Saturday, 23 April 2016

Pink Polka Dotted Diana Wrap Dress

I was lucky enough to recently test the Plus Size option of the Diana Wrap Dress from Wardrobe by Me. Which is pretty good timing, as I was after a good wrap dress pattern to use for Maternity wear down the track a bit.

The sizing chart put me in a size 18 for my bust and waist, which is pretty spot on me in ready to wear sizing, and usually what I make in butterick patterns once I account for all the ease they put in. My hips of course measure for a larger size, but I decided not to grade to a larger size because of the shape of the skirt. I was initially going to use some fabric from my stash, but then I was naughty and went to Spotlight and bought some lovely soft and stretchy pink polka dot jersey interlock.

Cutting out the pattern was relatively easy. I went for the long sleeve, no collar option. To customise the pattern to suit me, I shortened both bodice pieces by 2 inches, and lengthened the skirt by 4 inches (which might be too long, but I can always cut off the excess later) The pattern calls for 3.5m but I only purchased 3m and that was exactly how much I needed (my fabric was pretty wide though)

I found the pattern very well written and easy to put together. Even for someone like me who doesn't really enjoy sewing with stretchy fabrics. I have really been needing more cooler weather suitable clothes, plus this will also work great as a maternity/breastfeeding friendly dress in case I need that later down the track.

Bodice on the mannequin
I have not had the chance to take any decent photos of this dress yet, even though I wore all day to work on Thursday. I did however take some quick selfies to show how great the fit was.

*Edit* I dragged the hubby out of bed as I headed out to work to snap a few nicer pics for me

I've now also got my eye on the Amelia Bomber Jacket pattern and Haute Curvy Pants pattern as well....

The Curvy sizes of this pattern can be purchased here, but if you want to get the discounted rate (only available for a limited time) head over to the facebook support group here.


Thursday, 14 April 2016

Marilyn's Black and Brown Check dress

Oh Look, more Marilyn Monroe inspiration......

This time I am looking at the black and brown check dress that Travilla designed for her to wear in "Gentlemen prefer blondes" and that she also wore during her trip to Korea..... And then I'm making it.....

I was only able to find one photo of her trip to Korea that was in colour, and it is in the book "Dressing Marilyn" so I have a feeling that maybe this photo was recoloured just for this book? I'm not sure, but every other photo of her wearing this dress during her trip to Korea, taken by a military photographer, is in black and white.

While I don't have the exact fabric to reproduce this dress, I have had some stretchy brown houndstooth fabric put aside for some time, that I thought would work great for a pretty similar looking dress. And now seemed like a good time to finally create it!

Looking at photos, and also obsessively re-watching those scenes of the movie, I deduced that the sleeves are cut on kimono style 5/8 length sleeves. The front bodice has bust darts to the side seams and also to the waist seam. The back bodice has a center back seam (possibly with a zip?) and a dart to the waist on each side. The skirt has side and back seams and 2 darts on the front and 2 on the back, and no split or kick pleat anywhere along the hem.

I can't tell what fabric the collar is made of, though I assume it would be wool like the rest of the dress. For the sake of stash-busting and using what I have, I'm going to use some black ribbing for my collar, and also use it to create a matching belt.

To begin creating a pattern for this dress, rather than draft from scratch, I am going to trace parts and combine a few patterns to create what I need. For the bodice, I start with me graded up bodice pieces from Simplicity 3107, as it has the correct bust darts, then draft on some generous sized cut on sleeves (as I can take them in later, but it's hard to add extra fabric if needed) For the neckline, I just free hand a nice V neck shape.

The Fabric

Bodice Pieces

For the skirt pieces, I just used the pattern pieces from Butterick B6094 leaving off the facing section for the back split. I left the collar piece until later, so I could determine exactly where I wanted the neckline to sit, and how long I needed to cut the collar piece.

Once the main pieces have been cut out, the construction is as simple as sewing the darts in each piece, overlocking the edges, sewing the shoulder and side seams on the bodice, sewing the side seams on the skirt, then sewing the skirt to the bodice, the back seam ans then the hems. I was initially going to put a back zip in, but as with any stretch garment I make, I basted the back seam and tried it on, and decided I didn't need it. I didn't remember to take any progress photos of the construction up to this point, but it was all pretty straightforward.

At this point I tried on the dress with an elastic belt, and a piece of ribbing pinned along the neckline. I initially cut a piece of ribbing 9 inches wide (so 4 1/2 folded)

But after pinning it on, decided it was too wide, so folded in 2 1/2 inches and pinned it on again. I trimmed off 1 1/2 inches, leaving a 1/2 inch seam allowance.

While still wearing the dress, I pinned along the edge of where I had the ribbing pinned. I then carefully took it off, and used the pins to trim away the excess from the neckline

I then sewed up one edge of the ribbing with right sides together, turned it right sides out and sewed it along the neckline. The 2 ends were then hand stitched in place, which I forgot to photograph while I did it.

In the movie, Marilyn's belt appears to be made of something like a satin, with a metal clasp, but in the interest of comfort, and using materials I already had on hand, I've decided to use the same ribbing from the neckline, some elastic and this vintage pearly white belt buckle. I cut a piece of the ribbing a little bit more than twice the length of the inside of the buckle.

Then cut the loop of ribbing open, laid it flat and cut 3 lengths of elastic the same length as the ribbing (hint, if you want to make a belt this way, cut your elastic later) Luckily this width of elastic was pretty much exactly 1/3 of the length of the inside of the buckle.

I sewed the ribbing right sides together into a tube. In hindsight, I think I probably should have sewn it on my sewing machine first, then the overlocker, as I overlocked it first, and I think that caused it to stretch out quite a bit.

Turn the tube right sides out

I then pressed the tube flat, which I didn't photograph. My original plan was to sew channels down the length of the belt for the 3 lengths of elastic, but I then realised, straight stitching would break when stretched, zig zag would take up too much space, and triple stretch stitching seemed like a waste of thread. So instead I decided to sew the lengths of elastic together with a zig zag stitch to create one wide piece of elastic.

I then inserted the elastic into the ribbing tube. Here's when I realised I should have cut my elastic after sewing the ribbing. At first I was just going to leave it as it was, because when it was being worn, the wrinkles would stretch out anyway, but then I figured it would fit better with the added length anyway, so I cut some extra elastic and added it onto the end.

To attach the buckle, I cut a tiny hole through the belt with my snips, and threaded the belt through the buckle, with the prong going through the hole. At which point I realised I was not going to be able to fit that through a sewing machine, so I hand stitched it in place

At the other end of the belt, I inserted 3 grommets.

And here's what it looks like on my Dolly. Keeping in mind her bust and hips aren't as full as mine, so I've actually had to pull some of the excess fabric in at the back. All in all I am really happy how this dress has turned out. I've had this fabric put aside for this project for quite some time, and I finally got the motivation to make it, and it only took a little more than one day to sew up, and probably could've taken less time if I didn't take so many breaks.

I was just going to post this with just the mannequin photo, but then my husband and I decided to go into Newcastle for the day for a bit of shopping and to visit his brother, so here are a couple of selfies of me wearing it!

In the morning before make up...

Just now when we got home...

I'm also thinking it would be awesome to do a shoot in this dress with a military style jacket and attempt to recreate some of those photos of Marilyn in Korea.

Anyone else been doing any Marilyn reproduction sewing lately?


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Vintage Suit Sew-Along: Inspiration and Planning

When Angela first announced on her blog that she and Amy of Chica Chica Boom Chic were hosting a Vintage Suit Sew-Along, I had so many ideas flowing through my mind.

Firstly was this pattern, which I have used previously to make a suit for a friend

As well as a few other, less structured Vintage Suit patterns in my collection

And then, as my mind usually does, it turned to Marilyn Monroe.....

Those of you familiar with my blog or me, will know I am a bit obsessed with Ms Monroe, in particular, her clothes and style. I have made more than a few reproductions of her outfits in the past. So of course, I began thinking of some of the gorgeous suits she has donned in her movies.

The first one that came to mind is the stunning black and white suit she wears while in Paris in "Gentlemen prefer blondes"

But she has some equally gorgeous, but less tailored suit looks, as well as a stunning tailored suit in the movie "Niagara"

Actually I thinking I will make this red coat sometime in the future anyway.

Of course the one that really caught my eye was the Pale Blue Suit. The longer I thought about it, the more I liked it, and I think I remember, that some time ago, I purchased some lovely light blue wool blend suiting type fabric from an op-shop. However, after spending the day tearing the house and garage apart, I could not find it. Which now has me thinking I imagined buying it,but it's more likely it is just hiding somewhere. I'm afraid to admit that my fabric collection is a little out of hand, so I really will have to do something to manage it all. Anyway, hopefully by the time we start actually constructing our Vintage Suits, I'll have either found my fabric, or bought some more fabric (although I probably shouldn't be buying more...) As for the pattern, the jacket is already quite similar to the vintage pattern at the beginning of this post, so I will draft it off that.

If I don't find/buy any pale blue fabric for this suit, my plan will be to just sew myself a vintage suit using some fabric from my stash. I was lucky enough to be gifted a large amount of this fabric from my lovely friend Beccie from Sew Retro Rose, some time back, so now would be a perfect time to use it (or some of it) I'm not sure exactly what to call this colour (a light olive green/grey?) but from experience, I know I tend to look best in pale colours versus dark colours, so I am sure this one (whatever it is) is going to work for me

Anyone else participating in the Vintage Suit Sew-Along? I'd love to hear your plans!