Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Vintage Floral

Without a doubt, my cotton voile Anna Dress is one of my favorite frocks, and it certainly gets a lot of wear.  On days when I really don’t feel like getting dressed, that garment is the one that gets pulled out of the closet.  It is incredibly comfortable, and makes me look fairly put together without a bare minimum of effort.

And while I also love my cotton/silk full length version of the design, it just does not compare.

This floral challis seemed like a good choice to finally make myself another version before I wear that cotton one out!

And I have to say that I am pretty pleased with how it turned out.

The only modifications I made were to lengthen the short skirted version by ten inches, lengthen the sleeves by half an inch, and re-draw the back neckline, making sure that the dress would still be bra friendly.

I did end up adding lingerie guards because the neckline is a bit wide - the first day I wore this dress, I noticed that my bra straps were peeking out every once in a while.  Can’t have that!  A bit of ribbon and two snaps took care of that problem.

This is one of those designs that really works in a variety of fabrics.

And if I find another floaty rayon that I really love, I would not be against making another Anna Dress!  A lightweight wool might even take this design right through the colder months . . . 

Dress:  Made by me, “Anna” by By Hand London
Shoes:  Banana Republic
Earrings:  Shadows

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Giving New Life to an Old Dress

Over a year ago, I came across this cotton dress in the back of the closet.  

I would guess that this particular garment was completed approximately fifteen years ago.  The copyright on the pattern is 2000, and back then I did not have a large pattern stash and generally cut into a design soon after I purchased it.

I could not say exactly why I chose to spend all that time embroidering the floral pattern on a fabric that looked slightly dingy right off the bolt.  Unfortunately, because of that, the dress has not seen much action.  

When the dress was pulled from the closet, I noticed a few spot stains on the skirt.  Arghh!  My first thought was to dye the dress.  The only problem is that the embroidery is cotton crewel thread so I was afraid that might take the dye as well.  I also was concerned that the thread might be 100% polyester and would not take a fiber reactive dye.  And that white polyester zipper was definitely not going to take any color.  That left me with very few color options - all of which would have to be very pale or pastel.

So the dress sat in the to-do pile for an entire year.  Well, it has been mocking me ever since.  And with Fall rapidly approaching, I really did not want to put this project off any longer.  So I soaked it in an oxygen wash product.  That took the stains away, but the appearance of the "white" fabric had not improved.  The next step was to dye the dress.

The pale pink color that I went with is fairly subtle, but that white zipper was definitely a problem.  And the installation of said zipper was terrible.  (I have one other sundress with a zipper that is about 3/4" from the top that I made early on in my garment sewing adventures - not sure why I thought that was the proper construction, but I figured out a better way fairly quickly, thank goodness!)

The waist seam was also off by about 1/4".  Unfortunately, some of the embroidery was worked through the zipper tape, so it would have to be ripped out if I decided to replace the zipper.

I couldn't believe my luck when I went right to the old stashed crewel thread that was used for the embroidery.  Sometimes hoarding all those little bits pays off!

While I was in there, I went ahead and stabilized the back opening with some interfacing.

And I found the perfect matching zipper in my drawer of invisible zips.

Then I just needed to remember how to make a stem stitch and brush up on my French knots, and the project was complete!

I did get a chance to wear this before the weather turned, but I think it is time to say goodbye to the pastels for a few months.  But next year, this will definitely be on wardrobe rotation!