September 29, 2013

Valentino Dream Dress Finale

Myriad hours of sewing later here she is,  my Copy Cat Valentino! 
I discussed my planning and fitting process here
I was chasing light to get my photos and you can not see my cute clamp hat. 
Just before I was able to hem the dress I explained my construction process here
One major change I made to the original design was to make the white lace flounces detachable. 
Many little snaps 
I achieved this by adding bias binding to the upper portion of the flounce and then adding snaps to connect to the cuff lining. 

My reasoning for adding the option to detach the flounces was that I felt it made the dress more wearable. And really what girl does not like options? 

I am still in love with my Mood Fabrics and so happy they no longer reside in a bag and are a beautiful dress to cherish for years to come. 

September 27, 2013

Update: Copy Cat Valentino

Spring 2011 Valentino
Black Tri-Lace Voulant-Sleeve Dress
Earlier in the month I shared with you my work on my second copy cat dress (here) inspired by the Lux Valentino number above. 
As I write this post we are four days prior to the deadline for the Copy Cat Challenge and I am waiting for 3 yards of satin bias binding to arrive in my mailbox to complete the hem. To date, I have purchased 12 yards of the bias binding. In most cases I would have made my own but between the my last bias heavy project and the sheer amount of work required my this gorgeous dress I thought I was getting ahead of the game by purchasing the notion. Somehow every time I turned around I was adding more bias binding to areas of the garment and thus purchasing more yardage. 

For now, let me show you the construction details. 
Skirt lace basted to silk underlining
My main dress fabrics are laces and a pale pink silk for the underlining both from Mood (purchased years prior). The lace chosen for the skirt is a large open lace, naturally the lace wants to hang away and droop from the underlining unless it is basted together causing both fabrics to act as one. I basted using silk thread and globs of Thread Heaven. 

Adding more satin bias binding 

For the armscye and sleeve seams I decided that the best method of seam finishing would be to use rayon seam binding. I stitched the seams and attached the binding in the same step. 
 Next I trimmed down the seam allowance. 
 Then turned the rayon seam binding enclosing the raw edges of the allowances and stitched to secure. 
The end result was a beautiful inner garment finish. 

I was concerned about adding my zip to such a delicate fabric, I used my selvage scraps from the silk underlining to act as an inner stabilizer at the zipper insertion. 

My final fitting was heavenly. 
And my lace placement, divine. Now if I could just finish the hem and show you the dress! 

Side note: About half way through the project my ironing board cover died.  In a resourceful state of mind, I drafted my own ironing board cover. I traced the board and added fold over plus seam allowance, created a tunnel for a tie to cinch to the board, added elastic straps and backed it with felt. I have to say it is better than any other cover I have ever bought and can not foresee buying another one. 
Have you ever made your own ironing board cover do you love it? 

September 26, 2013

1954 Vintage Simplicity 4637

1954 vintage Simplicity 4637. Junior Misses' and Misses' One-Piece Dress, Bodice has low cut neckline and short kimono sleeves. Skirt is gathered at waist. View 1 has bias trim on neck and skirt with bows accenting left side.
I was concerned that my pattern was too small so I graded it out. Now I feel that I may have made it too big. A side seam alteration is in the near future removing 2 inches in the bodice and gathering the full skirt in.

My fabric is a deep purple suiting (from the stash) I did not want to line the dress just add the facing as the pattern was drafted. 
I used bias binding to finish the sleeve edges. 
I chose a vintage metal placket zipper to really give it the vintage treatment. I also hand picked it. 

Like most side zippers of the era the skirt has a side seam facing (vivid purple fabric) in the skirt where the zip ends. It is formed from a scrap fabric sewn (right sides together) to the skirt to form a placket for the zip when slashed and turned in to the wrong side concealing the raw edges.

I did serge my edges and seams thus modernizing my construction. I also added a grosgrain ribbon stay to my gathered waistline to prevent stretching which in the end proved fruitless as I have to remove it to alter my waistline.  
My favorite feature to the vintage frock was the bias trim treatment. I hand cut my bias to the perimeter of the neckline and skirt hem, FYI that is a lot of bias. The bias was double folded and stitched to the outside of the garment. 
then the folded edge of the bias was turned down and slip stitched to enclose the raw edge of the bias trim. 
 I formed bows with bias tubing and attached them to the left side of the dress,

September 24, 2013

Wrap It and Top It With a Bow Dress McCall's 5314

Now out of Print pattern McCall's 5314 view C sans collar. A lovely bow sash wrap dress with circular swing skirt.
My fabric is from my stash. The white is a stretch woven with a cute staggered crown print in red. I found the white background to be to stark for my linking and therefor it sat in the stash for years. Randomly one day I decided I could use the fabric if I added a black chiffon overlay.
I flat lined my cotton to my chiffon. 
For the black accent cuffs and sash I use the left over scraps from my Gatsby Dress
 I mad a few pattern changes. I shortened the skirt to knee length and then also shortened the sash tie ends. I had to shorten the bodice, adjust for broad back and square shoulders. I also chose to turn the cuff slits to the inside of the sleeve as I did not want them to point outwards with out a collar also doing so.
If you love a great wrap dress, this retro inspired wrap dress pattern is tops!
Candid closeup captured by my 10 year old photographer 

September 16, 2013

Graphic Net McCall's 6647

Sunny day orbs
When I picked up the pattern I was drawn to the cute back cut outs in McCall's 6647. Turns out for real life wear the cut outs are impractical, well at least for my lifestyle. I had to wear a cami under the dress (in the event my jacket rode up exposing the lower cut out) and a jacket over the dress.
The dress is a graphic printed net fabric which needed to be lined. The lining is a light weight high shine satin in a neutral champagne color (from the stash) as the lining was not seen I just picked any old fabric I knew I would never use as a outer fabric.
 I made a few pattern changes. I added length to the hem (2 inches). I shortened the torso. and in lieu of buttons at the neckline back opening I used hooks and flat bars to secure the opening without being seen.
Upon finishing construction, I found that the cut out gaped at the back waistline I stitched  a channel between the lining and outer net fabric and then threaded 1/4" elastic to keep the skirt at the waistline. this crated a swayback effect at the cutout puckering the sides of the lower cutout but that is better than seeing my backside in the dress.
Cute worn topped with a moto jacket
I love the fabric and I think I can salvage additional wears by layering the dress over turtlenecks or long sleeved tees in the upcoming winter months (after I fix the swayback).  

September 12, 2013

Ruby Doll Simplicity 1715

Pattern Description:
Amazing Fit Collection has individual pattern pieces for slim, average and curvy fit and cup sizes.
Drop-waist dress with pleated skirt has neckline details and 3/4 sleeves.
I used the C cup size pieces for the front bodice and Curvy option for the back bodice. Curvy pieces had 2 parallel back bodice contour darts to accommodate a curvy silhouette. 
I do not think the C cup sized front bodice was the correct choice, the measurements lied. Actually I knew better; I have more back than bust and thus a big bust line measurement composed of back muscles not breast tissue. But attempting the C cup was worth a shot, a girl can dream. 
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, but red! 
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Instructions were very easy to follow and also helped with fitting concerns. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? 
Having previously worked with an Amazing Fit pattern I knew I have a love/hate relationship with the one inch seam allowance. It is wonderful for fitting but hard to break out of my 5/8" standard habit during construction. 
Fabric Used:
When I first cut the pattern I followed the instructions and cut an unlined dress. 
I then remembered (of course after I had finished cutting!?) that I had used this poly linen blend fabric from Joann previously (here) and knew I would hate the dress if it were unlined due to the fabric characteristics. 
I had to scramble to find I lining in my scrap bin. I flat lined the bodice and sleeves in taffeta scraps (from the bridesmaids dresses) for structure. And I found a basic lining fabric for the skirt. 
I also hoped the lining would add so wrinkle retention to this fabric but you can see after 8 hours of wear no this fabric is wrinkled. 
Wow, the inner garment view is pieced crazy! 
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
petite (shortened bodice and skirt), broad back and square shoulder adjustments. 
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I always recommend Amazing Fit patterns to beginners to expand skills and delve into fitting issues. 
I love the color, the drop waist and the collar! 

September 9, 2013

Plum Floral Dress Rebecca Taylor Vogue 1251

Vogue Pattern V1251 by designer Rebecca Taylor
MISSES' DRESS: Fitted through bust and waist, semi-fitted through hips. Fully lined and underlined, has front darts and seam variations. Sleeve backs have exposed zippers. Center back and sleeve zippers have self fabric pull tabs. 
 Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Very close. Skirt ended up being looser from hips to hem than the semi-fitted look I was expecting. 
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Instructions were average, no elaboration. Must know how to handle pivot seaming and underlining as no additional instruction is provided.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I chose it due to the strong design in shoulders; I felt it would play well with my body shape. I was intrigued by the sleeve seaming, cuff zippers and pull tabs.
My vintage brass zips during construction for my cuffs 
A few years back on holiday in Tennessee, I was lucky enough to find a huge lot of 1960's dead stock zippers at a flea market, since then I have been sneaking the zippers into projects where allocated.  
The powder blue zipper tape was slightly outside the color wheel of this print but in the end I like the effect with the zipper pulls, they tie the colors together as if the contrast was intended. 
Finished Zip and self fabric pull tab
In the instructions you are to leave a pleat in the sleeve lining for wearing ease I removed bulk of the ease as a personal preference. As you can see I stitch in the ditch (purple stitching line) to secure my sleeve facings. This is one of my favorite quick tricks (that I picked up while working in alterations) to secure facings, it is very visible from the inside of the garment and if you are overly concerned about inner garment beauty ... I do not recommend this trick.
I have never been one to find machine stitching or a few over-locked edges (in a myriad of non-matching thread colors mind you) on the inside of my garment to ruin a good wear on a hand made dress. I call these little details "sewing beauty marks."
Inner view of cuff zip
Fabric Used:
Crepe de Chine outer fabric, cotton plain weave underlining and poly lining
I did not have enough nude color lining of one fabric so I used a different lining fabric for the body than the sleeves.
My outer fabric and underlining (vintage cotton)
Inner garment front
Inner garment back
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Shortened bodice. Broad back and square shoulder adjustment. Additional ease added to sleeves. Lengthened hem 2 inches.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Personally I tend not to remake patterns. I really liked this pattern and I would recommend it if you like a fitting challenge and lots of pattern pieces in a simple silhouette.

I am slightly sad that the cool bust seaming gets lost in the floral print but this is the first dress in a while that did NOT highlight my broad square shoulders. You win some, you lose some. 
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