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.

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, :).

img_4521fullsizerender-1fullsizerender

Seamwork Neenah dress

As soon as Seamwork mag released the Neenah dress I knew I had to make it. It really is the perfect fall staple. I was just waiting to come across the perfect print, and that’s when I eyed this beauty from fabric.com. And for my little plug: I am a subscriber to Seamwork mag which is an amazing deal for only $6 per month! You get 2 patterns (every issue comes out with 2 new patterns). It’s not difficult at all to praise this online sewing magazine. And now you can use the 2 credits per month towards Colette’s patterns! More good news for new subscribers? If you use my code you get half off your first month, :). Just click here. I have been a subscriber for about a year now and do not plan to cancel anytime soon. Colette and Seamwork are some of my favorite patterns, :).

Since I started teaching and going to graduate school 2/3 time I haven’t had much time to sit down and sew but I finally had some free time this weekend. I think it took longer to print and put together the pattern PDF than the actual dress, ;0. But now that I have all of the pattern pieces traced and cut out all future Neenahs will take much less time, :).

I wasn’t sure if I would have enough fabric for the cowl neck version of Neenah since I had only purchased 2 yards and the pattern recommends 3 yards for the medium but I did! My fabric was 62″ wide which made it work.

img_3984

The actual construction was fairly easy and straight forward. I used my serger to put all the seams together, love my serger, :). For once I didn’t have to make a single adjustment, this as straight out of the pattern. I found another winner! I think I’ll try a tunic length one next time.

And of course I have pics of me wearing this beauty, so many complements already! So easy to love this dress, :). I think the cowl neck is just perfect.

img_4022

 

img_4014

 

img_4012

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!


Anna dress from By Hand London


The Anna dress from By Hand London. I’ve seen this dress floating around Instagram and on people’s blogs and just loved the look of it and the fact it was “easy”. I mean, when you look at the FBA explained through their sew along it did appear to be very simple. Well, things are never that simple for me. I used a size 10 top which needed at minimum for me, a 4″ full bust adjustment. Well, when using the FBA explained through By Hand London this didn’t give me the length needed, the top of the pleats were placed halfway up my bust instead of below, and added bust darts which I couldn’t get angled correctly. So I Googled and found this amazing tutorial by Another little Crafty Creation. This version was more like my usual method, took away the bust dart, and added the length I needed in the front bodice without adding it to the sides. Yay! After adding my 4″ using this method, I then lowered the top of the dart pleats down an inch, added 1 more pleat but ended up adding a fourth as I still had extra each in the bodice when attaching to the skirt, and an inch of length which I added to the back too. I ended up adding 2″.


After a few tries and hours, I had my front bodice drafted and fit and thought I needed to add length to the back. I did, but not the 2″ I ended up adding, an additional inch would have been perfect. So I had to take out my zipper and undo my seams to take out the extra inch but it was worth the time and effort.

Other than fitting issues, the construction of the pattern was fairly easy and straight-forward. I chose to do French seams as the fabric I chose was a rayon challis. Beautiful flow but unravels like crazy. And of course I wanted to add pockets. Looking back I should have added slant pockets as explained how here, but I decided to add side-seam pockets for which I created a tutorial here on the extra steps needed to make them French seamed. I used a pattern piece from Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book and the notch lines as well. Basically they sit about 2″ below the waist.


Overall the project took much longer than I had anticipated but it looks gorgeous. I hand stitched the thigh high split seams and machine stitched the hem at a 1″ allowance. I folded the hem up 1/2″ and then another 1/2″ to enclose the seam. Before cutting out the pieces I had chopped 3″ off the length of the skirt pieces but ended up cutting another 2″ off. I prefer to wear flats most of the time and didn’t want the beautiful fabric which I purchased from fabric.com to be dragging on the ground. For the record, I am 5’7″. This dress is made for very tall people! Or very tall heels…


I had the intention of fully lining the dress but it turned out the fabric was opaque enough I didn’t need to. So I self-biased the neck line instead of using the facings using the method from So Sew Easy. I got to use my new bias tape maker, :).


Just to recap: I added a 4″ FBA, 1″ of length to the front and back bodice pieces, cut off about 5″ of length off the skirt portions, added side seam pockets, and self-bias tapes the neckline. I used a size US 10 for the bodice grading out to a size US 12 for the skirt.

And voila, a pretty dress I plan to wear to a wedding this weekend, :).




African Wax Print and Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book

Ever since I saw that Gertie had another book coming out I knew I had to look it over and it is still currently in my Amazon queue for a future purchase someday… In the mean time I was able to find a copy of Gertie’s Ultimate Dress Book at my local library, yay!

I must say, the instructions and information are amazing, as are all of the pattern pieces and combos available. I decided to go with the sweetheart neckline strapless bodice pieces, three-quarter circle skirt, and pocket pieces. Because, well, every dress possible should have pockets! For the fabric I ordered this gorgeous Ankara African wax fabric from Tambo Collection on Etsy. They shipped it to me very quickly and it looked exactly like the photos, :).

I saw Gertie’s green faille dress in the book and loved it but didn’t have enough fabric for the box pleats and as I decided to alternate the bodice pieces with teal I thought it looked better without the decorative bias tape across the front.

For the sizing I traced out and sewed up a straight size 10 other than making a full bust adjustment of 3″ to the bodice front. Always make a muslin! This one took me 2 tries but it looks great and I felt much more sure putting together 2 layers without worrying about fitting as I went. I did my usual full bust adjustment on a princess seam. So basically I cut a slash in the side front piece going from just under the front middle notch to the double middle side notch (you can see this in the photo in the bottom right corner). I spread this a total of 1.5″ and then I cut a horizontal line on the middle piece at the same notch point and spread that piece straight up 1.5″ keeping the front middle section straight as it is cut on the fold.

dress mock up

The I used the same muslin pieces I’d used for my trial to underline the front pattern pieces which I cut out of alternating patterned and solid teal fabric. For the top I did have to take in the top middle seams in a tad to make the top curve over my chest properly. Gertie has you stitch a row of gathering stitches which I might try next time. Then for the inside structure of the bodice I followed her inserting boning instructions to apply a total of 9 strips of rigilene boning to all of the top seams and a small bit in the middle front. Next time I will put some casing around the rigilene. Even though I melted the edges they still dig in to my skin a bit. All in all it looks quite lovely, :).

inside boning

Then I put the zipper in the bodice to try on the fit again before attaching the bodice to the skirt. At this stage I decided an invisible zipper would look nicer than a lapped zipper, for which Gertie goes over in great detail on inserting either option with and without lining. Then it was time to work on the skirt! I used her handy tutorial on inserting the pockets which was easy peasy before attaching the skirt to the exterior bodice pieces. Love it when everything is notched and matches up so nicely, :). I opted to not put in the 1/8″ edge stitching on the pockets since the fabric is so sturdy, I just pressed them really well with my iron. After I had attached the bodice I put in the zipper and then hand slip-stitched the lining in place.

Look at that pretty inside! And those things sticking out are the pockets.

inside of dress

And ta-da! I now have another gorgeous summer dress that fits like a charm, :). Love how the contrasting panels just add to the beauty of the dress and pattern.

ankara dress front view

Pockets!

anakra dress using the pockets

Side view

ankara dress side view

Back view

ankara dress back view.jpg

And of course I needed a spinning shot, or 2… 😉

ankara dress spinankara dress spin 2

Wren in Green

And of course I couldn’t resist making Version 1 of the Wren dress as well, :). I’ve had some green knit fabric gifted to me for awhile now and decided this was the perfect project.

img_0304

I wrote more details on my adventures in making an FBA (full bust adjustment) for the top portion of the dress here as well as adding 1/2″ of length to the top portion. Otherwise I made no other adjustments to the skirt. I cut out a straight side medium and used the 3/8″ seam allowances and 1.5″ hem. I probably could have gone up to a large for this version since my fabric choice had less stretch than the floral of my previous Wren but I think it turned out pretty good. I had this dress together within 1 afternoon, :).

Love this pattern! But then again, I pretty much love every Colette pattern I’ve made so far, :).

 

img_0302

img_0422