Sunday, December 16, 2012

Glam Up a Dress

It is holiday party time again.  My plan was to wear a dress made in a previous year,  but that went out the window when I did a try on of the dresses in my closet.  All okay, but not exciting.   Butterick pattern 5780 was lying on the top of the pattern pile, having been a recent purchase.

 I bought it for the style lines of the neckline. It is described as” the bodice side front bodice extending into back collar”   I have pictures of similar necklines in my inspiration file.

Christian Dior Jacket

Pattern Magic 2
  I thought it would be interesting to make the side front and back out of a different fabric, something sparkly and festive,  that coordinated with the fabric used for the other parts of the dress. It would give the illusion of wearing a short jacket over a scoop neck dress.  The dress is made out of a medium weight ponte knit from Hancock. The coordinating fabric I made myself by layering a sheer fabric over the ponte knit.  I auditioned three sheer fabrics with the  black knit fabric.

 My favorite was a flocked scroll design on a sheer woven.  I chose a sequined tulle instead because the tulle stretched like the knit I was going to use as a base.  I cut the tulle and the  ponte knit using the same pattern pieces, layered the tulle on top of the ponte, serged around the edge to hold the two pieces together and treated them as one for the rest of the construction process. I did not have to remove any sequins from the seam allowance like I did for another recent project.  The sequins on this tulle were tiny and scattered.  They did not cause any problem with serging or sewing. Sigh, this project reminded me of why I do not sew Butterick patterns very often.  The neck, shoulders, bust and torso length always require so many alteration to fit me. Ultimately I used my sloper and drafted the bodice pattern from scratch, but copied the Butterick style lines.  It was a good learning experience.  I did use lining/stay pieces in the bodice  just as the pattern did. They are necessary to hold that fold in place as it starts at the bust and wraps around the neck.  I used the pattern skirt pattern with my bodice.  I did  not insert a zipper. The dress pulls over my head easily.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sewcial Butterfly

 Last weekend I attended a meet up of local (VA, MD) bloggers and sewists.   You have probably already read about it on the blogs of other attendees.   It was organized by Lisa, another  Richmond, VA blogger.  I have read her blog for several years, but never met her in person.  We drove up to MD together and the two hour drive gave us time to get acquainted. She gave me new sources for patterns and the scarf  she was wearing ( her own design) was a wonderful holiday gift idea.   Robin hosted the get together in her home.  We had a fantastic time talking about all things sewing and  blogging.   Robin told us more about her New York Vogue magazine editor experience and we had a good laugh about the props and poses Vogue magazine has used recently in their photo shoots.  You know the ones I mean,  the giant leaves and odd poses in front of a big picture windows. I had hoped Trena would share her organizational  secrets. The ones  that enable  her to sew so many great garments, write in depth blog posts and reviews, and work a full time job.  And then I find out from cidell ( who was rockin a purple shift dress)  that Trena  also finds time to read and review books too. I am in awe. Just about everyone wore something they had sewn and we got to see and touch garments  that we had seen on blog posts.  Robin couldn’t wear her wonderful Style Arc coat indoors, but we convinced her to leave her coat closet door open so everyone could see it as they came in the door.  We all brought patterns and fabrics for a swap.  Though the piles of fabric and patterns were impressively large,  I was very good and only walked away with one length of fabric and 3 patterns.

I wore a new blouse to the meet up.   I wear a lot of blouses and decided recently to update my wardrobe with a couple of new ones. While browsing the blouses on high end Internet shops,  I was attracted to loose fitting tunics, in large scale print fabrics, with contrasting plackets and collars. 
Inspiration - Tinley blouse

Vogue pattern 1323, a Rachel Comey design,  had similar style details.

Vogue 1323
 Last year, Vogue magazine featured garments made from silk butterfly prints. I loved them.  G Street Fabrics has  several of them,  but with prices way too high for my budget.

  The butterfly prints remind me of an amazing incident that happened 20 years ago. DH and I were staying at a Bed and Breakfast in Berlin, MD. There were fig trees, the 4 ft tall variety,  growing along the side of the B&B.  As we came back from our afternoon walk, we saw the trees were covered  with hundreds of dark blue iridescent butterflies feasting on the overripe fruit, their wings slowly moving in the sunlight. It was a magical sight. I wish I had had a camera.When I saw a 1.8 yard length of silk butterfly print for sale at a very reasonable price on, I hit the "buy now" button.

Construction  details - I lengthened the shirt by three inches. The original length was a bit short for me.  I narrowed the shoulders about half an inch and took the side seams in about an  inch. Normal changes for me with unfitted garment styles. While I like tunic styles, they can easily overwhelm my body shape if they have too much ease. The placket collar and cuff in black fabric give the eye somewhere to focus/rest on when looking at the very busy print.

Vogue 1323 in butterfly print silk

  It is a fun top to wear and I  get  lots of comments and smiles on the butterflies.