Thursday, December 31, 2020

Living Pop Art

Getting back to that crazy printed dress I made in October . . .

You see, I had this brilliant idea for a Halloween costume.  After sorting through my stash of holiday novelty prints (only to realize that I did not have any Halloween themed options) it flashed on me - this crazy comic strip fabric would make a fabulous dress!  And I could wear a blue wig and put some exaggerated makeup on and become one of the characters in the comic strip that I was wearing.   Very meta, right?!

I finished the dress in time, and even found a wig that I thought might work for my purposes.  Alas, it was not very well made which was not all that surprising from the low price, and I couldn't manipulate the front into the 1940s rolls like I wanted (no lace front, see the comment about price).

Once the wig was out of the picture, I lost some of my motivation to figure out how to make my face resemble the dotted images in the cartoon.  Believe it or not, there are tutorials for this.  But without a wig, I didn't think the look would work.

Although I was still pretty darn excited about the dress.

I think I will do the full costume at some point in the future if I can find a suitable wig.  There's alway next year, right?!

But other than the missing parts to the "costume," I really love the dress.  

The Butterick 6412 bodice fits great with my standard adjustments, and the pleated skirt that I drafted works nicely with the print.  The skirt actually turned out even better then I was expecting with the bold graphic lines of the print!  I am very glad I didn't try to fight the print and make it work with a shaped skirt.

So this one is a definite success.  I've already worn the dress twice, and have been getting a lot of wear out of my matching face mask.

This also makes me want to get my hands on the original "Home Sewing is Easy" print and make myself another wacky dress.

So I guess I will add that project to the ever growing list!

Dress & Belt:  Made by me, Butterick 6412 (with modifications)
Petticoat:  Made by me, Vogue 4203
Earrings:  Vintage
Ring:  Grandfather's school ring
Shoes:  Nine West

Monday, December 28, 2020

How to Build a Snowman

Ah yes, the annual Christmas dress.  It has become a bit of a tradition.  Last year, I made myself a blouse and matching quilted skirt, and I had plans to make a dress out of this wonderful snowman print.  Alas, I only got as far as washing the cotton before the holiday came and went, and I lost the motivation for winter themed novelty prints and moved onto something else.

This year, I knew that I wanted to get back to the snowman print.  I gave myself plenty of time, and started working on a muslin at the end of November.  My idea was to combine last year's blouse (already a combo of different shirt and sleeve patterns) and add a skirt to the mix.

I also wanted to change the collar shape, and make the blouse more fitted through the waist in order to add on a skirt, so a practice run was in order.

I never made a complete dress, but I did have a good enough idea that the dress would turn out with part of two skirt panels pleated down into my bodice, so it was time to cut into my fabric.

I made a few minor changes after ripping apart the muslin in order to use those pieces as my pattern.

And then it was time to fit everything on my fabric yardage.

I knew it was going to be a tight squeeze, and it really was a bear.

I mulled things over for a couple of days, determined to use the massive sleeve pattern.  I adore these sleeves, but they are fabric hogs.  In the end, I made it work with a slightly shortened hem for my skirt pieces.

And it was worth it!  These sleeves are ginormous and absolutely fabulous.

I had my buttons chosen early on, but with only eleven of them available (vintage from an estate sale) the two extra cuff buttons would have to come from somewhere else. 

I found a pretty good match that were half an inch in diameter, and while not a perfect match, they pair nicely.

And with that, the sleeves were complete!  It's strange to complete the sleeve so early on in the process, but I guess after being unsure that I would have them at all, I was anxious to see how they would turn out.

Next up, I had more bound buttonholes to make for the bodice and skirt front.

Although there are multiple ways to go about bound buttonholes, over the years, I have found this technique to be my favorite, starting with making marks on the wrong side of the garment which get transferred to the front by hand basting the lines in silk thread (the silk is so much easier to remove than a standard poly thread).

For the skirt, I decided that the majority of the pleats could be in place before making my buttonholes, so that is what I did.

And here we have more marking . . .

and more basting.

After the buttonholes were finished, skirt was attached to bodice, and the seam finished with seam binding, naturally!

Which leaves the dress looking something like this.

And now for my very first collar stand.

Yes, I have been sewing garments for over twenty years and this is my first collar stand.  Embarrassing, but true.

My only excuse is that I love tie necklines, shawl collars, and less tailored looks, I suppose.  The instructions that came with Vogue 8772 were easy to follow, and I have seen quite a few images over the years and in progress shots of people constructing the collar stand, so all in all, not a difficult process.  My reason for choosing this type of collar will become clear later.

And, of course, this dress needed a matching belt.

I didn't have any one inch belting on hand, but I remembered this roll of interfacing.  It just happens to be two inches wide.  I cut two lengths, zig zagged them together, and then folded the double layer in half and stitched again.  It's not quite as sturdy as actual belting, but with a substantial interfaced fabric piece, it does the trick.

Unfortunately, I did not have enough fabric to cut a length of fabric long enough for my belt, and piecing the directional print meant that a center back seamline requires that the belt open opposite to my button front dress.  It's a small thing, but it bothers me.  I doubt that anyone would notice, especially since the print is so busy, and I have no choice but to live with it.

And since the collar was edge-stitched, I decided to edge-stitch the belt and went back and edge-stitched the cuffs to tie everything together.  The process of edge-stitching makes me very nervous, but it all turned out well in the end.  Also, I had the protection of a busy print to hide any top stitching mistakes, which, of course, never showed up.  Do I dare try this on a solid colored fabric with a contrasting thread?  Probably not.

The other thing I was slightly concerned about was skirt length.  In the end, I decided that this silhouette would work as an above-the-knee length which allowed for a decent hem; not the three to four inches I like to have on a non-shaped skirt, but better than what I was expecting.

Which means the dress is complete!

Except for one missing element . . . can you guess what it is?

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Faux Cables and Cozy Knits

I go through phases with knitting.  For months and months I barely pick up a needle, only to spend the following few months obsessively knitting up a storm.

I generally gravitate towards very fine gauged designs, so the projects take a rather long time to complete.

However, in the last year or so, I find myself drawn more towards DK weight yarns.  It feels rather miraculous that one can finish an entire sweater in a little over a week!  It also helps when the yarn is lovely to work with and the stitch pattern is interesting enough to keep things from getting boring, but easy to memorize.

Looking at the photos, the silhouette might need some extra shaping through the torso, however, the finished sweater is incredibly comfortable.  I may even make myself another version at some point in the future.

The original idea was to refashion a dark purple rayon skirt that had shot elastic and a few tears.  It ended up that there was not enough to make the skirt pattern I had in mind.

But then I remembered Simplicity 8019 and thought that it might work without the front button placket.  So I found another skirt to refashion and give the pattern modification a test run.

Turns out, it works great.  It may not be the most interesting skirt in the world, but it is certainly useful and will go with a whole lot of sweaters and tops in my wardrobe.

Now that I have figured out that the hack works, I should probably figure out if I have enough of that purple rayon to make myself another version.

But maybe I should concentrate on the wool in my stash first, since that is more weather appropriate at the moment!

Sweater:  Made by me, Quick Knit 1940's Style Sweater
Skirt:  Made by me, Simplicity 8019
Shoes:  Remix "Miranda"