This is an old make. It dates from 2017, and I confess I have never worn it except to take photos… well, perhaps I wore it once? But I absolutely love the dress, so why haven’t I worn it? I don’t know. I tend to reach for the easy and familiar in my closet which usually doesn’t mean a dress like this. I need to just decide to wear it.
I purchased the fabric specifically for this dress from EOS, at least 10 years ago. It was one of my first purchases from Linda, and one of my first forays into sewing knit or jersey fabrics. This is a printed rayon, and it behaved beautifully while I was working with it: no curling, no stretching out of shape. And despite hanging in my closet for three years, it hasn’t stretched out, either.
The dress is a fabric hog: just over 3 metres of 150cm wide fabric. It’s the skirt, of course, and I don’t begrudge it a centimetre because it moves and hangs beautifully.
I love the sleeve cuff detail. It isn’t perfect pattern matching, but, if you look at the first photo, you can’t really tell. I actually had to rip these cuffs off, not once, not twice, but three times (!) because I put them on wrong. So much for accurate markings; and by that time, I was so sick of trying to get the cuff on correctly that I couldn’t be bothered matching the patterns perfectly. But I love the split cuff.
Some construction notes: I serged the seams for quick and stable construction, and simply turned up the hems and used my knit zig-zag stitch. I love using this stitch for knits, as it is strong and yet has enough give for the stretch in a knit.
I must be an idiot, because I really hate the new WordPress block editor. I don’t want to add a block. I want to type and have the option of embedding photos without clicking on a plus sign.
Ok. My frustrated little rant is done, and now on to the reason for this post: a shirt dress made last summer from a lovely cross-dye medium weight linen. I confess I have so many fabrics. My stash is an embarrassment of riches, and I really loved this linen when it arrived in the mail a couple of years ago. I originally had planned to make summer linen trousers with this, but I had two lengths, one of which wasn’t quite a metre, so trousers were out.
What to do with it?
I decided on the very popular shirt dress pattern from a few years ago: McCall 6696, dictated by the lengths of the two pieces of linen. It was my version of a muslin, although this is definitely not a muslin. I wasn’t sure I would look good in the style or be comfortable wearing it. It’s a little more ‘office attire’ than I had intended, but that is a result of the fabric. And, typical of how I work, when I make the dress again, I will change a few things: raise the armscye 5cm, and forgo the short waist adjustment. These will both be necessary in a sleeveless version, which I would like to make.
My favourite part of the pattern is the blousing in the back.
And I used up some bemberg from a previous project for lining the skirt and binding the armscyes. I always like a lined skirt, and it helps the linen to not be too wrinkled by the end of the day.
I added extra hooks and thread loops to where the waistband and the front band intersect to help it lie closed, instead of flipping (or straining) open.
I like to finish the interior of my garments as nicely as I possibly can because it makes me happy when I put them on, and when I wear them. And bemberg feels so amazing to wear. I know people prefer crepe de chine or, in the case of a linen garment, cotton voile or batiste, but there is nothing that feels cool and slippery in the heat, or keeps wool from sticking or itching in the winter, like bemberg, imho.
I’ve only had a chance to wear this dress once, but I am very impressed with the quality of this linen. The photos were taken after wearing for the day, and you can see for yourself how little the linen creased. Oh, and as for the rant about the WP blocks, a little reading soon made my life easier. Ha!
Note: I began this post in July. I cannot believe that an entire year has gone by already.
It’s been a crazy last few months, and although I have completed a couple of commissions, whipped up some new pairs of slim Burda 01/2016 #135 pants, altered and mended clothing and made a winter coat, it’s only this weekend that I have finally managed to get some pictures of a recent make! Woo hoo! This coming Tuesday is DH’s birthday, and it’s also July, which means Summerlicious in TO.
Birthday + Summerlicious = reason for a new dress. The fabric is a rayon-lycra knit from my local Fabricland, purchased last summer (or the summer before…..???) because it was a) on sale; and b) looked so cheery. Actually, it probably reminded me of some project I’d seen in Burda Magazine that I really liked, so I purchased it. Unfortunately for me, I never make a note of pattern + fabric combinations that randomly pop into mind, especially at that critical moment when they are actually in mind, so I cannot remember what made me think this would be a great maxi dress. In the interest of time (no time to trace a pattern!), I opened my binder of Vogue dress pattern envelopes, pulled out Vogue 8896, measured the flat pattern, laid out the fabric, and cut.. I made some changes to the shoulders – adding width in the back to match the front shoulders so I could sew channels and run ties to create the gathers instead of just gathering the front into the width of the back shoulders. I used my favourite neckline edging (a long strip of fabric, cut across the grain, 5cm wide and a few cms shorter than the actual to-be-finished armscye or neck opening) and finished the armscyes using the same technique before stitching the shoulder seams so it would be a neat finish for the ties.
The skirt was quite heavy, and in the interest of keeping it in place at my waistline without having to constantly adjust it, I stitched the seam 2cm wide instead of 1.5cm and ran 1.5cm wide elastic through then entire length, from left front to right front ties.
And then wore it out to dinner!
I do have more projects to show you. I have been under a self-imposed deadline to get some things done, photographed and blogged before December 24, when my sewing area will be co-opted into Christmas Dinner With The Family space.
Updated December 30th: And here we are…. at the end of the year… The good news: I took photos of my one finished coat project for 2018. Fingers crossed for posting!
It’s not very often I find fabric in my local Fabricland that I totally fall in love with, but this was one. It’s a brown-white crosshatch cotton-poly-elastene lightweight denim that I circled around for weeks until it went on clearance, and then I bought the entire bolt for $5/metre. I can’t remember exactly how many metres I purchased, but I knew it would give me several pieces, none of which I planned to wear together, but would provide a nice collection for other pieces.
The first piece in this collection was a skirt, sewn last summer. I’ve made four of these, in lime green, black, khaki, and now, brown. I don’t have pictures of the black one, but it’s made from the same beautiful cotton denim as these jeans. I don’t have any photos of my wearing it, so this will just have to suffice. I’ve worn it a lot over the last couple of summers.
Then I wanted some capris, and decided to try Burda 04/2010 #143. These were an experiment in Burda’s plus sizing/drafting, and I’m surprised at how much I like to wear them. They have more wearing ease than a typical stretch denim pant pattern, as they’re drafted for non-stretch fabrics. I made a curved waistband, not the elastic one as in the pattern.
I love the little tab details on these. The front tab is like a little built-in belt, and the hemline tabs are fun. These have been in constant rotation through my wardrobe since last summer.
I did make up a jacket in this fabric, but didn’t like it much, so I gave it away. It was my mistake in shortening the back waist and grading it into the side front that caused the fail (I did do a pattern fitting session on my dress form… in my defense… It was the execution that was subpar…) and in the end I just didn’t like the fabric enough in a casual safari-style jacket.
When I purchased this massive length of goods, I initially thought of doing a safari style set of garments. This dress is probably the only things that would actually qualify as having typical safari elements: big patch pockets, lacing, buttoned tabs, etc. The pattern is Burda 5/2010 #112. I only have a German copy of the magazine, so it was a bit fun translating a word here or there in order to get the gist of Burda’s construction suggestions. Between reading the instructions aloud (my ear can hear hints of English sometimes) and studying the magazine photo, I managed to put it together without pulling my hair out.
I underlined the back of the dress with a cotton batiste.
The front interior is a bit messier than I like with all the pockets (total of four) and the laced opening. See? Mess on the inside.
This is a construction pic, and, no, you’re not looking at it upside down. I’m in the process of doing the welt pockets with the flaps in this photo.
And a back view.
It’s dartless, and I wanted to keep it that way… loose fitting and cool in the summer. And one last view from the side. The sleeves are long, and after playing around with rolling them or just gathering them up into the tabs, I decided I liked the ‘careless casual’ vibe proffered by the latter. Hmmm…. maybe it could use some shaping in the back. We’ll see…
I thought it would be more fun to share DD3’s latest sewing project with you instead. 🙂 We went shopping in my stash, and pulled out this fabulous fabric from EmmaOneSock, which I purchased with DD3 in mind a couple of years ago. In the latest Vogue patterns online sale, we also purchased Vogue 9167. She chose to work with View D.
We began with a toile of the bodice, using the 14-D cup bodice provided in the pattern, but it pulled in all sorts of unhappy ways, so I suggested that we do an additional 1.5cm FBA. She followed the directions from the 1982 Vogue Sewing book on her own, but decided to make it a 2cm FBA instead of a 1.5, hoping she wouldn’t need to make yet another toile. And we ended up with a really good fit through the bust, if it was a little loose. We didn’t need to lower the bust point at all. But it looked like something my dog found in the garbage with drag lines going on in every direction FOREVER.
And I couldn’t for the life of me think of where to even begin with this mess. DD3 has been in physio for a couple of years because she a) sprouted so quickly; b) went from a B cup to an F cup in less than 6 months (remember, she’s 13 years old), which affected everything from posture to self-esteem; and c) swims semi-competitively. Which, all put together, makes for shoulder issues, as you can see in these photos. Oh, and we’ve just learned that she has scoliosis – minor – only 1cm, or so – but it obviously affects the fit of a bodice. Soooo….
Because she’s a swimmer, I cut 5cm extra through the shoulder seams, in preparation for a square broad shoulder (remember, I’m trying to get her to work from a pattern, since that’s the way I work). Maybe it’s time to learn to work from a moulage… Ah, well, here’s a summary of what we ended up with:
Back: narrow back adjustment 1.5cm
Right shoulder: took away the 5cm extra, and sloped it 1.5cm. In effect, working from a size 14 pattern, it boils down to a 1.5cm sloped shoulder adjustment.
Left shoulder: left the 5cm extra on the front. Took away 5cm on the back. What is this called? Reverse forward shoulder adjustment? Backward shoulder adjustment?
Short waist adjustment: 5cm
This is the back of the dress. We still need more adjustments through the right shoulder… lower shoulder adjustment? narrow shoulder adjustment? sloped shoulder adjustment? Or maybe it’s a high neck issue?!?!?!
Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!!
You can see it’s still a hot mess on the right side in this photo, but I’m not sure if she’s rolled her shoulders forward a little bit (something she is fighting on a minute-by-minute basis). However, this is so dramatically improved from her Christmas dress fiasco (we’re re-cutting the bodice for December 2017), that we both did major happy dances. It’s not perfect, but it is 1000 times better than it was. She didn’t want it to be fitted closely under the bust, so we left it with a little more ease than I would like. But it’s her dress, and she’s happy with it.
She loves the pockets.
We added an A-line lining to the skirt. Working with all those box pleats was a bit of a challenge for her, since she’s just done circle skirts to this point.
Thank goodness for Vogue’s wonderful instructions. She just followed them methodically and was so proud of herself when they worked out beautifully. And me, well, I’m super proud of her. My contributions to the project were some cutting, the back zip and colour-matching the thread for the hem. Because it just looked better that way. If you click on the photos, you’ll find yourself in my Flickr photostream, where you can zoom in and play Find the Stitches in the Hemline.
Well, now she’s working on the toile for her middle school graduation in June. And we’re going hardcore: foundations, boning, lace and petticoats!
I was looking through my blog posts and realized I had made a collection of new clothes for Miss V only just last year! Amazing how time flies and yet seems so far away at the same time.
Miss V was here visiting home from Cambodia for the last 6 weeks, and she wanted new clothes. So, for a change, we went fabric shopping together at the Fabricland closest to her and bought fabric for 3 tops, 2 trousers, 4 dresses and a cardigan. I was all ready to start sewing two weeks ago, and then everyone under the age of 18 in my household got sick. I still don’t know what they were ill with, but it was miserable for a while. Needless to say, there was no sewing when there should have been sewing. But I managed to get everything done, and reasonably well enough (considering how little fitting opportunities there were), and off on the plane in Miss V’s bags earlier this week. This is more of a catalogue for my (future) self, but I thought you’d like to see what she chose this time.
Variations on Vogue 9595 (OOP). The pink is a stretch polyester brocade with a self-lined bodice. The cotton has a mock sarong overlay. Both of them have in-seam pockets (which I hate). She prefers gathers in the bodice to pleats.
Vogue 1415. I’ve actually made the trousers from this pattern twice for another client this summer. It’s a gorgeous pattern, and there is so little fitting to be done. Of course they look dreadful pinned to the dress form. They’re made of a polyester linen-look, lined with poly-cotton broadcloth (her choice). Considering how hard it is to keep white white in Cambodia, these should be easy to clean.
Vogue 2064 trousers in a woven, not the called-for knit. It fits so well as a woven for Miss V. This is the same pattern that I used for her upcycled sari and purple trousers. You’ll see the front needs some alterations, but, in my defense, Miss V requested that I make things a ‘bit small’ because she was going back into the sauna of Cambodia and would shed the extra that made these fit poorly through the waist/high hip. They’ll sit at her natural waist soon enough! 🙂
I copied a Vera Wang jersey top that she had worn to shreds. I was, thankfully, allowed to cut it all up so I could use it as a pattern. I traced the pieces and trued them up. It’s an interesting mock crossed drape front. Miss V was so funny when I cut the pink striped one out for her to try as a muslin (unhemmed in the pictures below). She danced around singing, ‘My top! My favourite top!’ I made three iterations of this, and, unfortunately, didn’t have time to tweak the fit to make it perfect. But she was sooooo happy with them that I’m not going to sweat all the things that irritate me about these. I’ll just make notes/adjustments on the pattern for next time.
Marfy 1913. This is such a gorgeous pattern. Why haven’t I made this for myself yet? Even DD3 wanted one for herself after seeing the pink paisley version on my dress form.
I also managed to get a cotton/silk top out of it for her wardrobe.
And I copied a cardigan that she loves. It’s a waterfall cardigan – well, a large rectangle (2 x .70m) with sleeves added at equidistant points from the CB fold, with enough fabric in the front to throw over one shoulder as a wrap. I cut the sleeves on the bias, using the Vogue 2064 pattern. The fabric is a mystery jersey of some sort that(surprisingly) washed well.
I sewed all long weekend to get this done, which I never do. I always hold weekends sacrosanct for family time. But it was so lovely having all my DDs and my DH around cooking, cleaning and planning while I just sewed. I need to make an excuse to have that kind of sewing weekend without interruptions again. 😀
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.
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.
The inside of the bodice has a boned corselette.
It’s lined in washed muslin – perhaps not the greatest choice, but comfortable in hot summer weather.
I kept all the petticoats and the lining from the original RTW skirt.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s the inside front, where you can see the rows of elastic stitched together and the ends bound with bemberg remnants.
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.
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.
First, I just want to say thank you to all of you who left feedback via the poll on my previous post. I was so pleasantly surprised that most of you (94%) liked the mismatched stripes. I also reviewed this on Pattern Review and the response was very positive again.
But…. I…. just…. couldn’t…… Argh! My inner perfectionist just couldn’t-shouldn’t-wouldn’t rest easy. And then I saw The Material Lady’s Drape Drape 2 tunic with perfectly matched stripes and that finished my waffling on it. Begin digression: And speaking of Drape Drape patterns, I traced off the Drape Drape 2 No. 4 Asymmetrical Top pattern, graded up through the waist and hips and am really disappointed because the L/XL sizes with my changes fit my daughters. Not me. The XL size has 33″ measurement for 38″ hips. Uh… the last time I had 38″ hips I was a 16 year-old teenager with an eating disorder. I can’t imagine the endless hours of exercise I’d need to get down to that size. So, no Drape Drape clothes for me. I’ll stick with Donna Karan! End digression.
So I unpicked stretch triple stitches (Pia has the record, btw…) and made some changes. First, I deliberately off-set the stripes down the CF like a checkerboard.
And then I fixed the centre back seam and matched those stripes from the high hip to the hem. It cost me about 3cm in lost width, but I’m happier – so much more satisfied! – with the result.
Perhaps a little less interesting, but my inner nerd isn’t writhing in a striped torture chamber. 😉
I always love hearing from Miss V with her cheerful announcement that she’s got a bag of fabric that needs to be turned into clothes. She is back from Cambodia for a few months, and needs new clothes. What fun for the both of us. Here’s a catalogue of what she has added to her wardrobe this time ’round.
First, a plaid blouse, base pattern Burda 9/2010 #110. Believe it or not, this was the first Burda pattern I ever made. It seemed like a good place to start for the shawl collared sleeveless knit top that needed to be copied. Never mind that this fabric is a poly woven. The blouse has a lot of wearing ease, so I just cut off the fronts at the CF, omitting the overlap of the pattern.
Then I added a band, about 4 inches wide, cut on the straight grain to the bottom of the blouse, leaving a 4-inch gap between ends at the left side seam.
This simple shift dress is Miss V’s favourite. I use Vogue 9595 with a mock wrap sarong that I copied from one of her dresses. It has a hidden welt pocket.
This next dress is my least favourite, and imho, a fabric disaster. It’s not only a sheet, but the weirdest sheeting fabric ever. I’m sure it must be a 70/30 polycotton mix, and it’s as light as a voile. Anways, she’s pleased with it, although I’m not. The bodice is Burda 2/2011 #101, the first iteration of which you can see here.
I had originally put on a dirndl skirt, but she didn’t like that, so I substituted in the A-line version of Sewaholic’s Cambie with pockets. I confess to doing a less-than-stellar job of accurate cutting. *sigh*
Now this sweet little number is none other than the free Marfy 1913, lengthened into a dress. If you search Google images, you’ll see a entire world of versions of this great pattern. I added side seam pockets and lined it.
This orange striped polycotton jumped right out of her bag of goodies and screamed, “SUNDRESS!!!” I used Burda 9/2014 #130, which is the basic bodice associated with DD1’s recent LBD.
The skirt’s pleats are all edgestitched, both on the inside and outside to keep the pleats in place after laundering, and to prevent the fullness of the skirt flying up in the wind. I cut an A-line lining and attached it to the skirt using thread chains. Apparently it’s quite windy in Cambodia, and flying skirts aren’t an option!
Here’s another version of Marfy 1913, with side hemline vents and a side zipper in addition to it’s CB opening. It can be worn outside the trousers, or tucked in.
The trousers are Vogue 2064, which I used to re-make a sari Miss V brought last time. The pattern is for jerseys, but I find sizing up one size takes care of the negative ease and makes the pattern work for wovens. Miss V wanted a dramatic waist sash with a bow to finish it off. I’m really sorry the only photos I have of this outfit on the dress form. The fabric is quite stunning in person.
And that’s all, for this round of Miss V’s sewing. Keep stitching!