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.

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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, :).

Gertie’s Halter Top

Going along with my Vintage pledge to make more vintagey items and try some more of Gertie’s patterns. I went ahead and tried my hand at her Halter Top in her book Gertie Sews Vintage Casual.

I had some trouble sorting out how to fit the bra cups portion of this top. I ended up splitting the bottom cup in 2 and adding about 2″ in my attempt at a full bust adjustment. It’s still not perfect but overall pretty good. I made the size 10 from her book using some Gertie floral fabric of course! It had some stretch so I opted to not put in a zipper and with the shirring on the sides I didn’t need one, :). Sorting out the fitting of the cups took me about 5 trials, but the rest of the tank was pretty easy and had it together in a few hours. Love my serger!

I decided to make mine a tank instead of a halter by adding about 4″ to each strap. Finding the correct placement was a little tricky but not too bad. I plan to just wear a strapless bra with it anyway.

I had just enough fabric left over from making my pencil skirt posted here but not enough for the cup lining so I used some dark blue Bemberg lining for the cup lining and used sew in fleece instead of iron on. Looks pretty good. The instructions were easy to follow and due to the nature of the fabric fraying I serged all of the seams.

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Look at those beautiful seams and all of that shirring!!! The shirring actually went along pretty quick since I didn’t start and end each row individually as per her instructions.

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Still working on getting the placement of the straps but I think it looks pretty good and is perfect for summer! Looks great with my new Ginger Flares, ;).

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Butterick 6019: Finished!

Been working on this one for a week and so happy to finish it, especially as my sewing machine busted right as I was over-casting the waist seam. So sad about that but as it’s about 5 months old it should be under warrenty. So the buttons for the strap will need to wait, but I may just permanently attatch the halter strap. This is the amazing Butterick 6019 pattern by Gertie. Her stunning version can be found here as well as links to the bodice and horsehair braid hem tutorials I used. I went with the size 14 D cup pattern sizing and version A. Love that full skirt! All my bodice adjustments can be found here. Definitely had to make a few. It took me about 3 tries but I got it! I wanted it to be supportive and full coverage. I do wish I’d purchased some steel boning but the feather lite plastic boning is ok. I also added 2″ of length to the skirt and took the waist up 1/2″. Perfect!

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As you can tell from my center back crease (shoulders pushed back too far), the center back seam is spot on! Also some great shoulder/upper back definition from my Aerial Silks class, ;). It took me about 2 hours to properly fit the zipper. I did the lapel zipper which was easy enough after making the pants but I had to do it about 3 times before the fit was right.

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And it took many hours and lots of stitching, pinning, and seam ripping but I finally got the bust profile I was aiming for. And that hem! It took awhile being about 5.5 yards but I did it! Using the horsehair braid made the process so much easier. I ended up choosing 1/2″ wide polyester braid and rolling it up twice so it isn’t visible.

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And the obligatory spinning photo to show off that full skirt, :). We’re having gorgeous weather here in Nashville today!

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Butterick 6019: Bodice Construction

Loving this dress! I’ve been taking my time with this one making sure the fit is absolutely right. I used Gertie’s adding an underwire to a bustier style top tuturial to add underwires that I took out of an old bra that didn’t fit anymore. It was a little tricky finding the best fit but what I ended up doing that worked really well was to lay the old bra on top of the bustier and trace the outline of it, then matched the underwires up with the outline. I was going to add additional boning but I have the cheap plastic kind and it was bending funny so just put in the 2 recommended by the pattern. Look at that pretty placement! You can’t see from the photo, but I have a layer of Pellon 950F ShirTailor interfacing lining the cups and then sew-in fleece interfacing on top of that. I didn’t put any interfacing on the bottom portions.

On the outer bodice front pieces I lined the cups with the same Pellon 950F interfacing and then used Pellon featherlight interfacing on the bottom sections. Essentially I lined the bra cups twice with the Pellon 950F (once on the outer fabric and once on the lining) with a layer of fleece lining inbetween them. This gives the top wonderful structure so I won’t need a bra at all with this dress, :). I opted to not put in a waiststay since everything is so structured and I’ll be attaching the halter top.

I made 3 muslins total, one using the original size 14 D-cup pieces with no adjustments, one making adjustments, and the final version. As can be seen by the two pieces below I ended up adding about an inch to the bottom cup pieces and about an inch to the top as well to ensure full coverage and excellent support. For sewing purposes I am a 34DD, I used the size 14 pieces.

And a photo of muslin #3 and then the final version. Perfect!

Due to this awesome pattern it’s hard to see all the line stitching on the bodice lining.

And complete! I had to adjust the band a little due to adding an overall 2″ to the bodice top and not adding any length to the band…oops! It all worked out. Also instead of understitching the lining I’m just putting “invisible” stitches to attach the lining to the outer bodice.

I also added a bit of a V to the front cup for visual aesthetics. This dress top is super supportive! And the fabric pattern is perfect. The dress is almost completed. Just the zipper, hem, and halter strap left… I am also using Gertie’s horsehair braid tutorial for the hem line. I selected 1/2″ wide polyester horsehair braid to add a little structure to the hem. Keeping the overall vibe of this dress more casual.

Famous Frocks Twiggy Dress

I got this book as a gift for Christmas and I LOVE it! I’ve admired many of the dresses in here and now I can make them, :). You can purchase a copy at many places such as Barnes and Noble.

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For NYE I went to a 60’s themed party with my boyfriend, so I made the Twiggy dress from this book in a size Large. I chose the longer color block version with pockets. I think it’s fantastic when a dress has pockets. They were the perfect size for my phone. This is my first project using a book. So happy it came with traceable patterns. Took some time.

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Overall the instructions and pattern were easy enough to follow. The pattern was listed as being an intermediate. One part I found tricky was putting in the placket, first time putting in a placket. The instructions were a little hard to follow and ended up putting it in backwards even though I followed the pictures exactly, or thought I had. Just a little weird to button it on the wrong side. I also discovered why when seam ripping open the button holes you should put pins on each side…ripped one a bit too far but patched it up so it’s barely noticeable.

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The neckband was also a section where I had to pin it a few different ways to finally get it right but I did, :).

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Overall the dress required minimal fit adjustments, only decreased the side seams by 1/2″ on the sides in the top/bust area due to me being 38″ and the pattern designed to fit a 37″. I love how it turned out! As for the fabric I used scrap and donated fabric I had around the house. The blue was leftover from covering boards when I was a teacher, the gold/cream was gifted to me, and the white was scraps from a previous project. Worked perfectly together. My only purchase was the beautiful set of 1″ buttons.

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And pockets! Did I mention how much I love the fact that this dress had optional pockets? ;). They are even the era common circle pockets.

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And of course the obligatory Twiggy pose, :).

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Butterick 5953 Dress

I am in love with this dress! You can purchase this pattern online at Butterick, it’s part of the Patterns by Gertie line. I made a test muslin that turned out pretty good considering I sewed my darts on the wrong side, haha. The actual dress was overall easy and the only time consuming parts were putting in the facing (stitching, trimming, understitching…) and ironing. I think this fabric is beautiful and great that it has a little stretch but not the easiest to iron! It just doesn’t want to crease very well, so good news is there will be very few wrinkles. The pattern suggested fabrics did not include polyester lining material but I think the leopard print worked great for the accents. I made a size 16 due to my measurements of 38-31-42. I took in the sides and darts considerably. This is where having a dress dummy is so handy, I could pin it and look at it on the dummy. It’s very hard to make back dart adjustments on yourself!

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Look at those gorgeous lapels!

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I covered the buttons myself without a fancy button kit using this tutorial. It was pretty easy. I used 7/8″ buttons and then cut out a circle pattern that was large enough to cover the front and bunch in the back of the button. Now the first trial failed miserably due to the unraveling nature of the lining fabric but I solved that issue with some trusty Fray Ease around the edges.

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And voila, beautiful accent buttons. I used my new Brother cs6000i for this project and and so thankful for the easy button holer! Makes perfect button holes every time, :).

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I adjusted the darts in the back as well to bring more of an hour glass shape to the dress, turned out beautifully with minor puckering. A lot of that is due to the ironing difficulty. And check out that godet accent!

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I like the little splash of leopard print in the back. I also used a blind hem stitch for the bottom instead of hem tape. I didn’t use any hem tape on this entire dress. The blind stitch hem is a feature on my new machine that I have never had before and think it is fantastic. I’d have to say my favorite feature is my overcast stitch though. I don’t have a serger so it’s as close as I can get to finishing my clothes. Works great, just a little extra work on my part.

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And voila! A beautiful pinup worthy dress, especially with those leopard print accents, ;).

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