Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Another Muslin for a Special Project

I was recently contacted by Organic Cotton Plus about reviewing some of their fabric.


To be honest, I have had my eyes on this hemp/silk blend fabric for some time.  It's pretty luscious, right?!  The color is a little more blue toned than the website photos look on my screen, but the following picture doesn't quite capture the color either.  This is a difficult one to photograph!


As I had a lovely experience with my last review of one of their organic cotton sateen prints, I jumped right on board.  (So much for no new fabric added to the stash, right?!? - except I used this one right away, so maybe it doesn't count?)


When the fabric arrived, it had a bit more drape than I was expecting, so I had to reassess my pattern choice.  Also, the "wrong" side of the satin was just as gorgeous as the right side.  The fabric is labeled as charmeuse, but this seems more like a heavy crepe backed satin than a charmeuse to me, although the weave is not a crepe.


Once I realized that I wanted to use both sides of the fabric to do it justice, there was only one pattern that would do!  I made Vintage Vogue 2354 many, many years ago in a poly crepe backed satin.  The publish date on the pattern envelope is 2001, so my dress is probably close to 15 years old.  I did wear it a few times, decided that I did not like the side opening with snaps and hook & eyes, replaced those with an invisible zipper, did not do such a great job, and to top it off it was made from POLYESTER.  Yuck!  I still don't have the heart to get rid of it, but will I ever wear the garment again?  I doubt it.


Here was an opportunity to try again.  I did attempt to add length to the torso of a fairly complex design with some success with very few years of garment sewing under my belt back in the early aughts, but it did not turn out perfectly, and a muslin was definitely going to be on the table with my gorgeous hemp/silk textile.


To properly lengthen the bodice pieces, I thread traced my muslin pieces but left plenty of extra fabric along the bottom edges.


I pleated those pieces and then trimmed the extra seam allowance.


What remained was a properly lengthened bodice!


The only real issue was that I could not be absolutely sure how those two front pieces should match up.


I took an educated guess, and continued on.


Can I just say how much I love the interesting style lines of this dress!  You just don't find this in modern design, and it's a real shame.


But, oh well, this is why we make our own clothes!


And, of course, I basted a zipper into the side seam to get a better idea of how this thing was going to fit.


Turns out, I had to shorten the left front bodice piece just a bit to make the neckline sit properly.  Other than that, there was not a whole lot to mess with.


I was a good girl and even used my shoulder pads to test the fit.  (They really do make a difference.)


A few notations regarding the alterations to the left front bodice scribbled on my muslin . . .


and it was time to rip the whole thing apart.


Now the question is, did I finish the dress in a single weekend in order to wear this to the opening concert for The Marin Symphony . . .


I just love self imposed deadlines!  But a full length gown with satin fabric involved is a bit much for a simple day at the office, even for me.



[Disclosure:  Organic Cotton Plus provided me with this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]

Monday, November 6, 2017

An Eyelet Maxi Dress


It’s going to be a little unseasonable around these parts for a while.  I am still trying to catch up with the backlog of projects I have been making for the last few months.  Oh, how I wish I could magically choose the best photos without actually going through all of them!!  Or, in the alternative, not look like a complete dork in 90% of said photos.  That would work, too!


I do have to give myself  a bit of a break, though, because even though I feel like I am way behind with this blog, I created some very successful projects this summer.  This dress, just like my first version of Butterick 6453, had quite a few outings while the weather was warm (which is always a good indication of success).


It really doesn't get much more comfortable than a cotton maxi dress.


For the last few years, most of my frocks have hovered around knee length.  I love wearing all of them, but I do miss my longer skirts and dresses.   


The only real issue with the longer length happens at the office when I have to be careful not to roll my office chair over the hem as I sit in front of the computer.  Whoops!


But that is something I can deal with!


I originally thought about making the hemline more of a tea length, but when the width of the fabric allowed for more of a maxi length, I went for it.


And although I initially had other plans for this eyelet fabric, I am very, very happy that I waited until the idea for this outfit came into my mind.  Now I just have to continue that trend, and keep pulling from the stash.  "No new fabric" is going to be my mantra for the foreseeable future.  Any guesses how long that resolution will last?!



Dress:  Made by me, Butterick 6453
Bolero:  Made by me, Butterick 6354
Necklace:  Made by me
Shoes:  Vince Camuto "Hallee"

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Matching Bolero

What was my eyelet dress missing?  A matching coverup, of course!


With very limited leftovers, I decided that I wanted to make myself a little bolero.


Butterick 6354 was easy to find (especially important these days since I have not completely recovered from my move) and even better, did not require much yardage.


I decided that I would not underline this piece with the cotton voile, which left me a dilemma . . . how to finish those raw edges.


And, once again, Hug Snug came to my rescue!


I did not have a perfect color match, but I think these tones work together nicely, and if anyone notices, they are way too close, anyway.


I just love it when a plan comes together!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

An Eyelet Dress

Here is yet another version of Butterick 6453.  As soon as I made the first version, I knew I wanted to make another.


I had a different plan for this blue eyelet when I purchased it many years ago, but then I decided I wanted to make a full length version of this sundress, and it was one of the first fabrics that came to mind.


Of course, I wanted to underline it with a pretty green color.  I did have a beautiful mint green bemberg rayon in the sewing room, but there was not quite enough.  And since I had a bit of white cotton voile from Dharma Trading on hand, I decided that dying was the way to go.  Because I just love making things more complicated for myself!


The pattern pieces of the bodice were cut out of the voile, and then placed on the wrong side of the eyelet fabric in order to cut that second layer.


A little hand basting and my pieces were ready to go.


The construction of this design is very straight forward, and since I had already made another version, this was a piece of cake.


At this point I was a little concerned that the green underling was not bright enough to show through . . . but I kept going anyway.


Instead of the piping I added to my first dress, I went for an extra wide bias cut piece that was folded and added to the waistline.  My hope was that it would make an interesting design feature (including a little bow at the center back seam).


Unfortunately, there was one really irritating portion of this project.


Namely, turning the straps right side out.  The holes in the eyelet were making it impossible, along with the added bulk of the embroidery.  I tried every technique I could think of before giving up, pressing the raw edges under, and hand stitching into place.


Bulk was also a bit of an issue when it came to gathering up the skirt.  The added embroidery really does make eyelet much more of a heavy weight fabric than you might think!


But I got fought those gathers into submission eventually - although I will admit to being stabbed by multiple pins along the way.


From there out it was smooth sailing.


I used the neckline facing pieces to cut out a layer of muslin to stabilize that area before adding a full bodice lining to the dress.  I had just enough of my green voile to cut out a duplicate bodice!


And, once again, sew in bra cups were added . . .


before hand stitching the lining into place.


From the moment I received this fabric, I knew that I wanted to use a scalloped edge.  Many eyelet laces have been manufactured so that the selvedge is actually finished with the embroidery.  Unfortunately, this one had a very boring and plain edge.  I was hoping it would be possible to remove that!


I tested my idea on a scrap of the fabric, and then went to town on the actual hem.


One of the final steps was adding a small bow to the center back waist seam.  One end of the bow is permanently stitched in place, and the other has a snap so I can get to the center back zipper.


The final bit was stitching the straps to the back bodice.  The original design has a bra-like adjustable feature that I do not like, so I went ahead and changed that.


And so ends the second version of Butterick 6453.  I actually have already made a third (with a straight skirt) because this is such an easy to wear dress - just step in, zip up, and go!