Tag Archives: Emery

Completed: The Emery Dress, An Aztec Delight

1 Aug

You know who has the best Emery dresses? Angie. Specifically – her Arizona Emery is the thing jealous dreams are MADE of. I love the tough/cool spin-off an otherwise sweet looking pattern.

So… you know what that means. I copied her.

Rayon Emery

Fuck yea I did. Sorry, Angie!

Rayon Emery

Well, to my credit- not entirely. I did pick a lighter fabric (in both color and weight), and I left the sleeves off because… do I have to say it? I’m gonna say it. SUN’S OUT, GUNS OUT. Sorry y’all! Summertime in this place means I got the right to BARE ARMS amirite lolololol

Anyone? Guys?

Rayon Emery

So anyway, this is the Emery dress. I figured I better make it again, considering I put so much fucking effort into all those muslins when I was first trying to fit it. Might as well make it worth my while! Fortunately, the fitting kinks all worked out by this point, so this dress was a matter of cutting and assembling. I did have to take in quite a bit at the center back, but that’s accounting for the fact that my fabric has a slight stretch to it. Not a lot, but just enough to mean some things gotta be sized down a smidge. I think I was a little toooo aggressive at the upper back, because now the shoulders pull, but eh. Live and learn.

Rayon Emery
Rayon Emery

“What’s that fabric,” you say? Well, I’m so glad you asked! This little piece of happiness came my way courtesy of Fashion Fabrics Club. I was really curious to try it, considering how ridiculously cheap it was – would it prove to be worth my sewing while? Or would the day end in tears?

The specific fabric in question is this white/grey Aztec stripe. It’s a floaty rayon challis, so lightweight that the full 2 yards barely weighed anything. Look at the price – this shit was $5.75 a yard. How is that possible? I have no idea! I don’t have a helluva lot experience with rayon challis, but I do have a little, and this stuff is pretty similar to the others I’ve used – just as lightweight and shifty as the rest. To it’s credit, though, it is pretty dreamy to wear in the heat. It is very breathable, dries fast (if you sweat a lot like I do)(sorry), and the print hides aforementioned sweat (sorry again). The only drawback is that is does stretch out over the course of the day, since the heat of your body relaxes the fibers. That’s not a huge deal – and when it’s hot outside, you may even welcome the extra ease – plus a quick wash shrinks things right back up.

Rayon Emery

Cutting this stuff was a BEAST. Omg! The dress pattern only has like 5 pieces (and one of them doesn’t count because they are pockets, and who matches pockets? Not me!), but it took me forever to get everything cut out since the fabric kept shifting around. I got most everything lined up, but unfortunately, the center back had to take the pattern-matching fall. I actually didn’t even notice this until I was going through the photos. Whoops! I think I actually cut it off the match – because everything else (waist seam, top seam, etc) matches perfectly. Oh well, just one of those things!

Rayon Emery

On the flip side, sewing it wasn’t too bad. I noticed that the fabric does have a tendency to snag and run if you’re not careful (as with other rayon challises I’ve used), so I used my silk pins and a 70/10 microtex needle. That’s about the extent of my carefulness with this fabric. I threw it in the wash on cold, dried it in the dryer, and steamed the hell out of it with my iron. I know you’re supposed to be more careful with rayon, but I have rayon dresses that have been washed+dried for years and they seem to be holding up fine. FWIW, I generally keep my rayon dresses out of the dryer and just hang them – they wrinkle a lot less that way – but I always use the dryer during prewashing just in case the finished dress accidently gets thrown in a dryer load. Don’t wanna have a surprise shrinking incident!

Rayon Emery
Rayon Emery

I’m pretty proud of how my print matching turned out (minus that center back mistake, I mean). Also love how that print placement turned out at the bodice front. I actually didn’t plan that at all, but it’s a nice surprise! Even if it does look like I’m wearing an Aztec wrestling belt 😛

Rayon Emery
Rayon Emery
Rayon Emery

I opted to leave the dress unlined so it would be as lightweight as possible. To finish, I used self bias facing at the neckline and arm holes. Oh yeah, and because it’s sleeveless, I raised the underarm by about 1/2″ and cut about 1/2″ off the edge of the shoulders. Didn’t want this to look like a muscle tank!

Rayon Emery

Also, this dress totally broke my camera remote. Well, maybe not “broke,” but it definitely stopped working, which kind of sucks. This is what I look like when that happens, in case you were wondering.

Rayon Emery

So there ya go! Thanks so much to Fashion Fabrics Club, for letting me try some of their (literally)cool rayon, and thanks to Angie for the inspiration for my awesome new dress!

Who are you lurking on these days for a shameless rip-off? Fess up!

** Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, although I did receive the fabric for free. I guess I also got the pattern for free too. Hey-o, free dress! 🙂

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Me-Made-May ’14: Week 2 Round-Up

9 May

Happy Friday, everyone! One week down into Me-Made-May – and time for another round-up!

5/3
5/3, Saturday
Dress: Fabulous Silk Birds
Slip: Ruby Slip
Shoes: Jessica Simpson

My baby brother graduated college on Saturday! Here I am with all my siblings – of course, I’m the shortest one (and this photo is a little misleading because I’m standing on an incline. I’m actually a good 7″ shorter than my sister, who in turn is shorter than my brothers, ha). I used the graduation as an excuse to pull out my favorite Me-Made to date – the Fabulous Silk Birds dress (I don’t name all my handmades, but I named this one! Because it’s fabulous!). I love love love this dress – I always feel so, well, fabulous in it 🙂 Plus, wearing this dress means I get to wear my equally amazing 4ply silk slip (note to self: sell organs and buy more 4ply silk asap), which is always a plus in my book 🙂

5/4
5/4, Sunday
Dress: Seersucker Anna
Shoes: Born
Belt: Thrifted
Sunglasses: Franco Sarto
Purse: Scarlett Begonia

Wore this to go plant shopping and ice cream eatin’ with Landon. I realize that I have this dress styled the exact same way I did in the original FO post – I guess I’m not very creative when it comes to pink seersucker! Anyway, love it and it’s great for hot weather. Also, if my hair looks brighter than it did the day before – that’s cos we redyed it 🙂 I slept in the dye so it’s SUPER bright now haha.

5/5
5/5, Monday
Tank: Target
Skirt: Cascade
Shoes: Jessica Simpson
Necklace: Handmade by me

Another favorite me-made! I LOVE this skirt, and everyone else seems to love it too – I’ve literally been followed around retail stores over it, multiple times. It’s the perfect marriage of pattern and fabric (and, before you ask – the fabric came aaaaall the way from Macedonia. My BFF picked it up for me while she was living there a few years ago. Wish I had more of it!), and it’s just so fun to wear. I feel like Shakira, and I mean that in the best way.

5/6
5/6, Tuesday
Dress: Emery
Belt: Thrifted
Shoes: Born

Can’t ever be sad when your hair matches your dress 🙂

5/7
5/7, Wednesday
Dress: Lady Skater
Belt: Thrifted
Shoes: xoxo

ESPECIALLY if that dress has tigers printed on it!

5/8
5/8, Thursday
Top: Briar
Skirt: Moss Mini
Necklace: Thrifted
Shoes: Keds

I took some advice on styling this skirt and went with a tshirt that has a looser fit – and I LOVE how it looks with this skirt! Especially the hemline on this Briar – hi-lo hem gives it the look as if it’s tucked in, without it actually being, you know, tucked. The whole outfit is totally comfy and I’m not gonna lie – I felt pretty good about it all day.

5/9
5/9, Friday (that’s today!)
Top: Advance 8511
Pants: Thurlows (but skinny!)
Shoes: Born

I actually had a different outfit planned today – I wanted to wear a skirt. But then I stepped outside, noticed the chill in the air, and decided to wear my red Thurlows instead. No regrets!

All in all, I think I had a pretty successful first (full)week of MMM! The changing weather has been a little tricky, but I’m working on a lightweight trench coat right now that will hopefully get me through the chilly mornings and occasional rain (actually, the trench is done – I’m just waiting on the buttons to be delivered!). How are y’all doing with your pledges? Find any fun outfit combinations or gaping holes in your closet yet?

Oh, just a few more announcements before I sign off for the weekend:
– If you haven’t already done so, don’t forget to enter in the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits Giveaway! I’ll be drawing the lucky winner on Monday morning, so you’ve still got time!
– My girl Elizabeth is looking for part time seamstresses to help her with some sewing work. If you’re in the Nashville area and would like to sew on an amazingly fun industrial machine in a gorgeous studio (I’m not even kidding about either of those – that’s me in her studio on 5/6!) for a lil’ extra cash, send her an email at hello@elizabethsuzann.com. I’m currently doing part time work for her on the side, and it’s super awesome because we listen to 80s music and watch Nicolas Cage movies. I have no intentions of quitting; her business is just growing very fast and she needs more help! All levels of experience are welcome – we’re not handbeading couture or anything here 🙂 – but you must already have a basic understanding of clothing construction and know how to operate a sewing machine. Bonus points if you’re a speedy sewer!
– My class at Watkins, Introduction to Fashion Sewing still has a couple of spots open, if you’ve been on the fence about signing up. DO IT NOW, GO!
– Aaaaaand, Nashville’s newest/cutest fabric store, The Fabric Studio, is finally open and just released the class schedule for June! I’ve got a few gigs there as well – Learn to Sew the Colette Ginger Skirt, All About Zippers Sewing Lab, and Apparel Patterns Demystified (seminar/info session)! I’m really excited about all these classes – excited to share my knowledge, excited to teach, excited to meet other sewers in the area! I think it’s gonna be fun! 🙂 Also, I promise to stop spamming y’all about my classes now 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Completed: The Emery Dress

10 Mar

I am SO LATE to this freaking party – but better late than never, right? 🙂

Emery dress

Behold – it’s an Emery Dress! Sent to me by the lovely Christine Haynes, I was anxious to try out this pattern for myself (have you seen these popping up all over the internet? Everyone’s versions are AMAZING! Some of my favorites – Miss Crayola Creepy, SewTell, The Nerdy Seamstress, By Gum, By Golly!, ShanniLoves, Sew I Thought… ok, I’ll stop now, but you get the idea!). This little lady regularly gets rave reviews on the fit, construction, and overall look, and I think it’s pretty well-deserved.

Emery dress

So, my experience with Emery didn’t go quite as smoothly as everyone else’s – this was the dress that sucked me down the SIX MUSLIN SPIRAL OF DOOM, but once I got that out of the way, the rest of the construction came together easily. Even matching up the plaid was easy, since there aren’t a lot of pieces to contend with (although I totally done goofed mine up… more on that in a minute).

Emery dress

I’ll start with the muslin experience. Since figuring out that I have big back-gaping issues (and since that’s not really something that can be easily tweaked after the pattern pieces have been cut out of the fabric), I always always make a muslin, at least for just the bodice. My muslin for this dress turned out perfect in the front – darts in the correct place, ending at the correct points, perfectly fitting at all key points, yay! – but the back stuck straight out between my shoulder blades. I tried my usual adjustment, and instead of working – it actually made things worse! Thus, I started the muslin spiral: I played with moving around the slash line, I tried adding different amounts, I tried altering the center back seam and I tried adding fucking gigantic darts at the neckline. Those last two attempts were really really awful, by the way – if you tweak the back neckline too hard, you’ll end up throwing off the balance of the front neckline so it pooches out all weird. NOT a good look!

Of course, by the time I realized I couldn’t crack this pattern, I was also 5 muslins in and feeling stubborn enough to refuse giving up. Not to mention, I was getting super desperate and pissy because everyone else seemed to have NO problems whatsoever with fitting this pattern. Look at everyone’s backs – they fit perfectly. This was starting to make me feel like I had a freak body or some shit.

Emery dress

So how did I fix this mystery back pattern? After combing through my fit books and googling everything I could think of, I ended up landing on the narrow back adjustment (this shows something similar to what I did, although I pulled mine from Fit For Real People so it’s slightly different). That did the trick! No gape! I feel like a fitting PRO, y’all!

Emery dress

I think it’s really important to point out that just because *I* had some fitting issues with the back bodice, that doesn’t mean that you should be scared to try this pattern! Like I said, pretty much every other version I’ve seen praises how well it fits straight out of the envelope. Everyone’s body is shaped differently, and it makes me real cringy when I read that someone recommends against a pattern because they had a bad fit experience (unless it’s just a bad fit across the board – which happens, but it’s rare!). Your (or my!) fit experience =/= everyone else’s fit experience, so just keep that in mind! Ok, soapbox rant over!

Emery dress

Anyway, this dress was super simple to whip up after I figured all the fitting shit out. Cutting was a beast; not only did I choose a large scale, unbalanced plaid as my fabric – I only had about 1 3/4 yards, which meant I had to be VERY careful with my layout. Happily, I was able to match up the side seams on the bodice… but check out that skirt seam. I was concentrating so hard on matching up the plaid lines, that I didn’t think to match up the GIANT BLOCKS OF COLOR. Which means the plaid doesn’t match at all on the skirt. Oops! Learn from my mistakes, people 🙂

Emery dress

Because I barely had any fabric, I had to cut some corners on other parts of the dress. I originally wanted to make the collar in the same plaid fabric – but I couldn’t get the pieces to mirror each other, and it looked really stupid on my dressform, so I used my lining fabric (originally cut to be the underside of the collar) on top instead. I think it actually really works this way – makes the dress a little less twee. My lining fabric is the same silky delicious purple cotton batiste that I used with my Victoria Blazer, and I used every single last bit of those scraps!

Emery dress

I also used the batiste for the pockets, because, again, fabric restraints 🙂

Emery dress

I think the biggest/most visible changes I made are the lack of sleeves and the shortened hemline. I cut a good 4″ off this hemline – it really helped with conserving fabric, plus, I just don’t like knee-length hemlines on me! – and then folded up a 2″ hem allowance. I didn’t make any bodice changes to account for the lack of sleeves, I just… didn’t add them! Ha! I waffled with the idea of using plaid bias to close the arm holes, but I ran of of plaid… so the arm holes are just slip-stitched closed. Nothing fancy here!

Emery dress

I’ll admit, when I finally stuck the zipper in this dress and stood in front of the mirror, I thought it looked really unflattering on me! Listen, I am not the type of person to pretend like I think I’m fat (I know I’m not, and I’m not going to fish for compliments either), but something about that gathered skirt + plaid really made me look wider than I am. Even Landon, who never ever sees unflattering things the same way I do, noticed it. I kind of assumed so since I don’t think gathered skirts are very flattering on my shape, but again – everyone else’s Emery’s were soooo cute and flattering! Ugh, Lauren!

I really think adding the belt helps – it separates the bodice from the gathered skirt, which visually makes me look smaller in the waist. Of course, now that I’m looking at these pictures, it looks totally fine! I think it’s one of those things that just looks better in pictures than it does in real life 🙂

Emery dress

That being said, I totally plan on living in this dress all summer. The plaid cotton is lightweight and comfortable, it’s super cute, and I just really love it! Although I’ll probably keep the belt; mostly because that vertical line isn’t matched perfectly (due to the gathers) and it’s making me feel twitchy 😉

Emery dress

Emery dress

(psst, aren’t my earrings so perfect for this dress? I just got them from ChatterBlossom, gahhh, she always has the best stuff!)

Emery dress

Emery dress

Emery dress

This pattern is labeled as an Intermediate, but know that the instructions are very very thorough and super hand-holdy, so I think a confident beginner could easily tackle this shit. Christine also has an extremely detailed Emery Sewalong on her blog with lots and lots of pictures, in case you get stuck. But seriously – you can do this!

Emery dress

If you’re lovin on Emery but haven’t made the jump to purchase, keep an eye on this space – I have a copy to give away later this week!

Also, check it out:

Yay spring!

SPRING IS HAPPENING RIGHT HERE IN MY YARD HOLY SHIT.