Tag Archives: velvet

Adventures in drafting // christmas dress 2016

velvet xmas dress

velvet xmas dress

velvet xmas dress

velvet xmas dress

OHAI. It’s been a while.

I realized the other day that while I’ve alluded to certain things, I haven’t actually talked about anything life-related in a while. So here’s a life update in a  nutshell:

Last year I decided that my old career was not exactly panning out to be what I wanted (a lot of this had to do with licensing regulations in California, but that’s boring and not sewing-related).  At the same time, I had signed up for a flat pattern class at the local CC just to have something to do while I looked for a new job after moving from Boston back to California. Pretty much by week 3 of the class I decided I was going to need to switch careers.  The next semester I signed up for a full class load. Now I’m finishing up my last semester (well, technically I’ll have one last class next semester) while interning as a pattern maker for a local designer.

So, lots of changes going on in the last year! Spoiler alert: I love it.

Anyway, full time school + internship + part time job means not so much time for blogging, which I really miss. I have a whole pile of clothes I’ve sewn in the last six months that need to be photographed. I keep being hesitant to do it because it’s too cold outside. And then I remember I used to do this in Boston, in the snow, in 30 degree weather. I’m shivering just thinking about it. -_-

ANYWAY, now that we’re all caught up, meet this year’s Christmas dress.

The backstory is that my friend kept buying these gorgeous velvet dresses from Anthropologie, and then we planned a weekend holiday trip and decided one evening we would wear velvet dresses. So I got on Pinterest and looked for velvet dresses and found this lovely one by Holly Willoughby.

Making the pattern was pretty straightforward. Move bust darts to waist and turn them into gathers, neckline yoke thing, V-front cutout that meets in the middle, puffed sleeve with gathers that don’t go all the way to the armhole. Since I was using velvet and didn’t want to bother with a separate lining, I made facings for the front and yoke to make it easier.

I used a cheapy stretch velvet from Fabrics ‘r Us because this was kind of an experiment. We’ll call it a Christmas muslin. It actually wasn’t that hard to sew together. I basted the tricky bits but other than that the pile of the velvet sort of acted like velcro and it mostly stayed put. I used stitch witchery for the hem and sleeve edge to avoid having a row of stitching. It stays put and I just think it looks nicer.

The beading was super fun and so quick now that I have a beading needle. I didn’t even bother buying new beads. I’ve done so many beading projects in the last few years that I have an assortment of extra beads and the original dress didn’t seem to have any distinct beading pattern so I just used what I had.

Anyway, I do kind of wish the insides were a little prettier (I was kind of rushed because this was one of two finals week procrastination projects) but I’m in love. It’s one of the comfiest fancy dresses I own and I’ve already worn it twice. The velvet makes it look dressy but the stretchy means more room for feasting.

Maybe I need one in green too..



Lady velvet




IMG_3822dress: self-made, pattern here // shoes: Seychelles

*The fabric for this project was provided by Funki Fabrics and all opinions, anecdotes, and messy hand-stitching are my own.

I feel like a lot of my project posts start off as “So Katie from Skunkboy posted this awesome outfit and I ran off and copied it.” This is not dissimilar from those. At least it’s not Dear Creatures for the umpteenth time!

This dress was inspired by a Black Swan dress that I decided needed to be made in navy velvet with black mesh detailing. Funki Fabrics had just reached out to me about doing a collaboration and their navy stretch velvet sample was everything I was looking for for this project.

I started off with a lady skater and didn’t change too much. I omitted the neckband and arm bands to start. I also hacked off about 1″ from the bodice and 1/2″ from the top of the skirt. I cut a 1.5″ rectangle of black stretch net and sewed it between the bodice and skirt, and then top-stitched to keep it in place. Easy peasy. For the diamond cutouts, I drew up the shape I wanted, cut it out of the dress, and sewed mesh bits in by hand. They’re a bit messier than I would have liked; sadly my Bernina is sick and I’ve been using the back-up Brother which is just not up to working with difficult fabrics.

I think if I were to do this project again I would either leave out the diamond mesh cutouts or use a more stable knit. Or you know, have a decent working sewing machine. Hah.

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!