Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The sewing drought is over!

Vogue 1179

This is Vogue 1179, which I made to wear at my company Christmas party this year. It was quick to make and comfortable to wear.

Pattern Description:
Loose fitting, sleeveless dress with a cowl. It has some pleating detail in the front, is sleeveless, and is hemmed above the knee.

Pattern Sizing:

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, I think it is pretty close to the photo and drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
This is a very simple dress to construct so I think most sewers really won't need the instructions, though a beginner should not have any difficulties. The instructions are written for a conventional sewing machine, but it's easier to sew this with a serger.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that the dress is loose fitting. I was hesitant about the length being above the knee but did hem it to this length because below the knee made it look like a frumpy house-dress.

Fabric Used:
I used a slinky knit (not sure on the fiber content). The pattern calls for moderate stretch and slinky is super-stretchy so I stabilized the neckline and let it hang over night. I will not store this dress on a hanger because slinky tends to "grow."

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I graded from a size 18 at the shoulder and bust to a size 20 at the waist and hip. I cut the cowl on the bias and changed the depth of the hem. I hemmed it with a 3/4 inch hem rather than 4 1/4 inches.

Other reviewers thought the armholes of this dress are high (tight), so before I cut the fabric out I compared the armhole with a sleeveless top I had that was of a similar type of fabric and found they matched pretty well, so I didn't make any changes. And considering I was using slinky I was more worried about the armholes stretching and being too large.

My construction notes
The most time consuming part of the construction was cutting out the fabric. Since the slinky was very stretchy I had to be sure to keep it flat and not let the excess fabric fall of the edge of the cutting table - something you want to avoid with any fabric, but especially knits. I also found I had to cut off the selvedges because they were pulling in the fabric and keeping it from laying flat. I used the ribs of the slinky as a guide for keeping on grain so I didn't need the edges. Also, I rarely cut out knits on the fold, especially slippery ones, so I traced off mirror images of the pattern pieces and cut out the fabric in one thickness.

I spent a lot of time fussing with getting the pleats lined up precisely but that turned out to be unnecessary. While you do baste the pleats to keep them in place, the pleats are only sewn at the top edge.

I stabilized the neck edge with a fusible straight tape rather than stay-stitching it. To ensure I did not melt my fabric I used a lower heat and a press cloth.

Like other reviewers, I sewed the cowl with one (serged) seam at the neck edge and left the raw edge, instead of sewing one edge of the cowl to the neck and then handsewing the other edge to cover the raw edge. I did experiment with the placement of the raw edge: on the inside or on the outside. Sometimes a cowl can drape so that the inside neck edge is exposed but on the outside it is covered by the cowl. In this case the inside neck edge is not visible but the cowl can shift to show the outside neck edge so that's where the nice finish should be. So, raw edge goes on the inside.

I used a coverstitch to finish the armholes and bottom hem. I did not use elastic in the armholes but may go back and redo them with elastic. That slinky is really stretchy!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don't think I'd sew it again, but only because there are so many other dress patterns to try.

Easy and comfortable dress. A great combination!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Veggie box surprise

Veggie-box surprise


1 pound of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 onion
a few cloves of garlic
most of the vegetables that came in the vegetable box and were destined for the compost bin if they weren't used soon
  (in my case this was: romanesco, carrots, bok choy, and cabbage)


Cut everything up
Heat some olive oil  and a little sesame oil in a wok
Add some Chinese 5 spice
Cook the chicken
Remove chicken and cook the veggies
Add the cooked chicken back in
Add soy sauce
Add a little hot chili sauce
Cook some more


See, I can cook! Let's just say that cooking is not high on my list of fun things. In an attempt to eat more vegetables and less pizza, I have a vegetable box from farmfreshtoyou.com delivered to the house every other week. It definitely has encouraged me to cook and eat vegetables I might not otherwise try, like bok choy and romanesco. Some weeks I'm better at using them up in more interesting ways but it can be hard when I'm working long hours and dinner becomes whatever I can grab. This week has been one of those bad work weeks so it was time for a veggie-box surprise.