Tag Archives: dress

Completed: Vogue 1395, Modified!

3 Jun

I reckon I have time for one last post before I leave! :P

Plaid Silk V1395

May this dress be forever known as one of the bitchiest I’ve ever sewn. Sewing silk crepe is a challenge enough of it’s own – but throwing plaid into the mix? I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought this fabric (probably something like, “Ooh! Plaid silk crepe! My favorites! lololol”), but the fact that I not only sewed it up but actually finished the dang project is something of a miracle for me. It certainly didn’t give me an easy time.

Plaid Silk V1395

The pattern I used is Vogue 1395, which is a Rebecca Taylor design from last summer. I’ve made the pattern before in cherry printed silk crepe, and it’s one of my favorite summer dresses. It’s SUPER comfy, but still pretty cute! I knew I wanted to make a second one, but I wanted to try to figure out a way to make it without the back overlay. I love the back overlay, but it can shift over the course of the day and kind of make the arm holes hang weird. Plus, I wanted to improve on my first version (namely, the low arm holes that had to be emergency-raised and thus the seams are pretty wonky).

Plaid Silk V1395

Plaid Silk V1395

First, my pattern modifications. Remembering those awful armholes, I shortened the depth by a good 1.5″ or so. I actually wanted to shorten them more, but I was afraid I’d really fuck up the pattern, so I erred on the side of less. This gives the arm holes a much better depth (much more suited to my petite proportions), although you can still see a tiny bit of bra if I move a certain way. Ah, c’est la vie.

I kept the front bodice the same (other than the arm holes). I re-traced the back bodice and copied the shoulder width from the overlay to the shoulder area of my new back bodice (the OG back bodice in the pattern has narrow shoulders, and the overlay matches the front piece. This probably doesn’t make sense if you haven’t seen the pattern pieces). I redrew the bottom armscye to have a little curve, similar to the front (the overlay also doesn’t have that – it just goes straight, since it’s supposed to pull across to the front). Aaaaand that’s about it! Pretty easy modifications.

Plaid Silk V1395

Sewing up the actual pattern – again, with modifications, since I was omitting the overlay, as well as the skirt lining – was simple. Sewed the front and back together at the shoulders and side seams, added the bias binding for the necklines and arm holes, and then sewed the front closed. I sewed the skirt side seams, attached the skirt to the bodice, and then folded up the seam allowance and topstitched it down to create a casing for the elastic waist. The skirt has a simple rolled hem, and all the interior seams are french seams. Because of the bias binding, there’s quite a bit of topstitching on this dress, which I really like.

Sewing – and cutting, for that matter – silk crepe actually isn’t that difficult. Of course, it’s marginally harder than sewing, say, quilting cotton, but it’s not this terrible beast that you have to wrangle and beg and plead with. The spongey texture of the crepe gives the silk something to grab onto, so it doesn’t really shift much while sewing. It can be a little floaty when you’re trying to cut it, but I just make sure my table has enough space to hold the whole yardage and that helps a lot. You’ll want to use a sharp, new needle for sewing, and silk pins for pinning.

Plaid Silk V1395

What gave me the most trouble with this damn dress was the fact that it’s a plaid fabric. Cutting was a NIGHTMARE – like I said, silk crepe is sorta shifty at best, but as long as you’re staying on grain and getting the pattern pieces straight, it’s not too bad. Throw in strong horizontal lines and some plaid that has to match, and then it becomes an epic journey. I gave up on trying to match the plaid perfectly, and instead just focused on getting the lines to match across the seamlines. This was something I also had to focus on while sewing – again, a little shifting and/or growing is ok when you’re sewing a solid color or a busy print, but for these strong lines, you have to pay attention to make sure everything matches up at the seams. I pinned the shit out of things and used a walking foot while sewing, but man, thank god there are only a handful of seams in this dress. Otherwise, I might have ended up flipping a table over out of sheer rage.

Overall, though, everything matches up pretty well! The center front seam is a bit unfortunate looking with how the plaids lined up – but whatever. The back bodice does not quite match the back skirt – the lines are unbroken, but they’re the wrong lines (whoops). The elastic waist really helps to hide that, though, and at least it’s not at the front! The shoulder seams don’t match at all, but that’s the nature of the beast this pattern. Ya gotta pick your battles.

Plaid Silk V1395

Plaid Silk V1395

When I finished the dress, I was a little underwhelmed with how it looked on me – I wasn’t a fan of how the bodice bloused over the elastic (the overlay ties over it and flattens things, but since I didn’t have the overlay, I had the blousiness). Belts are usually my solution for this, but those looked strange, too. So I made a little self-fabric tie, out of my remaining scraps. The dimensions are as much as I could get away with from the scraps. I just sewed a tube with bias ends and turned it right side out.

I also didn’t like the length, so I cut it REALLY short. Go ahead, judge me :P

Close-up shots:

Plaid Silk V1395

Plaid Silk V1395

Plaid Silk V1395

Final thoughts of this dress – love it, was totally worth the effort. The plaid matching, while not perfect, is good enough for me. I really love this silk print and I’m glad I pushed through to finish, although I don’t think I’ll be picking up any more plaid silk crepe anytime soon. Sewing this pattern made me want another of the unmodified version, though, so I made one last night – and it turned out beeeeyoutiful! You can see the Instagram peek here. Stay tuned in a couple weeks for that blog post, I guess!

I took these pictures in the woods because the sun was SUPER bright, and it’s awesome how much coverage the trees give! This is right outside my door, too. Amelia was sitting at the screen, complaining at me. The woods surrounding our house are on a bit of an incline, hence the slight bobble-head vibe I’m throwing here. Also, in case you were wondering and/or freaking out – I’m not allergic to poison ivy :) haha :) I don’t think any shows in these photos, but it’s aaaalll over the place back there!

Plaid Silk V1395

With all that being said, I’m taking a blog sabbatical for the next couple of weeks! My trip to Peru leaves tomorrow afternoon, and we will be gone through 6/18. I am not sure if I will have internet access while I’m away – definitely will be off for at least a week while I’m in Iquitos, because there’s no reception where I’m staying – but I’m not bringing my computer, so I can’t really answer emails. Fair warning in advance if you try to email me or holler with a question, because it’ll probably go unanswered the whole time I’m gone! I’m looking forward to spending some time unplugged and exploring another continent with my bestie, though!

See y’all in a couple of weeks!

Completed: Be-Zazzle’d McCall’s 6887 (+ a GIVEAWAY!)

20 Apr

I shared a little sneak peek of this dress in my last post (which, by the way – if you haven’t browsed through the comments, you absolutely should! I LOVED reading everyone’s stories!), and I had quite a few comments and emails from people asking what the pattern was and where I got the fabric. I’m sorry that I had to hold out on y’all – photography was just NOT happening that day – but I’m happy to be able to share the whole shebang with you today! Hopefully you’ll think it was worth the wait ;)

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Introducing – my first make for Summer 2015, the Be-Zazzle’d Pineapple dress :D I don’t ever name my makes (partially because that would be a LOT of names to come up with, and partially because, well, as you can clearly see – I’m not very good at naming things hahaha), but naming this one was just toooo easy. Sorry if it made you groan. DGAF.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

I guess we should talk about the fabric first, because it’s slightly more of a focal point than the pattern (tho I promise we will get to the pattern soon!). It’s hard to see from these far-out pictures, but my dress is covered in tiny pineapples! Cartoon-y pineapples, to be exact, since we all know those are the cutest pineapples. And, unlike cherries, I actually really really really love pineapples. I have been known to eat an entire pineapple in one sitting, and I have no regrets. Well, maybe my mouth does, but it has learned to deal.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Here’s a close-up of the fabric. Isn’t it so awesome? It’s definitely a cutesy little novelty print, but it’s not quite so in-your-face as some of the novelty prints you find on quilting cottons. It’s a little more subtle (well, as subtle as you can get with cartoon-y pineapples on a watercolor turquoise blue background), and it’s just pretty. I love it so much!

The fabric is called “Tropical Summertime Watercolor Pineapple,” and it from Zazzle. Did you know that Zazzle prints custom, on-demand fabric? Neither did I! This is a new venture that they’ve recently rolled out, and they offered me a few yards to try out and see if I liked it. Um, you guys. IT IS AMAZING. Granted, most of the fabrics offered are Home Decor weight, but they do have a classic combed cotton (similar to quilting cotton) and a Pima cotton, which are both suitable for apparel. I decided to go with the Pima cotton, and I chose an existing design. You can absolutely design your own print – I just didn’t want to go that route personally because I don’t really have a good eye for things like fabric design! I’d rather let someone else handle that part and let me make the dress ;)

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Pima cotton is very easy to work with – it’s similar to quilting cotton, just lighter (but not quite as light as, say, voile). It doesn’t fray much and it cuts and sews like a dream. It doesn’t press quite as well as some other cottons – I just used my clapper to hold the seams down while they cooled, and that worked fine (your hand also works in place of a clapper, but don’t burn yourself! Ask me how I know. Also, ask me why I ended up getting a clapper, haha). The only minor downside is that, since the fabric is printed, the design only shows on one side – so the wrong side is white. This isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker, but it’s certainly something to be aware of when choosing a pattern. You don’t want to use one that will show the wrong side of the fabric, unless that’s part of your ~design inspiration.

I pre-washed my fabric before sewing it, and I definitely got a little bit of color fading. Not as much as you’d think – the colors of the fabric upon arrival weren’t quite as neon as they are in that product photo! – but they are a little muted. I actually like them better this way, so I’m ok with that! I washed the fabric on cold and dried it on low, same as I pre-treat all of my fabric. Going forward, I plan on washing this as infrequently as I can get away with (I mean, short of stinking up a 5 foot radius around me or anything like that) and when I do wash it, I will turn it inside-out and hang it to dry on the line. I imagine if this was hand-washed and hung to dry, it would probably retain it’s colors a bit better, but I’m a woman who ain’t got time to hand-wash her clothes (and, tbh, I only line-dry because then it means I don’t have to iron hahahahahaha), so I can live with a little fading.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Now for the pattern! Since the fabric has a good amount of body, I wanted to use that to it’s advantage and make something with a bit of sleek structure. I used Mccall 6887, which has front princess seams, a scoop neck, a flared skirt – and this awesome back detail:

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

WHICH IS BASICALLY MY FAVORITE THING EVER AT THE MOMENT.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

For sizing, I cut the bodice in a size 6 with an A/B cup (I don’t 100% understand these cup sizes because I definitely don’t wear anything close to an A/B cup in real life, but whatever. The sewing pattern fits and that’s all that matters, I guess.) and graded out the waist and hips to the size 8. I chose these sizes based off the finished measurements, and I’m really happy with how the dress ended up fitting (my measurements put me in a “suggested” size 10, which as you could see here would have ended up way too big. Use the finished measurements, y’all! Trust me!). It’s actually pretty perfect straight out of the envelope – I didn’t have to do anything! Even the straps are a good length, which is really surprising to me as I usually have to shorten them. I cut about 3″ off the skirt length because it was otherwise unflatteringly long, but that’s typical for me.

In the future, I am going to re-draw the curve at the bottom of the back cut out, because it’s not quite in the right place. My bra tends to poke out just slightly from the bottom :( It’s not the worst deal – honestly, I’ll probably just make a cute bra to wear with this dress bc that’s how I roll – but it’s annoying nonetheless. I tucked it out of the way for these photos, which is why you don’t see it, but I’m pretty sure it’s just gonna hang low and be free when I’m actually wearing it.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

I love the style of this dress, but I don’t completely agree with the construction methods presented in the pattern – some of them seemed needlessly complicated. The dress is designed to be worn with a lining, which finishes the neckline, arm holes and back all in one swoop. Awesome, I guess, but I definitely want to be wearing as few layers as possible during the summer! Instead of lining this dress, I finished all the openings with self bias facing. It was a slight puzzle to figure out the bottom of the back opening and dealing with that zipper, but it turned out pretty nice!

I also did not actually sew button holes to the back – I just lapped those two pieces over each other and sewed them down. The buttons are there strictly for decoration. I had every intention of adding the buttons- there is interfacing there and everything – but I realized that the buttons would gape open and look stupid, and also, they’re hard to close by myself because they’re in that weird spot in the middle of my back that I can hardly wash, let alone button. So this dress just slips right over my head. It’s a little bit of a wiggle, but it’s not too bad.

Oh, and I added pockets! The pattern doesn’t come with them, so I stole a pocket piece from another dress pattern in my stash.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

There’s an invisible zipper at the center back of the skirt, which helps with getting everything on. I actually had this zipper in my stash – it’s one of those dumb metal invisible zippers (seems like a good idea, until you try sewing one and realize that it’s basically impossible for it to be concealed, which is the WHOLE FUCKING POINT of a concealed zipper. And now we all know why these zippers don’t exist anymore), which I hate, but it was the perfect color, so I took one for the team and made it happen. Also, check out my matching serger thread – also from the stash! I love it when that happens :D

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Here is the bias binding. There are two lines of stitching because I understitched the facing instead of pressing it with the first pass (here is my method for adding bias facing, if you missed that post!). Also, I cut a metric shit-ton of the bias tape and only used a fraction of it, so expect more pineapple bias facing in future blog posts.

I don’t really have anything else to say about this pattern, so have another photo of the back:

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

OH YEA.I definitely love this dress and I definitely plan on making more – I don’t even care if the open back is super one of a kind and that it’ll be obvious that I have several of the same dress. Whatever!

Ok everyone! So, as I mentioned in the title of this post – it’s time for another giveaway! Yay! Zazzle has generously offered to give one lucky reader a $75 gift certificate to spend on the ~custom fabric of your dreams~. You can design your own, or choose from the thousands of designs that they have available, and $75 is enough to get at least 2 yards out of most of the available designs. Below are some of my favorites (I seriously spent about 2 weeks agonizing before I finally settled on the watercolor pineapples), you can also see my entire wishlist here.

Citrus Lemon fabric

Citrus Lemon fabric

And, my personal favorite: this is what I found when I searched for “Butthurt” (look – I was waiting on car repairs and I was bored, and the Zazzle app is really entertaining, ok?):

All right! To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment on this post (PLEASE include an email address where I can reach you – you don’t have to enter it in the comment box, but it needs to be at least viewable to me from an admin end or I can’t count your entry :( ) and let me know what fabric you would choose if you won. If you want to tell me what you’d make with your amazing fabric, do that too! You know I like to be nosy :) This contest is open WORLDWIDE, but you must be 18 or older to enter. Winners will receive the equivalent of $75 USD and are bound by the T&C of the Zazzle gift certificate. Entries will close one week from today, MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2015 at 6:30 AM and the winner will be drawn at random.

McCall 6887 - Pineapple dress!

Good luck, everyone!

** Disclosure: Zazzle provided me with this fabric free of charge, in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own, though! Also, I am an affiliate with Zazzle, so any purchases you make at Zazzle by clicking the links in this post will net me a small percentage of the sale. Which I will likely use to buy more custom-printed fabric from Zazzle. The end! :)

Completed: the Colette Myrtle Knit Dress

17 Mar

I am so excited that today’s post doesn’t involve sleeves or pants.

Myrtle knit dress

It does, however, involve a navy striped knit fabric. Sorry! Don’t fall asleep on your keyboard! Landon already told me I’m not allowed to buy anymore navy striped knit fabric haha. I guess we all have a type, and I have just announced mine to the internet.

Myrtle knit dress

This is the Myrtle from Colette patterns, a knit dress with a cowl neckline and an elasticized waist. You guys, I’m going to be straight up front and honest with you – I apparently bought this pattern, and then somehow COMPLETELY forgot about it until a couple of weeks ago when I was digging through my pattern stash in search of another pattern. So I’m a little late on the bandwagon with this one, however, it’s probably ok timing on my end since I don’t think this sleeveless style would have gotten much wear over the winter!

Anyway, discovering the pattern and then realizing that I had the perfect knit patiently waiting to be sewn up, meant that this project skipped straight to the top of the queue and everything else had to wait. Ha ha!

Myrtle knit dress

My past few experiences with Colette patterns have resulted in some questionable fitting (I think I’m about sized out of their patterns – at least the knits. Wah!), so I made a muslin of the bodice before I got to sewing my fabric. This ended up being a really good idea, because the bodice was all kinds of wrong on me! I knew the bust would be big – the finished measurements for the size 0 are still about 4″ bigger than my bust, and while I know a little bit of positive ease is good with this style, that seemed like too much to me. In the end, everything about the top portion of the dress was just toooooo big and not at all proportional to my body. The arm holes were also really low – like, you could see at least half of my bra band when I stood to the side.

I ended up shortening the shoulders by more than 1″ (I start with a 1/2″ adjustment by slashing the pattern about halfway across the armsyce, to shorten the depth, but that ended up being not enough so I took the rest out of the actual shoulders after the dress was sewn up. Hence why I can’t give you an exact measurement for that adjustment) and taking in the bust by about 1/2″ on either side. I didn’t make any adjustments to the waist – it needs to be a little big so you can add the elastic – but the bust needed to be somewhat tighter or else the entire world was gon’ get a side peep show. As it stands now, I think the bust could still be sized down more, but I didn’t want to overfit the dress so I left it as is.

Myrtle knit dress

The dress has a clever assembly – the front is self-lined (so you don’t see any ugly wrong side in the folds of the cowl) and the front arm holes are finished with all raw edges inside the lining. The back neck and arm holes are finished with a simple turned under hem – in my case, with the twin needle. The elastic has a channel sewn, and then wide elastic is inserted and topstitched down. This was the hardest part of making the dress – I found it a bit fiddly, and as a result, my stitches at the waist aren’t exactly straight (but, I mean, who’s looking? Right? RIGHT?). I think it might be easier to just feed the elastic through the channel once both sides are sewn down. There are supposed to be pockets, but I left those off bc I hate pockets in knit dresses (and freedom, too, apparently). There is a whole sewalong dedicated to this pattern if you are interested in seeing the construction, btw. It’s hosted by Devon, aka my favorite Disney Princess.

Myrtle knit dress

Even with the fitting adjustments, the muslin, and the manhandled elastic – this dress came together very quickly! Its a very easy make (4 pieces, not including the pockets) and I just zipped it all through my serger and used the aforementioned twin needle for all the turned hems. It’s also insanely comfortable, and I think the looser/breezy fit is going to be my gold standard with the blazes of Hell start blasting through Tennessee this summer.

Myrtle knit dress

I really love this fabric, especially with how the stripes look on the cowl! The knit is a Ralph Lauren ~dazzling blue~ striped viscose jersey (their words, not mine) from Mood Fabrics’ website. It’s a nice, slinky 2 way stretch knit with a gorgeous drape that feels wonderful to wear. Definitely bought this without any idea in mind of what I’d do with it, but I think I found a good match :)

I seem to have no pictures of this dress without the belt (I could have sworn I took some on the dressform, but they are gone. Or else they never happened, which is likely the case here), but here’s an shot I posted on Instagram last week. I think the encased elastic is a pretty touch (you will never EVER hear me say that again, by the way), but on this dress + stripes + lose bodice with cowl neck…. just didn’t look right on me. Hence why it’s covered with a belt. I’m still not completely convinced that this dress is very flattering on me, but, I like the fabric and it’s super comfy, so it stays.

Myrtle knit dress

Front bodice with self-lining.

Myrtle knit dress

Enclosed elastic on the inside. The elastic casing is created with a zigzag stitch, per the pattern instructions.

Myrtle knit dress

Anyway, I think it’s pretty cute! I like it with the yellow belt, and it also looks good with my tall brown boots and a cardigan (which is how I wore it last week). The only thing to keep in mind with this pattern is that it is NOT bend-over friendly. No photo evidence to be found here, but just trust me… leaning over is the best way to give the nearest stranger an eyeful. I haven’t found a way to rectify that (some of my other cowls can be pinned to my bra cup, or even have a little piece of elastic or a weight to hold it down, but the design of this cowl doesn’t allow for that), but I thought I’d point it out. One thing I might add later down the line is some little bra strap holders at the shoulders.

SO happy we finally had a warm week here! It’s been pushing over 70 the past couple of days, with loads of sunshine, and it just feels *amazing* outside. The season of bare legs is upon us, at least for this week! Kind of a bummer that I’m going to leave all this to go to cold ol’ NY this weekend (I classify everything under 70*F as “frigid” just fyi), but I’m pretty excited for this class this weekend! Plus, fabric shopping. Can’t visit NY without coming home with a suitcase full of pretty new fabrics, amirite ;)

Completed: The Francoise Dress

11 Mar

Y’ALL. It’s like, practically spring here. After our freak ice and snow storm last week (which was the SECOND one we had this year – never happens! The last big ice storm we had was 20 years ago), the sunshine came back with a vengeance and obliterated the piles of snow (ok, 3″ here. THAT IS A LOT FOR NASHVILLE, OK!) within a couple of days. Thanks to the combination of 60* afternoons and the return of Daylight Savings Time, it’s really starting to feel super good here. Yay for spring!

So, with all that being said – I give you my first official warm-weather make of 2015! Hey, Francoise, how you doin’?

Francoise Dress

Francoise is Tilly’s newest pattern release, and by “new” I mean it’s been around since November. Which is exactly how long I’ve been meaning to make it up. I got my hands on the pattern when I was in London (full disclosure – Tilly gave it to me when we met up and waved her hand when I offered to pay for it. It wasn’t given to me in exchange for a posted review or anything, but, I thought I’d point that out regardless! I know some people feel that a review can be biased if the reviewer didn’t personally pay for the pattern), I made a muslin while I was there, and I looked for my ~perfect~ Francoise fabric on every fabric shopping trip we made. The truth is, I was stunted on fabric choice, so the pattern had to wait while I figured my shit out.

Francoise Dress

Anyway, I think the fabric I ended up with was a pretty PERFECT match, amirite? This gorgeous purple and pink floral cotton sateen is from Mood Fabrics, and it combined with the Francoise is basically a perfect marriage. The small amount of stretch and crisp drape make it perfect for the pattern, and the simple shape and exaggerated flare make the pattern perfect for the fabric. I love it when this shit happens!

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

I made the size 1, based on the finished measurements. The only minor change I made was to take a slightly wider seam allowance at the top of the invisible zipper, just because it was gaping a little. I also removed about 3/4″ from the hem length. I’m 5’2″, so taller ladies may want to consider adding some length because it’s a pretty short skirt!

Francoise Dress

Cotton sateen is REALLY easy to work with – like, beginner-level easy (it doesn’t shift, doesn’t fray, presses well, etc) – so construction was super straightforward. You really just need a fresh needle and a hot iron to coax this fabric into submission. I finished all my seams with my serger, and topstitched the neckline, arm holes and hem. The neckline is finished with a facing, and the arm holes are finished with self bias facing. Both of these are covered in the pattern. I followed the pattern directions as they were written for the bias facing on the arm holes, and while they’re great – I prefer my method, as I think it’s a little easier/fool-proof.

Also, looking at that back view just made me realize that the two back prints are mirrored. HAHAHA uhh… oh, look, there’s a rouge thread, too. GOD, I need to get my shit together. Ok, moving on!

Francoise Dress

Because my print is all crazy awesome and takes all the attention, here’s a close-up of the design elements of the dress that actually make is super cute. I love the raglan seams, and the French darts are so pretty! Also – can we talk about how the floral pattern on the fabric looks like watercolors? YUM.

Francoise Dress

Now here is the dress without me or a belt. I will be honest – when I finally finished everything and put it on, I wasn’t crazy about how it looked at me. I think part of it is the color palette (I LOVE that freaking fabric, but I feel like I look like an ass every time I wear pink or purple. It’s not because of my hair color clashing or whatever. I’ve felt that way about pink and purple for a couple years now) and part of it is the fact that the dress doesn’t have a waist seam. I don’t know why, but I feel like a smooth shape with no waist seam doesn’t look right on me (is that weird?). Once I added black tights and a thin belt, I really started to see the cute factor in this dress. I think the black also tones down the overwhelming girly colors, and I like that too. Ideally, I would have loved to put a black collar on the dress, but I didn’t have any black fabric on hand. Maybe in the future I can make a detachable one, idk.

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

Believe it or not, I didn’t buy that zipper for this dress. No, I just *happened* to have a perfectly-matched lavender invisible zipper in my stash. Again, I don’t really wear purple (and especially not lavender), so I have no idea how that happened, but I’ve had it for a few years now. Glad I finally put that shit to good use lolol

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

Francoise Dress

That’s all for now! Let’s just cross our fingers that I didn’t inadvertently welcome another fucking 6 weeks of winter by announcing spring’s impending arrival. I did that a lot last year and it was way lame.

Francoise Dress

** Note: All fabrics for this project were provided to me in exchange for a review post as per my involvement with the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: A French Terry Lola Dress

11 Dec

Good morning, everyone! I guess I’m back to posting about sewing things… it was a nice hiatus, anyway! I had a lovely vacation, a very relaxing weekend at home, and now working on a new big sewing project (a coat for Landon!). In the meantime, I have a small backlog of projects that I’ve been meaning to post, so obviously I will start with the most recent one first, because it is my most favoritest.

French Terry Lola Dress

LOLA LOLA, I LOVE LOLA.

Y’all remember the Lola sweatshirt dress, right? Gah, sometimes I feel like – with the influx of new patterns coming out at such a rapid pace (which is not necessarily a bad thing – but it can get overwhelming at times!), we forget about the really good ones that are just a little bit older. And by older – sometimes that’s as “old” as a few months! So I’ve made it a point to re-visit some of my favorites and make them up in new fabrics. I mean, they’re a favorite for a reason, yeah? :) (but don’t worry – I’ll obviously still sew up new releases as well because, ooh, new and shiny!).

Anyway, Lola was always one of my favorites! A really fun and flattering twist on the sweatshirt – here’s a princess-seamed sweatshirt dress! I’ve made this pattern twice before (see: one and two), so I knew it was a winner. Side note: While version 1 gets worn aaaallll the time (love that dress!), version 2 is gone. The cheap fabric I used meant that the dress was constantly pilling and just looked old and shitty, so I removed it from my house. So that’s that. Also, wow, I sort of almost miss having brown hair now.

French Terry Lola Dress

French Terry Lola Dress

Since I’ve already made this pattern before, this was a very quick and satisfying sew. I sewed up the size 2, and then made further adjustments to get the fitted/streamlined look you see here. I started by using 5/8″ seam allowances (the pattern calls for 3/8″, but I’m a little bit smaller than the smallest measurements so this helped with sizing down a little), and then took in the waist another 1/2″ or so at every seam. Speaking of which, I really ought to adjust my pattern pieces for this shit because I go through this damn trying on/adjusting/trying on/adjusting rigamarole EVERY DAMN TIME I make this dress! Maybe that should be my New Year’s resolution – adjust my pattern pieces when I do fitting changes haha. That would save me a lot of trouble.

One thing to keep in mind if you’re making this pattern – if you want to adjust the fit at the waist, try on the dress before you attach the skirt. From there, you can pinch out the princess seams to get the fit you like (just remember to do the same to the skirt pieces so the seams match up!), but be careful not to overfit, as this really isn’t that type of dress.

Other changes I made to the pattern: I lengthened the sleeves to full-length (and redrafted the cuff piece accordingly), left off the hem band (and sewed a deep 2″ hem), and left off the pockets. Actually, those are the same changes I made to my last 2 dress. Whateverrr!

Also, wtf is going on with my hair in the last picture? And why do I look so… disgruntled?

French Terry Lola Dress

The fabric that I used for this dress is pretty fabulous! I’ve mentioned before that I get fabric from Elizabeth Suzann’s wholesale orders (ah, the perks of working in sewing!) – that’s where this stuff came from. It’s French Terry, and it came with MATCHING RIB KNIT, which I used for the neckline and cuffs. The right side of the French Terry is a smooth knit with defined stitches, and the wrong side has the most beautiful, plush loops that make this shit SO FUCKING COZY. We use it at Elizabeth Suzann to make sweaters and sweater dresses – although there, we sew the fabric wrong-side out because it looks so cool (see the Billie Sweater). For me, though, I wanted my dress to be warm and cozy – so the loops stayed to the inside. Funny, after sewing all those sweaters – this side looks rather plain :) It is, however, easier to see the cool seaming details this way, so that’s good!

Sewing this fabric was fine, if not a little messy (French Terry will shed like NO OTHER, so I would really hesitate to sew this without a serger – you need some way to finish the seams). Because the fabric is so thick, my serger had some difficulties at first with stitch tension – everything was super wavy. I just upped the differential feed to the max and tweaked the stitch size, and that spaced out the stitches enough so that the seams lie flat. Speaking of which, pretty sure that’s the first time I’ve ever had to tinker with the settings on my serger. For the most part, it does everything automatically without my input (it’s a BabyLock Imagine, in case you were curious. The queen of sergers!).

French Terry Lola Dress

French Terry Lola Dress

Sorry these pictures are kind of crappy/all over the place. I guess I’m out of habit at this point, ha!

French Terry Lola Dress

Here’s an accidental picture that really showcases the fabric! I used the wrong side for the little sweatshirt V. And check out that ribbing! Love it when it matches :D

French Terry Lola Dress

I guess that’s it! Really glad to have another cozy winter dress to add to my arsenal – and this one is pretty freaking cozy (while still being cute!).

One last thing – ChatterBlossom (one of my sponsors + an all-around gorgeous gal) is currently having a holiday sale! Use the code LLADYBIRD15 for 15% off your purchase, good through 12/15 (so, soon!). Whether you need a last-minute gift for someone – or for yourself (I always buy myself Christmas gifts, because I always ALWAYS get myself the best presents! Such as this necklace, ahem) – definitely check her out! I love Jamie’s stuff, and the detail in some of the pieces (such as this elephant or this mosquito) is INSANE. Actually, that’s a ChatterBlossom piece I’m wearing in these photos – the navy anchor button :) Love it!

Completed: The Lady Renfrew

12 Nov

Question: What do you get when you combine the Lady Skater with the Renfrew??

Lady Renfrew

Answer: The awesomest, snuggliest, Lady Renfrew dress, of course!

Lady Renfrew
Lady Renfrew

There’s not much to say about this dress – I basically just summed it up in the first sentence. This will be a relatively short post, ha (is that even possible for me to accomplish? Time will tell). Anyway, I used a combination of the two patterns to create this Frankenpatterned dress. The bodice, skirt and sleeves came from the Lady Skater, which after much careful testing, I’ve decided is my favorite favorite favorite knit dress pattern. The bodice fits me really well, the sleeves are a good fit/length (all sleeve length options, I mean), and I love the flared-but-not-costumey-looking skirt. Everything about this pattern is exactly what I like in a knit dress, so it was the obvious choice for the base of this dress. To get the cowl neck, I left off the neck binding and instead used the cowl from view C of the Renfrew tshirt. I compared the two patterns to see if I’d need to make any modifications, and the necklines were surprisingly similar (fwiw, I use the size 2 Lady Skater and the size 0 in the Renfrew). So similar, that all I did was just sew the pieces together and that was it. I don’t remember what seam allowance I used to attach the two (Lady Skater is drafted for 3/8″, and Renfrew is 5/8″), knowing me – probably 1/2″ because it’s in the ~middle~. Or something dumb like that. Whatever, it worked out regardless! :D

Lady Renfrew

The real bitch part of making this dress was cutting the dang fabric. I had 3 things to pay attention to while I was cutting this – matching the print horizontally across the seams; being mindful of fabric usage (I barely had enough!); and actual print placement. I cut it so the darker stripes cross my waist, and the lighter stripes cross my bust. I think that’s a flattering look for me, plus, I love the way the white print kind of frames my head (that’s a bonus, because I totally cut it that way with the intention of it making my boobs look slightly bigger hahaha). I didn’t do any print matching on the cowl. I ran out of fabric and actually had to cut the underlayer with a seam. It worked out, though!

Lady Renfrew

AND NOW I HAVE THIS BIG SNUGGLY COWLLLLLL WOOHOO!

Lady Renfrew

I think the fabric is what really makes this dress! And by makes, I mean it’s slightly over-the-top – I’m almost afraid to wear it before Christmas season, ha. It’s like a giant, awesome black and white Ikat Christmas sweater. I bought it from The Fabric Studio here in Nashville; it’s the same fabric I used to make my Ooh La Yoga Pants. While it wasn’t 100% ideal for yoga pants, it’s pretty freaking fabulously good for this sort of dress. The fabric is nice and stable, cozy, and works really well for this sort of pattern.

Lady Renfrew

I especially love how the cowl looks. Yay cowls!

Lady Renfrew

So, what do you think? Lady Skater+Renfrew – do we have a perfect partnership here, or what?

Two more things:
1. Giant thanks to everyone who attended my class at The Sewing Party on Saturday! I had so much fun chatting with y’all (although I’ll admit – I kept my video on mute! Can’t handle the sound of my own voice blaring at me ahaha) and I’d love to do more video-related stuff if the opportunity ever arises again :) Y’all are the best! Just wanted to give all my students (and future students, for those of you who will be watching the class sometime during the next 90 days) a head’s up – I forgot to remind you to download the handout for my class! I know, bad teacher! Anyway, it’s a little PDF document with all the class info written out – along with photo tutorials for each zipper insertion. You can find it to the left of the video, under handouts and chats.

2. The big closing sale at Sweet Little Chickadee is still going strong! Juli has upped the ante a little bit – now use the code SHOPCLOSINGSALE to get 35% off your entire order! This code is good until all the stock runs out!

3. I recently found out that I was named one of the top 50 sewing blogs in Budrastyle‘s Best of Blogging contest. COOL! I’ll be honest – I had no idea I was even nominated (or that this contest was even a thing) until I got the congratulatory email. Big huge thank you to whoever nominated me, and even bigger huger thank you to everyone who voted for me! Y’all are seriously the best! I’m not worthy! ;)

Completed: The Sureau Dress

8 Sep

You know what rules? When you have a brilliant strike of inspiration that comes together perfectly – from fabric, to pattern, to completed project.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

AKA this dress.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

I’ve been holding onto this silk cotton voile from Mood Fabrics since the beginning of this year (it’s sadly long gone from the site now, but they have lots of other options – including this gorgeousness. Ok, that doesn’t have silk, but it belongs in my fabric stash nonetheless). I had originally planned to make an Aubepine dress with it – but changed my mind at the last minute and ordered the Sureau instead, also from Deer & Doe (I still have the Aubepine & still plan to make it, but I’m thinking I would like it better in a dark/solid color, possibly even a lightweight knit. We’ll see!)

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

I LOVED sewing this dress! Too bad the pictures are kind of shitty. I promise it’s much prettier in real life – the voile is floaty, slightly sheer, and fucking ethereal. The colors are amazing and very fall-like, but the lightweight fabric keeps things from getting too sweaty.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

You’ll notice that my version differs quite a bit from Deer & Doe’s – I had to make a few changes – both fitting and design – to get the look I wanted.

For fitting changes, I made a muslin and made the following adjustments:
– The front neckline was slightly gaping, so I removed a 3/8″ wedge (similar to this method)
– The upper back was a little loose, so I removed about 3/8″ from the center back, starting at the top and tapering to nothing at the bottom.
– Shortened the shoulders 1/2″
– Added 1/4″ to the side seams

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

I also made a couple of major design changes! The main one was that I lengthened the sleeves to be full length, and added a cuff and placket (stolen from Archer pattern). Unfortunately, I didn’t correctly measure the sleeve length – which seems to be a common mistake that I ALWAYS ALWAYS make, argh! – so they’re a tiny bit on the short side :( Bummer! Fortunately, the sleeve placket means I can roll them up, so there’s that.

The other ridiculously hilarious issue with the sleeves is that they are sewn on backwards – and I did that shit on purpose! Let me back up a little. When I altered the sleeve pattern to include the placket, I used my Grainline pattern as a guide. I didn’t think to make sure that I was tracing the placket to the correct side of the sleeve, so – you guessed it – the placket ended up on the front of the sleeve. Didn’t realize this until I’d already attached the cuffs and everything, derp (and didn’t have enough fabric to recut because, come on, that would make too much sense). I weighed out the options, and decided that a backwards sleeve cap was easier to forgive than a placket in the wrong place, so the back of the sleeve is now at the front, and vice versa. Fortunately, the sleeves are fairly loose & the cap is slightly gathered, so it’s not obvious that I inserted them incorrectly, and I still have plenty of room for movement. That being said, y’all all know my secret now. Don’t tell anyone.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

The other design change was adding that cute little half collar! I used this tutorial to draft my little collar, and interfaced one layer of the fabric before sewing them together. I hemmed and hawwed over whether or not to include it – but ultimately, Landon & I both agreed that the dress looked weirdly unfinished without the collar at the neckline, at least with this particular fabric.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

Because the fabric is so lightweight, I took extra care with the construction. All seams – including the waistline and sleeves – are sewn with a French seam, for a durable and elegant finish. The facings are finished with pinking – any other finishing would result in showing through the fabric. The instructions don’t have you interface any part of the dress, but I added interfacing to the facings, sleeve cuff, collar, and both front placket pieces (both the front and the placket facing). Again, the fabric is super lightweight, so it needed a little more support from the interfacing. Specifically, I used the Pro Sheer Elegance Couture fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I like that is gives a little needed support, but it doesn’t actually change the drape of the fabric. I had black on hand, which was perfect for my emerald fabric as white would have slightly shown through.

Also, ugh, guys, I know it’s REALLY short. Wasn’t planning on that! My fabric shortages meant that I couldn’t lengthen anything, and once I got the dress sewn up – I realized it would look way better with a deep 2″ hem. Which means the dress is now rill short (again, didn’t have enough fabric left to face the hem, which is how I would have normally solved that issue), but I plan on mostly wearing it with tights and/or boots sooo it’s not too bad.

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

Pretty much everything to do with this dress – other than my frantic last-minute pattern ordering – came out of my stash! Fabric, buttons, interfacing, even the thread – I love it when that happens!

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

There’s a cute little lapped zipper in the side of the dress :)

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

And that damn deep hem! Ha! I topstitched it because, I figured the rest of the dress has lots of topstitching, so it woudn’t look out of place :)

Deer & Doe Sureau dress

And that’s it! I like to wear the dress with a belt – I’m still not sold on how I look with gathered skirts (even slightly gathered, like this one), but I think the belt breaks things up nicely :) I also wear it with the sleeves rolled up, because, again – they are too short (even if they look ok in the photos, trust me, once I start moving around, it’s evident that they are too short)(maybe someday I’ll have sleeves the right length. Sigh.). It’s pretty short, but not so short that I flash cheek when I bend over (as several people have been kind enough to observe and report on).

I’ll count this one as a success! :) Next question – whyyy have I not been sewing Deer & Doe patterns? They are SO GOOD. I actually just ordered the Bruyere and am anxiously awaiting it’s arrival (as is apparently most of the sewing world :P). I have plaid flannel dreams for that bad boy. Man, I love sewing ♥

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