24 augustus 2016

I feel like a fancy snake.

The third (and so far final) wedding of this year was a pretty massive one! My dear friend Hanne got married, which is awesome already, but six sewing friends got together to make her wedding dress for her, so to say I was stoked is an understatement. I used the opportunity to dive deep into the stash and cut into a piece of fabric I've been hoarding for a long time! Lieke and I took some time between the wedding ceremony and the party to take some pictures, so I wouldn't have to dress up all over again at a later date:

I have had this linen hoarded for years. It's loosely woven from a rather thick yarn, and super drapey. The base fabric is dark blue, but it has gold brushed over it to give it an amazing texture and loads of shine. It doesn't quite show up on camera so you'll have to take my word for it, but it looks really good in motion!

It's wrinkled because it's linen and I sat down to eat cupcakes. Deal with it.

I had a few ideas in mind for the dress and then changed my mind loads of times. I decided to draft my own pattern, starting from my bodice block, and made no less than five (five!) muslins before I settled on a design. It wasn't that hard to get the fit right, I just kept changing my mind about necklines! The low back is about the only thing that remained the same throughout the process. I experimented with cowl necklines (nope) and pleats (ok but boring) before settling on a pieced bodice front and a faux wrap back.

In the end, the bodice was super easy to draft. All it took was some dart rotation and some slicing! I'm posting a sort-of tutorial at the end of this post.

Construction was very straightforward as well. I inserted some boning in the slanted seams to give the drapey linen a bit more structure, and used stay tape on every single diagonal seam to prevent stretching. This step was very needed since thos loosely woven fabric wanted to change shape as soon as it was touched! I did notice some gaping at the back after fully constructing the thing, not sure if this was something I missed in the muslin stage or some stretching (despite my precautions). This was solved by cutting the shoulder seams open (argh!), taking them up a bit and hand-sewing the lining in place again.

The bodice has a waistband (basically a rectangle) to give a bit of stability at the waist, and the entire thing is lined in a black cotton voile. I'm wearing one of those bra band things you wrap around your waist to keep everything hidden, and this worked a treat!

The skirt is unlined (because warm) and it's a very simple flared skirt, but I inserted a godet at the back to add a bit more interest. It doesn't add any volume (the back skirt is just pieced instead of extra volume added) but I like how it reflects the lines of the bodice!

I was bang on schedule with this dress, only needing a hem and some hand-sewing on the lining the evening before the wedding, but then the aforementioned back gaping happened. And when I had fixed that and tried the dress on, the hem was about ten cm longer in the front than in the back. ARGH! So yeah, I spent some time unpicking a bias hem facing and redoing a lot of handsewing, and finished this at half past one in the morning. WOOPS! I managed to stay awake the entire day, danced and ate my butt off and had tons of fun. All the love for sewing friends!

I'm cracking up in the top picture because Joost was way too close to the camera.

And here, as promised, a sort of tutorial for this bodice. It's wayyyy easier to do this with a pattern without seam allowances, and I shortened the mine to account for the waistband before making these changes! You'll also need to know how to rotate a dart.

(click to see a larger version)

15 augustus 2016

"What is it?" "Salt!" "No, that's too salty!"

Looks like I took an involuntary blogging break there! There's an even longer one coming up soon because I'm going to Mexico for three weeks in September! I'm sewing some things to pack though, so expect some... pictures of sturdy and simple easy-to-care-for clothes. Ahem. Photographed in Mexico!

Anyway, today I went to see my mother for Mother's day (which we crazy Antwerp people celebrate in August, suck on that) and dragged my brother away from his studying to take pictures of me on the rooftop garden. Mom, if he fails his exam IT'S MY FAULT OKAY?

I have made the Sewaholic Saltspring ages ago and wore that dress to bits (literally-  one of the straps has come loose and it's patiently waiting for me to feel like doing some mending) so when I got this handprinted cotton at Pauwels I thought it was meant to be! (Pauwels is sadly closing by the way, but EVERYTHING is 40% off so go take a look if you haven't already!)

I still love how cleverly this dress is constructed. The lining is a bit shorter than the outer fabric so you get the blousy effect without the dress moving around too much. I made the shorter version due to Not Enough Fabric (not my own fault for once, it was the end of the bolt) and it's basically a perfect summer dress. Even my mother likes it!

This is what happens when my brother starts directing my poses. I also (finally) got a haircut and new color. There's so much blue now!

I made no modifications at all, except for changing the straps a bit (which I also did on the first version). Instead of having a strap in the front and one in the back and tying them on my shoulders I put two straps on the back and a loop on the front. No bows stuck under backpack straps!

The double straps also give a tiny bit more bra strap coverage. Constructing this dress went really smoothly thanks to the great instructions, but I would have changed one thing if I had thought about it earlier: the lining sometimes peeks out at the back (where the zipper is) because the shell isn't attached all the way. If you sew the dress according to the instructions it's the wrong side of the lining that's on show, which is fine in a solid fabric but looks a bit weird with a print. Something to keep in mind for the next one!

PS: I like to think I'm getting better at coming up with post titles. Here's where this one came from!