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!

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…

Woven maxi dresses: love or want to love

I do love wearing a good knit maxi dress in the summer. I work from home, and sometimes popping on a long knit dress is exactly what I want to feel pulled together enough to pop out when needed, but still comfy enough that it’s great to work in.

Since I loved my knit maxi dresses I figured I would also love woven maxi dresses and proceeded to make not one, but you guessed it, two of the Simplicity 1801 View C.

I took a lot of volume out of the skirt portion; around 10 inches at the waist if I remember correctly and I find that it is still full enough to have a good swish factor.

This first fabric I made the dress up in was a 100% rayon printed panel fabric. It is fully lined in 100% rayon bemberg, with the skirt portion just lined to the knee – it gets rather hot here in the summer and I wanted to be sure I had maximum breeze-ability. I had fun with print placement, but I did over fit the dress in the midsection – I ended up going back in after wearing it a few times and let out the side seam as much as I dared.

The photo above was taken on a trip to Puerto Escondido with my husband and another couple we are super close with. This is after I let out the side seam a bit – still tight, but wearable for a dinner. Incidentally I also made my husbands shirt. It’s a Negroni by Colette Patterns

After version one was finished, I moved directly onto version 2.0 – made up with a poly cotton blend fabric that my grandmother picked up during her travels in the early 1980’s. The fabric had the most amazing border print that I just had to use, but had been saving for years until I found just the right pattern to showcase how marvelous this fabric is.

Version 2.0 is not as tight in the mid-section (thank goodness!) but I realized shortly after making it that I have a hard time wearing a floor length white dress, even if it is summer casual with a great border print. Version 2.0 is also fully lined, with a knee length lining for the skirt.

What about you? Are you a floor length white dress kinda gal? Or a floor length dress fan?

Visits

I don’t have many friends in real life that sew. Most of my friends are unbelievably flattering about what I make, but none of them sew themselves. I do have one girlfriend that I have gifted a few items of clothing to. She and I like to talk fashion, almost always over wine (a nice bold red please – maybe a Cali red blend or a nice full Okanagan Cab Sav), and have a great time shopping with each other and for each other.

She mentioned in passing an interest in learning how to do some sewing one time and I pounced! I did a bit of looking around and decided that the perfect place to start would be with a Colette Patterns Moneta. It’s an easy to make knit dress that is very forgiving in fit and precise sewing. She made a plan to come and visit and we spent a good portion of the weekend drinking wine and perfecting the fit of the dress for her.

I made dress #1 which was the grey poly blend knit, she sewed a good portion of #2, the blue and white dot dress and then I finished it up with dress #3, the black and birds dress. Dress #3 fits the best, as is expected when you sew and tweak a pattern.

The weekend was lovely, though I’m not sure that she will be signing up to sew all her own clothes anytime soon. I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to share my sewing experience with someone else. I hope we get a chance to repeat the weekend in the near future. Though after rapid fire sewing of 3 Monetas in a row, I think I’m ready to move onto a different pattern for the next weekend adventure.

A few more

So in all honesty I have made this pattern, Simplicity 2054, a total of about 15 times. Between myself and a few girlfriends they seem to be in a good and constant rotation in our closets.

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This is one of my favourites. I made it up out of a 100% wool knit from Fabricana. It feels like I’m wearing a warm cozy blanket to work. The best of every world if you ask me!

(Sorry for the bathroom selfie!)

The tried and true

I like patterns. I am really not much for veering much from a pattern. Ask any of my friends, if there is one person they know that doesn’t like to deviate from the instructions, it’s me. Which is so strange that with this pattern, before I even sewed up the first one, I was hacking away at the shape of the dress. I have made a few dresses in my day. Some have been successful and others, well others, not so much. This year I have been trying to look to my RTW (ready to wear) clothing to see what shapes I naturally gravitate towards. I figure that if I am going to be spending my time creating a garment, I had best make something I’m going to reach for (ideally) time and time again.

Enter Simplicity 2054

Belting? Not my thing. Split arms? NOT MY THING. But the shape, the shape I could get behind. It’s fitted through the shoulders, has a variety of sleeve lengths that I can play with and it skims the body, but it isn’t skin tight. BIG difference that skimming the body and skin tight fit 😉

I cut a size 10, laid it out over the fabric, looked at it sideways with my eyes squished almost shut, and then I grabbed my french curve and graded that baby… yep I altered the pattern without even tracing off!! What a rebel.  I nipped in the waist, shortened the sleeve to a 3/4 length and I took out some width at the bottom of the dress to change the A-line shape to more of a Pencil skirt shape.

And here’s the final product.

Oh yes, did I mention that I made two at the same time and the cozy red & tan one ended up growing wings and flying home with my sister? Well, it did. And I hear that she loves it as a lounging dress.

I have also made another 2 for a girlfriend and 2 for myself in more “Spring” fabrics.

What can I say, it’s turned into a tried and true for me. That being said, I think my husband will be happy to see me find another pattern to harass for a while… there’s really only so many dresses.that.feel.like.pajamas that one woman needs to own… right?