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, :).


Simplicity 2172, McCall’s 7335, and McCall’s 2447

Like I have mentioned before, I took one look at Simplicity 2172 and just knew I had to make it. I was thinking maybe for Halloween and then I saw Nashville’s The Cabaret Noir Collective hosting a Time Traveler’s Ball, perfect! The event itself was great and I was able to finish my outfit in time, :). 2 weeks of part-time work on these patterns was a bit over zealous but I managed, :). Even made muslins of everything but the hat! And there are so many gorgeous versions on the internet.

Now be prepared, this is a bit of a long post with lots of photos…

I have already blogged the details that went into the making of the corset here. So much work but it turned out lovely.



Next up was making my boyfriend a matching vest using McCall’s 2447. Cut out a muslin first and made a few adjustments to tailor the fit a bit more bringing in the top sides about an inch each. Then because I dislike welts that serve no purpose I created a pocket pattern using the top welt pocket pieces from Vogue 8890 as a reference. They turned out fine but far from perfect. I think the vest turned out quite lovely using the medium weight twill cotton from my corset. The directions were easy to follow and already working on another vest made from a nice navy wool for his birthday, :). Using the pocket pattern pieces from the Jason vest pattern this time and working out much better but more about that in another post once it is finished. For this one I used Bemberg lining for the back and lining.

Look at that fit! The one on the left was after all of the tailoring adjustments, you can see how the one on the right has some puffiness at the sides.


Then it was time to make the skirt! Oh my goodness, that pleated hem took so many hours. It was quite literally 9 yards of fabric to stitch the 9 panels together, then hem, then pleat. So the hem went from 9 yards to about 3 yards. The rest of the skirt was pretty easy, just sew together 3 panels, attach the hem and attach the waistband pieces. I made a size 16 and even then was a bit tight. So while the corset had too much ease the skirt had the perfect amount.



Then the coat. Again, not too difficult as the instructions were really good but time consuming. I cut out a size 14 for the coat but should have graded out to a size 16 at the waist. I only made one adjustment of adding 1/2″ of length to the waist. There were a lot of pieces and fully lined, so it took some time. Loved the pockets! They looked great and were a nice size, I could fit everything I needed without bringing a purse along, :). The neck ruffle took a long time to hem both sides but looked great. I decided to nix the sleeves for now as it was so warm out but might add them later for Halloween when it is cooler out.


Side View


And the back. Instead of making a tie from fabric I made one using some white faux leather and ended up needing 3 pieces instead of the 2 pieces the pattern said to cut out. I think it adds a lovely contrasting detail.


And to top it all off, literally, I made a hat! I used McCall’s 7335 Version C and it turned out like the picture pretty well. The hat is a lot of little pieces but goes together fairly quickly. I just followed the steps but instead of stitching my decorative feathers in place I hot glued them and instead of an elastic band to hold the hat on I added hair clips. These were a little fiddly and didn’t stay on very well. May hot glue them in or use combs instead.

I sewed on a few gears to the decorative holder holding the feathers.



And the happy couple! I had made Dan this suit a few years ago and the vest looks fantastic with it. The suit is Vogue 8890. We looked so old fashioned, ;). And of course we added some gears and chains here and there to finish off the looks. This photo is also using a vintage filter of course. I think everything turned out perfect!


BurdaStyle 11/2014 #121

Finished my dress in time to wear it to my friend’s Oscars party! Literally within an hour of leaving, ;). I used BurdaStyle 11/2014 #121 Hourglass Lace Gown which can be purchased for $5.99 here. There are not seam allowances added into the pattern so adding those was fun and time consuming, ugh. Then apparently the printout pattern pieces had been updated since creating the instructions because there was no 6 and 6a on my pattern printout, only a piece 6. And I did not need to add any length to pieces 1, 2, or 3.

Ran into a few snags but made corrections as I went along. Thinking maybe I should have purchased that online sew-a-long but it’s ok. One snag was the directional queue “cut interfacing according to the shaded areas on the cutout layout”. “Shaded areas” was very difficult to determine. It looks like I should have cut interfacing to about the waist of each piece but it was very unclear. There were interfacing lines marked on 2 pattern pieces for the batting so I just used this as my interfacing line. I mean, logically, “interfacing line” should be interfacing, right? Maybe too short but I figure it was more to support the bust than anything else as the back has no interfacing other than on the lining and the front has it all plus some batting. Then I decided to use black interfacing which works great for the bulk of the dress as it is black but not the chiffon backed lace panels…

This was the second snag. The chiffon turned out to be much more sheer than I would prefer, by “sheer” I mean absolutely see through. So I ended up using two layers of chiffon backing which creates a nice sheerness and not see through. The top portion is lined but only to about the upper hip. As for the interfacing even white would be completely visible so I ended up not interfacing the lining at all for the lace panel sections. It was only going to be interfaced about an inch anyway by the way I cut everything so I did not feel it was necessary. I couldn’t find skin toned chiffon at any of the local Jo-Ann’s, so I bought white and dyed it with tea. I didn’t soak it long enough the first time so tea-dyed the pieces a second time and longer. Much better color. Then when I went in search of more chiffon for a second layer I found a flesh toned in the color champagne and used that under the tea dyed chiffon.

So after all of those changes the lace side panels looked great with the second layer of chiffon and I also cut 2″ off the hem and ended up putting in a 2″ blind hem. I was able to use my serger to cut off the extra 2″ and finish off the inside edge of the hem. If I were to make this dress again I would cut off 3″ from the length and just do a 1″ blind hem. It looks so nice other than some extra fabric in the hem here and there because of putting in a 2″ hem instead of 1″ or 1.5″. The pattern recommended hem was 1 5/8″.


Other notes. I did not use the recommended 36″ wide lace and used 60″ wide as that is what I had found. Note to self, only needed about 3 yards, not 4. And because I doubled up on the chiffon, needed about 4 yards of that one, not 2.
Over all everything from the waist down and the back fit great. I couldn’t find a 24″ invisible zipper so I used a 22″ and it worked just fine. The sleeves were a bit tight and I had to bring them in considerably in the front. I realize now I should have taken the 1″ of length I had added to the bodice out of the front sleeve yoke. Duh! I just love the lace though! Sewing the sleeves to the shoulder yokes was tricky being lace but I discovered wonder clips work great. No more needles falling out of the lace as I try to sew, ;).

I am not 100% happy with the fit of the bodice. In my mock up I had put in a 3.5″ FBA and it had been a tad big so I took out a 1/2″ and somehow it seems that the finished dress bust ended up larger than my mock up. I may decide to take the top portion of the front bust apart, cut out new bust pieces, rearrange the front sleeve should yoke, and take out about 3/4″ from the bust area. So basically I would end up with a 2.25″ FBA, or maybe just take out a whole inch for a 2″. Normally with McCall patterns I do between a 3 and 4″ FBA and those are made with B cups. BurdaStyle is designed for a C cup.

I also want to state, I LOVE MY SERGER!!! It took me about an hour to learn how to re-thread it after one of the threads broke but it helped me to finish all of inside seams so nicely. It did two steps for me at the same time: trimmed off the excess fabric and finished the edges and inside seams. You can see in the photo below how the left side looks so much better than the right. Got rid of all those pesky fraying threads!


And the finished insides, it just looks so beautiful, :).

Overall it turned out great and I received many compliments, :).



Photo of the front view on my dress dummy.


The back view, the back had the same gathering as the front plus this nice small train in the back. I have seen several makes of this as a wedding dress.



Side view


Close up of all that gathering


Close up of the bustier portion. If it were just a tad tighter it would be perfect.

And look at that sleeve detail! Instead of putting a loop so I can actually button or un-button the sleeve vent I just sewed the button on to close it up and used these beautiful pearl buttons I found, :). They added a nice finished detail.

I didn’t get a lot of photos of me wearing the dress but I have one of me and the boy on the “red carpet”, ;).

hourglass dress

Purse Display

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post. Been so busy making stock for my first craft show in over a year with a new concept: purses. I’ll be at the Green Hills YMCA in Nashville this Saturday, November 21st from 10am to 4pm at Crafty Nashville’s holiday market and premier event, :).

So I needed a way to display these purses… I looked all over Amazon, Target, Wal-Mart, Pinterest, etc. and found some options but nothing that was quite what I had in mind or in my price range.
So I drew a sketch, took some calculations (would it fit in my car) and went to Home Depot. Found some nice poplar 1 by 2’s to make a ladder basically, some hinges to make it foldable for portability, screws (the initial 1″ nails used did not work), and 9.25″ wide planks for the shelves.

 My lovely sketch: 
I ended up with 4 pieces of 1 by 2 inch pieces of wood 5 feet long and 8 pieces of the same 1 by 2 inch pieces of wood 9.5″ long. The long pieces were the frame and the shorter pieces the ladder rungs. Then the plank I had cut into a 2′, a 3.5′, and a 4.5′ pieces for the shelves.

Sanding them all down took awhile but putting it together was pretty simple. My boyfriend helped and drilled all the holes for the screws. We put one side of the ladder together, then the other, then attached the hinges at the top.

One side of the “ladder”: 

The hinges at the top:  
And voila, a sturdy purse display that folds up for easy transport, :).

Holds the purses really well, :).  

 I’ve also added temporary push pins to the bottom edges of each shelf so I don’t have to measure the display every time I set it up. It will always be at 3.5′ width at the bottom, :). I’ll add pieces of more secure wood later. 

Pretty proud of myself!

A Dahlia for Fall

Yay! I LOVE this new dress!!! I’ve had a fall Dahlia in mind for a while now and for my birthday I ordered this lovely purple wool suiting fabric from Mood Fabrics. I accidentally pre-washed it since I was in a pre-washing fabrics mood. Oops! At least it was on delicate and in cold water so no harm. I then purchased Bemberg lining in blackberry from Jo-Ann’s. Bemberg is an amazing lining if you don’t want to spend the extra on silk. It has a nice feel and breathes nicely. The color went perfect with my Dahlia, :).

I did my usual FBA (full bust adjustment) using Colette’s tutorial through her sew-a-long. An AMAZING resource. Give a pictorial step by step process and added advice over the whole dress making process for both versions. I also added 3″ of length to the skirt pieces to make it longer for the colder weather. The only other changes I made were to take in the sleeve seams a bit to keep the shoulders from sliding down and to get the pouf out of the back. Next time I should just take this out of the pattern as I had to do that for version 2 too. I pinched out an extra 1/4″ for each front neck/sleeve seam and 1/2″ for each of the back. Perfect! Then after putting together the wool exterior I basically made a complete second dress out of the lining.

Instead of purchasing binding I decided to make my own using the wool suiting. Wool is not press friendly! I made 3/8″ double fold binding, so I started out cutting 1.5″ wide strips using this tutorial by Sew 4 Home. I just could not sort out the continuous bias tape method but this one worked great for me. To press it was a process.

  1. First I cut out and sewed the strips together
  2. Then I pinned the bias tape so it was double folding in along one big strip since I don’t have a bias tape maker
  3. Then I pressed it on high heat, then put my wood pieces over the pressed part and pushed down until the heat was gone. I did this a few times removing pins as I went until there were no pins left along the strip and I had a good crease

And look at that lovely binding!

Hand stitching it to the lining took a bit of work but it was worth every second as it looks so much better than just haphazardly slip stitching it. Colette describes how to do 5 different hand stitches here.

The stuffing of the lining and attaching it to the zipper was a little tricky but Devon explains the whole process really well in the install zipper portion of the sew a long. You can see how lovely this turned out below.


And my self-made bias taped neck line!

My invisible zipper is almost perfect. I just could not get the bottom yoke pieces to line up. I gave up after 3 tries and called it good enough.

The kickpleat

I got my other yoke bands to line up perfectly!

Had to show off the lovely lining.

And my perfect hand stitching, ;).

Made with Mood tag! Working on creating my own tags. It’s a tricky process! Ordered some special color fast printer friendly fabric sheets to give it a go later this week.  

Another of my gorgeous lining that no one will ever see.

And of course some of me wearing the dress. Have I mentioned how much I love this dress?!?! The purple is gorgeous, the fabric feels wonderful, and the fit is perfect, :).

I tried to get a good view of the back.

And a fun explorer type pose. Shows there is lots of movement to the skirt!

And another fun pose, 🙂

Georgia Dress

This dress had been in my queue for a bit and I finally got the motivation to make it in time for the opera this weekend. Nashville is showing Turandot at TPAC tonight. I had purchased a nice classic black stretch sateen from Mood Fabrics in August and LOVE it! It has very little sheen to it which was great for my purposes. I just wanted a sexy basic black dress. I used the longer length with the slender straps which I also added 1/2″ of width to them to better cover my bra straps. The pattern can be purchased from By Hand London.

It took me a few tries to get the bust portion right. Per my initial measurements I went with a size 12 with a 1.5″ FBA (full bust adjustment) but this turned out to be much too large for me around the rib cade so I went down to a size 10. The circumference was much better but the 1.5″ adjustment I made wasn’t quite enough so I added another 1/2″ for a total of 2″ and it was perfect. As most of us who sew know, most patterns are made for a B cup. As I am closer to a G (DDDD) that was a 4″ difference in full bust, so per the usual FBA guidelines I divided this number by 2 as there are two sides getting the adjustment which gives the total 4″ needed. By Hand London has a great sew-a-long with a tutorial on how to do the FBA here and other tutorials on each step for all 3 versions.

As I mentioned before, I also added 1/2″ of width to the straps which gave them the perfect coverage for my bra straps. I did this by cutting the strap piece in half and adding 1/2″ more pattern to the middle.

Now as I hadn’t adjusted the skirt pieces to grad from the size 12 I had cut out to the new size 10 top I had some wrinkle issues. I resolved most of them but next time I will just cut out a straight size 10 as I ended up grading everything down. I also may have traced out one of the skirt pieces wrong as I noticed none of the notches matched up with the other pieces. All in all it was pretty easy to put together and came together quickly for me.

The trickiest parts were making sure I got the points nice and crisp in the front and back where the skirt attaches to the top and fitting the top portion. look at that nice crisp top of a triangle under the bust!

And I finished all the insides with an overcast stitch to prevent unraveling. I did deviate from the instructions with attaching the lining on the inside. Instead of hand stitching it down I machine stitched in the ditch. I find this so much easier and quicker.

And it still looks pretty good! My dress form and I do not share the same bust size yet, that is another project of many in my queue. Craftsy is having a great offer this month of unlimited viewing of all of their craft videos for only $9.99 for the month of October! Had to be purchased by the 5th though. One of the videos is how to modify your dress form so hope to do that soon. That class is called Customize Your Dress Form, currently $24.99.

Back looks pretty great too! Love the sexy curve hugging shape of this dress.

And my lovely invisible zipper! They get better and easier every time. I use my invisible zipper foot which helps a ton and make sure I iron the coils flat before I put it in. Plus I use Colette’s way of inserting zippers that makes life easier and the lining stay put better. More on that through her tutorial.

See, not so bad, ;).  

And of course a few of me before going to the opera!

 Me with one of the new clutches I’ve made.

 The back view (don’t mind the wrinkles). 
 Classic black and white.


And a final front view!


McCall Fashion Star Pattern 6700

I LOVE this dress! It was quick and easy to make and fits really well without having to make any adjustments, :). I measure 39-31-42 but made a size 14 since patterns seem to give more ease than I need or prefer. The pattern is McCall’s Fashion Star 6700, no longer in print. And the fabric is a beautiful stretch knit from Jo-Ann’s.



The only adjustment I made was to flip the elastic belt seam up instead of down to give more of an empire waist. And those tie strings! They are pretty but are really just decorative so I think I would nix those if I made it again.


Overall an easy and gorgeous maxi dress perfect for spring and summer, :).