She sparkles into the night

Um so, it’s been a long time between drinks, hasn’t it? Its funny how a few weeks turns into a year in the blink of an eye! I’ve been sewing more than ever, but these days most of my project documentation lives on instagram (find me at LadyxBec). Still, I do like the idea of this little spot on the web as a place for more in-depth analysis of projects and patterns so I’m planning to keep it around, albeit with an irregular posting schedule.

Oh hey there! I'm Bec and I enjoy floral prints, silk fabric, and cocktails that are on fire. I live in Canberra and I've been sewing for about 4 years. Apart from sewing I spend my days working as a public servant, hanging out with my rabbit Oreo and att

So! On to the dress! I purchased Vogue 1374, a cowl-backed, sequin encrusted Badgley Mischka design over a year ago, thinking that one day I would quite like a sequin dress. When I got word that my departments annual ball would swap to a soiree this year I was inspired, making the gown knee-length would not only make it more appropriate for the occasion but also (hopefully) mean I could wear it to other events in future. Not long after I stumbled across the perfect sequin fabric at spotlight, between the ideal colour – a kind of bronze/black/brown and the ideal price (40% off) I knew I had to have it. At the same time I picked up some stretch beige lining.

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The first issue I encountered was that my stretch lining didn’t have enough stretch – it fit OK over my hips and bust, but didn’t have much give. Therefore I decided to add some additional ease to the sequined outer fabric. This was a terrible idea. The sequins stretched SO MUCH MORE than the lining, partly because they were more stretchy due to the mesh base and partly because the weight of all those sequins dragged everything down.

The other major problem was the pain of cutting and sewing the sequins. I cut my fabric in a single layer, facing down and still wore protective goggles in case of flying sequins. When I came to sewing the sequined fabric it only got worse – I broke more than 15 needles and only the goggles saved my from some near-misses with sequin shards and broken needles. After that the clean-up, while tedious on carpet was nothing.

I ended up hemming with fusible hem tape as I couldn’t face the thought of sewing more sequins on the machine and had no time to hand-sew. I would like to go back and re-hem using a strip of the lining, but the hem tape has held on with remarkable staying power!

2016-11-24_05-37-52 I made only three alterations to the pattern: I tacked the back cowl interlayers to either side at the back, ensuring it sat high enough to wear a regular bra, and I shortened the sleeves and the length. Because of the weight of the sequins, I also did a loose row of hand stitching right under my bust to stop the sequined layer dragging so much and also hand stitched the lining at the neckline to keep it from peaking out.

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Overall I am thrilled to pieces with this frock – it went together very well and if you were using a stretch jersey or velvet it could easily be made in a day. I adore walking around like a living disco ball, and, because of the stretch it’s also super comfy!

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Worn to: Work Spring Soiree, Canberra Sewing Crew Spring Fling.

Overall rating: 5/5

PS: I don’t know why I have such awful bitchface in these pictures – I promise you I was actually drunk + happy!

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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?

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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!

Challenging Sewing

After several years of watching other bloggers participate in sewing competitions and challenges and a year of sewing regularly but still not participating, I made it one of my goals of 2014 to participate in a few challenges. If nothing else, I figured it would help up my sewing productivity.

My last post talked about the Mad Men 3 challenges (go look at the pretty dresses!). So now lets check out what’s next: Sew Dolly Clackett!

I am super pumped for this, because I pretty much stalk Roisin’s blog. In a way that I feel is a little bit creepy. But COME ON. Someone that totally indulges their cray cray fabric habit! Yes! It’s like all of the insane (in the best possible way) dresses I want to make in one place. Plus, let’s be real: I have pretty much ripped of her dresses before and now I have total permission to do so. Yes!

So I am making Simplicity 2444 (aka the pattern I make all the time) in this:

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It’s kind of inspired by the meta dress. Because who doesn’t love some meta action? My fabric is a little different and I’m using a different pattern, but I think you can work out where I got the idea from… The comp ends on 23 April, so I really need to get my sewing on. I actually had planned to finish the dress this weekend, but for some unknown reason when I tried on the bodice it was hella too tight. So then I tried on the last dress I made from S2444 and it fit fine. So I don’t know if that was super-bad cutting or what. In the end I just cut the back bodice again (luckily I had some extra fabric!) and slightly bigger – I spent a really. long. time. making sure the pleats would align with the darts on the front so I wasn’t keen to play with that. If the skirt back ends up being too short my current plan is to just make the pleats smaller of something. Cos that’s how I roll. #lazysewing4life

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Moving on, I also decided to do sew for victory. I’m using Butterick 5846 which a bit like Vogue 8615 is a modern pattern that seems convinced it’s vintage. Seriously, ignore the fugly styling and look at those lines. To me it’s very 1940s.

My fabric is a navy floral, pictured below. I was in Spotlight for AGES looking for the right fabric – I wanted something navy-based with a small-scale floral. The flowers on this are a little larger than my preference but it’s pretty close to what I had pictured.

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In closing shout out to my awesome friend T, who with some assistance from yours truly completed her first dress on the weekend. Welcome to sewing T!

Until next time!