Thursday, July 2, 2015

Made by Me File/OOTE: A Zara Inspired Birthday! Simplicity 1099 and New Look 6314.

Have you ever been fixated on a "look" and had to have it?  Well a few months ago Zara sold a beautiful sleeveless crop top and matching full skirt with pockets (photos are in the made by me portion towards the bottom) in a pretty African print fabric.  I was head over heels in love with the look.  So even though my normal sizes in Zara had sold out, I thought I would order the one size smaller and see if they fit, and of course they didn't (because Zara is teeny tiny sized).  I went to plan B afterwards and decided that if I couldn't have the exact Zara look, I could at least have a sewn by me version in a fabric just as pretty.

I didn't know when I would want it done by, but I figured if I could finish in time for my birthday (yesterday, yep, same as Canada Day/birthday of Gigi/Sufjan Stevens--he's even my exact freaking age), I could wear this beauty on a very special day.  Now admittedly I didn't finish it until 5:00 pm yesterday, but I took my time and didn't sweat over how long it was taking me, I just enjoyed it during the process.  I think I need to sew like that more in the future, it felt great instead of "OMG I AM NEVER EVER GOING TO FINISH!"

First up is the OOTE portion, followed by the Made by Me File.

Day: Wednesday, July 1, 2015.

Where: Winesday with my brother and our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.

Ease of Wear: (4.5 of 5 stars--5 being the most easy to wear.) Hey! I made it! For me! So it was very easy to wear.  I only put a 4.5 because the Winesday at Whole Foods and the restaurant were blasting the AC and I spent half of the time freezing my a$$ off.

I didn't even have to wear a bra, btw, since the crop top is lined and interfaced, and because I have no real "anything" up there, that's all the support I need.  So even more comfy than usual.  ;-)

Outfit Details:  Top, Simplicity 1099; Skirt, New Look 6314; Sandals, J. Crew here; Sunglasses, Anthropologie.

Anecdote of the Day:  Normally for my birthday dinner we head to sushi, but we took my dad there for Father's Day, and with our budget being so tight, I decided to make my birthday dinner be less expensive, so we went to the Mexican restaurant where we usually go for all birthdays.  It was fun to wear the sombrero.  Pictures are in this Instagram.

INSTAGRAM of the outfit HERE.

Above is the Zara outfit I fell in love with and so desperately wanted to be able to fit into, even though I am a reasonable person and *know* that a Zara size small top and size medium bottom would never ever fit me.  LOL.

After returning the above to the store, I kept in mind what I loved about the outfit, the length of the skirt, the pockets, the ease of two pieces working together, the silhouette, and the beautiful print.  I also decided to change a few things up on my version, including using a top pattern that was a touch longer overall, doing something different to the back of the top, and changing up the neckline.

Enter Simplicity 1099 for the Top and New Look 6314 for the skirt.  Initially I was planning on using the skirt from the 1099 pattern, but it required a whole lot of fabric, even in the shorter skirt, and I would prefer that my skirt not have that much volume, especially for summer.  I may try that skirt with a more formal fabric for winter, but for summer, the NL 6314 fits the bill quite nicely.

The basic idea of this look is close to the Zara images.  Obviously the fabric is very different, but graphically still very bold and colorful.  I bought this fabric from Fabric Mart (it is a Maggy London print--she used it this way in a different colorway), but it sold out.  However, Emma One Sock has a blue version for sale right now, but again, that one will likely sell out, too.

I appreciate that this top and skirt combo does appear to be a dress when worn *just so*.  By the end of the night, the fabric had loosened up a bit and the skirt was riding a touch lower, but only the barest amount of my belly was exposed, so it felt more retro 50s/60s than crazy 80s/90s crop tops.

The NL pattern wanted me to place my skirt pieces on the bias, and while that would have made for a cool print placement and a bit more drape, I didn't need the bias to help with stretch since this sateen fabric has a good amount of lycra in it.  Ultimately I decided to ignore the instructions on placing the pattern pieces on the bias and make the print properly line up with the top, whose pattern pieces said to place them on the straight grain.

I added pockets, using the ones from the Simplicity pattern.  They were fine, although I took off the extraneous bit at the top (it had extra fabric on it as it was supposed to be integrated with the waistband).  They could be a bit deeper, but otherwise I was happy with them as a design detail.

I also chose to make the skirt close up in back, with a zip there, instead of at the side.  It meant adding a seam allowance to the back waistband and back skirt pieces, but that bit of extra work took very little time, but makes getting in and out the skirt a whole lot easier for me.  

The top was interesting in that it called for interfacing all of the lining pieces.  I mean every single one.  I think the decision is sound, though, since it gives the top a lot of structure, meaning if you are as small up top as I am, you can go without the bra (though the back is high enough that as long as you are in a strapless or convertible bra you can wear one, too).  In essence, I made two tops, sewed them up together, but cut out 12 total items (four main fabric, four lining, and four interfacing).  As I wanted to keep the fabric stretchy, I decided to use a stretch fusible interfacing that is meant for knits. It worked well with my cotton stretch lining.

The construction of the top was very precise.  I want to encourage you, if you try this pattern, to make sure to mark all the circles very well and the match points very well.  If you don't, it will be very hard to make the cross back straps work, and to make the princess seams properly line up together.  You also really do need to follow the directions as best you can, and in the right order.  They are involved, but worth the effort.  I still managed to do something wrong, though, and instead of having a clean, enclosed hem, I ended up having to fold under both the lining and main fabric together 5/8", press them, and then carefully topstitch them to create a hem. It is okay, but not nearly as nice as a hidden hem would have been.

I think I love the back as much as the front.  Look at those gorgeous cross back straps!  And sizing wise, they were exactly the right length on me instead of being too long (usually my issue in my upper body is that there--too long straps).

Sizing wise, I made both pieces in a size 12.  I really think I would have done better to make the top in a 10, because there is a bit of excess fabric around my bust and underarms, but I am not super stressed about it enough to go and purchase the next size of patterns down.  (However if Simplicity has another 1.00 per pattern sale at Joann's, I will likely pick it up.)  In a non-stretchy fabric, I would make the 12, though.  The skirt is fine in a 12, though I more closely measure to the 14 or 16.  The hips are free, so that helps, and my waist is smaller.  NL patterns run small in the waist.  In some companies I can wear a 10 in the skirts if the skirts are a-line, but not NL.  I saw this in the Easter dress I made from one of their patterns.

If you look closely at the skirt, you will see my hem has a stitched hem detail.  That is actually a serged edge.  I serge all my hems on my items that I sew, but this time, after finishing, I tried it on, loved the length on me, and also loved the way the serged hem looked, so I kept it.  I don't normally leaving serging visible, but this time it suited the design.  :-)

I am planning on writing these pieces up at Pattern Review, so I will update the links to their pages when I finish each of them.  That is so those of you who would like to learn more about the process can see what I did in greater detail.

Pattern Review of Simplicity 1099 Top.
Pattern Review of New Look 6314 Skirt.

Alrighty, you all have a great day!  Hope everyone's July is off to a great start!