Not a whole lot to say about this. The fabric kicks ass. The pattern was a gift from a far flung friend (our kiddos are penpals!). And it wears like a dreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaamm!
Total fucking win.
My birthday is next month. I will be 35. I’m not a huge fan of birthdays. That has nothing to do with my age and everything to do with the incredibly shitty ones I had as a kid. Though the bdays have improved drastically as a wife and mom, I am still somewhat reluctant to make an event out of them. For fear of…I don’t know what really. I think I still tend to restrain my emotions due to some long held fear of….something.
Well, I enjoyed my recent dressmaking experience so much (thanks for your kind words!! I will try to get better at replying to those much appreciated comments!) that I’ve been trying to think of another reason or occasion to indulge and completely disregarded my birthday as an option.
The bug to bone (PUN!) has been reawakened (with a vengeance, please help me refrain from ordering that beading tool) by viewing some spectacular examples of couture artistry in motion via that most excellent medium, YouTube.
Look at all of this deliciousness and tell me you don’t want to spend weeks working on an outfit you’ll only wear a handful of times ;)
discovered via Pauline Alice
discovered via Frau Fleur
discovered browsing Dior
I’ve been collecting couture/high fashion-y inspiration in a pinboard, naturally.
Or from here, where I could work with a new and challenging material (like leather!!) rather than more traditional couture techniques.
I realized, somewhat belatedly, that I could create my own reason to wear finery. That I have friends willing to play dress up, just for the hell of it, and a husband who would take me anywhere I wanted to go to show off my hard work.
Do you need a reminder that any day can be a special occasion? Look at those videos and dream with me.
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:
Not too bad!! Here’s a peak at the inside. The outermost seam line is the original princess seam line. Needed less boob room.
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).
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
*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.
I 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.
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.
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!
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.
Working 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!!
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.
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.
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.
Black & White:
Content: 98% Modal Cotton/2% Spandex
Weight: 9 oz Medium Weight
Stretch: 55%, 20%
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!!
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!!
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.
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.
I love it with jeans (they’re from Old Navy, in case you’re wondering)!! And my favorite, handmade skirt!!
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!
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!