Saturday, June 2, 2012

Sewing with Tribal Prints

They are all the rage right now, those tribal prints. I'd been looking for some great ones to stock in Bamblue for awhile, and finally came across these amazing ITYs that make a serious statement. As I'm an absolute sucker for vibrant, eye-catching prints, I had to sew these up immediately.

To me, these prints have "maxi-dress" written all over them, so I pulled out my tried and true Simplicity 3503. This is such a quick and easy dress to whip together on a Saturday morning. Comfy too; I've been wearing it all day, although I'm sure my fellow library patrons thought I was a tad overdressed for the occasion. The ITY is fabulous, as you don't need to worry about how it will wash and it doesn't wrinkle. This is very nice quality too: not too heavy, nor too light, with wonderful draping properties.

Pattern: Simplicity 3503
Fabric: Ikat Print ITY from Bamblue Fabrics

I also wanted to do a tribal-ly McCall's 6109 (sadly, OOP now) with some contrast fabric for the bodice. I've done this one a couple of times, and have found that the view with the tank-style bodice runs a little short. I added about 2 inches, and I think I prefer the fit this way (although I am very long-torso-ed, so that probably has something to do with it).

 Pattern: McCall's 6109
Skirt Fabric: Tribal Print ITY from Bamblue Fabrics
Bodice Fabric: Black Bamboo Jersey from Bamblue Fabrics 

Moving right along in my tribal print love affair is New Look 6648, one of's best patterns of 2012. I could not agree more with that assessment. Such an easy, comfortable and stylish pattern! The only thing I don't understand at all is why the pattern calls for cutting out the hem band with the grain rather than against it. I was very troubled by this, particularly with this striped print - the stripes go the wrong way! I decided to leave it as is, thinking that perhaps the band is meant to be very tight across the hips? I'm still not sure. My hubby, who usually tells me when I've made something that looks ridiculous, assured me that it looks fine, so I'm leaving it.

Pattern: New Look 6648
Fabric: Chevron Snakeskin ITY Print from Bamblue Fabrics

Oddly cut hem band aside, I loved the pattern so much that I wanted to make the sleeveless cowl neck version too. I decided to use my orange honeycomb ITY for this one. I love the top and the end result, but I have to say, hemming the armholes on this thing gave me fits! The shape of the armhole is fairly steep, then takes a precipitous curve, making hemming a nightmare. Next time, I'll just do facings.

Pattern: New Look 6648
Fabric: Orange Honeycomb ITY from Bamblue Fabrics

And now we come to something that I've been trying to make for two years and have just not gotten around to it. This winter, I swear to you, not a day went by that I did not wish for a basic black, drapey, sweater knit cardigan. I had the patterns. I had the fabric. The time? Not so much. I almost, almost broke down and - gasp! - bought a RTW model. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. So, I didn't get around to making this until May when it was 85 degrees. I'm telling myself that I'm just very on top of things concerning my winter 2013 sewing progress.

I used McCalls 6084, which ended up being not as drapey as I was hoping. It also has a dart by the shoulder that I don't understand in the least. I'm sure it is meant to add to the drapi-ness, or the fit, or something, but frankly, I'm not seeing it. Also, trying to transfer the dart markings onto this type of sweater knit was just not happening for me, so there is a very good chance that my darts are in the wrong place. Well, who cares. I like the end result, and it certainly fills the bill.

Nice fabric, no? I wish I had some to sell, but sadly, I do not.
 Pattern: McCall's 6084
Fabric: A divinely soft sweater knit from Fabric Outlet in SF

This next one has nothing to do with tribal prints, or ITY, or seasonally inappropriate sewing, or anything like that. But with this one, I took the wildly unusual step (for me) of using a woven to make myself a dress. It's got a zipper in the back and everything! This is New Look 6557, a pattern that I'm sure every other seamstress in the world (except me) has sewn a million times. It's a really easy pattern, so I can see why it is so popular. I used a rather transparent cotton lawn for this dress, so I lined the whole thing, but otherwise I made no other modifications.

Pattern: New Look 6557
Fabric: Cotton lawn

That's all I have to show you today. But now that I've gotten tribal prints out of my system, I cannot wait to get the new supima cotton floral knits that I"ve got coming in the next week or two. Stay tuned for my next obsessive sewing chapter!

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