Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cocktails and Peplums - almost done!

And when I say almost, I'm so close to finishing I could pretty much say it is done.  All I've got left to do is sew in the shoulder pads and make a belt.

But I'm jumping forward.

When I last talked about this make, I had just put the bodice together and had hand rolled the peplum pieces.  The obvious starting point was putting in the sleeves.  Every time a pattern calls for setting in sleeves, I always do everything I can to the sleeve piece before I set it in. Especially the cuff/hem.  Doing that bit when its already attached to the bodice can be fiddly because there is so much more fabric to manipulate.

And yes, I should have taken a photo, but I didn't...

I must say though, I've had a bit of trouble setting in sleeves with the past couple of patterns.  There has been too much fabric to gather into too small a hole.  Not this pattern however!  This one went in like a dream!

Not a wrinkle or a gather in sight!

I noticed once I had the sleeves in the bodice that the sleeves were way longer than the pattern envelope gave me the impression they would be.  Now, we all know that pattern envelopes are notorious for lying, but I really liked the look of the shorter sleeves, so I folded the hem up as short as I could and left it at that.

Then I worked on the skirt.  Which meant working on the peplum first.

I pinned and sewed the gathers, and ironed them and was very happy with how it looked.

These two peplum pieces are attached to the front skirt piece before the skirt is sewed together.  One is sewed at the waist, and the second one is sewed in a diagonal line about half way down the skirt.

I pinned the lower piece so the raw edge would be underneath the peplum with the dress was being worn, and I pinked the raw edge to stop it unraveling.

I then sewed the skirt front and back together (easy) and sewed the completed skirt to the bodice (also easy!).  And I had a dress that was pretty much finished when you ignored the fact in needed a lot of hand sewing!

But I realised this dress was going to need two things to really be complete - shoulder pads, and a self covered belt.  A while I ago I bought 10 vintage self covered belt kits on Etsy that I have been hoarding for very VERY special projects.  This is a very worthy project, so I broke out a kit and set the belting aside to flatten out - its been folded up for a very long time.

I also broke out a pair of commercial shoulder pads, but they are really ugly, so I covered them with some of the leftover fabric.

It was really simple - I cut circles of fabric, wrapped them around the shoulder pads, and stitched so the line of stitching caught the edge of the shoulder pad, and finally pinked the raw edges.  Ta-daaa!

much less ugly!

Then I took everything down stairs and outside onto my sun-lounge to enjoy the day and get my hand sewing done.  I had to:
  • Hand pick the zipper
  • Roll hem the neckline and stitch down to the back of the neck and at the V
  • Sew down the hem of the sleeve
  • Sew the hem of the skirt
  • Sew in the shoulder pads
That is a lot of hand sewing!  I got almost all of it done, just the shoulder pads to go.  And the belt, which I will get done this weekend.

It was so relaxing!!!

I'm going to a sewing group meet-up interstate on the 3rd of May, and I've decided that I will debut this dress at the meet-up!  As well as having lunch we are having a pattern and fabric swap, so I'm really excited to go!  And because its interstate, I'm going to a vintage festival the following day - Garterbelts and Gasoline - so I'm planning on making an outfit this weekend to wear to that.

I'm going to use this pattern, which I just realised is from 1938!

I'm going to make the version on the right (with the two different fabrics).  I recently impulse purchased some amazing flamingo print RAYON at Spotlight, and went back to find a contrasting rayon for the bodice.

I posted this photo on my facebook page to ask which colour I should use, and the response was really divided.  I had hoped (like I always do) for a clear answer, but I didn't get one so I'm still one the fence a little bit.  So I figured I would ask here too! 

Pink or Blue?????

I can't guarantee I will make what you choose, but I will listen to all your arguments!



  1. Wow, I can't wait to see the finished dress!! It will be amazing I'm sure...
    Pink or blue, difficult question. Although I love blue, in this case I would choose pink ;)

    1. It is a really difficult question, and I struggled with it for a week before I came up with the answer!

  2. Like always... FABULOUS! Your work is so inspiring!

  3. Pink! I think it's a better match. Good work on the hand sewing, I avoid it as much as possible, but the results are never the same.

    1. Its true. I used to avoid it but now I enjoy it for its therapeutic value :)

  4. Beautiful, beautiful dress! You make it sound sew easy ;-)
    As for choosing between pink & blue - I can never make a final decision looking at fabrics lying near each other. At that distance all I can see is that they're a good COLOR match at "hand"/touching distance. And other than you and your significant other, not many people are going to be standing that that close to you :-)
    I need to see them as OTHER people will see them - from a distance. I like to evaluate the fabrics together at 2 distances. What I call "conversational" distance of 3-4 feet, and a "walking by" distance of 8-10 feet. So I drape the fabrics around myself in as close to the finished arrangement as I can get (solid on top, printed on bottom), and stand in front of a mirror. Then I decide which looks better to my eye - one will usually stand out as the better choice.
    That's what works for me, anyway...

  5. I used a purple version of the flamingo fabric to make a crazy three-layered ra-ra apron for a friend (Simplicity 2592)! It was my first sewing project using a pattern a couple of years ago. I couldn't figure out how to attach the bias binding with the machine so I sewed all of it by hand - I hadn't discovered your blog back then! Anyway I love the flamingo fabric.

    1. By hand!!! I'm surprised it didn't turn you off sewing for life!!! Funnily enough I made a retro apron for one of my first projects too!

  6. Absolutely beautiful! peplum dress is so elegant, I'm sure you will "feel" in your session, you are so inspiring! With regard to flamingos .. I vote for pink ... please, pink!

    1. Peplums are really elegant aren't they Rosy! Not sure I like them in modern fashion as much, but in vintage fashion they really make the dress!