Surprising couture

There are so many lovely fabrics at Minerva Crafts and this embroidered lawn fabric is a favourite I’ve been eyeing to sometime now.

The fabric is an Italian embroidered floral on a cotton lawn dress fabric. It’s so intriguing that I decided to make it up using The Avid Seamstress Shirt Dress.

The fabric needed a basic dress shape to make demonstrate how amazing the embroidered floral is. The trick for me was to get the proportions right for my height and shape.

The pattern instructions are very clear and I was able to make two test versions prior to cutting into this amazing fabric.

As you can see from this close up of the back, I had to line up the flowers so they didn’t get carved up along the centre back zipper.

You can also see that I lined this dress using black lining. I chose black so the colour of the flowers were more prominent that the cotton lawn base.

If you take another look at the sleeves, you’ll see they are a two-part petal sleeve.


On the sleeve pattern, I drafted the lines for the two-part sleeve. The challenge here was to make sure the sleeve flowers were the same on each sleeve.

Once I marked out the new sleeve patterns I had to cut the sleeves so they looked the same on both sleeves.

Here’s how the sleeves looked one I lined them and then placed each sleeve together before sewing onto the dress.

Here’s a close up of the dress bodice so you can see how the sleeve are balanced.
The other challenge was to make sure the front flower at the waist matched. I sewed in two darts under the bust and to the waist for more shape. You can’t see these darts because they’re sewn between the flowers.

I’m kinda chuffed with the way all the flowers line up. Even across the lower front panel. I used pre-made silver piping to show this seamline.

The hemming took a bit of thinking. I sewed on this bias binding to hand sew the lining into the hem without interfering with the dress fabric.

The finishing techniques helped make this dress look great.

I’m really pleased with this dress. The fabric is amazing. The dress style is easy to sew up. But together, they make a great team with a few couture techniques.

I didn’t plan that this project would be couture, but surprisingly it is.

Thanks Minerva Crafts – for this lovely fabric and for stocking The Avid Seamstress patterns.

For Summer

This embroidered print I bought a Selective Fine Fabrics in Brisbane recently is great using New Look 6000. OCD much (Lollipop and Blue poppies).

No sleeves this time so this dress works for Summer parties. I used the embroidered selvage for the hem.

The waist darts help me adjust this dress to fit as my waist changes. Underlining also made sewing in the invisible zipper easy work.

Originally I wanted to used FOE on the neckline and armholes but caved and used lining. The lining gave a better finish both on the inside and on the outside.

A few weekends ago I had a great day fabric shopping in Brisbane with Marjorie and Jenny visiting a couple of high end retailers. We spent ages looking at fabrics at Selective Fine Fabrics and this was one of the fabrics I decided to splurge on.

Why did I make this so quickly? I have a ladies lunch last Sunday hence a new dress! 

Then I decided to be brave and make View A using this John Lewis fabric I bought in the UK a few years ago. John Lewis doesn’t post fabric to Australia which I wasn’t aware of when we visited the UK 3 years ago.

Again I’ve fully lined this dress. I used View E front as the lining pattern. This made the front fit a lot easier to do.

One thing that makes this dress so easy to make and wear is using a 50cm to 55cm invisible zipper. I buy these zips from My Hung because they’re close by and affordable. My Hung have their zips hanging flat so I never have the iron out the kinks from packaged zips.

I think I’ve done this pattern to its limit for now. 

Well I thought I was until I decided to use an African wax print for a vintage-style version.

This is the dress I used for the square neckline tutorial.

Those butterflies are so lovely.

So I suppose I’ve finished working with NL 6000.

As this was an easy pattern to redo in a few different ways, I decided to enter these into PR’s One pattern many looks contest.

I certainly can’t say “I don’t have a thing to wear” in the lead up to Christmas this year.

Back to the sewing room.

Sew Chic – starting Fifth Avenue

On Pattern Review, you may have read about Sew Chic patterns and Laura Nash.
“Your destination Hot Spot for  Glamorously Chic Sewing Patterns  that are Stylish, Flirty, Modish, Glitzy and Retro all rolled into one!”

Long story short: I’ve made Fifth Avenue and I have a few finishing touches to go.

The back story: Last year I managed the Vintage Pattern contest and the contest entries opened my eyes to all things vintage. And while I love looking at the detailing on real vintage clothes, I still like the feel of wearing new clothes so making vintage styling has begun to steer my sewing.

Sew Chic patterns can be purchased via the Pattern Review online shop too.
Last year I made a few formal dresses for a family wedding and Fifth Avenue kinda suits those occasions or cocktail events. But Fifth Avenue would also be great for a high tea with a few sewing friends who love making something new for the occasion!

Selecting the size
The bodice has is princess seamed and the midriff has a band so I chose my size based on my bust measurement (10). Changing the waist and hip dimensions seemed the easier option to me. The midriff piece is in the picture below.

Tracing off the pattern
I used crayons. Don’t laugh. I bet you’ve read about using crayons to trace off patterns but haven’t tried it yet. Or maybe the thought of tracing with crayons for a special occasion ggown would be too risky. Crayons worked.

Pattern alterations
I’ve shortened the skirt so that it sits at the knee. Fifth Avenue is mid-calf length.
The centre back is on the fold and because I have a sway back, I’ve converted the centre back to have a seam so I can mould the back better.

Fabric
This highly embroidered fabric was gifted to me by a colleague and I have made a shift dress out of it before so I know it sews well. So at times I’ve cut this fabric with paper scissors because the embroidery is so thick.

This fabric has stems and flowers all through it so placing the flowers in the best position was the other element to making this dress work.
 
More about layout and construction in the next post. It’s a pretty dress. The ladies at Rhodes sewing last week loved Fifth Avenue and they can be a tough sewing crowd to impress. But I think everyone basically loves a beautiful dress.

UFO shirt – McCalls 5433

Sharon’s rust shirtmaker dress made a strong impression on me because she always does excellent finishing and she’s got a great eye for detail. Her dress is really well made and fits her perfectly. Anyway, she inspired me to pay more attention to my sewing so at the last Rhodes Guild session I cut out a shirt length style with the aim to lift my game. I got to the point of adding the collar and put it aside do to Mum’s sewing.

This weekend I made time to work on it a bit at a time, and not rush into it. DH was helpful in deciding what buttons to add to the shirt. First time! Anyway, I wanted a cap sleeve, so I took the sleeve from B5328.
Here’s how my shirt turned out. I do like the fabric contrasts. The skirt was made earlier this year and it’s become a work staple.
The front and back pieces are lined because of the embroidered cut out bits in the fabric. The lining is a lightweight poplin. I’ve used this for the front and back pieces, collar band and button front.

 
The back needs more adjusting and the black buttons were from a Lincraft sales years ago. 

This shows the french seams, bias sleeve finish and the lining effect on the inside.

Chanel No 2. Phew.

McCalls 5007 wasn’t too hard to make up. The fabric was a Pitt Trading remnant and this is a toile, so it’s kind of an orphan at this stage.
I like the retro styling and the fabric has it’s own interest so I’ve used a plain black zipper as the enclosure. The lining is dark blue and there are no shoulder pads. The sleeves are 3/4 length. Angie added long darts on the back of the jacket for a more fitted look. I’ll taper in the front seams once I have something to team this with.


Border line – Butterick 5328

As I’m still working on my SWAP, I found a piece of black woven fabric with a heavy embroidered border. I bought this from Pitt Trading at least three years ago. I thought it would be good on a dress but I’ve used this on the bottom hem of this cross over top.

I’m using Butterick 5328 and I’ve already made this up twice before.

This week I was in the mood to alter and cut out a few pieces to sew on the weekend and this was one of them. A pattern piece was missing so I traced this from a top I made up last year (lucky).
I’ve added a full bust adjustment and I’ve made the sleeve gathered. I’m not sure how long/short the sleeve will be as yet. It will depend on where it ends, in relation to my bust. I always avoid sleeve hems that are level with my bust. I don’t need the attention here.

Toile – m5464

It’s taken me this long to start using this pattern. I say that because the pattern is now an out of print pattern on the McCalls website. I bought this pattern because it’s a handy style for any occassion. With the right fabric, this is a good shape to then take it in a new direction. I like the princess style darts in this style. They’re in both the front and back of the dress.
As a sewer, not only are you attracted to fabric, fabric also comes to you in many forms. This is a toile and the fabric was given to me last year when I had to wear an asian inspired outfit at my husband Christmas party. I ended up making a skirt and top in a green fabric instead. I wasn’t too sure how to wear this fabric as it is kind of asian looking. I have 6 metres of this fabric to play with.
This is a toile, so this fabric isn’t what I would normally buy or pick for my colouring. While the pattern has been sitting on my desk for 8 months, I’ve lost the back neck facing for the sleeveless version. If you look closely, I’ve put a fushia bias tape around the neck and armhole edges. I bought the bias tape from the fabric shop in Burwood Plaza. I didn’t take a sample of the fabric with me, I was just drawn to the colour and width of the bias tape.

This view shows you how the selvedge has a plain 10 cm border and the rest of the fabric is embroidered. The weather has been hot 35 – 40C so sewing in the air con has been delightful. It’s the only thing I can do without melting.

On the technical side of this dress, I’ve used an invisible zip, bias fushia tape on the neck and arm edges, pink trim to balance the colour. I’ll use the remaining fushia tape to finish the dress hem on the inside and put a vent in the lower side seams.

I was frightened by the 2kg I’ve put while I was on holidays, so I didn’t put in the back darts. Once I had basted the dress together, I sewed the back darts into the dress. I’ll put the changes onto the pattern and try this again with the denim that’s maturing in my stash from our Melbourne fabric shopping trip.