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.

Draping: The Complete Course

You all know the drill by now, right? The awesome people at Laurence King Publishing asked if I wanted to review Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel. Little ole me stumbled into their path when they hosted a pop-up event at Britex and they peeped at their blog. Check the amazing hair on the adorable Karolyn! And can you spot the beautiful Laura Mae?

Britex & Laurence King Pop-Up EventI took about .6 seconds to think it over and replied YES, of course I do!  It was the perfect time as I was already up to my eyeballs in draped projects. But those are cheater makes when it comes to the REAL Drape!

This amazing (HEAVY! Seriously. You could use it to weight train.) book comes with a DVD.

9781780670935.in12

I have to admit, for some unknowable reason, I was expecting a VHS tape! Can you believe it?!?! WHAT was I thinking! lol

I might have been a little tired when I arrived home from work and my hubby told me that a heavy package was waiting for me. This was, literally, 2 days after I got the email from the good peeps at LK, so I wasn’t hopeful that I’d find a book inside. But I DID!! So, excuse my Dumb & Dumber moment. K? Thanx!

Though I didn’t have to try a project from the book to sing its praises, I really, really wanted to. But, everything in my life conspired against finding the time to do so. It’s New York Archives Week and my duties as the Dir. of Communications for A.R.T. have kept me SUPER busy. Things have reached maintenance mode, so I could chill (only a bit!) for a minute. That meant that today was the day.

I didn’t even let this jam packed, suggested tool-kit page stop me.
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel
Seeing this page had the same effect as waving a red flag in front of a bull!!

BUY ALL THE SUPPLIES!!

But, that would have meant taking a trip and I wanted to dig in, NOW. I forged ahead with my minimalist tool-kit. And for good measure, skipped right over to:
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

My dress form (which used to reside in Kalkatroona with Ms. Oona) is lacking in the lower pear area. So I thought this swing-y dress was the perfect place to start.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I pulled out my iron, put on a movie and got to work.
Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

Sheared off bits!

This was after trim and pin session one.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I took Karolyn’s advice to heart when she states: “Check hem, armhole, and neckline shape for attitude.” I have been reading tons of Jane Austen and the “attitude” in which one stands, sits, dances, responds to a query is everything. So I was all over checking the attitude of my work!

Turns out, I didn’t like it. I gave the side seam a second trim. And found that I liked the look of it better.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

I grabbed some hem tape to stand for in for sticky tape and marked the neckline and armhole.

Draping: The Complete Course by Karolyn Kissel

And then marked up the muslin.

Draping:

Next stop, pattern pieces baby!!

Scout! Scout! Knit it all Out!

Scout! Scout! Knit it all Out!

A knit Scout is
a. doable
b. wearable
c. fucking awesome!

d. all of the above!!

Scout! Scout! Knit it all Out!

Scout! Scout! Knit it all Out!

Top :: Scout Woven Tee, Theory brand knit from Mood
Jeans :: F21
Shoes :: Old Navy
Headband :: Scrap from another Mood knit.

Scout! Scout! Knit it all Out!

It’s safe to say that I LOVE IT!! In fact, I’ll be wearing it to work tomorrow ;o)

Don’t worry, it was worn for about twenty minutes to snap pictures. My little daughter is now the official photographer of the family! These are damn good pics for a 6 1/2 year-old!

Scout! Scout! Knit it all Out!

I made this little headband/scarf/thing-y out of a scrap of fabric leftover from my Hummingbird! It was a sewing with stripes kind of night.

Scout! Scout! Knit it all Out!

I’m so jazzed that the sew-along was such a success!! And I’ve been so inspired by all of the variations there! Dresses, two-toned, petal front, embroidered, lace, pleated! My neckline treatment was inspired by a version posted, there. It’s a teeny roll neck applied with Jen’s flat binding method.

And it is perfect! Lol
Scout! Scout! Knit it all Out!

I left it un-hemmed because this fabric distorts like a sonofabitch. It behaved everywhere except the sleeve hems which I took in a bit after the fact. I ran a line of basting stitches about 1/2 from the hemline to (hopefully) discourage any unraveling, there. I cut this version using the same modified pattern I created for the Sunshine-y Scout tunic. This fabric was so wide, I might have enough for another cropped version, too!

Will I ever get tired of making Scouts?? The sewcialist world wants to know!

Sunshine Scout on a Graffiti Day!

Sunshine on a Graffiti Day

My first Scout made for my Kollabora Sew-Along!

It’s sunshine in garment form! Look at it gloooow with the setting sun hitting it!

Sunshine on a Graffiti Day

Modified, a bit. Tunic-ish length, looser body, SUNSHINE-Y color!

Top :: Grainline Scout Woven Tee
Jeans :: F21
Sandals :: Target
Bracelets & Elephante Necklace :: from my Sissy
Jade ring :: my late granny’s

Sunshine on a Graffiti Day

Sunshine on a Graffiti Day

Making this nearly beat me. Started too late, had too much to do the last few days, the twins graduated today and the cloud of fatigue that hovered over me tried to take me down.

BUT I WON!!

Sunshine on a Graffiti Day

You guys can win, too!! Jen and Kollabora have cooked up something good!! Check it out here!
Scout Tee Sew-Along Challenge!

And, for those of you new to sewing (are there any new sewists following this blog?) I’ve added more construction steps over on the Sew-Along page.

Scout Woven Tee Sew-A-Long :: Size & Fabric!!

Scout Sew-A-Long @Kollabora!!

Hiya!! Thanks for all the lurve for my sleeveless Archer!! It’s so damn cold here today, I think sleeved and ruffled Archer might get some wear. Hmph!

It’s JUNE, DAMMIT WHERE IS THE SUN?!?! Ahem…

About the Sew-A-Long, I’ve posted some tips on choosing the perfect size and fabric for your Scout Woven Tee over on Kollabora.

So, grab a measuring tool, or four ;)….

Choosing The Right Pattern Size

Measure a top you like the fit of…  IMG_7598

Measure your pattern piece…

IMG_7609

And make a Scout to fit!

IMG_7606

It’s time to go stash diving…

Choosing the Right Fabric for your Pattern

And meet me at

Kollabora!!

Scout Woven Tee Sew-A-long!!!

I am so excited to be at the helm of Kollabora’s Scout Woven Tee Sew-Along! This is my first time *blushes*! It’s no secret that I think Grainline’s Jen is awesome!! Her design aesthetic fits in perfectly with my favorite things to wear. Of all of her patterns, Scout is my absolute favorite! Super easy to stitch up. Super stylish. Super easy to modify. Super easy to change up depending on your fabric. Super, super!

If you’d like to follow along, check in over at Kollabora!

Scout Sew-A-Long @Kollabora!!

MMM.D16&18 :: Tiny Pocket x Two

This version, made in thin rayon challis, used the last, last, last of the fabric from this Scout and my Darling Ranges dress.
I LOVE no waste sewing!

MMM.D16 :: Color Block Tiny Pocket Tank

MMM.D16 :: Color Block Tiny Pocket Tank

MMM.D16 :: Color Block Tiny Pocket Tank

Top :: Color Block Tiny Pocket Tank
Jeans :: F21
Shoes :: Old Navy

This version is made with quilting cotton I bought forever ago to knock off another seamstresses version of Macaron. This is an unfortunate instance of getting to a fabric late, but still a little too soon. I recently made up a vintage pattern that this would have AMAZING in! But, I love this, too.

MMM.D18 :: Scalloped Tiny Pocket Tee

MMM.D18 :: Scalloped Tiny Pocket Tee

Top :: Scalloped Hem Tiny Pocket Tee
Pants :: H&M
Shoes :: Old Navy

I used a super sneaky trick for this hem. I am WAY to impatient (and bad at maths) to work out my own scallops, SO I used the Meringue skirt from the Colette Patterns Handbook, instead! This had two great results. One, the hem is fucking perfect! And two, I knew the longer length would fit over my hips! I’ll show you how I layered and traced, soon.

MMM.D18 :: Scalloped Tiny Pocket Tee

I did deviate from the CPH instruction in one way. I attached the facings, first. Then I stitched the front and back pieces together. You can kind of see it here.

MMM.D18 :: Scalloped Tiny Pocket Tee

This tunic was also a bit of a test. I want to me make this dress. I have a really pretty cotton/linen fabric that would be a good replacement for this. But, I think the color would look so sweet made into another of this dress.

What do you all think?