Saturday, April 2, 2011

Interpreting a designer shirt-dress

I love simple but interesting styles and lines.  I consider myself a minimalist in terms of styling, and apply my KISS (keep it simple stupid) principles to keep things in balance on my small frame.

AKRIS is an  elegant and high priced designer line.   The Swiss company's garments have simple, yet creative lines, cut from the finest fabrics, using top quality construction.   I love to snoop shop AKRIS details.   I actually saw the first garment in the Spring/Summer collection, the light gray double face wool lapel dress at Neiman Marcus Last Call when I was in Atlanta for the Sewing Expo in March.   It was beautifully designed and made.  Due to the double face fabric it was very heavy.  I figured it must have been from a trunk show or a return or it wouldn't have been there.   This spring the company has been showing this shirt-dress in many advertisements.   Here's the shirt-dress on the Saks website that includes a video.

I looked at the garment and thought - the line looks so much like one of my favorite blouses, the Ebb blouse.  I liked the look and fit of it so much that I sewed 3 different blouses and also lengthened it into a dress.    The style, like the AKRIS one, is so flattering in terms of fit.    I bought that gorgeous Caroline Rose linen fabric from Louise Cutting with the intent of an elegant tunic style.   The AKRIS dress has cut-on sleeves, but I think a separate sleeve is more flattering.   I was concerned about breaking up the design, but Louise said it wouldn't matter.

My health and doctor's appointments prevented me from playing around with the design last week -- so today, imagine my delight when Linda Lee posted on the Sewing Workshop Blog that they tweaked the TNT San Diego pattern to create a tunic like this, and included a free download of the instructions on how to change the pattern!  San Diego Tunic Blog Post   That's what I'm working on this weekend.

Monday April 4 UPDATE on this project -- Yesterday morning I worked on creating the new pattern using size XS and the medium length for me.  I kept the two piece sleeve and altered it to a 14" length.   The back diagram was easy to understand as is the front left pattern diagram.

I got confused about the right front --  is the 12.5" an increase of a seam allowance (5/8") added onto the original pattern line?  Or is it added to 5 1/2" from the foldline as shown on the left front diagram?

Then I wondered how I was supposed to sew the fronts together and then where to top-stitch after hemming.   Is there top-stitching along the CF where the pleat is formed.  It looks like they stitched    horizontally where the pin in the mini folded mode is, but it's hard to tell.    What kind of hem finish is recommended?   I didn't want to end up with a wadder and thought, "if I'm confused, then many others may be too".   So I stopped and sent an e-mail to The Sewing Workshop asking the above questions.     The project is on hold until I hear from them.

 An eShrug out of novelty lace - experimenting with techniques

Before I move on to a new project,  I want to post about the eShrug I sewed using this novelty lace.  It's actually a tulle with the motifs embroidered on.   On this one,  I played around, experimenting with seams and edge finishes.   I cut off the stretchy selvedge and trimmed up the scalloping before I sewed the pieces together.    This novelty lace may have been designed for lingerie because the selvedge wanted to draw up the fabric.   I used a 3-thread serged seam for the shoulders, serged one sleeve in and then used a small zig-zag then trimmed the seam allowance.   From the outside there is no perceivable difference.   This fabric doesn't ravel so either work fine, except with the neuropathy in my hands, the zig-zag using a free arm is easier to handle.    I cut the notches into the lace since clips are too hard to see -  that worked great.    I used a rolled edge 3-thread edge with a long stitch length to finish the fronts and neck edges.    More photos and the process on the eShrug Flickr Set.


  1. I really like the lace eShrug. It's the nicest version I've seen yet!

    Hoping you continue to improve, especially with the spring weather.

  2. The lace eShrug is really nice. And thanks for the link to that San Diego Tunic modification. I have an old San Diego jacket cut out that is calling to me again and after I get the sewing room set up and see if I can still use that UFO, I might move on to the tunic.