Monday, July 16, 2012

Scirocco times 2

How is every one's summer going? Our summer has been pretty awesome so far, the husband and I are both on vacation for two weeks so we've been having lots of fun (and lots of laziness.) Also, with this vacation I have made my triumphant return to sewing! I hadn't even touched my machine in weeks since coming off of a very disappointing Zephyr fiasco. Do you ever have such a fail that it just puts a bad taste in your mouth for a while? That was definitely me and the Zephyr romper top. I halfway salvaged the fabric and 4 hours I put into it by making it a top, I just need to sew some buttons on and maybe I'll show you. Or maybe not, it made me so mad I don't know that I will even bother. (I should add that my frustrations had nothing to do with the pattern per say, more like I just discovered that I might actually hate sewing with knits.) However, fabric has already been bought for a second woven version, I paid full price for that pattern, you'd better believe I'm going to churn out something wearable for $17, like it or not. ;)

So, after a few weeks cooling off period I looked at the calendar and realized that we have a summer wedding to attend to in one week and the girls had nothing to wear! Oh, shock and horror. Rather than go to the store and buy an overpriced, cheaply made dressy dress I made the girls two new ones, in 24 hours and at under $20 a piece, no less.  I actually conjured up a sewing storm and sewed three dresses in two days. I'll share Lily's wedding dress later, this post is all about the Sciroccos! I think I've talked before about my new admiration of Figgy's Patterns, and I even have a few pieces made up I just neglected to blog, shame on me! The PDF is available on the website for a bargain $10 price. You don't get the cute tag and the lovely packaging, but you can print the pattern as much as you like (no tracing!) and if you misplace the directions you can reprint them. How many hours have I wasted looking for misplaced directions? Too many...

The back doesn't gape in real life, but too lazy to fix it!
I know, it's freakin adorable

 I made Isla's dress in the 2/3 size in a shiny blue satin that cost me a whopping $8 for a yard and a half, with plenty left over for whatever, due to the extra wide yardage. I tucked some white velvet ribbon under the pleat in front but somehow managed to get the exposed ribbon widths uneven on both incarnations of the dresses I made. I swear I checked and double checked to make sure they looked even before I sewed them down, but oh well! Hopefully no one at the wedding will point out that one ribbon is one centimeter wider than the other. I was able to sew this dress up in a few hours, (about 4 episodes of Doctor Who, for what it's worth) and it really was a lot easier than I expected. 
I totally had to bribe her with jelly beans for these pictures. Mother of the year.

Which is not to say it was easy, if Figgy's didn't already have this totally awesome tutorial up on their site I'm not sure I could have puzzled out the interesting construction on my own without throwing another sewing tantrum. As it was, I think it took me 3 tries to figure out how to finish off the tops of the sleeves, but really, once you see how it's done it all makes sense. I'd heard this pattern runs a little short but forgot to lengthen the pattern pieces, so I cheated and used steam a seam around the bottom of my ruffles and just ironed them up and topstitched. That's what I say, but really, it was laziness.  I don't have a rolled hem foot like suggested, my serger makes pretty pathetic rolled hems, and satin is slippery(!) and doesn't hold a crease well.If it was a cotton I would have just folded under twice, but it worked out well enough for a one occasion dress. 

The skirt portion does tend to ride up around the girls hips abit, but I think I just need to put in a longer elastic and that should correct the problem. I followed the length guide in the pattern because it was too late to measure for myself, but I must have sewed the casing a smidge too tight because it was a bit of a bear to get the elastic all the way through and I had an extra 1 1/2" I couldn't seem to get in the casing so I just left it out which made it snugger.   All in all I am super pleased and think it came out just fabulous, my little blue eyed babe is going to be turning heads when she is out dancing at the wedding!

Fresh off the success of the blue dress I pulled out some cheap cotton lawn from and made one for big sister. I had just enough fabric to cut out the skirt and the outside bodice, but had to use a cream batiste for the bodice lining and the ruffle lining, and a dusty cotton lawn for the skirt lining.  I had to do some really creative cutting to get it cut out of my 1 yard cuts, but I did it! (I just don't recommend it.) Naturally as is the case when making a pattern the second time, I learn from my first mistakes and screw up everything I did right the first time instead. Oh well. Third times the charm? Also, I had to figure out how to arrange the pattern pieces to have different fabrics on the inside and outside, which shouldn't have been so hard but...oh well. For Lily's dress I cut out the 4/5 but lengthened the skirt pieces to the 6/7 mark, but even those got shortened a bit because the dotty lawn was a bit scratchy and super sheer so I cut out and extra set of ruffles in cream and just sewed them right side together to create lined flounces. Easy peasy, and I didn't have to hem 3 rows of ruffles. I think I will probably always do it this way, unless my fabric is quite thick I don't think it affects the drape.


 The first time I saw Scirocco I thought it was just adorable, but wasn't 100% sure how I felt about the exposed back. It made me a little uneasy to see all that skin, but really I was just being a fuddy duddy because seeing it made up it's not inappropriate at all. The dress is a bit slim fit and can be difficult to wrangle on, but once it's on it fits so well it's worth it. 

I was thinking of cutting out a third scirocco dress to sew tonight, but decided to pace myself so I don't run out of sewing mojo!  I'll leave you with this picture of Lily, my newly five year old going on 15. 


  1. I loveboth versions but the back worries me as well. We have a playhouse in our backyard too. But because of our HOA rules i can't paint it purple.

    1. The back really is cute, but you could easily add a little more fabric to the sides to make it less open but still keep the twisty back look. And aren't playhouses the best? That was our summer project, and I picked the purple, it was the compromise between the two girls wanting pink or rainbow.

  2. These are lovely dresses! I'm happy you decided to plug back in to sewing!! Did you see the Craftsy class for the Zephyr?
    Sewing with knit fabric can be stressful especially if your machine is fighting you or the knit is super thin. The Zephyr works very well with woven fabric just be sure it's lightweight!! :)

    1. Oh, how I wish I wasn't cursed with bad timing! I'd been dancing around the idea of buying the pattern, and only when I'd finally pulled the trigger and ordered it, did I hear about the craftsy class! I definately would have taken the class, but since I already have the pattern it's hard for me to part with my fabric dollars to buy it again...

  3. I just ordered the Zephyr! i wonder what problems you had...I'm going to check out the link on craftsy. I love the dresses you've made! adorable!!!!!!!

    1. I think the main problem I had was the knit was pretty thin, also, I was having a hard time visualizing how the neck placket was supposed to turn out, and trying to unpick those zigzags on that knit? Forgetaboutit. I decided to just scrap it instead of mostly starting over to get the clean placket look I really wanted. Also, my daughters are pretty long in the torso, and I think I might need to add an inch or two next time I draft it up, I prefer a little slouch to looking too small. Poor things got their short legs from me. :(