McCall’s 6754 : Flowery Scuba

One of my favorite youtube  sewers has a penchant for skater dresses in scuba. After seeing a handful of dresses by her I decided I needed one of my own. I used the same pattern as her (McCall 6754) but opted for the sleevless view.

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I don’t often see scuba knit at Joann’s but I did happen upon this heavyweight “tulip” print (looks like roses to me)  AND it was 60% off!  I bought 1 3/4 yards to make this dress.  I do think it is a little short  on me. I would like to make the long sleeve raglan view for the fall to wear with tights and if I do then the skirt will also be lengthened.

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Not much to say about the construction of this dress. It’s really a straightforward two dart bodice with a circle skirt. No lining, no closures. I like how the scuba gives the skirt some body.  With the leftover scraps I was able to make not 1 but 2 matching bra’s and a panty….because who doesn’t want matching underthings!

The first was a harriet bra by Cloth Habit. It fits me a lot better then the dress form. I used pale pint notions from Arte Crafts and pink mesh lined with powernet for the wings. The bridge, cradle, and lower cups are lined with non-stretch lining to keep everything nice and stable.

 

Then I made a longline Watson. I didn’t line this one at all so it’s more of a lounging bra then a supportive bra. I used leftover lemon strapping (from a yet un-blogged project). Pink picot and a cream hook and eye.

I used to have to temper my dress sewing doing one project off and one project on. Now I think i’m going to have to do that with bras because pretty soon i’m going to have one for every day of the month!

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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.

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!

Simplicity 8051 AKA: the girly confection

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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

 

Simplicity 8086 as seperates

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

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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.

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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.

  1. Sew the front bodice to the midriff (repeat for lining).
  2. Attach the upper back pieces at the shoulder seam (repeat for lining)
  3. Lay the out side and lining with right sides together and sew along the neck and armholes. Turn and press
  4. 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
  5. Finally, open out the bodice and stitch to attach the side seams in one continuous line.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.