Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Finished: The Dubai Dress

This lovely dress is currently making it's way across the country, headed from Michigan to California. I hope my cousin likes it, as it turned out to be such a lovely dress. Simplicity 2053 turned out to be a real winner, and I'd recommend it heartily to any sewer that is comfortable with pleats.

It took me a little longer than I anticipated, as the chiffon and silk are both challenging fabrics to work with, and my decision to use the solid silk as an underlining and treat the layers together as one. I didn't want all the side pleats to be visible through the chiffon, or the darts in the back, so this way all of that was hidden inside the dress. Basting the two layers together on all of the pattern pieces took some time, and I had to get creative about the facing of the neckline. Facing pieces are included in the pattern, but I wanted to make sure the facing really blended in (I hate when they peek out). I fused a very lightweight interfacing to the remaining fabric and was able to cut the facings from it. Bonding fusible interfacing to chiffon was pretty nerve-racking, but it came out great, and blended in perfectly! I used my serger to finish all the seams on the inside, as adding another layer of lining seemed like over-kill for a dress that's going to live in California!

When I get a picture of her in it, I'll be sure to share it here with all of you!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Electric Party Dress

I wouldn't say that this project was a "perfect marriage of fabric and pattern", but I did make it to wear to the wedding and reception of some friends that are the perfect couple! Congrats Sarah and Eric!

The fabric was a "deal of the day" from Mood Fabrics a couple of months ago. It was the color (and the price) that sold me! "Electric Fuschia" is what the tag said, and for half off ($6.99/yd), I picked up 3 yards, not sure what it would become yet. It was exactly the amount needed to make Vogue 8997, and although I was tempted to make the typical black cocktail dress, this fabric just kept asking to become a party dress.

I picked up 3 yards of lining at Joann's and got started Tuesday night. I worked on it an hour here and an hour there during the week, and finished tacking down the lining at 4:30pm Saturday, walking out the door an hour later! Here's the inside of the bodice:
I don't think it was the perfect fabric for this project, though... I followed the pattern's recommendation to interface all the bodice pieces, but I should've also stabilized the skirt seams (at least at the top, through the waist area), as the puckering was really irritating me. It also wrinkled so easily... I knew that my back side would be a mess from the car ride before we even got there. This fabric is made more for blouses and tops... but, I sure did get lots of compliments on the color!

The pattern is drafted beautifully and the instructions are great. I only strayed twice... once for the cutting layout (they recommend cutting a single layer, but I folded my 3 yards in half (1.5 yd x 45") and fit all my pieces just fine (size 14) with all the pattern pieces following the grain line. I also lowered the center front neckline about 1", as I wanted it to be a little bit sexier. Once I had the dress layer done with zipper, I simply put it on, and pulled out the stitches from top down until I was happy with the neckline.

Please pardon the wrinkles, pics taken after wearing!
The sizing on the pattern paper was accurate, and this pattern offers the "custom fit" multiple cup sizes for the bust. I made the size 14, C cup, and it's spot on. I hemmed it 1.5" and *love* the swishing-whisper sound it makes when I walk! I forewarn you to machine hem this dress, though... 4 yards of hemline by hand will be time consuming!

Back view
I'm certain that I'll be using this pattern again in the near future (with the standard neckline provided), as it is a great dress for just about any occasion. It has classic style, with feminine lines (did you see the flutter sleeve version?) and was really straight-forward to make. In a "beefier" fabric, you could either line just the bodice, or forego the lining all-together and use bias tape to finish the neckline and armholes.  It's winning pattern, you'll see it from me again, I'm sure of it!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Visions of Dubai (Simp 2053)

While I'm not one that thirsts for world travel or international ports of call, I have to admit that this project has me feeling thinking of the exotic and amazing city of Dubai.

Why? Well, that's where the fabric came from! My cousin had a friend that traveled there, and brought her back 3 pieces of amazing silk as souvenir. Personally, I would love that friend forever! But, my cousin doesn't sew, and she wasn't sure what to do with these luxurious cuts of silk.
Silk Paisley Chiffon (1.5 yd), and 4 ply silk (2 yd)

She tried to find someone to make her some garments, but everyone she contacted said that they only did alterations, not actual dressmaking. Their loss, my gain! So, my cousin mailed me the fabric (she's in California) and after some discussions of garment style options with the limited fabric available, we settled on this Simplicity dress, 2053 view B (minus the flower).

Sewing long distance is a challenge, and when paired with the fact that this silk is irreplaceable... I've been just a little nervous with this project. Someone awhile ago called it "Analysis Paralysis", and I need to post this quote in my sewing room...
The pattern called for more than the 2 yards I had to work with, but by laying the pieces on the crossgrain everything fit (minus the facings).  I made a muslin, mailed it out, and the fit was nearly perfect (just need to take 3/8" out of the shoulder seams, as she is petite). Cutting chiffon can be nerve racking, and I wasn't about to spray starch it, so a roll of craft paper was purchased from Joann's and spread out underneath it for the pinning and cutting of the fabric.  After much thought and consideration, I decided to treat the solid silk as an underlining, and work with the two fabrics as a single layer. I didn't want the darts and pleats to show through, and seeing as how this dress will always be worn in warm California temps, I didn't want to add unnecessary lining layers. I have enough of the chiffon left over to make trim to finish the neck and armhole edges, I'll just use a lightweight interfacing to stabilize it and that way, there won't be a solid peeking out at the edge of the print, as sometimes neckline edges do.  I basted all the fabric layers together once the pieces were cut out, stitched the pleats and darts, and here's the front of the dress...

I'm really happy with it so far. I need to run to Joann's today to get some teal serger thread, since the seams will be exposed on the inside of the dress. The pattern is a good one, too, I really wouldn't mind making it up for myself.  I really wouldn't mind if someone gifted me some silk from Dubai, either!!!