May 2009

Hooded kangaroo pocket dress

I loved this idea as soon as Arielle mentioned it.  I knew right away what I wanted to make it out of: a brown wool knit jersey I got from Fabricmart.  And that it would clearly be the kind of garment I would want to wear every day.  But, since it is getting a little warm around here for wool I thought I’d make  summer version / pattern test out of some more knits from the $1.99 table at Sewfisticated.

 I didn’t have a pattern for this so I thought I’d assemble it out of my TNT top and skirt patterns, then make up the hood.  To start, I put on a t-shirt and skirt I’d made from each pattern and pinned where I wanted the seams to match up, and where the neckline would go on the top:

Since I’d made each of these several times before I decided not to muslin the main dress and just to go ahead and make it up.  Unfortunately I didn’t count on how much the extra weight of the skirt fabric would stretch the top, and my first attempt at a dropped waist ended up hitting at high-thigh.  No matter, I trimmed a little over 2 inches off the hem of the top and my new TNT knit dress pattern was complete.

Looking at the many hooded sweatshirts I own it seemed like a hood pattern was basically three edges: the front, the neckline, and the back of the head.  For the front edge I measured the distance from the neckline to halfway over my head, and added a little for droppiness (20″).  Then I drew the front and back necklines and joined them up.  

Since I hadn’t made this before I did cut a hood muslin, which helped me figure out that the back of head seam should have more room.  I also cut a pocket pattern piece by folding some fabric and eyeballing how the front pocket should look:

Here are my final pattern pieces for the hood and pocket.  The first and second hood pattern pieces are placed on top of each other so you can see how I had to enlarge it.

I wanted all the seams on the hood hidden, so I cut two pieces, each with the long front edge on the fold.  I sewed the back-of-head edges together on these and then turned it inside out to make a double layer-hood:

Then I just had to sew the hood into the neckline.  I’m not sure why I decided to go with the keyhole neckline, rather than something simpler.  I like the overlap at the bottom even though it didn’t come out perfectly.  I double stitched around both the dress neckline and the hood edge before sewing them together to help keep things from stretching, and so I could clip the corners without the fabric unravelling.

Et voilà:

 I kind of wish it had long sleeves and side pockets cause the first thing I want to do when I put this on is push up my sleeves and stuff my hands in my pockets.  So I think I will make the winter version that way.  I had a lot of fun working out this design and I’m starting to think I enjoy the pattern design part much more than the actual production part of sewing.  I’ve been following Cidell’s blog, where she’s been reporting on her pattern design class and how she made and fit a sloper (master pattern) from which to draft different designs.  So I think I will work on my own “master pattern” next, even though I really have no idea what I’m doing.  After I finish David’s pants.

Oh, and my Mom says she also wants a version of the blue dress.  But, she will have to tell me what kind/color of fabric she wants first 🙂  Anyway I think that is the big winner so far this year.


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Summer dress update: 1 for 2

Here’s an update on my attempts to make dresses I can wear to work this summer. I’ve made two so far (only one of which was in my original summer plan).

Dress #1: Simplicity 2703 (view A) in a stretch linen-rayon blend with linen contrast

Verdict:  I love this dress.  Its super comfy.  It pops over your head with no zipper.  The fabric is nice and cool but not too thin.  And best of all it has POCKETS!  I feel like the pockets are key to making this a wear-to-work-able dress, since I just feel more comfortable if I can stuff my hands in my pockets. Also if I have a place to put useful bits of string.  I’ve worn this twice on the weekends and I promise I will wear it to work one day.  Really.  Plus my stylish sis asked me to make her one so it must look okay.

Dress #2: Vogue 8486 in polyester microfiber knit

Verdict:  You may notice that this is not in fact a dress.  I wasn’t super optimistic about it as a dress to begin with because its pretty shapeless.  And indeed, when I put it together, it didn’t work as a dress on me.  I did wear it once with a skirt underneath and I think it might work if I added a ruffle to the bottom: 

Also, someone at PatternReview pointed out that polyester might not be such a great choice for hot summer days.  Point taken.  It makes a very comfy nightgown though.

So that makes one dress that I think I could wear to work, but haven’t yet, and one that I’ve worn twice to work but never as a dress.  Not so promising.  But I will persevere…

Coming up: Hooded kangaroo-pocket dress, as suggested by LaKaribane!


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A lovely weekend

This post is late late late.  My excuse is that I stopped doing experiments and started writing and analyzing.  Which meant I had to spend my time at work actually, er, working, rather than goofing off on the internet while collecting data.

Anyway I wanted to post the pictures from my birthday weekend, two weeks ago.  David made fresh ricotta and bagels from scratch:

I must say I rather enjoyed them:

Rebecca and Sam came up from New York:

And Jeff and Irene stopped by on their way from San Francisco to Spain:

Also, guess what I used to take all these pictures?

Wee tiny red cameroo!  And guess who got it for me?

Bestest monkey ever!


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