Simplicity 1873: #EasterSpringDress2017

I thought I would take a break from my winter coat and join in on the spring dress sewalong. When I picked up this fabric I was thinking a mod 60s style shift dress but then quickly retreated back to my fit-n-flare comfort zone and used Simplicity 1873 instead.

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I sewed the View C bodice with the longer skirt of view A. Boy I am glad I did because this is just on the cusp of being shorter than I like.

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The fit isn’t the best. I must admit I heard about this sew along a while ago when Akram first posted it on We Sew Retro but I didn’t know I was going to participate until last week so I didn’t have time to muslin. In retrospect I probably did but this is the excuse that I am telling myself.

I cut a 14, some reviewers said that the waist was too small and since the pattern didn’t have any finished waist measurements I walked the pattern and it did seem awfully small so I graded it out to a 16 at the waist. Mistake. I should have just done what I always do and cut a straight size. At least now I know for next time! It’s OK now I have extra room in the dress if I need to eat a whole ham or something.

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By design the bodice ends just above the natural waist but I would prefer it to be dropped another inch. Also The back is quite high and I didn’t have any zippers that long so I scooped out the back which I think looks more flattering anyway.

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I would have taken more outdoor photos but my remote ran out of battery 

I love the pleat design in this pattern, I will definitely use it again when I have directional prints. This dress only used 3.36 yards ( I had asked for 3.5 yds but this was all that was left on the bolt). In any case I feel like that’s pretty economical considering the bodice is self-lined and the skirt looks twirly.

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Obligatory guts shot!

For the buttons I hemmed and hawed over what to use. I did not want to go out and buy more since my button stash is sort of out of control. I had robins egg blue buttons that I liked witht the fabric but they weren’t big enough. I ended up using these which are vintage self covered button blanks. I was going to cover them but then I  sort of liked the way the brushed metal looked with the fabric and Tony agreed and so it was.

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This dress was a good break from all the hand sewing on my coat and I managed to knock it out in a day and a half. More importantly the weather is actually starting to turn around here so I even got to wear it already!!!! The bodice needs some adjusting but I think this is a good basic dress pattern and I won’t be surprised it I sew it up a few more times.

Butterick 5814 – Betty Bombshell

I apologize for my lapse in posting. I have been trying to get a youtube channel up and the weathers been so grey and gloomy that it has been difficult to take photographs. Also I have now managed to stuff my stash full of fall/winter fabric just in time for spring so i’m sort of at a quandary of “what to make next”. I am sort of wanting to make a wool coat but fear that being out of sync with the seasonings will make for a bad blog post….Im coming into that dangerous time were the the blog is starting to dictate the sewing  and not the other way around which is not were I want to be!

For todays dress I used the bodice of Butterick 5814 and a self drafted skirt.

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I spent weeks working on the bodice and ran into a slew of fitting issues. I wanted to lengthen the front but of course the pattern didn’t provide any lines . I also tried  to raise the neckline a tad for modesty ( though I think its still a little bare and I may add some lace in later). I also futzed around with the sleeves since they kept falling off. I eventually got it to an OK place but i’m not 100% pleased with it. The pleats in the bodice create some fullness that Im not loving. I tried to take my time and tried some new (to me) techniques. I used some twill tape to stabilize the bias cu v-neck and back line. I also added in so stay tape before sewing in the zipper.

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The bodice also has spiral steel boning added to the lining. I made casing for the boning out of rayon seam binding from my stash. It’s all inclosed inside the lining so you won’t see the green when it is done.

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The skirt was a headache as well. I used an online tutorial for how to flat draft the skirt and the first muslin had these wacky wide fins on my hips. It took 3 more tries before I got something I was happy with and even still I had to pull the dress on and off a half dozen times shaving millimeters off to get the perfect fit.  I also contemplated for a while on what to do with the lining. The fashion fabric has a slight stretch to it which makes sitting down in a form fitting pencil skirt a little more comfortable. However I knew I wanted to wear this dress with heels which means stockings are needed and that means slippery lining. I ended up putting in a full lining out of matching bemburg. I left the skirt lining bigger then the fashion fabric in order to accommodate thigh spread when sitting. I am happy I did because I think it adds a luxurious feel to the finished dress.

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You’ll also notice from the above picture that I added a kick pleat to the lined skirt. I am very happy with how this turned out though I don’t think I would self-draft this again. I want to try and find a pattern that already has it included so that I can get the precise angles.

At least for now I feel like all the effort was worth it because I feel like Marilyn when I put it on even if the bodice is  bit wonky!

Unfortunately the fabric doesn’t photography well. The  sheen of the sateen brings out every little wrinkle. If you want to see the dress in motion Click Here

Sari Anna

As the weather warms up I thought it was time to sew up another of my vintage saris. This time I chose a silk one and the Maxi version of the Anna dress from By Hand London.

According to the envelop you need 5+ yards of fabric but I have found that the skirt on this dress is WAY WAY WAY longer then any person needs so I ignore the cut layout and have the skirt cut on the cross grain instead.

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I was able to cut the whole dress out of 3 yards of fabric ( 45″ wide). Since I had so much fabric left over I also did a self lining and underlined the top of the skirt. I have never worked with 100% silk before and this was not an easy task. It was so light and ethereal which made it a major pain to sew. The finished dress is OK but I would be pretty embarrassed to wear it out of the house. It’s comfortable so I am treating it as a glamorous house dress for days when I want to put a little more effort than just yoga pants.

Simplicity 1590 sans peplum

I was really in love with my “whine” pants from last week but I couldn’t find much in my closet that would work with them. Well that’s a problem that is easily remedied. I had in my mind a classic 40s shirt with collar and short sleeves. Simplicity 1590 had enough of the elements that it would make a good jumping off point.

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I used view B with the collar but I didn’t want the peplum or the ties. I re-drafted the front and back pattern to just extend straight down and tested it out with some junk green fabric. The white bits in the pictures are the parts of the pattern that I added on. I lengthened the back piece by about 6 inches and then extended the front middle to go all the way across.  After doing this green muslin I ended up flareing out the sides of these a bit more  to accommodate my hips.

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The original pattern had normal triangular darts. At first I tried making them into double pointed darts but I wasn’t in love with the way it looked. I ended up doing dart tucks that extend 2″ above the waist and 1″ below the waist. I like how it reduces the bulk of the fabric when it’s tucked in but still has that blousy look

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Since the embroidery was such a success on my girly confection dress  I decided to try it again  in a much subtler way. I bet you didn’t even see it.

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The real question is how does it look with my pants….exactly how I imagined!

 

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Simplicity 3688: the “whine” pants

I have had this pattern for quite some time now and never got around to making anything from it other then stealing the skirt pieces for another dress. I bought a pair of pine green wide leg trousers a few months back and I really loved the way looked on my so I figured this was a good pattern to start with for a me-made version.

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The end result was everything I had hoped. The only thing I would change would be to add some pockets and do a curved waistband.

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So why are they my whine pants?  Well first off they are wine colored but I had such a hard time making them that I was whining the whole time! Don’t get me wrong the pattern is actually pretty easy to make but I was a bit of a perfectionist and redid several parts 2 or 3 times ( Zipper, Cuff, and Waistband)…also when I finished Tony whined that I made another retro pattern.

I made a couple of alterations. I added 2″ to the front and back crotch length ( so 4″ total) it makes it hang a little low but it’s just perfect when I go to sit down so I’ll take it. Also most of the authentic 40s pants seem to do the same thing. I also added 5″ to the length of the pants. Some of that additional length was used to make cuffs. I think the cuffs really help to anchor the wide leg and help it hang better. Finally I widened the waistband to be 2″ though I wish I had curved it so it would have sat close to the body better.

This was my first lapped zipper. I must have watched that tutorial 8 times and it still took me 3 attempts before I sewed it correctly.  I overcame my obstacles in the end!

I took a fellow bloggers advice and put the zipper in first and then adjusted the fit along the darts. Boy did it need adjusting. In the picure you can see how I more then doubled the length of the front dart and widened them. I also took in the center front and back seems as well. After it was all said and done I think I took in almost 3″

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All the effort was worth it because I think they hang beautifully and they make my legs look ten feet long.

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Vogue 1353: AKA Luck Be A Lady Dress

I adore window shopping the ModCloth website. Even before I started sewing I remembering thinking how fabulous it would be to have a closet full of there retro dresses. Alas I could never afford them. Last year I fell in love with the Luck Be A Lady dress on Modcloth but I just knew it would be too short on me and who’s going to pay $80 for polyester anyway. I pinned it to serve as inspiration.

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It wasn’t until I found Vouge 1353 pattern that I got the idea to make this dress myself. The vogue pattern had all the important elements:  pleated neckline,  fit-n-flair shape, pleated skirt.

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I wanted to stick with the same slightly nautical colorway of the original. I picked a blue and cream fabric in a linen blend from Joann’s and went to work. Since I was super excited about this dress I actually did multiple muslins (look who’s growing up!).  To get a better fit I lowered the arm scythe by 7/8″ and narrowed the straps by 1/2″. I lengthened the front and sides by and inch but graded to nothing in the center back in lieu of a swayback adjustment.

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I kept the 6 pleats on the bodice since I wasn’t to confident in my ability to draft it down to 2. I think it gives it a softer look anyway.

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Most of the changes I made to match the inspiration happened on the skirt. I shorted the blue fabric by an 1″ and then cut a 9″ wide strip of the cream fabric folded in half. I serged the white strip onto the bottom of the skirt. Pressed towards the blue and then edge stitched it to keep the allowance in place. I vastly prefered this to my normal hem procedure and I love how clean it looks. Don’t think this would would as easily on a curved hem but I will keep in the back of my head the next time I have a similar skirt.

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The pattern had the skirt pleats all running in one direction. I used the same pleat markings but did them as inverted box pleats instead to more closely mimic the inspiration dress. I also added some side seam pockets since the original dress had them and all girls love pockets.

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I used cream Bemburg lining on the bodice and cream thread in my serger (Though in retrospect I would have preferred if I had used  navy lining darker thread).  I had a feeling that the white was going to peek out so I sewed a sort of facing around the neckline in the largest scrap of blue I could find. I figured the neckline would be the most noticeable place if the white did peak out. I also put a waist stay which is a first for me. I was hoping it would take some of the pressure off the invisible zip at the waist seam, though it seems to make it a little more difficult to zip up.

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I am so pleased with the finished dress and how close it is to the original. It’s still pretty cold here in Colorado to wear this dress but pop a blouse underneath and  it’s a much warmer option.

 

 

 

If you liked this post you may also like: Anchors Away

Finishing the Formal Dress

I gave up on my blue taffeta dress quite some time ago. I had already decided to make something else for the event and it was just staring at me in my pile of failures. there were just so many things wrong:

  1. The original idea of a draped bodice was just beyond my capabilities.
  2. The icky polyester taffeta would be sooooo uncomfortable to wear.
  3. The design doesn’t have much mobility.
  4. Completely unpractical to travel across the country in a plane with the giant petticoat.

Pattern Review.com was running a UFO contest in January so I thought it might be worth just finishing it for the contest and maybe I could even recoup the material cost with the gift card winnings. Spoiler Alert:

UFO Contest 2017

 

I found out about the contest on January 29 and procrastinated a few days before starting. It had to be submitted by Feb 4th and I wasn’t sure I had time to do the dress justice.

I started with making the skirt. I want to do this before the bodice since I know that it will take up the most fabric and I wanted a properly full skirt.

To start I used the waist from a skirt pattern in Gertie’s Ultimate dress book.

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I placed it on the corner of the fabric and then used a tape measurer to mark a 30″ skirt around it. I cut one on a fold and two  on the salvage. I sewed the three panels together and pinned the box pleats in place, ironed them and basted it.

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Since the taffeta unravels like a beast I decided to finish the top edge with some black hem tape so I won’t have to worry about it as I handle it. Ialso finished the bottom with a blind hem.dsc_0067

Now onto the bodice. when we last left it looked like thisdsc_0047

Despite all my efforts I could not get it to work. I would drape it, pin it, sew it, put it back on the dress form and suddenly it would transform into a tortured mess. I think I did 3 tries before I abandoned it.  A quick pivot and I ended up with this:

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I had already drafted the bodice as I had intended the draped fabric to attach to it. I glammed up the neckline with some simple beading using grey glass pearls with smaller black iridescent beads flanking either side.

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I’m not sure I will ever wear it out…I’m not sure I’ll even keep it together, I mean this bodice is just too impractical. I may cut it up and turn the bottom into a skirt and salvage the beading for another project. Or perhaps draft another bodice with a little more coverage. I still don’t think I will call it quits on this dress until I run out of fabric and can’t do anymore! The skirt on OTOH is what retro dreams are made of. So much fabric and the perfect shape with the matching petticoat. I didn’t even bother putting horse hair in the hem like I had originally planned.  I will certainly be coming back to this skirt design perhaps in a more  casual fabric.

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Now it’s off to fabric mart to spend my winnings. One thing’s for sure, I am getting the Ginger Jeans pattern that I have had my eye on for months!