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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
The real question is how does it look with my pants….exactly how I imagined!
I was one of the first people to sew up this pattern into my flamingo dress . I was too antsy to try out that unique triangle back cut out that I just couldn’t wait any longer for someone else to iron out the kinks and tell me the pitfalls.
Well nearly a year later and 4 more people have reviewed it on pattern review but still no one has sewn up the View B. So once again I jumped off into untested waters. I am mowing through sewing projects at a pretty steady clip so I decided I needed to take some action to slow down. I selected a cotton broadcloth in buttercup yellow. Since its a solid I figured the dress could stand to have some interest. Nows as good of time as any to learn hand embroidery!
It didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would. I did both straps over the course of 2 days. I used 8 skeins of embroidery floss for this project. 3 Greens and 3 yellows in light medium and dark tones and 2 pinks in light and medium tones. I mixed the threads so that the embroidery would have more dimension. It looks very good in person but its a little difficult to capture on film. I used very basic stitches: the Lazy Daisy, Chain Stitch and French Knots; the latter being my favorite. Once finished I was pretty happy with it so I decided to put some flowers onto the skirt as well.
The dress is sooooo girly and light and I just want to twirl around in it all day. Perfect for the first fledgling days of spring ahead. The sweetheart neckline with a pseudo pleated shelf bust fits my shape a lot better than the last shelf bust attempt
One area of difficulty was the construction of the bodice. Normally you would construct the outside and then the lining as separate pieces and then attach them at the neckline. This allows you to be able to sandwich the zipper in between the outer and inner layer for a very clean look. This pattern was a little different in that it starts at the top and has you sew each tier of both lining and outside at the same time with one line of stitching. Makes it super stable but it means you can’t do a clean zipper. It took me a bunch of brainpower to figure out how to construct it so that the lining would be free. I think I way over complicated it but I got there in the end so that’s all that matters.
It’s a shame that this view gets bypassed for the triangle back because I think it’s very flattering. My only alterations were to lengthen the front midriff by 1″ and to add side seam pockets….and of course the embroidery.For my first time out the gate with this artform I am pretty proud with the results and can’t wait to try it again. Perhaps on the collar points of a 40s blouse I have on the docket.
I asked Tony what I should sew next and he picked blazer so that’s what I did! I used the same Simplicity 2446 pattern as I did for my Chocolate Wool Blazer, this time I was inspired by view B and picked up a 1/4 yard of black velvet for the contrast collar and pocket flaps.
I felt like my last blazer was a bit too long waisted ( I did add 1.5″ to just as standard practice) so this time around I removed the extensions and went back to the original pattern length. I did however keep the arm length adjustment from before. Unfortunately this blazer was not as enjoyable to sew, both the plaid and velvet were a fraying nightmare. Mostly I just wanted to be done with it….now that it is done I love it!
I remembered to snap a picture of the insides this time before I turned it right side out. In an effort to not make another trip to Joann’s I made my own shoulder-pads this time out of batting and some remnant material. Also in the shot is the fleece that is used as the sleeve heading which gives the shoulder a nice roll.
Even though the velvet in the collar is interface bottom and top it not as crips as I would like. I did a line of invisible hand stitching in the seams where the collar attaches to the blazer to keep it from looking baggy.
For the front I sewed button holes in but I don’t think I will be buttoning this so I didn’t cut them open. For the front leather buttons I used small black buttons to secure them on the back side to make it look clean and professional.
For as much of a struggle as this was to make i’m still pretty pleased with the results…but I have decided to put off any more jacket/coat sewing for awhile. I just want to make a satisfying girly dress next.
I made this shirt months ago but it took me until now to get pictures with my reluctant model.
It’s not a color I would have expected him to pick but its not my place to judge. He had originally wanted snaps on this but I felt like the shirt looked too formal for that and he wanted it to wear with his suit so I convinced him to change to grey buttons instead.
The fabric was really light weight broadcloth so the cuffs turned out well.
Next up we have the vest that I made him for Christmas. I was a little disappointed in the fit, despite measuring his chest ahead of time the size I made for him was just a tad too small. He could button it but I thought it was too tight to be comfortable for any extended period. I did some triage since I wasn’t in the mood to unpick the whole thing apart and just moved the buttons over an inch. Now the buttons aren’t centered as they should be but he assures me no one will notice.
I am very happy with how the notched collar turned out. I already have the wool cut out for a waistcoat for myself!
I didn’t think I was going to have any more time for sewing this year but I did manage to eke out one more dress on Tuesday before my clients came to Denver for the “Ingredients Gala” . The Gala was the kick-off event for what will be my all consuming job for the next 6 weeks.
I used the last of my fabric from the Denver Sewing Guild sale to make Simplicity 8086
I made quite a few changes to the pattern to suit my needs. When I first picked this pattern up I assumed like most people it was separates ( a dress and and and over shirt). Well a quick perusal of the directions reveled that the over shirt is in fact attached along the neck and armholes. So the first modification was to break them apart. I had 4yds of fabric and I was able to do the over-shirt, entire bodice and bodice lining in fashion fabric as well as the longer skirt from View A. I love the rich tones of this fabric and I think the style lines of the dress work well with fabric pattern.
I thought I would share a little mini tutorial on the order of assembly on the dress in case anyone wanted to make them separates like I did. When doing this a sewed some on Monday night and then I couldn’t sleep because I was thinking spatially how to solve the problem and then when I woke up on Tuesday and ripped most of it apart and tried it this way.
- Sew the front bodice to the midriff (repeat for lining).
- Attach the upper back pieces at the shoulder seam (repeat for lining)
- Lay the out side and lining with right sides together and sew along the neck and armholes. Turn and press
- Sandwich the upper back between the lower back outside and lining with the outsides right sides together and the linings right side together.Press down
- Finally, open out the bodice and stitch to attach the side seams in one continuous line.
Now the bodice should be complete with all the seams hidden accept the center back where the zipper will go and along the bottom where the skirt is attached.
When I got the bodice to this point I tried it on the dress form. There was a lot of excess fabric in the arm hole and it stuck out weirdly. My guess is because it only had 1 dart coming from the waist and nothing in the side seam. To solve this I cheated a dart coming from the armpit to the bust apex to help it lay a bit better.
For the overlay I didn’t quite have enough fabric to line it so I pulled out some teal linen for it. For extra credit I made it reversible as well!
My favorite part of this dress is the back. I think the shape is unique and I like how it is wide set so when you have the overlay on it looks as if there are no straps at all.
There is not much to say about the insides. I had stitched the lining over the waist seem for a very clean look. Also I accidentally bought a 22″ zipper instead of a 16″ so the zipper goes way further down then it should.
I am quite happy that I decided to make this into separates because it gives me so many more options when wearing it. On Thursday I paired it with a fortuitous Goodwill find deep teal cashmere cardigan that looks like it was made for this dress. It helped me keep a little warmer and totally changes the look of the silhouette.
My only complaint is that I wished I had lengthened the midriff another inch or so. It sits a little high on me and I think it would look better if more was showing under the overlay.
The last few weeks have been jam packed full of work. I spent one week in LA doing market research. It was so interesting to be behind the two way mirror and watch what everyone was saying. This is truly something I never would have got to experience or be a part of if I had stayed at my old job. As exciting as it was after 5 13 hr days in a row I was ready to come back home and see Uzzi and Tony. Then last week I spent tasting 100s of pasta and sauces that are currently on the market so I can pull all the best attributes of each for our project. I never want to see another noodle again!
Needless to say there hasn’t been much time for sewing. I did manage to squeeze one dress in, a Vogue 8789.
I have a feeling this might be the last dress of the year. The timeline with this client is so condensed the next few weeks are going to be a whirlwind. I have another 6 more trips to take before Christmas and a few other side sewing projects that I will tell you about later. Now onto the dress.
I fell down the pintrest rabbit hole a few weeks ago and was fascinated by the use of indian saris in the 50s that were refashioned into dresses. I’m not sure if this classifies as cultural appropriation but none the less a few hours later and 7 vintage saris were on there way to me from India.
For my first sari dress I used a mauve cotton with gold woven design. I don’t think it screams indian but maybe I’m just fooling myself.
The bodice is cut out of the Pallu. Then the skirt is just a large gathered rectangle. I just left the salvage edge on the skirt since 1) I didn’t feel like hemming that much fabric and 2) I didn’t want to lose any of the pretty gold boarder.
I am quite happy with how these buttons look on each shoulder. They are also fully functional incase I have a giant hairdo to fit through the top!
The fabric was quite thin so I ended up fully lining the dress in a black batiste from my stash. For the skirt lining I cut a 1/4 circle skirt to keep some of the bulk out of the waist. I attached the facings to the bodice lining so none of the black would accidentally peak out.
I think my favorite part of the dress is one you cant even see. That gold boarder from the hem was on both salvage edges so I made an extra ruffle and attached it to the lining to give the skirt a little extra volume. You don’t even need a petticoat with this dress now! I covered the top edge of the ruffle with some satin ribbon I had in my notions box. Now thats a detail you certainly never see in contemporary clothes.
The dress isn’t finished just yet. Since this was my first time sewing a vogue pattern the fit isn’t exactly how I expected. I need to take it in a bit at the waist and perhaps reshape the neck opening a bit in the front so it sits a little flatter.
I’ll have to think of what to do with the rest of saris. Im just not a fan of the gathered waist on my figure. Perhaps I can do a pleated skirt next.