Monday, November 19, 2018

More Upholstery Fabric

My obsession with upholstery fabric continues.  I have loved my past results, and I will continue to use the heavy duty textiles for my garments.  Whether or not they are considered "appropriate" for wear is irrelevant to me because I think they are fabulous!

My first major decision for this project was which side of the fabric to use.  The cream background is the actual "right" side, but I really liked the blue.  In the end, I went with it.

I had already decided what I wanted to do with the fabric when I was given an entire roll of the stuff. I had plenty of yardage to work with, so limited fabric was not an issue.  That never happens!

I have wanted to make something similar to these Ralph & Russo dresses since I first came across the images.

For some reason the tapestry fabric immediately made me flash on these garments, and therefore I could not get the idea of making something similar with this fabric out of my mind.

The Vogue 8701 bodice was an obvious choice.  I already know it fits well, and I figured I could alter the neckline to give it a bit more of an off the shoulder look.  I made a couple of muslins to get everything just right, and then it was on to the capelet.

My first try was pretty good.

Next, I needed a skirt.  Because the fabric is incredibly heavy and thick, I thought a circle skirt would be too much.  I recently made Simplicity 8458 and thought that the silhouette would work nicely.  Turns out, the side seams were in the perfect spot to match the bodice side seams.  I just love when things come together like that with no alterations needed!

And then it was time to cut into the good stuff.  The width of the fabric determined my skirt length since I did not want to piece the front skirt.

Once those large pattern pieces were cut, I did my best to match the motifs to the corresponding bodice pieces.

It all turned out pretty well (probably because I had a ton of fabric left to cut another if I needed it, so of course, I didn't).

I wasn't as concerned about matching the sleeves to the bodice, since they would be covered by the capelet, but I did make sure to mirror the pieces so they matched on either side.

So far, so good.

Then I pinned the muslin capelet back on the dress.  I decided that I like a bit of a split in the back, but had to decide just how open to make it so it did not look like a drafting mistake.

I also felt like the shoulders needed a little extra room to make the capelet lay nicely.

So I sliced into the paper pattern and gave myself a little extra wiggle room at the shoulder.

The edge of the capelet was bound with Hug Snug seam binding and left un-hemmed until I hemmed the skirt and could mess around with finished proportions.

So far, the capelet looks great.

I did not line the skirt, but the bodice definitely needed a lining.

The biggest reason was that I wanted to add some boning channels to help keep the bodice from collapsing.  The upholstery fabric was probably up to the challenge without the added infrastructure, but I didn't want to take any chances.

The zipper was an easy choice.  There was no chance that an invisible zipper could handle this fabric,  especially the waist seam bulk, so I used a standard zipper with a lapped application.  I cheated and machine stitched the underlap.  I kind of wish I pick stitched it like I did with the overlap, but since it isn't visible I am going to forgive myself.  I was also on a bit of a deadline, so the machine stitches saved me some time.

Because of the thickness of the textile, turn of cloth made the overlapped zipper seam allowance a little narrow for my taste (and this stuff likes to fray).  In an act of desperation, I added a length of seam binding to the edge to give myself more wiggle room.  It worked beautifully!  I can't believe I haven't thought of this before, but I am sure the technique will come in handy in the future.

I always balance my darts by pressing the lining dart in the opposite direction to the bodice one.  This time around, my cotton certainly did not fully balance the upholstery fabric, and I thought about adding a piece of fabric, but in the end, it was not necessary.  I think the texture of the fabric was enough to keep things smooth.

And I am going to leave this here for now.  There are a few finishing details to come, but from here on out, the most challenging part was hauling this heavy thing around the sewing room!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Lilacs without the Lace

A few months back, I finally got around to doing something with this lilac fabric by making a matching top and skirt.

There wasn't much yardage to be had, as it was previously used for a dress many, many years ago.  But it all worked out in the end, with a minor bit of piecing on the back bodice!

Turns out, a Rita Top paired with a knee length little skirt is a great idea.  And the skirt, in particular, has had a lot of wear this summer.

It's always a good sign when I keep pulling something out of the closet so soon after having finished sewing it together!

Sometimes those quick projects are the perfect sewing palette cleanser.

I did, of course, finish the insides with seam binding, and faced the skirt hem to give it a bit more oomph.  You can take the girl away from the underlining and hand basting, but you can't pry the Hug Snug from her hands.

And I am quite proud of the fact that my resolution to add more separates to the closet is still going strong.  Which is not to say that there will be no more dresses in my future . . . you can count on the fact that there will be!!

Blouse:  Made by me, "The Rita Blouse"
Skirt:  Made by me, Butterick 6558
Shoes:  Miss L Fire "Bel-Aire"
Earrings:  Vintage

Friday, November 2, 2018

Winter McCalls

If I had to choose my least favorite of the Big4 pattern companies, it would be McCalls.  I consistently love Vogue, Butterick keep releasing those wonderful vintage reproduction patterns, and Simplicity has been having a lot of good design moments as of late.  But this time around, I like quite a few of the new designs from McCalls.  Go figure.  Just what I need, more new patterns to entice me!  The pattern hoarding situation is getting a bit out of control around here.
Of course, it is no surprise that I am drawn to the one new vintage reproduction from The Archive Collection.  On the whole, I haven't been as excited about this category as the Vintage Vogues, but there is some good stuff happening here.  Look past the weird rhinestone necklace . . .

And please avert your eyes from this styling madness.  Not sure what is happening here, but we have 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s stuff added, and it took me a moment to sort out which decade is actually being represented.  I hate the poly organza used for the cropped jacket, but I do love those sleeves!  My Cherries Jubilee dress has a version of this lantern sleeve, and it is somewhat unexpected in todays boring sleeve world, so hooray for that!

I also love this formal gown.  The princess seams and Dior darts are great paired with that off the shoulder silhouette.  Do I need another formal dress pattern . . . no, but having a bit of inspiration is never a bad thing.
And while the panne velvet is not my favorite, I do love a good capelet!  Something is off with the neckline and caplet proportions, but there are possibilities here.

If I look past the fabric sample, I also see possibilities with this top.  I think the tie bodice with the longer sleeves is adorable.  My issues with these tops is always what to wear on the bottom.  They look great with a pair of jeans, but I don't own any.  I could always tuck it into a high waisted skirt, but that changes the look.  Maybe I could make a dress out of it?
I am also very drawn to this shawl collared robe.  There is definitely a bit of 1940s vibe happening here.  Of course, I don't need a robe . . .
A great shirtdress is always nice, and kudos for the effort to try something "new."  But the asymmetry just doesn't quite work for me.  I think it would end up looking like the garment was twisted while worn, instead of purposefully off kilter.  And the ruching sort of makes the skirt look too tight, even on the technical drawing - on my hips, that would go terribly wrong.

And for a bit of fantasy, here is another pattern that I do not need, but would definitely love to swan about in the completed dress.  But I have a drawer full of costume patterns that are probably close to twenty years old, and most of them have never been used.  I do love that neckline, though!
[Click on image for source]

Monday, October 29, 2018

Label Love

A couple of years ago, the nice people at The Dutch Label Shop contacted me about trying their personalized labels.  Time went by, and I got distracted with one thing and another, but when they contacted me again, I decided having some pretty labels to add to my one of a kind clothing might be fun.  [The fact that I had the opportunity to examine a lot of wonderful vintage clothing up close and personal in the last year and see so many amazing vintage labels may have pushed me over the edge!]

The site offers a wide variety of fonts, colors, and symbols to customize your very own label.  Of course, I had to complicate matters and design my own.  PicMonkey was surprisingly helpful in this regard.  

When I couldn't decide on one style or color, I just went for it and ordered three variations on a theme.

I love how they turned out!  And I still can't choose a favorite . . . I will have to see them in action to make that decision!

[Disclosure: The Dutch Label Shop provided me with a coupon code which was used to purchase these labels, but the opinions posted here are my own.]

Monday, October 22, 2018

Pale Pink Orchids

Sometimes a plan takes some time to come together.

When I designed this fabric, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.  I love the skirt from Vogue 4203 and wanted to pair it with Vogue 8701 to see how they would work together - I suspected things would go swimmingly!

So I carefully cut out my precious self-designed fabric.

When I ordered my yardage, I mis-remembered how much fabric the skirt requires.

My mistake meant that I had enough fabric left to make a matching jacket for my dress.  Love it!

I have been meaning to make another version of Vogue 9082 for years, and this was the perfect opportunity.

I thought the outfit deserved something extra, so I made a fascinator out of a length of petersham ribbon and some Russian veiling that I had stashed away.

I really love how this outfit turned out!

And I don't promise that I am done with this skirt pattern, either.  The only question is, which bodice to try next!

Dress:  Made by me, Vogue 4203 / Vogue 8701
Jacket:  Made by me, Vogue 9082
Belt:  Made by me
Fascinator:  Made by me
Earrings:  Vintage
Shoes:  Remix "Babydoll"

[Disclosure:  My Fabric Designs provided me with a coupon code which was used to purchase this fabric, but the opinions posted here are my own.]