Sunday, 29 March 2015

That lace dress, Mark II. AKA the hundred hour dress AKA morphing Vogue 8766 to Butterick 5748

This dress had been completely made to almost finished stage when I decided I didn't like it.  Because I am a total perfectionist, and love to torture myself, I unpicked it completely and started again.

Lace Dress

This time I decided to underline in a lovely cotton voile in a soft creamy yellow from Spotlight.  It worked much better than the silk I used before (you can see the previous version of this dress here).  The lace is rather heavy and using a soft drapey silk as the underlining caused all kinds of problems with how the lace sat.  With the more stable voile it behaved much better.  I also took the time to run horizontal rows of basting in a fine silk basting thread, which also helped the lace and underlining act as a single layer.  I did this for the bodice but the skirt is free hanging and only attached as the side and centre back seams.

Lace Dress

Next up I recut the bodice in a completely new pattern.  Instead of Vogue 8766 I switched to the bodice of Butterick 5748, I managed to do this as I was cutting a full size or two down.  As I didn't have enough length to cut the full bodice out of the old pieces, I modified the pattern to make a wide midriff yoke, which I was able to eke out of the unused sleeve pieces.  I also had to cut the shoulder straps thinner, which makes the bodice a little skimpy for me but I plan to make a linen jacket to wear with it so I don't feel so bare.  The benefit of this is that the vertical join in lace on the bodice front (just slightly to the left of the centre front in the pictures) is now virtually invisible.

Lace Dress

Sorry for the life of me I couldn't manage a decent shot of the back.  I am still doing dodgy phone camera photos - the zipper doesn't look straight to me but I am hoping it is just how I am standing - that zipper got handpicked in three times and I am finally running out of enthusiasm to fix everything.

Finally I recut the skirt pieces using Gerties pencil skirt pattern from her first book, which is a good shape for me, and shortened it a tad, which brought the heavy lace pattern up near my hips to a more flattering place.  I also pivoted out the darts in the lace layer of the skirt to remove some of the bulk there as that top band of lace on the skirt is really heavy - it broke my overlocker thread trying to finish off the seams.

Lace Dress side

These photos ended up being the best of the lot - I really struggle with the photo taking at the moment, le sigh. 

So internally it is fully lined with the same cotton voile as the underlining which hides any shadowing from the seams showing through.  It also gives the dress a nice firmness, and feels lovely to wear.  There was a fair bit of handsewing in this dress and it really did drag on a bit too long, I was totally flagging at the end, but I am happy to have something wearable, although now the weather has shifted in Sydney and its much cooler, so I have to wait I think till next summer to wear it, which is OK as it gives me some time to make a lovely linen jacket to wear with it.  Any ideas for colours to wear with this dress?

So there you go, I finally got to  use the lovely lace from Mel from Poppykettle.
Thanks Mel!!


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Jaywalk Maxi Dress - Vogue 1027

Remember the Jaywalk sewing competition from Tessuti last year? I purchased some the fabric mainly because it was so well priced for a good quality jersey and then sat on it for the entire competition.  I am not very competitive by nature, so wasn't really interested in entering, although seeing all the entries was very handy to help me decide what I wanted to make with my share of fabric.  The pinterest board is great!

For casual daywear in summer, I live in maxi dresses.  So I made up the Vogue 1027 bodice with a self-drafted quarter circle maxi skirt. 

Like alot of other people with this fabric, I had fun matching stripes for some cool chevron effects.

I ended up with matched chevrons at both the side and front and back seams, which I was really happy about.

Bit of a sway back adjustment needed
For the next time I make this pattern I can see I need a swayback adjustment. This pattern does run large.  I sized down one size from my measurements when I made it.  It is looser now as I have lost a bit of weight but the one size down worked ok when I first made it.   I wear this with a belt to break up the stripes.

The front waistline is a bit uneven, but as I always wear a belt, I can live with it.  I finished the neckline and sleeves with a band rather than the suggested fold over and stitch method.  The bands help prevent gaping - I stretched them quite a bit as I was sewing them on.  I probably pulled the neck band a bit too tight as you can see it is pulling up at the waistline a bit, but it makes it feel nice and secure when I am wearing it.  I reinforced the shoulder seams of this dress with some rayon seam binding tape.

I've made this dress before in a solid black crepe jersey which is impossible to photograph, but like everyone who has made this pattern, I really love it and highly recommend it. 

I also really love the drape of a 1/4 circle skirt.  It works so well for a maxi skirt, and is not as much of a fabric hog as other styles. 

I have the other colourway of Jaywalk and have made that up into a maxi dress too, but with the stripes doing something totally different.  Its a great fabric and has held up really well to repeated machine washings.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Possibly my most favourite dress ever

This dress is three patterns mish mashed together to make for me the perfect dress.  The fabric is possibly my most favourite print ever, its an Amy Butler print, the Love Bliss Bouquet in Teal, from

As this is a medium weight quilting cotton, with minimal drape, I knew I had to make something that worked with those properties and not against it.  Quilting cottons need patterns with a fair amount of structure so a basic fit and flare dress with a fitted bodice and a flared skirt work well in my experience.  As you probably know from previous posts, I have also used quilting cottons successfully for pencil skirts (here and here for example), but they really benefit from a silk organza underlining. 

The bodice is the Emery dress.  It was on sale and I purchased the pdf version to see what all the fuss was about.  It is a nice, well drafted bodice for sure, and fits nicely.  I still needed to do a significant sway back adjustment and my standard forward shoulder adjustment.  I wanted something different for the neckline so I traced off the neckline from Gerties New Book for Better Sewing Sultry Sheath, which has a lovely sweetheart shape. The sleeves are also from the Emery but I traced off one size larger and then gathered the extra sleeve cap ease to make little puff sleeves.  The skirt is Vogue 8648, as I had it in the right size, but it is just a full circle skirt.  It is so easy to draft your own, just use this or this to work out your radius and you are good to go.  I added in my own pockets.

Now, I have also lost my camera, it has been safety "put away" from little fingers who decided it was a great toy, of course now I can't find it either, so these photos have been hastily taken with my camera phone app propped up on a chair and some boxes.  Apparently if I yell "kimchi" it takes a photo.  I was alternating between being really amused and annoyed by the whole bizzare process, and I needed to significantly crop out my surrounds, but at least it captures the dress moderately ok. 

Love the nice fitting back. It is an invisible zip.

This one is off in the colour but shows the puffy sleeves.
The pockets are french seamed which is my favourite method now for doing them, it gives such a clean neat finish inside.  A good tutorial for that is here or here. 

The bodice is lined with a cotton silk, I ended up hand sewing it around the armscye rather than serging it all together as I prefer how that looks too.  The skirt is unlined as it has alot of body already and is not see through at all, although I still wear a half slip with it in case the wind blows everything up.

The sleeve hems are hand sewn with an invisible stitch but the skirt hem is machine sewn, I was over the handsewing and it is very hard to see on this fabric anyway. 

Friday, 13 February 2015

A rose print pencil skirt

I have wanted a rose printed pencil skirt for ages so even though this is just a simple make I am so pleased with it.

I used the Gertie pencil skirt pattern from her first book. Its a double darted pattern that gives a nice line, although I peg it slightly more than the pattern, and add a back vent.

I used a quilting cotton from Spotlight which was the only rose print I could find but used the organza underlining trick to elevate the fabric into something much nicer.  The organza underlining works so well with pencil skirts, and really does prevent any wrinkles that may develop in a cotton fabric.  I used organza in the waistband as well some fusible interfacing from my favourite place.

I mitred the corners of the vent which gives such a lovely bulk free finish on the inside.  I love the tutorials from Lena, because you can be confident they are correct, this is the tutorial I used for the hem vent.

Sorry, dummy photo's again today...

Close up up skirt hem mitred corner

The side seams are just pinked.

The hem is double turned and hand stitched to the organza only.
 Finally, I worked out that the best way to peg a knee length or below knee length skirt so that it does not develop a tulip shape (which can happen if you peg it in alot or have a strong pear shape, a good example of this unintentional tulip shape is my tartan skirt here) is to draw a line  perpendicular to the hem (at a 90 degree angle, or close to a 90 degree angle, to the hem) until just above your knee and then tapering from that point up to your hip curve.  The way I have done it in the past is mark the point on the hem I want the skirt width to be, and then draw a line straight up to the hip point, which is the way I have seen most tutorials do it.  This works fine if you are only tapering the side seams slightly, but if you want/need to bring it in a few inches it can look more tulip than pencil I think. If you make the start of the line perpendicular to the hem for a couple of inches until you get just above the top of the knee cap and then taper to the hip, it gives a much more RTW look.  
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