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

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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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.

 

Vogue 8789 – Mauve Sari

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

Simplicity 8250

I had every intention of going full steam ahead on the blue taffeta dress. Then I didn’t. I couldn’t deny the draw of an easy skirt pattern and I already had the fabric for it!

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I combined the curved waistband of view B with the oversized pockets on view A. Also on the model and directions they have you sew straight to the top of the waistband but if you look closely in the original 1950s drawings you can see a line of topstitching that goes around the waistband curve and connects to the center front stitching. I decided I liked how that looked better.

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The fabric is a yard dyed cotton flannel with a grey and black herringbone pattern. I like the weight of the fabric but if I were to do it again I would chose something thinner for the waistband facing as this has way too much bulk around the center front and zipper.

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This was my first time doing a lapped zipper. I’m not sure i’m sold on it. I may rip it out and do a centered or hand picked application. Again there was way to much bulk around the waistband and it doesn’t want to lay flat.

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My favorite part is the pockets. Rather then being in the seam its a separate pieces topstitched on to the skirt.  I really love how they turned out. I took some pictures with my hands in my pockets and its not the most flattering but who cares!

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Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture until after wearing it for a few hours so its a little wrinkly. The length is longer then the dresses I have been sewing but its nice and warm for the cooler months especially with a petticoat underneath.dsc_0090

All in all this was a fairly easy project depending on how much I wear it this winter I may make a version in a cotton for warmer weather. I would also love to make the bolero that comes with this pattern but I think that would be a little less wearable so its going to have to wait.