Maxi Marianne Dress

January 26, 2015

I work at home most days, and nearly every day I'm completely alone. But, that is not an excuse to work in my pajamas all day. So what's fancier than pajamas but equally as comfortable? A maxi dress made from knit! That's exactly what!

This is yet another version of my Marianne Dress, featured this month of the Sew-Along, and this one is to illustrate how cozy and comfy it can be when lengthened into a maxi dress!

Yep, if you were to drop by my home on a random Wednesday, you'd likely find me looking like these photos, which is why I figured I should photograph the dress the way I really wear it: barefoot in my studio. I am branching out and plan to make some other things to wear at home, but man, it does seem hard to find the time when you sew for a living. But that's for another post!

I made View A, and added the sleeves of View B, but instead of making a cuff, I extended the sleeve to be wrist length to be nice and warm. For the dress, I didn't do anything overly complicated or do any fancy pattern drafting. To make this version, I simply measured the length of a favorite maxi dress, extended the dress to that length, and made it as wide as the fabric would allow. I cut straight across one of the stripes and simply hemmed it along the stripe instead of using the original shape of the dress hem. That's it! Easy peasy!

I know this isn't the most flattering of garments, but I love wearing this version, even if it will only be really worn at home alone. (or poolside when hungover–as I did on New Year's Day!)

This knit is a super soft and thin cotton spandex blend that I have had in my stash so long I'm not sure where it came from. The oatmeal and black stripe spoke to me and I knew I had to have it at the time, but it took years for me to do anything worthy of the big stripes. I think this was the perfect choice!

Oh, and yes, this post was supposed to go up on Friday, so sorry about that! Time just got away!

Tomorrow we'll get back to the sewing for the side seams of both View A and View B! I hope you all got caught up this weekend! Remember you can always find all the posts at the Marianne Dress Sew-Along tag!

Marianne Dress Sew-Along: Sewing the Sleeves

January 22, 2015

In today's Marianne Dress Sew-Along post, we will be sewing the sleeves onto the dress. Technically this is part of View B, but you can of course also add them onto View A if you like! If you are using View A, remember that you need to transfer the notches from the yoke front and back of View B to the armholes of View A so you know where to line up the sleeves. You won't need the yoke seam notch, just the single and double notches for the sleeve front and back, as well as the center notch for lining up at the shoulder seam. Okay, let's sew!

Open up the dress completely so the entire dress is flat with the right side up. Place one of the sleeves on top of the dress, lining up the raw edge of the sleeve with the raw edge of the armhole. Start by pinning the center notch at the shoulder seam. Rotate the entire sleeve to the side and pin at the sleeve notch (double for back, single for front). Continue pivoting the sleeve and pin the remaining notch on that side of the sleeve at the yoke seam (if making View B). Lastly, pin the end of the sleeve at the end of the armhole opening. From those anchor points, pin in between and keep the raw edges aligned. 

Repeat this step on the other half of the sleeve, so the entire sleeve is now pinned to one of the armholes. 

Using the machine of your choice, sew from one end to the other, at the 3/8" seam allowance. Try to keep the shoulder seam in the direction that you pressed it in the last step. If using a conventional machine, trim the seam allowance down in half. Press the seam allowance toward the sleeves. Then repeat all of the above steps on the other sleeve!

Yes! It's really looking like something now! And in the next step, which is sewing the side seams, it's really going to feel like a dress! Tomorrow is another finished make to see, then we will return to the sewing on Tuesday, giving you the weekend to get caught up! 

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: I'm Teaching at Camp Workroom Social!

 camp workroom social

We interrupt the Marianne Dress Sew-Along posts for a VERY IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT! Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is an ALL CAPS MOMENT! I am so excited to announce that I am joining the lineup of teachers at Camp Workroom Social! WOOHOO!!!

Photo of Frost Valley YMCA Camp by Esvy Photography

I honestly can hardly believe it! It's going to be amazing! So, what am I going to be doing there you ask? This camp is set up where each teacher teaches an intensive workshop, and mine will be a weekend Emery Dress extravaganza! Yes, we'll be making the entire Emery Dress (sans collar & bow) in a single weekend, surrounded by the beautiful fall foliage of the Catskill Mountains. It's going to be so great!

Photo of Frost Valley YMCA Camp by Frost Valley YMCA

One of the joys of this kind of retreat is learning in a concentrated format, surrounded by people that share your love of sewing, uninterrupted by the day-to-day worries of everyday life. By immersing yourself in this experience, you will learn more, feel supported, and leave with new skills and new friends. This is truly an unique and wonderful opportunity!

For my Emery Dress class, a muslin will be provided in each size for campers to try on to ensure good fit, patterns will be pre-cut in every size, a hard copy of the pattern will be yours to take home for future use, and I will be there to help you each step of the way!

In addition to my class, there are some pretty stellar other teachers there too, so if you don't need help making an Emery Dress, no worries, come and learn something else! Below is a full line-up of the awesome classes you can take!

Jen Beeman, Heather Lewenza, Norma Loehr, Melissa Watson, Erin Proud, & Whitney Crutchfield

Fleur Hoare, Jennifer Wiese, Sonja Gingerich, & Nellie Wu

Helping all of us teachers out will be some pretty awesome Camp Counselors too! You probably recognize these lovely ladies! Fleur Hoare of Maison Fleur, Jennifer Wiese of Workroom Social, Sonja Gingerich of Ginger Makes, and Nellie Wu of Mama Peaches.

Photo of Frost Valley YMCA Camp by Frost Valley YMCA

And if all of that is not enough, there will be ziplining, karaoke, group meals in the mess hall, a fashion show of finished makes, and loads of bonding and fun. All of this goes down October 16–19 at the Frost Valley YMCA Camp in Claryville, NY on 5,000 acres in the heart of the Catskill Mountains. 

Interested? Find out more about the teachers and counselors, read all about the classes, see the schedules of each day, and then register to attend!

I hope to see you there!!! 

Marianne Sew-Along: Sewing the Shoulder Seams

January 21, 2015

Today in the Marianne Dress Sew-Along we are going to sew the shoulder seams! Things start to get real during this step, because this step involves something that might be new to many of you: clear elastic. Don't worry, I will talk you though it below and it's really not as hard as it seems. This step is for everyone, both View A and B, so let's get to it!

If you're using a conventional machine, set your zigzag stitch length to 2.0–2.5 and stitch width to 1.0–1.5. As always, test this on a scrap first, including all the layers about to be sewn. So for this step, that includes the front, back, collar (if including–which is two additional layers & interfacing), and clear elastic. All of that should be in your test to confirm that the stitch is set right. Trust me, pulling stitches out of knit is not fun and tends to leave holes behind, so make sure your stitch is right first!

Pin the shoulder seams together, with the fabric right sides facing. Line up the clear elastic in the seam so the stitch goes through the elastic. Note: be super careful not to pull the elastic while sewing. The fabric and elastic all need to go through the machine with ease and with no stretching. If it's stretched, the shoulder seam will pucker up and not look good. 

Stitch at the 3/8" seam allowance and trim the seam down in half. 

For a serger or overlock machine, pin the shoulders with right sides together. Place the fabric into the machine and then slide the elastic under the foot so it extends beyond the fabric. Grab the clear elastic with your left hand behind the fabric and stabilize as you begin to sew. Keep the right edge of the elastic flush with the fabric as it goes through the machine. Again, do not stretch the elastic or the fabric as it passes through. Give this a few practice runs with scraps until you feel comfortable.

Sew the shoulders at the 3/8" seam allowance and trim off the excess thread and elastic on the ends.

Since the shoulder seam is curved, place a pressing ham under the seam and press the seam allowance towards the back. Note: the clear elastic will melt to your iron, so keep it away from the heat!

That's it! See... that wasn't so hard, right? Tomorrow we will tackle the sleeves, so if you're making View B, or adding the sleeve onto View A, have them ready to go! And remember, if you need to reference these again later, you can see all the posts by clicking on the Marianne Dress Sew-Along tag at the bottom of this post, or on the toolbar on the side!

Introducing Lower US Shipping Rates!

January 20, 2015

I am so excited to announce lower US shipping rates! New rates for orders of one or two patterns in the US will now cost nearly half the price! Shipping a single pattern will now cost only $2.68, and two patterns will ship for only $3.58! This is a savings of $3.42 for a single pattern and $2.52 for an order of two patterns!

So if you were waiting for lower shipping rates, go to the shop now and pick up that pattern you've been spying!

How is this possible? As I am a one-woman operation, I made my shipping as streamlined as I could and only was offering USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail for all orders. This made it easy for me as I only had to stock a few types of packing materials. But after many many emails from customers about the high cost of shipping one pattern, I spent some time to retool my site, research and order new packing options, and it's now all set!

So now, anywhere in the world, an order of 1 or 2 patterns will ship via USPS First Class. Orders of 3 or more will ship at USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail, in a box or envelope appropriate to the size of the order.

I genuinely appreciate the feedback from all of my customers and do listen to any and all suggestions, even if it is a criticism! I hope that this change will encourage anyone on the fence about ordering a pattern to take the plunge!

Thank you for the constant support and feedback on what you'd like to see from me and my company! Have an idea or comment? Remember that there is a handy contact me page where you can let me know what you're thinking! And you never know... I might just do what you ask!