Tag Archives: dress

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





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.)


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.


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).




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!



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!)

Floral Francoise

Floral Francoise

Floral Francoise

Floral Francoise

Floral Francoise
dress: self-made, pattern here // shoes: Seychelles

*Note: I received this pattern from Tilly free of charge. All thoughts, opinions, and crazy fabric choices are my own.*

I don’t even remember how long I’d been wanting a Peter Pan collared shift dress. I’ve made several collared dress with waist shaping/seams but they tend to look a bit twee (and then end up being harder to wear in real life), so when Tilly asked if I’d like to try out her latest pattern, I immediately spent about three hours plotting on Pinterest.

My original plan was to find some kind of shiny/sparkly solid party dress fabric and pair it with a sequin collar to wear to holiday parties, but that kind of fell apart when December became a crazy month. Then last week I wandered into Sewfisticated and this fabric jumped off the shelf and begged to be taken home and turned into a Francoise. Whoops. Fabric diet fail. In my defense, it’s a crazy but gorgeous velvet with some kind of faux leather-ish floral design. Really pretty but kind of a bitch to sew because the velvet has a bit of stretch and the floral part decidedly does not.

Sidenote: I’ve always been terrible with muslins and even though I’d been pretty good about doing them lately, all this costumey self-drafting made me cocky and I ended up just diving right in. Based on the measurements provided, I decided to cut a size 3 on top and grade down to a size 2 in the waist. Turns out, it was spot on! The only changes I made were to shorten the skirt by about 2″ and I took it in about 1/2″ extra on either side in the back.

I sort of skimmed and followed along with the instructions for a few steps but there are so few pieces that it was pretty easy to figure it out. I especially loved that Tilly marked the edges of each pattern piece so you can see at a glance which is the neck edge. As someone who occasionally likes to sew things on upside down or backward, this was a helpful touch. The pattern itself came in a cute, roomy envelope with enough space for me to store my traced pattern pieces on top of everything else already in there. Plus I love when patterns are printed on thick paper; it makes tracing a breeze and I don’t have to worry about ripping things during tracing-Twister-poses.

I was a little skeptical about the darts when I saw the line drawing, but I’m pretty thrilled about how they turned out! I’d never sewn a side-seam dart like that but I’ve also not sewn many shift dresses in my life so I just went for it. The bewb area is PERFECT. Since my brain is lacking in the area that handles understanding FBAs, I usually end up wearing a smaller bra because most of my favorite patterns have smaller busts than I do. This dress is my actual bust size. Happy bewbs!

I’m definitely making another one of these. I’m thinking a plaid one next. I picked up a luscious deep purple plaid last week (another whoops!) that was going to be a circle skirt but might end up being a Francoise instead. And I still want to do one with a sequin collar.

And lastly, in an unrelated note, hair extensions are fun!

Scuba dress

Plaid scuba dress

Plaid scuba dress

Plaid scuba dressdress: self-made, patterns here and here // detachable collar: self-made, pattern here // tights: random shop in a cat village in Taiwan // shoes: Seychelles

Hello 2015! Not sure how that happened. I’m still getting used to it not being summer anymore.

Anyway, sometime in November I wandered into Sewfisticated and they had randomly gotten a quite impressive selection of scuba knits. I briefly considered buying one of each but then came to my senses and went home with only two, a fancy floral and this lovely red plaid.

I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to make: some kind of a short-sleeved skater/party dress kind of thing. I dug through some patterns and decided to use Burda 7739 with elongated sleeves for the top half and a slashed and widened lady skater skirt. Everything pretty much came together easily!

The scuba knit was so much fun to sew (and to wear! I often end up petting my skirt in public which is probably a bit weird). It’s kind of squashy and does what it’s told. I was entertained. The only issue I ran into was hemming the skirt and sleeves; I didn’t love the way the line of stitching stood out in the squashiness. I might undo it and do some kind of hidden hand-stitching on the inside instead.

I also realized that I somehow managed to recreate this dress pretty much exactly (other than the princess seams vs waist darts). I think this might even be the exact same fabric. Whoops?

I’m also so thrilled to have finally finished this detachable collar! I started it ages ago when Megan Nielsen first posted her tutorial and then got tired of beading and abandoned it. I mostly used her pattern but made the collar tips a little pointier. Of course when I picked it up again two months ago I decided to go even crazier and started hand-stitching seed beads onto it. My fingers were not pleased with this decision but I love the effect! I’ve been wearing it a lot to dress up lazy outfits.

In other news, I’m in love with these cat tights I picked up in Taiwan.

Sidenote: I’m giving the blog a bit of a facelift so excuse please the mess until I get things figured out!