BrisVegas Baby

Another post already! At the request of SS and A here are more adventures and dresses.

New on the blog: Vogue 8998 and adventures #sewing #voguepatterns

A few weeks ago, my friend G and I decided to visit our friends H and K in Brisbane for a weekend and when I mentioned the plan to S she jumped right on board too. When we all lived in CBR we saw each other at least weekly, but the 5 of us haven’t been in the same place at the same time in over 2 years. The visit was just the excuse I needed to finish this little number. It’s another Vogue 8998, this time I used the bodice and waistband of the pattern with my drafted pleated skirt. I used the bodice of New Look 6723, which I have alter to within an inch of it’s life to adjust the fit to my liking. This meant shaving off the top of the shoulder to raise the waist and armhole, scooping out a bit of width just under the bust, narrowing the front and back necklines and shortening the bodice by 2cm. I do think that the waist is now a touch high so I might go back and lengthen my pattern pieces again. The skirt is also shorter than expected as the waistband is about 2 inches higher in this dress then it is as a skirt.

2015-10-26_05-11-23

This time I skipped the collar detail. I love the way the scoop at the back looks, I think it’s so chic and I also love the front neckline, which is scooped but still totally work appropriate… I’ve been dreaming of a work version in some pindot brown wool I picked up recently. I may bring in the edge of the neckline a little, just to be extra sure bra straps stay hidden where they belong.

2015-10-26_05-11-37

I got the fabric for this little number a while ago while visiting SS – it’s nothing special, just a stretch cotton sateen from Spotlight but I really like the print and colours; it combines all my signature colours – olives, pinks, purples and yellows. I wore it to brunch on Sunday and for the flight home. Originally I had planned on wearing it to dinner and drinks on Saturday but then this happened:

2015-10-26_05-11-48
Bernie Dexter Paris Dress in “Cherry Tree Lane” from That Shop. I have literally no idea who the people in the background are.

I have been searching for enough of the Michael Miller cherry tree landscape fabric to make a dress from for years so when I saw this dress I just decided to go with it. I really like it, but I must say that $200 for an unlined quilting cotton dress is not exactly a bargain! I also find it interesting, because I would say the dress itself reads as quite formal, but the fabric is casual. I have toyed with the idea of taking of the bodice and re-making it to be more like V8998, maybe in a matching blue fabric, which would be a lot more wearable for everyday. I do think the gathered bust detail is very pretty but I’m not sure how often I could wear it, and as is typical in RTW the waist sits about an inch too low. I bet I will never get around to it though – I HATE alterations.

The weekend was super fun – I caught up with my dad and aunt on Friday, then went back to the airport to meet G (it’s on my dad’s way home). G and I got the train into the city and met H at work before heading out to the river for drinks where we were joined by K and my old housemate B. Saturday G and I went to That Shop and the End of the Line Festival, before picking up H at the aiport and heading out to drinks, dinner and more drinks with the whole crew. Sunday we brunched before G and I had to fly home (S wasn’t leaving until late on Sunday). So that was my weekend!

Until next time!

Lady Liberty Carline

OMG YOU GUYS I AM SO INTO THIS FABRIC I CAN’T EVEN.

OK, I just had to get that out of my system 🙂 I had actually been trying to hunt down some Liberty Carline for an embarrassingly long time when Roisin recommended a few eBay sellers that might have the goods. Then, not a week later I stumbled across Fabrics Galore and found some purple. Lastly, Liz put her Liberty stash up for sale. So I ended up going from no Carline, to having 8 meters of the stuff in three colours. Today we’re going to chat about the first, which is a poplin. I haven’t always been a big poplin fan, but the Liberty poplin may be my dream fabric – it’s a tiny bit weightier than the lawn, which gives it a little more body and means it isn’t transparent at all. I found it completely lovely to work with.

Today on the blog: a New Look/ Vogue mash up in liberty carline aka the fabric of my dreams #sewing//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

I actually finished this little number oh, 7 months ago, which should tell you something about how long my to-blog list is.

To me it was completely obvious what this lovely wanted to be – a princess seamed dress with as full a skirt as I could manage. I used the old faithful New Look 6723 bodice (which I FBA’d ages ago) and the gored circle skirt from Vogue 8998. I had considered using all of Vogue 8998, but I wasn’t 100% happy with the fit in the bodice last time I made it and had no time to play with it so I went with my tried n true.

IMAG1774
(I don’t know why both the lighting and my fringe are bad in this pic 😦 Also! Winter-style)

Through some wonder of dressmaking, the skirt and bodice lined up well lengthwise. The seams along the sides and the princess seams in the bodice and gores of the skirt don’t match at all but I think the print disguises a lot of the issues, so #YOLO. The skirt is truly lovely, if not designed for someone with the amount of hip/bum curve that I have. I like that unlike a traditional circle skirt it’s more fitted through the abdomen and hips before flaring out dramatically which I think is quite flattering. It’s also a bit of a fabric saver which is always nice. I do miss having pockets, but one can’t have everything I suppose.

2015-10-03_03-53-55//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

On the bodice: I had originally drafted an all-on-one facing because I love the look of them in RTW and thought that an all-in-one would not constantly flip out, which my neck facings ALWAYS do despite understitching and pressing. Unfortunately it all went horribly wrong and was SUPER TIGHT around the top of my bust and front of my shoulders. I suspect I didn’t take into account my FBA properly. In the end I ripped it out and went with bias binding around the neck and armholes, which I always quite like. I used my machine overcast stitch to finish the seams. I do still want to try an all-in-one facing because I love the clean look they give so I’m going to give it another crack next time.

My favourite thing about this dress is how all-seasons it is! it looks cute on it’s own for summer, and for winter I love it with a cardi, tights and the ankle boots I inherited from my mum.

Getting Skirty

Despite the fact that I rarely sew them, I adore skirts. I particularly love the high-waisted full, pleated skirts that are everywhere right now. They seem just the thing for work with a pretty blouse and for play with a tee-shirt. I rocked this little number to the May Canberra Sewing Crew and was pumped that there was just enough sunlight when I got home to take some sweet pics.

I have tried a few skirt patterns (didn’t love them enough to blog), but none of them seemed “right” so armed with some fitting room photos and the measurements of a full pleated RTW dress I set about creating my own pattern.

Tonight on the blog: this sweet skirt using V8998 for the waistband and a self drafted skirt. Also bad pictures and awkward dancing #sewing #completed
(I was so happy with it I decided to do an awkward looking dance)

I used the waistband from Vogue 8998, which is contoured and fits my really well. Then I started on the skirt. I gave it 5 pleats at front and back, inseam pockets and a back zipper. Lots of these RTW skirts have invisible zips, but I was worried that over the waistband it would be hard to zip/not strong enough so I used a regular zip and centre lapped it.

I did have some issues with the pleats – I think perhaps my maths skills need some work as it took me about 4 tried to get the skirt waist to be the same length as the waistband. I’m planning on re-drafting the skirt pieces as I had the same issue with my second version despite carefully re-measuring and making.

IMAG1743

I am really, really happy with the finished product! I used Monet Meets Modern Sateen in Blue/Pink from the remnant warehouse. It’s the perfect fabric for a skirt like this and lovely quality.

Plus as I said this type of skirt is great for dressing up and down. I wore it to a music festival a tee (actually this exact outfit if I’m being honest), and then to work with heels and a blouse. I’ve already made my second version and I’m keen for many more!

Until next time.

P.S. there were more photos, until I realised I had demon eyes in all of them. So instead you get awkward dance and head cut-off pictures. Because of course

Spring is for Shirtdresses

So I can’t remember where I first saw McCall’s 6696 but I remember thinking I should make one. When Mary announced she was hosting the fall Spring of 1000 shirtdresses, I was on it like white on rice.

So I FINALLY took blog photos for the #1000shirtdresses @mccallpatterncompany 6696. In summary: excellent pattern but the back gathers are not my thing. Blog link in profile :)

For my first go round I used this sweet floral lawn, originally from Lincraft, which I picked up from eBay in a bulk lot of floral cotton lawns (12 meters for $65! It was fate). I won’t lie, this is some next level Betty Draper red wine and chain smoking stuff. I also won’t lie about how much I love it.

IMAG1541

This pattern was a dream to work with. For once I actually followed the instructions (which were great) as it’s full of things I either never or rarely do. The last time I tried to construct a collar it did not go well. Same for the last time I attempted a button-closure. This time they both came out great. There is a lot of hand stitching involved, which worked for me because I love to sit in front of the TV and hand stitch away. If that’s not your thing you could always topstitch.

IMAG1546

I sewed a 16D, based on my measurements and it fits pretty much perfectly. There is, however one problem with this dress… THE HUNCHBACK OF DOOM! If you look around at other versions, this seems like a fairly common issue although I think mine looks worse than most. There is just waaaaay to much fabric in those gathers for my liking. I also think the back is too long, which contributes to the bunching right above the waistband. On my next version I’m going to shorten the back and take out some of that excess, which I think will solve the problem just fine. Next time I will also do a full bicep adjustment because I find the sleeves a tiny bit tight. In the meantime, I’ve found that if I want to go sans cardigan tucking the excess fabric in behind a belt works a treat to hide the issue.

IMAG1549

All in all, however this dress gets a massive thumbs up!

What do you mean no one needs 20 floral dresses?

Oh look, something new and different: a floral fit and flare dress! This time with a pretty quilting cotton from fabric.com.

Today on the blog: yet another floral dress. #sewing #sewcialists

This is actually the first version of New Look 6723, complete with original skirt and slightly dodgy FBA (I got better, I promise!).

So I sewed I a 12 in the front bodice and 12 in the neckline/shoulders graded to a 16 in the back of the bodice. I then did a 3″ FBA (I should have done 4 I think as it’s still a little tight) and took some of the extra ease that created in the waist back out. I then took a little out directly under the bust where it was a tiny bit loose. I am pretty happy with the way the bodice fits now. It took two muslins, but I used the second as lining, as is my usual practice.

IMG_4578-20141119-215056297

For the skirt, I cut the biggest size as it looked disappointingly non-full. For me, it still wasn’t full enough for the gathers to look good so I did two pleats on each side at the front and a box pleat in each side at the back instead. I quite like the way this looks and think it would be nice in a work dress. I popped in an invisible zip, which are my new favourite closures now I’ve mastered the invisible zipper foot!

Overall I really like this one. The neckline is super, super pretty and while I found the skirt underwhelming at first I am now pretty pleased with it. Sometimes it’s nice to be unafraid of wind. Next time I think I will put a little cotton tape on the neckline, as sometimes it sticks out a little from my body, particularly when I lean forward. I would also like to add pockets, mostly because I find myself trying to use them even when I don’t have them!

IMG_4580-20141119-213901312

Thanks to my friend T for taking photos again!

IMG_4577-20141119-214437875

Reverting to form

So after my last post, which was about trying a new thing (even if in the same old, same old floral cotton fabric) today I bring you a “new” make that is pretty much the same as most of my other ones. Why mess with a good thing right?

IMAG1127

This is Vogue 8615 a “very easy” number with cup sizes A-D. I myself like the cup size options because I’m lazy a rock star who likes to take the risk of skipping the old FBA. This pattern also seems to think it’s vintage: french darts, circle skirt, purchased petticoat. Still, vintage-ey floral dresses with giant skirts are kind of my jam. Plus this one has sleeves so I was pretty much always going to go for it. Having made it I am a massive fan. The french darts are very cool and interesting and I think the boat neckline with dipped back is demure but not boring or frumpy. I would 100% make it again and in fact am considering making one for work – perhaps with a less full skirt and minus the dipped back. next time I would also shorten the darts, I think they are too long (and also not exactly even, whoops).

IMAG1128

Modifications: I shortened the sleeves to just above elbow length and took about 2 inches out of the front and back neckline, tapering to just above my bust on the front and about 3.5 inches down on the back. Luckily the centre front seam meant I could avoid adding darts. Sewing has convinced me that I must have a small frame, but a healthy appetite which warps my figure into a mutant petite-yet full look. On the bright side, this being my first Vogue pattern I now know to take out a bunch from the neckline of all Big 4s. I sewed a 14 with the D cup, but it is a little loose – my fabric has a 2-way stretch to it (but not great recovery), so I think that’s probably why.

IMAG1132

Originally I skipped the lining – not having anything with stretch to hand and wore it to a party. My deep love of the dress convinced me it needed, nay deserved, a lining, so I unpicked the hand stitching on the bias binding I had used originally around the neckline and stitched in my lining, before re-hand stitching the bias binding to the lining – I didn’t want to undo my machine stitching as I knew it would leave holes and I also thought that given I was using a light china silk for the lining it could use the structure of some binding. I then stitched the binding to the armholes of the lining and hand stitched that to the seam allowance of the fashion fabric. I didn’t have enough lining to do a full circle skirt so I made a gathered one instead. I also re-did the hem after wearing it – I didn’t like the look of the machine stitching and an order I made at fabric.com including some horsehair braid had arrived so I decided to test that out and hand stitch the hem. The braid doesn’t make a huge difference, probably in part due to its width, I think the wider the braid the more dramatic the effect. That said, I think it does make the skirt stand out a bit more which I think provides a nice middle ground between a petticoat (giant skirt) and nothing (sad flat skirt). I am, however wearing a petticoat in all but this last pic for maximum huge skirt action.

20140629_183532

While this dress is very similar to my Betty-style floral frock I think I easily have room for both. Who says I don’t need dozens of floral dresses with big skirts? Certainly not me!

On trying new shapes

One of the things that struck me about the Wardrobe Architect series of posts on Coletterie was the post on silhouettes. Looking through the number that Sarai listed (10) I was struck by the fact that I have one – fit and flare. Occasionally I mix it up with jeans (on weekends or while traveling) or shorts (music festivals, hot summer weekends) but day in, day out I wear fit n flare. Some dresses are more flared, and I do have two pencil skirts but I thought branching out into a new shape would be interesting.

And so I give you a sheath dress, which I picked because Joan from Mad Men lives in them, and if it’s good enough for Joanie it’s good enough for me! This is Butterick 5952, described as “Lined dress has fitted bodice, waistband, semi-fitted skirt and back zipper”. The pattern also comes with a coat and belt, neither of which I have used, but I do plan on doing a dress and coat combo at some point.

Me made May day 6: cotton sateen sheath #mmmay14 #butterick #sewing #floral
I wore it to work on May 6 as part of MMMay 2014.

I cut a 16 (hello big hips and butt) everywhere except the neck/arms where I cut a 12. I added about an inch to either side from hips down. These were mistakes! For this, I honestly should have made a muslin, as I ended up making a million changes to get it to fit, and while I am happy with the fit now, I don’t think it fits quite how it should. But then neither does the version on the envelope.

IMAG0944
Before my many alterations, 12 in neck and arms, 16 in torso/wait and 16+ 2 inches hips down

So on to the alterations:
The neckline gaped terribly front and back. I added 2 darts to both the front and back to take out the excess.
It was loose through the torso and waist, making me look both like I have no waist and generally wider than I am. I took out about 4 inches in the waist, which tapered out just under my bust and at the hip.
I lengthened the darts in the skirt back and made them much deeper as the fabric bagged badly (maybe I do have a sway back?)
I re-cut the armholes at the back as they stuck out into my arms.
At the armhole front I made a small dart to take out the excess.

IMAG0969
The armholes are still not 100%

I used a floral cotton sateen with 5% spandex for a bit of stretch. unfortunately I cut with the stretch running up/down instead of across. This probably contributed to the fitting issues and does make it sit a little strangely sometimes.

IMAG0965

Despite the problems and the different shape, I really love this dress. On a windy day it’s so nice to not have to worry about your skirt flying up! Plus I think the floral print, which I adore, is less in your face in a more streamlined design. Next I would like to make one in a nice wool for work, lined in silk (I skipped the lining this time round). Next time I plan on doing a muslin, although I think a size 8 in the neckline, 10 in the armholes, 14 in the waist and 16 waist down will probably work well, based on the alterations I made. But I plan on making sure!

IMAG0972
Outtake!

Until next time!

Mad Style A Betty inspired Floral Frock

So I was kind of inspired by Betty, in the sense that I wanted something “Betty-like”, but not in the sense that I had something specific in mind. Mainly because I left it too late to get an appropriate fabric.

Me made May: the 9th in a floral Butterick frock #mmmay14 #butterick #sewing #floral

I did however have general inspiration: I wanted a super girlie pink floral frock, along the lines of the “Betty Barbie” dress, but with different colours and minus the sash:

As previously discussed, this is Butterick 5748 using some of the floral cotton twill I purchased at Mood during my holiday in the US. I didn’t actually have enough fabric, according to the pattern envelope but as usual the good folk at Butterick vastly overestimated the yardage required. I trimmed the skirt length a little, as I knew it would be far too long to further conserve fabric.

Untitled

The only other changes I made were moving the zip to the back – since there’s a seam there anyways and I hate underarm zips. Surely it’s not just me that struggles with them? This floral is not directional, so I cut the bodice front on sideways stretch and a size down, and the back on no stretch. Somehow the bodice ended up loose at the top of the back, so I shaved out the excess. To get rid of the gape at the top of the front of the bodice I inserted a little pleat. I also took the shoulder seams up by about an inch and re-shaped the dipped back bodice to be a little more flattering on me.

Untitled

Instead of using a lining, I finished the neck, armholes and waistseam with bias binding and the side and skirt seams with seambinding for a clean finish. I hung the skirt for about 4 days on and off to settle the bias before I hemmed. I used the machine to hem as I was running out of time, and to be honest, a bit sick of hand sewing! Because the hem is so long I ran out of pins and had to start using hair clips.

Untitled

All in all I am very happy. I don’t really know how much wear I’m going to get out of this frock – it’s so very pink! But it is pretty cute and I’m proud of myself for not cutting corners during the making. Plus the whole thing is machine washable! Score!

Untitled

Until next time!

PS apologies for the not-so-great pictures. By the time I’d finished hemming it was dark outside and the lighting in my house is not amazing.