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Monthly Archives: March 2014

megandress06

So at the last minute I am happy to say that my Mad Men inspired dress (as part of Julia Bobbin’s mad men challenge) is complete!

Those who follow me on instagram have witnessed my dress angst. I love the final result, but I am not exaggerating when I say: this dress made me crazy! I even became a bit superstitious about it towards the end. It seemed like a simple and easy design, but much like Don Draper attempting to have a monogamous relationship- it was doomed from the start! Anyway, more on that later (the dress, not Don sorry)…So here is the inspiration:

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I am not even going to attempt to do a Megan Draper impersonation, shes so fabulous and beautiful but I look nothing like her and besides the old fashioned telephone is at my parents house…my boyfriend and I don’t even have a landline!  Kind of wish I had my ears pierced so I could rock some earrings with this dress!

Feel free to click on the images to englage! They look better that way and my blog template shrinks them down a lot 😦

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I lost track of all the alterations I made to this dress, because there were so many. The main problem was the neck and the stand collar. When I originally tried it on, it was so tight and restrictive that I could not see myself ever wearing it. I think the burda pattern I used was an original repro pattern! Folks back then must have been used to things that were restrictive around the neck, but I just can’t handel anything that is too tight there (and my neck is not big)!

I took the side seams of the dress in and because of this alteration I also had to take the sleeves in, which in turn probably made the neckline even tighter!

Initially I thought I could just reduce the tightness in the neck by sewing out into the seam alloance a bit, but that did not do enough. I eventually ended up cutting off about 1 cm from the collar and the neckline and reattaching the collar. Golly there were a lot of tucks to contend with.

This project got me very well acquainted with my unpicker! Another challenge was the unusual darts at the shoulders. Even though these sleeves are raglan sleeves, they had these curved shoulder darts, which probably enhanced the fit, but boy did I re-sew those shoulder darts many times, very tricky to get them right (everyone’s shoulders are unique especially mine).

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I really like the fit of the dress, it’s sort of semi fitted. The print placement is OK. I am pretty proud of the placement on the little stand collar…The sleeves are so cute! I love the slight belle effect. Going through my photos I noticed how many of them had me with hands on hips, but that’s just because it makes the sleeves look cool, I promise!

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I really like the curved bust darts! So many 60’s dresses have them and I was surprised that they give a good fit. I also really enjoy wearing this fabric, it’s a cotton of some description and it has a bit of stretch, seems to be the perfect dress weight! Sorry about the shoes! I wish I had cute 60s shoes, I have been on the lookout for some!

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Despite my lack of expertise on the topic, I feel like this really does have a late 60s feel, I don’t know if someone as glamours as Megan Draper would wear it, but for a silly gal like me it works. As soon as Sydney gets cooler I will wearing it with some tights perhaps black or an embellished fishnet pattern!

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I can’t wait to see everyone Mad Men dresses and I am VERY excited about Mad Men’s return. I actually thought last season was one of the best, but if I told you more about my views on the show, I would risk revealing spoilers….

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The fit of the back is good :). Ugh 😦 I hate short hair that is long at the back! this is before the back of my hair was trimmed…Looks better now.

Who else is looking forward to the final season of Mad Men?

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I got a question about how much I lowered the neckline of my Burda shift dress (Burda 7056). So I thought, why not just post what the alteration looked like?!

Please click on the image below to enlarge it!

necklinealterationBurda7056

Edit: I forgot to add that I lowered the neckline by 4cms (thats over an inch in imperial measurements).

You can see it isn’t the original pattern from the envelope.

This is because I trace the original sewing pattern, that way if I need to make a different size I can. Does anyone else re-trace their patterns? It is a lot of work….I know some people fold the size of the pattern they want to cut out, but that doesn’t work for me.

I confess that I often buy doubles of the same pattern, that way I have one altered version and one with all the sizes.

Note how even after I altered the neckline of this dress, it still sits pretty high. So if you are working with this pattern and you don’t like tight/restrictive necklines, you will probably want to alter this!

Hello lovely people! Just a quick skirt project to show you!

Burda-7034-01Burda-7034-02I have to apologize for the store bought top (I thought it went with the skirt!)

Burda-7034-03Burda-7034-04If I’m feeling daring I suppose it’s semi-acceptable to wear it with a cropped top (not sure this would be the right one)

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Burda-7034-06The insides and Invisible zipper!

Burda-7034-05Here’s a picture of it on the hanger (hoping you have already forgotten how the back looks…)

 

Why?/materials: I wanted to try Burda 7034… I’ve been in love with pleated skirts for a long time.

I also wanted to see if I could make a skirt from a dress pattern by using just the skirt portion and adding a straight waistband to it (not really a new idea but I hadn’t tried it before) . I’m happy to report that it was reasonably successful…projectplan-burda7034-ed

The downside is I always seem to have a honeymoon period after I have made a skirt, I get excited that I can mix and match it with things but then I NEVER end up wearing it, so who knows how this one will fair…

The cotton fabric was purchased as a full roll of discounted fabric a long time ago. I have also made a dress from this fabric way back in 2012.

So what does this one have going for it?

  • So quick to whip up!
  • I like a fuller skirt with short hair
  • I may have got the length right this time…
  • Using my special foot to do a blind machine hem is always swell!

So what do I dislike?

  • There is some funky stuff happening in the back. I’m OK with pleats in the back (because I wouldn’t mind some *ahem* added volume in the back) but I’m not sold on the positing of pleats on the back.
  •  I wanted this skirt to be a little more snug, and sit higher on the waist. The waistband is just a straight piece of fabric, so that is probably not helping things…(If I make this again I may size down).
  • The back has a little puckering, but it does not bother me enough to mean I’ll fix it…

Fitting notes:

In order to determine the length of the waistband (well also width) I took my measurments and I wrote down the length of waistbands already in my wardrobe. Measuring things you own and love is often a good way to get an idea of how you like things to fit.

After attaching the waistband to the skirt and trying it on I ended up shortening the waistband by about 3.5cm, it was pretty easy to do after the fact, by cutting off the excess fabric.

The dress pattern/skirt was a size 8. I sewed the seam allowance in twice (s.a was 3cms before trimming) I will remove 1.5cms from the pattern or go down a size if I make this again.

Would also be cool to add some kind of shaping to the waistband, darts or elastic…

I don’t remember if I shortened the initial skirt pattern, but I ended up cutting off 11cms before hemming

I must remember to make all these changes to the pattern I have not done it yet!

So that’s one item in the sewing pile done!

It was pretty fun to make! If you happen to have some left-over fabric, consider using the skirt portion of a dress pattern you like, to make a skirt!

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Click the above image to enlarge it. The image is nice and large but my wordpress template shrinks it in the post 😦

Now that I am completely enamored with shift dresses, I thought I would create a collage of inspiration. That way, when I have found a shift dress pattern that works for me, I can add some cute details and tweaks inspired by vintage sewing patterns of the 60s. Hope it inspires you too!

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I know this is a very simple dress, but I am pretty happy right now! I feel more ‘me’ when I’m wearing this dress!

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To me that’s what makes a successful ‘make’– When you feel like you are really showing your personality/personal style in the garment and it fits your lifestyle.

Let me tell you something about my lifestyle:I live in a small apartment in Sydney Australia, I am at home a lot, and right now it is HOT. I love the heat, always have, but it really does feel like I’m living in a greenhouse, so a loose fitting cotton shift dress is just what I need!

I went shorter than I ordinarily would…because the dress is such a loose shape I felt like the short length made it more flattering/youthful.

Material notes:

The pattern is New Look 6225. It’s actually a top pattern, but I always planned to lengthen it into a dress (because I love love love raglan sleeves).

The fabric is a mysterious cotton bought years ago at Spotlight. There was a whole roll of it for sale (over 6 meters) for something crazy cheap like $9 for the roll. I bought that whole roll. That was an awesome day!

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Things I love about this dress:

  • This is the perfect dress for hot weather. It’s loose fiting and the fabric is light and breathable
  • The bold ‘geometric print cotton fabric I used. I have made a dress from this fabric before, but I feel like this shift dress works much better with the print!

Things I love about this pattern:

  • It’s a good pattern to showcase a bold print (because it’s such a simple style)
  • Raglan sleeves. More flattering on my wide shoulders AND much easier to sew than the dreaded set-in sleeves
  • No zipper/notions or buttons required! This dress slips over my head. Gotta love that!
  • Quick and easy too make.
  • Wide round neckline. Round necklines are a favourite of mine and suit me better, not really sure why

If you try this pattern do be aware that it has a LOT of ease. I recommend going down a size and/or sewing the seam allowances bigger (in my case 5/6mm further in)

Fitting/sewing notes:

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Normally I would be apprehensive about using a ‘new look’ pattern, because the fit of ‘new look’ patterns is often very poor, but because it was intended to be a loose fitting garment I went ahead and tried it.

New Look patterns are is the king of too much ‘ease’. This is why I made a size 8 and sewed the seams allowances at 2cms, rather than the usual 1.5cms (in effect removing 5mm from the seam allowances from all the pieces).

I made view B (with the lower neckline)

I added 9cms to hem of top, in order to make it into a shift/mini-dress

I used the sleeve pieces B,C and shortened the sleeves by around 5cms

I made my own bias binding…

I used a 85cm long bias strip for the neckline. I made it much wider than the pattern suggested (so it was easier to work with).

I didn’t use bias binding on the sleeves, I just turned and stitched them like a regular hem. Truth be told I am not a massive fan of using bias binding. I love the way it looks, but it feels sloppily done when I do it. Perhaps I just need practice!

I can’t remember why I did it, but I added a seam to the center back, rather than cutting it on the fold. It may have just been a more economical use of fabric in this case (it would probably look better cut on the fold).

Seam treatment: I just overlocked them, but this kind of dress that would have been a good candidate for french seams. I’m pretty lazy when it comes to changing the colour of my overlocking thread… I overlocked the garment with white overlocking thread. Yes I am THAT lazy! Sorry.Once I am more professional perhaps I will make the insides of my garment nicer!

I am already planning more dresses using this pattern. I love the idea of doing one where the sleeves are in a contrasting fabric. Fun!

For my birthday month these next few projects are going to be easy and fun, I guess the common theme is: testing out patterns.

I am always on the quest for an excellent TNT (tried and tested pattern). My approach these days is a lot more about trying lots of different patterns to find the standouts, rather than spending all my time perfecting the fit of one pattern, making countless muslin’s -there is something to be said about doing things that way, but this is how I like to do things now!

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Current status: Skirt is cut out with interfacing fused to waistband

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Current status: Bodice cut out, collar and skirt fabric ready (but not cut out), interfacing not cut out yet

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Status: Skirt cut out (I may have cut a size too small, we shall see!) interfacing not yet cut out

And now for the ‘potential projects’ or mere daydream projects…

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I left the mad men challenge dress out (as it was already blogged) and I also left my latest project off this list because it’s very close to completion, expect to see it very soon!

Sorry if these projects are somewhat boring… after I have tested these out I’m sure I will do something much more interesting.

I participated in Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Challenge before, but embarrassingly I never finished the dress/completed the challenge. I think I failed because I felt it was hard to copy an exact look.

This time I’m sure I will have better luck because I am going for a dress ‘inspired’ by one of the looks in the show, rather than a close copy of something that was worn (it’s too hard to find similar fabrics!).

So here’s what I’m thinking…

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She may not be my favorite character but the girl sure does have a great wardrobe! Because she’s young and wealthy she has all the styles that were current and true to the late 60s (in comparison to many of the other characters). I like a short skirt but I would not go as short as hers (in the picture) I like the idea of bell-like sleeves and a higher collar (but it would have a similar vibe to hers)!

If I have more ideas I will post them but I think I will be going for this fun patterned shift.

I can’t wait to see what everyone else is planning for this one xo

Julia Bobbin - Mad Men Challenge III