Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Decades of Style 'Baltimore' Dress

Late last year I was approached by Decades of Style to sew up a version of a pattern they would be releasing in January - the 1920s Baltimore Dress

I thought:
- Deco design lines : TICK!
- No closures : TICK!
- No sleeves (its summer after all) : TICK!
- No darts (I hate darts) : TICK!

Ok, I didn't see the darts on the back of the shoulders....

Anyway, I jumped at the chance to try something different, even if I didn't think the silhouette was going to suit my very curvy hourglass body that only looks good with a defined waist.

The pattern arrived and I started to think about fabric that I might already have that I could use.  The pattern shows the dress in two different fabrics - one for contrast - but I decided to be different (no surprises there!) and sew it all in the one fabric.

This fabric:

Its a gorgeous large-scale floral chiffon that I've had in my stash since forever.  I think I originally purchased it from Gorgeous Fabrics, but it was 5 years ago or so, so don't expect them to have any.

(I now note that chiffon isn't a suggested fabric on the pattern envelope, but hey, when have I ever let that stop me!)

Then I got to thinking about the wonderful seam lines on the pattern.  Making it up in one fabric would camouflage that lovely detail that really MAKES this design.  So I decided to put piping in the seams, and the armholes.  I made the piping from some cord and some rayon bias that I made for the purpose.

Then, with the pieces cut from the fabric, and the piping made, I set about constructing the dress.

This dress sewed up quickly, even though I went completely off on my own with construction methods (I top-stitched instead of sewing seams), and I was using a shifty and painful fabric.  Its the kind of dress that you could easily sew up in a day, and is much more fashionable than any other patterns advertised as quick to sew (yet another tshirt dresses anyone?)

I also want to show you where Dita decided to sleep while I was making bias and piping, and sewing the dress together.  She is so precious.

 She like to be close to her mumma.

Before I knew it the dress was together!

Remember how I said I wasn't sure how it would look on me?  Well before I overlocked/serged the side seams, I tried it on.  It looked pretty good, but was really roomy at the waist, and I was a bit anxious about it.  So I decided to take it in an inch on each side, and really that was all I needed to do!

Here is what it looks like:

I honestly can't believe how slimming it is.

It is such a comfortable dress in the heat.  It moves really nicely, and fits really well.  I've also been wondering how it would look made up in a light wool and worn as more of a jumper with a shirt underneath...

Maybe I will find out one day!

So in closing:
- This is a straightforward, easier than it looks, and quick to sew pattern.
- It features lovely vintage styling.
- Works on more body shapes than you think it would.


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Catch-up Post - "Where Have You Been?"

Oops!  It happened again, I haven't posted since the end of September...

So lets have a look and see what I managed to sew in the last almost-four months.

The first thing I made after the red suit from the last post, was a Swirl dress.  For this one I used some adorably kitschy fabric featuring kitchen equipment.

Swirl dresses are such cute and comfy dresses!  Oh, and I am now selling my Swirl dress pattern on Etsy!  You can find it here.

After that dress, I made a circle skirt dress inspired by something I saw on Gertie's (of Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing) Instagram.  The detail I liked was the idea of reverse facings - where the facing is pressed to the outside and becomes a feature.

I did intend to do a tutorial on this technique, but life keeps getting in the way.  But it still may happen - I have another one of these dresses cut out and ready to sew, so you never know.

And here is a photo of me wearing it!

My lovely cousin Mandy came to visit and since she's a photographer, she wanted to take some photos of me in my element.

Next up was my Melbourne Cup dress, and for this one I tried something different - sewing knits!

During this experience I discovered that knits aren't any where near as scary as I thought they would be!  And better yet, if you don't want to hem it (or don't have time) you don't have to!

I then had more fun with knits, sewing a bodysuit for a photoshoot from stretch lace and powermesh.

This photo was taken by the talented Pearl Davies who splits her time between Australia and the US.  I love how soft and gentle and peaceful this photo is.

After that I had one more rush project to do for the Sherbet Birdie Candifornia Pool Party - and since it was held in December I went with a Christmas theme.

I made the skirt from some scuba knit and fluffy fake fur, and I made the Santa hat (well, made it by hot-glue-gunning a bunch of things together, but that still counts!)

By then I realised that Christmas was coming and I needed to get a move on with my Crazy Christmas Dress.  These always end up being bigger than Ben Hur and I was still hand sewing sequins on late at night on Christmas Eve.

But it was worth it!

Just in case you can't tell, the holly leaves are hand made felt appliques, and there are red felt holly berry appliques topped with sequins and beads.
Yes, I know, I'm insane.

My hair also behaved particularly well Christmas Day.  Thank you hair.

And speaking of Christmas, check out this photo of Miss Stella and Miss Dita.  It was Dita's first visit with Santa and I was so proud of her!  I was so proud of both of them really.

So far this month (January), the heat has set in (41C / 111F) so I've been doing not much of anything.  I did transform a hideous muu muu that I bought at a cheap shop into a much more wearable skirt.  The dress was $15 and I can't buy that much rayon fabric for that!

It started out like this:

I'm fresh from the gym, hence the running shoes.  However, please note they match the dress!

And it now looks like this!

Totes way better!

There is another secret project that I can't talk about just yet (shhhh!) but I will say that I didn't think it would suit me and I was pleasantly surprised that it does!
I am currently working on turning a lovely vintage Indian sari into a dress fit to wear to an Indian wedding on Valentines Day.  Here is the sari I'm using:

There is lots of hand beading and sequining and adding-of-trim to this one!  Here's hoping I get it done in time to wear it.

I will try my hardest to do better and blog at least once a month.  I have so many plans of beautiful things to sew this year - long term projects with lots of hand detailing - so heres hoping I get to make them.