We recently went to a wedding and I wanted a new dress for the rehearsal dinner. It had been a while since I had to wear “real clothes” and this Carolina Herrera fabric from Mood seemed like just the right thing.
I used the Style Arc panel dress pattern to make this shift dress and I’m quite happy with how it turned out. My brother in law was nice enough to take some photos while I was in Chicago too!
I had a nice matching blue fabric scrap that I could use for bias tape to finish the sleeves and neckline too.
Well I pinned and pinned and hand sewed away and then before I knew it all the fringe was in place and one of my best friends was willing to join me to party it up!
I finished the bottom hem of the dress with a hand rolled stitch. Overall this dress included: machine sewing french seams on the sides, machine sewing bias trim finished neckline and arm holes, hand stitched fringe, and hand rolled hem!
I think this is the first evening dress I’ve ever made and it is possibly my best work yet.
I got a bunch of compliments at the party and it was so fun! To make the night even better my plus one was my best friend from third grade!!
The party was super fun and you can really tell because almost none of these are official sewing pictures. I actually put my outfit on in the morning to try and get a few pictures that show the details better. Those are the ones where my hair is not combed lol
Here is a morning video:
Also my jewelry for the night – an old juicy couture pearl and chain necklace and an alexis bittar fox pendant!
Happy holidays! Now it’s time to start working on my chanel jacket again.
After getting everything cut out it was time to start putting things together!
Let’s talk about necklines and collars today! Collars were initially tricky for me but I am starting to feel more and more confident in my abilities. In fact, I am actually pretty proud because it sounds like collar shirts really weird some people out but I find them to be a pretty fun project that includes a nice mix of shapes of fabric and sewing techniques.
Once you complete the back panel and attach the front body pieces, you then have this funny shape that you could wear like a hanging Cape. At this point, you can open and layout the pieces such that you have a nearly straight edge if fabric for the whole neckline. This is where you take the bottom pieces of the fabric and pin them right sides together onto the shirt. This is what you see happening above.
It is easiest to start by aligning the center notches of the collar and back shirt neckline. From there I pin out towards each edge. I also start by pinning down one collar piece and then adding on the second by taking out each pin and layering on the extra piece. This is what you see above.
From here you can sew this down by slowly working along the raw edge and taking out the pins as you go. The pins really help make sure all three pieces stay together and help you avoid any unusual wrinkles.
From here, you sew these little J shapes on the edge of each collar, only through the collar material. You then flip these up from the shirt and press them flat! This makes the neckline of the collar with a nice bit of flappy extra fabric which the outer collar gets attached to.
I have started to skip adding in the collar stays feature of these collars and the nice part about that is that I can choose which side has the best print alignment. I am sure there’s an official technique that I’m missing by doing this, but it does really help me get the best print alignment.
I am continuing to be about on par with getting though the collar approximately on weekends and having the sleeves left to finish up in second and third sessions. Buttons are always usually a 4th session. This will be a long sleeve shirt so it will take longer than the magical Chicago shirt.
Today, sewing music was a little more hardcore and 90s/rock inspired:
System of a Down: Toxicity (very good for threading a bobin!)
I had so many things for myself planned, I wanted to mix in one thing for D before it started to get too cold to wear a few of the summer fabrics we bought in Chicago.
It was time to try and make a short sleeve Liesl + co shirt! This is a really nice feeling cotton/linen and if I remember right it was only $3 a yard on clearance at Fisherman’s Fabrics!
It all came together quite nicely!
I took one picture… here was the inside of the collar about to be flipped right side out and have the pointy part of the collar attached.
I think the back lines up pretty well too!
Last but not least I used bias tape to finish the sleeves and bottom. This really made the shirt hang nicely. You can see the detail on the sleeve (a few of the stripes appear diagonal aka “on the bias”)! This sleeve is rolled up here to show this detail.
Next time I made one of these, I am going to start playing around with making the inner placket and underside of the collar different colors. I see a lot of that on the train and I want to give it a shot. I also ran into my mood-train-friend George the other day and we were talking about techniques to make things fancier. He is working on an awesome reversible grey shawl collar jacket. One day I’ll be like him!
My loud scrap busting sewing continues with the poodle top!
This was the leftovers of the blue squares blouse that was too loud… and I think I’ve transformed it into something else that is also… kind of loud
Here’s where we left off. I was finalizing the fit and it was SO MANY poodles!
This peplum used only a forward facing pleat and not a box pleat. That made it have a little less volume as a box pleat includes two pleats that face in toward each other.
From here, I sewed on the peplum and decided to drop the neckline into a v-neck. I think this makes the outfit a little less busy.
This also inspired me (who are we kidding? D totally said I should just make this) to make a basic black pencil skirt. I used the skirt block we developed at Mood U. That pattern is the ULTIMATE pencil skirt and I’m so happy with it.
While I am also working on this Simplicity dress with my friend, I wanted to understand the fit of this pattern better before we completed the project. I hope that this will let her have the most positive experience and not be discouraged by any type of fit issue.
With that in mind! It seemed like a great pattern to use for the linen I picked up in Vancouver at Atex Fabrics.
I cut this fabric perpendicular to the graneline so that I could take advantage of the floral ombre effect.
From here – it was sewing time! This pattern is actually quite nice and pretty easy. I had never sewn with linen before and the weave of this fabric was definitely looser. This meant there was some chances to get wavy seams and cutting straight lines was a bit odd a challenge too. Through lots of pinning and pressing I managed to still make it through pretty quickly.
Next time, I may make this dress in an even lighter silk or a wintery fabric! Or crop it into a top! I liked this first version.
Here was a process picture pretty far in where I was double checking the fit ahead of finishing the french seams.
There was one other REVOLUTIONARY element of this project. I finally cut my bias tape for finishing the arms… on the bias. This has always seemed so wasteful to not use straight strips of fabric bit I realized I was starting to get wobbly necklines because the bias tape didn’t have enough give and stretch… I know it’s so obvious… this turns out to be one sewing corner you should not cut. The more you know!
After my last pattern making class I quickly picked up the mushroom print for my Les Claypol dress and at the same time I saw a cotton version of the Carolina Herrera poodle print that I had used to make a silk shift dress a few years ago. I get so many compliments on that dress and it was a part of my most NYC experience when the designer of the fabric said hi to me on the street. I did not buy the fabric on Saturday but I kept thinking about it and on Monday after work I stopped by and picked it up. I am hoping to turn this into some cute shorts. I think this could be an interesting substitute for denim and still kind of match a lot of clothes.
Also… I saw this other colorful cotton voile. I think this could make a really nice A Line summer dress. I found the pom pom trim upstairs and I think this will help make the dress really nice and unique. I haven’t sewn in a trim on a dress before and I think this will be an interesting skill to develop and make some of my standard work reach a new level of complexity and unique detail.
Stay tuned! & let me know in the comments if you have recommendations!
We had brunch with friends today and I knew I wanted to be able to wear this in the spring weather and to my final class. This morning I decided that the skirt wasn’t hanging right and so I tore out the seams on both sides all the way to the hip and I re-measured and took in the sides to further taper the skirt. I was listening to a podcast and I kept making one more fix…and one more fix… Suddenly our train was leaving the station in 30 min and I hadn’t showered! Thankfully I had just finished the last last adjustment and we rushed through getting ready and headed out the door. We made it to lunch and after I jumped on the train to class.
All week I had also been trying to figure out what to try to use to design in my final pattern class…
A long time ago (2009 – yikes 10 years) there was a Kanye West music video in which the model had a really cool long black dress that was very wispy. I have always remembered it and so I decided I wanted to make something for work that could include elements of that much movement. So, while aiming to be work appropriate, I created this dress with a a cotton top with a crinkled silk bottom.
It was interesting trying to sew this type of textured silk. I used a zig zag stitch so that the seams could give and stretch a bit. I also was worried that if I used a standard straight stitch, it would have flattened the texture of the crinkles. There is a side zip in the bodice. I wear this dress all the time and I will get some better photos in the future. Since it’s winter, you can see I’ve been doubling up the layers with some leggings and boots, but I don’t want to wear the boots inside even if it’s for pictures for the blog.
Another element of this dress that was a new skill I developed: bias trim. This video was incredibly helpful. It’s a really nice way to make a smooth seam that tucks all of the raw edges of the fabric into a clean finish. On this dress, I folded the bias into the inside of the dress, but in the video the lady uses multiple prints and it looks neat on the outside too.
Last but not least, this video also started to teach me the value of ironing certain pieces as you proceed through sewing. I know in Project Runway you see them ironing all the time and in many of these videos you do too. At first I thought I could get by without it… but then, I sewed one or two wrinkly seams that did not look as nice as I imagined them in my head. With that, it was time to try ironing and it really helped (of course)! It’s as if people have been doing this for thousands of years or something…
Along the lines of learning from thousands of years of practice, I have signed up for a class! Stay tuned to learn more!