Posted in sewing

BWOF 11-2007 #107 : Pink and Cream Seersucker Cross Dart Dress

Oh, hey.

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I don’t know know that there is a seersucker I don’t like.  I started this dress almost two months ago to wear to a summer ‘picnic wedding’ in upstate NY where the dress was ‘summer semi-formal’. I didn’t get it done in time 😦

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My sewing of this dress greatly benefited from having lots of extra fabric. I had to recut the bodice three time due to incredible user error. I first used this seersucker to make a sailor-inspired skirt two years ago. The fabric is kind of see through, so this time I underlined the bodice with cotton batiste.

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I’ve wanted to make this dress since it came out in 2007. I thought the bodice darts were so interesting. Add a full pleated skirt and it’s totally speaking my language.

 

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Not only did I need an FBA, I had to move the darts down a good 1.5 inches too in addition to changing the angle of the darts downward. So, while it doesn’t look exactly like the original, it fits and flatters me so much better.

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Like a dolt, I sewed up the shoulders and sides before remembering the correct sleeveless construction order. That meant I needed to use a bit of bias at the neckline so I could clean finish everything. This would have also looked awesome if I’d used the binding at the armholes too (thought for next time).

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The inside of this dress is really my favorite. I used the time consuming but my favorite method: facing lining combo.  I drafted the bodice lining using the included facing. I looks so ready to wear to me! It’s much more work, but worth the effort I think. There is no peeping out of lining from the sleeves or neckline this way.

I used ALL the machines on this dress. Sewn up on my Bernina 830 using the AMAZING invisible zipper foot.

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Seriously. Perfect insertion every time. I hate to admit that this sucker was worth the $40.

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The hem of the lining is made with my Brother Coverstitch (my new favorite way to do lining).

 

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And the hem of the dress itself is secured with rayon tape and my Japanese-made  blind hemmer (using the invisible thread).

Seriously. All. The. Machines.

I think this dress would benefit from a belt. But, I don’t have one that works. Yet. I’m thinking a pale blue or teal? I would also make the tulle underskirt if I need this for dress up rather than work.

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Overall, I’m meh on the dress. I put a ton of effort in to it. But, I really don’t like it on me. On the dressform it’s rocking. But, the proportions are ever so slightly off on me and I look like a rectangle.  I’m sorry it didn’t make it to the wedding as thematically it was perfect. I am just off my sewing game as of late. I have one more skirt to post that I made a few weeks ago and I’ll be caught up in project back log.

Posted in sewing

Granny’s 90th Birthday Party Dress: Vogue Patterns 8633

As I started to write this blog post, I looked up Carolyn’s blog. It was her post that alerted me to this fabric at Metro three years ago (and she sent it to me too!). Then, I clicked the link to Allison C’s blog (she bought the same fabric) and see she used the same fabric, on the same pattern, on Fourth of July weekend three years ago. How funny is that?  I actually said out loud, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”  hehehe.


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For my (maternal) Granny’s 90th birthday party this past weekend in Brooklyn (New York), I went in to deep deep stash and pulled out this border print cotton.  One reason I was committed to sewing and wearing a dress is that my grandmother was a seamstress in Carriacou, Grenada, WI. She was sent as a small girl down the road to a woman who taught her how to sew. My grandfather was also a tailor in Grenada. It makes me feel incredibly connected to my roots when I make clothes. I caught my mom looking at me once when I was adjusting a garment on her. She said it reminded me of her father. I never met my grandfather, he passed before I was born. All that being said, granny didn’t teach me how to sew. I learned in Home Ec and from books. But, I do remember her making a dress for me in college. And, I remember her inspecting my work when I started sewing. Granny thought I did a good job even though I needed a pattern (that I paid good money for no less!). Oh, she said I also needed to work on my  finishing 🙂 

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From the Vogue website. View DE.

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I decided to let the stripes speak on the border print. I did think about the stripe placement. The possibilities (with enough material) for placement with this dress are endless. I could have done the entire bodice in stripes. Or placed the stripes on one side. Or, just did the skirt in stripes and kept the bodice solid. Seriously, endless possibilities.

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The cotton has a thinner hand. So, I underlined the bodice and waistband with silk organza. The dress is lined throughout with black cotton batiste. I finished the skirt hem with my blind hemmer and a little hem tape. I am in love with my hemmer y’all!

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I despise facings. But, on this, I see how it works. I was able to use my blind hemmer to attach the facing so it wasn’t floppy. I’m still getting the hang of it….. A colleague wore a similar dress last week. The ‘V’ is lined with lining all the way to the edge (rather than a facing) She said her neckline always flips out. So, for that reason I’m glad I have the facing.

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I cut and sewed a 14. Made a 1/2 inch FBA and took in the waist about one inch.  I also did not make a swayback. The bias skirt give a TON of volume and awesome swing. 

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This skirt is not rear end friendly if you’ve got some junk in the trunk. On me, I think I look wider than I am in the butt and hips because of the folds of the bias skirt.

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Even on the dress form, I think it adds some width. Or, I’m just telling myself that…

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I was super happy to see my parents this weekend too. They drove up to NYC from Florida.

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 I don’t know when my dad got so grey in the beard. He’s a handsome devil isn’t he? My mom is standing with a first cousin below. And that’s a cousin behind us.

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So, peeps, I’m getting old. My cousins are having babies and I’m a second cousin to five (the oldest being a pre-teen 12). Here’s a photo with the newest addition to our family (she’s an identical twin). You can see her sister in a matching outfit through the door. I remember when her mom was still in diapers!!  She’s so STINKING precious. Oh, those are two more cousins behind us.

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Here’s a first cousin. We’re only 30 years apart 🙂 That’s another first cousin behind us to the left.

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And a first cousin from my generational cohort.  That’s another first cousin behind us. I can’t even count all the cousins. I think… 15 first cousins plus the five second cousins were in attendance.

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Super happy with my dress. I’m very pleased I was able to wear it in honor of my grandmother. Because of an incident, she was not physically able to attend her celebration on Sunday.  It was a wonderful tribute to her to see how many people she’s impacted. If you have any extra prayers and positive vibes to give out, they’d be greatly appreciated right about now.

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Posted in sewing

Burda Magazine 9/2012 #109: Blue Wool Sweater Dress

I’m continuing my current passion for sweater knits in this Burda sheath dress from September 2012. While I’m still tracing mine from the magainze (tears), you can download it for a mere $5.40 from the BurdaStyle website here.

This marine blue knit was purchased in the same bundle as the autumnal pullover I just completed. The knit is incredibly soft. I love the way the colors meld in this knit. I originally sewed this dress to wear to a Hanukkah party and have pulled it out a few times for work since then.

Since the pattern uses the same upper body model as my recent pullover, the FBA alterations on the French darts / busts were already done.

I love the sleeve technique used. See the pleat at the deltoid? It’s sewn in one fell swoop with the shoulder seam.

Next time I make this dress (and there will be a next time) I’m going to use the same back neckline  from the original pullover. I decided to skip the zipper, but you’ll see here in the back that this dress version doesn’t have the v-shape back necline as the pullover.

That makes the dress little bit of a stretch to get in and out of since I use interfacing along the neckline and armholes to reduce… well, stretching. Also, I think this a lot of dark fabric too close to my face. I thrive in color and I think something more open in the neckline might be more flatterning.

Is it strange that only in the last two years I’ve noticed how incredibly short my neck is? Strange because I’ve always thought my mom had a short neck. Now, I think *I* have a short neck. Which means, of course, that I’m well on my way to becoming my mother….

Notice I’m not holding a remote nor am I in my backyard or dining room? It’s was so foggy when I wore this dress. So, I talked my friend Liz in to being my photographer and this is our conference room. Man, it’s so much easier to have someone else take your pictures (as long as they know you need 60 to have one good shot).

Look at me! I’m ‘working’.

Look at me! I’m ‘modeling’

Heh.

I’m a fan of this dress and have to thank Caroline for turning me on to the style! I feel more coming in wool jersey, don’t you?

I have two more sweater knit projects coming, including something I never thought I’d make. A cardigan! Stay tuned 🙂

The material for this dress was purchased in part using an allowance from Mood Fabrics for the Mood Sewing Network

Posted in sewing

Burda Magazine 5-2011-111: Purple Friday Wool Tunic

I’m on to my second Purple Friday ensemble for this football season. Hey there Oona… how about that game on Sunday?

In Baltimore, we wear purple for our American football team the Baltimore Ravens on Fridays. Why? Well, they mostly play on Sunday and Purple Fridaysare a way to show pride and support in the team. Did I mention my house is right behind the old Memorial Stadium?

Every Friday of football season is PURPLE FRIDAY!!!! Proudly wear your purple to work or school to support the Ravens! — Ravenstown

This is the true color of the dress

I wanted to make a simple shift for Purple Fridays that could also be worn on the weekend during winter. I want more casual clothes   that look nice and not ‘I rolled out of bed and threw on yoga pants’.

I started the shift dress from the May 2011 Burda Magazine during Superstorm Sandy. It was a simple project that I could complete in a day. And, I did. A few hours actually.

But, I’m salty about the fit with those fold lines under my bust. I’m not sure if the need for an FBA would solve the problems.  I know it’s a another sack dress but the folds are A-nnoying. Maybe one fold for each 1/4 inch I should have adjusted for?

I asked a few friends that are smaller up top to try on and the folds go away.

Here on Trena (obviously three sizes too big for her too) and below on my B Cup dress form.

I decided to forgo the facings and use a woven bias binding. This is my first time doing this kind of finishing technique on a woven and I’m really pleased. I also like leather and contrast bindings I see on RTW and now I have a good way of doing them consisently well.

The material is a wool in a violet shade of purple from the Carol Collection. I originally thought I’d make a skirt in the fabric but Purple Friday called and I thought this shift would be fun.

Oh, here’s a photo of the back. I omitted the ties (and the pockets). I can kind of picture metal chains instead. Hmm, maybe a T-back shirt in black too (my bra definitely shows without). Ooh, a lacy T-back would be hot.

I’m wearing the dress with leggings. It’s too short for me as drafted to wear with pantyhose.  I’ve already altered the paper pattern for a FBA and a swayback adjustment. Why didn’t I when I started? I thought it just wouldn’t matter 🙂

The dress looks pretty good in movement and I think it works well with the leggings and boots. It’s fun because the front is simple and all the interest in really in the back. It is just the look I wanted. Casual, but styled.

My immediate boss was a fan. She said I was dressing rather chic lately. I realized after she said so that she never wears prints and for work only wears black, navy and sometimes white. Her clothes are very tailored and architectural. She also specializes in large earrings and big jewelry. I like her style.  I wouldn’t say this was chic exactly. But, very minimalist. I have about three garments she’s really complimented. Hmmm, that might make an interesting post!

I think I’m going to make two more Purple Friday items. That let’s me get through a month without repeating.

 

I hope you (Americans) have a Happy Thanksgiving! I’m not going to see my parents this year (Can you say $600 tickets!?!?!) and I’m a little pouty about it. But, as I detest traveling on the holidays (chaos and stress) there is a silver lining to hanging out with local friends. Plus, I get to put my new *pink* Christmas tree up as soon as I digest my Thanksgiving dinner 🙂

Posted in sewing

Vogue 1252: Tracy Reese Ruched Leopard Print Dress

Tadaa!! It’s finally done, Vogue 1252: the Tracy Reese Ruched Dress. While I still have a little Golden Girls vibe from the animal print, once I added the skirt, I started to like it a lot more. I found myself having to just walk away several times in order not to give up on this pattern.

Issues: As Amanda pointed out, this dress has no negative ease built in to the outer fashion fabric. I had to take a total of six inches out of the bodice to get a ruched look.

And, I still don’t think it’s ruched enough at the front since I only took out two inches from the front bodice vs four inches in the back.

Also, I didn’t make a FBA — which I could use. Paticularly in the drape. Some extra length and width there would make it lay the way I want (all the way across the boobage).

When you sew this dress, you’ll notice that the lining needs to be stable because it must carry the weight of the very full four-panel skirt and support the ruching of the bodice.

I decided to skip the elastic at the skirt waist casing. Well, I didn’t decide. I forgot about it during construction. The dress is snug  enough at the waist without it. But, I’d likely take in the waist another inch or two if I were sewing again. I think this cut (or maybe the gathered skirt) makes my waist look a little thicker. This might be better suited to someone who is not as well defined in the middle.

I also messed up by sewing in the bodice lining before the skirt lining. I had no interest in taking it off to add the skirt lining so I just left it out. I do like the clean finish the lining provides. I never really think about linings on a knit. I will now.

At first I thought I put the pockets in the wrong place. As drafted, they are in the front skirt seam instead of the side seam.

So, why is it impossible to find a non-seperating 20 inch zipper with aluminum teeth that’s not custom? My friend’s roommate makes felted wool bags (available here). He had a roll of aluminum zipper teeth on black tape and he cut one for me to my specs for $4. That’s what it would have cost to order online special – minus the $8.95 shipping. Oh, the zipper was also waaaay shorter than the opening the pattern called for.  Not sure if this is a pattern error or how you sew a vaguely exposed zipper. I confess to not reading the directions on inserting the zipper.

This dress is so far outside of my comfort zone in this animal print. I have many reasons for not loving animal prints, all are nitpicky and solely my issues. But, I’m glad I went with it for this. The fabric was a G Street / Groupon special and I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. I do think I had this dress in mind when I purchased. And, of all the animal prints, this one seemed not so bad.

My dress was wildly popular in the office Wednesday. The women where I work are snazzy dressers. If totally get extra credit for making my own clothes. If I didn’t, I’d be considered one of the least interesting dressers at my job. My big boss is trying to talk me in to giving this dress to her. She loves an animal print.

As much as I like this dress and as good as I think it looks. I don’t think I can recommend this pattern. I love it. But it needs a lot of tweaking to work. The tweaking is in part based on the amount of stretch your material has. But, maybe the trick is to start by sizing down one or two sizes. If you’re patient, go for it. If you are not patient, leave it alone.

** It was 34 degrees this morning. I’m not ready for winter! So, I’m starting early with the indoor photography. I want to get better at getting the coloring (well… my coloring) right. I really need to check out an external flash and some classes.