Tag Archives: dress

Adventures in drafting // red wedding

Red dress

Red dress

Red dress

Red dress

Red dress

Red dresspattern: self-drafted // shoes: Cathy Jean

Haha just kidding. My friends’ wedding was lovely! No murderous musicians.

Anyway, I made this dress because a day before hopping on a plane to DC, I realized that every dress I owned was either black, white, one of the wedding colors, or more appropriate for winter.  So, I took a break from the Epic Peacoat Copycat of July to draft a quick pattern and then made an extremely panicked trip to Joann’s.

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I had found this photo somewhere on Pinterest (not sure where the original is from!) and wanted to do kind of a high-ish front, low-ish back sort of thing. I basically just lowered the neckline ~2″ and drew a new flatter neckline, did a sleeveless adjustment (bring armholes up 1/2″ and in 1/2″), then drew connecting curves from the new armhole up to the corner of the new neckline. Then I contoured the crap out of all it and moved the bust darts up and turned them into princess lines. The back was easy, I just repeated the sleeveless adjustment, closed the waist dart, and drew a line from from the armhole dipping lower at center back.

I didn’t have much time for tweaking but I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out! We were going through a bit of a heat wave last week so I was way too hot and miserable (and lacking in time) to deal with figuring out a bra for this one so I decided to just go bra-les. Eh, it worked out I think.

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How cool is this fabric though?? I briefly considered adding trim or some other detailing to the dress but a) no time, and b) it really didn’t need it because of the cool texturing. Also, thank you Great British Sewing Bee for teaching me that even more subtle patterns should really be centered.

(Yes, it’s still bothering me that I was totally off on this dress but I feel slightly redeemed after getting it right this time.)

In other news, all this red is making me miss my red hair.

Refashion // beads & silk

Kimono refashion

Kimono refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

Kimono refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

Kimono refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

Kimono refashion

Vintage silk beaded dress refashion

I got a bunch of really gorgeous vintage dresses from one of Boyfriend’s relatives a few weeks ago and I was so excited about this one I dove right in and finished it in two days.

Kimono refashion

But let’s back up. This started out as a bit of a monstrosity. There were shoulder pads, shoulder flanges, no shaping darts anywhere, and awkwardly long sleeves. There was, however, the most gorgeous beading all over the back, as well as on the edges of the bottom and sleeves. Plus, it’s 100% silk and has the most luscious drape.

I knew immediately that I had to keep the beading all in on piece and not mess with it at all. I toyed with the idea of doing some kind of short shift dress, but all of the beading just seemed too heavy for that kind of design. Then I had one of those light bulb moments and realized that it would be much better balanced if I just turned it around and put the beading on the back.

Kimono refashion

Once I had a design idea, the first thing I had to do was a lot of careful seam-ripping. I unpicked the shoulder flanges and then undid the side seams up to about where I wanted to hack off the skirt. Then I did a lot of procrastinating before actually slicing off the skirt.

Kimono refashion

You guys, cutting into this thing was SO nerve-wracking. I chewed on my nails for a while and then just went for it. I decided I wanted a high-low thing going on at the hem so I measured and cut accordingly. The front is 3″ shorter than the back. Then I cut straight down the center back which would become the center front opening. I took the excess skirt fabric and cut long strips that would become the center front panels, and reshaped the front neckline to get a more kimono-esque shape. I also had to draft a back neck piece, which I sewed to the front panel strips, and unpick the facings, which I felt inordinately guilty doing since they were so beautifully sewn in.

After that was a ton of hand-stitching. I sewed one side of the front panels on by machine but pretty much everything else was done by hand, including re-attaching all the beading to the bottom hem. I’m debating also adding beading to the end of the sleeves but haven’t decided if that would be a nice balance or just be too much.

Either way I absolutely love how it turned out. It’s super swishy and fun to wear. Actually I didn’t realize until just now that I subconsciously picked my swishy Minnetonka boots to wear with it. Multi-swish! I’m literally slightly bummed that it stands out so much because I keep wanting to wear it every day. (I finished it a week ago and have worn it like three times already.)

(And yes, I should steam that back hem again. Wherps.)

Anddd I’ll leave you with a photo of me looking utterly ravishing in a backwards shoulder-padsy dress.

Kimono refashion

adventures in drafting // self-striping

Striped dress

Striped dress

Striped dress

Striped dressdress: self-drafted // shoes: Seychelles

**Photos should hopefully be fixed now!

No, not like sock yarn. Like when you go crazy and decide to make your own striped fabric.

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In my defense I really tried to find navy and white striped fabric and just couldn’t. At the beginning of this semester we were assigned a storyboard of a five garment mini-collection, with the stipulation that one of our three garments due this semester had to be from the board. Now, a normal person would’ve drawn garments in a solid, or easier-to-find kind of print. I decided I just had to have my wide navy/white stripes.

So I sewed my own. I bought peachskin fabric from Joann’s in navy and ivory, cut them into 4″ strips, and sewed them together with a 1/2″ seam allowance so each stripe ended up being 3″ wide. Perffffection.

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Drafting this was a bit of an adventure. Basically I wanted to re-make the Arrow dress from Dear Creatures (looove), but with a bodice that would actually fit me (I think they draft for an A or B cup and I’m a D –my bewbs are definitely not the happiest in that dress), and with a slightly more modern silhouette.

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I started off with the same bodice sloper we use for class. For the front I did a sleeveless adjustment, made a cut-away armhole, and lowered the neckline a bit. Then I drew in a princess line variation from the center front neck diagonally down to the side seam, and moved the side bust dart to the neckline, and transferred the waist dart (with a new apex 3/4″ over like Armstrong says) to ease. (You can kind of see it in the photo right above.)

The back was a little more tricky because my pivot points happened to be right where I wanted the back cut out. I ended up basically just doing a lot of contouring and it seemed to work out. It took a few tries though. The first attempt had a strange lump where most people lack a body bulge, and another attempt was slightly sideways.

The skirt is the same skirt pattern from my Christmas dress. And lastly, I drafted a flat roll Peter Pan collar because why not. :]

In terms of construction, I lined the whole thing with muslin because I have a crap ton of it for school, I needed something light in color because of the white stripes, and I was on a roll and didn’t want to have to stop and drive to Joanns for actual lining fabric.

The verdict: it fits a million times better than the Arrow dress! The only thing I’m a bit sad about is that the bottom edge of the bodice seems to have stretched out a bit, possibly when I was sewing the stripes, and there’s a weird wrinkle in the tummy area of the bodice. Oh well. Also I don’t love what’s happening with the stripes in the back. It’s like my bum ate most of the white stripe.

Anyway, other than those two tiny details, I adore this dress. I’ve already worn it to a party and it was the perfect mix of twee and fancy.

 

review // Boundless Style

Boundless style dress

Boundless style dress

Boundless style dress

Boundless style dressdress: self-made, pattern here // shoes: Seychelles

I received this book free of charge from Interweave. All thoughts, opinions, and silly anecdotes are my own.

When I was little, I had this flip book I absolutely adored where you could flip heads, bodies, and legs of all kinds of different animals to make weird and cool combinations. That’s what Boundless Style by Kristiann Boos felt like. You get five bodices (some with slight variations), five skirts (with varying skirt/peplum lengths), and five sleeves (some with varying lengths as well).

I chose to do the Catrina bodice paired with the Lydia skirt. I was originally going to add the Moss sleeves but with all the stripe-age going on, it ended up looking like a bit much so I left them off.

This dress was a bit of an adventure, and a really fun one.  When I first flipped through the book, I spent about two hours just trying to decide which combination to do first. (Hint: check out their app if you haven’t already. It’s literally the dress version of that animal book.)

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I ended up deciding on this one because I really wanted to try something fun with stripes going in different directions and I had this specific fabric in mind. My mom had been going through her old stuff and found this gorgeous striped fabric that my dad brought back from a business trip to India at least two decades ago. It was perfect.

What I didn’t realize was that there are extra waist darts next to the style lines that make that gorgeous middle panel, and at first I wasn’t sure how much I liked it with those side pieces sewn up in the stripe. I actually spent a few hours re-drafting it to a wider princess line to incorporate those darts, but in the end it just looked boring. And then someone pointed out that with the way I cut the fabric, the waist darts are symmetrical and I decided that the way it bends the stripes on both sides actually looks pretty cool.

Anyway, I love this dress! The middle panel is lined and I used a bias binding for the armholes, which makes the whole thing really light and quick to put together, while still being nicely finished. Kristiann  gives really great directions on each step without being overly hand-holdy. The only thing I didn’t love was that the patterns come on a CD in the back of the book. I’m not opposed to PDF patterns because in my mind, getting the pattern immediately is worth having to tape and trace. But if I have to wait to receive this book in the mail, then print out the patterns and tape them before I can even trace them, that seems a bit much. Also I’m pretty sure most computers don’t come with CD drives anymore, which would mean I’d either have to take this somewhere and pay to get it printed, buy an external CD drive, or find borrow a friend’s computer. I did read somewhere that if you run into this issue you can contact Interweave to have the PDF emailed to you, but if you don’t like PDFs in general, this won’t solve that particular issue for you.

Anyway, now I have this problem where I can’t decide which combination to sew next! Usually when I buy a pattern with several variations, I only ever end up sewing one of them. With this book, there are so many possible combinations, especially when you consider fabric choice, that I will definitely be sewing up several. I have some of this stuff from Cotton and Steel that screams to be made into a Jackie bodice.

I’m thinking something like this, with the navy print as the main part and either a contrast print or a solid navy as the front tie bit.

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Seriously, this app (and book) are so much fun!

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!)