March 31, 2014

Peggy's Black and White Ribbon Dress Mad Men Dress Challenge 3

Mad Men Dress Challenge 3: inspiration for this dress came from the character Peggy in an office ready LBD with stripe ribbon detail. The dress was worn in Season 5, Episode 1.
Obligatory office reprimand stance. 
My dress fabric is a solid black stretch gabardine. My trim is a 1 1/2" stripe grosgrain ribbon. 
I slightly adapted the design, I made my neckline bow larger than the inspiration. I also elected to let the bow free hang opposed to stitching stationary to the dress. I lengthened the sleeves to my personal comfort length for arm coverage. My dress is a looser  A-line shape from the year 1969. 

How I achieved my look: 
I fused two vintage patterns from the Mad Men era. Simplicity 8341 for the body of my dress and Simplicity 7750 for my neckline, collar and sleeves. 
Simplicity 8341 is one of my all time favorite patterns the back and side front are one piece with a fish-eye dart from under the arm to the hip for shaping. 
Pattern fitting adjustments: broad back adjustment, distributed shoulder dart, shortened torso. 

Simplicity 8341 has a center front seam design that becomes a pleat at the waistline. In order to achieve the both the ribbon front detail of the Mad Men inspiration dress as well as maintain the pleat design feature of the vintage pattern, I used a length of ribbon on each side of the front pieces centered along the pleat line. One ribbon folds over the pleat and the other remains flat against the dress. Above the waistline each half of the ribbons meet at the stitching line of the center front seam  to form the look of one fluid ribbon, then at the pleat the ribbons split to open the pleat for wearing ease. The pic on left shows the dress inside you can see how the ribbon meets on the seam allowance then continues to the skirt pleat.

Additional length of ribbon was added at the neckline that wrapped over the bow between the collar then i anchored the collar and bow with a neckline facing to clean finish the neckline.

The sleeves were finished with the ribbon as well, the ribbon merely folded over the raw edge of the sleeve like a simple binding. 

At my back neckline tacked down my back collar points. My closure is a center back invisible zip.
Thank you to the lovely Julia Bobbin for hosting another fabulous Mad Men Challenge!

March 30, 2014

Mock Wrapped Mini Hounds Dress Simplicity 1686

As I was flipping through my closet to getting ready for work today I ran across this dress and it occurred to me that it had been photographed and never shared! I constructed it last month when I had clearly slipped into a houndstooth stitching theme. 2 dresses and outerwear constitute a theme right? 
The pattern is Simplicity 1686 Amazing Fit Collection which is the pattern line intended for performing garment fit analysis as you sew. 
This dress design features a mock wrap style bodice with lapels. The lapels drew me to the design I thought it would be fun to create them is a contrasting fabric to make them stand out. Upon looking at the photos I see that I will need to baste my suiting under the lapel roll line to keep it from puckering.
While planning my dress I also chose to make the waistband and side bodice panels color blocked for additional contrast. The main fabric is a hounds tooth poly blend suiting and the contrast is a black sating twill.
Pattern adjustments: petite torso, broad back adjustment, square shoulder adjustment.
I used the skirt pieces for a curvy figure.

The skirt features a front overlay to add to the mock wrap design of the dress. I changed the construction steps for my hem by first hemming the overlay piece then constructing the skirt and hemming leaving the overlay free hanging.
I had originally planned to add a lining to the dress although the pattern is designed unlined. For the upcoming season I finally decided it would be best served to make the dress unlined with overlocked seam finishing. Making this a spring weather dress; it is official, I am finally sewing for spring!
Inner garment view:
I interfaced the center back zipper insertion area on the suiting to insure that it was a strong and stable as the satin till waistband and facing. 
The 3/4 length sleeve is pretty cute, the cuff features a v-shaped cutout for detail and the sleeve head has a pleat at the shoulder. Unfortunately I decided to stand in a Wonder Woman pose for every one of these photos thus causing the sleeve fabric to buckle after the pleat due to my unnatural stance, rest assured the sleeve is pretty cute in a relaxed stance. 

March 22, 2014

Plans of Shocking Pink for The Mad Men Dress Challenge 3

Yes, it is that time again and I am in. Believe it or not I am working on a JOAN dress. The dress is from season 5, episode 2. One to always make an entrance, Joan wore the shocking pink beaded cocktail number into the office at mid day to introduce the new baby and receive reassurance of her place at the firm. I found the over dressed emotional wreck that is Joanie in this scene extremely endearing and the wiggle dress in my favorite colors to be right up my sewing alley. I have decided to use a floral for my fashion fabric a la Joan.  
My floral fabric has yet to arrive but my plans are in motion. 
First I attempted to find a pattern in my stash that matched the dress outline. 1960's Simplicity 4650 was very close. 

I need to redraft the bodice and neckline as well as elongate the sleeves. 
Pattern adaption: 
I decided that because my bodice front would be two pieces I would also make my bodice back into two pieces. To do so I traced my vintage pattern and then adjusted for my broad back. I added my broad back width at the upper back shoulder dart and adjusted for my square shoulders. The shoulder dart was 1/8" (0.32 cm) originally and  the dart became 5/8" (1.59 cm) once my additional back width was added. Then I connected the upper dart point to the waistline dart point dividing the bodice back two pieces and adding seam allowances at the new seam line. 
 The bodice front was divided in a similar manner. After tracing my vintage pattern I extended the darts to the apex point and then shifted the side seam dart to the arm using a curved line to achieve my princess line. The bodice front was divided and seam allowances were added to the new seam line.
I made a muslin and will spare myself inter-webs embarrassment of personal photos. But it did not turnout half bad.
The only big fix was a gaping neckline, I had to wedge out 3 little darts. I also decided to adjust the neckline scoop.
Sorry this 1980's scrap quilting cotton is SO busy you can't really see my darts
Once the fit was set I was able to adjust for the bodice front gathers. I traced the side pieced then added lines across the pattern piece about an inch apart. 
The lines are slashed and spread from the curved bust line with 1/4" in between each slash. The new slashed and spread pattern is traced and the gathered curved edge is connected. 
Note the difference in the pattern pieces. The original bodice side pattern piece will be the lining pattern without any gathers. My pattern is drafted. 
Making neckline piping: 
Joan's dress has black satin piping, I am using a cotton sateen in shocking pink for my version of the dress.  
To make I first have to make bias strips. I fold my yardage on a 45° angle press the fold and cut the fold.
Then I measure and cut the bias strips. For the piping I used 1 1/2" (3.81 cm) bias strips.
The bias strip is merely folded over rat-tail and stitched to form piping. I used an adjustable piping foot for stitching, it is similar to a zipper foot but is completely flush on the side to not to interfere with the cording. 
Finished piping for the neckline.
Wish me luck I am hunting for beads and have yet to decide on the belt. Should I use the bow belt from the pattern or the fabric wrapped closure belt like Joan? 

March 20, 2014

Last Days of Winter Hounds Coat McCall's 6800

Here in the Midwest United State the weather is still being a fickle beast.  One day we wake to snow the next sunshine. Meanwhile as spring has not sprung I managed to finish a coat. The pattern is McCall's 6800. My variation is view C with the hi-lo hem of view B, it is a fitted and flared lined coat with high stand collar and side front pockets. 

Pattern Modifications: broad back adjustment, square shoulder adjustment, shortened torso length and shortened hem line by 4 1/2" (11.43 cm). I cut the belt and loops for view C but thought that it would be too much in the print thus the belt was omitted. 
The pattern construction is straightforward. I did however add an internal back stay to my coat. To do so I constructed my lining back pieces then traced the upper back portion on to a cotton suiting scrap and attached it to the back side of the lining to hold the upper shoulder shape. 
The only minor issues I ran into during construction was my cotton coating fraying non stop. I would recommend using a fabric that frays less as there are many seamed panels in this design. Also the panels presented a challenge for perfect print alignment in my hounds tooth.  I powered through, non the less. 
By the time I had reached the point of adding my vintage re-purposed buttons (found at an estate sale) I wished I had added bound buttonholes. My outer fabric and facing plus interfacing was much to thick for machine worked buttonholes. I had to sit with a hand needle threaded with buttonhole twist and hand work all five holes. I have little patience...but I powered through. 
Inner garement view: 
Hello again raspberry lining turns out 10 yards goes a long way; 2 coats, 2 dresses and still going! 

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