Tag Archives: dress

Completed: An Emerald Green Wool Jersey Lady Skater

13 Sep

Before I start, two things:

1. I know. Another Lady Skater. Y’all are probably getting sick of looking at this, but uhhh sorry not sorry! Honestly, I wanted to put both of these dresses in the same post, but I hadn’t managed to get pictures of the green one and I wanted to post the floral one RIGHT THAT SECOND and, well, you know how it goes.

2. Much more important, but thank you thank you thank you for all of your lovely comments on my last post! Again, I wasn’t posting that bit to fish for compliments, or anything like that… it has just been on my mind for a long time. I wholeheartedly believe that sewing + the blogging community (not to mention taking pictures of oneself and posting them on the internet, eep) is so wonderful for helping us maintain a healthy body image, and I would be lying if I said the outpouring of support and consolation stories didn’t make me feel a trillion times better about my insecurities and why they shouldn’t even matter in the first place. Y’all are just lovely, and I love you :)

Now, back to the matter at hand…

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I made another Lady Skater! This one comes with bonus surprise Duck Lips!

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I know I don’t have to justify myself when it comes to things I sew, but just in case you were looking for justification – I made this twice in a row because it’s an awesome pattern and I wanted to try out every sleeve version. I have made short sleeves, I have made 3/4 sleeves, and today we have long sleeves!

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I really love seeing how a pattern can look totally different depending on the fabric that is used to make it up, and this one is no exception. My last Lady Skater was a thin, drapey, VERY stretchy cotton knit. For this version, I used wool jersey that is fairly stable, and look at what a difference it makes!

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

My green wool jersey is from – where else? – Mood Fabrics. Having tried Merino Wool and now Wool Jersey, I am now going to give you my opinion on them and how they are different.
Merino Wool – due to the chemicals in the wool, this stuff can be washed and dried as normal in your machine without felting. It also tends to be less scratchy, in my experience. Elasticity and stretch recovery are excellent. Fabric can be a bit sheer, at least based on the pieces I’ve personally handled.
Wool Jersey – ok, I’m going to be real gross and weird here and admit that I didn’t pre-wash my Wool Jersey. I plan on washing it the same way I wash my sweaters – which is a lukewarm sink bath with no agitation, and laying flat to dry. The stretch recovery on this is good, however, it doesn’t have as much elasticity (see the difference in fit vs my previous dress? Wool Jersey is a bit more stable than cotton jersey). It is also pretty scratchy! It’s not unbearably scratchy by any means, but it does feel like I’m wearing a wool sweater… which, I kind of am! It is much more opaque than the Merino. I am wearing neon undies under this dress and you can’t even tell, ha.

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

It is also REALLY warm. Which will be good, when it eventually gets cold here :P

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I kind of feel like a Girl Scout in this dress, what’s with the bright green and slightly scratchy fabric. I know the green looks sort of muted in these pictures, but trust me and not my inexperience with my camera. This shit is BRIGHT FUCKING KELLY GREEN. It is amazing.

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

See what I mean about the fabric not being as elastic? You can totally see bra straps and back fat here. Which doesn’t bother me, personally, but if you don’t like looking like you were poured into your clothing that morning, you maaaay consider sizing up if you choose to make this pattern with a more stable knit :)

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

I should also point out that the stability of this fabric makes it really easy to sew. Just like Merino Wool – it doesn’t curl up, doesn’t slide around (actually, it’s slightly lofty so the pieces kind of stick together and that’s MAGICAL), stitches and presses like a dream. I really enjoyed the sound my scissors made when they cut into it, strangely enough. It’s the little things.

Emerald Wool Jersey Lady Skater

Ok, so who’s jumping on the Wool Jersey bandwagon with me? ALL ABOARD, LET’S GOOOO!!

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Completed: A Transitional Lady Skater

11 Sep

I know, I know. Fall is just around the corner – the temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing, everyone is flipping their shit over pumpkin spice everything. September is such a magical month… unless you live in Tennessee. It was 95* yesterday and the humidity was so thick, going outside felt like walking through a pot of soup. Gross.

If I sound butthurt, it’s because I totally am. I love fall and I love September, but honestly – it ain’t fall weather here. And as much as I want to start busting out the wool crepes and snuggly flannels, I know in my heart of hearts that I likely won’t have a chance to wear them until closer to Halloween… possibly even later. I have memories of wearing shorts on Thanksgiving. It happens.

So, what do you do when you want to change for the season but the season won’t change for you?

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Concentrate on seasonal colors and prints, not fabric weights.

Fall Floral Lady Skater

I know, this is basically the biggest “No Shit, Sherlock” statement I’ve probably ever made, but it has seriously taken me years to come to terms with this. I do it in the spring, too – try to start pulling out the lightweight voile dresses while there’s still slush on the ground, hate myself, rinse repeat. Something about the seasonal changes makes me want to overhaul every single color in my wardrobe, I dunno.

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Since I live in an area where the temperature tends to hover around “Hell,” except for a couple of months out of the year, I need more layering/lightweight/transitional pieces than I do big cozy wool garments (don’t get me wrong – my wool is ready and waiting for me the second I think the temps are gonna start dropping. Just need more patience, ahhh!). You know, so I can wear them now instead of sticking them back in the closet for a few weeks :) Bonus – once we do get cool weather, this will layer up nicely with tights, boots, and a scarf. Win!

Fall Floral Lady Skater

This fabulous cotton jersey is from Mood Fabrics (they have another colorway if the mustard is *too* retro for ya, but I like it! Mustard for life!). It’s a little bit on the sheer side – like, not indecently so, but enough where I gotta watch the color of my undies when I wear this.

I was pleasantly surprised with the stretch recovery for this fabric, by the way. Cotton tends to stretch and sag over the course of the day, making everything baggy and off-the-shoulder, but this stood up pretty well after a full day of wear. I think I can get an extra day out of it before needing to throw it in the dryer for a little shrinkage. Win!

Fall Floral Lady Skater

I used the Lady Skater pattern to make this dress. I have made this dress before, so this is basically round 2 (there’s also a round 3, you just wait. It’s finished; I just haven’t taken photos yet :3). The only change I made was to stretch the neckband ribbing a little tighter, to keep it from getting floppy, which meant for a shorter neckband piece (since the band is applied flat, it’s REALLY easy to do this – you just stretch, sew, and cut off the excess. Yay, no maths!).

Fall Floral Lady Skater

I will urge you to pay close attention to the elastic at the waist seam, and make sure not to skip it when using a cotton knit! I think a good part of the reason why this stuff didn’t stretch out all haywire by the end of the day was because the waist seam is nice and snug and fully stabilized.

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Next, I want to make this pattern in pumpkin colored knit. Wouldn’t that be DELICIOUS?

Fall Floral Lady Skater

I also want to give a shout-out to my hair in these pictures. I think this might be the first time I’ve ever posted pictures of myself on this blog with my hair up? There’s a reason for that – I’m actually really really self-conscious about my ears. I hate how much they stick out and I rarely take any pictures with my hair up. Which is funny, because whenever I see people with a similar feature, I think it’s super cute… just not on me. I’ve never liked it and it’s been something I’ve always wanted to change.

I’m not saying this to fish for compliments, so please don’t take it that way. I guess I’m just realizing now how stupid it is to spend so much energy hating something about myself that I CAN’T change (ok, yes, I know otoplasty is a thing… but it’s not a realistic option for me). It’s part of me, what makes me unique, and is just as much a family trait as the shape of my nose or the color of my eyes. There is no point in wishing change on something that won’t change, so my next move is to learn how to love and embrace it. Starting with posting pictures of myself with my hair up. I know, my head is turned to the side in all these pictures, but… baby steps, y’all.

Fall Floral Lady Skater

Sorry to get all deep on such a lighthearted post, just been thinkin! Anyone else struggle with this? What has helped you?

Completed: A Belladone for Bicycling

9 Sep

Ok, time to confess something really dorky: I’ve been looking for the perfect bicycle-print fabric for years now. It’s actually become something of an obsessive manhunt – trying to avoid the quilting cottons, the cruisers and penny farthings, the hideous color combinations. You’d think with bicycles being these super cutesy Pinterest-approved photo prop (forreal, I’m sick of looking at pictures of people using their bikes as props! Ride that shit already!), there would be a bigger selection of this type of print. You’d think. I never found it, though.

UNTIL RECENTLY.

bicycle fabric

Isn’t this biciclette fabric adorable?? It’s from Bubiknits‘ shop on Spoonflower. I’ve always wanted to try my hand with a piece of Spoonflower fabric – but honestly, every time I try to browse the choices, I get overwhelmed with so many options. And I’m not gonna try to design my own because, ha, no. Let’s just not even discuss. So when Giusy emailed me and asked if I would like a couple of yards of any fabric from her shop as a gift, I immediately zeroed in on that bicycle print in organic cotton sateen. I had no idea what I was going to do with it, except that it would be a dress.

Bicycly Belladone

A Belladone, to be exact!

Bicycly Belladone

I should apologize in advance for how bad these pictures ended up. Turns out white doesn’t photograph too well in bright sunlight. Who woulda thought? Just imagine the bicycles and we will get to the close-ups soon enough.

Bicycly Belladone

Obviously, this ain’t my first Belladone rodeo. That stripey dress is actually 100% the reason why I decided to make my bicycle dress with the same pattern – it is my favorite dress to cycle in! It’s very comfortable, the skirt is the perfect width needed for riding (but not so floofy that it causes wardrobe malfunctions) and I like to think that it’s pretty enough that it makes the Mary Poppins Effect a reality on my commute. Plus, the dress is finished with bias tape – visible or invisible – which I thought would provide a nice contrast against the white/yellow of the main fabric. As much as I love the colorway, it unfortunately washes me out, so I needed something a little darker to sit next to my face.

Bicycly Belladone

I can’t really say I started this dress with any real direction in mind. Originally, I wanted the contrast to be turquoise, but when I actually got the fabrics side-by-side, I didn’t like the look of the two colors together… too light for my tastes. Navy seemed like the perfect choice (and yes – that’s navy. I know it looks black, but it’s navy.). I used leftover navy cotton sateen from my lace trench (I swear, that fabric… it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. I STILL HAVE MORE OF IT, TOO) and made a few yards of bias tape to enclose all the edges along the top of the dress. I actually applied all this bias tape by hand, so the stitches would be invisible. I think it adds a bit of polish to the overall effect, even if it did mean making this dress took twice as long. I also applied a strip of interfacing to each diagonal edge, as well as staystitching, to make sure the edges don’t get distorted over time.

Bicycly Belladone

Of course, taking a light dress and adding dark trim to the bodice meant that the thing ended up looking top-heavy. I added more dark contrast to the waistband, as well as a couple of inches above the hem, which I think ties the dress together. To finish, I added 2 self-covered buttons at the center front.

Bicycly Belladone

It’s so perfect, I could marry it.

Bicycly Belladone

And the back! Don’t you love the back!?

Bicycly Belladone

One more picture, sorry :)

Bicycly Belladone

Here you can see the bicycles! Aren’t they sweet :)

Bicycly Belladone

Since I’d already made this pattern before, I didn’t need to make any major modifications (other than the aforementioned contrast additions). I did sew the side seams at the waist with a 1/2″ seam allowance (instead of the pattern’s 5/8″); I noticed that my stripey dress can get a little tight if I’ve eaten a lot of food, so an extra bit of wiggle room is appreciated :)

Bicycly Belladone

I also pressed the pleats so they were centered over the stitching lines (instead of pressed to one side). This gives them more of a box-pleat look, as opposed to a soft tuck.

Bicycly Belladone

Can you see the stitching on the outside, huh, can you? NEITHER CAN I!

Bicycly Belladone

Bicycly Belladone

The inside waistband is faced with more bicycles :) And yay, yellow zipper!

Bicycly Belladone

Sewing that strip of navy around the bottom was super easy. I sewed on my hem facing as usual, then centered the seam binding over the stitching and stitched it down on both sides.

Bicycly Belladone

Working with this fabric was an absolute dream – and wearing it is even better :) I know Spoonflower’s fabrics tend to skew toward the pricey side, but this is some good stuff – organic cotton sateen with the subtlest sheen, the colors are rich and saturated, and it’s very easy to sew and press. Plus, the design choices! Gah!

Bicycly Belladone

Thank you again, Giusy, for the amazing fabric! If anyone was wondering… yes, I have taken this dress for a bike ride, and yes, it was a little magical ;)

One last thing – and I swear, it’s important – I just heard through the grapevine that Colette Patterns is running in second place in the Martha Stewart American Made Competition. The #1 spot is currently being held by a scrapbooking company, boo! If you’ve got a minute to spare, go vote for them (you can login with your Facebook if you’re lazy like me, and you do not have to be a US resident to cast a vote!). Colette Patterns will be dumping the entire $10k prize back into their employees as bonuses, which is pretty fucking amazing and I think totally deserving of winning. Plus, do we really want to see them get beat out by a scrapbooking company? NOPE!

Go forth and vote! Every little checkmark counts ;)

Completed: The Bella-Jean Dress

6 Sep

A couple of months ago (gah, has it been that long??), Abby from Bluegingerdoll Patterns hollered at me and asked if I wanted to try and review her maiden pattern, the Billie Jean dress.

Well, y’all know how I feel about reviewing patterns – especially when they are pretty, vintage-inspired silhouettes!

Bella-Jean

So obviously, I said yes.

Bella-Jean

The style lines on this dress are a little difficult to see since I used such a busy print (but isn’t that print amazing?) to make it up, but it’s a very fitted, princess-seamed bodice that falls off the shoulders. The pattern actually has two skirt variations – one, a sexy wiggle skirt with a kick pleat; and two, a full, gathered skirt with in-seam pockets.

Bella-Jean

I ended up swapping the skirt out for an entirely different option, as you can see. While I love both of the skirts included in the pattern, I know that wiggle skirts are not in any way appropriate for my daily life (I need something that I can really move around in – from cycling, to sitting on the floor, to jumping in the bed of my truck to retrieve the coat hanger I keep back there since I seem to lock myself out of the fucking cab EVERY WEEK THESE DAYS, sorry, pls don’t break in my truck. There’s nothing worth stealing in there; seriously, I don’t even have a tape deck. Where was I going with this? Oh.), and gathered skirts just are not very flattering on me. When I don’t find a dress comfortable, I basically just never wear it – and I wanted to wear this dress!

Bella-Jean

Can you guess where that pattern came from? Hint: It’s in the name.

Bella-Jean

If you guessed Belladone, you’d be correct! If you think “Bella-Jean” is the most hilarious, redneck sounding name, let me just assure you that I feel very clever right now.

Bella-Jean

Attaching the skirt to the bodice took a little bit of extra thought, but not much. First, I knew I wanted to leave the pockets off (as I type this, I can hear the collective gasp of sewers around the world sucking in their breath and clutching their pearls as I dared to remove the blessed pocket but forreal, there would have been way way way too much going on with an already busy dress, yeah?), so I just taped the pocket pieces to the front skirt pattern piece to fill the pocket-shaped hole, then cut the pieces out of my fabric. I moved the pleats slightly to get them to match up with the front princess seams, which was as easy as pushing the fold down a few fractions of an inch. Getting the back darts to match the back princess seams was also necessary, although I didn’t realize it until I’d already sewn the skirt to the bodice. Doh! I almost said fuck it and let it be, but it looked reeeally bad, so I unpicked and redistributed. Miraculously, the skirt fits the bodice almost exactly – and by sewing the side seams of the skirt with 1/2″ seam allowance (which is the same seam allowance for the bodice), it was a perfect fit. All the seams match up. Yay!

Bella-Jean

As much as I like to try and make my garments as true as to what the pattern was designed as, sometimes I think ya just gotta make some ~design changes~ so the finished piece fits your lifestyle. And, you know, you actually wear it ;)

Bella-Jean

Now that I’ve gone off on a few tangents, let’s get back to Billie Jean The Bodice!

Bella-Jean

Putting this shit together was DELIGHTFUL. I mean it! I made a little quickie muslin-top (always good to check the fit when you’re trying a new-to-you pattern company – you don’t want to discover far too late that the body type they base their pattern block off is the exact opposite of your body!), but I ended up not needing any changes as it was a perfect fit straight out of the envelope. This is a size 4, and I gotta warn ya – make sure you check those finished measurements before you cut! There is basically NO ease in this pattern, which means a very close fit. Obviously, this is exactly how I like to wear my dresses, so I was pretty chuffed to be able to actually cut the pattern that matched my measurements, without sizing down. But if you need more ease, consider sizing up :)

Bella-Jean

Construction-wise, I did not make any changes to the bodice. The instructions are a bit brief, but there are clear diagrams (as well as a full sewalong on Abby’s blog, should you need it!) and the pattern itself is very simple to put together. My only advice is to make sure you stay-stitch that neckline so it doesn’t stretch all crazy out of shape, and don’t be afraid to be aggressive with your clipping and notching on the princess seams to get them to lie flat.

Bella-Jean

The pattern has you insert a lapped zipper, instead of the usual invisible. Y’all know I like me some lapped zips ;)

Bella-Jean

One thing I should point out is that the straps are NOT bra-friendly without a little bit of tweaking. Personally, I just go strapless – I found one that fits my ribcage, so I think it is quite comfortable. However, I know most people don’t feel the same way I do about strapless bras – and that’s ok! But you will need to make some changes to get the straps to work with a bra if that’s the case. Abby has written a tutorial on redrafting the straps so they are cover your bra; alternately, Anna added bra strap carriers to her Billie Jean.

Bella-Jean

It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but the shoulder straps have the cutest little detail where they widen a bit at the top of your shoulder. I think that’s my favorite thing about this dress!

Bella-Jean

I’m a little bummed that I couldn’t get the waist seam to match up perfectly at the zipper – must’ve fudged something up, somewhere. But hey, look at how good those darts match up with the princess seams, yeah? ~Like MAGIC.

Bella-Jean

Isn’t this fabric just gorgeous? I bought it earlier this year from Muna Couture (who also sells lots of amazing fabrics, drool). It is the softest Italian cotton, and the colors are so saturated. I actually bought a SHIT load of this stuff… so this won’t be the last time you see it ;) My bodice is lined with black cotton batiste and I used a lilac zipper, because.

Bella-Jean

Since the Belladone skirt hits perfect LT-length as is, I added the facing at the bottom. I never really sewed skirt facings before I started dabbling into Deer & Doe, but I really love the way they look!

Bella-Jean

If you love Billie Jean as much as I do, you are gonna shit yourselves when you see Abby’s newest pattern, Mae. Just warning you.

Also, if you were wondering where the remote went for these pictures, the battery died right at the beginning of my shoot. Notice how confused I look in that last picture (which was actually the first picture I took), ha!

Completed: A Luscious Silk Anna

28 Aug

Hey guys. I would like to introduce you to Anna, my newest piece for the Mood Sewing Network.

Anna Maxi

So, Oona and Sonja originally planned this silk challenge, in which they both would make Anna dresses with a notoriously difficult fabric. Once I got wind of what was going on, I walked straight into that party and invited myself to be the third wheel. I can’t help it; I love being part of a Mood Fabrics sandwich. Especially when it involves Thakoon Crepe de Chine. I mean, COME ON.

Anna Maxi

So, as we all know at this point – this is the Anna dress, the newest offering from By Hand London. For mine, I decided to try my hand at the maxi version with the slash neckline, after getting good results with my wearable muslin shorter version. Since the dress itself is very simple, it was the perfect excuse for getting my hands on the aforementioned silk Crepe de Chine.

Anna Maxi

Anna Maxi

I’ve never sewn with this type of fabric before, so I was admittedly a little nervous. Would I regret my decision?

Anna Maxi

Anna Maxi

Really, though, it wasn’t so bad! The crepe texture of this fabric actually made everything a LOT easier – it gave the pieces something to “grab” onto (as opposed to being all slinky and slippery all over the place). For cutting, I did pin my selvedges together to keep everything intact, and I used a lot of pins on the actual pattern pieces as well. One protip – make sure you use silk pins; this stuff is very delicate and normal pins may leave holes! I also used a microtex/sharp needle on my machine. The fabric fed through very smoothly (again, thanks crepe, for your grabby lil hands!) and it pressed with very little fuss. I like this stuff!

Anna Maxi

Anna Maxi

Construction was very straightforward. I finished every seam with a french seam, and tackled miles of blind stitching by hand along the thigh split, sleeves, and bottom hem (I just want y’all to know that I watched the Great British Sewing Bee while doing this, and as a result I am celebrity-in-love with Patrick. Don’t tell Landon.). The facing and zipper edges are finished with pinking – I actually deliberated on this a lot, pinking isn’t necessarily my favorite seam finish, but I felt it was important that the edges were not detectable from the outside of the dress as this silk is very thin. Fortunately, it doesn’t want to unravel much so I’m not concerned about that.

Anna Maxi

I also stabilized the slash neckline with scraps of selvedge from the silk – just pinned them within a bit of the seam allowance and staystitched them down with a tiny stitch. Keeps things nice and gape-free!

“Hold the phone, Lauren – did you say thigh high split???”

Anna Maxi

Uh huh, I sure did.

Anna Maxi

Truth, I normally don’t have much of a reason in my life to wear something like a floaty silk maxi dress with a thigh split. However, it was a fun project and I am totally fine with scheming up date ideas as an excuse to give this silk lady the exposure she deserves! Do you think eating pizza in this dress would be the worst idea ever? ;)

Anna Maxi

Anna Maxi

Now, I leave you with some walking photos. What would this post be worth without a couple action shots, amirite?

Anna Maxi
Anna Maxi

WOULD YOU JUST LOOK AT HOW THAT SILK FLOATS AND FLOWS.

Finally, here I am giving my best Angelina Jolie impression:
Anna Maxi

What do you think? Silk Anna yeah, or Silk Anna fuck yeah?

Psst! Mood Fabrics is running a one day flash sale for 20% off fabrics sitewide! If there was ever a good time to dip your toes into the world of silk, that would be now.

Completed: The Anna Dress, 1

19 Aug

Thank you so much, everyone, for your overwhelming support this past week. My recovery is going well (although I’m still not clear to lift anything that weighs more than 10lbs – that includes my CAT! HAHA! Oh well, I’m sure she’s happy about that, anyway), and I’m back to work and back to… sewing!! Yeah!!! Well, sort of. I promised myself I would take it easy (aka: laying, knitting, snoozing) until Friday, per Doctor’s orders, and only then could I get back in the sewing room. Lucky me, I woke up on Friday morning with a fucking cold! So, needless to say, the past few days have been a haze of cold meds and even more snoozin’. I’m functioning, albeit slower than normal.

But hey, look, I have a make to share with y’all today!

Anna Dress - Seersucker

Ok ok, before you flip your shit on me – I finished this dress before the surgery! Haha! I actually wore it to work the Friday prior; it’s just taken me this long to take photos. Speaking of which – if I look a bit extra happy in these photos… cold meds. That is all.

Anna Dress - Seersucker

This is the Anna Dress, from my friends, the babely babes, over at By Hand London. I’m no stranger to the patterns from this line – I can proudly say that I have sewn every single one of ‘em, yeah! – but I gotta say… Anna is my favorite. Based on everyone else’s gushing about this particular pattern (here is where I was planning on linking my favorite Annas, but again, cold meds. If you made it, linky up in the comments pls!), I’m not alone. Anna is a WINNER!

Anna Dress - Seersucker

Am I allowed to tell y’all that I actually saw this dress waaaaay before I was announced to the hoardes of blog readers? Truth! Elisalex showed me a sneaky peeky while she was in Nashville back in May! I have been dying to get my hands on the pattern ever since! I love my short version, but I am SO EXCITED to try out that thigh-high split, peeps.

Anna Dress - Seersucker

I opted for a very simple version for my wearable muslin, in a classic seersucker from Mood. This is one of my last pieces of fabric from the NY stash, btw. I’ve held out on making this up because it’s a stretch cotton, and we don’t play well together. But I think stretch cotton works fine with this type of dress, as long as you’re ok with how the bodice looks in a slightly structured fabric. I like it!

Anna Dress - Seersucker

My Anna is the short version, with the slash neckline. I cut the size 2/6 and shortened the skirt about 5″. I found that the back was rather large on me – I just pinched out the excess along the zipper line. Oh, I also put in a lapped zipper because I didn’t have any invisibles on hand. Sue me!

Anna Dress - Seersucker

Since my fabric is stretchy, I stabilized the neckline facing with a bit of non-stretch cotton. To do this, I just cut a second facing piece from the cotton, sewed it to the seersucker facing (as you would a sew-in interfacing) and applied the facing as normal. This keeps the neckline nice and smooth and secure!

Anna Dress - Seersucker

The pattern itself was an absolute delight to put together. There’s a reason why this pattern has so many fangirls – especially considering how short a time it’s actually been available on the sewing market. There aren’t a lot of pieces, and what is there is super simple to put together. I think this would make a great beginner pattern, whether you’re a beginner at sewing or a beginner with a a certain type of fabric (meaning: yes, you should make this up in silk!)

Anna Dress - Seersucker

I should probably tell you that I already have a couple more versions planned. Better get used to this dress! Ha!

Anna Dress - Seersucker

Oh, one more thing before I tear outta here… our giveaway winner!

wins2

There were 230 entries in all (accounting for duplicates), and you ALL made me hungry (special shoutout goes to Marchelle who linked me to this lemon cookie recipe from Martha Stewart… I will have y’all know, I made this yesterday and they are delicious aaand I’ve already eaten about half of them, ha!). Random Number Generator sayssss-

wins1

Louise is the winner of the Sweet Dress Book! Yay!!

Um, will someone kindly tell me what spotted dick is, though? Here in America, that means something TOTALLY different and I’m afraid to google it…

Completed: the Organic Hawthorn

7 Aug

First of all, thanks to everyone who voted for me in the Colette Hawthorn Contest – I somehow ended winning second place! Such a wonderful surprise, and do check out those other winners – because, guys, I’m not worthy.

With that being said, I love this pattern and I’ve already made a second dress.

Navy Hawthorn

I realized that my wardrobe was severely lacking some basic, work-appropriate, tattoo-covering clothing (we are fairly casual here at my office, but I think it’s good to have a few pieces that err more on the professional side should I need it for meetings or important clients dropping in), and a Hawthorn with sleeves pretty much fits the bill here.

Navy Hawthorn

It’s modest and sleek without being frumpy, vintage-inspired without being costumey. Win!

Navy Hawthorn

I am super happy with how it turned out, however, I am NOT happy with those bust dart points. I promise you they look 1000% worse in the pictures than they do in real life – according to these photos, I have two sets of eyes D: I resewed the dart tips more times than I care to admit – lowering them, raising them, tapering them more subtly – as well as pressing the everloving fuck out of them. No dice. Like I said, they’re not as bad in real life as they look here, but now I can’t stop staring at them oh god I’m sorry.

Navy Hawthorn

Anyway, dart issues aside – we’ve already discussed the pattern, so today we are going to talk about the fabric!

Navy Hawthorn

This is organic cotton sateen, from my pals at Organic Cotton Plus (my second review for this – they liked my my first review so much, they came back for a second round :P). I’ve not had much experience with cotton sateen – most of what I’ve seen has been the sort of fabric I shy away from. Think super shiny (if you like shiny, that’s totally fine, but personally I always feel like I’m wearing a prom dress!), too much stretch, and much too stiff for my liking. This stuff is NOTHING like what I described, though. Don’t let the boobie-eyes deter you; there ain’t much shine on this fabric, other than a spectacular luster that comes from high-quality cotton and a gorgeously deep pigment.

Navy Hawthorn

The fabric has a great drape – it just floats and creates the most lovely folds. It’s pretty lightweight, with no stretch, which makes it ideal for this pattern. And since it’s cotton, it’s super comfortable to wear. It also wrinkles like crazy, because of the aforementioned cotton, but I’m ok with a few wrinkles – I’d rather have wrinkles than pools of sweat from polyester!

Navy Hawthorn]

This is a great basic if you want to make something in a solid color but feel bored with the idea of, well, solid colors.

Navy Hawthorn

Both the buttons and the monogram are from the flea market. I think they both add something special to the dress, while still keeping it office-appropriate.

Navy Hawthorn

I love the monogram! It’s actually metal, and has sharp bars at the back that pierce the fabric and bend to keep it in place. Which means it’s never coming off this dress… except to wash, I guess. I’m not sure how old it is, but it’s pretty sweet! I’ve been hoarding it for a few months now, waiting on the perfect shirtwaist backdrop.

Navy Hawthorn

Soo, as you can see here, I tried splitting the dart on this version, following the tutorial at the Coletterie. I’m not totally happy with how the darts turned out – they are too close together at the top (and I suspect that, while they likely aren’t 100% of my nipple-eye problems, they likely contribute to it, ugh). I didn’t realize how they looked until after I’d put the bodice front together- and cut up all my fabric. Shoulda made a muslin, shoulda woulda coulda.

Navy Hawthorn

Oh well!

Navy Hawthorn

Quick, look at this! Shiny!!

Navy Hawthorn

I trimmed the hem with matching rayon seam binding, and catch-stitched it down for a clean finish (and yeah, that took forrrever haha). I’m mostly including this picture because it really shows the color best. It’s so rich!

Navy Hawthorn
Navy Hawthorn

The dart points aren’t as prominent here – this is much more accurate of how they look in real life. Still… how do I fixxxx thiisssss????

Navy Hawthorn

Navy Hawthorn

I think this dress will end up getting a lot of wear this fall! I can’t wait to pair it with future Kelly Green cardigan – navy and green is one of my favorite color combinations at the moment. I better get knittin’!

Pattern Testing: The Saltspring Dress

2 Aug

I looove pattern testing, but what I don’t love is the part where I have to keep my mouth shut about my project until the pattern becomes officially available to the rest of the world.

Well, Tasia just released the Saltspring Dress, so I guess I can talk now! YAY!!!

Saltspring Dress

Here’s another pattern that is quite a bit outside my ~personal style comfort zone~ – that blousey look is not something I normally go for – but I actually like it a lot, surprisingly! It’s very comfortable and cool for summer, while still managing to look pulled-together (or, eh, as pulled-together as one can look in FLORAL ANIMAL PRINT lolz).

Saltspring Dress

This is view A, size 2. I didn’t make any significant changes to the pattern – since I was testing it, I wanted to try it straight out of the envelope. I’m happy to say everything came out great, with no alterations, although I should probably trim down those tie straps a little :)

Saltspring Dress

The construction of this dress is very interesting, and Sewaholic’s pattern design chops really shine here. There are actually two layers to this dress- an smooth, semi-fitted underlayer, and the top blousey layer. The underlayer is shorter than the top layer, so that it “blouses” itself without needing to be tucked in. It’s kind of genius! There is elastic at the waistband, so this is the perfect dress to wear while eating a big meal ;)

Saltspring Dress

I’m wearing a belt with this dress because I personally don’t like the look of exposed elastic casing, but it’s not needed to get the bloused look. The dress does that by itself!

Saltspring Dress

Isn’t this fabric so fun? I’ve actually had this in my stash for a few years… Morgan’s grandmother gave it to me after a giant destashing effort on her part. I’m not completely sure of the content – based on a burn test, I believe it is rayon, but it also has a weird crinkly texture and a slight stretch – but what I can say is that woman has some FINE taste in fabric, so I’m fairly certain this is some nice stuff. It sure feels nice, anyway!

In retrospect, I don’t know if this fabric was truly my best choice, because it doesn’t drape as well as it needs to. The top of the dress doesn’t exactly look structured, but it’s not as flowy and drapey as it needs to be. But, you know, I think the print actually makes up for it a bit :) Hard to be mad at the world when you’re wearing this kind of awesome island tiki type shit, yeah? :)

Saltspring Dress

The only “drawback” (if you can even call it that) to this pattern is that it does not look flattering AT ALL until you actually put in the zipper and the elastic. I don’t know how many of y’all try stuff on as you sew it (I do – constantly – which is why I mostly sew in my underwear ;) haha), but I just thought I would point that out. Obviously it works out in the end, but I was a little terrified for a minute there :)

Saltspring Dress

Anyway, this is a great pattern – very easy to make up (perfect for beginners!), comfortable to wear in the summer, and I think you can really try a lot of different options with the design. Personally, I’d love to try this up without the overblouse, just a slim-fitting, spaghetti strap top with a flared skirt. Ah, that sounds so perfect right now!

Want a copy of your own? You can buy the Saltspring here!

Completed: A Stripey Belladone

29 Jul

Oh noes, you guys – I’m running out of fabric from the huge haul I bought at Mood in NYC. Can you believe it? I only have two pieces left! What happened! WHEN DO I GET TO RESTOCK?

Belladone Dress

I am happy to say that the striped cotton I bought finally found a home in a new dress. Yay!

Belladone Dress

I actually had different plans for this fabric, but then ElĂ©onore sent me the Belladone dress pattern and my plans immediately changed. Stripes are PERFECT for this dress – you have so many fun stripey placement options! And y’all know how much I love playing with stripe direction ;)

Belladone Dress

I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am with how this dress turned out. Sometimes when I’m going crazy with my stripe (or plaid, for that matter) directions, I start to wonder if I’m going to end up with a giant clusterfuck in the end. Fortunately, I think this one turned out pretty perfect – there’s plenty of interest, but it won’t make you dizzy if you stare at it too long!

Belladone Dress

My Belladone is a size 34, with no alterations except a few tucks at the back to get it to lie flat (I’ll talk more about that in a minute). I went with the invisible bias trim – which is topstitched in white – as I didn’t want a bunch of contrast competing with the stripes. The upper back pieces are cut on the cross grain because I liked that stripe placement better, and the waistband is cut in four pieces on the bias, and then pieced together. I also interfaced the waistband because I was afraid the bias would distort over time – it’s pretty fitted. Otherwise, the dress is basically sewn straight out of the envelope -length and all!

Belladone Dress

I love this dress! Look, it has pockets!

Belladone Dress

And a cool back cut-out!

Belladone Dress

Belladone Dress

The stripes made some cool chevrons down the sides, ha.

Belladone Dress

This is a fairly simple pattern to make, but be warned that the back may take a little finessing to get a perfect fit. You want it to lie perfectly flat – no gaping! I’ve noticed that most reviews tend to not need any adjusting, so I think I may be a bit of a rarity in needing it – I also have a pretty small back (I wear a 30 band, fyi), so most stuff is big on me anyway.

Belladone Dress - Adjustments

I made a muslin of the bodice – zipper and all – and pinned out the excess at the upper back when I tried it on. Obviously, this is kind of difficult to do without assistance – but it’s totally doable, I mean, I did it. I just kind of eyeballed it, took the top off, pinned at my guesstimate, and tried it on. Over and over (ok, it was like twice, haha). A dressform would be helpful for this, but mine has a bigger back than I do sooo I had to do it the hard way. Anyway, once I pinned out my excess (and then sewed up tiny darts and tried it on a final time), I measured the amount I needed to take out.
(Also, I just realized I was drinking out of an American Pride coffee mug while working on a French pattern. lolz.)

Belladone Dress - Adjustments

To make the adjustment to your pattern (since you don’t want darts in that piece, you want it nice and smooth), just slash right up the middle of the piece and leave a little hinge. Overlap the edges by however much you need to take out (I think mine was 1/4″, not much) and then tape it down. Make sure the line is smooth and straight, and you’re done!

I also ended up overlapping the upper back pieces an additional 1/2″, as well as taking about 1/4″ out of the center back seam (along the zipper).

Belladone Dress

The back looks pretty good, though, yeah?
Ignore the lump at the waist of the zipper, I had a lot of bulk there, so the zipper doesn’t want to lie flat! Wah!

Belladone Dress

Stripessss!! :D

Belladone Dress - Necklace from Chatter Blossom :)

Oh, and check out my new necklace! This is from ChatterBlossom, my newest sponsor! Jamie has some of the prettiest reclaimed vintage pieces I’ve come across (and enviable hair to boot, I mean, ugh, that’s EXACTLY what I wanted mine to do when I cut it short!!), and I love that she gives each of them a story. I picked a couple of pieces from her shop – and that was hard, there are soo many things in there that I need – and I am so happy with what I got. This necklace is Egyptian, circa 1880-1918. I’ve really gotten sucked into Egyptian history lately (the pyramids! Nefertiti! The Spinx! Aliens!! lol just kidding on that last one :P), so I’m really excited about this little treasure. Fair warning: I’ve worn this every day since I received it, and I don’t plan on taking it off. You’ll be seeing this necklace a lot, jsyk.

Anyway, back to Belladone…

Belladone Dress
Belladone Dress

Even though my bias tape is invisible from the outside, I still wanted it to be pretty – so I used polka dot bias tape :) I used the bias tape left over from my Blue Lace Robson (and I still have more of this stuff, it’s like the gift that keeps on giving haha). I also faced the waistband with a piece of navy cotton sateen (also from that same lace coat, gah), since I didn’t want the interfacing all up in my biz. Unfortunately, the sateen is a bit heavy, which is why the zipper is lumpy at the waistline. Oh well, live and learn!
Oh god, ignore that rogue navy thread on the upper back btw.

Belladone Dress

I’m pretty happy with how this dress turned out – it’s fabulous on it’s own, and I think the navy stripes will also look good with different colors, such as yellow and kelly green. The dress is perfect for bike riding, even if it does give me a funny tan line ;) Ha! Worth it :)

Completed: The Hawthorn Dress

26 Jul

Ok, before I go any further, let me just address the elephant in that room that is my hair in these pictures.

Hawthorn Dress

This is what happens when you put your hair up in Heidi braids (or, as much of a Heidi braid as I can manage with my length – or lack thereof) and leave them for 24 hours straight (yep, I even slept in ‘em). When I took them down the next morning, my hair was a glorious lion’s mane according to the mirror. Looking back at these pictures… err, maybe not so much. Lying-ass mirror.

Hawthorn Dress

Another thing I should point out is that I’ve basically given up on trying to hide the camera remote.

deal with it

With all that out of the way – let’s talk about my dress!

Hawthorn Dress

This is the Hawthorn from Colette Patterns. GUYS, I LOVE THIS PATTERN. I love it so much, I’ve already planned two more versions.

Hawthorn Dress

I always always love the patterns that come from Colette – even if the shape of the garment isn’t specifically something I would wear (the Laurel falls in this category, although seeing everyone’s versions pop up during that epic contest has really made me reconsider what I think I can’t wear!), the styling of the photoshoots is just lovely. Of course, this is something I would absolutely wear – I love me a good shirtwaist, and this one has some pretty and unique details that set it apart from other shirtwaist patterns.

Hawthorn Dress

For my dress, I cut a size 0 based on the finished measurements. I did not make a muslin – just a quick tissue-fit to make sure everything looked right. For future dresses, I may shave a bit off the side seams as the waist is about 1/2″ too big. It fits fine in these photos, but that’s because I moved the buttons to compensate for the width. A quickie fix for sure, but definitely not want to want to do with every Hawthorn I make!

Hawthorn Dress

I also took about 4″ off the hem. It originally hit me at knee-length, but I like my dresses shorter ;)

Hawthorn Dress

I also changed the button position at the waist, as I plan on wearing this dress with a belt so I don’t want a button right by the waistline seam. I raised the lowest bodice button just a smidge, omitted the top skirt button, and slightly raised the next-highest skirt button to compensate for the gap. Hope that makes sense! I also added a hook and eye closure at the waistline to keep things smooth.

Hawthorn Dress

The only thing I don’t absolutely loooove about this dress is the bust darts – or, rather, the bust dart puckers. Yeesh! I tried to smooth them out as best I could, but my fabric must have a bit of poly in it because I was getting a bit of shine whenever I pressed them, in a most inappropriate place. Restitching the dart tips helped a little, but you can see they still need a little bit of work.

Hawthorn Dress

I just LOVE this fabric and I think it’s perfect for a dress called Hawthorn :) Funny, I picked this up at my local fabric store during their biannual sale – it was in the remnants sections and heavily marked down (I think I paid $8 for a little over 2 yards). I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but I bought it anyway – I mean, it has embroidered cherries on it! Later that week, Sarai contacted me and asked if I wanted to see pictures of the newest Colette pattern before it was released to the masses, and as soon as I downloaded those pictures, I knew I had found the perfect match.

Hawthorn Dress

My buttons are from the flea market and I have been hoarding them for ages. They are sparkly!

Hawthorn Dress

I love the tiny collar, but I will warn you that it was a bear to get to lay right – with the layers of the collar and the facing and the dress, that’s a lot of bulk! I understitched as much as I could, as well as tacked the facing down at the shoulder seams and back neck darts. This seemed to help, although my next go will involve some aggressive grading as well.

Hawthorn Dress

Anyway, I’m really happy with this dress and how it turned out! I can’t wait to try a sleeved version (won’t this look incredible in plaid?? Oh GOD, I love plaid), or maybe even redraft the collar for a more peter pan style. Lots of possibilities here!

As a side note – I’m QUITE a bit late to the party here, but I’ve recently joined Kollabora and I can’t get enough of it! It has totally filled the Craftster-shaped hole in my heart, and then some :) Who else is on Kollabora? Let’s be friends!



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