Saturday, March 15, 2014

Anatomy of a Wedding Dress

Day 1, Friday March 4

As a mistress of the last minute, I am documenting the progress of the construction of my wedding dress.  The wedding is April 18th, and this dress needs to be completed by April 4 to allow for prep time for other matters.

Here goes!

So, this is the pattern.  I wanted something bias-like and drapey because I’m a curvey girl and that is a style that looks good on me.  It took me forever to decide on the pattern, but I'm finally committed.  I decided to make the dress out of navy blue satin charmeuse ordered from FabricMart.  Today I've taken the day off work to gather some supplies, have lunch with a friend and delve into this project feet first. 

Already nervous about my project, I cut out all of the pattern pieces and then moved directly to the internet for help….
Some good advice here, as I was wondering if I should make a muslin and what to use for lining:

This was the only blog I could find that discussed the process of this dress, so I guess I'm on my own now.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Love it!

I love this dress...kind of


This dress just looks like its made with a curvy woman in mind (that would be me).  I absolutely love Vogue patterns.  In particular, the complicated ones with carefully placed darts or seams.  I knew the minute I saw it that this was the dress for me.  As a matter of fact, I purchased the pattern long before I found a suitable fabric.  I love that the shaping is created by carefully placed darts.

 Now, for the parts I'm not so fond of.  You can't sit in this.  You just can't.  I even added a button at the bottom and when I sit, the dress splits open revealing way too much.  It is also necessary to wear the belt b/c there is a bit of gap-o-sis right around the navel.  I'm not sure what I'll do with it.  For now, it's hanging in my closet, keeping company with my other summer dresses. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

BWOF 1.13

My fabric dates me

Yeah, it's true.  Sometimes I feel really old because I'll be in the middle of a project and suddenly I'll realize just how old the fabric is that I'm working with....well, I'm sure you can sympathize.  I took a trip to the U.K. some time ago (I hate to admit just how many years ago it was) and bought the most beautiful grey jersey.  I bought a TON of it.  I just knew that it would make the most yummy clothing, but of course, I haven't sewn any of it, until now.  I think the problem was that I didn't want to cut into it, I mean, it really is the softest jersey ever.  The minute I opened the January issue of Burda, I knew it was time to break out the jersey.  I love the pattern.  It went together easy and fits well and best of all its just the right mix of comfort and wearing ease.
BWOF 1.13_113

Saturday, December 14, 2013


It's that time of year again and fortunately, for the first time in many years, I began to prepare in advance.  I scoured the web for ideas and finally decided that everyone is getting bags.  There is some comfort in knowing that you don't have to deal with sizing or favorite colors.  People love bags, right?  I know the majority of my friends do.  Many of the women I know will actually store an item in a bag in a bag.  Yep, you read that right!

The first three that I made were of canvas.  I washed it first so that it would look wrinkled and worn.  I then embroidered with some designs from Urban Threads.  If you haven't been to this site you, you absolutely must stop by.  It's an embroidery site that wasn't made with your grandmother in mind!  Seriously, check it out.

After that, I got down to some very serious business and crafted a few clutches.
 The clutches on the left and middle were made of leather.  They have a strap that wraps around and closes by attaching to a rivet that is set on the front.  The clutch on the right is a zippered clutch with rounded bottom.  It's made with leftover canvas and lined with men's shirting.

 Unfortunately, I experienced some photography difficulties with this second shot.  The bag on the left is made from printed canvas and lined with 100% cotton quilting fabric.  The clutch in the middle is made from taffeta and decorated with Swarovski crystals.  The clutch on the right is made from leather scraps and seals with a snap.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Men's Dress Shirts

I've been wanting to make some men's dress shirts lately and fortunately have found a few volunteers to model (in exchange for free shirts, of course).  This first one is made of some fabric that I've had in my stash for some time, I used coordinating tie silk for the interior of the cuffs and collar.  The pattern was made by duplicating an existing shirt.
More to come on this.  I intend to practice drafting my own patterns for these in the future.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Drop Dead Knock Off!

Ok, I'll admit it, I really like patterns.  There is something so comforting about following a set of instructions and knowing that in the end you will have a wearable garment that looks like the picture (well, for the most part). Unfortunately, I am frequently unable to find patterns that resemble the garments I see on Pinterest or on the street.  So, I'm going to take a deep breath and jump into the world of copying garments that I see.  The only other time I've tried this was with the Winter Blues sweater and that turned out ok.  So, here is my latest experiment.

This is what I was trying to get to:
 When I saw this on Pinterest I knew I had to have it.  I have the perfect knit in my stash.  It's an Anne Klein wool blend that I bought at the Mill End Store last fall.  It's unbelievably soft for a wool and I think it will be perfect for this pattern.  Now, the challenge is finding a pattern that resembles this sweater.  I was in a hurry to start and must admin that I didn't spend a great deal of time in pattern recruitment and so I probably made up for that in alterations, but I'm ok with that, as it's always good experience.

I was able to find a pattern for a polo shirt in an old Burda mag (April 2008).  Here is the line drawing:

I copied the majority of the pattern pieces and because the sleeve has a band that is actually part of the armhole, I had to draft a new sleeve that included the band.  Here are both pieces together and the subsequent piece that I drafted (also note that the sleeve was extended to a total of 9" from shoulder to hemline).

I also had to add some width to the front as well, as it was originally intended to have a band.  I eliminated the seam allowance for the front as it will be cut in one piece on the fold.  The next step was to extend the neckline into a funnel collar.  I didn't want to add too much height, so I chose to add 1 1/2". I referenced Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong as I have not previously modified for a funnel collar.

Additionally, after these changes had been made, I made a muslin using some knit that I had lying around and realized that I desperately needed a full bust adjustment and I had to add a smidge to the armhole/side area in both the back and front.   
Finally!!!  The sewing.  Over the holiday weekend, I took some time from family and friends to finish the sweater and I love it! It's comfortable, breathable, and fits like a glove.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


 Simplicity 4412
A basic jacket pattern with the most adorable cut.

Simplicity 4412

Also wonderful because it has princess seams, so the shaping and alterations are super-easy on this one.  I had some purple ponte just hanging about and I couldn't figure out what to do with it.  I absolutely cannot justify another ponte dress, as people will soon start saying that I have some type of uniform (let's face it, that stuff is so dang comfy).  So, a jacket it is.  I am told I have too many, but I do not believe that's possible.  I'm not sure if you can tell by the pic, but I used large sew on snaps as closures.  This went together so quickly and is so comfortable, I could  imagine make several variations in the future.