The Honeymoon Dress

Last time I posted my anniversary dress, but this week I’ll backtrack a little bit and show you my honeymoon dress. This was one of those last minute projects that I picked up while I was in the middle of so many other projects. I didn’t make a mock up, I just cut into my pattern and into my fabric as soon as I could. Sometimes the sewing daimon just gets you like that and you can’t resist.

McCalls M6070 Body

I used the same OOP McCalls M6070 that I blogged about in my very first post (blogged here) and a very slinky and easy to sew poly-knit fabric. The pattern was a breeze,  although I modified the way the waistband was sewn together. I wore this on my honeymoon and the dress was very much admired by my husband and other city folk. It is the easiest thing to wear and it’s very flattering. The ruching on the sleeves make it look very feminine, while the tie in the back ensures the shoulders don’t slip off inadvertently. As you can tell, I’m still learning how to play around with this nicer camera.

McCalls M6070 Front

McCalls M6070 Back

In other news, have you seen Liberty’s new collection? It’s inspired by one of my all time favorite poems by William Morris, “This Earthly Paradise” (you can read it here), the opening lines of which always leaves me in tears. The fabric collection however, fortunately (from a  mental health point of view) or unfortunately, (from a money point of view) does not.

Have a wonderful day!

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Liberty Sureau Anniversary Dress

I haven’t forgotten sewing or my blog or your blogs, I’ve just been out and about but now I’m back.

I made my first Deer and Doe Sureau dress with some of the Liberty Tana Lawn I bought in London. I think Deer and Doe is fast becoming my favorite sewing pattern company because I just love everything about this dress (and their blog!). I used Anna from Paunnet’s Sureau Sew-Along (which was very helpful). I didn’t have to make any adjustments to size, but the neckline was a little too deep and slightly gaping. So I used Anna’s trick, and also took a tuck out of the neckline as well. I made two bodice muslins before I cut into my Tana Lawn. I didn’t line this dress because I don’t like so many layers in summer. I finished this dress at midnight just 6 hours before we had to head to the airport. Here’s are some (headless) pictures of the dress in action (it is a little wrinkly in the pictures) on the Hollywood walk of fame! I got compliments on the dress and the print! I left out the buttons but I may add them later on.

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If you want to adjust the neckline, you can do what I did. In addition to straightening out the shoulder line (be mindful of seam allowances please!) as Anna posted, I took a small tuck from the neckline that eventually tapered into a point, a tiny dart from the front bodice.

Sureau Bodice Front

From the back I did the corresponding shoulder adjustment, and also shaded in the area that I would need to cut out for the neckline (see red circle) as it had to match up with the front bodice shoulder line. As usual, I had to redraft my facings with the new adjustments but that’s easy.

Sureau Bodice Back

For the next few days I’ll be catching up on all my favorite sewing blogs and seeing what you guys were doing!

 

Sew Grateful and Vintage Wedding Dresses

“Sew Grateful Week” came and went and I was nowhere to be seen, but as always I am truly grateful for this wonderful online community of sewing bloggers, you guys have been such a wonderful source of continuity and creativity in my life, Thank You.  I know I didn’t have time to plan anything as I was out of town last weekend and busy with life the following week (lame excuse?) but maybe this post will make up for it.

This weekend I visited the exhibit “Tying the Knot – Cleveland Wedding Fashions, 1830- 1980” at the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland. As you are fellow sewists you probably understand the thrill I get from looking at beautifully sewn things. It’s also a wonderful way for me to connect with the sewing history in my new hometown and look at some of the things that people right here used to love and wear. I thought I’d share a few of the pieces that really caught my eye (mostly from the 1900’s and onwards). If you’re in the area and you love sewing, check it out because the exhibit has been extended to March 31st, 2013.

First up is this luxurious golden dress from 1879, its creation is attributed to none other than Charles Frederick Worth, the founder of “Haute Couture”! No kidding once you see all the fine details on the dress:

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Here’s one that has a simple 1920’s flapper silhouette, but just as much shiny goodness. This one is interesting as it was meant to be used both as a wedding and a party dress:

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Just 10 years later,  1930’s wedding fashions changed dramatically and dresses like this gorgeous but reserved silk velvet one became more popular. Look at the train on this thing. I really love the delicate glass beading on the neckline:

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This next one is my favorite one, a delicate floaty number from the 1940’s with a sheer bolero and lovely sequin work:

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Also some pretty vintage underthings like this 1920’s camisole, robe and knickers set:

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You didn’t think I’d forget about the shoes and other important accessories did you?
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And last but not least, one for the guys, some vintage tuxedo vests that the men of Cleveland used to wear!

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In other important historical sewing news (is that an oxymoron?) I learned that the White Sewing Machine company was based out of Cleveland, Ohio. Isn’t that neat?

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I hope you enjoyed this little (limited) virtual visit! I hope you all had a wonderful “Sew Grateful Week”,

What I made in 2012 – Colette Chantilly Dress

It’s finally done! I started this dress in the spring of 2012, put it all together in the summer of 2012 and hemmed the bottom of the skirt in…2013. Last week actually, but still the majority of it was made in 2012 (I wish my pictures weren’t so fuzzy, if you click on them they’re clearer).

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I used Anna Maria Horner’s Diamond Mine Voile in Citrus Crush. Something about this fabric said “make me in a Chantilly Dress“. I’m really proud of this dress, it’s my first fully lined dress and I’m pleased with the way the top stitching and gathers turned out.

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I used a very lightweight loosely woven cotton that I bought at an ethnic Indian fabric store in the Toronto area. You may notice that some Indian men wear turbans as part of their faith, and the fabric that they use is a very lightweight cotton known as malmal/mulmul. It’s also used as lining for sari blouses. It’s very inexpensive (2-3$ a yard/meter) and breathable. I use the stuff all the time take a look:

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A fair warning though – this fabric really frays and the loose weave of the fabric also means that when gathered with the top fabric it creates volume, but this is something you might want depending on the type of skirt your dress has. In this case it makes my dress very lovely and floaty.

I’m so glad it’s all done!

What I made in 2012 – Colette Patterns Crepe Dress

I just came to the realization that in the hustle and bustle of 2012, I’ve barely shared anything I’ve made for myself on this blog so for the next few weeks I’ll be posting hand-made additions to my wardrobe.

Here’s one of my favorites, the Colette Patterns Crepe dress, I just love everything about it!

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This was the fourth dress I ever made and it was a confidence booster. I made two bodice muslins and ended up cutting a size 8. I followed along with Gertie’s Crepe Sew-Along and used her instructions to do a horizontal tuck  on the pattern to remove excess fabric from the bodice because it was too long for me. Sewing it up was a dream, the pattern instructions were great and the fabric (gauzy linen/rayon blend) was very easy to work with.

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I cut the facings out of a peach-ish cotton (so it wouldn’t show through on the other side) and catch-stitched them all by hand. The instructions call for simple tacks but I am not a fan of flappy facings.

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The dress is unlined so I finished my inside seams with rayon seam binding, I really love this stuff – so soft and smooth.

I love the pattern, I can’t wait to make it again with the sweetheart neckline in a solid fabric. You like it?

Transferring Dart Markings from Pattern to Fabric – Tutorial

I mentioned last time that I was working on Colette’s Crepe pattern, and so far it’s coming along all thanks to Gertie’s Sew-Along posts! I’ll have more construction details later but I thought I’d share a tip about how I transfer my pattern dart markings to paper because I’m really not a fan of thread tracing (but I will do it if I have to) and I don’t always feel like using tailor’s tacks and I haven’t used a tracing wheel/carbon paper yet so this has been working for me so far! Before I begin, let me just highlight that I always work from a tracing of the original patterns, and you may wish to as well if you’re using this method and don’t want to damage the original pattern. Let’s begin:

Here is my traced copy of the bodice pattern and you can see it has bust and under bust darts.

I snip one side of the dart marking, usually the right side, all the way up to the tip and stop there.

Then I lift the flap that I’ve just created and fold it to the left.

I repeat the process with the bust dart and I’m ready to trace onto the fabric.

Wanna see it in action? Alright, let’s do it again!

Here’s the traced pattern with the cut fabric pinned underneath (ignore the other markings – I make a mess of my patterns, just focus on the dart)

Snip n’ fold!

Trace it! (preferably with a Halloween themed pencil, lol)

and….voila!

I can’t emphasize how important it is to keep your fabric pinned to your pattern while you’re doing this, it keeps everything in place so you don’t end up with a wonky marking. Pattern weights (or your preferred substitute) are great for keeping the dart flap firmly on one side as you trace. Feel free to share your tips and tricks for transferring pattern markings!