Tuesday, December 30, 2014


The North Jersey Chapter of the ASDP participated in the annual Make a Difference Day held on October 25, 2014, by sewing garments for the organization, Dress for Success.  Dress for Success is an organization that promotes the financial independence of disadvantaged women by providing them with business attire, support networks and career development skills.  National Make a Difference Day was started by USA Weekend magazine in 1992.  It is a community service event whose goal is to have people do something that can improve the lives of others.  Millions of people have participated since its inception.

We did not have to finish the garments in October.  We just needed to start working on them in October.  They are due at our February meeting so I finally finished mine this past weekend.  February is going to be a busy time for me so I thought I would get it done now while I have some holiday time off.

We decided to create business attire that could be worn to an interview or a new job.   Since these garments are for women who are getting back on their feet after a tough time, the last thing they need is to receive a garment that would create a dry cleaning bill so we were asked to make the garments in machine washable fabrics only.  We were also told that large sizes were hard to find so we decided to focus on making large sizes only.

The pattern I used was Simplicity 1586 in size 28W with a DD cup.  (The size range of this pattern is Size 10 to 28W with cup sizes C, D and DD.)  I liked the style lines because I had the opportunity to do some color blocking by using a black polyester microsuede on the side panels which I believe is visually slimming.  The dress came together quickly.  For those of you interested in this pattern, the instructions were clear and provided much fitting advice.

The fabric in the center panel is a black and white polyester houndstooth.  I am sorry for the lousy photos of the dress.  The photo as taken does show the houndstooth but when I export it to Blogger, the photo gets distorted.    Here are close-ups of the fabric, both of which frayed quite a bit, especially the houndstooth!  Other than the fraying, the fabrics, purchased at JoAnn's Fabrics, were a dream to work with.  They took a press quite nicely and both my sewing machine and serger loved them.  I used a size 90/14 needle.

I finished all of the seams by serging them.  The pattern has a one inch seam allowance on the side seams which allows for future alterations if needed.  I pressed those seams open and serged each seam allowance separately.

The pattern calls for an invisible zipper at the center back and has a kick pleat for ease of walking.  The dress is sagging on the hanger since it needs a body to fill it out of course.  

My ASDP chapter insists we attach labels to our garments to identify our businesses.  However, since I do not have a business, I designed a label with just my initials.  I do think a care label is important though.  The name label I got from  The care labels I have had in my stash but CustomLabels4U has care labels as well.

Most of the sewing I do is for myself and for my immediate family.  However, I was glad to participate in this event.  Sewing for a good cause provides such a sense of satisfaction as well as help for someone in need.  A win-win that's for sure!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Vogue 8622 - Party!!!

I had been on a search for something to wear to a holiday party to be held in early December.  My search ended when I found Vogue 8622 by Elizabeth Gillett NYC.  I was drawn to View B, a cute little capelet with a large gathered flounce.   I am a bit top heavy so I was concerned about whether I really should be making a garment that may add more bulk to the chest area.  After much pondering and reflecting with sewing friends, I decided to take the plunge.  There are styles that I know would work for me (like a shoulder princess line) and then there are others that are iffy.  But there are times where I just want to step outside the box and this was one of those times.

Since the capelet is not fitted over the chest, the only adjustment I made in the front was to add 2 inches of length to the flounce from center front tapering to nothing at the side seam and 1 inch of width to the flounce.  

I used a textured red silk fabric purchased from NY Elegant in NYC that had red metallic threads woven throughout.  The fabric had quite a lot of give due to the way it was woven.  It was somewhat drapey but the metallic threads prevented the fabric from gathering as designed.  

Right side of fabric

Wrong side of fabric

What I did was press in some pleats randomly.  I really like the style lines of this capelet and love how the sleeves are incorporated into the design.  I really like the collar too.  The pattern did not call for a closure but I decided that for my figure, a closure was necessary so I installed a hook and eye at center front at the top of the flounce.

Since it was a special occasion garment, I felt compelled to use couture techniques in its construction.  I underlined the yoke pieces in silk organza.  I pressed open the seam allowances and attached them to the organza only using a catch stitch so as to keep them nice and flat.  You do not see it in the photo below but I also attached the flounce seam allowance to the organza as well.

The pattern instructions call for French seams along the side seams and the armholes.  I decided to do the French seams for the side seams only.  The fabric was just too textured for me to do a successful French seam in an armhole.  I finished the armholes by using bias tape created from the lining fabric.  The lining was attached to the flounce using a slipstitch.

Speaking of lining, I used China silk for the lining.  China silk has had a bad rap in many sewing publications but I love it.  As long as you don't plan to do a lot of activity and sweating in the garment, China silk is an excellent choice.  It has a beautiful soft hand and feels luxurious. 

Inside of capelet

This little capelet was just what I was looking for.  It was festive, felt luxurious and was so comfortable!