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.
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.
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.
Tony gave me Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book for my Birthday a few months ago.
The concept of the book is that it has several different skirt, bodice, sleeve, and collar patterns that can be used interchangeable to make a slew of different dresses. I read the book cover to cover and decided to make a dress based on one of the drawings. An A-Line skirt with a basic bodice, cap sleeves, and a peter pan collar.
When I started construction it was just a mess. Clearly these patterns are not drafted to the same shape as mainstream pattern. I found the bust was 4 inches too low and extremely large. The darts size and placement was just all wrong. So I tried to find a pattern that I had used before to get an idea of how the darts should be placed. I unpicked the whole thing and trimmed the pieces to try and achieve the new shape. I was really irked. I know that most people have to do these types of alterations all the time but it made me really mad that someone would just totally disregard the standard body shape of a dress form and go rogue. I never never never have to make these sort of adjustments with standard patterns. Once that was all sorted out I moved on to the sleeves. Which once attached were a wee bit small and pulled the fabric in bizarre ways. I just gave up. This dress wasn’t to be. I decided to scrap the top and start over with something else and still use the A-line skirt. I think I like the result even better then the first dress so I cant be too upset.
I used the bodice from my trusty Butterick 6094 (Coincidentally also a Gertie pattern). I thought the little flap detail in the back reminded me of a sailors uniform which worked well with the nautical theme fabric. Instead of using a contrasting fabric for the flap I added some satin ribbon trim. I am so pleased with the result.
I used a zipper from Kitty’s stash. I haven’t seen a metal invisible zip at the store. Unfortunately the metal teeth didn’t fit into my invisible zipper foot so I had to insert it using a regular zipper foot so its not quite as “invisible” as it should be.
I lined the bodice and use the fashion fabric for facings.
I was short on fabric so I had to put a seam in the bodice midriff and I certainly didn’t have enough fabric left over to pattern match. I added some piping so the lack of pattern matching wouldn’t matter as much.
I did a blind hem but when I put the dress on I felt it could use something more so I repeated the ribbon detail on the hem as well.
I like the A-line skirt. I think with so many costumy details on this dress having not such a full skirt makes it a little more wearable.
Ugg. I need to start getting back into the habit of buying fabric with a pattern in mind. I keep running into the issue of having way too much fabric left over OR not enough to do the dress that I want. Case in point Simplicity 8085
I wanted to do the long version but since I tend to buy fabric in 4 yard lengths I didn’t have enough. I settled for the short skirt with some of the dress details. Jury is still out on this one.
This cotton was surprisingly stiff even after several washes so I was figuring it would work well with this style skirt since it has some built in structure. I do like how the back bodice looks but Im not sure i’m sold on the proportions.
One of the biggest complaints of this pattern is how impractical it is to put the finished garment on. It just have some tiny little snaps on the back waist and down the skirt. They are almost impossible to snap by your self and they are not very stable so really the belt does all the work. I may take this apart and go for the tie waist instead.
I did some cheats. When I got to the end of the first pack of bias tape i just stopped since it ended right at the waist and no one would see the under skirt anyway.
Still trying to use up my stash I had the idea to make a tropical feeling 50s play suit. I selected Simplicity 1426 to use with my Lime/Blue wax print.
I am not very confidant in my mid section so I drafted a longer midriff and back to make it more of a long line look.
Unfortunately I just am not endowed enough to wear this style. This pattern seems to be drafted for someone with a C or D cup so if you normally do a FBA you might not have to with this one. I did a criss cross back and buttons.
The straps attach to the front with a button hidden under the bust flaps.
The idea was to pair it with a high waisted skirt or shorts. I don’t think I will ever get around to it since I don’t like the top enough to try and fix it. Meh.
My mom sent me two cuts of batik fabric from my birthday. The first one I used for a lovely retro styled halter dress from Butterick 6049.
At first I purchased a yellow cotton for the contrast material, but once home I decided I liked the look of muslin better. After reading a bunch of sewing reviews I was worried that the inset points on the bust were going to be difficult. I watched a ton of tutorials and the prep work paid off.
After the success of lining the flamingo dress I decided to do it again. This one uses a cream colored batiste. Again the fabric was really light so I thought this would help to give some volume to the skirt. I am completely in love with this stuff. Its so soft against the skin and helps to give opacity without adding a bunch of weight. I would love to make a bohemian camisole with it. Im thinking with some heirloom lacework and pin tucks.
Lining a dress also makes the insides look so clean. It really makes my hand made items seem so much more special. I know that its a lot of effort to put into something that wont be seen but it also gives me the chance to practice and fit before using the fashion fabric.
Even with the open back I was able to fit a convertible bra under this dress which I desperately needed to fill out the top. On alteration that I made was to sew the halter into place. I hate having to sew hook and eyes and I just don’t like how they look.
This pattern also has a side seam pocket which give it a more casual feel and a nice place to stick a small wallet or phone. With a full skirt you don’t have to worry about adding any bulk to the hips.
Yesterday I got a slight sunburn from working out in the yard (OK Tony was working I was laying down , today it is snowing. For this project I let him pick everything out. I laid my entire fabric stash and un-sewn patterns on the ground and had him pick. He choose one of my wax print fabrics and McCall’s 6954.
I had wanted to do the longer version of this dress but holy fabric hog! Based on the fabric that T choose the only view I could do was A which was the short dress cut on the bias with a high low hem.
Its pretty shapeless but I think it will work well to throw over a bathing suit. The fabric is really lightweight so it will dry fast.
The neck and arm holes have a self bias tape facing. Unfortunately I stretched it out a little but I don’t think its too noticeable.