November Challenge: Lady Skater-frew

skaterfrew front

Say hello to my latest skater baby: the Lady Skater-frew!

The Basics: 

Pattern: Lady Skater and Sewaholic Renfrew

Fabric: 3 yds of ponte de roma from Girl Charlee

Alterations: Blended bodice patterns together and added 3″ length to skirt.

Notions: Elastic and Wundertape.

Make it again?: I’ll definitely make another Lady Skater, though I’m not sure about another Lady Skater-frew. I love it, but I think one is enough (for now).

Favorite parts: Same as the last two skaters. I really adore the cowl on this top. It feels like wearing a giant (but very pretty) sweater!

skaterfrew side

Other thoughts: I really don’t have anything new to say that I haven’t mentioned with my navy and black and white Lady Skaters. It’s super comfortable and very quick to put together. Honestly, the longest part of construction was my pattern alterations. I paid careful mind to alterations, since the Renfew top uses a 5/8″ seam allowance and the Lady Skater uses 3/8″.

Basically, I laid the Lady Skater bodice over the Renfew pattern and blended the two together. I left the neckline and arm scythe of the Renfew alone so that I wouldn’t mess up the neckline or the sleeves. I thought about adding length to the sleeves, but I’m glad I didn’t, since they’re a little too long as is. The sleeve length doesn’t bother me too much, since I like slightly longer sleeves on my sweaters.

skaterfrew back

To make sure the dress would fit okay, I basted the sides together down to the waist before I serged it. I did have to take in the sleeves and the upper part of the bodice a bit (still could probably take them in more), but again, that’s primarily because I was dealing with two different seam allowances.

As I mentioned, I really like the giant cowl on this dress. I think I’ll make a cowl neck Renfrew top soon. I took Tasia’s advice and stitched down the seam allowance to the neckline, which makes a nice finish. I used a zig-zag stitch, but I think I’ll use my twin needle in the future.

skaterfrew doof

Overall, I love this dress! My only complaint about it is the material is prone to pilling. I’m having this problem with my other skaters too. I need to de-pill them and probably start hand washing them. Boo. Still, they’re pretty and fun to wear!

Have you made a Lady Skater hack? How did it turn out?

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September Challenge: All About That Polka

Dots, that is. As promised, here’s Lady Skater #2! Better late than never, right?

polka dot front

The Basics: 

Pattern: Lady Skater with cap sleeves

Fabric: 2 yds of B&W polka dot ponte de roma from Girl Charlee

Alterations: Added 1″ length to bodice and 3″ length to skirt.

Notions: Elastic.

Make it again?: Yup. I’ve got a Skater/Renfrew hack next up on my sewing list!

Favorite parts: Same as last time. Comfort, quick finish, twirl-friendly skirt, flattering bodice.

polka dot side

Other thoughts: As expected, my navy Lady Skater has been a regular since I made it a few weeks ago. This polka dot fabric seemed perfect for LS #2!

Unfortunately, I had a few issues with this one. The main issue I had was that somehow I couldn’t eek out enough fabric to cut the neckband on the fold. At least, not on the stretchy cross-grain, which is what it’s supposed to be cut on. Okay, no big deal, just add a teeny bit extra on the pattern piece, cut 2, and combine. Simple, right? Well, I stretched out the band far too much as I sewed it to the bodice, resulting in the ugliest neckline ever. So I seam-ripped, and repeated. The second neckband was better, but kind of droopy. I think I cut it a bit too long.

Polka dot back

I also had pattern placement issues for the 3/4 length sleeve that I originally wanted, probably because I added length to both the bodice and the skirt. I also had 3 yards of fabric to work with on my navy dress, but only 2 for this one. I don’t actually mind the cap sleeve on this dress, since it gives me something a little different from the navy skater.

My last mistake was totally self-inflicted derpiness. I was about 6″ short on the amount of clear elastic I needed to finish the front bodice, buuuuuut I didn’t realize it until after I attached clear elastic to the back bodice. Derp. I used some leftover regular 3/8″ elastic to stabilize the bodice. Works fine, but the waist is a tiny bit wonky with the different amounts of elasticity.

Sewing up this baby was a breeze, even with seam ripping. I started around 7pm on a Monday evening and finished hemming around 9:30pm. Not bad for a single night!

seated dress

I really like how easy it is to style this dress. I have so many colored cardigans, leggings, and tights in my closet that I can use to add a little something extra, though I really need some more colored belts. I’m thinking a bright red belt is a must.

Next up is my Renfrew/Lady Skater hack. I found some gorgeous magenta ponte de roma from Girl Charlee, so I’m hoping to get to that sometime in the next week or so for October’s Frocktober theme. Probably a cowl neck with full length sleeves.

Have you made a Lady Skater hack? How did it turn out?

She’s Just a Skater Girl, pt. 2

I can’t help it. Every time I think “skater dress,” this some comes to mind.

I know, I’m terrible. It’s high school coming back to haunt me.

I made McCall’s 6754 a few month’s ago, and I really like it. Well, I like the dress itself for its comfort, but the fabric is just meh. I finally caved and joined the Girl Charlee bandwagon, and oh man, I don’t think I can go back to JoAnn’s knit selection.

skater front

The Basics: 

Pattern: Lady Skater with 3/4 sleeves

Fabric: 2 yds of navy ponte de roma from Girl Charlee

Alterations: Added 2″ length to bodice and 2″ length to skirt.

Notions: Clear elastic.

Make it again?: Absolutely. I already have another one planned and on my cutting table!

Favorite parts: Comfort, quick finish (around 3 hours using my BA serger), twirl-friendly skirt, flattering bodice.

How many shots does it take to get at least one decent twirl photo? At least a half dozen.
How many shots does it take to get at least one decent twirl photo? At least a half dozen.

Other thoughts: I don’t know what I can say about this project that hasn’t been said a million times before. I absolutely love this dress. In fact, this may be one of my favorite projects so far this year. Since making it a week ago, I’ve worn it twice (once over the weekend and once to work), and I’m definitely making it a wardrobe staple.

After the disaster that was my Moneta dress, I definitely felt the need to invest in quality fabric. I absolutely adore this ponte de roma. It feels better than wearing my pajamas! The recovery is fantastic, which is great for this particular pattern.

lady skater back

The pattern is drafted for someone who’s 5’5″, so I automatically added 2″ to the bodice and 2″ to the skirt to accommodate my 5’11” frame. The overall length is perfect for wearing this dress to work. Yay comfy work clothes! However, this adjustment dropped the waist a little low for wearing belts, so in future versions, I’ll only add 1″ to the bodice and 3″ to the skirt. I may need to do a teeny swayback alteration as well, but I’m curious to see if shortening the bodice will remedy the back pooling situation.

I thought that the neckband finish was an interesting touch on this pattern. Unlike the Renfrew (and the Moneta, if I remember correctly), you sew one shoulder, attach the neckline, *then* sew the second shoulder. I rather like this approach. It feels easier and a bit speedier to me.

skater side

When it came to sewing up the side seam, I ignored the directions and took the flat sewing approach used in RTW fashion, assembling the entire front and back (including the cuffs) and then sewing everything at once. It leaves a little bit of loose thread on the edge, but no worse than any of my RTW clothes.

I really like Kitschy Coo’s instructions on adding elastic. This is one of the areas where I got lost with my Moneta, but it feels much sturdier in this dress. Basting it in place with a zig-zag stitch makes so much sense!

To hem my dress, I used my super awesome Wundertape to hold the seam allowance in place and finished it off with my twin needle. Super pretty hem for the win! I also used my twin needle on the neckline for a more RTW look.

One more twirl for good measure.
One more twirl for good measure.

Overall, I’m very pleased with this dress. I’ve got a black and white polka dot ponte de roma (my September challenge to make up for missing the monochromatic theme) on my cutting table for a second take on this dress. Hopefully I’ll get it done this weekend. I still have about a yard of the blue for this fabric leftover, so I’m thinking another Mabel is in order too!

Have you made the Lady Skater? What do you think about it?