The new summer wardrobe

The new Simplicity patterns are in and I've been sewing up a storm. When I saw this pattern in the book I immediately fell in love.

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Of course it's one thing to fall in love with  a pattern- It's a whole other ball of yarn to actually get that perfect fabric and actually get it done. I took one quick walk around the store and this fabric just caught my eye as 'the one':

This beautiful cotton from our quilting area has such a wonderfully soft hand and just had the right saturation of navy.  It just screams 'SUMMER!'. With the simple lines of the dress and the uneven hem line that is so in fashion right now I just imagined myself walking down the beach with a big floppy hat and strappy sandals!

Of course the dress itself (view A) isn't complete without the jacket (view D) and I just knew we had the perfect fabric for that as well:

The bright white of this fabric combined with the texture just seemed like the perfect match! Of course once the creative juices started flowing, they didn't stop!! Maria got in the fun and designed a dress and jacket for herself to wear to a family function as well.

To make the dress was simple, it only has a dart in the bust area and four very simple seams (front, back and sides). With no sleeves to worry about or zippers (it just slips over your head) it was only after a couple of hours the basic dress was done. The neckline and the armholes were finished using single fold bias tape. All you need to do is all apply the bias tape to the right side of the garment, fold to the inside and top stitch. No facings, no interfacing, to fusing, just simple and straight forward!

Here is a close up of the neck line. You can see the right side of the front and wrong side of the back.

Now once I was done with the dress it was time to work on the jacket. If the dress was easy, the jacket was even easier. The jacket was only 3 pieces- The front, the back and the (gasp!) sleeves. Once again my handy single fold bias tape came in very handy since that it was I used for the casing that goes from one side to the other and that is what you feed the ribbon through to gather up the jacket. I used the Narrow Edge Foot available for most PFAFF sewing machines to make sure my stitching was consistent and close to the edge so it was nice and neat all the way from beginning to end:

And then of course there was all this hemming that had to be done. The pattern called for a rolled hem around the entire jacket and the hem of the dress. But sitting there for a couple of hours rolling the entire uneven hem line of the dress as well as all around the jacket and the sleeves did not sound like a fun weekend activity. now don't get me wrong, when it's called for and necessary I can roll a hem just as nicely as the next guy. But this time around I was a bit impatient and kind of dreading do it. But I didn't have a lot of options... So after sleeping on it and really turning it around in my head I decided to do it. I was gonna take this thing to the serger!

Now for those who don't know what a serger is or what it does here is a brief explanation from our friends over at wikipedia:

An overlock stitch sews over the edge of one or two pieces of cloth for edging, hemming or seaming. Usually an overlock sewing machine will cut the edges of the cloth as they are fed through (such machines are called 'sergers' in North America), though some are made without cutters. The inclusion of automated cutters allows overlock machines to create finished seams easily and quickly. An overlock sewing machine differs from a lockstitch sewing machine in that it uses loopers fed by multiple thread cones rather than a bobbin. Loopers serve to create thread loops that pass from the needle thread to the edges of the fabric so that the edges of the fabric are contained within the seam. Overlock sewing machines usually run at high speeds, from 1000 to 9000 rpm, and most are used in industry for edging, hemming and seaming a variety of fabrics and products. Overlock stitches are extremely versatile, as they can be used for decoration, reinforcement, or construction.

They can also be a bit intimidating if you're not familiar with how the machine threads or works. I, personally, have a love/hate relationship with sergers. I love everything that they do, I hate threading them. But I decided to bite the bullet and do it. A rolled hem on a serger is so neat and simple to do- once the serger is set up for it. Fortunately at the store we have one that is set up for a rolled hem all the time. All I needed to do was change the thread. This can be more difficult than it sounds. Thank goodness today was going my way and the serger and I played nice. Not only did I manage to get the navy thread on there so I could finish the hem on the dress but I managed to get the white thread on there so I could hem the sleeves on the jacket, the hem of the jacket and all around the front and collar. Here's a close up of the rolled hem done on the serger:

Rolled hem on the front of the jacket.

As you can see it's nice, neat and even. It was so fast and easy once I had the machine set up. And now for the finale, here are a couple of pictures of the finished dress and jacket:

the entire ensemble!

Now all I need is a big floppy hat, a sunny beach and picnic basket and I'm set for summer!!

Once Maria gets me pictures of her dress and jacket I'll be sure to post them so you can see those as well. She did a great job and did some great finishing touches to hers as well.

Now I'm off to wash the linen that I've got to make the tunic that's included in this pattern (view B). And after that, who knows??? Maybe more dresses!

Happy Sewing!