Tag Archives: dress

Completed: The Agnes Dress

20 Jan

I’m still trying to catch up on my last projects from 2015! Although I’m glad I waited to post this one because:
1. I got new shoes and I think they look pretty awesome with this dress
2. Such a good hair day for these photos. As a result, there are extra pictures in this post. No apologies for that!

T&TB Agnes Dress

Anyway, let’s talk about the dress itself because that’s why y’all are here! I tried something newish for this project in terms of silhouette and I gotta say – I’m pretty happy with how it turned out! I don’t normally like the way gathered skirts look on me, and strong shoulders always make me feel like I’m wearing someone’s mom’s old clothes (not my mom, though, she’s a pretty sharp dresser hahah), but this dress does me good! I made it to wear during recently-ended holiday season – the thin jersey isn’t necessarily appropriate for cold weather, but we had a 70*F Christmas down here in Tennessee, so it suited me just fine at the end of 2015! Of course, now we’re in for the serious cold snap (you can’t tell in the pictures, but it was COLD outside when I took these! Like below freezing, eep), so I currently can’t wear it because it’s simply not warm enough!

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

To make this dress, I used the Agnes shirt pattern from Tilly and the Buttons. I love special and unique details on an otherwise plain knit tshirt, and this pattern is pretty good for that! I love the runching at the neckline and sleeves, and the shape is really fitted and flattering for me. I have made this top before (there’s not a full post – but I’m wearing it with my 70s denim skirt), so I had a good idea of how it was going to fit. My own complaint with the first version is that the armholes were too high on me, and thus a little uncomfortable. I lowered the armholes by about 1/2″, using my adjusted Renfrew tshirt pattern as a comparison. Size is right between a 1 & 2, which suits me pretty well for this pattern line.

Now, the pattern only gives you an option to make a top – and this is a dress, obviously. I confess that I didn’t even consider Dress Possibility until Tilly posted this tutorial for making an Agnes dress. SCORE. How cute does she look in those photos, btw?! Oh god I just realized our outfits are pretty similar hahahaha!

Anyway, it’s an easy change to turn this into a dress. Cut the pattern piece at the waistline (or where you want the waist to hit – I used my Lady Skater bodice as a guide, personally), sew up the shirt, and then add a gathered skirt (literally, a rectangle that is the width of your fabric + whatever length you want). I stabilized the shoulders and waistline with 1/4″ elastic, just so everything would stay in place and not stretch out (I learned the waistline elastic trick from the instructions in my Lady Skater pattern and it’s THE BEST. Keeps the skirt from pulling the bodice down with it’s weight and making things all saggy). Everything was pieced on my serger, and all the topstitching is done with a plain straight stitch. Easyyyyy. So fast! I finished in like 2 hours and actually wore the dress out that night :D

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

As I mentioned, I don’t really care for the way gathered skirts look on me – I think they add unnecessary bulk. But I do like the way this one mimics the gathers and fullness at the sleeves. I think the key is to use a fabric that is a lighter weight and has some drape. Then you get soft gathers, instead of big, weird bulk.

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

T&TB Agnes Dress

The fabric I used here is from Lillestoff. I’d never heard of this company before, but they are located in Germany and offer some really nice, high-quality organic cotton knits. They reached out to me several months ago and ended up sending me a few of their fabrics to try out. I can’t find this star print on the website anymore, but it’s pretty awesome. It’s a lighter weight without being sheer, and it has a good drape that looks fantastic with the gathers in this pattern. I was impressed with all the stuff I got – the colors are nice and saturated, and the fabrics are soooo soft. They wash well and have a good recovery when you wear them, so they tend to hold their shape. I also have a hoodie that I recently made with some of their French terry, gotta remember to get photos of that!

I originally earmarked this piece for another Lady Skater dress (linking because I’ve officially mentioned that pattern 3x in this post now hhahaha), but changed my mind to make something with a little more ~pizzazz~. Don’t get me wrong – I love me some LS, but sometimes a plain dress is a plain dress and sometimes you need those details! I guess that’s one downside to this particular dress – I can’t make a dozen of them without people noticing that I’m using the same pattern over and over again. Oh well I’ll probably do it anyway hahahahahah

T&TB Agnes Dress

If you can’t stop staring at that ONE long rogue hair, just know that I can’t either.

T&TB Agnes Dress

Detail shot – the neckline and sleeve runching is done with 1/4″ elastic, btw! You cut it to length, and zigzag it down while stretching it to the max. When it snaps back, you have lovely yet easy runching!

T&TB Agnes Dress

Ok, I think that’s enough talk about one dress. Here’s a picture of me being cold hahaha. Have you ever sewn with Lillestoff fabrics, and if so – what do you think about them? When I posted on Instagram, people were going NUTS. Apparently they have a pretty die-hard fan base :)

Note: The fabric for this dress was given to me by Lillestoff. And the pattern was given to me by Tilly! Free or not, all opinions are my own :)

Completed: The Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress (+ a Giveaway!!)

14 Dec

I’m so excited to finally be able to share this project with y’all!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front

Over the summer, I’ve been in cahoots with Allison of Shutters & Shuttles to collaborate a fabric + dress design. She reached out to me after I made my Scout Tee using some of her fabric, and we thought it would be fun to match up a custom fabric with a pattern, as well as having a little giveaway too!

If you’re not familiar with Shuttles & Shuttles, they are a small company that produces handwoven and hand-dyed fabric, made entirely in Nashville, TN. Allison produces all the fabric herself using a 60″ AVL mechanical dobby loom, and makes all sorts of fabric goods – from rugs, to blankets, to yardage (some of which is produced into small batches of ready-to-wear clothing). Some of her fabrics appear in limited-edition Elizabeth Suzann collections, which is how I came to be familiar with the line (and spoiled rotten by getting to sew them!). Suffice to say, I’m a big fan of Shutters & Shuttles and I just love everything that comes out of Allison’s studio. It’s a bonus to be able to say that I literally know who made my fabric :) So obviously I am pretty excited about this collaboration!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front

The awesome part about working with a fabric designer is that you actually get to design the fabric. What a novel idea, amirite?! ;) Allison has a swatch book showing all the designs and colors that she’s made – everything from intricate designs woven into the fabric, to a simple weave with a beautiful hand-dyed watercolor effect. You know how the first time you went into a fabric store, you were likely overwhelmed from all the sheer possibility staring at you from every direction? Well, I kind of had the same feeling – except multiplied! It was REALLY hard to choose a design; I wanted one of everything all at once! Ultimately, though, I knew this piece was pretty special and I wanted to do my garment the justice of allowing it to be worn frequently. We ended up with a fairly simple design, which I just think is absolutely gorgeous. A medium weight cotton yarn, dyed a deep rich navy blue, woven with a heavy slubbed texture. The fabric has a lot of dimension and texture, and the color is a perfect backdrop to show that off. It’s a warm, heavy fabric – it feels like I’m wearing a blanket. Sooo, obviously I made a blanket dress. Yes!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - side

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - side

Wanting to stick with something tried and true (like, this NOT the project to allow for any mishaps!), I made another Papercut Patterns Sway dress. Yep – my second navy Sway dress in 2015. Hey, what can I say – at least I’m predictable ;) This is definitely a winter-weight dress, as the fabric is so robust and heavy. It’s a great match for this pattern, as it hangs and drapes beautifully into an exaggerated tent shape. Since the pattern design is so simple, it really gives the fabric a chance to take center stage. BUT, since the fabric is also (relatively) simple, this is a good staple dress that can be worn different ways, like a good pair of jeans. It looks great with a collared shirt, with a simple long sleeved shirt, or with a turtleneck. I’m wearing it here with my grey wool Renfrew cowl, which I really love! Super cozy, y’all!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - pockets

This being a really simple dress that I’ve already made before, there’s not much new to talk about construction-wise. I serged all my seams independently, then pressed them open and catch-stitched each side down to keep them flat. That alone was the bulk of the time it took to make this – that’s a lot of hand-sewing! I also slip-stitched the hem for an invisible finish, and WHEW THAT TOOK FOREVER. Totally worth it for the finished effect, though. Since the fabric is really heavy and thus puts a lot of strain on the shoulders, I used a heavier fabric for the front and back facings, as well as interfaced them (using self-fabric would have been way too thick). Actually, the fabric I used is the same linen that I made my first Sway dress with – ha! It was a good color match ;) I also made sure to add pockets – also out of the linen!

Fit-wise, the only change I made was to raise the armholes by about 1/2″ as I felt like they were too low on my first dress. This being a winter dress, I will likely always wear it with a top underneath – so low armholes aren’t much of a problem, but I’m glad I raised them anyway!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - back

As with my first Sway, this dress is designed to be worn forwards or backwards. I really like it with the v at the back, but wearing it with the v in the front + a vneck tshirt – that’s a nice look, too! The only issue this poses is when it comes to hemming – it’s hard to get a perfectly even hem all the way around, because once you flip the dress around, protruding boobs hike the hemline up a little! I straightened things out as best I could, but I’ve also come to terms with the fact that the hem will never be 100% perfectly even. Oh, who am I kidding – my hems are never even. WHATEVER.

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - back

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - neckline

Working with this fabric was SUCH a joy! It’s so easy to cut and handle, and the cotton content means that it takes pressing like a champion. I do recommend catching down all your seam allowances, as it helps keep things nice and flat so you get a good sharp press on the outside. One thing that Allison and I discussed was whether or not this fabric is suitable to sew if you don’t have a serger for finishing the raw edges. Obviously, serging would be first choice – the fabric is prone to fraying, so serging that eliminates the possibility of unraveling and blends is really nicely with the fabric texture. That being said, the fraying isn’t super terrible – the fabric is a tight weave, so it hold it’s own pretty well. I do think finishing your raw edges is pretty important, but even just a simple pass with a zigzag stitch would work fine. Something gorgeous like a bound or Hong Kong seam finish would be perfect, although I didn’t take that extra step personally (I did consider it! But only consider it, ha!). For places that I didn’t serge – such as inside the all-in-one facing – I shortened my stitch length a couple mm’s to give the seam a little more strength.

All that being said, don’t let a lack of overlocker deter you from using this fabric! It’s a lot more durable than you think, like, it’s not going to completely unravel itself just from you looking at it. This isn’t some crazy bouclé, after all ;) haha!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - inside

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - fabric close up<

Here’s a close-up of the fabric’s color and texture. Isn’t it delicious?!

Oh! As a fun little bonus, when I came to pick up my fabric – there was this cool white border print taking up about the first 1/2 yard or so. Allison said she’d tied the navy threads onto the white that was already on the loom to start off (forgive me if I’m totally butchering this explanation – I’ve never woven fabric before!), and played around with a fun design before the white ran out and went into solid navy. She offered to cut it off, but I wanted to try to use it because it is SO cool looking! There wasn’t a lot of the design to play with – it’s about half a yard, going along the width of the fabric. I was able to eek out a simple scarf, though:

Shutters & Shuttles Scarf

aka A BLANKET FOR MY NECK.

Shutters & Shuttles Scarf

I really wanted to wear the two pieces together, but I have spared you.

Shutters & Shuttles Scarf

I really agonized over how to finish the raw edges of this scarf. The short edges are selvedge, so they are fine as-is. I thought about doing a rolled hem, but I realized that the fabric is so textured and cushy, it actually hides serging really well. Look at the blue edge – can you see the serging? Just barely! So yeah, I just serged my edges and called it a day! Insta-scarf!

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress - front

Ok, I think you guys have put up with my blabber long enough for one post – let me blab about this giveaway now! Allison wove some extra yardage of this lovely blue cotton, which means that one of you get a piece! Yay!

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

The giveaway is for a piece of plain weave, hand-dyed, hand-woven blue cotton fabric from Shutters & Shuttles and made in Nashville, TN. The fabric is approximately 60″ wide, and you get 1.5 yards – which is plenty to do something fun with! Oh, and it’s pre-washed! (although you may want to wash it separately by itself the first few times, in case the dye decides to bleed) Wanna throw your name in the bucket? Just leave a comment on this post and tell me what you would make if you won the fabric! This is an awesome, warm, heavy cotton fabric that would do well for something like my Sway dress- it would also make a lovely circle skirt, or even a REALLY comfy pair of loose pants! Or maybe you want to be boring and make a bunch of scarves? :) I won’t judge you! (note, the cool white border won’t come on your piece. That was a one-off that I selfishly kept for myself, not even gonna apologize for that!)

The giveaway is open WORLDWIDE and I will close the comments one week from today, on December 21, 2015 at 7:00 AM CST. In the meantime, you should check out the Shutters & Shuttles site, including all the inspirational things in the shop. Oh! Speaking of which – if you want to buy something, use the code LLADBIRD for a 15% discount – good through 12/25/15 (meaning, you can still totally buy yourself a great Christmas gift ;) Including this exact yardage, YAY!).

GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

Shutters & Shuttles Sway Dress

MASSIVE thanks to Allison + Shutters & Shuttles for doing this collaboration with me, because this fabric is fucking awesome!! Now, which one of y’all is gonna be my fabric twinsie? :) Good luck!!!

Completed: A Cozy Wren Dress

17 Nov

I really love summer, but man, I LOVE winter clothes. I think most people in general just look a lot classier with some added layers, and I really embrace the opportunity to dress in head-to-toe black and pretend like I look chic and not at all like an angsty 15 year old wandering into Hot Topic circa 2001. I can and do look like a total slob in the summer time, but add a little windchill into the mix and I’ll dress like I’m heading straight into the office.

Colette Wren dress - front

So, today, I give you Wren. A pretty little transitional dress that works SO WELL with a heavy knit and sleeves. If I still worked in an office, I’d rock this shit every day.

Colette Wren dress - front

This dress is a story of fabric + pattern both acquired without any pairings in mind. I was actually sent an advance copy of Wren from the team at Colette Patterns – no strings attached, just as a gift. They made it very clear that they weren’t expecting a review post in exchange for the pattern. I thought it was a pretty pattern and I knew I wanted to make it up at some point, but I wasn’t sure what fabric. I love the solid colors they use for the promotional shots, but I rarely feel compelled to sew solid colors (which is something I’m working on, because lord knows I like to wear solid colors!).

In the meantime, I’d been eyeballing this black cozy knit fabric from Mood Fabrics (their description, not mine. But it is a black cozy knit. It’s also super sold out, and I can’t find a link to it. Sorry! I’m pretty sure I bought the last yardage. Not sorry about that!). I had my swatch and I knew I wanted it for… what? No matter, I bought 2 yards of it and figured I’d figure that shit out later.

It wasn’t until I saw Deepika’s classy black and white Wren dress that I had my aha moment of fabric and pattern marriage. As in, I totally copied Deepika’s dress. Thanks for the inspo, Deepika! I hope you are ok with being my twinsie :)

Colette Wren dress - side

Colette Wren dress - side

These pictures are borderline awful, by the way. I was waiting for the golden hour, and I think things got a little too golden. Oh well!

Colette Wren dress - back

The Wren dress is a lovely knit dress that features a surplice/wrap-style bodice, set into a closed skirt (aka, it’s not a true wrap dress). You have the option of adding either a gathered or a fitted, 6 gored skirt, and the bodice can be sewn with or without sleeves. My favorite part of the dress are the soft gathers along the neckband, which are so feminine and pretty (and you can barely see them for this print that I used haha oh well). The sleeves included in the pattern are just for short sleeves, but it’s pretty easy to lengthen those to whatever suits your needs. Colette patterns did offer a sleeve download when the pattern was first released – for both a long sleeve and a 3/4 sleeve – which is what I used here. I actually cut the long sleeves, but they were weirdly tight below the elbow. Hence, my elbow-length sleeves. All good here, though, because those long sleeves looked a little overwhelming with this print!

Making the dress was super super easy. Since it’s a knit, I whipped everything through my serger to piece it together, and used my twin needle to hem the neckline and sleeves and hem. I was a little concerned about the top gaping since it’s only hemmed (and not finished with a knit band, which is my preferred method), but I figured I’d give it a try and I have not experienced any gaping. The only thing I’d change in the future is to deepen the hem on the neckband – at 3/8″, it’s a little shallow, and I just think it would look better and the stitching would lie more flat if it was closer to 5/8″.

For size, I cut an XS based on my measurements. I’m really pleased with the fit – and this is straight out of the envelope, no additional shaving off side seams or anything like that. I will mention that the waistline is pretty high on me – and I’m of average torso length – so that’s just something to be aware of. It’s definitely higher on me than it is on the model or in the illustration, but my knit does have only a 2 way stretch so that’s likely the case.

Colette Wren dress - front

Colette Wren dress - back

The ~black cozy knit~ is pretty awesome! It’s a poly knit, which I’d normally stay far far away from in the summer months – but I’m ok with poly in the winter. It sewed and pressed fine, and it’s just a really nice fabric. It feels a bit like lightweight ponte, with a nice heft and weight to it. The design is woven, so the wrong side is pretty cool too. My favorite part is that the right side is a little fuzzy and feels like a cozy sweater. My other favorite part is the print- up close, I think the white design looks like a city skyline :)

Colette Wren dress - front

Here it is without the belt!

I don’t think there’s much else to say about this simple dress, so have some more photos:

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - flat

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - on dressform

Colette Wren dress - front

I think the dress looks pretty classy – it would be awesome for all those fancy dinners and evening concerts that I don’t attend. HA! Or maybe just wallowing around on the couch, I dunno. Actually, my roommate and I are going to see Neil deGrasse Tyson this week and I’m TOTALLY wearing this shit for that. I am going to be so comfy while I simultaneously have my mind blown about the universe, wheee!

* Note: This fabric was given to me in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. The pattern was also given to me from Colette Patterns, as a gift and with no strings attached. Per usual, all the opinions you are reading here are my own!

Completed: The Sway Dress

3 Sep

Y’all, this heat is making me do crazy things this year. As in, I made a tent dress. Out of LINEN. I’ll just let that one soak in for a minute.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

I doubt it’s the most flattering thing I could be putting on my body, but you know what? Fuck it. This shit is BEYOND COMFY.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Katie sent me this pattern, the Sway dress, right after the launch of her most recent collection, Chameleon. While I loooove the way it’s styled on the envelope (especially that winter version with the turtleneck! Ahhh it looks so chic and cozy!), I was pretty sure there was no way in hell I’d be putting this kind of tent shape over my body. My waist, the world has to know that I have a waist!!!1!

Then I turned 30, then it got really hot, and then Katie is basically like my mom because she knew better before I even realized it for myself.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - side

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - side

If this dress looks like it took 2 hours to put together, that’s because it did. It was super fast, super easy, and a really satisfying project to work on. The pattern is extremely simple – front, back, facings, and then pockets. That’s it! No darts, no tricky seamlines, no closures. I cut the size XXS with no alterations, and made this up in an afternoon. The directions are clear and straightforward, and I really like that the facings are all-in-one, so that the arm holes and neckline are all encased at the same time and everything stays in place really well. it’s a nice, clean finish, and it looks really good from both the outside and the inside. Letting the dress hang for 24 hours to stretch out the bias was the most time-consuming part of the whole sewing process, but even leveling the hem wasn’t that bad.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - front

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - back

AND, because the dress only really fits at the shoulders and falls loose everywhere else – it’s totally reversible! You can wear the front to the back, or vice versa. Say what now?! I was originally Team V-neck, but after wearing the dress around a bit, I actually like the v in the back.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - pockets

Since the dress is already totes appropriate for hot weather, I went the extra mile and made it out of some dark blue heavyweight linen to keep things extra cool and breezy. I really did not know what to expect with this linen – I’ve bitched and moaned before about how much I don’t like linen for it’s shifty nature and constant wrinkles – but this particular linen is a lot more tame than most of the ones I’ve sewn with. Because it’s so heavy, it’s not as prone to shifting around or wrinkling (while I did take these photos before wearing it around, I have since worn it for a full day and even with a couple hours of driving involved, it barely wrinkled at all). It does still fray like mad, so I made sure to finish all my seams with the serger and that solved that problem. This is the kind of linen that would get me sewing with the fiber on the regular – and now that I’m looking at the Mood Fabrics website, it looks like they added more colors! Yay!

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - neckline

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - necklineThe only part where I deviated from the pattern was to cut the pockets out of a lightweight china silk, instead of the heavy linen. I’m sure the linen would have been fine, but I like how light and not-bulky the silk pockets are. Plus, they feel gooood on my hands!

One thing I will change for future makes of this pattern is to raise the arm holes, because they are pretty low on me! It might just be because I’m petite, but I was showing a little bit of bra when I first tried on the dress. I took in the underarm seam just a bit, which helped a lot, but I do need to be careful of which bra I wear with this dress because it definitely can and will still show at my underarms. I think raising the underarm about 1/2″ will take care of that. Also, if you plan on making this pattern – watch the length! I did not adjust the length whatsoever and it’s preeeeeeetty short on me (I’m 5’2″). Like, if I raise my arms too high… y’all are gonna see some cheeks. No, seriously, I tested that shit in front of a mirror. The struggle is real.

That being said, I love the micro-mini length combined with the exaggerated tent shape. I especially want to put this into action in a cozy black wool, and wear it with black tights.

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - detail

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - detail

Inside guts. It’s a simple dress, so really not much to see here!

Papercut Patterns Sway dress - twirl

I’m still not 100% that this is the best look for my body (I’m sure there is someone out there who thinks I’m trying to hide a pregnancy), but I am 100% in that this dress is SUPER comfortable and perfect for the summer heat!

As a side note – I’m off to Cancun, Mexico this weekend! Gonna lay poolside with my bae and drink something with an umbrella sticking out of it (wearing my new Made Up bikini, naturally! Yay for finishing by my self-imposed deadline!). Cannot even wait. Suffice to say, this blog will be pretty quiet for the next few days. This girl needs a vacation!

Note: The fabric for this dress was purchased with my allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. Pattern was given to me as a gift. All comments on this blog post are just, like, my opinion, man.

Completed: Striped Linen Hawthorn Dress

24 Aug

Same as with Simplicity 6266 (which, by the way – when I first published that post – I had the pattern # all kinds of wrong and have since been corrected and updated the blog post – if you were trying to find the pattern and couldn’t, maybe try again with the correct number! Just FYI!), the Colette Patterns Hawthorn is one of those patterns that I LOVE to wear and swore I’d make a million more of… then never actually did. It’s the sweetest little pattern – a very feminine shirt dress with an interesting collar and a beautiful, swirly skirt – and I get loads of compliments whenever I wear any of my other versions (especially the Chambray version – which I wear at least once a week in the summer because it’s soooo good). Alas, it’s been over a year since I did anything with the pattern, despite it being in my pile of “patterns to make next” for, well, over a year. Whoops.

This year, I have been all about settling down, sewing-wise, and making repeats of things I know I love (instead of constantly being distracted by the new and shiny). So I made a Hawthorn.

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornI think it turned out pretty good! We had a few harrowing moments there for a bit, but it all worked out in the end. Yay for the TNT and knowing what works! Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

I’ve already talked quite a bit about this pattern, considering that I’ve made it three times (see: Sweet Cherry Hawthorn, Organic Cotton Sateen Hawthorn, and the aforementioned Chambray Hawthorn WHICH IS THE BEST ONE BTW). I cut my usual/adjusted size, and mostly followed the instructions as they are written. All harrowing moments were due to fabric, not pattern.

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornStriped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

The fabric is another piece that I bought from Elizabeth; the striped cotton/linen blend (at least, I think there is cotton in there – it doesn’t wrinkle as much as 100% linen tends to do) was from her SS15 collection, which is currently no longer available (but, btw, FW15 LAUNCHES TODAY EEEE). I’ve seen some makes using this fabric – in the same brown/black/white colors (Kelly’s Southport dress!) and in a blue/white/black colorway (Sewaholic’s Cambie dress!) – so if this stuff looks familiar, well, it’s making the rounds!

As a side note – not that this really matters, but I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve gotten some pieces gratis as part of an ES destash, but this particular piece was one that I paid for. Granted, I got it for wholesale price – but it wasn’t free :). Elizabeth isn’t in the fabric business at all (I only get to buy as part of an employee perk, basically), so I don’t think it matters, but I thought I’d mention it anyway!

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornI originally bought my little piece to make a woven tshirt – like, maybe a Scout or something – so I only bought about 1.5 yards. I decided it would be better as a dress, but it took me a long time to decide on which pattern to use. The Hawthorn was a good choice, except that I didn’t have quite enough fabric and had to do some creative piecing to get all the pieces to fit and to get the stripes to mostly match (all I can say is, I did my best). Check out that photo of the back – see the center back seam that I added? Yes. I also pieced the top of the back bodice, right along the black stripes. You can’t see that shit at all because I matched it up pretty well, and the stripes make the seam lines disappear. But it is there! Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

I had NO IDEA how to cut the collar with the stripes, so I just kind of winged it. Surprisingly, the stripes match up kind of cool with the bodice stripes. I didn’t plan that whatsoever, and I was somewhat concerned I’d have a hot mess of a bodice on my hands once I added the collar and the stripes started going every which way, but I really like how it turned out. It actually looks intentional.

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornHere’s the back again. Can you see my piecing? On the right hand side (the side where my tattoo is), the very first batch of stripes – the bottom black stripe is where the seamline is. On the left side (opposite of tattoo), the second batch of stripes – the seamline is in the top black stripe. Can you see it now? Can you UNSEE it now? (sorry about that) I honestly thought this dress was a goner about halfway through cutting it and realizing that I didn’t have enough fabric, but thank god for stripes making seamlines invisible. Yay! The stripe-matching worked out pretty well, but I did have one big snafu that kind of sucked… Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

Whatever the hell is going on with the waistline here, that’s what. I’m not really sure how I managed to cut those stripes so they’d suck THAT bad, but it looks like I’m wearing a bow right over some part of my intestine. How dainty! Except it actually looks pretty stupid. Thankfully, as you’ve probably (not)noticed from the pictures – a belt covers it quite well, so that’s my solution. It does mean that I can’t really wear the dress without a belt, but I am pro-belt at this point in my life, so I’m not terribly concerned about that.

Some more photos:
Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornStriped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

The linen is SO soft, with a slight little drape that’s just lovely. It’s really comfortable to wear in the heat. Because of the drape, the bodice is a little softer and less structured than my other Hawthorns, which is a nice change. This also meant that I needed to let the skirt hang for something like 48 hours to get all the bias settle before hemming (and it was crazy uneven before I evened it out).

Striped Linen/Cotton HawthornThe inside is very simple – stitched and serged (this fabric sheds like a mofo, so finishing the edges with a serge was very necessary). I serged the facing edges so they’d have less bulk, and finished the arm holes with polka dot bias binding because it’s a little thinner and less bulky (and easier to work with, since it sheds less) than the linen. Stripe-matching the facings was probably a little bit of overkill on my end. Whatever :) Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn
The buttons are just black shirting buttons I had in my stash. I originally wanted to use wooden buttons, but black ended up looking best with the fabric. Instead of putting a button at the waistline, I used a hook and eye. This makes the area nice and smooth so it’s more comfortable to wear a belt.

Striped Linen/Cotton Hawthorn

Making this up definitely reminded me of why I love this pattern so much! It’s really beautiful and feels good to wear. A similar look would be the new Sewaholic Nicola dress, which has that same V-neck with collar, but it’s designed for a drapier fabric, thanks to all the soft gathers, and looks quite a bit more 70s. I’d love to try this pattern (talking about Hawthorn now, but I want to try Nicola too!) with long sleeves, sewn up in a plaid, for a cozy winter version. That, too, has been on my list for waaaay too long. Maybe this winter I’ll actually get around to making it :)

Completed: The Summer DVF Wrap Dress

17 Aug

What? Did you think I was going to make it an entire year without busting out this pattern? Ha ha! Forget about it!

Vogue 1610 // DVF(No idea why I’m standing pigeon-toed in this photo, eh.)

ANYWAY. If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’ll know that I loveeeee me some knit wrap dress action. Specifically, some Diane Von Fürstenberg knit wrap dress action. I just think she makes the prettiest dresses and I can’t get enough of them (and by “them,” I mean “knock-offs”) in my closet! I have a few that I made last year – The Wearable Muslin, The Silk Jersey and The Chic Black Wool. And now, here’s #4: The Bold Graphic Print. Just in time for the last few weeks of summer! Vogue 1610 // DVF

I have an original copy of Vogue 1610, which is a (vintage) Vogue American Designer pattern (this one featuring Diane Von Fürstenberg, obviously). I found it – in my size, no less – at an estate sale for around $1 a few years ago. It’s a beautiful pattern that really lends itself well to all the hacking and modifying I’ve put it through. It’s certainly a bummer that Vogue won’t re-release this pattern for the modern sewist – and before you start pointing fingers, this has nothing to do with Vogue and everything to do with DVF not renewing the license. I’m pretty sure the McCall Pattern Company wants to re-release some DVF love just as much as you want to buy it (I mean, can you imagine how much $$ they’d make? Who can say no to that?), but it’s not really up to them to decide. Seems like the designer just doesn’t want her name on sewing patterns anymore :( DIANE, WHYYYY.

Anyway, back to my dress!

Vogue 1610 // DVFVogue 1610 // DVF

Taking a cue from the black wool version, I kept the original bodice from the pattern and changed out the skirt for a simple wrap skirt (specifically, I used Tilly’s Miette skirt and just made it so the wrap is in the front). I added 1″ to the overlap, so I’d have a little bit of fabric to fold back and topstitch. I like the gathered skirt that the pattern is drafted for, but I wanted this version to be a little more sleek. I originally planned this dress to include small cap sleeves – I was going to take them off my Lady Skater dress pattern – but when I tried the dress on sans sleeves, I really liked the way it looked so I kept it as-is.

Vogue 1610 // DVFI also kept a slightly longer skirt length (I know, I know… nothing about “practically knee-length” qualifies as “long,” but considering I’ve basically been exposing ass cheeks all summer, this is long for me), again, something I liked when I tried it on during construction. Vogue 1610 // DVF

Vogue 1610 // DVFI also tried something different with the front band. Normally, I sew it on like how you finish the neckline of a tshirt – stretching the band so that it fits snugly against the bust when worn. However, I lurked in on some actual DVF wrap dresses while I was in Harrod’s last year in London, and noticed that they finish their necklines a little differently. No knit bands to be found anywhere – most of them use a binding or a facing. I was keen to try this myself, so that’s what I did. I cut the band as usual and interfaced it with a lightweight knit fusible (so it has a little bit of structure, but it’s still quite stretchy). I finished one edge, sewed the facing to the outside of the garment, flipped it to the inside and understitched, and then topstitched 1″ away from the edge on the outside. I was 100% certain that I’d fucked up the dress beyond repair at that point – the back had some puckers and everything just looked kind of strange – but it all sorted itself out once I put it on and my body stretched it into shape. The addition of the interfacing gives the neckline a little bit of height, almost – especially around the neck itself. The facing is much smoother and sleeker than any band. And I can pull the dress apart a little and show some 1970s ~natural cleavage~ if I feel so inclined. Yeehaw! Vogue 1610 // DVF

Vogue 1610 // DVFNot really much else to report on construction – much of the same old, same old. I used my serger to construct, my Bernina (+ walking foot // ballpoint needle) to topstitch. For the arm holes, I just serged them and turned the hem under and topstitched with a straight stitch. So easy! I think I finished this whole thing in less than 3 hours. Vogue 1610 // DVF

Isn’t the fabric so good? When I saw it on Mood Fabrics recently, it immediately screamed WRAP DRESS and it knew it had to be mine. Sometimes, I find buying knit fabric online to be a bit of a gamble – you can’t really tell weight/hand/stretch recovery (not to mention color) from a photo and description, and occasionally I end up with stuff that wasn’t at all what I was expecting. This fabric definitely exceeded my expectations – it’s so beautiful! Very dense with a good stretch (and an awesome recovery; I wore this all day last week and it didn’t bag out at all), and the color is super saturated. It’s a little on the heavy side – but not bulky. It feels very fluid and luxurious. I wish all knits were like this. This stuff is awesome! Also, the color is “poppy” which I kept seeing as “poppy,” so, like, there’s that.

Vogue 1610 // DVFHere’s a shot of the inside. Super clean finish, yay! Vogue 1610 // DVFI think the color and style of this dress will be good for transitioning into the fall months here – where we want to pretend like it’s tall boot and wool hat weather, but it’s actually still 90+ degrees. Which means I can wear this and look cool, but still be cool. Also, I am not ready for summer to end just yet – I have a few more projects left to finish!

Note: The fabric for this dress was purchased with my allowance for the Mood Sewing Network. All comments on this blog post are just, like, my opinion, man.

Completed: Simplicity 6266

14 Aug

How often do we fall in love with a pattern and swear that we’re going to make a million versions, and then end up with just the original one? Yeah. I definitely made this pattern like 3 years ago, and I definitely have been saying ever since then that I need to make it again. Whoops. Better late than never, anyway!

Simplicity 6280

The pattern in question is Simplicity 6266, which, 3+ years later, I STILL can’t find anywhere on the internet. EDIT: Definitely had the pattern number wrong. Dunno what that was all about hahah! This post has been corrected :) I made this forever and ever ago in a slinky poly cheetah print, with adorable little tulip sleeves. It’s the best dress. I still wear it all the time – it is kind of awful in the summer (polyester not being breathable and all), but I do it for the ~fashion~. Truth me told, the OG cheetah version is one of the few dresses that I actually altered to fit my new size after I lost weight, rather than get rid of it (which happened to most of my closet, if you were around for the Great Closet Etsy Purge a couple years ago). Now you know that’s true love!

Simplicity 6280

I knew I eventually wanted to make it again – it stayed in my pattern queue piles for years, and I waffled back and forth on fabric choices. I finally decided to bite the bullet and just fucking make it – and I used a special/hoardy fabric to do it. Might as well kill two birds with one stone! Get’er done and all that!

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Remember when I said that I had to alter the original dress after I lost weight? Well. I knew the pattern was going to need some adjustments, since it was completely unaltered and thus the original size (which was for a 33.5″ bust, sadly larger than what I’m rocking these days), but I threw all fucks to the wind and just charged ahead with making this before I changed my mind. So, there were a lot of last-minute fitting alterations to get this thing even remotely sized like I am. I took quite a bit out of the side seams, as well as raising the shoulders a bit (not much, less than 1/2″. Maybe more like 1/4″. I don’t remember! Sorry!). The resulting fit is pretty good, I think, but it definitely added quite a bit of unnecessary unpicking and re-adjusting that I could have avoided had I bothered to make a muslin and do some flat pattern adjustments. With that being said… did I make those adjustments to the pattern after these alterations? Hell no! Do I look like I operate on common sense?? :P

Simplicity 6280

All that aside, once I got the fitting sorted out – the rest of the dress came together beautifully. This is the kind of project that I just love doing – working with a pattern that I know I love to wear, made up in a beautiful and special fabric, and spending the extra time on parts of the construction, such as blind-stitching the hem by hand (I can’t even remember the last time I did that! What is wrong with me?)

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

I kept most of the construction true to the pattern, but I did change out a few things. For one, I left off the arm hole facing and used bias facing instead. Since there’s a lot of topstitching going on with this dress, the topstitching for the bias facing doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. I also traded out the lapped zipper for an invisible zipper, because it looks a bit more polished. I did not make the waist tie for this dress (on my cheetah dress, I made it, just didn’t attach it to the dress), instead I added some thread loops to hold my belt in place.

Simplicity 6280

The fabric was another gift from the fabric goddess herself, Sunni. This, too, was part of the awesome care package she sent me last year. I’ve been waiting so long to figure out what to use with it, but I’m happy that I decided to match it up with this pattern! This fabric is rayon challis that has the most gorgeous, fluid drape. Really really lovely stuff. It shed like a hairy little monster, but otherwise sewed and pressed well. It is slightly translucent, so you can see the facings shining through the front in some lights, but that doesn’t bother me. I just wear skin-colored undergarments and get on with my life.

Simplicity 6280Similar to the cheetah version of this dress, I tacked the front surplice together to prevent it from gaping when I bend over. Unlike the cheetah version, I literally just sewed the two pieces together (see the stitching line? It’s aligned with the topstitching so it doesn’t show from the outside), instead of using a snap. A snap seems kind of silly with a mock-wrap dress – I mean, when am I going to unsnap it? Never, that’s when!

Simplicity 6280

Because the fabric is so drapey and shifty, I added a strip of stay tape to the waist seam to prevent it from stretching over time. Just sewed it to the seam allowance at the waist, and then topstitched it down on the outside. Not shown but also there – I interfaced the zipper seam allowance with a strip of fusible interfacing, before I added the zipper. This not only adds strength, but also keeps the fabric from wrinkling by the zipper. I know there are still a few puckers – alas, the nature of the beast – but it’s not nearly the horrifyingly wavy thing that it was threatening to be pre-interfacing.

Simplicity 6280

I love making belt thread loops! Ha!

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

Simplicity 6280

One of my favorite parts of this dress is this section right here – the dart + the lines of the surplice neckline. I just think it’s so pretty!

Simplicity 6280

Really glad to finally get a good idea for that fabric so I could give it the love it deserved! I actually almost made a Hawthorn with it – but decided at the last minute that it might look a little too cutesy with the polka dots. This sleek 70s mock-wrap is a good alternative because it’s a classic style in it’s own right, and I know I love wearing it. Ideally, I’d like to make this again for winter with the long sleeves – but I also know I’d have to do a lot of pattern adjustments to the tissue before that happens. We’ll see!

In the meantime – I used some of the remaining fabric to make a really adorable bra, so stay tuned for that!

made-up-logo-ii

As a side note – have y’all heard about the Made Up Initiative that was just launched yesterday? Karen and Love Sewing Magazine have dreamed up a great fundraiser, where you pledge a donation and set your own challenge to make something before September 10 (it doesn’t have to be sewing related! It can be anything!). There will be prizes for those who complete their personal challenge on or before the deadline. All the money raised goes to the National Literacy Trust.

I love the idea of pulling the sewing community together to accomplish something like this, and bonus if it’s for literacy! Reading was a huge part of my childhood and I fell in love with it at a very early age. I come from a family of voracious readers and it saddens me that not every child (or adult, for that matter) has those same opportunities that I did. So I’m definitely on board with this, and have contributed and made my pledge – I will be making a swimsuit before we go on vacation next month. It’s a pretty simple pledge – I really wanted to make something show-stopping, like a coat or some shit – but I realized that time is pretty short right now and I need something low-key if I actually want it to be finished by the deadline. Plus, I want an excuse to use this 70s-fabulous string bikini pattern that I bought at the flea market a couple of months ago. We are going to Cancun, Mexico, the first weekend of September, so time is short!

I encourage all of you to consider joining the Made Up Initiative and set your own challenge! Again, it doesn’t have to be a big fancy project – it can be as small as making a couple of napkins – or even sewing related. You just need to make something by the deadline. And even if you don’t think you can manage anything by the deadline, maybe consider donating anyway. Even $5 makes a difference!

For all the info on the Made Up Initiative, check out Karen’s blog post. You can also donated directly to the Just Giving page – as of this publish, it’s at 91%, which is awesome. Think we can double that? C’mon, y’all! Do it for the books! ♥

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