Sunday, November 25, 2018

Rick Rack Revelry

Since I still have not made it thought the pictures of my most recent project, and you have seen a bunch of construction mumbo jumbo lately, I thought I would share a finished project.

And while I have been wearing the skirt until fairly recently, the weather has definitely turned, and my summer garments made of cotton are taking a siesta in the closet for the time being.

I tossed this project aside last year after the zipper pull came right out of the zipper.  This, of course, happened after the lining and waistband was attached and seam allowances and corners nicely trimmed.

Normally, I would be very pig-headed about these sorts of things and stick with it until I became extremely frustrated and did something rash that might just make more of a mess of the project.

Instead, I let it sit . . . for over a year.

The fix is not perfect, but it means I can use the zipper without replacing it, which is a huge win, in my opinion.

And I have added two more separates to the collection.

The skirt, especially, has proved to be a great wardrobe builder.  And I suspect it will be on rotation quite a bit once the warm weather returns.  

For now, I am trying to suitable fabric for a coat pattern which inconveniently requires a massive amount of yardage.  Why did I only get four yards of that periwinkle wool coating last year?!?

Blouse:  Made by me, McCall 7563
Skirt:  Made by me, self-drafted
Earrings:  Vintage
Shoes:  Banana Republic

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Finishing Touches to the Upholstery

Continuing on with the saga of the upholstery fabric . . .  once the boning channels were in, I decided it would be nice not to have to wear a strapless bra with this dress.  So out came the bra cups.  However, like many other dress projects, the cups do not extend far enough to reach a seam allowance, making it impossible to invisibly attach them to the dress.

I have attached cups to the lining of a dress before, but I just don't think it works quite as well.  So I extend the cups themselves with a scrap of fabric.  This allows me to stitch them to the underarm seam.  The excess fabric can then be trimmed away.

The cups also get stitched to the dart to keep them from rotating.

It's not the prettiest fix in the world, but it works.  And the lining takes care of covering the mess!

For this project, I decided to use a piece of bias fabric to finish the neck edge.  I thought it would be easier than fighting with the lining after the capelet was attached.  Did I mention how heavy this thing is?!?

This is not my usual construction technique, but it did the job.

And, of course, I added a waist stay.  A piece of petersham and a couple of hook & eyes makes all the difference.

After doing quite a few of these, I have learned that offsetting the closure on the waist stay from the zipper is much more comfortable when wearing.

It means things are off center, but I think it's worth it!

And, of course, a strapless dress needs hanger loops so it won't fall of a hanger.

I like to add thread loops to front and back bodice so that the neckline does not gape open while on the hanger.

Just thread the ribbon through the thread loops at the front and back bodice, and they hold everything together nicely.

I just love it when I have matching ribbons stashed away!

She's all ready for a nice nap in the closet!

A lapped zipper application usually needs to be held flat, especially if it is fitted at the waist.  It's hard to see in the photo, but across from the hook is a thread bar (it's right below the bright blue pen dot).  With a textured fabric like this, it blends in nicely!

Finally, I added one of my new woven labels from The Dutch Label Shop - this is actually the first garment to get one.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I finished a dress!

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!