Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Rosebud Bustier

A few months ago, I started seeing versions of the Rose Cafe Bustier Dress showing up on my Instagram feed.  I like to steer clear of most new indy designer pattern companies I come across until I am sure that they know what they are doing.  And it looks like Daria of Daria Patternmaking has some excellent sewing skills, so I thought I would give her patternmaking a try.  One skillset does not necessarily follow the other, but I was curious enough to try this pattern.

As I was mostly interested in the bodice portion of the pattern, there wasn't a whole lot of sewing or even paper to waste should something go horribly wrong.  This design did not disappoint.  In fact, it is rather interesting for a couple of reasons.  First is the sizing:  to determine your bust cup size, you measure over the fullest portion of the bust (there is no full bust minus underbust kind of measuring) and refer to a chart; the bodice measurements are similar to every other fitted bodice I have come across.  It's a very interesting method, although it has issues just as any standardized draft has, which I will discuss later.  The second surprise was in the construction of the bodice.  And we will get to that as well.

I had a tiny bit of this embroidered linen blend left after making a dress with it many years ago, but I didn't want to get rid of it, so I kept the scraps.  And there was just enough for this pattern since all of the pieces are rather small!

All of the fabric pieces were interfaced according to the instructions.  I am usually against using  fusible interfacing, but I thought I might as well follow the instructions and see what happened.

A duplicate lining was made with some quilting cotton leftovers from the stash.

I added to the torso length, per usual, and took a wedge out of the back, also standard for me.

The rest of the pattern was cut out as-is.

I also went ahead and added a few pieces of boning to the lining because my choice of fabric was rather drapey.

Everything went together as expected.

I didn't have a separating zipper, so I used a standard zipper which gets folded up and out of sight during wear.  But that does mean that the bottom edge has to be finished before installing the zipper.

So far, so good.

And here is where things get interesting.  Instead of stitching the cup into the bodice cradle, the entire bodice is finished and the cup is finished along the upper edge as well.  The curved edge of the bust is finished, and then both the finished bodice and finished cups are stitched together.

Perhaps this makes the curved stitching line of the cups easier?  I am not really sure on the why, but it does work.  It's not my favorite method, however, because it makes for a somewhat bulky join at either end.

But it definitely works.  Is this standard for lingerie making?  I am not often surprised by sewing instructions at this point in my garment making adventures, but this one was new to me.

I believe that I will go for a more standard construction method the next time I try this pattern, but it's always nice to learn something new!

And now for that zipper tail . . .  The extra length makes it easy to get in and out of the garment.  I use a couple of snaps to keep the zipper tucked up inside the garment during wear. 

Overall, I'm pleased with the outcome.  But back to what I was mentioning earlier about the manner in which a size is chosen . . . 

The bridge stands slightly away from my chest, and I think I know why.  Cup size here is determined by measuring over the fullness of the bust.  However, that does not take into account how the bulk of the bust sits on the body.  This particular pattern is drafted so that the cups are rather shallow and wide.  There are a massive number of examples on the internet (did I mention this was a popular pattern!).  And at first glance, everyone looks fabulous.  But my issue with the center bodice not sitting flush with my body seems to be fairly common upon closer inspection of those online photos.  I believe that I need less width and more depth in the bust area.  I am currently testing that hypothesis with another version of the pattern and will let you know how it goes.

But for the first go at a new pattern, from a new pattern company, with a new manner of sizing, I am very happy with the end results.


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Illustrated Ladies

It may not happen with each project, but every once in a while the pairing of fabric and pattern comes together so perfectly, it was just meant to be!  This was one of those dresses.

I have a difficult time resisting novelty prints, and these vintage sewing themed prints are even more challenging for me to walk past at the fabric store than your standard novelty print.  The fact that the fabric design had an image of Simplicity 3592 printed right on it and I happened to have that very pattern in my stash made it very clear that the fabric had to come home with me.

I wanted to do something extra special with this fabric, but I wasn't quite sure what that might be.

The addition of some sequins was what I finally came up with.

Early on I decided that I wanted the belt to be the star of the show, and I think I accomplished that goal!

I had a feeling that I was going to love the silhouette of this dress, and I was right.  The 1960s have really grown on me in the last decade of my sewing journey.  And I was also hoping that this particular dress pattern might turn out to be something that I would want to make over and over again in different fabric types with a minor variation here or there.

Having already worn this dress a couple of times, I can confirm that it's a good one, and I have an idea of the next version in my mind . . . or maybe I want to do something different with that particular fabric, I haven't really decided.

For now, I am enjoying the classic fit and flare silhouette and have been spending my evenings with a knitting project, although I am sure I will be back in the sewing room any day now.

In the meantime, I have no intention to stop working with these whimsical prints, and am always keeping my eyes open for the next one to cross my path.  They make me happy to look at and are equally enjoyable to wear.


Dress:  Made by me, Simplicity 3592
Belt:  Made by me
Shoes:  Remix "Babydoll"

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Oversized Pockets & Circle Skirts

One of my favorite wardrobe pieces is my red wool circle skirt.  When it is weather appropriate, I take every opportunity I can to wear the darn thing.  Of course, it's not exactly Summer heat friendly.

I have been meaning to make a lighter weight version for the warmer months ever since I made the wool one.  Of course, finding solid colored fabrics that I like is an issue.  But add in a bit of texture (enter this cotton piqué from Mood Fabrics) and it becomes more palatable to me.

At some point as I was dreaming up a cotton version of a circle skirt, I came across this vintage pattern.  Isn't she marvelous?!

Those style lines look familiar, right?  The first thing that caught my eye was that shaped waistband that comes to a point at center front.  That was a super easy alteration.

The back panels were stitched together.

Any guesses as to how I finished my raw edges?  If you have been around these parts for any length of time, I'm sure you have heard me extol the virtues of rayon seam binding.  And I happened to have the perfect red on hand.

A lapped zipper was installed at center back.

And then it was time to decide on my pockets.  The drafted Stanwyck pockets are really oversized and not exactly what I wanted.  My search for a vintage circle skirt with oversized pockets brought me to that fabulous vintage pattern, which was exactly the look that I wanted.

Now armed with an image of what is perhaps the perfect circle skirt/oversized pocket combo, I had some work to do.

I mocked up a version of my newly drafted pocket in some scrap fabric because I only had scraps of fabric left with no room for errors.

Once I was happy with the size, I made myself a pattern and cut out two pockets and two facings for the folding portion of the pocket.

The facing finishes the upper edge, and the two side seams are incorporated into the seamlines, but I needed to finish the bottom of the pocket.

This cotton has a lovely drape, so I thought that it would be a good idea to add a bit of stability to the folded portion of the pocket.

I pondered the idea of adding an underlining to the entire pocket, but decided it would mess with the beautiful drape of the circle skirt, so I left it out.

Here is the way I finished the flap while leaving myself two side edges that were applied to the skirt side front pieces.

It worked out very nicely.

I would say that nine times out of ten, I look at pattern instructions, whether or not I intend to use them during the construction of my garment.  This many years into garment sewing I feel fairly confident about the ins and outs of putting things together, but I still hold my breath when I am winging it with no pattern pieces and directions to fall back on.

Once the pockets were in place, the front sections of the skirt were stitched together.

Once all of the seams were finished, it was time to get back to that waistband!

As with all of my wider waistbands, I add pieces of boning to keep it from collapsing during a day of wear.

The boning is installed in the lining section of the waistband.

And I just love that shape!  

Which brings us to the worst part of the project . . . evening out the hemline.  

Okay, so it's not all that bad.  It's just not something that thrills me, and I don't believe that it ever will be.

This cotton did not drop as much as I had expected, but it did need some trimming.

To maintain as much length as possible, I used a fairly narrow hem; the raw edge was finished with my seam binding.

And after evening out that hemline, I get rewarded with some hand sewing!

The waistband was hand stitched in place.

It can be a little bit awkward working around the longer lengths of plastic boning, but it works.

And here is the finished look.

This skirt turned out even better than I expected.

It has already become a wardrobe staple, so I am going to call this one a resounding success!