Tag Archives: dress

Completed: Deer & Doe Réglisse Dress

23 May

I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve made a pretty dress. To be fair, it’s also been a long time since I’ve felt like wearing a pretty dress – something about the cold and winter just makes me want to dress in head-to-toe black, and only wear pants (very, very stretchy pants, I should add). Once the sun starts heating up our side of the world, though, I’m ready for pretty dresses, bright colors, and fun shoes!

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

I was anticipating this a few months ago while still stuck in a winter spiral, so I planned for this one early. I knew I wanted to make the Deer & Doe Réglisse dress – it’s a pretty design, without being toooo frou-frou (I admire everyone who can stick to that look, but my style has really evolved to that point where that is totally not me anymore).

The original plan was to make this out of a traditional white/blue striped cotton seersucker, which I bought several yards at Metro Textile while I was in NYC. Unfortunately, my fabric – ok, actually the entire load of laundry – was victim to a laundry mishap, and now I have a bunch of indigo-dyed stuffed that was not supposed to be indigo dyed (and as of now, indigo dying and myself are NOT FRIENDS and don’t try to get us to kiss and make up, it won’t happen). I can probably salvage some of that yardage by cutting around the spots – or even re-dye the whole thing – but I was feeling a little over that particular piece of fabric so I decided to make the pattern out of something else entirely.

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Anyway, it ended up working out in the best way possible because I am super happy with the end result! The Réglisse can run the risk of looking very juvenile if you’re not too careful – which, again, isn’t a bad thing, but it’s definitely not my style these days. Using a solid fabric really toned down the sweetness of the design, and also makes the dress a little more versatile. I’m trying to make myself be better about repeating outfits, and it’s easier to repeat an outfit when you know it’s not an entire statement piece on it’s own, you know? This solid navy is a great neutral for me, and goes with pretty much all of the rest of my wardrobe. Including all my shoes 🙂

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

The fabric I used for this dress is just a simple lightweight woven cotton, but it’s quite special to me because I bought it when I went to Egypt! It’s very soft and a little translucent, so I knew it would be really lovely to wear in the heat. Again, the deep navy color is a color that I wear a LOT, so it goes with most of my wardrobe. I only bought 2 yards, so I had to be a little creative with my cutting layouts – like, the undercollar is pieced, instead of cut in one piece – but I was able to eek it out!

I sewed this dress over the course of a few days. It was a nice, relaxing sew, which I really enjoyed. I cut a size 34, which is a little bit smaller than my measurements. I decided to do this because some of versions of this dress I googled seemed to run a little large, and I didn’t want it to be too blouse-y on me. As it stands, I think the arm holes are a little too deep – any lower and they would definitely show my bra – but the overall fit is good, and I am happy with it. I chose the elastic length by putting it around my waist to determine what was comfortable. My experience with using elastic is that I tend to pull it too tight, and it ends up being so uncomfortable that I never wear the dress (which means that, right now, I am in the middle of Operation Remove All Elastic And Replace With Longer in my wardrobe). So I left this one a little loose, which ended up being sooo much more comfortable.

All the seams are finished with my serger – I used 3 threads instead of my usual 4, since it’s a little narrower and worked better with the delicate fabric – I serged them individually and pressed the seams open as instructed. The bodice and skirt are cut on the bias, so I made sure to really stabilize the neckline with staystitching before handling it, to prevent it from stretching. The skirt needed to hang on my dressform for about 48 hours before I could hem it, and it was super uneven after all the bias settled and dropped. I did make a couple of changes to the construction – added some topstitching where it wasn’t required (mostly because I thought it looked better that way) and I sewed the elastic waistband casing so that there are no raw edges. I don’t have any pictures of the inner construction, so, sorry, you’ll have to trust me on that one haha.

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

I was a little afraid up until the very end that I wasn’t going to like this dress – the sweet little collar and bow were making me a bit nervous. But I am happy with how it turned out, and I think the solid dark color helps with that! I experimented with tying the neck ties so that it’s more like a necktie, but I actually like it as a bow. I knotted the ends because, I dunno, I like the way it looks haha.

I see that Deer & Doe have updated their pattern to include an option without the bow – which I may try in the future. I’ll have to draft it myself, though, since I have one of the older paper copies, before the rebranding.

Deer & Doe Réglisse dress

I think that’s all for this dress! BTW, as a side note – I have some more workshops coming up! And don’t forget about the OAL, which is kicking off very soon! 😀

Garment Sewing Weekend July 14-16, 2017
Three Little Birds Sewing Co., Hyattsville, MD
Come spend a weekend working through a sewing project of your choosing with meeee as your guide! For 2 glorious days, work on the project of your choice in the Three Little Birds Sewing Co. space. The beauty of this workshop is that each students get to choose their own project. Do you need help with fitting? With construction? Interested in bra making? Perhaps you’ve had your eye on a garment you don’t feel comfortable tackling on your own.  I will guide you through all of these and more!

Jeans Making Sewing Intensive August 11-12, 2017
Workroom Social, Brooklyn, NY
Let me show you how fun and fulfilling it is to make your own jeans! In this class, we will work out way through the Ginger Jeans pattern (my personal favorite!), learning the basics of fitting and construction for making your own jeans. We will also go over all the fun extras that separate jeans from mere pants – topstitching, fancy seam finishes, and installing hardware. Yay!

What are your sewing plans for this summer?

Completed: Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

3 Jan

Happy 2017, everyone!! I’m going to kick off this year with one of my last makes from 2016 – featuring some uhhh-mazing leopard print silk charmeuse!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Having spent the last 1-2 years of my sewing working on essential wardrobe basics, my handmade wardrobe is quite practical these days. Lots of pants and jeans, lots of tshirts and button ups, lots of comfortable and stylish casual sundresses. I feel really good about where I’m at when it comes to those needs, and as I mentioned before – right now I am just updating the old/worn out and not really scrambling around to make new stuff anymore. WITH THAT BEING SAID, I ended up with a surprising hole in my wardrobe – fancy dresses! This is somewhat hilarious to me, considering I spent the first several years of my sewing career endlessly making frilly party dresses that I rarely wore (or stopped wearing after I got over the novelty of wearing a party dress to, say, the bar. Hey, if that’s your jam, you keep doing you! Me, I will put on leggings and a giant sweater instead haha). I ended up with a closetful of impractical clothing, and have spent all these years trying to rectify that with the practical. I also did a bunch of purging with what was already hanging around, getting rid of things that no longer fit (or never fit right in the first place) or in colors/styles that I didn’t feel like suited me.

I have done such a great job that once the holiday season hit, I quickly realized that I have nothing to wear. lolwut.

I still have my glorious Marc Jacobs birds dress (which is still my favorite favorite thing EVER), this blue cotton sateen dress via the Sew Bossy challenge, and my sparkly brocade skirt. Both of these have been great to have for festive holiday parties, or the occasional wedding ceremony, or that one fancy date that I get to on on like every 6 months. I am also totally not opposed to wearing the same thing multiple times – having been the sort of person who needed a new dress for every occasion, I would rather now just have a handful of things I really really love that I know I look and feel good in – I felt that it was time to give myself permission to make another fancy dress. Just in time for the holiday season to end, ha! Whatever, I’ll take myself out for a steak date and wear this shit!

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

After some deliberation, I ended up with Simplicity 6266, cos I just can’t get enough of that 70s mock-wrap neckline and those sweet tulip sleeves. Honestly, I wanted to make this version with the long sleeves – but I didn’t have enough fabric to cut everything (which, in restrospect, was probably for the best – I think that sort of style would do better in a solid color. That much leopard print could be overwhelming!) because I’d already cut a little bit off and used it to make a bra. I’ve made this pattern before twice (one and two), and yes, I realize that I basically just made a duplicate of the first version. I totally still have that dress – after a couple rounds of alterations when my weight started changing – and I love it, but the polyester content of the fabric makes it not such a great choice for summer. I’ve always wanted to make another version in a more breathable fabric, so here we are.

My leopard print silk charmeuse is from Mood Fabrics, and while it hung around on the site for months after I bought it, it’s sold out now. I think it was originally Rag and Bone, and it’s been in my stash since 2015 hahaha. It’s a nice weight with a gorgeous drape, and I gave it a cold wash before cutting which helped make the shiny side a little more matte (and now I can wash this dress like any other old thing in my laundry basket, ha!). The shiny side was still a little too shiny for my tastes, so I used the matte side as the right side of my fabric. The added bonus to doing this is that the dress feels REAL nice on the inside now, heh heh heh.

I wanted to try a new way to stabilize the silk for this project – in the past I’ve used Sullivan’s Spray Stabilizer, which works GREAT but it can be $$$. I was tipped off to try using gelatine – yes, basically unflavored Jell-o – and I decided this was the project to test this theory with. You can read the full instructions on how to do this here, but basically – you cook the gelatine in water until it boils, add more water, stir in your fabric and let it sit for an hour to soak everything up, then wring it out and lay it flat to dry. I folded mine in half lengthwise and then used a series of chairs and my drying rack to get it as smooth as possible so it would dry reasonably flat. Once the fabric was dry, it had a much more stiff body – similar to a silk organza before you pre-wash it. To remove the gelatine, you just wash the garment as normal (so, this will only work with something that’s been pre-treated – you can’t use it to sew something you wouldn’t wash, such as a coat lining that’s not removable) and it will soft right back up to how it was originally. It’s still not the easiest thing in the world to sew – I mean, we are talking about silk charmeuse here, y’all, it’s never going to be completely fool-proof – but it was a HELLUVA lot easier to manhandle than it had been before the treatment.

Because of the gelatine treatment, assembling this dress was reasonably easy. I used a brand new, 70/10 sharp needle to sew it, and finished all my seams with a serger and then pressed them open (I know that traditionally you sew silk with French seams – and this is what I usually do – but I was anticipating alterations with this. More on that in a sec). For the hems, I turned them under 1/4″ twice and blind-stitched them by hand. The stiffness of the fabric only moderately affects things, if you’re a fit-as-you-sew kind of person (I am!) – as in, the fit is still accurate, but everything just kind of hangs weird because it’s lacking that drape. My sleeves in particular looked RIDICULOUS, but they are fine now that they are soft again. I left off all the topstitching, except at the waist (only because I felt like the silk needed the topstitching for extra stability), and sewed the ties together into a removable waist tie instead of attached at the side seams. Oh, and I used an invisible zipper instead of a lapped zipper. I added a strip of fusible interfacing to both edges of the dress where the zipper would go, which keeps the area smooth and supported.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

I did have some snafus with the fit on this dress, which at least I was anticipating. See, my pattern isn’t exactly my size – it’s for a 33″ bust, and I’m closer to 32″. This is why I had to take in the original cheetah version, and I had some fitting tweaks that needed to be made on the polka dot one as well. With both dresses, I didn’t actually record my changes – so I had to start from scratch, again. Awesome. For this dress, I sewed the side seams and shoulder seams at 3/4″, instead of the usual 5/8″. This helped a bit – the dress still isn’t super tight, but I like the drape of charmeuse with a little bit of ease. Interestingly, it was the sleeves that gave me trouble with this dress. First, I sewed them with the wrong side on top – and I didn’t notice until after I had finished the dress (including all the serging) and I was comparing it to the original cheetah version. They look really awful when they are the wrong way, in case you were wondering – and I had to unpick and resew them. Also, the shoulders were strangely wide on this dress – the armscye was the correct depth (thanks to that 3/4″ seam allowance), but the sleeves started past the edge of my shoulder and it was channeling some serious linebacker shit. Of course, I noticed this AFTER I had fixed the sleeves – and I wasn’t about to unpick that shit again! So I added a 1/2″ tuck on top of the shoulder, which only goes about 2″ and then folds into a soft pleat over the bust and down the back. This was enough to pull in the sleeve cap so it actually started where a sleeve cap was supposed to start – and also made the bodice fit a little better, too. It’s not the most elegant of solutions – it’s a total hack job, tbh – but it worked!

I also tacked down the center front invisibly, because the dress wanted to gape open (probably cos my boobs don’t quite fill it out lolz).

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

As a side note, I am trying a new spot to take photos. I had a few people tell me that my other location was too distracting, and, well, it totally is haha 🙂 I don’t know why I never tried this wall – it’s pretty empty and gets ok light. What’s weird is how different it looks with me standing there vs the dress form (I took all these photos in one session). The background is boring as hell but it’s not like anyone is here for my stunning photography. Also I’m not really sure how to get rid of that giant shadow behind me.

And because I’ve gotten some comments on it recently – the thing I’m holding is my camera remote (my camera is old and the only remote that works with it has a giant antennae), not a screwdriver hahaha.

Leopard Silk Simplicity 6266

Anyway, thanks for all of your great comments and insights on my last post. I had a great time ringing in 2017 and I look forward to what this year has to offer!

Note: The leopard print silk charmeuse was purchased with my allowance from Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Completed: Denim Rosa Dress

16 Nov

Good morning, everyone! As I write this, I am preparing to experience what will probably be the shittiest day of my life (literally – I have a colonoscopy tomorrow and today is prep day) (lol) (bet you never expected to read THAT on a sewing blog). I haven’t had solid food since last night and I’m stuck in this house for the rest of the day. Lucky for you, I am writing this blog post to pass the time!

I’ve had quite a few people ask me when this project was going to be posted (Rosa made her debut on my Instagram nearly 2 months ago, and I’ve worn her several times since – including to all the workshops I’ve been traveling to in between!), and honestly, the only reason it’s taken so long is because I really hate taking photos! So, with that being said, sorry in advance for the quality of these – namely, how freakin’ wrinkled the dress is! It looks much worse in photos than it did in real life – otherwise I would have at least steamed it a little – however, I have been wearing it pretty rumply in real life so I guess this is as close to authentic as one can get.

Also, I’m sorry if I don’t make any sense in this post. I’m blaming it on the lack of food.

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Denim Rosa Dress - front

Rosa is one of Tilly & the Buttons‘ newer patterns, and it includes options for both a shirt and shirtdress. The pattern features front and back princess seams, a pointed back yoke (which I LOVE!), plus all the features that make for a proper button-up shirt – collar, collar stand, button placket. There’s also an online video workshop if you need help with the steps, although I didn’t use this (I’ve made plenty of these sorts of garments before, and plus, the instructions are pretty great as they are).

I made a size 1, as I wanted a very fitted dress. I made a muslin before cutting into my real fabric, which I’m glad I did because the arm holes ended up needing a little adjusting for me. Apparently I have very small armscyes – arm holes almost always tend to be too low and/or too large for my body, which restricts movement when you add sleeves to the equation. The sleeves in this dress weren’t necessarily bad as-drafted, but I knew they could be better. I ended up raising the armscye 3/4″ higher at the bottom, and also adding 3/8″ to the back arm curve, which made the entire arm hole that much smaller. I reduced the sleeve cap ease, so that the sleeve would properly fit without a bunch of gathers. This worked perfectly and I have a full range of movement with my dress, woohoo!

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - side

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Denim Rosa Dress - back

Style-wise, I shortened the hem 1″ for a real mini length, and also added a curved cuff so that sleeves would be full-length (the bracelet-length sleeves are sweet, but as I mentioned before – it’s either full sleeves for me, or none at all!), as well as a tower placket so I can roll the sleeves up if I need to. I left off the sleeve tab, because it just ended up feeling too bulky with all the denim. To make the curved cuff, I used the straight cuff from my B5526 pattern and just curved the edges using curved ruler. The tower placket pattern piece is from my Negroni pattern.

The denim that I used to make this dress – honestly, I have no idea where it originally came from, ha! It was in my stash and it’s a much lighter weight than what I would use to make jeans. I imagine I probably bought it intending on a skirt, but I don’t think it would really even be suitable for that (considering how easily it wrinkles). It’s a woven cotton denim with no stretch, and clearly I should have pre-washed it at least one more time because it has shrank a little since I finish this dress. On the flip side, I intentionally made the sleeves a little long in anticipation of that – and now they are the correct length. On the downside, the dress is even shorter than I was planning and it pulls a bit across the bust now. Oh well! Lesson learned haha.

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

My inspiration for this dress came from the Rosa inspiration post, in fact. The top left denim dress immediately caught my attention and I knew that was exactly what I wanted mine to look like. A few clicks later brought me to the Net-A-Porter page, which at the time showed close-ups of the dress from several angles (unfortunately not the case now, I guess, since it’s sold out – sorry!). This was extremely helpful in assisting me with my blatant rip-off.

I used a brown/taupe thread for all my topstitching – it’s just some weird cotton crap I had in my thread rack, and I used the triple stitch on my machine so that the stitches were nice and thick like topstitching. Most of the topstitching is two rows – the first row 1/8″ from the edge, and the second row is 1/4″ from that first line. Instead of doing a true flat-fell seam, I just mock flat-felled them as per the instructions (stitch as normal, serge, and then topstitch from the right side). The tops of the pockets are secured with bar tacks. The snaps are gunmetal snaps done up with an industrial snap setter (I use the one at Elizabeth Suzann’s production facility bc they haven’t shooed me away yet haha). I LOVE hulking out of this thing at the end of the day, y’all!

What else? I think that’s about it. Have a picture dump (pun intended looool):

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - on dressform

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

Denim Rosa Dress - detail

As I said, I am pretty happy with this finished dress and I have worn it tons! It’s a nice autumnal version of my beloved chambray Hawthorn (which, 2 years later, is still one of my most worn me-mades to date) – a good neutral base that can be worn as-is with flats when it’s warm, or layered with tights and a slip when it gets cold. I’d love to make another version in corduroy – currently on the lookout for a good one if you have any suggestions! 🙂

Completed: A Striped Coco Dress

13 Oct

Coco is one of those patterns that I loved when I first saw it (and immediately made up), promised I would make dozens more, experienced feelings of jealousy whenever I saw other people wearing it… and yet left that damn pattern hanging for 2 1/2 years. Too long!

Coco Dress

I have been slowly going through my stash, uploading fabrics to my Cora app– which takes forever, since I have to pull each piece out, photograph it, measure it, and then fill in all the details. Individually, it’s not really a time suck – but I have a lot of fabric! It’s kind of fun, though – I feel like I’m rediscovering all this great fabric I forgot I had! (very similar to how I treat doing laundry – oooh, look at all these fun clothes I forgot about in the past few days! Yay!) I’m making an effort to sew more from my stash – at least, the pieces that are suitable for the current season, and the colors/prints that work best with my current wardrobe. It’s certainly not doing me any good just hanging out on my shelf!

This navy/white striped ponte is one of those pieces that I unearthed. I bought a MASSIVE yardage of this shit when I was in Mood Fabrics… uhh, probably also in 2014. It’s a heavy, thick ponte with a very dense hand – and it was a pain in the butt to drag it all home, though of course I persisted because I am all about taking one for the (my)team. I made a couple tshirts out of the stuff, and quickly learned that I don’t like wearing tshirts out of such a heavy knit. It feels strange, like wearing a jacket you can’t take off. And while it’s a great weight for stuff like hoodies, blazers, jackets, skater dresses… I dunno, guys. I just wasn’t feeling it. So the remaining yardage has been hanging on my shelf until I managed to almost forget about it.

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

Coco Dress

So here we come right back around to Coco! I was desperately in need of a easy, mindless project that lent itself well to leaving unfinished for long periods of time in my sewing room – this was during the week that my dad was in the hospital, and while I spent most of that time sitting next to him (or camping out in the ICU waiting room, waiting my turn), I needed a day to be “normal.” I didn’t feel like sewing at all, but I knew it would calm and relax me – again, the key being something easy and mindless. So I took the pattern and fabric, both of which I’d been kind of avoiding, and channeled my energy into this project.

It’s not anything special, obviously. It’s a simple A-line knit dress with a funnel neck collar. I can – and have – made much more impressive pieces. But the simplicity was exactly what I needed – so I could turn my mind off, and just focus on making. That fact that I have a pretty great dress out of it is just a bonus 😉

Coco Dress

Since I’ve already made this pattern and it’s fairly simple to begin with, I don’t really have much to say about the construction. I sewed the size 1 so I’d get a close fit (my measurements hover right between 1 and 2 in Tilly’s patterns), but ended up taking out another 1/2″ or so from the side seams because it still wasn’t quite fitted enough to my liking. I originally sewed the long sleeves, thinking I’ve had a cozy little ponte winter dress – but y’all, I dunno, something about all those STRIPES with those SLEEVES was just really… awful.Maybe it’s because I’m so short, but it was really overwhelming on my frame. Pulling them up to 3/4″ solved that problem, as did removing a couple of inches from the hem (I know it’s REAL short in these photos; I had a fat 1.5″ hem that I ended up letting out before I wore it out for the first time and resewing again at about 1/2″. So it’s a tiny bit longer – as in, when I raise my arms you don’t see buttcheck anymore true story ok).

I added the sleeve tabs as an afterthought – I liked the way the sleeves looked when they weren’t totally smooth. To make the tabs, they are just rectangles that I sewed with the right sides facing and then turned right sides out, sewed to the inside of the sleeve and then tacked down the other end with a button from my stash. Actually, if I recall correctly – the measurements were determined by me cutting the small pocket (included in the pattern), deciding I didn’t want to add it, and then cutting it in half to use as my tabs haha.

I sewed all the seams on my serger, except the hem and sleeve hems – which I just used a zigzag stitch for. Easy! (except when I ended up ripping out that hem later to let out some length, ugh haha) And while the dress looks like it’s black and white, I promise it is actually navy. It’s just a really really dark navy.

Coco Dress

See?! Navy! 🙂

My fabric isn’t quite as beefy as what they use for the project photos – or what I used for my first Coco, even. As a result, the funnel neck is definitely a lot more floppy and slouchy. I like it, though!

Coco Dress

Sleeve tab and button. This button was seriously the closest thing I had to matchy in my stash.

Coco Dress

That’s all! I am heading out in a few hours to catch a plane to NYC – Camp Workroom Social is this weekend! 😀 I cannot WAIT to hang with all the campers and help my (well, Amy‘s 🙂 ) class make some beautiful bras!

And speaking of classes – I spent the last weekend at Pintuck & Purl in Exeter, NH, where we had a lovely 4 days of sewing, eating delicious food – and drinking whiskey, because of course we did. I had an AMAZING time with amazing company – great conversation, great food, and of course, great sewing! I love doing these sorts of retreats because it’s really fun to see what everyone is working on – for this class, we had jeans, a bra, a coat, an Archer, fitting help, and a shirt dress! The only downside is that when I get home, I REALLY miss everyone because we’ve been so close for the past few days! Which basically just means I am gonna have to go back 🙂 Exeter is so beautiful and Pintuck & Purl is the cutest little store with a beautiful selection. I definitely came home with some fabric and yarn, although my tiny suitcase meant that I had to restrain myself a bit 🙂

See y’all next week!

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 :P.

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.