Adventures in Couture Dressmaking

There has been so much good, this summer. If you follow me on Instagram* , you probably already know that I’ve eaten a lot of good food, spent a lot of time with some really amazing friends, smooched my hubby, watched my children grow, play and be generally awesome, drooled over stunning couture and then started my very own adventure in couture dressmaking.

I was beyond excited about my cousin getting married and thus providing me with a reason to sew formal wear! After some time spent looking for the perfect fabric/pattern match, in my stash and beyond, I settled on this one:

An out of character animal print from Mood and Advance 9290.

The initial fit was mostly OK. I added inches to the bodice length, they’re always too short for me, and the side seams right off. That didn’t work. It was too big around the chest and upper back and tight around the gut. I went back to the original upper circumference, added a bit more to the bottom one and added another half inch or so to the length.

After a couple tries, I ended up with this:

Adventures in Couture Dressmaking

Not too bad!! Here’s a peak at the inside. The outermost seam line is the original princess seam line. Needed less boob room.

Adventures in Couture DressmakingI skipped making another muslin and resolved to make my seam allowance a bit larger to get rid of that teeny bit of extra room at the side.

I used the muslin to draft new pattern pieces and went straight to actual construction. I made up three bodice layers: powernet, organza and fashion fabric. I sandwiched the first two together and sewed in channels for boning, then attached the sandwiched layers together with the self fabric and facings.

Here is the finished bodice! I was so proud of it!

The dress ended up with so many special touches: the lining and powernet came from my grandma, the zipper was given to me by my sister, the boning was my late grandma’s and I used a needle from a packet inherited from her to do all the hand stitching (the lining to the bodice and the hem).

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 2.01.33 AMThe strapless bodice was the star, here. I added a simple, slightly pegged, pencil skirt and called her done. Here’s a close up of the finished dress.

IMG_0566 My weight fluctuated all through the making of this dress. And the fashion fabric had a bit of stretch that, well, stretched over time (this was taken at about 11pm when I got home). BUT! It worked out in the end and mostly held up well!

 I was having too much fun to get any great shots of me (alone) in the dress at the wedding. I might take some time to get all dressed in it again for some blog pics. You know what, maybe not.

How about some
Warhol-ed because-they-were-taken-late-at-night-and-are-therefore-super-dark
pics instead?

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 1.10.25 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 2.08.08 AM   Now! Onward to new projects!

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*What Instagram can’t show you are all the times I was too busy enjoying myself to take photos or those too special and personal to diminish by pausing for social media documentation.

Colcha Folklorico

My garment sewing mojo has taken a little hiatus. Instead, I’ve been reading and day dreaming about a host of other creative endeavors to get stuck into.

Like quilting.

I am not a quilter, but I will be making my own version of this art quilt.

It’s Frida. So, obviously, I love it.

I stumbled across it at the perfect time: while focused on projects/additions to bring color to my bland home.

I’ve ordered the fabrics.

I can’t wait to see them in person!

Image from @alexanderhenryfabrics on Instagram

Maravilloso Malvarosa

This one was a nail biter….
Would I like that chic drop waist look on me?

The smile says

HELL YES!!!

Sewing Indie Month: Maravilloso MalvarosaI really, really love this dress!!!! It’s so comfy I’m still wearing it while writing this. And I hate wearing outside clothes, inside my home! I’m so pleased with the fit. I tried sewing this shape before, using a vintage pattern in my stash. It was a disaster! I forced myself to size up from what I would have normally gravitated to, with the thought (from the last experience) that loose would definitely be better than tight. I traced size 36 and made it up exactly as is.

Sewing Indie Month: Maravilloso Malvarosa

I did struggle with the facings, which I ALWAYS DO. SIGH. I was hesitant to switch to bias bindings, which I have more success with, as I was unsure of how it would work with the unique (and SOOOOO cool) sleeve shaping. Plus, I think the slight bulk of the facings gives the sleeves structure that binding wouldn’t. I did leave off the pockets. I never put things in dress pockets and I hate when they sit open.

Sewing Indie Month: Maravilloso Malvarosa

Full disclosure: I also worried about things lining up properly with all that gathering. I really suck at even gathers. But I rocked it this time!! This is the perfect amount of fullness. I don’t feel swamped, just flow-y!

Sewing Indie Month: Maravilloso Malvarosa

I serged all of the seams and the edges of the facings and along the hem which I handstiched. I just couldn’t put any top stitching on this beautiful blank, linen canvas! I think this is the first time I’ve sewn with it and it most definitely won’t be the last.

Sewing Indie Month: Maravilloso Malvarosa

Sewing Indie Month: Maravilloso MalvarosaWorking with it has been a real lesson in fabric selection. This is heavier than what I would have chosen if I saw it in person. It was gifted to me by the folks at Britex, so I only saw it online. It was also very stiff prior to pre washing it. That wrinkly, post wash texture was so pleasant, though. And, as you can see, it sewed up perfectly!

Great pattern. Great color. Great drape. Great dress!!

Sewing Indie Month: Maravilloso Malvarosa

Obligatory swishy shot ;)
Sewing Indie Month: Maravilloso Malvarosa>

More Indie Love :: Pauline Alice

                This is my FAVORITE Pauline Alice pattern!!

Pauline Alice

This is the dress that started my drop waist obsession! And this one and this one!

Mine (the first of many, likely) will be made with the sweeeetest blue linen from Britex.

Much like the 80s/90s bodysuit craze passed me by (I talked about this via twitter, not my blog) the cute Blossom style (I always associate drop waists with Blossom and Lisa Turtle) dress was a no-go in my home, too. I was not a trend follower. Despite how badly I wanted to be.

SO, like making and wearing Heather Lou’s Nettie, I will wear all the Blossom dresses I want, now!

Lots of cool inspo, below!!

They all make me WISH for the days ahead where bare legs, strappy sandals and quick, easy dresses rule!Dior

Victoria Beckham

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Also, a note:

I updated my original Sewing Indie Month post to include the InLinkz for entries!!

I’ve already got word from folks working on their projects! So cool!

Netties: en noir, blanc et ivoire

Heather’s latest, super informative post, jarred my memory. I have been so busy working and having fun, I nearly forgot to tell you about the remaining Netties!
Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

And you need to know about them because making them taught me something pretty crucial about the pattern that Heather touches on in that post.

When you make this marvelous, high back version, you might want to go up a size. OR, alternatively, use a fabric with even more stretch. These are both made form Girl Charlee fabric: Ivory and Black and White. When I finished the B&W version, I was flummoxed by the fit. It was tight, tighter than I was anticipating based on the fit of the first two.

After puzzling it out in my head a bit. I jumped on the CG site to check the percentage of stretch on all of my fabrics. I thought that might explain it and contacted Heather Lou. After we chatted a bit, I had a sudden realization: that high back made a difference.

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

The mid back fit, in addition to added sexiness, allows for a ton of ease at the front. When you fill in that space, your fabric has to stretch in a different way. I cut my last three Netties out at the same time, so the ivory version was already cut the same size and style as the B&W one.
Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

BUT, here’s where the stretch factor shows itself. The ivory version is not as tight as the b&w one.

Look at the stats of both.
Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!
Black & White:
Content: 98% Modal Cotton/2% Spandex
Weight: 9 oz Medium Weight
Stretch: 55%, 20%
Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!
Ivory:
Content:  90% Cotton/10% Spandex
Weight:  12 oz Medium Weight
Stretch:  60%, 40%

Tons of differing variables, there. I think that the difference is visible, too. There are no wrinkles in the printed one, while in the solid you can see a little scrunching at the sides of the bodice.

It’s important to note that the fit lengthwise was not affected, at all. I was as comfy in one as the other. And the tighter one started to loosen up after taking it off and one while sewing and photographing each one. So, ultimately, your different fabrics might all feel the same after wear.

That, my friends, concludes the tour of my first four Netties!!

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

They’re starting to crop up around the web. LOOK at this super sexiness that Ebony, made! Oh, to look so good in a hat! And, Lindsay in a Nettie dress! Wowza!

And the winner is….

NETTIE-Closet Case Patterns

Rachel!! From the blog, A Study in Stitching!!

 

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There were 40 comments on the blog post, but both Heather’s of Sonja’s comments were not counted.

Thank you all for entering!!

I can’t wait to see what everyone makes! I have a couple more inspiration posts, planned. Look for more Indie Love mash ups, including more freebies and tutorials!

I’m going to continue to bask in the afterglow of a stupendously awesome day (at work, where a project I worked REALLY hard on went so, SO well), an awesome time at drinks afterwards and then the grande finale at Jen’s superb party (where I got squeeze all of my NYC best girls and met some for the first time!)!!

It was a day that won’t be topped for a long while!!

 

 

Mix & Match Indie Love + GIVEAWAY

I took a stroll around my Pinterest boards to mix and match indie pattern silhouettes. These were all already on my boards and now I’m this much closer to making some of these looks happen!!

Take a look and tune in at the bottom for the giveaway!!

Closet Case Patterns Nettie + BHL Tutu Tutorial

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BHL Victoria + Maria Denmark Winnie + Closet Case Patterns Vneck Nettie

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Sleeveless Closet Case Patterns Nettie + Charlotte Skirt

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Cropped  Closet Case Patterns Nettie + BHL FREE Pleated Skirt Tutorial

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Cropped LS Nettie + BHL FREE Circle Skirt Tutorial

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Closet Case Patterns Nettie + BHL Tutu Tutorial

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Dixie DIY Concert Tee + BHL Charlotte

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BHL Victoria Blazer + Maria Denmark Winnie

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Sinbad & Sailor Raven + Dixie DIY Concert Tee

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Dixie DIY Summer Concert Tee + BHL Pleated Skirt Tut

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Tilly & the Buttons Coco + Sinbad & Sailor Raven

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   Now that I’ve shown you an abundance of ways to rework Nettie, here’s your chance to win one!

Comment, below. Tell me your favorite look, favorite pattern from the Indie Sewing Month participants, or whatever you want!

You have until midnight, tomorrow!

 The Giveaway is Over!! Thanks for entering!!