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.

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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.

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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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

Simplicity 2172 Steampunk Dress: The Bustier


Ever since I laid eyes on this pattern I knew I had to make it. When I learned of this Time Traveller’s Ball coming up in Nashville I decided this was the perfect opportunity. So finally found Simplicity 2172 in my sizing (size 14) and decided to start with the bustier thinking it would be pretty “easy”. Construction steps were fairly easy but definitely not quick!

I am more of a 34G than a 34B so I went with the 14 for the bustier and my usual full bust adjustment changes using this great tutorial on FBAs on princess seams by Vogue. I only used the front and middle center pieces for the FBA and left the side front panels as is other than the additional 1/2″ I added to the waist length throughout the entire corset. After careful measurements I also decided this was a good size because it would allow me the 0″ ease recommend for corsets with a zipper rather than adjustable lacing in the back. The pattern allows for 2″ of ease, so heads up on if you want this to be more of a corset or more of a fitted top. Because the finished measurements are 38″ for the size 14 chest and mine is about 41″, only needed to do a 3″ FBA (full bust adjustment).

So I made a muslin first of course and it was nearly a perfect fit, so a few adjustments later I was ready to begin! The only other change I made other than the 3″ FBA (full bust adjustment), was to add 1/2″ of length to the torso.


The pattern calls for light weight interfacing and plastic feather lite boning but I wanted mine to be sturdier so I used Pellon 101 shape flex and spiral steel boning. I ordered a roll of about 10 yards and definitely need to invest in better cutters! But I managed with what I had and got my 9 pieces cup and capped. For my channeling I used some twill tape I had in my stash and lined the corset with Bemberg. I used 5/8″ seams for everything but the top connection of the lining to the exterior fabric. For this I used a 1/2″ seam for additional height and coverage.

Had to snap a pic of the inside guts! Look how pretty those channels are, :).

Cutting the steel boning with jewelry clippers was not easy but I managed. Definitely will be investing in better wire cutters! Putting the end caps on took some trial and error but I figured it out. Looks so great!

Then I sewed some 3/8″ Pearl like plastic buttons to the front spaced 1″ apart. I ended up using 13.

For the lining I used Bemberg but ran out of blue, hence the 2 bits of black. I kind of like it.

And voila. A beautiful corset that will look fantastic with my costume but great with a pair of pants too, :). The pants are my Clovers. The sides at the top ended up being a tad big but nothing major. If I make another one I will shave off another 1/4″ off each side seam towards the top bust portion. Fits great with my strapless bra.

I’ll be adding a hook and and eye to the top. For some reason when I looked in my stash all I have is 4 hooks and no eyes. Not sure how that happened as they are sold in pairs, haha.

Back view

Side view.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And another front shot. I love this fabric and think the fit turned out fantastic, :).

Just finishing up the matching vest for my boyfriend, just needs buttons. Then onto the skirt!