Saturday, June 25, 2016

Going From Cute To Cuter

Friday dawned clear with a light breeze so I decided the lawn needed mowing, a nice way to start a day off. But the grass was too wet and it was too early to start up anything loud so I looked at my pile of current fabrics and my eyes fell upon a skirt I bought at Goodwill Outlet last week. Too bad I don't have a photo of that skirt because it is now a very cute little girl's dress:

Simplicity 2377, view A
This little cutie started out as a Coldwater Creek size 6 boarder print skirt. I know the photo looks navy and pink but it's really black with red flowers (isn't it cute in the navy and pink?). The bottom width was only 52 inches so that limited quite a few patterns. I really didn't want to make it as a top for size 2 or 3 so I kept digging until I came up with this simple pattern:
Simplicity 2377
If I made view A with a simple skirt it just might work. As I pulled out the pattern pieces I could see that the skirt was only the same piece for the front and back and as I held it up to the bottom of the skirt I found out I only needed to cut it to length, leaving the seams and hem intact. How simple is that? Would I have enough for the bodice and sleeves? That was a bit tricky since there were small darts right under the waistband and I needed all of that fabric. If I positioned the darts evenly across they might not be noticed or might look purposeful so it was worth trying. I managed to squeeze all of the parts on the remaining skirt fabric for a size 5 except for the back ties but I could come up with something:
Grosgrain ribbon for back ties
It all went together so quickly with the ease of elastic on the neckline and sleeves. How to finish up? I tried little buttons down the front, along the waistline, ribbon waistline, and ribbon bow. The bow looked the best in slightly narrower ribbon than what was on the back ties but it still needed something to finish it off. Out come the buttons! I managed to find a white flower button that is very vintage looking, somewhat pearlized looking:
Bodice detail of bow and flower button trim
That photo looks more black and red, the real colors of the dress. If you look really close you will still not be able to see those tiny darts near the sleeve seams as they melt into the fabric. I sewed the bow on really well with the sewing machine so it's not going to come apart in the wash, a pet peeve of mine.This was a big success in re-purposing a woman's skirt into a little girl's dress, complete with the border print showing all of its flowers.

Now we need to discuss the sewing machines I used. My Viking #1 is currently in place but nearly covered with kitchen towels, waiting for buttonholes to be made so I looked around and found a lovely Bernina 700 that I have apparently forgotten to tell you about. I responded quickly to an ad about six weeks ago for a Bernina 700 and snagged that baby up. All is not perfect, though, as it came with only one foot and the 700 only does straight and simple zigzag, nothing else. That was a little disappointing but with the high quality of its stitches I felt it was worth the purchase:
Bernina 700
It came with the extension table, original foot control (they are HUGE), and print manual all in the upgraded green suitcase carrier. I went ahead and bought an accessory box with a nice variety of additional feet:
Bernina box with feet #7, 16, 33, 285, 470
Of course she makes beautiful stitches but I can't seem to get the hang of the exposed belt right where you need to touch the handwheel to give extra control for some parts of sewing:
Bernina 700  with belt semi-exposed
In the original manual it does show this as normal so I can confirm it's not some kind of re-make. I can also see that this machine was purchased in Madison, WI on 10-19-'67. Wow. This sewing machine is older than many of my readers, no? Even though there are no built-in stitches beyond the zigzag, it does show you how to make many different designs by manipulating the needle position, stitch width and length, and counting stitches. Okay, that can be accomplished, but it would be easier to get out the embroidery floss and needle! Or maybe you could just upgrade to the Bernina Record 730 with a whole variety of stitches; they always have you yearning for more!

While I was in Bernina-land, I also used my Bernina 1100DA serger to finish the seams so it would not only look professional but would also hold up to many washings. Photos were taken and it's already in my Etsy shop, surely a new speed record for me! What's my shop called? It's InStitchesKarenDubay where you will find this Black and Red Border Print Dress. Did I ever get the lawn mowed? It was a vacation day for me so I ended up trimming bushes at the back of the yard and eventually mowed only the front yard. The back yard is calling my name but it's still early, lawn mowers make too much noise for an early Saturday morning, so maybe I should take a look at other finds in my "pile of wonders" to see what I might create. Or maybe I should work on that stack of kitchen towels. Or maybe I should finish up the hot mitts I promised my sister Sue for her birthday over ten days ago. So many choices, so little time. And I stitch on.

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