A dress of painted gold

Sounds rather extravagant doesn’t it?

Well it is!

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The basic pattern is New Look 6401 with some modifications. I made 2 muslins out of old butter yellow bed sheets, and you can imagine the look on the bride’s face when she tried those beauties on. After two muslins I was ready to cut into the fabrics. The dress has three layers to it; a lining, an underlining and the fashion fabric. It was well worth it to triple layer it as it helped to decrease any showing of bumps or a very attractive undergarment. The seams were sewn and serged. A center back zip was switched out for an invisible side zip and all three layers have machine stitched rolled hems. I really like the way the machine hem made the dress fall as she walked. The fabric wasn’t pre-washed and it was professionally ironed just before wear. That many layers and an old, spitting iron were never going to end in anything happy. I added in blue satin ribbon as stays to keep her undergarment straps in place and used some vintage snaps from my grandmothers stash. I can’t think of a better place for them to have been used.

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Above 2 photos by Danielle Bossert Photography

This amazing fabric was purchased in India and is a base of 100% silk (in a beautiful off white) that was allegedly painted in gold. It may be gold, and it may be paint, but either way it is the type of fabric that’s a pleasure to work with.

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My beautiful girlfriend was married to the man of her dreams a few years ago and I was lucky enough to be a part of the special day, in a small way. After a few unsuccessful dress shopping trips, and a few discussions, I offered to make her wedding dress. She graciously accepted and so the dress came to be.

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They had decided on a 1920’s prohibition themed wedding and they pulled it off in a truly magical way. The photos you see here are not from my typical photographer, but from a few talented women; Miranda of MKDegroot Photography and Danie of Danielle Bossert Photography.

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There’s some photos of the wedding, and some of the dress.

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Hope you all enjoyed the meander!

Sweatshirts: how many is too many?

The Lane Raglan Sweatshirt – I love it.

I have made it a total of 7 times in a multitude of fabrics; from poly sweatshirt fleece in a questionable leopard print to a 100% silk knit in an amazing shade of greyish navy blue, now residing with my dear sister-in-law. It was a Christmas gift that I had a hell of a hard time gifting – I really did want to keep it for myself.

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Let’s back up.

I walked into a department store one day and saw a great deal on a light grey, crew neck, raglan sleeve sweatshirt. I tried it on over my tank top and bought it. Easy. As the weather got cooler I found I kept reaching for this one sweatshirt. I work from home, so my daily work wardrobe is simple; jeans with a top that isn’t a mess, but is still comfy, and looks put together enough that I can throw on shoes/boots and pop out to run a few errands. I found I was wearing said top much more than I should have and so thought about making a few of my own. I have a few knits kicking around in my stash and I thought it might be a good chance to thin the herd so to speak.

My first thought was to pull the pattern from the top itself, but the more I looked at the top, the more I realized there would be a few things that I would ideally like to change; sleeve and body length, just a smidge longer. I also realized that I just wanted to sew. I didn’t want to pull a pattern and tweak it and then test it and then tweak it some more.

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So after a bit of browsing I came across the Lane Raglan Sweatshirt pattern. The images looked spot on and the measurements were ideally close to mine – excellent – very little to modify – YES! So I bought the pattern – and then remembered that I hate taping pdf’s together. But, the thought of owning more tops in all the pretty colours kicked me into gear and away I went. I traced off a straight size small and followed the instructions, and in less than 2 hours from laying out the pattern to a final press I had a lovely new top.

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I ended up removing an inch of length from the sleeves and the body length but left the rest as is. I ended up making this top up in the standard knit fabrics, and then decided that I wanted to try it in a drapey rayon. Again, this was a stash fabric. I loved the look of this top without the bands so I simply turned under and twin needle stitched the hem, sleeves and neckline. The only thing I wish I had done was to add knit interfacing to the neckline – i find it stretches a bit more than I like after I wear it for a while.

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All in all a lovely pattern that I know will pop up a few more times before I’m done with it! Do you have a go-to top pattern? Is it the Lane Raglan as well?

Just a wee bit tight

A few years ago I made New Look 6968 View A (without sleeves) out of a Navy stretch cotton sateen. It was a lovely fabric to work with, the neckline was lovely (even if I did have to sew what felt like too many neck darts, and have them evenly matched) and I followed the instructions and fully lined the bodice.

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The skirt portion is a pencil skirt; an unlined pencil skirt. This means I can NOT wear any tights without the dress riding up. Not what I intended. There was also the issue of the dress being a tad roomy between armpit and shoulder seam. Nothing I noticed before completing the dress in full, and between those two things, the dress ended up being a miss for me. BUT, it was so close to being something I saw myself reaching for time and again for a simple work dress. Therefore, this dress made its way to a good friend and I made the what I assumed were simple changes and left the pattern for about a year.

Then I got a great dark grey polka-dot wool blend yardage at a steal and thought – this is perfect for the dress pattern I  modified last year – just a perfect, easy sew. I was being aware and remembered to cut out a lining for the skirt portion too and went to work.

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Well, I adjusted for the shoulders alright, but forgot that that would inch the waist line up too… so the waist was sitting too high – not a problem, let’s splice in there a waistband – it’ll look cuuuuuute! Oh, and I also forgot to lower the curve in the armpit too, but of course this I didn’t realize until I had completed the dress. Of course. Add to that the fact that I was lazy and didn’t redraft a lining piece as nicely outlined by Sunni of A Fashionable Stitch, and did I mention that the wool blend has zero stretch to it? Well, it doesn’t. And therefore that nice sleek, but still comfy fit, has eluded me. It’s a lovely dress – to stand in and drink, but don’t even think about sitting or eating, or breathing really… It’s just not gunna happen.

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All that being said, I did have fun with the insides and the finish is pretty spot on. It’s fully lined, everything matches up nicely and I have mustaches as the waistband lining. Who doesn’t love a good ‘stache?!

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Also, I must not be remiss in mentioning the lovely wine that is pictured above. For my birthday over the Summer, my lovely mister planned a little bike to wineries tour in Oliver, BC. I must admit we didn’t end up going to many wineries as I blew my entire wine budget at this gorgeous place; Le Vieux Pin. I dare you to try their wines and not love every single one.

Not perfect, but I think after making the above mentioned changes I might give this pattern one last go…

Camas Blouse: a Thread Theory Winner

When I was making jeans for my husband, and then myself, I looked at a few different companies to source the different notions I would need/want. One of these companies was Thread Theory, a wonderful company run from Vancouver Island, by an outdoorsy couple (who have an extremely cute pooch). As I was browsing and filling my online shopping cart with jeans kits, I was also adding to it the Jedediah Pants (for him) and the Camas Blouse (for her!). The Camas Blouse is, from what I can tell, the first women’s pattern put out by this company. I really liked the design details and I was interested to see how their patterns fit into my lifestyle.

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I love it.  The pattern, the design, the final product. It’s all very me.

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I actually started off using the most lux of fabrics; a cut of amazingly drapey, yet not see through, bamboo jersey (a lovely gift of a cut of fabric) and some black raw silk (for the yolk), and inky blue light weight silk (for the yolk lining).

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The pattern is a PDF, but I think well worth the hassle of printing, taping, and in my case, tracing. I actually traced the pattern out when I was in the middle of my jeans sewing bender and it was a refreshing change of pace from denim.

Based on shoulder measurements, I cut a straight size 8 and made no alterations (cue fanfare). I followed the directions right up until i got to the front placket. I’m sure the directions as written are great for this section, but I decided that I wanted to assemble the placket first, including trimming, notching and serging the edge of the band before I attached it to the shirt. That way there was a lot less bulk to deal with.

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I sewed the hem of the sleeves and the shirt with just a standard straight stitch. This worked well for me as the bottom is drapey, and the sleeves are loose enough to pull on without needing any stretch. If you like a more fitted sleeve I would recommend either a double needle, zigzag stitch or coverstitch machine as a finish.

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For the second version I used more of my Deer Head Dotty fabric (100% organic cotton) and a 100% Rayon Slub remnant that I think was from Girl Charlee Fabrics. There is a very subtle stripe in the slub that I loosely tried to match up.

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I did also have some fun with converting the gathers into pleats in the front and a box pleat in the back. I think Morgan mentioned doing a blog post about this so keep an eye on their blog.

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I really like the shirt with either the gathers or the pleats and see making this again. I would like to try it in a full woven and will likely play around with this in the next little while. Also something to note, I sewed the buttons right through the placket and didn’t bother to create button holes, so the buttons are completely for show. I find the neckline is more than generous to get this over my head comfortably. The buttons on my first top are from my local chain store, and beige buttons are from my Grandma’s stash that I inherited a few years ago.

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How do you like your tops? With a little deer here and there or straight up classy silks?