My Very Own Dress Form! Meet Ava, :).

Ever since I discovered it was possible to make your own dress form it has been on my to-do list for a long time. For Christmas this year I requested a pattern from Bootstrap Fashions and received a Jo-Ann’s gift card, combined with my 2 week winter break, I was finally able to make this happen! I have made a lot of projects, but this one has brought me the most satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment. If you are wanting to make your own dress form, you should really use their option of entering all of your measurements for a custom pattern. Plus, when you do it this way they will put in the seam allowances for you, unlike the method I used. If you decide to give this a go, please use my link, :). Click here for the pattern options.

I decided to do this about the most difficult way that one can, but I am very happy with the results. I received the PDF set of standard sizes 2-14 with cup sizes A-DD. With my measurements, I was between the sizes 10, 12, and 14 and past the DD size. Also, each size pattern is printed on individual sets of paper…so after printing and cutting and putting together 3 sets of papers (several hours!), I was able to trace out all my pattern pieces with the base size a 10 cup size DD, then grading out to a size 12 for the waist, size 14 for the hips, and size 14 cup size DD for the chest. So much time! But, in the end I was very happy with the final project, :).

The instructions are amazing! There are about 44 pages of detailed instructions with images, plus, Kelly Hogaboom, she does a wonderful job of giving even more details and advise throughout the process.

I purchased a woven interfacing called WovenFuse purchased here. It works just as well as SF101, but it comes in 45″ width! In the instructions, they recommend applying the interfacing to the fabric prior to cutting out the pieces, having 45″ wide interfacing was a huge plus! The fabric I used is called Vintage Pink Large Floral. The pattern recommends using an upholstery weight fabric, but I didn’t have any issues with my quilting cotton quality fabric. I just love the vintage vibe it gives. Hence the name Ava, for Ava Gardner. And she’s perfect! I will admit, this project took time, about 5 days of working on it. There are a few pieces, sewing, top stitching the lines, stuffing, cutting out the cardboard, etc. Ironing the interfacing onto 2 yards of fabric took awhile. In the end it was all worth it. This dress form is so much better than my adjustable form. I loved her, but it had all this open areas and hard edges. I can pin into Ava without any issues anywhere, :). Plus, unlike duct tape, she won’t gunk up my pins.

As you can tell, I really don’t have anything negative to say about this pattern at all. If anything, I am definitely planning to check out some of Bootstrap’s other sloper patterns. Love the idea of just entering my measurements and receiving a customized pattern.

As for the level needed to put this together, my advise is: if you can make a princess seam shirt or dress, you can make this. It’s really not difficult so much as just takes some time.

Isn’t she gorgeous?!?!

And in use already:

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Butterick 6143 Take 2


I won some fabric awhile back, I think for making the first version of this coat actually, ;). I wanted to make the long version of Butterick 6143. The exterior fabric is from Sawyer Brooks Fabrics. The name was Deep Sea which was quite fitting for this gorgeous teal color. The fabric is a wool, silk, and cotton blend with a chenille texture in a tweed pattern.

I used the same top pieces from Take 1, so there were no fitting issues to resolve. Only change was I had to trace out and cut out new pattern pieces for the longer length. Other than the requirement to cut out 4 pieces of nearly everything, the construction was fairly straight forward. I had the exterior fabric and lining, I then also interlined the coat with Thinsulate for additional warmth plus the interfacing for portions of the coat for structure.

I decided to nix the shoulder pads this time. I liked the lace accents on the sleeves but I didn’t have any of the reccommended width of 5″, but I think the 2 5/8″ wide lace I used looks perfect. I then also added a lace accent around the waist. This made making the button hole there a little tricky but not too bad.

More notes on my Sewing Pattern Review.

I LOVE the floral lining and lace accents, gives my fancy new coat such a vintage vibe, :).





Jalie Loulouxe Running Skirt


I love running skirts and as soon as I saw the Jalie Loulouxe, I knew I had to make a new one, :). 

I had read a couple reviews that had mentioned the shorts weren’t compression style and recommended to go down a size or 2, but I neglected to have that forethought. So I ended up taking the inseam in about an inch in total. I also thought they were a bit short for me so I lengthened the shorts and skirt 1”. I also added a large exterior pocket to the back of the top back skirt portion per this tutorial. Other changes were to use a 2” wide elastic in the waistband and to use the construction method Jalie’s other running skirt patter of attaching the skirt and shorts to the waistband.
Otherwise the construction directions were great and easy to follow, :). Next time I will make the shorts 1-2 sizes smaller and add another inch of length.

Love this newest addition! Shorts stayed out while running and th fabric I used is so amazing. It’s mostly nylon supplex type material I purchased from our local sewing store.
Thinking of making a pants version next.

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.

Seamwork Savannah in Silk

Yay! I’ve finally made a camisole that is almost perfect, ;). I’ve had this Seamwork Savannah on my to-make list for awhile. For anyone not currently a subscriber, you can use my referral link for half off your first month (usually $6/month, so only $3 for 2 patterns!). I love Seamwork’s patterns. Overall fairly easy and simple quick projects that look great! I have quite a few on my list but was really excited to finally get this one made ever since I had some leftover silk from previous projects.

My first attempt at making a 3″ dartless FBA failed so I decided to try again using a 4″ FBA and adding bust darts. The 3″ wasn’t enough room but the 4″ fits much better! And the darts help with the shaping. I used this tutorial. The only thing I need to change for the next one is to move the darts up about an inch and start about 1″ further to the side, but could just be partially the bra I was wearing as the fit was much better over another.

I had to take in the sides a little bit (pinched out 3/4″ darts) before finishing up my french seams. Definitely a must on a silk camisole. French seams take a little extra time but result in such a nice finish. I also used my fancy new narrow hem foot to hem the neckline and bottom before sewing everything together. On this version I opted to not use the recommended lace trim.

Then I ran into the fact that the scoop of the back was much too low for my personal tastes, so following a similar design feature on the Aurora tank on the back on my camisole and it worked out really well and I think it looks pretty great. Not sure why my skin tone is so crazy!

Overall, I am pretty happy with how my fancy new silk camisole turned out. So shiny! Love silk charmeuse.

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.