Tag Archives: dress

Completed: McCall’s 6952, Peru-Style!

14 Jul

I’m so happy that I finally got to use this fabric!

McCall's 6952

This piece of lovely came aaaall the way from Peru, when I was there for 2 weeks last year. Coming into the country with only a backpack meant I had to be really careful about what I bought and brought home (I did end up buying a small bag to carry some stuff back. And I wore my new alpaca blanket like a cape for the flight home. NO REGRETS), including fabric. Not that there were a lot of places to buy fabric in Peru, at least not what I came across. Gamarra is a big garment district that did come up in my searches, but everyone I spoke to said it would be really dangerous for me to go. Our host in Lima took me to a small strip of fabric stores during our last few days there – sorry, I’m not sure where it was exactly or what the stores were called! Anyway, I knew I could really only justify buying one piece, and this one definitely jumped out at me.

Even just buying the fabric was an adventure. The store we went into didn’t have any people working who spoke English, and my Spanish is mostly limited to being able to say hello and ask where the bathroom is🙂 (and our host didn’t speak English either! She was seriously a trooper and treated us to such a nice time, even with the language barrier) I eventually was able to ask for, find, and buy 1.5m of this fabric. It’s a double georgette, some sort of silk blend (definitely with some acrylic, based on my burn test). I thought the print was really pretty and certainly have never seen anything like it at the stores here in America! Plus, it reminds me of all the beautiful tiles I saw while walking around Iquitos. It’s a lovely piece of fabric and a perfect reminder of my time in Peru. With all that at stake, though, it did take me over a year to figure out what to sew it into🙂 Especially since I had such a small piece!

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

I have enjoyed wearing my green silk version of McCall’s 6952, so I decided to use that pattern again for this dress! This time, I made the version with the plain neckline and back cutout, to mimic the geometric pattern on the fabric. I used blue silk crepe from my stash to do the back contrast (the same fabric I used to make this dress, actually); it’s not a perfect match but it’s close enough!

McCall's 6952

Cutting the pattern pieces was a BEAST. After I’d already had my heart set on using *this* pattern with *this* fabric, and after I’d already cut a couple of pieces… I realized there was a very strong line in the print that would need to be matched. Since the pattern has Princess seams – both front and back – that meant a lot of pattern Tetris to get everything to line up. I ended up cutting everything on the single layer, which is a really good way to squeeze out every last drop of your yardage. Even with that, I still couldn’t get all the lines to match up across every seam – specifically, when it came to the side seams, decisions had to be made. I figured the princess seams were more important than the side seams, so I let those go a little haywire. Honestly, I doubt anyone would even notice that the print doesn’t match across the side seams – but I wanted to do it right, even if I’m the only person who sees it. That’s why I sew. I like the challenge, even if it makes my eyes cross and gives me a reason to drink at the end of the night🙂

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

Speaking of challenges, the construction of this dress had it’s fair share of those, too! Since I already went the extra mile with the cutting and print-matching, I continued that trend and gave the inside of the dress the respect it deserved. Lots of French seams all over the inside of this garment, which are both strong and beautiful. Since the fabric had a fairly high synthetic content, it was a little difficult to press – I just used high heat (my iron has a silicone shoe, which acts as a press cloth and prevents scorching on stuff liek this) and then held everything down with my clapper while it cooled, which gave me a nice sharp press. Instead of using the facing pieces to finish the arm holes and neckline, I used bias facing that I made with the silk crepe, which I just find to be a more refined finish (plus, I wasn’t sure how to finish that facing edge without there being a lump across my chest – the fabric frays too much to use pinking shears, and a serged or turned under edge would be too bulky for this lightweight fabric).

McCall's 6952

I wasn’t sure how the back cutout was gonna work – I didn’t do a muslin (unless you count that green silk version – but it had a plain back, so it was only a half-assed muslin ya know), so things were pretty up in the air as far as whether this would work out or if it would be a gaping mess in the back. (My tip is to always have a Plan B should things not work out – in my case, uhhh, this would make a fabulous skirt! haha!) It actually turned out pretty nice, though, so I’m happy about that! The back piece is interfaced to give it some strength and smoothness, and also faced so the inside is clean and pretty. I think random cutouts are starting to not be trendy anymore, but I don’t care. I think it’s fun. LOOK AT MY BACK U GUYS.

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

The other change I made was the elastic at the waist. The pattern calls for 1/4″ elastic, applied in a casing. I like the 1/4″ elastic ok, but it doesn’t allow for a belt to sit very well over it (and I am not a huge fan of how narrow elastic waists look, at least on me). I used a 3/4″ elastic on this dress instead, which meant I had to widen the casing that it goes in (not a problem; it’s just bias strips. Which, again, I made myself – out of that blue silk crepe), but that’s about it. I also topstitched right through the middle of the elastic, which keeps it from twisting around and also just looks cool. I am thinking the waistline could be a hair lower, but this is good enough. I ain’t ripping that shit out!

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

McCall's 6952

Anyway, that’s all for this little dress! It’s pretty casual, which I love, and the pattern is simple enough that all the focus is really on that awesome fabric (until you see the back cutout and then it’s extra awesome!). I try not to hoard my special fabrics any longer than it takes to decide on a project for them, simply because them sitting on the shelf doesn’t exactly give me a lot of joy. There is, however, joy in wearing said fabric. Every time I wear this dress, I think about those awesome 2 weeks I had in Peru.

McCall's 6952

Completed: Sleeveless La Sylphide

20 Jun

Welcome to my first official blog post from my new West Nashville apartment!😉 I spent all of last weekend moving and then unpacking (which, I finished the unpacking part in a little under 4 days – a record for me! I REALLY hate living out of boxes haha), and things are *mostly* back to normal here🙂 I’m still waiting for maintenance to come help me hang my shelves before my sewing room is really finished, but it’s usable for now and actually quite wonderful. I already love it here so so much and I cannot wait to show y’all more!

In the meantime, let’s look at another old make that I never got around to posting! Haha! Pretty sure I wore this dress on Mother’s Day, in fact😛

Sleeveless La Sylphide

The pattern I used is the La Sylphide from Papercut Patterns, which I’ve made a few times before (although not for a few years) (see: plaid La Sylphide top, chambray La Sylphide top, and all 3 pattern variations that I made for the La Sylphide sewalong on the Papercut blog) It’s an oldie, but definitely a goodie! I had almost completely forgotten about the pattern, to be honest, until I saw a sleeveless version on one of my Instagram lurkings . I am ALL ABOUT some sleeveless anything when summer rolls around, so this shit was right up my alley!

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Making this dress without sleeves was about as easy as just not cutting them out of the fabric🙂 Ideally, I should have raised the underarm just a bit, but I didn’t think about that while I was cutting my fabric so they are a little low (the underarms need to be lower if there are sleeves, so you have movement. If you are leaving the sleeves off, taking up the underarm seam a bit will result in a closer fit that looks much better. Here’s a post about that on the Grainline blog!), but I think they are fine as they are. I finished the arm holes with bias facing (I used a plain blue silk crepe in my stash, since I was on a massive shortage of my main print) aaaand I guess that’s it!

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Sleeveless La Sylphide

My fabric a very lightweight silk from one of my favorite discount fabric stores in the Garment District, Fabrics for Less (honestly, most of those discount stores kind of blend together into one BIG AWESOME discount store – which is why I have a really hard time giving people “Garment District Shopping Tips” when they ask – but I do remember Fabrics for Less and Chic Fabrics, and they are awesome. And cheap!). It’s labeled as a designer fabric, although I couldn’t tell you who the designer is. I love the giant zigzag print and navy/white is one of my fave color combinations, so this one was a real win. Especially since it kind of reminds me of a comic book, thanks to the dots and this big zigzags. It wasn’t necessarily the cheapest fabric in the shop – I don’t remember what I paid for it, probably somewhere around $15-$20 a yard – but it was certainly cheaper than getting the same print at, say, Mood Fabrics. If Mood even had this print, I mean😛.

ANYWAY, I was feeling the wallet pinch when I discovered this bolt waiting for me, so I only bought about a yard and a half. HA HA. I don’t know how the hell I was able to eek this dress out of such a small amount of fabric (at 44″ wide, no less!), but I somehow managed. Cutting everything on a single layer, as well as throwing print-matching out the window, certainly helped.

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Cutting this dress was an absolute fucking nightmare. I was in a pretty bad mood to begin with that day – so I don’t know why I thought that cutting silk would make me feel better, but it was quite the opposite effect. I had to Tetris the shit out of the pieces to get everything to fit, and even then, there still wasn’t enough fabric. The neck tie is pieced, although it’s not noticeable. I also didn’t match anything – including the center front, which is where it actually would have mattered. Whoops. I reckon the print is so busy, you can’t tell that it’s haywire. Especially with that bow hanging in front of it. Also, next time – I won’t cut silk while I’m in a foul mood. Promise.

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Sleeveless La Sylphide

All complaining aside, this wasn’t a bad make to assemble – after I got over the drama involved with the cutting. I cut my usual size – XXS. All the inside seams are French seams, which I never regret putting the effort into (so pretty and neat!). The arm holes, as I mentioned, are finished with silk crepe bias facing. The neckline is enclosed thanks to the neck tie, and the bottom has a simple rolled hem. The buttons are some beautiful vintage buttons I’ve had in my stash for years – I think they were originally a gift from my sister-in-law (anytime you see awesome buttons on a make, you can bet they were probably given to me from her. She seriously gives the best gifts!). I’m so happy I finally found a suitable garment for them!🙂 Be warned that the skirt on this dress is really really short – I am 5’2″, and you can see how short it is even on me! – so you may want to lengthen before cutting, or at least measure so you know what you’re getting into.

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Overall, I do like it! The waist ended up being a bit looser than what I’m used to – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I like a little bit of a breeze in this heat. I even kind of like the way the print is all crazy and disjointed. I’ve been meaning to make this pattern out of silk or chiffon (or something equally floaty) basically since I first got it, and I’m happy to report that it was worth the effort! It’s definitely fun to wear – as long as I’m careful about accidental flashing, ha. I told you – that skirt is SHORT! But so am I, so I guess that makes us equals.

Sleeveless La Sylphide

Completed: Butterick 6019

27 Apr

Butterick 6019

DRESS IS DONE, Y’ALL.

Butterick 6019 - complete!

As much as I *truly* enjoyed all the work and care that went into the making of this dress – it sure feels good to be finished with it!

A brief overview, before we go into a major picture dump – the pattern is Butterick 6019, and I made the view with the circle skirt and the halter strap. I sewed a size 6 at the bust, grading to an 8 at the waist. I also shortened the bodice 1/2″ and raised the neckline by 5/8″.

My fabric is solid black silk Faille from Mood Fabrics, which is used for the entire outside of the dress as well as the partial self-lining of the bodice. The bust cups are padded with bra foam (from my stash), the side back pieces are shirred with black elastic thread, the bodice includes lots of fabric covered boning, and the hem has 2″ wide soft black horsehair braid to give it that lovely fullness (that’s right – no petticoat or crinoline was worn for these photos!).

This dress was made entirely on my Spiegel 60609 sewing machine! It handled all those Faille layers like a champ, and even pleasantly surprised me with how well it shirred the back panels. In case you missed them, here are the posts I wrote detailing the making of this dress: Part 1 & Part 2.

There’s not much else to discuss since I went into a lot of detail already, so have some pictures!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

Butterick 6019 - complete!

So did I actually wear it to prom? You bet I did! Pretty much exactly as you see here (yeeeeah I ain’t about to spend $$ getting my hair or make-up done for some high school event lolz) – I ended up wearing simple black flats, instead of my Converse, because they seemed like a nice compromise of comfy and still a little fancy. Although my Converse would not have been out of place there – I saw lots of sneakers! Except mine are pretty dirty in comparison🙂 Speaking of high school fashions, everything is quite… sparkly these days. I definitely had THE plainest dress out of everyone there, due to my lack of beading and rhinestones. Not complaining! And it seems like long dresses – especially ones with cut outs, or two pieces that show a little midriff – are still the majority rule, at least for the school that I was at.

Here’s a picture of me + my bestie on prom night! Sorry for the grainy quality – it was dark. Hopefully we’ll have some good professional photos to share once those are developed😀

Butterick 6019 - complete!

That’s all for now! Thanks for indulging my fancy dress dreams, y’all! And thanks to Mood Fabrics and Spiegel for letting this lil’ former homeschooler finally make it to prom!🙂

Note: The materials for this dress were provided to me from Mood Fabrics as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: McCall’s 7351 // Style Maker Fabrics Spring Canvas Blog Tour

1 Apr

Hey guys! I’m excited to be the final wrap-up stop for the Spring Canvas Blog Tour with Style Maker Fabrics!

McCall's 7351

It’s always really flattering to get asked to participate in a blog tour – although I typically send my regrets, as I think they can be a little exhausting if you’ve got a dozen people talking about, say, the same book or whatever. Kind of boring and personally I skip right over those posts! I found the idea of this particular blog tour a little more intriguing, though, as it is all about spring fabrics and spring fashions and all the fun stuff that comes with that! I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a necessarily fashionable person – I like the way I dress, of course, but I don’t exactly go out of my way to follow trends as they come into fashion. So this might not be a very “on-trend” outfit for me to make, but it is something that I will wear! So there’s that!

For this tour, I was given free range to choose whatever fabric I wanted from the new spring arrivals available at Style Maker Fabrics. Surprise surprise – I went with this navy rayon challis printed with cherries from Cotton + Steel, because I am nothing if I’m not predictable (I don’t even like cherries, but this is my third cherry print dress. See one and two. Hey, at least this one isn’t black hahaha!). It was a bit of a crunch to get this finished in time for my ~tour date~ – what’s with being out of town, getting sick, and then playing mad catch-up at work. But, spoiler, I finished it just in time to wear for Easter Sunday! Yay!

McCall's 7351

I used McCall’s 7351 to make my cherry dream dress, which is a new pattern from the McCall’s spring collection. It’s a classic shirt dress with a few extra options. I liked the idea of the straight skirt with the curved hemline that looks like, well, a shirttail, so I went with that option. Originally, I considered adding sleeves – but upon making my muslin, they were weirdly restrictive and I didn’t feel like going through the drama of figuring out how to fix it. Sleeveless dress it is! I actually prefer it this way; I think it’ll be more comfortable in the summer without sleeves.

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

I cut the size 6, based on the finished measurements, and didn’t make any pattern adjustments except the shorten the hem quite a bit at the end. The waist is a bit bigger than what I’m used to wearing – hence the belt – but I’m going to leave it like this for now because I suspect I will looove that loose waist come 95* weather😉 I experimented with moving the placement of the buttons at the apex of my chest to eliminate button placket gap – but as you can see in the photos below, there’s still a tiny bit of pulling as it’s not *quite* in the right place. Whatever, I’ll figure it out with the next dress haha🙂

Construction-wise, this is a really easy pattern. It has all the pieces of a proper button-up – separate button placket, collar stand, self-lined yoke – and I’ve made so many of those, I could do that in my sleep at this point. I used a very lightweight interfacing as not to interfere with the drape of the fabric, and finished all the seams with French seams and bias facing for the arm holes and hem. I used navy thread for the construction, and red thread for the topstitching and button holes. The buttons are from Mood Fabrics in NYC. I had to bring a swatch of fabric with me to get a good match – the cherries are more of an orange red than a true red – but this looks pretty good to me!

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

I LOVED working with this fabric! Rayon challis is one of my favorite things to wear – not necessarily to sew, as it’s pretty shifty and hard to wrangle (honesty, I’d rather sew silk crepe – I think it’s easier to work with!), but it’s worth the effort because it feels SO GOOD in hot weather. This rayon is a little heavier than most of the challis (challises? challis’? challi?) that I’ve worked with in the past. It’s almost the same weight of a poplin, so it’s not sheer at all and has a nice heft to it. It’s also easier to work with and not as shifty (but still feels really good!). This was my first experience using fabric from Cotton + Steel and I get why people love this stuff so much. It’s really luxurious feeling, wears and washes well. And cherries!🙂 I still can’t get behind their quilting cotton (well, not as garment fabric. Sorry. Old habits die hard), but they can continue to make this rayon and I will continue to sew it😀

McCall's 7351

Here it is on the form. I prefer it with the belt – I definitely need the waist definition (and the fact that the waist is already too big is also a factor here).

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

McCall's 7351

I always put a hook and eye at the waistline of dresses like this – it keeps things from gaping, but still allows me to wear a belt (buttons are too bulky under a belt, ew).

McCall's 7351

I know my photos don’t look very springy! It’s all green and flowering here in Tennessee, but not in my yard apparently haha. And while my neighbor has a beautiful cherry blossom tree that is in FULL GORGEOUS BLOOM right now, I do not have those kinds of guts to stand under it for photos! This is who was watching me take these photos – which is nerve-wracking enough:

McCall's 7351

Kevin & Wilbur! Did I mention that my roommate bought a second pig as a companion for Kevin? Well. Kevin has a boyfriend now. Also, we are pretty sure she’s pregnant now with his babies. Her stomach is massive – like about to drag on the ground because it hangs so low. Hopefully there will be piglet pictures in a future post!🙂

blog tour

Hey, so that’s all for this part of the Spring Canvas blog tour – but be sure to check out all the other participants if you haven’t done so already! Lots of really amazing stuff to see🙂 ALSO, just an FYI – but all domestic orders, regardless of size, ship for $5 from Style Maker Fabrics (and discounted international shipping, yo!). Cheap shipping is good through 4/3/16, so you’ve still got a couple days🙂

Thanks again to Style Maker Fabrics for letting me be a part of this blog tour!😀

McCall's 7351

Note: The fabric was provided to me by Style Maker Fabrics so that I could participate in their blog tour!

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😀

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!