Monday, September 15, 2014

Last Dress of Summer :(



48 degrees Fahrenheit.

That was the temperature this morning here as I left the house for work.
I miss summer already.

I finished my Banana Republic/Milly knock-off dress this weekend, and regardless of the weather, it had to be worn! My denim jacket did a great job as my "top layer" today, and since the day was going to warm up to a balmy 61, I chose my sandals over my boots, and headed out the door!

It was love at first sight when I first spotted this dress in InStyle magazine last year. I knew that the bodice would have to be changed so that I could wear it at work, but I *loved* the bias striping on the skirt! I tried to search for a similar fabric, but to no avail.  When I saw this blue/green/black striped voile (cotton/poly blend) on the bargain table at Joann's last year, I scooped up 3 yards and took it home. Sadly, it wasn't until the end of this summer that I finally had time to take on those stripes!
The inspiration dress by Milly for Banana Republic

I'm really very pleased with the final outcome, as the dress fits perfectly and is exactly what I wanted. The stripes matched up easily at every seam, even at the zipper (which I moved to the side so that it could be hidden, just in case I messed up.   It has a lovely drape and weight and was quite comfortable to wear at work all day.


Pattern: Simplicity 4070, bodice from view A, skirt from view E.

Perfect amount of circle skirt for the fabric I had (3 yards), I think I will get a lot of use out of this pattern in the future!  With the fabric being nearly sheer, I lined the entire dress with a navy blue poly blend.  Here are some pics and details from mid-construction.  The black belt was hanging in my closet (along with a brown one that will also work), so that was ideal!


 Look at that stripe matching!!! I'm SOOOOOOOO proud of myself!

  
I'm still trying to figure out if I can squeeze one more wear out of this with the addition of tights and boots. Anyhow, it's time to put the chiffons, batistes, and voiles away. Time to bring out the sweater knits, denim, and wool. Someone, hand me a pumpkin spice latte...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Should I? (aka "Step Away from the Mood Website")

Help! Not sure what to do...

Ever since I pinned this image on Pinterest, it's been repinned repeatedly. I love the neckline and the utter femininity of this look.


I already have a pattern in mind, Vogue 8633.

This fabric is available at Mood, and is "almost sold out".

The angel on my shoulder says, "It's September, what are you going to do with a pink dress?"
The devil says, "You'll sew it up and wear it in the Spring!"
The angel says, "You NEVER wear pink."
The devil says, "But, it's so pretty... you look great in pink!"
The angel says, "You have boxes and boxes of fabric already."
The devil says, "It won't cost you a dime, you still have that big credit on file at Mood!"

WHAT SHOULD I DO???

Friday, September 5, 2014

Back to School!


Tuesday morning found us bleary eyed, but reporting for duty! Little Miss started Middle School this year, and Little Man started 3rd grade. Seems like yesterday that they were so much smaller...

Anyhow, that striped dress I'm wearing was whipped up last week, along with another of the same exact pattern, New Look 6261, but in a different fabric and neckline (view D).

This summer I found that making two at a time is so much faster, and since I know how much I like the sheath style and the two fabric are so different, no one would ever think anything of it.


Apparently I have some kind stripe addiction going on lately? This fabric (2 yards) came from Gorgeous Fabrics a few years ago. It has some texture, like a seersucker, and some stretch (between the black stripes). I lined it with some plain white poly, and the pattern was a breeze. The fit was very good straight out of the envelope, and I was happy with the compliments that I received! (Sorry, no back view. Too crazy of a morning!)

The other version in the different fabric? I haven't worn it yet, so I'll post a pic next week. Today is "school spirit Friday", so I'm sporting the ever fashionable t-shirt and ponytail... Gotta run, school bell is ringing!!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

What was I thinking?!

Under Construction...
I was thinking that I have wanted to make this dress ever since the day I stumbled across it inside InStyle magazine! When I did a Google image search for "Milly, Banana Republic, striped dress" look who popped up all over my screen!

You know that if Zoe Saldana is wearing this dress, that it deserves to be knocked off! Granted, I could buy this exact dress off ebay right now for as little as $50, but I've already purchased the fabric, and feel compelled to complete the challenge!

Fabric: 3 yards of striped voile from Joann's. I found it on the Red Tag Bargain table of all places, but it was exactly the print I wanted (and a great price, if I messed it up). It's a cotton/poly blend, and quite sheer, so I also picked up a couple yards of navy poly lining.

Pattern: Simplicity 4070. I'm planning on wearing this dress to work, so the sundress straps are non-negotiable. I'm using view F, but obviously not including the lace. I needed a semi-circle skirt, and the first pattern I chose (Vogue ????) wouldn't work because the skirt was too full for the 3 yards of fabric I had to work with. So, was perfect, even allowing me fabric to spare after laying out the pattern so the stripes would match!

I laid the pattern out for the skirt on a single layer of fabric, as stripe matching was a priority for me, with a center front seam. I marked my pattern paper with lots of lines 45 degress from the marked grain line. Once I had the first layer cut, I just flipped it over (now right sides together), and matched the stripes, pinning and cutting carefully.
I used the crayons to aid in moving the paper and cutting the 2nd piece, but flipping it directly over was so much easier!


The bodice pieces being smaller, I felt more confident being able to cut 2 layers of fabric and keep the stripes matched. I had about 1/3 yard left over, but may still use it for a band/belt at the waist.

I started assembling the bodice first, matching the stripes at the front had priority, but finding that the side seam matching also worked made my heart sing! When I moved onto the center front seam of the skirt, I paused. The skirt being cut on the bias meant my seams might stretch, and I didn't want anything wavy or wonky at the center front. I cut a strip of sheer ribbon the exact length of the center front seam, and once I had the stripes matched, I used the sheer ribbon as a stabilizer to hold the seam true.  After stitching, a breathed a HUGE sigh of relief... the stripes matched AND the seam was firm! I need to cut away more of the left over ribbon from the seam, as it's creating a small bubble, but I'm beyond happy with my progress!
So, this is where it stood when I made myself go to bed at 11pm last night. I was actually having fun matching the stripes, stitching the seam and checking to see if I had success. Sick, right?! I still have to cut and construct the lining layer, and decide what to do with the waist, as it seems like it needs a band or something... Thoughts?

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Beach Reception Dresses


What an honor and privilege to make these dresses! As I'd said in this earlier post, L's beach reception was casual, so she wasn't looking for the typical white "beach wedding" dress. Her requests included...
1. A chevron print fabric paired with a solid.
2. A halter top.
3. A high/low skirt.


Check, check, and check!
Patterns: 8470 (bodice) and 8870 (skirt)
Fabrics: Silk Faille Chevron from Spoonflower, and Yellow silk/cotton and lining (poly taffeta) from Haberman Fabrics.
Modifications: I had to adjust the skirt pattern at the waist to eliminate the gathers. If I had to do over again, I think I'd prefer to increase the fullness of the skirt, though. I took about 3" off the back length of the skirt, as L is quite petite, and also shortened the center front of the skirt by about 2".

Once the fabric was ordered and purchased, I was able to see that I'd have enough to make her daughter a coordinating look. How perfect!


Little Miss A's dress used the chevron on the top and the solid yellow for the skirt. I considered adding a sash, but L loved it just this way! I think Little Miss A loved it, too! Butterick 3350 is the pattern I used, which goes together very quickly and easily!


When everything was said and done, the girls loved their dresses and I loved making them. I've known L since she was a sweet little 9th grader, so seeing her grow up and become an amazing woman (with a beautiful family) has been a pleasure. Making these dresses was just the icing on the cake.

Congratulations and Best Wishes!!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Good Things Come in Small Packages

On the 4th of July, dear friends of ours had a very special package arrive... their little girl! Weighing in at just under 6 pounds, she was the tiniest little bundle of sweetness! Suddenly, I was looking through the old baby girl patterns from 10 years ago, digging through my fabric boxes for pink floral cottons.
While at Haberman's getting fabric for a different project (the search for the perfect shade of yellow!), I found this lovely pink and while floral cotton. The local quilt shop had the perfect solid shade of pink to pair with it, too. Now, I needed a pattern!

Baby Girl is still so tiny though... even the newborn sized clothing she has is too big! What to do, what to do... and then I had an idea. I asked my friend, "How long is she now?" and she answered, "About 20 inches." Perfect.

This lovely pattern was in a big box of vintage patterns that I bought from a friend a few years ago. Simplicity 4723 is described as a "baby doll layette" for 20" dolls like "Thumbelina, Baby Dear, Tiny Talker". Although it's not marked, I'm pretty certain this pattern is from about 1962 or '63.


I made 3 pieces: The sleeveless dress ("slip"), the jacket ("sacque"), and panties. I made lots of bias tape from my left over fabric, to trim the jacket and finish the armholes and neckline. I folded and gathered a little ruffle to add to the dress, and 1 single yard of pink satin ribbon made 4 little bows to embellish with.  I found a vintage card of snaps in my notions drawer, with just 3 snaps remaining, so I used those at each shoulder for closures.

All in all, I'm really happy with the look of the set, and I think it's very sweet. I enjoyed making it much more than I thought I would, having never made such a small baby dress before! I could hear my mother in my ear saying, "The bonnet! That baby needs a bonnet!", but she's more of a "headband" girl. Sorry, Mom!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Perfect Shade of Yellow

My current project is a beach reception dress for a former student. She and her new husband will be celebrating with family at a local beach, and she didn't want anything particularly formal or traditional. The party is fairly casual, so our design brainstorming session took a lot of back and forth with "How about this?" and "No, more like this..." via numerous Facebook conversations! She fell in love with this dress, but wanted it "fancied" up a little bit. She loved the chevron fabric, but was hoping for a white/cream colorway. Loved the hi/low skirt, but wanted a fitted halter top.

The only white/cream chevron fabric I found was for home dec, so her second pick was a white/pastel yellow chevron. Lots of bright yellow chevron fabric (in cotton) out there, but nothing in a pastel with more drape! Spoonflower to the rescue!!! Chevron: check! Pastel yellow: check! Silky Faille: check! Having never ordered from Spoonflower before, I was a little nervous... but, the fabric arrived faster than expected and is exactly what she wanted!
 
I headed to Haberman's in hopes of finding the perfect shade of yellow for the bodice. I'm marrying 2 Vogue patterns to create her look, 8470 (halter bodice) and 8870 (long hi/low skirt).



One more pattern edit... The top of the skirt pattern needs to be adjusted for a smooth seam, not gathered.  So, anyway, back to the color matching (and the reason for this post!)...
I first found a yellow taffeta, but it was a smidge too dark, too shiny, and too stiff. I carried it along through the store, anyway though. Then I found a cotton/silk voile, but it was a smidge too light and definitely too sheer.  Neither fabric was right, and those were my only options (with no time for swatches from online resources). Hmmm... what to do???
 
A ha! Lightbulb! Layer the fabrics, you silly seamstress! Use the taffeta as an underlining! PERFECT SHADE OF YELLOW!!!
 
So, I've got the bodice constructed, and it's time to edit, cut, construct, and attach the skirt. I'll probably have the finished project done to share with you in the next few days or so!  It's such an honor to be asked to make such a special dress for a special day, especially considering that I've known her since she was a 9th grader in my Student Council class!