Well. As you can probably see from the garments I make, I love dresses. Floaty dresses are my favorite garments for summer. I love warm and sunny weather. But I've had problems with my thighs rubbing together and chafing at least since puberty. Back then, it didn't matter, except maybe at the pool, because I mostly wore jeans anyway, even in summer. (I had a thing about not liking my knees. Thankfully I grew out of that. ;-) ) But for the last few years, it meant that in summer, I mostly wore leggings, or at least bike shorts, either under my floaty dresses or with tunic-length tops.
Not quite ideal in hot and summery temperatures, when all you want is a nice breeze, isn't it? ;)
 
So. I bought some Bandelettes at the beginning of the summer, and boy have I been happy with them!
I've been wearing dresses without leggings like nobody's business.
They're a very well thought out and well made product. They stay where they're supposed to be (at the top of my thighs), keep me from chafing, and they also have the added bonus of keeping my skirt from flying up when I'm biking! ;) Apart from that, I don't have the feeling that my dresses stick to them. They don't show, except maybe under my shortest dresses when I'm sitting down. And they have definitely prompted the flood of summer dresses that are coming off my sewing table (four of them still unblogged).
So no, this isn't a commercial. I'm not getting paid, I'm not recieving any merchandise. If I sound like an announcer on a teleshopping channel, that's just because these are probably the most useful and happiness-inducing pair of garments that I've bought - possibly since investing in a really rather wonderful push-up bra with convertible straps last year. (And ahem, that sounds like I'm buying way more fancy lingerie than I actrually do...) ;)

I debated if I should go into a discussion about body images in this post. Does it mean that I'm fat if I need something to keep my thighs from chafing? Actually, I don't really care. I feel pretty good in my body. I'm loads fitter than I was even a couple of years ago. I can run 5km in one go! So what if my weight, according to my BMI, is constantly hovering at the line between normal and overweight (which shows how short I actually am, since I usually sew something between a size 8 and 12, not really plus sizes at all! And speaking of plus sizes, do you know the Curvy Sewing Collective? :) Those are some really cool girls!). I'm also a classical "apple", tending to gain weight at my stomach and waist instead of hips an thighs. Which actually gives me a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease than those girls with a classical pear figure. Which is one of the reasons why I started exercising in the first place. (And there's the doctor in me speaking... ;) ).

Anyway. I really like those Bandelettes.
Have you recently found any ingenious solutions for problems you didn't know you had?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Gillian Maxi Dress

So, the amount of unblogged garments is steadily growing (I think we're at nine, not counting this one here), as is the number of unread blog posts in my reader. Summer just isn't my favorite time to sit in front of the computer, I guess, especially now that I spend a big part of my workday in front of one, too... Plus, we're currently having one of the nicest summers that I can remember. :-) And I haven't even been swimming yet!

Anyway. You remember my Oonapalooza Maxi Dress? I feel so nice wearing it, it kinda convinced me that I should have more maxi dresses. Which made a few things come together in my mind. For one, you probably know Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow, queen of knits an maker of multiples extraordinaire (see her awesome MMMay challenge this year)? We realized sometime last year that we go for very similar colour palettes and both favor comfy, uncomplicated but flattering clothing, so we conspired to do a "wardrobe twin" sewing challenge and sew an outfit inspired by each other. Fast-forward eight months and there have been quite a few plans but nothing concrete. However, Gillian wears lots of maxi dresses. *Knit* maxi dresses. And really cute ones, too!
Hi Gillian!
It also so happens that I had this subtly patterned and very drapey fabric from Girlcharlee in my stash that I never knew what to do with. It was advertised as a sweatshirt knit (which to me means French terry, a.k.a. the fabric you make hoodies with), so I ordered it to make a Lola, but it turned out to be an almost transparent tissue knit. Probably perfect for a slouchy kimono or batwing tee. Too bad that I don't really wear those kinds of garments.
It did make a really nice maxi dress, though.
Because of the transparency, I lined the bodice with a self-fabric shelf bra. And as the fabric is so thin and stretchy, I stabilized thr neckline with some regular white elastic. I should have used transparent elastic, since it turned out a bit bulky, but didn't have any on hand...
For the bodice I used the Verity pattern, because I like the bust gathers, although in this case I converted them into pleats. I also lowered both the front and back neckline for a more summery feel. The front sits a bit low now, which would have been eadily remedied by a neck band. But then I decided to do a lining instead... ;-)
This was a very quick dress to make, entirely constructed on my overlock machine. I didn't even finish the hem and the side slits, which go up to slightly above the knee. I just sewed the sideseams until about halfway, then stopped.
This dress is so comfy, I hardly want to take it off, ever. I like the feel of the fabric swishing around my legs! The only thing it doesn't do very well is riding a bicycle, so I've taken to knotting the left side of the skirt, just taking the left bottom edge of the front and back skirt and knotting them up to the top of the slit. It even looks only slightly ridiculous. ;)

Coincidentally, after the very exciting #Oonapalooza, the #Sewcialists named August #TributeAugust, to sew garments inspired by others. So thanks for the inspiration, Gillian! :D

Where are you taking your inspiration this summer?