Sunday, April 15, 2012

Colette Spring & Summer Colour Palette

image sources clockwise from top left:

I decided to participate in the Colette Spring & Summer palette sewing challenge! I've been following the Colette sewing blog for some time - I also own the Negroni and Éclair patterns, which I haven't had a chance to try yet, so I'm excited I'm  finally going to try to do one of the sew along challenges. It also helpfully happens to be my break between the winter and summer semesters right now so hopefully I won't get side tracked like I often end up allowing myself. I'm hoping to focus on feminine classics in colours that will complement what I already have in my wardrobe (tons of red and black basically). 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Nani Iro print Valentine's 1960s dress

nani iro fabric, 1960s dress

I actually kind of hate this dress, but I'm hoping it's just residual resentment from how frustrating it was to make and one day I'll grow to love it.

Well this dress was a bit of an odyssey.
I had wanted to make it as a Christmas holiday party dress, just sometime cheerful and pretty to wear out for drinks or to family dinners. However exam time conspired against me and I had exams until the 20th and then only 3 days until I had to ship out to Guelph for labyrinthine Xmas fun-times. Ugh Christmas. I love Christmas in theory, but sometimes not so much - especially in that Christmas takes evolved time management skills or you get overwhelmed fast. So, yes, no Christmas dress. But luckily there's Valentines, another time of year in which it is traditionally sanctioned to wear pretty red dresses. But it's being posted late because even though I finished it on the day before Valentines I had a nasty cold (so no date!), which I've been fighting off since - which in my case means becoming unphotogenic to the max... gray skin and acne, so sexy.

Then there was the fabric itself. I ordered it from Japan because I love Nani Iro prints so much, and red is my favourite colour - so I was pretty much seduced. However completely out of my budget as far as fabrics go... 22$ a yard? No thanks. But I guess in this case, yes please. I only bought 1-1/2 yards, so I had to make do in terms of patterns. I ended up splicing two vintage 1960s dress patterns together: The bottom from Simplicity 5355 and the top from Vogue 6463... they went together ok, but it was far from smooth sailing with this fabric!

The fabric is a bit stiffer and lower quality then I was expecting, given that the other Nani Iro fabrics I've bought have been so lovely... If anyone out there is eyeing the 'brushed cotton' my 2 cents is that it's better suited to home dec or bags, something where drape is not crucial.
Anyway due to the unforgiving drape I needed this dress to fit perfectly ... I'd made the bottom of Simplicity 5355 before so I wasn't expecting any issues but the back fit was not very faltering... kind of a butt poof of sorts. I lengthened the darts and curved the stitch line and that helped a little. The bodice also had some fit issues which didn't show up in my (softer) cotton muslin... It needed to be shortened significantly, but since it was already cut I reduced the length at the shoulders. I also attempted a lapped zipper using this tutorial from A Fashionable Stitch, with mixed results. The first time it caused the side seam to bulge, so I took the seams in but it's still more prominent then I like.

Things I like: The fit is fairly flattering from the front. I like the tight 1960s cocktail look (which is what I was going for).
nani iro fabric, 1960s dress

I also like - the lovely print! What an amazing textile design.
nani iro fabric, 1960s dress

I'm less thrilled with:

The prominence of the lapped zipper - seen here on the side. I'm not sure what I did wrong - or if this is just the look? I know on Mad Men the Zippers have often quite noticeable but I still feel like mine looks sloppy. Also not happy with the fullness at the bottom of the back darts. Not a deal breaker, but still. 

nani iro fabric, 1960s dress
nani iro fabric, 1960s dress

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fantasy sewing league

I've been working on a new project using a lovely (and expensive for my sewing budget Nani iro print), and have been having a hard time finding a pattern that will work with the somewhat inflexible fabric and limited yardage. In the meantime I thought I'd post sewing inspiration and plans for future projects - I find that much of the fun from sewing comes from dreaming up projects!

I have a giant sewing queue - and more project ideas then I know what to do with. Right now I'm mostly looking forward to spring sewing - light dresses with lots of design details that don't get hidden beneath winter layers. 

While I'm stuck on my current project I'm also planning:

A black pencil skirt based on this pattern:
And with a decorative band around the bottom with this skirt from express (taken from pinterest). I bought a small amount of expensive vintage fabric from etsy and have been wanting to make a colour block skirt. 

This 1960s pattern from vogue is one of the first vintage patterns I ever bought (some time ago now!) and have had a muslin cut from it sitting in my sewing box for a few years (!!) now. I love the colour combo of this Top Shop dress. Maybe a little fall, but still cozy for winter. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gothic wallpaper dress

Well, my first finished project of the new year (and the first to make it onto the blog)! Classes have started but have yet to get gruelling leaving me a bit of leeway to work on this dress. I actually started this dress some time ago, but due to an error in cutting never got around to finishing it. The problem was, that when I was cutting out the skirt portion I spaced on the fact that this was a directional print, leaving me with not enough fabric left to cut a new one. Since a new skirt from the old one it was too short, I had the idea of adding a band of velvet around the edge of the skirt. But it took forever for me to get around to buying new fabric... in the end I got some Robert Kaufman wale from etsy. I like the mix of the two fabrics, I also ended up adding bands to the sleeves as well as a design detail.

Bodice detail - The bodice is a modified Burda pattern 128 from the 2009 08 issue:

I shortened the sleeves, and had to narrow them by about 4cm. The sides of bodice also had to be taken in about 6cm. I made it up in the size 38, which is my size, so I guess there was just a lot of wearing ease. even though the model in the photo is shown wearing something quite tight... patterns can be frustrating! I think I also should have shortened the bodice, since I'm short waisted. As it is the fit is not 100% flattering, but is good enough.

A more true colour picture of the fabrics: