Little Black Dress circa 1970 Using McCalls 7802

I’ve begun to pray daily for the wisdom to make choices that help me to remain consistent in the face of pressure.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 (NIV)

Hello Lovelies!

It’s another great week in Milwaukee, WI! Despite the drop in temperature and a few snow days, the sunshine has returned and overall the winter here has been mild. I’ll take it.

These last few weeks have been a little pressing as life as a single mom has been a bit hectic, but I am super grateful because this year I feel like God is really helping me to find balance through greater organization and self-care. I went back on my ketogenic diet plan. I talked a little bit about it on my Instagram stories earlier this week. I was pretty quiet about my keto journey and really didn’t talk about it to anyone outside of my immediate friend circle until earlier this week on my Instagram stories. I started my keto journey last year around the beginning of January and was pretty faithful to it. I lost about 20 pounds in 6 months. I’m still trying to get rid of at least another 30 pounds but I’m not in a rush.

I’m approaching this as a life style change. I’ve struggled with weight, food addiction and eating disorders my entire life. I’m at a point now where i’m exhausted and I just want to be healthy and balanced. Keto has helped me keep the inflammation in my body down, keep my sugar cravings in check and overall has blessed me with the energy that I need to keep up with my life . I started to make more time for the gym again and even joined my son’s Tae Kwon Do class to help with stress management.

It hasn’t been easy but God has been really showing me that life is about choices. I’ve begun to pray daily for the wisdom to make choices that help me to remain consistent in the face of pressure. The result is an Iris who frowns and complains less and trusts God and smiles more.

Which leads me to this week’s post. I smiled a lot while sewing this dress. I love, love, love vintage! I even have 2 great Pinterest boards for anyone who loves vintage that you can follow here and here . One is dedicated to vintage designer garments and another one is dedicated to vintage sewing patterns. Both are organized by decade so its easy to find the inspiration that your looking for.

Actually Mount Mary University has a great Archive dress collection that is so amazing! Some dresses date back to the late 1800’s. My draping class is making a visit on Monday to find inspiration for their final projects. I love going in there.

The inspiration for my came from 1970’s London Designer Label Biba. I love the aesthetic of Biba, Halston and DVF. Simple, elegant, and pretty. Below is an image of my inspiration.

I started with Mccall’s M7802 view b and the only modifications that I made to the pattern was to use an a-line flare skirt from another pattern that didn’t have the princess lines and I slashed and spread and raised the sleeve cap in order to create the fullness at the shoulder. I used a moderate stretch crepe knit fabric that was fantastic for this project. It was easy to work with and had enough body to give the sleeves the structure that it needed to hold its shape. The only change I would make in the future is to add an invisible zipper to the back. The stretch knit isn’t that stretchy and a zipper would make it a little easier to get in and out of. Otherwise this is a super comfy dress to wear. I styled it very simply with a pair of nude colored platform peep toed platform stilettos and boho inspired earrings in a similar color as my shoes.

I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so that I can wear this dress. I love the way it looks with a natural leg showing. It’s a versatile LBD that I think could be worn to a church, a wedding or a cocktail party.

Well thats all for now! Until next time…..

DIY Knit Dress Using McCalls 7999

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.……” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)

Hello Everyone!

It is my sincerest hope that you all have been approaching your new year with great expectation and a zeal to chase after your dreams. I’m super proud of myself as I walked into 2020 with a revived sense of purpose and a desire to approach each day focused and excited for where God is taking me. It hasn’t been easy and I had to make some life changes.

For one. I gave up coffee and sugar again and I feel so much better. I was developing a nasty caffeine addiction. I’ve given it up in the past but end up right back on the sauce. While I love my morning cup of coffee, I was using caffeine to give me energy so that I could get through my busy schedule. The caffeine and sugar highs were making it hard for me to focus, my stomach started to become bloated and I was starting to have mood swings.

So when my church went on our annual fast at the beginning of January and the list called for us to cut caffeine and sugar from our diet; I knew it was a help line from heaven to make the change I needed.

I did it gradually, but after 3 weeks, I knew I was in a good place. My mind is more focused and my body’s nervous system has quieted down. I feel less anxious. I’ve re-worked my schedule so that I’m not constantly running. If i’m feeling overwhelmed by teaching, business, ministry and family responsibilities, I take a small break on my light days. Even if it means taking a short nap. I started walking even in the cold weather. This year the winter has been mild. Our days have consistently been around 30 degrees. I bundle up real good and walk for 45 minutes. The walk gives me the boost I need but it also has done wonders to keep the winter blues away.

I’m super grateful for the shift. I am definitely finding my version of balance.

As for this week’s post. This is a long overdue review of McCalls 7999 view C. I made this dress back in November. I’ve worn it several times already and I even put out a sneak peak pic on my Instagram page last month. I’m just keeping it real with you all. (lol!) I looooooove! this pattern. This was such an easy make. I had the pattern cut, made a short waist adjustment and sewn within 2 hours. I sewed the entire dress with the exception of the collar using the flat construction method on my serger. I love flat construction when it makes sense to use it. Especially when sewing knits on my serger. It speeds things up as you sew and finish your edges at the same time.

The pattern is straight forward and beginner friendly. There are only 4 pattern pieces and I cut it for a size Large. My short waist adjustment and taking out another 1 inch of ease at the waist was the only fit adjustments that I needed to make. I used a medium weight moderate stretch knit. from Joann Fabrics. It was on a 70% off clearance corner. I think I paid a total of $12 for about 3 yards of fabric.

I love it because it’s warm and all I need is to put on some control top black tights for shaping, smoothing and extra warmth underneath. I decided to keep it on a street style vibe and wore my black patent leather platform oxfords and statement earrings. I’ve also worn it with a black leatherette jacket to add a little bit of interest and layering for colder weather.

Well… that’s all for now! Until the next time.

DIY knit Velvet top using McCalls M7722

“With all humility [forsaking self-righteousness], and gentleness [maintaining self-control], with patience, bearing with one another in [unselfish] love. Make every effort to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the bond of peace [each individual working together to make the whole successful].”

Ephesians 4:2-3

Hey Everyone!

I’m back! I thought I was just taking off August but life decided differently. Teaching 2 university design courses on top of family and ministry responsibilities was way more than I thought it was going to be.

I finally found a moment to catch my breath and re-work my schedule to include blogging again. The great thing is that I still have been able to find some sewing time at least 1-2 days a week. Woohoo! Sewing is my therapy.

This week’s make is one of a series of velvet knit tops that I’ve made this fall. I didn’t intentionally plan it that way. It was based more on fabric selection at my local Joann store. I will say this though. I used to hate sewing with knits. And 3 -4 knit shirt projects in and I’m over it! I absolutely love sewing with knits now!

For this top I used McCall’s 7722 view C. I hacked this pattern last year for my asymmetric peplum top w/ tutorial.

This was an easy straight forward pattern that didn’t require much fitting. However I lost about 20 pounds since the last time I made this top and I needed to take it in at the side seam and hip.

What I didn’t do on this project but did make the modification for the next time I make it, was to shorten at the waist. I’m short waisted and there was some bagging around my waist line at both front and back. I fixed most of it by taking in the waist at the side seams. Only because I had cut into the fabric before I realized it. Overall I’m happy with the fit.

The only design modification that I made was to turn the neckline into a mock turtleneck by raising the neckline a little bit and using a collar from another knit top pattern that I had.

I styled this top with a pair of black fitted straight leg pants, black pumps and a pair of bold yellow earrings. I love this pairing as it’s figure flattering and allows the top to shine.

Well that’s all for now. Until next time….

Sew Easy Summer Pattern Round Up

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:” Philippians 2:5

Hey Everyone!

How are you?  Any special 4th of July plans?  I wish I was one of those people that gets into holiday sewing.  I always admire folks who take the time to make a red,white and blue kind of sewing project.  Or costume sew for Halloween. or make matching christmas pajamas for their kids.  Thats just not my thing. lol!

I am looking forward to the 4th of July holiday though.  My kids are away with their dad but my brother and his family are flying in from Arizona.  I am really looking forward to spending sometime with my nieces and nephews.

This week’s post is a Sew Easy Summer Sewing Pattern Round UP.  Like I mentioned when I announced this series I was looking to sew projects that had minimal pattern pieces (5 or less), no zipper or button closures.  Pretty much anything that I can pull up or pull over my head.  I also thought some of you might be feeling kind of craft lazy this summer also and would like to keep sewing projects laid back and easy.  Below is a list of what I pulled from the latest spring/summer collections from the Big 3 as well as a few indy patterns companies.

The Patterns

The Big 3 Companies

Vogue

V9374 Pull on Pants

V9375 MISSES’ VEST, JACKET AND PANTS

V9377  Misses Jacket and Belt

Butterick

B6691 Misses Jacket and Jumpsuit

B6680 Misses Dress

B6685 Misses Top and Sash

McCalls

M7942  Misses’, Children’s and Girls’ Top, Skirt, Shorts and Pants

Indy Pattern Companies

For this list I just linked you to a handful of company websites because many of them only have a handful of patterns on their site.  Many of which are stylish, very easy and beginner friendly.  Its worth the extra effort to spend time on their sites.  They often have really great blogs and tutorials in addition to their shop.

Paper Theory Patterns

Style Sew Me

Closet Case Patterns

Megan Nielsen Patterns

Friday Pattern Company

MimiG Style

Rosy Peña Patterns

That’s it!  A nice round up of some great and easy sewing patterns to help you build your handmade summer wardrobe without too much fuss.  Have a great 4th of July holiday everyone! Catch you next week…

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Pattern Hack Tutorial: DIY Puff Sleeve Peplum Top Using McCalls 7722

You can download and print the free pdf illustrated copy of the tutorial 

“An excellent woman [one who is spiritual, capable, intelligent, and virtuous], who is he who can find her? Her value is more precious than jewels and her worth is far above rubies or pearls.”

Proverbs 31:10 (amp)

Hi Everyone!

Happy Hump Day! I want to thank everyone for all of your comments and kind words from yesterday’s post.  It always keeps me encouraged.  Today’s post is short and sweet. As I mentioned yesterday I created a pattern hack tutorial for the peplum portion of this top.  If you missed yesterday’s post you can catch up here.

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This was a fun make and creating the peplum wasn’t hard at all.  I basically created rectangles using my desired measurements and used the cut and spread method of patterning to create the fullness for the peplum.  You can download and print the free pdf illustrated copy of the tutorial by clicking on the link below.

Puff sleeve peplum top tutorial

If you make it and have questions feel free to reach out to me I’d love to help. And would love it even more to see your finished version.

That’s all for now.  I hope you have a great rest of your week. Until next time.

XOXO!

❤️ Iris

DIY Knit Asymmetric Peplum Top Using McCalls 7722

This top has so much drama with the sleeves and peplum and is so figure flattering. I was aiming for a chic street style vibe.

“And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 (amp)

Hello Everyone!

Happy Tuesday! I pray that God bless you all with an abundance of peace this week. I was so excited to share this week’s make with you that I decided to post it a day early!

I loooooove this top! I got the inspiration from one of my favorite designers Johanna Ortiz. I love her work and have been keeping up with her collections for the past year. Below is the inspiration piece

While I love it as is. It’s cold in Wisconsin already and I wanted to make something more weather appropriate and practical for my lifestyle.

So I got the idea to create a knit version using McCalls 7722 for the bodice and sleeves and self-draft the peplum pattern. I created a pattern hack tutorial for the peplum. It will be up on the blog tomorrow.

This is a really great pattern as is. It has a cropped and longer length option as well as a few sleeve variations. It comes together quickly and the fit is good. I used view (A) for the bodice because it’s cropped and view (D) for the sleeves. I cut the pattern size 18 and it fit perfectly.

The fabric is a black ponte knit that I picked up at Joann fabric. I love the feel of ponte. The rayon in the fabric gives it such a luxurious feel and great elasticity. I plan on buying more for a few other knitwear projects.

This top has so much drama with the sleeves and peplum and is so figure flattering. I was aiming for a chic street style vibe. I paired it with my skinny jeans, a black obi belt and added more drama with black Stiletto suede boots that I recently purchased from Forever 21.

Well that’s all for now. Until next time.

XOXO!

❤️ Iris

DIY Summer Dress using McCalls 7774 & 7627

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:16 (amp)

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:16 (amp)

Happy Monday Everyone!

I pray that this week has greeted you with excitement and anticipation for a great productive week ahead!  That was my prayer this morning.  I’ve been busy lately and started to feel a little run down but I decided to give myself a very lazy Sunday in order to prepare for this week.  Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to do that.

This weeks post is a DIY Dress that I have been slowly bringing together over the course of the last 2 weeks.  I knew what I wanted initially but as I was putting the pieces together I found myself taking a more organic design process.  Making changes to the design as I went along.

Inspiration

This dress was inspired by a lot of the very feminine and soft dresses that i’ve been seeing on the runway. Spring/Summer 18 designers featured them and the trend is extending into fall 18 as well.  I knew I wanted something soft and feminine but also practical.  Something that I would actually wear.

Fabric

This is an Ankara print that I purchased from House of Mami Wata .  She has an etsy shop and I am really enjoying her print selection.  She also has very prompt delivery.  I got my fabric in 2 days.  I chose this fabric because at first glance it just looks like a regular cotton floral print but it has a textured black background that lets you know that its a wax print.  Which I  love.  Here is an upclose picture of it.

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What I did

  1. I used McCalls 7774 view C for the skirt.  While I liked the gathered waistline as well as the pockets I didn’t like that the bottom was just an attachment to add length.  I wanted more of a flounce or ruffled bottom.  So I slash and spread the bottom pattern piece adding about 10-12 additional inches to the pattern piece which added an additional 20-24 inches of  fullness to the hemline.  It gave the dress a more dramatic flare.
  2. For the bodice I used McCalls 7627.  I have been playing with wrap dresses and tops all summer and wanted to play with a faux wrap bodice for this dress.  It gave me an attractive neckline and because I made this pattern already for the Sunday Wrap Dress I knew that the bodice would fit.  The only thing I did was add 2 inches to the wrap front so that it would extend completely to the side seam.  This made the dress more comfortable to wear and gave me complete coverage in the bust area.
  3. The other change that I made was to shorten the dropped shoulder to end at my shoulder line so that I could add a sleeve.
  4. For the sleeve this is a self drafted flounce sleeve.  Which is basically a circle skirt on my arm so to speak.  I just measured the circumference of the bodice armscye and followed the instructions for finding the circumference of a circle skirt.
  5. I didn’t follow any of the instructions for this pattern and I tried a few new finishing techniques which I was very happy with the results of.  I installed my very first lapped zipper which I am really enjoying and plan on doing again.  I used black single fold bias tape to finish the hem of the dress instead of a double fold hem and for the sleeve I used my serger on the narrow napkin fold hem setting to give it a clean finish.

Style it

This dress has it going on all by itself. (lol!)  The print is so bold and the flounce hem and sleeve only add to the character of the dress that I decided to keep the accessories to a minimum.  It needed a belt to break up the print and I found this burgundy colored belt with a gold buckle at Target for $15. and the shoes were a recent purchase from the DSW clearance rack for $30.  They are Madden Girl.  I chose them because it gives the dress a modern edge and me the height that I need to balance out the fullness of the dress.

This weeks photo shoot was fun.  I have to thank my long time sewing student Yvett for being this weeks photographer.  This is her last year of high school and then she’s off to fashion design school.  I love her drive and focus.  A great young person! who does some cool stuff with an iphone camera!

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Well thats it for now!  Have a blessed week!

xoxo!

Iris

 

Sunday Wrap Dress and Pattern Review McCalls M7627

The best feeling in the world to me is to go to church and honor God by wearing something that I made with the gift that He gave me.  

“……to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,the oil of joy, instead of mourning, and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3

 

Hello Everyone!

I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in 2 weeks.  The last two weeks have been very busy and i’ve been working on releasing a pre-fall mini collection for my clothing label Virtuous By Design.  Which is exciting!!! but has pulled my attention in other places.  However, this week I got a small opportunity to work on this wrap dress.  I absolutely love a wrap dress. They are timeless, figure flattering and very comfortable.

I made it to wear to church using Mccalls M7627, view C.  I don’t know about you guys but I love getting dressed up for church.  Especially when I get the opportunity to make my church attire.  The best feeling in the world to me is to go to church and honor God by wearing something that I made with the gift that He gave me.

Below are a few pictures of my make along with a brief pattern review. I want to thank my mom for being my impromptu photographer for this post.

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Pattern Description: wrap dress with full circle voluminous skirt. I love this dress!

Pattern Sizing: I made it with a size 18 and graded to a size 20 at the waist, but I should have made a 16 and graded to an 18 at the waist. It really does run large.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I loooove the shape of this dress.  It is very figure flattering, I’m not always a fan of facings but for this dress it gives it a very clean finish and makes sewing and finishing a breeze.

Fabric Used: 100% cotton.  It is an Ankara print that my children brought me back from their family visit to Ghana last summer. The sash I made using a polyester fabric that I intended to use as a lining for another project but the color was perfect and I needed the extra fabric.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: no.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Definitely. This is such a fun dress! I am going to make one for my mom for her birthday.  She thinks its pretty.

Conclusion: this was a fun dress to make and I am really happy with it. It makes me feel so pretty.

Well that’s it for now! Until the next time!

xoxo,

Iris