Orsola in Silk

As soon as I saw the Orsola dress pattern, I knew I had to jump on board and make my own. Rather than start simple, I went straight on as complicated as I could make it: silk charmeuse.

So, it took me about 6 tries before I decided the By Hand London method of doing an FBA on the Orsola bodice wasn’t working for me. Maybe it was the pattern, maybe it was the method. Any who, I decided to use the Basic Bodice from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book. This took about 4 attempts before finally gaining a good fit. Hooray! It ended up being so simple: traced the size 8 neckline and armscye, then graded to a size 10 for the darts and waistline before lowering the side bust dart 1″ and moving the bottom busy dart towards the center 1/2″ to match my apex point. The Curvy Collective has the best tutorial. The final change I ad pinched 1/2″ out of the armscye using this tutorial from Craftsy.

Here is my Frankenpattern, ;).

After perfecting my bodice fit, I then adjusted the neckline and armscye to match the Orsola bodice front and used the Orsola back pieces with no adjustments. After putting them together in silk, I would pinch out about an inch of fabric from the tops of the side backs. As I had already cut and stitched the silk together, I basically just gathered the top edges of the back pieces so they wouldn’t flop open while wearing it.

Now the actual construction… I understand why everyone comments on the darts. Between the front, back, inside, and outside pieces, so many! Also, I decided to use a silk charmeuse…so about as slippery and lightweight as you can use. I made this a little easier by marking lots of points along each dart to reduce error to fabric slipperiness. Of course I hand knot the thread at the top of the dart (pointed end), but I backstitch at the end of the dark (edge of fabric).

After doing all the darts, putting the bodice pieces wasn’t too tricky except my server didn’t quite cut off enough of the seam allowance, so I struggled getting the seams to iron flat. Also, my silk did not want to iron, so I under-stitched as much of the bodice as I could. This helped so much! Plus lots and lots of ironing, then pressing the pieces with my wooden ruler until the fabric had cooled.

Here are a couple images of my bodice progress. Love having a made to my measurements dress form, :). (It’s from Bootstrap Fashion).

Next part: the skirt pieces. This part was so much easier than the bodice. Still some darts, but not as many, and only single layers as the skirt isn’t lined. I french seamed the skirt sides so that there weren’t any pesky strands unraveling. I loved the look of the tulip hem, so I made that version. Pretty simple. I stitched the facings together, then pinned them to my skirt. I skipped the ironing the seam allowance of the non-skirt attached side as I decided to just serge that off after stitching the facing to the skirt. I made sure to mark the dot of the v of the tulip hem in the front. Then I trimmed the seam allowance down to about 1/4″, ironed it really well to the inside of the skirt. Then I serged the excess 5/8″ seam allowance for the inside and top stitched the facing down.

As for the waistband, I decided to interface the waist parts with lightweight interfacing to add a little extra structure, but not the tie ends because I want to leave those softer for tying. Also, I decided to edge-stitch my color blocked waistband because 1) I didn’t want to hand stitch it, 2) time constraints, and 3) my silk was not ironing very well.

Pinning took awhile, but worth it!

I love this dress! I like the line’s of the bodice (next time I’ll use something easier like rayon or polyester) and the skirt. I love By Hand London’s circle skirt hack though, so I see a possibility of one of those versions…

Photos:

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Lace Wiggle Dress

I purchased the Wiggle dress pattern by Patterns for Pirates a few months ago with the intention of making a formal dress for the cruise I was taking, but when I discovered there would be a white night instead, I made my white Anna dress. I finally got around to making my green lace version, and I love it!

I made a test version of the Wiggle dress using a sparkly purple spandex fabric a couple months ago as a cold-shoulder version. It turned out really well. I love this pattern because there are so many options for it! For my test version, I traced out a size medium for my upper bust, did a pivot-and-slide FBA (tutorial here), then graded out to a size large for the waist and hips. I used the 3/4 length sleeves traces along the off-the-shoulder marking at the top of the sleeves, then sewing the sleeves on at just the underarm area to get the cold-shoulder effect and hemmed the top of the sleeves using the 1/2″ seam allowance. Patterns for Pirates has a great list of possible pattern hacks here that I used as inspiration. I used the sleeved versions of the knee length main dress pieces. This gave me more of a strapless version to cover my bra straps while allowing sleeves for a cold-shoulder look. Definitely plan to wear this version on a girls night sometime. I never took very many good pics of this version, but you have an idea of how this looked in the image below:

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Then for my green lace wiggle, I found this gorgeous green stretch sparkly lace on sale at Jo-Ann’s. Unfortunately, I did not test which direction the 2-way stretch was going…so instead of the normal cutting layout, I had to cut out my dress the widthwise way of the fabric. Luckily, the fabric was very wide and I was able to get the floor-length off-the-shoulder version of the wiggle dress. I didn’t add any length to the dress this time, but next time I would add about an inch as I am 5’7″ and the dress is designed more for someone a little shorter. Then for the underlining, I used swimsuit lining fabric in nude as this matched my skin tone fairly closely. I basted the underlining to the lace fabric pieces before serging everything together. Love my serger. Then for the hems, I used a narrow zig-zag stitch. For the floor-length version, I used the short off-the-shoulder sleeves in a straight medium. Next time in a fabric with this amount of stretch, a large would have been a little more comfortable.

For my floor-length version, I used the same pivot-and-slide method as for my short dress version, I just cut off the top parts on the pattern line so I now had the off-the-shoulder version. I also put in a zipper this time as I knew the fabric wasn’t quite as stretchy as my purple version. The directions are for a regular zipper, but I used an invisible zipper as I liked the look better and my invisible zipper foot makes putting in invisible zippers so easy. I didn’t need a zipper, but I wanted the getting the dress on and off process to be a little easier. I misread the suggested zipper length though and used an 18″ long zipper in this version, oops. It worked out fine. Then I just put in a simple 1/2″ hem.

The directions are fabulous and so well-written. Putting in the elastic around the top portion was so easy with P4P’s directions. And as per other reviewers, so secure I had absolutely no worries about the dress falling down at all at any point.

I definitely see more versions of this dress in my future in a variety of styles, :). It’s a very flattering style and required very minimal adjustments for me to have a good fit. I like the idea of a tunic for the winter months in a nice stretch merino…

Here are some pics of me wearing the green version out to see Love Never Dies at the local performing arts center, :).

TLC Caftan “Swan Around Like a Goddess”

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The other make I managed to finish up pre-cruise was the TLC Caftan by Decades of Style. Perfect! It has a great amount of cover, easy to pull on and off (elastic ties), and has some shaping for us more hourglass gals, ;).

The instructions are overall well-written. I had a little difficulty when I came to sewing the waist insets, but overall it went along well. Along with the instructions, Decades of Style also wrote up a sew-a-long. I decided to machine sew the bias taping due to time constraints. I also did a 3″ FBA according to their tutorial. Perfect! In the image below, you can see the changes I made to the original pattern. I would love to make the maxi version someday, but the short version was perfect for my vacation.

Here is the bodice. I had made a muslin and it was great, but then this fabric ended up needing a second bust dart to take up some excess fabric. You can barely even tell.

I used about 2 3/4 yards of 57″ wide fabric. The pattern recommends 2.5 yards of 60″ wide for sizes 10-12 (I used a size 12), but I am glad I got a little more. The stripes were horizontal if I laid out my fabric pieces as suggested and I wanted verticle stripes. The fabric was perfect, a sheer striped polyester that dries super fast. I wanted a dark, solid color. Then for the contrast, I used white floral lace. Never again will I do the armhole facings in lace. Wow! The lace was very tricky to sew with, but it looks amazing.

The instructions state that you can either use twill tape to make waist ties or elastic. I chose to do elastic and am so glad I did. I figured trying to tie the ties would be a little tricky and I wanted it to be an easy on easy off coverup. The elastic worked perfectly!

The hem was pretty standard, I just did a 1″ hem: rolled up 1/2″ and then another 1/2″. I serged all of my seams after initially stitching them. Normally I wouldn’t need to do both, but this fabric was a little fiddly and required loads of pins.

I feel like a Grecian goddess when I wear it, :). The instructions actually tell you: “Now swan around in caftan like a queen”, ;).

Pics were taken during our beach day on South Beach in Miami, complete with gold sandals, ;). It also pairs perfectly with my Bombshell swimsuit. I may decide to wear this as just a dress over the summer, with a slip underneath of course.

Anna Dress in White

So as per my previous post, I recently went on a cruise. I was going to make a fancy Wiggle Dress (Patterns for Pirates) but then learned there wasn’t going to be a formal night, but instead a white night. So I decided to make another Anna dress from By Hand London in a white rayon voile. Due to the sheerness, I fully lined the dress.

This was a little tricky. I used the same bodice adjustments I’d made the last time (more info here) and just adjusted the long skirt pieces to be the right waist size used from my first version. I’m not sure how, but all the seams are off except for the center front seams with the pleats. I may need to re-trace all the skirt pieces again. Or maybe I mixed up the skirt side front and skirt side back pieces… Either way, that’s why the seams are wonky at the waistline.

I decided to do the thigh high split, but instead of hand-stitching the layers together, I just machine stitched them with the lining and exterior fabrics right sides together, then turned them right side out. Such a nice, clean finish.

I was going to hem the lining and exterior layers separately, but decided to hem the two layers together as I had already connected the two layers at the split and in the back center seam. Turns out this wasn’t the best idea, as now the seams are terrible to iron now. But, I may need to re-hem it anyway. I had let the skirt part hang for a few days to let out any bias, etc., but I guess after hemming it added different weight to the hem because after wearing the dress out for a day, it seemed to have lengthened about half an inch to an inch, :(. As you can see in the images, it was the perfect length.

Other than that issue, I am in love with this version of the Anna dress. It has beautiful drape and swish. Fabric was purchased via Etsy from FabricLA.

Photos were taken in Miami while I was on vacation, :). The Wynwood Walls make for perfect photo opps!

Closet Case Bombshell

This is probably my favorite photo of my newest swimsuit, looks like it belongs in a perfume ad or something, ;). This was taken while hanging out on deck 10 of my cruise to Nassau and Havana! Cuba was so amazing! As was having the chance to snorkel in the Bahamas, :).

I LOVE this swimsuit!!! This is the Closet Case Patterns Bombshell swimsuit in version B with the ruching in front and back. Their sewalong is super helpful too.

I was having trouble sorting out how to best do an FBA (full bust adjustment) and after emailing Closet Case, I came to the decision to just use the size 20 halter cups instead of a size 12 according to my waist measurements. I used a size 12 waist, grades to a size 14 hips, and size 20 halter cups which I sewed onto a size 12 base (went according to my underbust measurements). The only adjustment I would make in sewing this again is to sew the elastic with a tad more stretch in the cups, otherwise, I sewed it as is and it perfect!

The gorgeous exterior polka dot fabric was purchased from The Fabric Fairy. I also purchased their largest size of foam swim cups in nude and swimwear elastic. I love The Fabric Fairy’s swimwear fabrics! They feel wonderful and look beautiful.

I used my Brother cs6000i for the elastic and basting but used my Brother 1034D serger for all of the seams. I chose not to sew the swimwear cups in, but instead, I just tacked them down so they wouldn’t flip around every time I went to wear my swimsuit and wash it.

And of course, I had to have a photo shoot on the beach while in Miami!

This was my attempt at getting a photo while jumping, none while in the air, but I liked this one.

Just a couple flat shots on the back patio:

My Kitty Factotem

It was quite the battle: skipped stitches, broken needle, great efforts of forearm strength…but in the end, I got her finished, :). I’ve had my eye on the Factotum tote pattern since I saw it make an appearance in the Bag of the Month Club, but I was not a member. So I waited 6 months for it to become available, and then a few more to actually make it.

Love this tote, perfect to store all my teacher and graduate work items.

I will not lie, this tote took me a long time to make. Working on it off and on, I was able to finish it within a few weeks. There are a lot of pieces, so cutting took awhile. And so many pieces to fuse interfacing onto. So satisfying to finish though. Watched a lot of Netflix, ;). I will say that turning the back inside out took a lot of effort, that stabilizer does its job very well.

Here is an image of the exterior bag before I put the lining in. Proof I made it, ;).

The directions were phenomenal! So detailed with written directions and pictures. They were also 56 pages long to give you an idea of the depth of this project. The first 8 pages are just fabric and materials information and the prep work.

Let’s talk materials. I saw the kitty fabric at Jo-Ann’s and just knew I had to use it with my tote. I didn’t want a white tote for cleaning reasons, so I used the kitty fabric as the exterior accent fabric and here-and-there on the inside for pockets, etc. I used quilter’s cotton, all from Jo-Ann’s, for the fabrics. I used Flex Foam from Jo-Ann’s for the stabilizer. I purchased my interfacing from Got Interfacing. It’s 45″ wide!!! For the plastic template, I wasn’t sure what to use and I ended up using plastic school folders, which worked out great. I purchased plastic corrugated board from Home Depot for the bottom. My hardware was purchased from Emmaline Bags except for my snaps, I used sew-on snaps from my stash. Also, I used 3/8″ Chicago Screws instead of rivets, but 1/4″ would have been perfect as the 3/8″ were a little too long. Zippers are all YKK from my local sewing store except for one. As I accidentally purchased the wrong size for one of the pockets, one of them is a white Coats and Clark I luckily had in my stash. I rarely use fusible fleece, so used some sew in from Wal-Matt, which is also where I purchased my Peltax. This project uses an array of materials, it is so well thought out and structured.

Yep, a simple plastic folder like this one:

I get compliments all the time on this wonderful bag. I love all the pockets! Originally I had planned to use it as my carry-on for a flight, it fits within the dimensions, but I fear I would have no foot room. Overall the pattern is well-written and the bag is amazing. I have to convince people that I made it myself, ;).

The recessed top portion:

The insides:

The awesome back with yet another pocket, :).

The cute peek of cat fabric from one of the many pockets.

This zipper stop took me a bit to sort out, but eventually, I glued it on and got the screw to screw in.

The front pocket! It has pen holders, slip pockets, a divider, and another zipper pocket.

The stay straps for the outside pocket. And my logo of course.

And here is a closer image of the snaps holding the front pocket in a bit:

Colette Chantilly

I decided to finally attend the Big Yellow Bird Bash this weekend, which of course you are expected to wear yellow. I never buy or make anything yellow. So I looked through my patterns and looked for fabric and decided to finally make the Chantilly by Colette. Love it!

I found a gorgeous yellow floral on white chiffon from Stylish Fabrics via Etsy. I’m not a big fan of wearing yellow, so I decided to get a floral instead of something solid yellow. The lining is white Bemberg rayon. Honestly, this fabric just makes you feel like a happy, sunny day.

I went ahead and did my usual FBA. I started with a 2″ on the bodice and realized it wouldn’t lengthen it as much as I wanted, so I did a 3″. Was perfect on my first try! Glad I used the lining, ;).

The rest of the pattern wasn’t adjusted for size, but I did kind of meld Versions 1 and 2. I wanted pockets (version 2), but I also wanted to use a chiffon (version 1). Basically I underlined the chiffon with the lining up through the pocket, then constructed the lining and shell separately. Took some time and was a bit of a struggle, but so worth it!

Love it when the insides are so beautiful, :).

I cut out my usual size 10. Due to my underlining technique the zipper didn’t go in quite as smoothly, but I made it work. Now the hem was a bit of work, but I made hemming the narrow hem of the shell so much easier. I serged the hemline, then I just rolled up the hem twice using the less than 1/4″ line of serging as my guide.

It’s perfect for spring! Now time to make my boyfriend’s yellow vest.