Category: "Dresses"

The Teardrop Peacock Dress

by brae  

For my holiday party dress this year, I went with something different.  The outer fabric is a three-dimensional fabric on a mesh base.  It's SUEDEsays teardrop embroidered sequins ivory and peacock blue fabric from Joann.  The under dress is a matching dull satin.

The pattern is Simplicity 1606.  This was my first time using an Amazing Fit pattern, and I must say I rather liked it.  The side seams have a 1" seam allowance, so you can let out (or take in further) as needed during the fitting stage.

I used muslin for the bodice first, planning to use those pieces for the bodice lining.  I cut a size 4 at the bust line, fanning out to a 12 at the waist.  I find sewing pattern bodices to be too low for my tastes more often than not, so I used the size 12 cutting line along the top of the bodice.  I cut the 12 for the skirt portion from the final ivory satin for fitting with the muslin since I knew the skirt would be fine at the hips and need minor adjusting at the waist if at all.

The basting and fitting does add time to construction, but the goal is a perfect fit not fast assembly.  I ended up letting a little out of the 1" side seam at the top and kept the waist measurement as is.

The challenge for this dress was the outer fabric I chose.  It has what amounts to a border print edge.  I wanted the scalloped edge along the bottom of the skirt, but the pattern piece has a curve along the lower edge.  I folded the teardrop fabric and pinned as you would a plaid, matching the elements to get a symmetrical layout.  I pinned the pattern piece to the fabric but then cut wide large panels, keeping the full scalloped edge.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take photos since I wasn't sure it would even work.  :\

I pinned the satin skirt panels to my dressmaker's model and then draped the teardrop fabric to fit.  I've never formally learned to drape, but I understand the basics of fabric.  I pinned huge darts into the skirt panels and removed the excess fabric from the side and waistline.  I sewed the darts and cut away to 3/8" seams along them since the fabric was partially sheer.

The mesh base doesn't fray, so I cut along the scalloped edge without needing a sewn hem.  I hemmed the satin under skirt so it would not show.  Since the satin under skirt is fuller than the outer skirt, it acts like a crinoline and holds the skirt out.  A happy accident.  :D

I sewed the muslin bodice (with the boning) and the satin bodice and pinned it to the model so I could plan the teardrop placement.  I reversed the teardrop direction, because it just seemed a better aesthetic.  I didn't bother with a fitting of these pieces, just used the same seam allowances I had for the bodice pieces.  I used ivory bias tape to finish the neck and armhole edges.

Unlike the directions indicated, I sewed a 22" zipper from the bottom to the top.  The over fabric was strong enough, but I did have to sew the zipper in two sessions.  I pinned the zipper in place, and then sewed from the top in as much as the fabric would allow on both sides.  I then opened the basting and the zipper to allow more room to sew the lower portion of the zipper.  There is also a hook and eye at the neckline.

In the end, it was just a little snug at the bust line but not uncomfortably so.  If I make another like this, I will add a tiny bit of room at the bust line but keep the waist as is.

The shoes are Aerosoles Paperback in pewter.

Buttercream Beaded Dress

by brae  

I've been in love with this dress from The Cat's Meow in Toronto since I first saw it last summer.  Sadly, it is out of my price range, even though the boutique does offer layaway plans.  I'd likely have to have it altered, too, since it is a size larger than I normally wear.  :\

The boutique has a blog that features accessories as well as the fabulous window arrangements where I first saw this beautiful dress.  I warn you - you will get lost in all the lovely vintage fashion.  :D

The original dress is apparently a golden taupe, but I like the idea of a rich buttercream satin base.  I've done some beadwork in the past but nothing freehand or this extensive.  I'll have to dig out some photos of my Tudor gown to show you the beadwork on the skirt and sleeves.

Grey floral dress

by brae  

I've used this pattern before to make a top, but this time I made the full length dress in grey floral rayon.  I think Jasper likes it.  :D

shoes: Aerosoles Paperback in purple

Butterick 5485 has options to make a top, tunic and dress, all with the same general lines.

Serendipity Dress 2012

by brae  

Yes, I know I teased you with the fall outfit and never followed through.  I do have some of it cut out for sewing, though no photos.  :\

But, I have finished my holiday party dress for this year's office party.  I have the pleasure of working for a generous company that holds a lovely holiday party for us every year.  It's held at a local country club, so I always go all out.  I've made dresses with trains and even a full Victorian ensemble.  I'll have to take photos of these at some point.

This year, I went for something relatively simple since there were so many other demands on my time.  This dress came about through a series of happy accidents, so I've named it the Serendipity Dress.  I don't name many of my creations, only sometimes.

I was planning an ensemble last year and ordered an olive green smooth satin for it.  This is what came....

Satin, yes...smooth and olive green, no.  But, I loved I kept it.  :D

I order a lot from, and they offer free shipping for orders over a certain dollar amount.  I like to pick up yards here and there of fabrics I might not otherwise try to reach that minimum order.  One of those fabrics was this lovely embroidered organza.  There was exactly one yard left.

Now, together, they are just lovely!

I used two patterns - the skirt and sash from Vogue 8184 (Views DEF) and the bodice from Butterick 5351 (Views AB) - to piece together a dress using both fabrics.

I had to take in the bodice darts as I cut the fabric, but they were rather large and forgiving for this change.  To make the most of the scalloped edge, I placed the top of the front bodice and the bottoms of the skirt pieces along this finished edge.  I didn't have enough to also do this for the top of the back bodice, but I think it worked well design-wise.

Once the cutting was done, it was time to figure out the construction.  Because the organza was a heavier decorator fabric and very sheer, I couldn't just use the green satin as a lining.  Instead I sewed the pieces together along the dart lines and then made the darts through all thicknesses.  I basted the sides of the bodice and skirt pieces together.

I realized too late that it would be better for the green satin to hang below the organza scalloped edge along the hem, but I just added material to each skirt piece before sewing it together.  You can somewhat see the seam, but it is fairly well masked.  Besides, I'm hoping the dress wows you enough that you don't start looking for construction issues.  :D

My second time putting in an invisible zipper!  :D  I learned the technique using a regular zipper foot from this youtube video.  I need a lot more practice, but it gets the job done!  I've changed the slit construction since this photo, too...made it lapped instead of open.

I also added a plain green satin sash and beaded ribbon straps that bring out the champagne threads in the organza.  The white gold shoes are by Liz Baker from JCPenney.

It's not the cleanest construction I've ever done, but it worked and I was able to get the dress done in a weekend.  In case of disaster, Plan B was to make Vogue 8184 in all lime green satin, and I have enough fabric left over to do just that (someday).   Haaaa!

Oh, and seeing April's post reminded me.  Here's my machine...a vintage Singer 401A that belonged to my grandma.  She gave it to me when she upgraded to a modern machine and said while she didn't regret giving it to me since I used it so much, she never felt the same about her new one.

If it ever kicks the bucket and can't be repaired, I'll be hunting for another just like it.  :]

Asian inspired dress

by brae  

I've had this pattern quite awhile: Butterick 4796.  The copyright is 2006, and I bought it new from a local fabric store.

I've also had this grey-green jacquard fabric for a couple of years.  I bought it from Fashion Fabrics Club to make a different dress and fell so in love with the color, drape and pattern that I bought another five yards to keep in my stash of fabrics.  :]  I have plans to rework that original dress since it doesn't quite fit as well as I had hoped and to make a skirt from the fabric as well.

The first thing you can see is that I eliminated the keyhole altogether.  Unfortunately, I didn't start with a muslin of this garment since the measurements were very clear and workable for me.  In fact, I got it all put together except for binding the armholes and putting on the collar and the fit was perfect.  The problem?  The keyhole opening looked ridiculous on me...the cleavage was way off in my opinion.  Imagine two cue balls in the center pocket.  :D  I would have been so uncomfortable wearing it in public.  Even I was having a hard time looking anywhere but right in my cleavage.  Haha.  Before taking it apart, I modeled it for a friend.  She even blushed, and we had a good laugh.

Fortunately, I had more fabric to cut a contoured front to fit the upper front I already had.  (And, the front piece I removed is large enough to be used to cut smaller pieces for another garment.)  I put the garment back together and blind stitched the upper front over the lower front by hand.  Yes, I matched the's sure to be proud.  :]

In addition to this change, I cut the length to hit at the ankle and lowered the tops of the side slits by four inches.  I interfaced the upper front as well as the collar and facings since my fabric was a bit thinner and needed the extra support.  I made the collar like View A without the biased tape edging and made armhole facings to finish those edges (without interfacing to keep down the thickness, though there were quite a few layers at the underarm seam).

And, finally, I added small darts in the front to shape the waist and remove some fullness.  The front isn't as fitted as the back, but it now drapes nicely and is comfortable to wear.

shoes: Aerosoles 'Buttered Role'

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