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!

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 1.06.26 AM

*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.

Pantone Time

With the Sew Weekly deadline fast approaching, and a headache from hell that refuses to go away, I’ve got to do something to light a fire under my ass. One thing that pushed me a bit, realizing that the fabric I planned to use for the Fall For Cotton sew-along has more than one Pantone color!

SCORE!

Pantone Fall 2013

Sew Weekly & Fall For Cotton

I see some Mykonos Blue, some Linden and Deep Lichen Green, a little Samba. Yes?

Now, for the motivation to SEW! I’ve got four days to make the Sew Weekly deadline. Can I do it?

Scout :: Cropped & Dotted

Scout :: Cropped & Dotted

Another Sew Along Scout!!!

Top :: Scout Woven Tee
Skirt :: Advance 9916
Sandals :: Target

This time, cropped for some belly exposure. Well, more like ribcage exposure since you will NEVER see me in this top without something with a high waist paired with it ;)
I added little pleats to the sleeves rather than gather them. I think they look sweet!

Scout :: Cropped & Dotted

I also made the hem a tiny bit hi-lo. What can I say, I really like that look with a woven tee! The curved lines at the side speak to me. I hope to get my thoughts (and photos) together to share how I modified this and the sunshine tunic version up on Kollabora.

Scout :: Cropped & Dotted

I pointed this buggy out to the kids.
Scout :: Cropped & Dotted

They had a teeny freak out when I let it crawl on my hand.
Scout :: Cropped & Dotted

My childhood self also shouted “WTF!?!?!?” as I would never have willing let a bug crawl on me then, lol! Right after the little lady snapped this, it flew away and made them all scream!

Me and the littler three were on our way back from hanging out with Mikhaela and her crew at the sweetest little party! We don’t go to many b-day functions, but I’m so glad we did this time. We had such a nice time. And stumbled across the perfect place to snap a few pics.

Good times.
Scout :: Cropped & Dotted
PS- My husband told me I looked like a little kid, today! I think it might be the midi skirt length paired with flats, lol. AND This cropped Scout also marks the THIRD project I’ve squished out of this dotted rayon challis! Stash busting for the WIN!

60s via ’13

1960s via 2013

New DRESSSSSSSSS!!!

1960s via 2013
I used the last of this origami bird/weird crown/small-ish white print fabric on this dress about 2 weeks ago, but it only made its debut today! I made a skirt with this fabric, last summer.

I was having a great time (NOT) trying to match patterns with off cuts and short yardages of fabric. Fun times….I was super psyched when I found a match.

1960s via 2013

Sandals :: Madden Girl
Belt :: F21
Dress :: Handmade
using vintage 60s pattern (Simplicity 4298) from the haul of a lifetime

1960s via 2013

This is essentially a (wearable, obviously) muslin. The bodice is a bit roomy in the chest, but still totally passable, in my opinion. I have a few go-to skirt patterns, I really want to get a good go-to bodice in my TNT pattern house. I’m pretty close with this one. I added an inch, but in the wrong place. Not the first time I’ve made this error. I’m trying to decide which fabric to use for version 2.

1960s via 2013

This fabric is cute, but quite unforgiving. It shows pin/needle holes and it tore in two (small) places on try #1000 of inserting the zipper. It was late and I should have left it for another day. Lesson learned. A little fusible interfacing and some strategic fabric marker application and it was alright in the end.

Just look how happy I was!

1960s via 2013

This was before I started sweating like crazy. It was HOTTTTT today! And this fabric left none of the evidence to the imagination….at least it dried quickly. Ahem. ;)

Last day of Me Made May, tomorrow!!! Should I make something new to wear???

Thanks so much for your feedback on being a copycat! You guys sure know how to make a girl feel better!

Also: PAVOT is totally sold out!! Sacré Bleu, lol

Do you think Lee got wind of my plans?

MMM.D6 :: The Usual Suspects

B&W Top + Denim Skirt = The Usual Suspects

MMM.D6 :: The Usual Suspects

Cardigan :: Halo Thrifted from the Salvation Army
Top :: Forever 21
Skirt :: Handmade from a vintage pattern
Tights :: ??
Shoes :: Mel by Melissa

MMM.D6 :: The Usual Suspects

What can I say, I like black and white and denim skirts!!
This is the first time I’ve worn this skirt, even though I made it months ago. It’s the same pattern as this one.
Advance 9916, 1960s

Isn’t it amazing how different they look? This denim has some stretch, so the skirt is comfy. But, I usually like much darker denim. And the a-line made it hard to work into my wardrobe, too. I’m a pencil/straight skirt kind of girl. Is it the youthfulness that an a-line skirt can convey?? I have a hard enough time coming across as an adult at times. I’m told, almost weekly, that I look like a teenager. I don’t need to help it along, lol.

Regardless, I’m glad it finally made it out of the house!

MMM.D6 :: The Usual Suspects

And I promise! I AM working on some more colorful pieces to add to my collection, lol

MMM.D6 :: The Usual Suspects

More than this cardi ;o)

MMM.D6 :: The Usual Suspects

 

Muslin’ing Around

Here is proof that I did actually sew a coat muslin! That Rachel is a good influence! We must convince her to move to America.

Check it out and weigh in.

muslin front

The main problem is the sleeve/shoulder area. Too wide and too much sleeve cap ease. The armhole is also criminally low.

simplicity 4110 muslin

One sleeve was sewn in with the recommended 5/8 inch seam allowance and the other was rather slapdash. I think you can tell which is which just from the photo.

muslin back

Is the upper back too roomy?? I did a small swayback adjustment and tapered the lower side seam to give my hips some room. I mean, the coat is meant to be worn with some ease and the actual coating fabric has a far different drape.

Here’s a reminder of how the pattern looks.
Simplicity 4110

The shoulder should definitely be narrowed, as was suggested by my awesome #sewcoatbuddies in the flickr comments. But would I be changing the design entirely if I made it more fitted? Yes, I think I would.

The length is OK.

IMG_5754

Would a combo of these fixes make a positive difference??
Narrow shoulder adjustment via Colette Patterns

Threads Armhole Fit Guide

Removing Sleeve Cap Ease via Design Loft

The muslin was stitched together quite loosely, so I think (to save myself cutting out more of this horrific fabric) I will pull it apart and use some of the pieces again. Is that crazypants?? I’m encouraged by the muslin making experience. I know I wouldn’t be happy if I cut my coating straight out and got this fit. Maybe I will try out Anise and see if what changes it might need.

FYI: I’m not sad in these pics.
I’m just afflicted with Chronic Bitchface.

It’s my neutral face. I cannot tell you how often someone asks me if I’m sad/mad/pissed/cranky…. Which, of course, actually makes me three of those four thing ;o)