Simplicity 2846

My good friend and muse, Miss V, gifted me a length of printed batik from Cambodia, where she lives, studies and connects with every person she meets.  You may remember the red dress I made for her a couple of years ago (has it been that long?!) from the same type of fabric, and, yes, the same pattern.  The fabric comes in a set length/width, and is usually stitched together to form a continuous piece.  One then steps into it and ties it sarong style at the waist or upper chest if you’re tiny.  I decided to keep the dress idea alive and well.

S2486 front

There is nothing much to say about this pattern.  I did my usual FBA of about 2.5cm, and did a 5cm short-waist adjustment (which works better than the popular sway back alteration with my shape).  I left the fit a bit loose through the underbust and waist.  I’m starting to get self-conscious about the middle spread phenomenon that seems to be my lot in life right now.  Wanna see the best part of this dress?

Simplicity 2846 back

The BACK!!! Isn’t it awesome?  I love that it’s so average from the front, and then when I turn around, hello!

Here’s the stamp on the CB seam allowance.

Batik

I lined it with cotton batiste, and put in an invisible zip down the centre back.  I used the selvedge as the hem.  I’m glad it’s summer.  The sun and bright colours are wonderful to see after the long dreary drab winter.

Cambodian batik

EuroCup 2016: Team Portual Bomber Jacket

Back in the fall of 2015, I participated in the 2015 PR Sewing Bee.  The last challenge was making an Olympic team uniform, and this was part of my submission.  I thought it would be fun to blog it now that Portugal is playing in the EuroCup semi-finals today.

I made the skirt, trousers and top as blogged in my previous post.  This is the first bomber jacket I’ve made, and I thought it would be fun to pull out all the red silk and linen scraps in my stash to make up this John Richmond bomber-style top from Burda September 2013.  And it is not the most simple with a gazillion pieces, but it worked perfectly with all my little pieces of red.

Burda 09-2013-130I used red linen from my jumpsuit for the front bands and collar; a cotton-silk voile for the lower jacket, upper front and sleeves; and a rayon plisse (a double-layered fabric where the pleated fabric is loosely attached to a flat back) for shoulder and side constrast sections. The centre back panel and elasticated sleeve and bottom bands are made from silk taffeta.  Here’s the front. You can see the contrasting fabrics with the piping.  The single welt pockets are silk taffeta, too.

Burda 09-2013-130 piped

Here’s the back view.

Burda 09-2013-130 back

The sleeves have a pleating detail, which is just beautiful.  I made the lining for the sleeves separately instead of pleating all layers together as one.

Burda 09-2013-130 sleeves

I did a double row of piping around each section using gold and green silk shantung.  Labourious, tedious, and quite satisfying, for sure, once it was done.  This is a close-up of the back shoulder (from L, clockwise:  silk taffeta, rayon plisse, silk-cotton voile).

Burda 09-2013-130 piping

I’m not a big bomber jacket fan, but this is so luxurious to wear, and doesn’t advertise it’s patriotism too loudly, which suits me.  Back view, waving my flag.

Burda 09-2013-130 and 02-2006-137

Here’s the interior. I fully lined the jacket.  The body and sleeve linings were sewn as separate pieces.  I put the sleeve lining/fashion fabrics together, added the sleeve elasticated cuffs, and then stitched the sleeves to the jacket body.  The armscyes are bound with gold and green silk shantung.  The facings are linen.

Burda 09-2013-130 interior

Here’s a side view.

Burda 09-2013-130 side

If Portugal wins this round, we’ll be downtown at my MIL’s in Little Portugal on July 10th, cheering frantically for them to win.  If they don’t, I have some pieces to wear when I feel a bit Portuguese. :)

EuroCup 2016: Team Portugal Tee

With EuroCup in full swing, and living in a Portugal crazy household (my DH’s family is Portuguese), I thought some red-gold-green would be timely on the blog.  Let’s start with a TNT tee pattern, Burda 02-2013-126, in an appropriately patriotic colour block.

Burda 02-2006-114 khaki

I have always done the neck binding by folding a strip in half, stitching it right sides together to the neck edge, finishing the edges, pressing the seam allowance towards the garment and edgestitching it in place.  This time I followed Burda’s instructions and actually bound the neckline.  Slowly, carefully, and with a little unpicking here and there it worked quite nicely.

Burda 02-2013-126 Portugal

I added a skirt made from a stretch cotton and trousers. The trousers have since left my house because they were too wide and sat too low, and were too straight-legged and I just couldn’t be bothered altering them to fit properly because I didn’t like them enough in the first place.  Well, I liked the line drawing and the idea, but….

Portugual ensemble

Both patterns were from Burda 2006 issues.  I actually bought the skirt issue (February 2006) after coveting Allison’s version in denim a year ago.  It’s become my favourite summer skirt this year, edging out the wonderful Vogue 1247 for most wears so far this season.

I’ll be happy to wear the shirt in when Portugal plays in the semi-final next week.   And if it’s too cool for a tee, I’ve made a red-gold-green bomber jacket, which I’ll share in detail next time.

Miss R’s Floral Graduation Dress

A few months ago I was asked to help a good friend shop for her daughter’s prom/graduation, as she didn’t feel she knew quite where to start navigating the maze of promdom.  I suggested we go on a reconnaissance mission, push the boundaries on all pre-conceived notions of likes/dislikes and appropriate/inappropriate and see where we ended up.  Everything can be duplicated, regardless of the RTW price tag, I assured her.

So we went shopping.  And Miss R tried on everything from red sequin Vegas showgirl gowns to pink sherbet blinged out cotton candy dresses, to mom-approved middle-aged dowdy navy blue gowns that made her look old, and, well, dowdy.  At the end of the day, she settled on a navy beaded full length blouson dress for her prom and something made from this skirt, purchased at a steep discount by moi a few weeks after our reconnaissance escapade, for her graduation ceremony.floral skirt

The RTW beaded gown was hemmed and happily worn a couple of weeks ago.  The floral dress, however, required a bit more time and effort.  The end result was lovely, imho.  I found some stretch cotton for the bodice, and shortened the RTW skirt.  It was a few sizes too small for the client, so I used it all up making it a lovely knee-length pleated skirt.R's dress

The inside of the bodice has a boned corselette.

corselette

It’s lined in washed muslin – perhaps not the greatest choice, but comfortable in hot summer weather.

bodice interior

I kept all the petticoats and the lining from the original RTW skirt.

petticoats

The bodice has a deep V back, hence the necessity for a built-in corselette.  Here’s a couple of pics from one of the last fittings.

Some pulling and drag lines in the bodice.  So frustrating trying to eliminate them because the stretch cotton kept losing it’s shape and stretching itself out, and, of course, the snugger and tighter the better.  Between you and me, I wasn’t 100% happy with the fit of this bodice when it was all said and done.  The fabric was so lightweight and because it was stretch I didn’t (felt I couldn’t) underline it.  My mistake, in retrospect.  *sigh*  It fit beautifully before this set of pictures, just skimming the body instead of straining across it.  Ah well.  Always lessons and ‘should haves’ to take away from each project I make. :/

In the meantime, here’s a couple of pictures of DD1’s prom dress.  It was RTW (I know, bad seamstress mom), but she fell so head-over-heels in love with it and it was impossible to find a similar fabric to make the skirt, so I caved and bought it.  I did need to alter the shoulders (forward/sloped shoulder) on the top to get the bodice to sit correctly, and some reinforcement was added through the bust.  I have to say I was surprised at the amount of reinforcement required in the bust area to keep it from collapsing on DD1.  Some US manufacturers/designers must be getting the message that most women are not B cups these days and are making busts bigger.  The skirt is huge.  HUGE.  Five layers of petticoats huge, with horsehair braid in the hem. Dressing up is such fun, isn’t it?

Bandage Bodice Gown

Here are the promised pictures of the finished bandage bodice dress.  dress 3

Here’s a close up of the layered elastic forming the bodice.

prom dress 2

And another one almost showing the full length skirt.  It did hang rather nicely despite the unusual combination of heavy polyester jersey lining and thin polyester crepe fashion fabric.

prom dress 1

I cannot tell you how glad I am this unusual request (experiment) turned out so well.  I must say, it suited the client to a ‘T’.  She was pleased, and I’m sure will get a lot of wear from it once I hem it to be worn with flats.

Stay tuned for the next graduation commission in yellows and pinks.

But I DID make the dress

Well, the bandage dress is finished, and I thought I’d share what I came up with for the bandage bodice, just in case any of you anywhere out there in sewing land would like to have something that looks kinda-sorta-almost like a Leger bandage dress, but without the $4,000 price tag. After doing some research on the Leger bandage dresses, it became very clear that they are a closely guarded copyrighted design, and it would be impossible to even find the fabric (rayon-lycra) in strips in order to stitch them together.Sherri Hill 50014

I had initially thought I would do a Sherri Hill take on the bodice, since I’d become quite familiar with her designs while trying on prom dresses with DD1 earlier this year.  Her elastic dresses are strips of elastic stitched in overlapping layers to a woven bodice. Something like this dress (which DD1 tried on and thought was a too h-u-g-e, albeit fun, dress).

I proceeded along the Sherri Hill lines, did a fitting for an underlining of power net mesh (which was easily pulled over the client’s head), and stitched the elastic, in the round, to make the bodice.

bodice fail

But at the fitting, it was impossible for her to pull it on, all elasticated, over her head.  The elastic also didn’t fit as tight and flat under the bust as hoped once she’d got it on. So, as I had initially suggested a zipper was required, which was not what she wanted, we had a discussion about adding a zipper.  I wasn’t sure what I would do for the zip, as there would be a tremendous amount of strain on any closure.  A lot of unpicking of triple stretch stitches ensued.  In the process, I discovered that the fuzzy nylon that covered the elastic snagged, pulled and warped like crazy if I wasn’t super careful.

Once it was all unpicked, I had an incredible brainwave.

I ditched the power mesh underlining and stitched the elastic together along the length, slightly overlapping each strip, and shaping each layer on my dress form.  The ends of the short pieces are all bound with bemberg lining to keep them tidy.  The bodice is snug and shaped.

It worked a treat.

But how to make that tight elasticated bodice close up?  Stitch the bottom row of elastic closed for a secure base.

zip closure

Add hook and eye closures, and an invisible zip to close over it all as neatly as possible.  Hopefully the hooks/eyes will keep the nylon invisible zip from splitting apart.

Here’s the inside back.

final bodice

Here’s the inside front, where you can see the rows of elastic stitched together and the ends bound with bemberg remnants.

front interior

The skirt was gathered and attached to a length of elastic, which was then attached to the bodice. This picture is from before I re-thought the bodice construction.

skirt

And, to date, I have no pictures of the finished dress on the client.  Hopefully she’ll remember to send me one and I’ll add it to this post.  I was surprised that the dress looked as nice as it did when it was all done, considering the poor quality of the materials.  The bodice was as snug as desired and the skirt hung gracefully to the floor.

 

I do NOT want to make this dress

About one month ago I was asked if I made custom dresses.  I demurred, but the emails persisted, so I gave a quote for the job once I’d seen the dress I was to copy.

But I can tell you that the bodice looked like a very bad attempt to copy an Herve Leger bandage-type bodice, with a very large piece of cotton sewn to the bottom of it in a huge circle skirt.  In the pic that I’m supposed to work from for this project, the skirt fabric looks like it’s been wasting away in the back of a closet for about 18 months, it’s so creased.  And the ‘bandages’ of the bodice are AWOL.

Ms. Rs materials

My quote for labour/design was deemed acceptable, and I was given a bag with the goodies you see above:

  • about 1.7m of waistband elastic for the bandage bodice
  • 3m of 115cm wide very lightweight poly crepe (pictured on the left)
  • 3m of 150cm wide heavy jersey for the lining (pictured on the right)

The dress is supposed to be a pullover dress – no zipper or other openings, thank you!

I have been avoiding this, but today is the first fitting.

*sigh*

I am not working with anything else so I must make magic from these fabrics.  I really don’t know how I’m going to copy that bandage bodice, which is why I’m loathe to tackle this project, so wish me luck.

The skirt will be a piece of cake, I’m sure – a simple A-line jersey lining with a double-width gathered poly crepe skirt stitched directly to the waistband elastic.

The bodice will require samples, trial, error and something called faking it.

I hope it works…