Category: "Evening wear"

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 needed 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.

Steampunk Holiday, part 8

by brae  

The final part of the Steampunk Holiday ensemble is the jacket with faux vest.

I altered Simplicity 2172 to make the jacket - changing the front slightly and cropping a lot of the length.  I also omitted the shoulder detailing, cuffs, pocket welts and back lacing.

I made a quick mockup of cotton fabric to test the fit and help with the front alteration.  I altered the front pattern piece with the vest portion by cutting off the lower piece that attaches to the side front.  I made a straight size 6, adding 3/8" to the front edge of the vest for a better fit over the corset.

I eliminated the pocket welts by using lining pattern piece 10 for the side front.  This substitution and the omission of the back lacing cut down a lot of time in construction.   I lined the chocolate velvet vest insert with brown satin and constructed each piece separate from the coat.  I put the buttonholes in at this time since it's easier to work with a small piece.

When it came time to sewing in the lining, I basted the vest fronts to the jacket beforehand.  This gives a more realistic impression of a vest under a jacket.

The rest of the jacket has charcoal and light grey polka dot satin lining.  :D

To finish the outer edge, I added grey-brown Venise lace.  I didn't limit the lace to the neckline but added it all the way around the suiting portion of the jacket.

The whole ensemble...

From the back...

The party was great fun with good food and good conversation.  :]

Steampunk Holiday, part 7 - skirt completed

by brae  

As I mentioned in the previous post on the Steampunk Holiday ensemble, I finished the skirt about a week ago.  It was a very simple pattern - front, back, lower flounce and a waistband.

I have it sitting a little low in today's photos, so I'll have to adjust that.  But, it doesn't get in the way when I walk.

It looks great when walking, too...gets narrow at the knee and the fishtail flares.

It's made from Vogue 7698.  I made no alterations except omitting the lining.

I added the knife pleated satin and velvet trim around the top of the fishtail flare.  It's just enough to accent the drape of the fabric.

I think a proper steampunk ensemble is supposed to involve tall lace-up boots, but I didn't have time to shop for those.  Instead, I'll be wearing these...Aerosoles Minor Role.  :D

Steampunk Holiday, part 6 - corset 99% completed

by brae  

Continuing work on the Steampunk Holiday ensemble.  I finished up the corset, which has a separating zipper in the back.  It looks a little boxy here in the photo, but it has a flattering fit when worn.  I made it snug enough to not fall down and to give a nice silhouette, but loose enough so I can enjoy the mashed potatoes at the dinner and still sit down!  :D

I thought it looked a little plain, so I will add an edge of Venise lace trim.

It won't take away from the ivory since it matches in color, but it will dress up the neckline.

I finished the skirt about a week ago but haven't photographed it yet.  :]

Steampunk Holiday, part 5 - hat completed

by brae  

Continuing work on the Steampunk Holiday ensemble.  I looked for cream colored flowers, but none spoke to me that weren't way too huge to have on top of my head.  :D  I ended up buying a package of 4 dark red felt roses at Michael's.  These are by Jolee's Boutique, and there were four on a card.  Each had a sticky pad on the back, but I removed that so I could glue them to the hat and to each other.  I chose a grouping of three for balance and full coverage of the feather stalk.

On the inside, I glued a pad of millinery batting in the middle of the hat.  This helped even out the bulk of the turned velvet around the edge.

I then cut a piece of taffeta left over from the skirt to line the hat and used a blind stitch to sew the lining in place.  Sometimes I use combs for hats, but this time I opted for two barrette clips.

My finished hat!  :D

I really love it.  It's the perfect size, very lightweight and stays just where it's supposed to with the clips.

It jingles only a little, which is good...Jasper would never let me out of the house otherwise.  Cat, stop batting my head...I have a party to attend!!! :\

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