Tag Archives: dress

Would you vote for me, please?

6 Sep

Evening, friends! I am dropping you a quick line to let you know that my recent make, the halter maxi dress in the Anna Maria Horner Sinister Swarms fabric from Hart’s Fabric is entered in their weekly Sew Your Hart Out contest. You can help me win a $50 gift card to Hart’s by liking this photo. And while you’re at it, I would love for you to “like” Susie Homemaker, MD on Facebook, too.

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Think you would like to win a prize from Hart’s? They are giving away weekly prizes for items made from their fabrics. You can also enter to win the grand prize of a brand new Janome sewing machine (no finished garments required!).

I hope to get some sewing done this weekend and will try to bring you another completed project next week (and this next one may be quite fancy). I may also have a Thirsty Thursday in the works. Stay tuned and happy weekend! And thanks for voting on my photo!

Simplicity 1610 — The Moth Halter Maxi

4 Sep

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Happy National Sewing Month, friends! I hope everyone is enjoying the end of summer (or winter for you South of the Equator folks). Life has been busy in these parts with back to school (both at home and at the office). But don’t worry — I have found a little time for sewing and have a small backlog of projects to share with you.

First up, though, I had to share this maxi dress made from Anna Maria Horner Sinister Swarm rayon challis in tangerine. I ordered this from Hart’s Fabric a few months ago, and since they are hosting Sew Your Hart Out September, I thought this would be a great first post for the month.

 

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I have become a huge fan of rayon challis lately. It is soft and silky but not as slippery as silk. It isn’t quite as easy to work with as cotton but it is heaps better than charmeuse! You’ll hear more about my recent charmeuse shenanigans soon.

I love the large, bold print of this fabric. The background is a combination of two shades of blue and it is covered in huge moths in bright colors. It has a little bit of an 80s feel to me and right now I think this is the closest I am going to get to all the psychedelic colors I am seeing everywhere. I think I am still a bit too scarred by all those horrible 80s fashions we had to wear as children!

 

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For the pattern, I wanted something that would showcase the large-scale of the print, so I chose a maxi dress. I had been wanting to make up Simplicity 1610 because of the halter bodice with princess seams, so it was a perfect match. The skirt is shaped by several pleats along the waistline and this worked well with the soft drape of the challis.

 

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Instead of a traditional FBA, I decided to cut the shoulder and bust according to my full bust size and then just add some length to the front bodice. I did this because my upper bust and full bust measurements are less than 2″ difference (although I am a D cup) and commercial patterns recommend the B cup based on this. But since I know that commercial patterns made without adjustments are always too short in the bodice, I added length to account for that.

I have to say that I am not pleased with the results. The princess seam lines do not cross my full bust point and the neckline on this dress is a little boobalicious. And despite that, there is excess fabric above the bust. I guess I am just shaped weirdly and I should listen to my instincts when making pattern mods (i.e. note to self — you always need to do a FBA on commercial patterns).

 

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The pattern calls for a lapped centered back zip so I obliged and handpicked the overlap while I was getting a pedicure. It’s not my best work but it definitely gets the job done! I still have to attach the hook and eye at the top.

 

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I did stray from the pattern specifications on the neck strap closure. The pattern calls for buttons and fabric loops but because I cut my straps a little long and didn’t feel like altering them after they were sewn, I just hammered a snap onto the end of each snap to secure the halter. I think it turned out just fine.

 

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The pattern calls for lining the bodice only so I used some navy cotton batiste and serged the waistline seam to finish it. I used French seams to finish the pocket bags and skirt side seams. I finished the dress with a narrow 1/4″ machine stitched hem.

 

 

 

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I reinforced the zipper opening with some fusible interfacing — I just wish I had applied it to the wrong side of the bodice pieces so it wouldn’t be so visible. That’s not a deal breaker, though. The pattern also calls for running elastic along the upper edge of the back bodice. I did this step but did cut the elastic pieces shorter than directed because I find Big 4 patterns always leave the elastic too loose. If I ever make this dress again, I will redraft the bodice pieces so elastic is not necessary as I don’t really like the look and it doesn’t really help hold the dress up.

 

 

 

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I stitched the surplice wrap front so that it wouldn’t gape open and you can see the stitching from the wrong side (but not the right side). I also eased some clear elastic into the surplice seams to help them hug my body (it is hidden under the bands).

 

 

 

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Finally, you can see the dress on me but all I have are a few shotty iPhone pics. I am definitely pleased with the overall result of this dress. While there are a few things I would do differently next time, I will be wearing this dress often.

 

 

 

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For this “photo shoot” I paired the dress with a wide coral belt, my Cole Haan clutch, Reef flops, and my Kluster coral necklace.

 

 

 

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McCall’s 6559 — Knit Maxi Dress

11 Jun

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Ladies and gentlemen, I have found my official pattern for summer — McCall’s 6559.  This knit tank dress pattern (post-tweaks, of course) is nearly perfect — easy, casual, chic, and comfy.  On top of that it is quick and easy to sew up since it only involves two pattern pieces plus neck and armhole bands.  My fabric for this dress was one of my treasures from last year’s NYC trip.  I don’t know the exact fiber content but I would guess some viscose and elastane.  It is a lightweight, soft knit with great recovery.

 

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I strayed from the pattern instructions (didn’t even look at them, actually) for the neckline and armhole binding.  I have never been satisfied with the bands that most patterns call for so when Lauren at Lladybird posted about this binding method from Megan Nielsen, I was all over it.  I LOVE the results and don’t think I’ll ever go back to the bands unless I have a fabric that is uncooperative.  I stabilized my neckline with knit staytape from Emma Seabrooke and used Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and a twin stretch needle for my hem.  I have gotten so many compliments on this dress, especially about how professional the finishes look.

 

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As with all Big 4 knit patterns I have encountered, this one runs huge so I just based my size choice off of finished pattern measurements, going with a 12 in the shoulder, grading to a 14 at the bust/under the arms for a cheater FBA, tapering in to a 10 at the waist and then back out to a 14 at the hips.  If I had gone by the measurement chart I would have cut a 16 in the bust, 14 in the waist and an 18 in the hips!

 

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I started with a wearable muslin from a sturdy cotton knit and realized that I would have to make all future versions with a center back seam if I wanted it to fit my figure.  I had to take a 3/4″ swayback adjustment and then added a 1″ wedge back in over the derriere to accommodate for the swayback adjustment plus some for the junk-trunk.

 

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There will definitely be more versions of this dress in both the long and short varieties.  On the next rendition, I think I will go ahead and trim the seam allowances down to 1/4″ for serging and I will raise the neckline a bit to make it more work-friendly.  I will also take a bit more out for the swayback adjustment so it hugs my low back better.  Finally, because my fabric is a bit heavy, this dress could use some reinforcement in the side seams to support the weight.  I will be adding some clear elastic to the seam allowances from the underarm to the hip to prevent stretching and will keep this in mind for future versions if the fabric is really stretchy.  I don’t think it will be an issue with less stretchy knits.

So what do you think?  Could knit dresses be your go-to this summer?

 

 

 

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Me Made May ’13 — Part 3

1 Jun

Well folks, the month has finally drawn to a close and I have successfully completed my first Me Made May challenge.  I must say it was a great confidence builder to be able to wear self-stitched or altered items each day for 31 days straight.  I even managed to make it more than 2/3 of the month without repeating an item!  As you have seen from my photos, I have several new items that have yet to be given official blog posts, but I will do my best to get those documented in the upcoming weeks.  So without further ado, here are the last 12 days of my month’s wardrobe:

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 2599 ruffle blouse
RTW: Nordstrom pencil skirt, Tessyla necklace, Cole Haan shoes

 

May 20 (Monday) — Today was a full day in the office.  Nothing exciting to report.

 

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Me Made: Refashioned David Kahn white jean capris
RTW: CAbi seahorse camisole and lacy jacket, turquoise necklace, nude patent flats

 

May 21 (Tuesday) — Another day at the office.  I hosted a CAbi party at my house the next night so my friend who sells the clothing brought her entire collection to my house a few days early so I could “test” things out.  I borrowed the cute seahorse cami and lacy jacket to wear to work this day with some refashioned white jean capris.  The capris are at least 5 years old and had a very flared hemline until I slimmed them down.  That was my first time to ever work with denim.  As long as no one looks up close at the seams and hems, I will be in good shape 🙂

 

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Me Made: In-House Patterns Belle Bow Blouse
RTW: Cookie Johnson straight leg white jeans, Kluster white coral necklace, Franco Sarto nude bow pumps (worn only for photo — being returned because they are too small)

 

May 22 (Wednesday) — My day off and my first repeated item.  I spent the morning dropping my car off to get serviced then met a new sewing buddy for some fitting help with a jacket project (Thanks, Nancy!  You are incredible!!!)  Nancy was so sweet and sent me away with an armload of awesome sewing goodies — patterns, fabric, notions — I feel so spoiled!

This was also the night of the CAbi party that I hosted for my friend Catherine.  For the party I made peach margaritas, fresh guacamole, and strawberry cupcakes with strawberry swiss buttercream; I picked up a party platter of fajita fixings from a local Mexican restaurant to round out the menu.  Yum!  We had a great time having a girls’ night in. Photographed here with Jennifer, one of my best friends since first grade.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 2648 as a peplum top
RTW: LOFT denim jacket, vintage (college-era) black maxi skirt, turquoise necklace, Cole Haan purse, Cole Haan black peep toe low heel pumps

 

May 23 (Thursday) — A full day at the office at usual but in the evening my 5-year-old niece graduated from her pre-K school.  I cannot believe she will be a kindergartener next year!  The black skirt you see me wearing here is at least 12 years old.  I bought it when I was in college and have hung on to it since, knowing that it would come back in style again.  Unfortunately the elastic in the waistband has dried out so I will have to replace it before I can wear it again or I will risk wardrobe malfunction. I am posing here with the niece of honor and my mom.

 

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Me Made: Unblogged Jalie 2921 scarf neck tee with ties wrapped to back (so glad I figured this out!)
RTW: Cookie Johnson white straight leg jeans, Etsy necklace, nude Nine West low heel pumps

 

May 24 (Friday) — TGIF and I’m not on call!  Plus this is the weekend I get to spend sewing nonstop at the Sandra Betzina workshop at All About Sewing.  In this photo I am working on McCall’s 6559 which you will see more of later in the week.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 1664 top (will blog soon!) and McCall’s 6654 skirt
RTW: Silpada necklace and Cole Haan tan peep toe heels

 

May 25 (Saturday) — The Sandra Betzina trunk show took place this day.  She went through the samples of all her patterns and discussed different techniques for altering and modifying each pattern.  Although most of Sandra’s patterns don’t appeal to me right off the cover (I don’t think I am in her age demographic), changing fabric and/or features can definitely make them more attractive (see my project from last year’s workshop here).  After the trunk show, we each sat down with Sandra and our chosen pattern (Vogue 1291 for me) to select our size and make any fitting adjustments to our flat pattern. We then all went home to cut out our fabric.

Except a few of us didn’t go straight home — my sewing bestie, Dianne (far left), invited Sandra, me and Joni (far right) over for dinner at her beautiful new home, spouses included.  I was asked to bring a cocktail, so I made a double batch of the Strawberry Riesling Slushies that Annie recently featured on her blog (if you couldn’t tell from the empty glasses and pitcher, the drink was a hit — not too sweet but very refreshing!). Mr. Homemaker and I had a wonderful time — our dinner companions were lively and entertaining and our hostess prepared an excellent meal for us to feast on.  Thanks again, Dianne!

 

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Me Made: Trina Turk knit tank altered to open up an extra buttonhole
RTW: Citizens skinny jeans, red Franco Sarto patent flats

May 26 (Sunday) — Our first full day of sewing with Sandra and my first day to wear something that involved only a minimum of sewing skill on my part.  None of my attire is me-made but this top only had two functioning buttonholes when I bought it.  On a less busty person I don’t think that would have been an issue but for me that made the shirt gape like crazy and revealed more than I liked.  So I got out my handy seam ripper and tore this shirt a new one — a new buttonhole that is 🙂

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Me Made: Golden Renfrew
RTW: Cookie Johnson white straight leg jeans, Kluster red coral necklace, nude patent flats

May 27 (Monday/Memorial Day) — This was our second full day of sewing.  I finished almost all of the construction of my shirt on Sunday so I just had to hem it and stitch down the neck band when I got to the store on Monday morning.  After that I made a few more flat pattern alterations to my knit maxi dress (McCall’s 6559) based on a knee-length muslin and cut out my fashion fabric.  Before we finished up for the day I had my shoulder seams sewn, the neckline finished with my new favorite method, and my side seams sewn.  All I had left was to bind the arm holes and hem it.

This photograph is a group shot of some of the ladies at the workshop.  We all had a great time and got tons of sewing accomplished!  Sandra is a great teacher and I always learn lots from her and the other students who all have more experience than me.  I am already looking forward to when she returns to our area next year.

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Me Made: Vogue 1291 butterfly sleeve top
RTW (not shown): Elie Tahari pencil skirt, Cole Haan coral wedges

 

May 28 (Tuesday) — Back to the real world.  Here’s my version of Sandra’s pattern, Vogue 1291.  Although this photo was taken during the workshop when I tried on my completed top (notice the mismatched necklace), I actually wore it to work the next day with a cobalt blue pencil skirt and my coral Cole Haan peep toe wedges but I just couldn’t get a flattering photo that I could bring myself to post for all the world to (potentially) see.  Sorry 😦

 

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Me Made: Sewaholic Cambie as a peplum blouse
RTW: Cookie Johnson denim capris, Tessyla necklace, Cole Haan wedges

 

May 29 (Wednesday) — My day off but this was a pretty busy one with running errands.  I started out with stopping by the hospital to check on my grandfather after he had surgery (he did great), then I had a dentist appointment, dermatologist appointment, grabbed a quick lunch, packed up some of my sewing stuff, headed to a friend’s house for a sewing playdate for a few hours working on tracing off and making flat pattern adjustments to the Colette Chantilly pattern, ran to the grocery store, then came home and cooked dinner for my husband.  I actually scored a “This is one of the best things you’ve ever cooked” from Mr. Homemaker so the recipe will be making an appearance here in the future.  Be on the lookout.

 

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Me Made: Simplicity 2599 ruffle blouse, Sewaholic Hollyburn skirt
RTW: Tessyla necklace, old belt, Via Spiga blue suede pumps

 

May 30 (Thursday) — Back to the office.  Two me-made pieces this day.  I added a belt over the Hollyburn skirt and I really like the look.

 

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Me Made: McCall’s 6559 maxi dress in a drapey knit from Elliott Berman (from my NYC trip)
RTW: Old belt

May 31 (Friday) — Yay!  I made it!! This is my most recently finished project — I started it during the Sandra Betzina workshop and finished it up the Thursday evening after so I could wear it before the month ran out. I will dedicate an entire post to this pattern, but can I just tell you that I LOVE it!  It is so easy and once you figure out your fitting tweaks and the sizing, it is such a flattering and comfy dress. I am going to make up more versions in both the long and short varieties.

And can I just apologize for the awful photo? After 30 days of remembering to take daily outfit photos, I hopped into bed last night and remembered I hadn’t taken my photo for the day.  Well, I wasn’t going to mess up on the last day of the challenge so I jumped out of bed, threw my dress and belt back on and tossed my iPhone to my husband and made him snap some photos of me in my bare face and bare feet. While I was at work, I paired the dress with my denim jacket and some white leather d’Orsay pumps.  After work, I nixed the jacket and changed into some white flip-flops for a casual business dinner.  I also paired the dress with a multistranded Silpada necklace (seen on May 25).

Reflecting on the month, I feel like I have grown in my sewing skills, especially in fitting.  I finished several new items during the month — 7 total — and overall they each fit really well and I don’t have any major construction complaints.  I do need to bite the bullet and start working on fitting myself for pants and shorts.  All in good time, I guess.

Well, guys, thanks for following along.  I have several pattern reviews to bring you as well as some recipes for desserts, drinks, and main dishes.  Stay tuned!

 

Sewaholic Lonsdale

31 Mar

I’m still here!  Don’t worry I haven’t fallen off the planet!!  I have been traveling, sewing, and mostly working since we spoke last.  I have a cute sundress to show you today.  We are definitely getting into sundress-wearing weather here in the Deep South and the Sewaholic Lonsdale is the perfect pairing.  I stalked this pattern for a while before I actually convinced myself to buy it, but once I got it, I sewed it up almost immediately.  I love the cute knot at the front and the way the straps loop through the back and then tie.  I also like the breezy half (?) circle skirt.  Although I don’t think this halter style is the most flattering on my body, that’s not going to stop me from wearing my new cute dress or making this pattern up again 🙂

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For this version, I used a new rayon challis I picked up at Hart’s Fabric when I was in California last month.  I know I still have to show you all my fabrics and I promise I haven’t forgotten.  The fabric was easy to work with and it is wonderful to wear.  It does wrinkle a bit as you can see in the photos but it is not that bad.
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If you are not familiar with this pattern, the bodice is self-lined but the skirt is unlined.  I strayed from the pattern and decided to line the skirt as well.  I used a yellow batiste.  Because I sewed the batiste to the rayon all the way down the center back seam when inserting the zipper, I could not separate the two layers for hemming without doing some unpicking.  Since that is one of my least favorite tasks, I left it as it was and just hemmed the two layers together and the skirt lining became more of an underlining.  The downside is that my flowy rayon is now a bit more structured but the plus side is that I had a hidden layer to anchor my handstitched blind hem to.  This minor blooper is not going to prevent me from wearing this dress at all and I have already enjoyed wearing it on vacation, to church, and all day to our local arts and crafts fair (where the photos were taken).

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I love the consistent sizing of Sewaholic patterns.  I sewed my usual size 8 and did my usual 1″ full bust adjustment.  This FBA was a bit different since I didn’t want a waist or bust dart in the final dress.  I rotated the bust dart up to the knot gathers and the waist dart fullness was rotated to the center front seam.  You can see details of how this is done on the Sewaholic website’s tutorial.

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The only other alteration I made was to hem the skirt just above knee-length as I feel this is more flattering on me.

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If you are looking for an easy-to-sew and very wearable summer dress pattern, you should definitely consider the Lonsdale.  I am thinking about making the maxi version for the next go-around.  What do you think?

6 Airplanes, 3 Days, and 1 Gertie!

6 Feb

Drumroll, please!  The winner of my One Year Blogiversary Giveaway is… Breenie!!! Breenie, please contact me at susiehomemakermd [at] gmail [dot] com so I will know where to send your Craftsy gift certificate for a free course of your choice.  Congratulations and thanks to everyone who commented!

You may recall me mentioning last week that I was going to a workshop with the lovely and talented Gretchen Hirsch of Blog for Better Sewing and Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing fame. Bright and early Friday morning I boarded a plane for Monterey, California, and three flights and nine hours later I arrived on the beautiful and sunny west coast. I let the rental car agent talk me into upgrading to a convertible and I headed with the top down to the peaceful and wooded grounds of Asilomar Conference Center, a state park that was built in the 1910s as a women’s camp. After unpacking and resting for a bit, everyone met in our sewing lab for introductions.

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There were about 24 workshoppers in all plus our excellent instructors, Gretchen and Heather Ross. Heather was an amiable hostess and was a natural at making everyone feel welcomed and like an old friend. We were also assisted by another Katrina (how often does that happen?!?), who worked at Hart’s Fabrics in Santa Cruz, and she was kind enough to tell us all about their Super Bowl Sunday sale. So not only did we gets lots of sewing and socializing done, we also got to go on a field trip to an awesome fabric store!

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Me and Lauren in our mid-construction shirtwaists

Before the workshop most of us introduced ourselves via email. Through those communications, I met Lauren and realized that we had similar sewing interests and were both planning to work on the shirtwaist dress from Gretchen’s book. We chatted back and forth about our muslins and fabric choices in the weeks leading up to the workshop and we were neighbors in the sewing lab. I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet Lauren and hope one day I can make pretty bound buttonholes like hers!

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Mid-construction fitting check

I chose to work on the shirtwaist dress from Gretchen’s book during the workshop because I have always loved the look of a classic shirtdress but have had a hard time finding one to fit off the rack. I worked on a muslin prior to the workshop and only had to make a few tweaks once I got to California. My alterations included a FBA, lowering the darts (a lot!), shortening the bodice (a tad), a forward shoulder adjustment, bringing in the shoulders, and lowering the armscye. I also shortened the hem. I didn’t quite finish the dress during the workshop so I will wait until I complete it to give you my official review.

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Please excuse my darts — we didn’t have a tailor’s ham!

But here’s you a sneak peek. If you look closely, you will see I only have one sleeve sewn on! 🙂

Gretchen was so nice to work with — she is the reason I chose to attend the workshop.  The week before I left for California, I emailed Gretchen to see if she would bring the actual shirtwaist dress from the book and she graciously agreed.  We all oohed and ahhed over her beautiful creation and teased to stick it in our suitcases when she wasn’t looking.  Her fitting advice was spot on and she made sure to spend time with each sewist in the room over the course of the weekend.  And, yes, the pink hair is awesome in person!

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Do you see the beach deer?!?

On Sunday afternoon we took a tour of the grounds with the park ranger and actually looked at the ocean (we had all been way too busy sewing!).

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That’s my cute little rental car there in the middle of the picture.

It was a gorgeous day so after our final goodbyes, I put the top down on my little car and headed to Santa Cruz for the sale at Hart’s fabrics. I ran into Gretchen, Lauren, and at least a half-dozen of the other ladies while I was there. I doubt Mr. Homemaker reads this far down so let’s talk about what I bought. I racked up on some awesome solid color knits, cotton/silk blend, rayon challis, and silk chiffon.

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Thankfully Hart’s was willing to ship my fabrics home for me, so when they come in later this week, I will show you what I got.

Once I closed down Hart’s, I headed to San Jose to visit my favorite department store, Nordstrom. I picked up a few shirts, belts, and shoes, and they, too, were willing to ship. Thank goodness because I otherwise would have had to buy a new suitcase!

I finished off the night with a delicious and decadent dinner for one at a charming little restaurant in Pacific Grove called Passionfish. I had a scallop appetizer, crab and avocado salad, Wagyu beef brisket entrée, and Meyer lemon panna cotta for dessert. I was stuffed!

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time on the beautiful Monterey peninsula. Traveling across the country by myself to spend the weekend with like-minded women who don’t mind talking about sewing over dinner or who will gladly pin you into your dress and give you fitting advice was refreshing and a needed change of pace. Heather Ross puts on a great retreat and I can’t wait to join her and Gretchen again soon!

Check out my Flickr set for more photos.

The Date Night Dress

9 Jan

So here it is — my big sewing accomplishment from the New Year’s holiday.  I am so pleased with how this make turned out.  I didn’t copy a particular RTW design but I do think it looks a lot like some Kate Spade dresses I have seen.  What do you think?

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Necklace: Nine and Co.
Clutch: Cruise ship duty free shop
Shoes: Donald J Pliner

This dress is made from New Look 6457 and I used one of my NYC fabrics — a luscious silk Dupioni/Shantung with a white background, large grey and black paisleys, and scattered black and dark cobalt/navy sequins.

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It is trimmed with black satin (self-made) piping at the princess seams, neckline, armholes, waistline, and hem.  I finished it with a handpicked lapped center back zipper and handstitched invisible hem (with grey lace hem tape).

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My first lapped and handpicked zipper!

As far as alterations go, I used the bodice front pieces from Simplicity 2648 (see Peplum Top from last week) because I knew they already fit.  I lowered the front neckline 1.5″ and the back neckline 3″.  I took 0.5″ off the bodice length.

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I added piping to the princess seams because I like the look, although this wasn’t called for in the pattern.  The pattern called for a gathered, Dirndl skirt, but I wanted something with a cleaner look, so I cut the pattern skirt pieces but converted the gathers to box pleats in the front and regular pleats in the back and lined them up with the princess seams.

I learned several new techniques while making this dress — how to make piping from scratch, how to insert a lapped zipper, how to handpick a zipper, how to insert a zipper guard, how to apply hem tape, how to insert a hook and eye, and how to insert a dress lining without any hand stitching (yay!).

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I fully lined the dress, the bodice with a stretch satin because it feels so good slipping on and off, and the skirt with Bemberg rayon.  I hemmed the skirt lining by machine and frilled it up with grey lace hem tape to match the dress skirt.

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I applied a zipper guard to keep the zipper from eating up the lining or dress fabric.

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On the dress’ first outing, my husband and I went to one of our favorite “fancy” restaurants in town.  Toward the end of the meal my husband said a casual hello to another man as he was walking out and told me “that’s Larry the Cable Guy.”  I was like “Oh, okay, huh?”  After a moment of my husband explaining things to me and after we had paid our tab, we met “Larry,” who is really Dan, outside the restaurant, chatted for a few moments, then snapped a pic so I could show y’all that this dress also attracts celebrities 🙂

 

 

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Here is a view of how I wore the dress for its second outing (to church and brunch), plus an action shot of me ironing some invisible fabric.  I topped it with a chunkier necklace (The Limited), RTW black ponte jacket with leather trim (Elie Tahari), and black suede tall boots (Stuart Weitzman).  And fresh hair and make-up.

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So while there are a few things that are not perfect about my dress, I will not be pointing those things out to you and I dare you to spot them (well, I don’t really dare you, but you know what I mean).  I am so glad I have finally made something substantial I am proud of and will wear over and over again.

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And because I promised a glimpse of what’s on my sewing table, Gertie’s shirtwaist dress, as a shirt with a peplum (are you tired of those yet?).  This is a wearable muslin and if it turns out, I will be making the dress next.  What’s on your sewing table?

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Christmas Party Dress — Simplicity 2178 Again

8 Feb

Sorry for the blurry iPhone pics. My camera battery was dead.

 

Here is my second attempt at the Simplicity 2178 — much better technique and results this go-around.  I decided to use three different silks for the different parts of the dress.  The peau de soie from the waistband also faced the shoulder ties to provide some contrast.  I wish I had used it for the hem facing also because that would have felt much better against my skin.  I still didn’t realize I need a full bust adjustment so the waistband sits a little higher in the front than in the back, but all in all I am happy with the fit and I got tons of compliments on the dress when I wore it at my Christmas party.

I promise it wasn't wrinkled when I wore it. It has been hanging in my closet for the past two months post-party.

Speaking of the Christmas party, every year for the past three years, my husband and I, with the help of several wonderful friends, host 50+ of our closest friends at our (too small) home.  Being raised by a family of gracious Southern hostesses, I always insist on overdoing it and going overboard with the menu.  This year I tried to delegate a little more and I think I did a pretty good job.  Our menu included ham and turkey carving stations, fruit/veggie/cheese trays, West Indes salad (a local creation!), several dips, crab rangoon, assorted cupcakes and other desserts, a champagne bar and beer, my husband’s famous eggnog, and a very popular Apple Pie Moonshine — whew!  I will be posting some of the recipes soon, next up will be a variation of an old family favorite — Red Velvet — so stay tuned!

Sewing Debut Dress — Simplicity 2178

7 Feb

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Back in September, my husband and I attend a benefit for our local schools with my sister, cousins, and some friends. This event featured a Bobby Flay style cooking showdown with some of our area’s best chefs (and lots of tasting, of course!). There was also a fashion show hosted by several local boutiques featuring their latest styles. During the fashion show, glam ladies passed around lip gloss minis from an awesome local makeup line, carrying them like cocktails on silver trays–so cute! It was this fashionable aspect of the event that inspired me to make my own dress for the evening. I wanted something cute and trendy, something maybe a bit different than everything else in my closet, so I chose Simplicity 2178. Plus, this would be my first time to wear a me-made garment into public.

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The fabric is a synthetic woven from Hancock Fabrics that was not ideal for a new sewist because of its drapiness but it all worked out. I cut a straight 14 in this pattern, but in hindsight, I needed a full bust adjustment. Some of the instructions weren’t clear to me at the time, like understitching the facing and how to position the invisible zip. I also didn’t pay enough attention to the pattern markings on the seams where the waistband joins the bodice and skirt. I have made this dress again with much better technique and I will post pictures of that one soon.

I omitted the shoulder strap because I didn’t like it and the dress was fine without it. I used a little doublesided tape just to be safe:)

The best part of the evening was dancing the night away with my honey to eighties tunes covered by one of our best local bands. To top it all off, my dress got its picture in not one, but two, local magazines!

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On the “pink” carpet. I think most, if not all, of the other ladies featured in this spread were wearing clothes from the fashion show.

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I definitely recommend this pattern and may still make the two strap version with the longer skirt at some point.

More finished sewing projects to come soon as well as some Mardi Gras festivities so stay tuned!