adventures in drafting – Christmas dress

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I finally had a chance to take pictures of this year’s Christmas dress! This one was my final project for my pattern drafting class last semester and I’m completely smitten.

I had some trouble getting started because the twee small child in me wanted to take my newfound knowledge of collars and necklines and throw a Peter Pan collar on everything I own. I decided on a bateau neckline and then cut a deep V into it for funsies. It wasn’t in the book but it worked in muslin and I just drafted a facing-shaped piece for interfacing and it stands up just fine.

I started off playing around in quarter scale so all measurements on these guys are quarter-scale measurements. All of this stuff can be found in Principles of Flat Pattern Design. (We just started using the Armstrong book in the advanced class and so far I’m equal parts excited and overwhelmed. In a good way.)

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I started with a combined waist dart sloper and did an adjustment for no sleeves, bateau neck adjustment, cut a midriff yoke, and then angled the dart slightly for aesthetics. The deep V is just cut straight from the new neckline edge straight down to the bust line.

Now that I’m looking at this again I’m realizing I never closed the neckline dart in the bateau. Whoops. No wonder it gapes just a tiny bit.

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The skirt was pretty straightforward. I wanted something big but clean-looking (no gathers) at the waist, but not a circle skirt. I ended up doing a flared skirt (the pink additions) with extra flare (the green).

And then here’s what all the pieces looked like with seam allowances added! I did slightly tweak these after I took these photos though. I had forgotten to do the no-sleeves adjustment on the bodice back, and my hem allowance was too long so I changed it from 3/4″ to 1/2″. I also ended up drafting a pocket piece and added hidden pockets to the side seams of the skirt (as you can maybe see in photo #2 up there).

I also liked the idea of an invisible hemline so I used stitch witchery on the hem and then hand-stitched some gold bias tape (you can kind of see a tiny sliver of it in photo #3).

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And here’s the first version sewn up in muslin! This was before I made the aforementioned tweaks to the pattern so you can see some slight armhole gaping in the back and definitely in the back neckline. (Although to be fair, this dress form is a bit smaller than the ones we use at school.) You might also be able to spot some of that annoying hem pulling that happens when your hem is too wide and sewing it causes drag lines. I spent WAY too long trying to iron it flat.

Sidenote: this assignment was to make a garment that fits the dressforms at school (which are size 8s from 1997) using a Butterick sloper size 8. It was sheer luck that I happen to fit my dress, so any slight fit issues are because it wasn’t actually meant to fit me!

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And that’s it!

(I actually really like the way it looks in cream and might have to make another one of these in some sort of a cream linen or crepe!)

Adventures in drafting

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A few months ago my sister called me to FaceTime after a particularly successful shopping trip and showed me this adorable little sherpa vest she’d bought. I immediately fell in love with it and pestered her for the next two weeks to take photos of it from a multitude of angles so I could try to replicate it.

She sent me a whole bunch, the following being the most helpful, and I scampered to work.

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We had just covered necklines, including shawl collars, in class, so I had somewhat of an idea of how to go about doing this. I started with a quarter-scale torso front and back. The back was pretty straightforward. Princess lines from the armhole and then a seam at the waist.

The front was much harder. I wanted a shawl collar-y effect, but I wanted to top to be angled outward more and for the whole front center to extend out further than center front. I played around with it a lot (as evidenced by the several colors of paper) and finally ended up with something like this:

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Then I ran into a tiny problem. I’d picked up a gorgeous pale gray and white faux shearling fabric at Joann’s but it was only half a yard. Despite my best tetris-ing efforts there was always one piece I couldn’t fit on the fabric. In the end I had to crop the length by a few inches and be ok with the pattern pieces being cut out in whichever direction they fit, rather than all being in the same direction. It worked out though, I think! I’m calling this one a wearable muslin.

For my next one, I want to try to find a sherpa fabric with more drape, since this one sits kind of stiffly. And a possibly foot that works better with the faux suede-y material on the outside. It’s SO comfy though and I’ve been wearing it a ton.

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2015 in review

Hello 2016! I’m still slightly in shock over how quickly 2015 flew by. It was a bit of a weird year, lots of it spent feeling transitional. I quit my job, moved from one coast to the other, lived with my mom for a while (somehow we didn’t kill each other), and then moved in with Boyfriend.

One of my resolutions last year was to blog less and sew more. I had so little free time that I kept wanting to sew but then feeling pressure to blog the pile of things I’d already sewn instead. Eventually I had to stop myself and ask why it was so important and when I couldn’t think of a good answer, I decided to cut back. Except then I barely blogged and all and now I keep having tinglings to blog more so I think I need to work on this balance.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever done one of these but I thought I’d share some of my favorites and some fails (in no particular order) from the past year! (Some of these haven’t actually been blogged yet.)

Let’s start with the fails:

1. Velvet lady skater with cut-outs
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I loved this dress halfway through making it. I had just attached the top and bottom with the black mesh and it looked super cool. I had a little voice in the back of my head telling me to abandon the original plan and just go with the mesh waistband but I ignored it and went full steam ahead. I like the idea of the mesh cutouts on the side, but they just didn’t work. The fabric was wrong, the contrast is too visible, the cutouts are too messy, etc. I definitely want to revisit this dress idea, probably in a black knit and most likely without those pesky side cutouts. So far this has been worn once.

2. Reformation dress copycat

This dress is a fail mostly because it’s SO CLOSE to what I wanted it to be, but just not quite there. I stupidly decided to take on a really difficult drafting project like 2 weeks into my flat pattern class, when I could totally start over now and I’m fairly confident I could do it right this time. But I slaved over this for three straight days and I’m just out of steam. Maybe I’ll hack off the top and make it a giant flowy skirt.

3. Galaxy leggings
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I’m calling it a fail if I never wear it, and I’ve never worn these. I LOVED the idea of bright gorgeous leggings except that love died almost right after these were finished and ever since then I’ve worn nothing but grays, blacks, and whites to the gym. No idea why. Since these are not exactly wear-in-public pants, they’ve been sitting, sadly abandoned, in my closet ever since. (The strappy bra gets worn all the time though!)

4. Peplum top w/leather collar

I have no idea where this top went wrong. It looks super cute on the mannequin, I love the faux leather collar with the metallic gold print, the cap sleeves are adorable. But somehow, it’s WAY too big. And makes me look 30lbs heavier. I’m going to attempt to salvage it. This is what I get for cheating on V8815.

5. Lace undies

These just didn’t work out. I think I used shitty elastic so it just itches. And the pink and blue fabrics are itchy (especially the blue). Fortunately I love the cut so I think I’ll try again with the soft fancy elastic I found at Britex and maybe some modal or bamboo knits.

And now for the wins. As I’m picking from what I’ve sewn, I’m noticing that I love all of the stuff I sewed in the second half of the year. I definitely remember making a conscious decision to try to sew things I would actually wear, instead of just sewing fun fabrics into stuff I wouldn’t reach for in the morning and it looks like it’s paid off. Hmm.

1. Final project/xmas dress

I love this dress SO MUCH. It’s 100% self-drafted and turned out 100% exactly how I wanted it. It’s a tiny bit itchy on the inside at the seams but in the way where you can say “beauty is pain” and ignore it. I wanted something with a little boob, but not too much boob, and sort of secret boob. I think I found the perfect balance in that deep V cutout. I also knew I didn’t quite want a circle skirt, but I definitely wanted something big and slightly ridiculous. I’ll share more drafting stuff when I blog this.
2. Lululemon zip scarf copycat

I’ve been wearing this scarf almost every day so I’d call it a win. I copied the Vinyasa scarf from Lululemon, which costs $68 for some reason. I think this one cost me a grand total of $13. I was a little worried it would be too thick since I doubled up the fabric but I prefer wearing it halfway unzipped and it’s totally fine that way.

3. Lykke Wullf overall shorts copycat

These are the best thing in the world. Before I made the drapey tops I wore these overall shorts with a cropped top basically every day. They’re super fun and super comfy and I have some darker denim and gold hardware stashed away for a second pair for next summer.

4. All the drapey tops Floral drapey top
I wore these all summer and occasionally in the fall with cardigans layered over. I’ll definitely be making a bunch more next summer.

5. Lacy linden
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Comfy clothes dressed up to look fancy? Yes please! I want to make a black one of these with gold lace. Or just a solid one with sequin lettering.

And that’s it!

As a sidenote, you may have noticed that no cosplays were mentioned. I figured since Elsa was probably the best and most fun thing I made (but only wore 3x), and Zoe was sort of incomplete since I ran out of time (and then never blogged), they didn’t quite fit.

More weather inappropriate drapey-ness

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Floral drapey top

Floral drapey top
top: self-drafted // bra: blogged here // sweater: Modcloth // pants: Jamie Jeans

Since it’s almost Christmas, this seems like a great time to share more of my summer wardrobe Here are two more of those luscious drapey tanks.

I wore them both pretty much all summer with shorts so it’s nice to be able to throw a sweater on top and call it a fall outfit. Or maybe this only works in California.

Happy almost Christmas!

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Drapey top & strappy bra

Drapey top & strappy bra

Drapey top & strappy bra
top/skirt/bra: self-drafted

This summer I was planning my Plymouth trip wardrobe and somehow stumbled upon the perfect summer lake house tank top. Whenever we’ve gone there in warm weather I’ve basically lived in a swim suit, maybe a pair of shorts. I wanted something I could throw over a swim suit that would still look cute and could be dressed up. I also wanted something cute and low-cut in the back to wear with all the strappy bras I experimented with this summer. (I’ll do a separate post on those.)

I basically just traced the neckline of a tank top that I like the fit of, and then added triangle wedges to it starting at the underarm to add the drape. Then I made long strips of bias tape for the straps and also used some to enclose the neckline edge.

These were so quick and easy to make that I actually ended up cranking out three of them in a day and a half. It didn’t take very much fabric either, so I was able to use up some pretty fabric scraps I didn’t have plans for. This one is a black rayon challis and I did French seams on the inside. I tried one serging another one and that worked just as well.

I have a lot of chiffon/rayon challis/other floaty fabric scraps lying around so I may have to make an army of these. I have visions of my wardrobe morphing into ten of these tanks for the summer and ten Archers for the winter.

In other news, Happy Thanksgiving to my American sewing friends! I can’t wait to eat my weight in stuffing.

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