Right after I finished the gown for the Titanic dinner (thank you bunches for all your lovely comments!!!), I had to turn around and start working on my sister in law’s junior prom dress. It was the sort of project I originally thought I had a bit more time for, but found out a month ago that the prom was the end of April–not in May. That of course meant I had to work on it a bit more furiously than I anticipated! I got a few snapshots before I dropped it off at FedEx to ship it to her, so I thought I’d share those!

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

Firstly, apologies that the dress is a bit wrinkly; I didn’t do a final press since it was about to get shoved in a box to be shipped! She picked out a gorgeous royal blue, heavy weight satin for the gown and Simplicity #2253 (view B), which I think was quite a sophisticated choice for a 17-year-old. In fact, I quite like the dress and would be tempted to make it for myself! We did an initial fitting at the end of March, and I’ve been having to have a lot of faith in my fitting skills (and more than a few prayers!) that this dress would fit her like a glove in the end (which I won’t find out about until later today). I’ve never done a long-distance project like this, although I’ve sewn for others before–I’ve just had them closer by for in-person fittings! Fingers crossed, because I’m a bit like a cat on a hot tin roof right now.

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

The pattern was deceptively easy. It looks fiddly from the envelope–all that piecing on the bodice! But it’s actually quite easy once I got started. What did take the longest was cutting all the pieces out any applying interfacing. I think I spent as much time doing that as I did actively sewing! But no matter, because I think it turned out fantastic for a one-week project! Oh, and that pleated trim on the shoulder is EVIL. I just chucked the pattern markings and directions and I did what I thought made more sense at the end. But aside from that, I was rather surprised how well done the Simplicity instructions were. I think the company must be taking cues from the sewing community online, because I honestly felt like I was reading instructions from Sewaholic or Colette Patterns–not one of the Big Four.

04.17.12 | belle of the prom

Just for a fun touch and to make it “official”, I sewed in one of the tags I had made up a good 4 years ago. (Sorry, the Etsy seller no longer has a shop that I got these from, so I can’t point anyone in the right direction!)

Now that I am finished with both the Deadline Projects for this month, I’m starting to itch to sew something fun that I can actually wear in day-to-day life. I’ve been living in my blue Wearing History Smooth Sailing trousers, and have been thinking I really need to make at least one more. This green twill at Gorgeous Fabrics seems like a possible candidate (or at least offering color inspiration). I’ve been craving more green in my wardrobe of late!

Now to just dig the spare room out after 2 1/2 weeks of marathon sewing!

Pattern: Simplicity #2253 (view B).

Fabric: Synthetic duchess satin, non-static lining, woven (fusible) interfacing.

Alterations: Only minor fitting alterations; she was pretty much a perfect pattern size 10! The only major thing I did was shorten the skirt.

Techniques: Not a whole lot that I felt varied from normal sewing–most of the stitching was done on the machine.

Make Again? Probably not! This was just a one-time project for my sister in law.

April 18, 2012 · 61 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , , , ,

01.30.12 | two-seam top
01.30.12 | two-seam top

Remember that 50s Simplicity pattern I posted recently? Well, curiosity got the better of me, and I just had to try it. Don’t mind the fact that it’s really too chilly for a short sleeve top (that’s what sweaters are for, anyway)–the simpliness of the top appealed to me. Would it look a flattering as the envelope illustration?

The pattern piece is just a large rectangle. For a size small you only need 5/8 yard of material, for a medium-large 3/4. The pattern calls for a jersey material, so I opted for a beautiful pink, wool-blend jersey I picked up on a recent fabric shopping trip. I love the drape, although 100% wool jersey is still far superior–though a bit too expensive for my pocket book at the moment!

01.30.12 | two-seam top

The only seams on the top make up a T shape along the back. The two short ends of the rectangle are sewn together to about halfway to allow for the waist-split, and the one of the long edges is sewn together, leaving an opening at either fold for the arms to pass through. Super easy! The edges are turned under and hemmed with catchstitches and a hook and eye sewn at the waist. I serged all the raw edges just to keep things neat as well. The top took me less than an evening to complete from start to finish.

01.30.12 | two-seam top
01.30.12 | two-seam top

Putting the top on and arranging all the fullness that falls around the neckline is a bit tricky, which is why this top won’t go on my list of “favorite blouses I wear all the time”. Because it is a bit fiddly to wear. I could tack down the folds permanently with stitches, but too be honest, I’m on to other projects right now and just don’t feel like dealing with it. lol. It’s a sweet top, but will probably be relegated to occasions that I’m not engaged in a lot of movement (on most days I sprawl and flail about a lot)–so things like dinner out.

01.30.12 | two-seam top
01.30.12 | two-seam top

Also wearing: thrifted skirt and brooch | MAC Viva Glam I lipstick

On a humorous note, I only realized after taking these photos that I resemble a giant pink Valentine! It’s still a little too early for that… lol. (More photos here.)

Pattern: Simplicity #4538 (1950s vintage). I made the original size to fit a 30″ to 32″ bust.

Fabric: Wool jersey blend.

Alterations: None.

Techniques: Catchstitching and serging the edges (if that can be called a “technique”).

Make Again? Perhaps. Although I’d be curious to see this in a tshirt jersey, I’m not rushing out to make it right away. Maybe later in the year!

January 30, 2012 · 101 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing · tags: , , ,

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

Sewing projects have seemed rather sparse in these parts of late. I’ve been working on a few things in the background, but aside from the blouse, I am at a loss to think of what else I’ve made! Partly to blame is my daydreaming about summer clothes that I need: shorts (I think I need to make a couple more based off this pattern), possibly a little 50-style playsuitthat I can throw a skirt over for street-wear, and tshirts. The latter is something I’ve been putting off for ages, but now that my favorite white tee has finally bit the dust, it’s time for me to get serious and use the jersey I have been saving for just such a project. Expect to either see a post with a tshirt I triumphantly finished, or me avoiding the topic because I made a terrible mess of the whole thing. lol.

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

This long-winded paragraph did have a point: I managed a little sewing over the past week: a pretty little 60s-inspired dress from one of the new Lisette for Simplicity patterns: the Passport dress. The unusual dart configuration (at least for a dress pattern from Simplicity!) really drew me to the pattern initially; it reminded me of some of the illustrations in a 1960s dress pattern drafting book I have. For the fabric I used one of the sheets I thrifted earlier this year (though to be honest I still have a good 1/3 of the sheet left…), underlined the bodice and lined the skirt completely. Those eagle eyes will spot that I used a natural-colored cotton for the lining; the was a little bit of “color alteration” on my part. The sheet itself was a bright white, which never flatters my skin, so the creamy tone of the underlining softened the white in a subtle way. (I wore this Saturday and had my hair in a fabulous 60s beehive ponytail ‘do, but alas the weather turned bad and I didnt’ get any snapshots until Sunday–at which point I did not feel like redoing my hair for the day. hehe!)

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

I used a couple of techniques I hadn’t used on an actual garment before: piped bias facing around the neckline, and a scallop-hemmed skirt lining. The latter was inspired by the hem of a Anthropologie garment in my closet; I loved the idea of using contrasting thread and the scallop stitch on my machine to create a finished lining edge. I just stitched the scallops at the level I wanted (about 5/8″ shorter than the shell hem) and trimmed the edges. I still need to apply a teeny bit of Fray Check though. The piped facing was something I’d been itching to try (as seen in a couple of my vintage sewing manuals), and was quite fun to do since it gave a decorative edge finish and faced the neckline all in one go! Since I thought this was such a neat technique, I documented how I did it and have shared it below (just in case you’d like to know!). Another minor adjustment I made was to move the zipper from the side seam to the center back; it was just a personal preference on this particular dress and echoed some of my favorite vintage 60s day dresses.

05.16.11 | blueberry fields dress

Thoughts about the pattern? I was highly impressed with how well this went together, the drafting (I cut out the bodice based on the finished bust measure, and miracle of miracles! it didn’t have the enormous amount of ease that the Big Four tend to draft into their patterns. Yay!), and the instructions were impressive as well. I usually have to do some major adjustments (lengthen the bodice, shorten the skirt, adjust for a small bust, etc.), but because finished measurements were included on the pattern pieces, I was able to cut between a couple of sizes and only had some minor fitting to do. Sarah mentioned in her post on making the Passport dress (absolutely adorable version in yellow–you must go take a peek!), that this would be a great beginner project, and I couldn’t agree more. Though it may look complicated because of the darts, it’s really easy and thoroughly explained. Quite a difference from the usual ho-hum drafting and instructions I’ve come to expect from the big commercial companies. Bravo, Simplicity! I think the only thing this dress needs now is a little white bow belt… (But then again, I think everything needs a belt… so I’m a little biased.)

05.16.11 | piped bias binding

If you’re curious how to construct the faced bias piping, read on… { click here to continue reading this post }

May 16, 2011 · 108 lovely thoughts
posted in sewing,tutorials · tags: , , , ,