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.

Sewing Indie Month, Coming to a Close

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 You’ve got one more day to get those Indie Sewing Month projects entered!

To do so, go to THIS post, and click the little image at the bottom of the post.

Screen Shot 2014-06-03 at 8.16.00 PM Good luck!!! Those are some excellent prizes!!

As for me, I suffered a little bit of inspiration overload! Sorry if I overwhelmed you with all of those awesome options ;)

Despite that, I’ve been a busy sewing bee, but I think I will be turning in early, tonight.

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>

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!!

Sewing Indie Month

Let’s get ready to SEEEEEEEEEEEWW!

Cause it’s

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A whole heap of super fantastic peeps are on tap for this!

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Some are new to me. And one in particular is dear to my heart (My Heather!)! This month of indie sewing love requires a level of coordination I don’t possess. I’m always so impressed when these kinds of events pop up in the blogisphere. The kick ass buttons alone surpass my skill level.

What I am there for (and which requires much less effort from me) is showing talented entrepreneurs some love. The skill and time required to make these patterns available to the sewing masses is not lost on me. I know how long people like Mari and Heather plan and work on their efforts. It must have been months and months ago that Heather first mentioned a bodysuit pattern to me.

Anyway, enough of my lovin’. You’d want to know the rules. So you can win the prizes, of course ;)

sewing indie month sewalong rules

You can submit your entries forindieloveaffair_banner_SIM_2014here, at Sown Brooklyn.
For this category, you must combine patterns from 2 or more companies into one garment or outfit. Awesome! My wallet will feel it from all of the new companies this has introduced me to!

Visit these ladies to enter the other categories:

The winner of an Indie Love Affair category will win these great prizes:

1 year subscription to Sew News Magazine

1 year subscription to Sew News Magazine

2013 Threads Archive DVD from Threads Magazine

2013 Threads Archive DVD from Threads Magazine

1 class of your choice from Pattern Review

1 class of your choice from Pattern Review

Sassy Librarian Blouse Craftsy class by Sewing Indie Month designer Christine Haynes

Sassy Librarian Blouse Craftsy class by Sewing Indie Month designer Christine Haynes

Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Stepalica Patterns; PDF Nettie Dress & Bodysuit by Closet Case Files; PDF Twisty Top Pattern by Soma Patterns; paper pattern of your choice from Tilly and the Buttons
Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Stepalica Patterns; PDF Nettie Dress & Bodysuit by Closet Case Files; PDF Twisty Top Pattern by Soma Patterns; paper pattern of your choice from Tilly and the Buttons

Look at the prizes!! You all are lucky!! None  for me!! LOL I was lucky enough to receive a lovely pattern that I had just nearly purchased, some great fabric is on its way to me to make it up and I received the ultimate gift, the Nettie pattern, which you will see even more of during Sewing Indie Month.

Bonus Winner!

A Bonus Winner randomly drawn from all the sewalong participants will win the following prizes:

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1 year subscription to Sew News Magazine

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$75 gift certificate from Britex Fabrics

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1 year Friends of PR membership from Pattern Review

Love at First Stitch signed book by Sewing Indie Month designer Tilly and the Buttons

Love at First Stitch signed book by Sewing Indie Month designer Tilly and the Buttons

Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Waffle Patterns; PDF Wardrobe Builder Pack by Thready Theory; paper pattern of your choice from Kate & Rose, Sew Chic

Sewing Indie Month designer prize pack: PDF pattern of your choice from Waffle Patterns; PDF Wardrobe Builder Pack by Thready Theory; paper pattern of your choice from Kate & Rose, Sew Chic

Grab a button in the sidebar!

And check back on Monday RIGHT BELOW for the goods on linking your project!!

Good luck everyone!!

UPDATE! ENTER BELOW!

L’éléphant Nettie

This is the first Nettie.
Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!
Or L’éléphant Nettie!

The fabric is from Girl Charlee. I had just stumbled across Hey Fran Hey and was deep in her bohemian vibe when I chose it. This one is Heather’s fave. I agree that the elephants are both cool and a bit sexy!

This one is a blend of sizes 6 and 8. Six at the top, 8 at the hip and bottom. As you can see, the fabric went a little sheer across the the bust. Cutting a straight size 8 would have been a better choice.

This version includes: scoop front, mid back and short sleeves.

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

I usually deviate from pattern instructions, but when testing you have to do what it says. Therefore, this is the first time I have actually stabilized my shoulder seams. I will be doing it from now on! It made such a difference, especially with the front and back scooping low.

I also put this together completely on my sewing machine. I love the look of nice, clean serged seams. But, sometimes, that adds bulk and makes the seams wavy. I went against instinct and it totally paid off.

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

I love it with jeans (they’re from Old Navy, in case you’re wondering)!! And my favorite, handmade skirt!!

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

A total aside: I’ve been taking adult ballet classes. I’ve never felt so graceful in my life (even if I probably look like Lois when she took dance classes in that episode of Malcolm in the Middle). Highly recommend crossing that off your list if it has been a goal of yours!

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

I’m so anxious to see more Netties around the sewing blogisphere! Just look at Carolyn’s versions! Modeled in her totally babetastic Aussie way!

Start browsing for your perfect fabric!

I’m posting a Nettie giveaway on, Friday!

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit

NETTIE-Closet Case Patterns

Alternative title: Nettie – A Love Story

This gorgeousness is my super awesome, babetastic, brilliant mate Heather Lou‘s newest labor of indie sewing pattern LOVE!!

Which she named after yours truly!

She has a post full of the sweetest things ever said about me (that my hubby and kids didn’t say, anyway) and I only have the tenderest of feelings about her. This part of her post resonates the most with me:

“I am so grateful to be a part of this inspiring, generous and creative community. Me? Wings. You? Wind.”

I’m continually amazed by how much my sewing friends mean to me. I will always choose their company over others because we can talk about anything PLUS sewing!! That’s indispensable! The gave and take, the honest discourse about serious issues and the laughs (OH, the laughs) are more than I ever expected to get out of blogging.

I’m still gobsmacked, honored and blushing that Heather was in any way inspired by me!!

Get ready for a whole HEAP of Netties!!

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!
Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!

Closet Case Patterns: The Nettie Bodysuit!!These babies (shown in the order sewn) each deserve their own post!! I learned something new on each one and I can’t wait to make even more! There are so many combos included in the pattern.

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And you can knock up one with the odd yard of knit in your stash.

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I have SO many mods in mind (Bombshell+Nettie mash-up, cropped, a low back version, and on and on!) that I foresee a LOT of Nettie in my summer!

Stay tuned for the goods on the different fabrics I used, the (kick ASS) fit, tips and more loving on Heather!

PLUS a GIVEAWAY!!