Tag Archives: dress

Flower Power Maxi

While I haven’t had the opportunity to hit the fabric districts of LA or New York, I’ve discovered a couple of shops in Phoenix that fit the bill. Sadly, I don’t live in Phoenix, so I tend to go a little crazy when I get the opportunity to visit.

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I dug this marvelous fabric from one of the many piles of fabrics on my last visit. It’s a crinkly gauzey fabric. It is very lightweight. And quite soft.

It also reminds me of a sheet my mom had while I was growing up. It was ginormous! We used it for making tents in our bedrooms. I swear, our tent creations would put any Harry Potter tent to shame.

It took some time to find the perfect pattern for the fabric. I choose the fabric with some idea in mind and then change my plan about 800 times before making the final decision. For this particular fabric, I used Simplicity pattern 1800. It is one of their Amazing Fit patterns. This means, there are alternate pattern pieces to use based on your measurements. In theory, you shouldn’t have to make a bust adjustment, they already have. Since I conveniently fall into the average category, I don’t know how well that theory works.

My one alteration to the pattern was to change the straps from a halter that tied behind the neck to straps that crossed in the back.

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I think the best part of the dress are the pockets. I firmly believe all dresses should have pockets.

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Despite the dark colours of the fabric, it is quite thin and nearly see through. I decided to add a lining skirt for a bit of modesty. My initial plan was a navy lining, but could not find a suitable navy fabric. I went with white instead. Which I think turned out for the better since a navy lining would have shown through the white flowers.

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I have already had the opportunity to wear this dress a few times. Despite its length, the dress is cool to wear in the oppressive summer heat of Florida. Yet, it also manages to keep me warm in the arctic of movie theaters.

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Pink Ava Dress

At some point last year, I stumbled across a project called Perfect Pattern Parcel. They were offering a themed groups of patterns from independent designers. There were 5 patterns in the bundle. The awesome premise was that you could name your own price for the parcel. There was also a bonus 6th pattern of you paid over a certain amount. The proceeds were then donated to various projects on Donors Choose (which I appreciated being a teacher). There were a handful of parcels offered throughout the year, but I only snagged one. The theme I bought was women’s clothing.

The first dress I’m sharing is the Ava by Victory Patterns. I did make this dress almost immediately after purchasing the pattern last summer and have had opportunity to wear this dress many times. For the most part with success. There was one morning I managed to put the dress on backwards and had a very uncomfortable day thinking something was wrong with the dress. Please pay attention when getting dressed in the morning so this doesn’t happen to you!

Since taking these photos, I have added a belt to help break up the continuous pink of the dress. When I make this dress again, I’m going to lengthen the bodice. It hits just a little to high for my comfort. I think I’ll also change out the skirt to a dirndl skirt rather than the almost circle skirt of the pattern. Though I may have to just make a top for the next go.

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Last of the Laurels

These are the last 2 Laurel dresses I have to show you (for now). I’m telling you, this is a great pattern. It looks great on (someday, I’ll get photos of myself wearing one), even when it is too big as mine now are. The pattern is simple with easy to follow instructions. There are so many ways to vary the design that no one will realise you used the same pattern for 6 dresses!

My Purple Laurel, was my muslin version. I used an old sheet for my fabric. I’m glad I made a muslin. The pattern is created to be a bit lose, but on me, that actually meant my normal size was a little too big. Yay! I get to make a smaller size. Making the muslin also gave me the opportunity to test out some design changes I planned to use on other versions.

First off, I made this version sleeveless. This was a simple change. Rather than sewing the underlining as an underlining, I sewed it in as a lining. This gave me the ability to close the arm holes inside. I still used a binding around the neckline to add stability as I didn’t add any facings.

Second (this is my favourite addition), I added buttons down the back. I did this partially to save on sewing in a zipper, but also because I thought buttons down the back sounded fun. To do this, I extended the back by an inch on each side. Since there is already a seam allowance for a zipper, I didn’t need much more wiggle room.

My final Laurel project was inspired by all the projects with variegation I had been seeing. My plan had been to make a dress with 3 colours of fabric that were slightly different shade of each other. The plan didn’t work out as my local shop didn’t have the color variety I needed. I modified my plan and went with two colours instead.

 

The photos show pockets, but I later removed them as the sewing was poorly done  (in my opinion). Once I took them off, I liked the dress better without the pockets.

 

I did finish this dress with short sleeves. Yes, I know, I don’t have completed photos. This is so far my favourite version of the Laurel that I have made. As I’ve mentioned, I am inspired to make a couple more. I’ll be sure to share them when I do.

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Hawaiian Print Sundress

I have fallen in love with Vogue patterns. It’s true! The instructions include details such as understitching and topstitching. The garments you can make have more details such as pleats and tucks. Not that you can’t add those when using other brands, but with Vogue patterns, you don’t have to remember or alter the pattern to add them, they are already there. This also adds sewing time to projects, but I believe it is well worth the extra effort.

Take for example my recent new dress. I used this pink Hawaiian print fabric I picked up in Phoenix (I must remember to share that fabric shopping trip). I used Vogue Pattern 1174. I love the extra detailing of the bodice and the fact that it has pockets! I don’t understand why more dresses don’t have pockets. They are very useful.

Making the bodice was the best part. I started with 16 pieces not including the lining and foundation. That’s right three layers went in to making this bodice. The directions were straightforward and I proceeded with few problems. I did rediscover my need for a dressmaker’s ham. Pressing the seams would have been loads easier. The only change I made to the bodice was that I left out the boning (I wish I hadn’t).

  

I had intended to include the boning. I knew I had some somewhere, but I couldn’t locate it. I looked everywhere, or at least I thought I did! I wanted to take the dress on vacation the next day and the shop was already closed so I went ahead without the boning. The bodice looks great; though a little flat. I think the boning would give it a bit of dimension. Oh! I did find the boning with the start of my next project. It was hiding with my zippers.

The skirt of the dress also got some changes. I left in the pockets! I didn’t line the skirt. The fabric was heavy enough to be on its own. It’s also really hot here, so the less layers the better. I have also discovered that depending on where the bodice ends, I look better with a gathered skirt rather than a pleated skirt. After trying on the dress with the pleats in the skirt, I started over and made it a gathered skirt instead. Doing so made all the difference!

 

I am excited how well this dress turned out! It fits comfortably. Though it feels a little fancy to wear for everyday reasons, I’m not going to let that stop me! I don’t want to leave this dress hanging in my closet! It deserves to be worn so everyone can see it!

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For Work and Play

Often when choosing patterns, I have two goals in mind. First, to create something I (or someone) will wear many times. The second goal is to challenge my sewing skills. I am finding this is harder to do and still create something I can wear in everyday life. I may have to start costuming for the local theater to give myself an excuse to make corsets and hoop skirts!

I love linen! Well, linen look fabrics anyway. I haven’t been able to convince myself to spend the money to buy actual linen. I found this wonderful pink linen-look leaf print on one of my first trips back to JoAnn Fabrics when the summer started. Despite my goal to not buy fabric for new projects, I picked up a few yards.

I found the pattern a few days later, when Simplicity went on sale. The outlined seams are what caught my eye. I like the added detail it gives an otherwise simple summer dress. Let me tell you, it adds time to the sewing process. The pattern calls for bias tape to be sewn over the seams, but I felt that with the linen fabric, I needed something a little more subtle. After pondering for a couple of days, I decided to use piping to line the seams.

Using piping was new to me. I’ve seen it used, but hadn’t attempted it myself. My first attempts needed to be redone a couple of times. I soon found a system that worked for me. First I would sew the piping to one piece. Then, using a zipper foot to ensure I stitched nearly on top of the piping, I would sew the two pattern pieces together. To finish off the seam, I would top-stitch along the side the piping fabric was ironed to. By the time I finished the bodice, I decided not to add another seam to add piping to the skirt. I may do so when I use this pattern again.

Despite this being a sun dress pattern, I think the fabric I chose gives it a bit of a professional-ish look. I can’t speak for people who work in proper offices, but I fully intend to wear this during the first couple weeks of school. I just need to find a little sweater to go with it. Or make the jacket that comes with the pattern.

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