Vintage Inspired Old Hollywood Glamour Dress


Haven’t had as much time to work on sewing projects but managed to finish this one in time for the local Frist Art Deco Affair. Always love an excuse to make a fancy dress, ;). The theme was “Old Hollywood Glamour”. I think I succeeded, :).
I used this BurdaStyle pattern called V-Neck Evening Gown with Starburst and Godets. A really really long name but gorgeous pattern. I needed to make a few changes first.

First, I decided to use a stretch charmeuse instead of the recommended taffeta. Next, I did a 3″ FBA and moved the shoulder straps inward 1.5″. I made a test mock up and it was pretty awesome on the first go, only needed to shorten the straps about 1″, about the same I had added.


Pic of all the pattern piece changes to the front. I didn’t want to change the pleats so I cut them off and added them back after I had completed my FBA.

Made my mockup in some leftover fabric I had that was the same as I had ordered and it fit!

Now…I had ordered a gorgeous dark red from TheOnlineFabricStore.net but unfortunately they neglected to inform me it was on backorder. So I had waited a week, heard it would arrive to their warehouse within the week, only to find out the following Monday it had not. Hence to say I canceled my order and will never be ordering from them again. On the other hand, Fabric.com is amazing! Great quality fabric and super fast service. Plus, they post a live count of how many yards they have in stock. So I ended up making my dress in a Champagne colored stretch polyester charmeuse and I love it!


Now to make it a bit more “Art Deco” I found this beautiful brooch on Amazon, perfect for my dress! It fit perfectly in the center of the starburst pattern.

I’ve done enough pleats now that forming the starburst pleats were easy enough. The trouble I ran into was from the hips to knees of the skirt of the dress. I mistakenly finished all the seams before trying the dress on. Big fail! Thank goodness for stretch fabric! Much tighter than I anticipated. So I nixed the skirt portion of the lining and work a skirt slip under it instead. I tried Spanx but they ended up with a big hole within just trying them on. Definitely returning!

So all in all, the dress came together beautifully. The back godet was much longer than it looked in the photos so I added a finger loop. I think it only added to the vintage look I was going for, :).


Look at that gorgeous train!



Finger loop was a good idea!


From the event with my handsome date.

Floral Strapless Spinny Dress


I think the title says it all, ;). I saw this gorgeous white roses on blue background cotton fabric at my local fabric store and knew I had to make a dress out of it. Plus 50% off!

The pattern was a mash-up of different patterns. I used the full circle skirt from my Butterick 6019 instead of drafting my own and the rest from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. I used the strapless bodice with sweetheart neckline, side seam pockets, and used the strap piece from her faux sarong dress pattern to make 2. After tacking them on they ended up falling off my shoulders but I liked the look.

I used my size 8 strapless bodice pieces with a 3″ FBA (full bust adjustment). Then spiral steel boning along the seam lines with an additional diagonal piece as recommended by Gertie. Placed 9 pieces in all. Love my spiral steel boning cutters! I also added a waist stay to make zipping up the back easier.

Here is a photo of the insides, you can see the outlines of several pieces of spiral steel boning.

Here is a pic I took before attaching the lining so you can see all my steel boning placement lines. I’ve used plastic, rigilene, and spiral steel. I can’t go back to the others after using spiral steel. So much more comfortable!


Then instead of the lapped zipper I put in my preferred invisible zipper but soon regretted this change. So hard to zip up the bodice! It gets a little stuck over the waist seams for which the waist stay definitely helps. It also struggles zipping up the back (pliers were very helpful!). I thought the hook and eye would be more helpful with this step than it is. Lesson learned. Invisible zipper worked fine with silk, not as great with multiple layers of cotton. Looks really nice though.


It’s a little tight but fits me perfectly. It looks fabulous! Last step was the hemming. Took several hours but looks great. I ironed the hem up 1/4″ and then another 1/2″ for just over the recommended 5/8″ and I had lengthened the skirt down another 2″. I didn’t use anything extra in the hem but may need to add pennies later. Definitely some Marylyn Monroe moments when it’s windy!



And had to test the spin/swirl factor. It passed, ;).



Then wore it out right away for a local event because one must always wear a new make right away.

This is why I create and make my own dresses: fits like a glove, :).

A Colorful Charleston Dress


As soon as I saw the Charleston dress pattern I knew I had to make it. It took me some time to decide on which fabric pattern to use, but eventually I went with this gorgeous print called Solstice from Spoonflower in their cotton spandex jersey. The pattern says to cut patterns with the grainline going the direction of greatest stretch but with my particular print this caused some white lines to appear when stretched out so I went with the other direction which stretched better with the pattern of the fabric.

I’ll start my review by stating, this designer writes the most comprehensive and amazing instructions with great photos. Even though at this point I am a seasoned sewist, I learned a few new skills.

I made a few adjustments to the pattern. The biggest one was an FBA (full bust adjustment). My first attempt at trying to make the adjustment off of the Vogue princess seam tutorial I usually use did not work well for this pattern. It made the center panel much too wide. Instead, I used the tutorial recommended by Hey June patterns at Craftsy. It’s called How to Make an FBA on Princess Seams. Per their advice because I was making these adjustments on a knit fabric, instead of my usual 4″ I only did 2″. This was perfect.

Pic of my adjusted pattern pieces.


Once I had made my bodice muslin and was happy with the fit I cut out my pretty fabric. The other adjustment I made was to take out the center back seam allowance on the pattern piece and also cut the back piece on the fold. I would have done this for the back skirt panels but I didn’t have quite enough fabric to make it work, still looks good, ;).

My front pockets did get stretched out a little bit in sewing them together but overall I am so happy with how this dress turned out! Love the fabric and the shape and the pockets! Pockets are always amazing.

I took my time on this project so from cut to finish it took me about 2 days (maybe 10 hours) but in doing another it would go much quicker. Part of the slowness was sewing each seam and then serging instead of just serging them to the first time. Part of this was for fitting reasons but also per pattern instructional recommendation.

And the other fun feature: fun colored serged seams! I know no one will see them but I like that the seam thread colors match the exterior dress colors, :). I love the construction and fit of this dress so much. I definitely see more in my future!

My seam thread colors match the dress, :).

Pockets!

The back turned out great, :). Sometimes I get weird fabric excess around the neckline but not this time!

The shape of this dress is perfect, :).


Side view.

Close up of all the seam lines for the front bodice and pockets.

Anna Dress Take 2

I haven’t been blogging very much since I started teaching and taking graduate courses at the same time, but with graduate classes done for the semester and the school year winding down I finally have some free time again!

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I made the Anna dress from By Hand London last year and loved it, but I was never 100% happy with the fit of the bodice. Now that I have lost some weight (about 15 pounds!) I decided to tackle this pattern again. Of course I didn’t read my previous post and started with the By Hand London FBA tutorial and quickly realized why this didn’t work for me the first time I had tried it. I can see how this particular version would be great for people who only need to make 1-2″ of adjustment but I needed a 3″ adjustment. So I went back and followed the FBA tutorial by Another Little Crafty Creation with a few differences this time. First, I started with tracing out the size 10 bodice pieces. Previously I had added 1″ of length to my Anna dress bodice but went with only 1/2″ this time, and instead of adding a 3rd pleat per the tutorial, I added the extra width to the current 2 pleats and rotated the dart out, but just cut off the extra length at the waist seam. This worked out wonderfully for me. You can also see in be below pick a slashed line from the middle, the front had ended up a little long and this fixed it perfectly.


As you can see, the bodice is nearly a perfect fit! I don’t believe anything will ever be “perfect”, but I am happy with the current adjustments and feel the only other change I need to make is to cut out a little more from the front waist (maybe 1/2″) and change the lines of the skirt portion pieces to match up with the new seam line.


The fabric I used was this gorgeous polyester stretch chiffon available here. I saw it and instantly knew I needed to make a dress out of this gorgeous fabric. I was considering the Chantilly pattern from Colette but then when I was looking through my stash I came across from Anna dress pattern and thought, this would make a perfect midi-length version. And it did!

The other changes I made were to cut off about 1″ from each side of the back center grading out to cutting off 1/2″ near the waist to get rid of the gaping I had in my first version. I also took out 1/4″ from the shoulder seam as they were slightly too wide for me. So basically, a lot of changes! Haha, ;). But they were all worth it! Below is a pic of the back bodice pattern piece.


I totally see a v-neck version in the future… I didn’t make any changes to the skirt pieces, these were a straight size 10. I am also not a fan of facings, so I cut off about 1/2″ from the seam allowance around the neckline and made 1/2″ wise single-fold bias tape from the dress fabric to finish off the neckline. I used Colette’s tutorial to make the bias tape and Lladybird’s tutorial to finish off the neckline using bias tape instead of facings. I hand stitched it down in place so as to not have any stitching lines on the bodice.

Instead of making French seams, I just used my serger this time. Definitely easier and faster!

And of course some pics of me wearing my new dress to the symphony last night, :).

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Dahlia in Polka Dots

This is my 3rd make of the Colette Patterns Dahlia dress, love this pattern, :). I used version 1 again, my my other make is posted here. This time I chose not to line it and used a pretty navy blue with white polka dot polyester silky fabric from Jo-Ann’s. I also added pockets! Used the in seam pocket piece and instructions from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book.

I used the size 10 pattern pieces with a  3″ FBA, more details on my original post with link above. Other than adding the pockets, nothing new to add. You can read about using Gertie’s pocket pattern and instructions more when I added them to my Wren dress here. I made my own bias tape again which was a little trickier with this fabric but I still managed to make it work, :). I wanted to use my bias tape maker but it was not designed to work with this particular type of fabric. So I just sewed it on using a 1/4″ seam allowance and folded it over the seam. A little trickier but not too time consuming.

The other major change I made was to add pockets! Every dress possible should have pockets, :). I kind of forgot about the side invisible zipper though… It turned out fine though, even if is a bit more difficult to get over my chest, I manage just fine. I had to cut off about 3 inches of the invisible zipper. But, the pockets work and are functional!

And of course, the photos, :).

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Seamwork Ida Dress with Optional Cut-Out


As I mention every time I post a pic and review of a Seamwork Magazine pattern, I subscribe to their monthly magazine/patterns. I just can’t sing their praises enough and think everyone should take a look. Basically, for $6 per month, you get 2 credits to use towards any of their Seamwork patterns (1 credit = 1 pattern), or, they started allowing you to use the accumulated credits to use towards Colette patterns! With Colette’s patterns, you can use 3 Seamwork credits to purchase a PDF version of any of Colette’s patterns. The magazine articles are available to peruse for free, the $6 gets you 2 of their awesome patterns. I can never state enough how amazing I think this is. They come out with 2 new patters with every issue, but you can use the credits for ANY of their patterns. If you use my code, we both win, :). I get a free month and you get half off of your first month with the option to cancel at any time and still keep all of your patterns, not that I am canceling anytime soon, ;). Just click here! The 2 patterns this month are a basic t-shirt and pencil skirt. Last month was the Ida and Willie.

And now they offer so many awesome additions like a visual fit guide so you can better visualize which changes or adjustments you may need to make.

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This review is over the Ida using the bonus pattern pieces for the back cut out. LOVE it!!! This dress came together super quick. The only changes I made were to skip adding the side slit, grading from a medium to a large at the hip line, and  I added a 1.5″ full bust adjustment using Jennifer Lauren’s tutorial.

I had no problem getting all of these pieces cut out of my 2 yards of 60″ wide scuba knit from Jo-Ann’s. This Nicole Miller fabric was just too perfect to pass up.

Other than the two adjustments mentioned (FBA, sizing, and no side slit), I made zero other changes, I didn’t even nip or tuck anything when I put the dress together. This is why I love Seamwork patterns so much, they are fairly quick and easy to put together and still look really great. I get so many compliments on all of my Seamwork pattern projects. With my new super busy schedule, it’s nice being able to still make a few things throughout the month.

And the photos of course! It was super freezing cold today, 18 degrees!!! But I got my kind boyfriend to quickly take a couple out on our deck to I could finally write this post up, :). The things I do for fashion, ;).


Wren again

As you have probably noticed, the Wren pattern by Colette Patterns is probably one of my favorites, ;). I love that if given a full day I can start from cut to finish and complete this dress within a day or in the case of this one, 1.5 afternoons. And it’s so versatile!

This was my third Wren, second doing the version 2. This time I took off the 3″ of length I had added to the skirt but otherwise made it with all the other changes I had made to the pattern detailed here. I cut the back skirt portion on the fold like the front skirt. One less seam to stitch, ;).

The fabric is a gorgeous floral from Girl Charlee. I saw it and it was instant love and knew it would make a perfect floral wren #2, ;). And it did! I also like the just above the knee length. Super cute! And as with my other two, I pick stitched the faux wrap front sections together to prevent an accidental peep show.

Almost forgot, I made one other change, I did the pockets a little differently following the tutorial from Gertie in her book Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. Basically I used the pocket piece from this book but you can use any side seam pocket piece from any pattern. I placed mine about 1 3/4″ from the waist seam.
1st I stitched the pocket pieces right sides together to the skirt front and back at each side. I used a zig zag stitch and stitched just within the 3/8″ seam allowance. Then I pressed the pocket out (#2). After which I pinned the front skirt side to the back skirt side and around each pocket as shown in #3 before stitching them together using the full 3/8″ seam allowance (#4). After this you can leave as is or serge the seams. I discovered cutting into the corner of the top and bottom of each pocket made serving a bit better. Then you turn everything right side out, push the pocket in, and give everything a good press.


And there you have it, a pretty Wren with pockets!


Definitely the new fave!