Tag: dresses (page 1 of 2)

The “Knitted” Laurel Dress

As you may have picked up on yesterday, I made yet another Colette Laurel dress for Frocktober! I used the same mods as the Big Data dress: sleeveless, notched neckline, and pockets. On this one, I moved the pockets outwards slightly as they felt too close together. I also cut the back in one piece rather than having a waist seam.

The fabric is called Breeze by Rosemarie Lavin for Windham Fabrics. It’s actually a quilting cotton that I picked up at Morris & Sons earlier in the year. I bought it on a lark, mostly because it’s printed to look like knitting! I thought I’d make a simple blouse out of it, so I only bought 2m of fabric. Unfortunately that was barely enough to make this dress, so I’ll have to wear shorts under it for modesty. Still – cute dress for a hot day!

The Big Data Dress

I made a new dress last weekend! This is a sleeveless Colette Laurel that I modified to have pockets(!) and a notched neckline (using this free hack). I’ve made a few sleeveless Laurels before, and the main attractions (besides looking nice) are that they’re fast to make and don’t use very much fabric. I had about 2.5m of this fabric, but it’s a quilting cotton and thus very narrow (less than 45″ wide). It’s navy blue and covered with a stream of binary numbers in light blue and silver. (So cute!) It’s called “Binary Solo” from RJR Fabrics’ collection “Silver Circuits.” My Mom made a point of showing it to me at her shop back in Indiana, and I just had to have it!

I’m calling it my “Big Data Dress” because, as Juliet Houghland pointed out at YOW! Data recently, all stock images of “Big Data” are blue and involve binary. 😂 I wore it to Girl Geeks last night and it was a big hit!

Sewing notes: Based on my measurements, I cut a straight 18 (the largest size) on this pattern. It’s roomy, but given the style of the dress and the crispness of the cotton, that’s what I was aiming for. It’s very comfortable. There are bust darts on the front and diamond-shaped darts on the back that keep it from being a completely shapeless sack. The hack instructions were easy to follow, but I didn’t bother tracing the pieces onto new paper. I bought the pattern PDF, so I can just print another one, right? So I just cut the front and back in two and then taped on some extra for the seam allowance. I had been worried about getting the print to line up across that center front seam, but then I hit upon the obvious solution. Cut it on the fold as one piece, and then split it up the middle. Voila! Lines up nicely. I finished the neckline and armhole edges using bias tape that I made – as always – using Colette’s continuous method. (For reference, I used a 9″ x 9″ square and just managed to eke out all three openings.)

What I’d do differently next time: I’m not sure why the back piece needs the corresponding horizontal seam. Maybe it’s because Sarai made hers out of linen, so it’s more visible and looks weird if it’s not there? But my print is so busy that I could have easily left it out and saved myself some cutting and sewing time. I’d also move the pockets out a little bit further as the 2.5″ from center she suggests seems a bit close for me. Lastly, I’d probably consider putting some interfacing behind the neck notch. (I still might do that, actually.) I noticed when I was wearing it yesterday that one side wanted to flop forward and fold down occasionally, so a little bit of extra stiffness there couldn’t hurt.

Overall I’m very, very happy with this one! It’s cute, comfortable to wear, and a real conversation starter.

Lady Skater Dresses

Lady SkatersFinally blogging these two Lady Skater dresses that I made at the start of Frocktober. This pattern’s been on my wish list for a long time. It’s pretty fast to sew up, especially if you have an overlocker. I made the pink one first, and I used a fine merino jersey that I bought at Tessuti’s on clearance a few years back. It has a subtle texture through it, I think created by elastane that has been woven in narrow stripes. It was a pain to work with though, because it was nowhere near square and it curled like crazy. Still, I made that first one in about a day. I could tell while I was sewing it that the waist was going to be too low, but I shrugged, told myself it was a wearable muslin, and kept going. (The fabric had been really cheap as it had a hole at the end that I had to cut around.) The end result doesn’t look too bad in the photo, but it’s practically a drop-waist on me. That waist seam is supposed to be at my natural waist (ie the skinniest point), which is a fair bit higher.

So for the black one, I shortened the bodice by about two inches. (You can see the difference in the photograph.) Better, but I still reckon I could go a bit higher next time. The fabric I used is really, really weird. I bought it at a remnant sale a long time ago, and I have no idea what it is. It feels quite heavy, almost like a rayon, with elastic shot through it. I feel like you easily could use it for leggings or even a bathing suit! But I made a dress out if it, because WHY NOT. It’s actually pretty comfortable to wear.

The pattern itself is clear and easy to follow. I did have a hell of a time with the clear elastic though. It sticks onto my machine and refuses to feed through, so I came up with the idea of putting some wax paper over it. That helped, but it was still annoying and fiddly. Applying the neck and sleeve bands wasn’t too hard, but I haven’t quite mastered getting the joins to line up nicely with the seams. I still find the overlocker very satisfying though! I just need to remember the Cardinal Rule – when it starts misbehaving, check that it hasn’t been threaded wrong. (Every damn time…)

Denim Hazel Dress

Hazel DressI finished another dress! Back in July I was passing Sew Make Create and did a DOUBLE TAKE when I noticed they were having a fabric sale. I couldn’t resist. I ended up buying three pieces, one of which was an interesting stretchy denim with a pintuck detail (almost like stripes). Of course, as soon as I bought it I couldn’t figure out what the hell to do with it. I knew those vertical lines would be difficult to match up. Donna came through with the best suggestion: why not make another Hazel? (I’ve made two before.) I decided to fully line the top of this one with some red voile, and I used that for the pockets as well. I had a hell of a time with the strap placement and length though, and I’m still not 100% happy with them. (I think I unpicked them three or four times.) On the plus side, the denim was so stretchy that I was able to forgo the zipper entirely. But on the negative side, I didn’t use a walking foot so the top of the bodice got a bit stretched out and gapey. I eventually settled on topstitching a line around the top to create a casing that I was able to thread some thin elastic through. That’s enough to pull the top a bit tighter around my bust and armpits. Despite all the headaches, it ended up being a very cute, functional sundress!

New dress: another Moneta!

I made myself a new dress! Still getting the hang of knits.

I made myself a new dress! Still getting the hang of knits.

This is another Moneta made with a light jersey print I got at Fabric-a-brac earlier in the year. It was only a small off-cut and the print is directional, so I had to keep it simple. I didn’t put any collar on it, and I used some simple white cotton knit for the bodice lining and pockets. I still find the whole “shirring with clear elastic” thing really annoyingly difficult, so it’s a bit of a bodge. (Maybe the elastic I got at Spotlight isn’t the right stuff?) When I first attached the skirt and tried it on, the waist wasn’t hitting me in the right place. So I undid it and moved it up about 2 inches. The whole project took less than two days. It ended up being a nice little sundress!

Tsumugi Who and Moneta Dress

Actual finished craft objects! I should probably blog these before I completely forget.

Tsumugi WhoTsumugi Who
Is this going to be my ONLY knitting finished this year? Only time will tell. At any rate, earlier this year I decided to splurge and buy myself the Tsumugi Who kit from Dairing that I admired at Camp last year. (Note: They have since changed the name to Seta Soie. I don’t know why. Supplier change? My kit did come with grey instead of the beige.) I cast on in the winter – probably at the Abernethy knitters retreat? – and I remember questioning the pattern. (Teresa Dair’s “patterns” are only patterns in the strictest sense of the word.) I decided to go with garter stitch so it wouldn’t curl. And I was off. I went through the entire pattern once and found myself with significant silk left over. So I kept going. Once it got to about 14 feet long, I figured Tom Baker would be happy so I cast off. Then it took me a few more months to finish weaving in the ends. And now it’s done. I even managed to wear it a few times before it got too warm. The colours are gorgeous and strangers have complimented me on it, even guessed the reference. That was nice.

MonetaMoneta Dress
I haven’t sewn much this year either. But at one point I ordered the Colette Guide to Sewing Knits along with the Moneta dress pattern. That was step one. The history of making this dress is one of diving in before my brain had a chance to object. Step two involved making an excursion to Tessuti’s during a sale with some of my (then) co-workers where I picked up a couple different knits to experiment with. This was a black merino double-knit. Step three was me cutting it out many, many weeks ago… and then packing it away in my office. Finally, this past weekend, it occurred to me that if I actually finished the damn thing, that would be one more unique dress for Frocktober. So on Sunday I pulled it out and finished it during a Gilmore Girls marathon on Netflix. I think my seam allowance was inadvertently too wide and my waistband elastic was HELLA WONKY, but to my delight I found that the knit fabric completely hides every flaw. It looks great. I’m very, very happy with this project.

Out-of-this-World Washi Dress

Out-of-this-World Washi Dress

Now for the big reveal: my finished Out-of-this-World Washi Dress! #partytime
Now for the big reveal: my finished Out-of-this-World Washi Dress! #partytime

Edited to add: The Snook’s company Christmas party is tonight and the theme is “GLOW”, so I had the idea a couple weeks ago to make a glow-in-the-dark dress. I found this cool fabric and realised it would make a great Washi Dress. (I’d used that pattern once before.) It came together really well! I especially like the little cap sleeves, which give it a very spacey, “Judy Jetson” feel to me. I was so excited to wear it to work today, and a random lady on the bus this morning evening complimented me on it! I’m very happy with this one.

Shared today on Instagram

Shared today on Instagram:

Hem length: above the knee? I'm inclined. (But this belt is squeezing my SPLEEN.)
Hem length: above the knee? I’m inclined. (But this belt is squeezing my SPLEEN.)

Adding sleeves... Nearly finished!
Adding sleeves… Nearly finished!

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Laurel Dress

Laurel Dress
Don't tell anyone in CorporateLand, but I'm wearing a self-made dress today! #laurel @saraiatcolettepatternsDon’t tell anyone in CorporateLand, but I’m wearing a self-made dress today! #laurel @saraiatcolettepatterns

So yeah, I finished another dress! This is Laurel from Colette Patterns. It’s a very versatile shift dress, and I opted to make a sleeveless version (since I didn’t have much fabric). The fabric itself is a stretch cotton that I got at Fabric-a-brac last year. I actually cut it too large at first, not realising how much ease it had in it. I then went back and took in the side seams, which helped it fit a lot better. I did have an issue with the back neck gaping, which I’m not sure is attributable to the fit or whether I stretched it out when applying the bias binding. Miss Fee was kind enough to pin out the excess for me, so I then added a few darts there to take it in. I’ll know enough to make lots of changes for my next one! It’s a very simple and quick pattern, and I think I’ll be able to use it for work wear – in a more somber print, of course. 🙂

Colette Hazel

Colette Hazel

Frocktober #12 - this is @ColettePatterns Hazel I sewed last weekend! #ifeelpretty
Frocktober #12 – this is @ColettePatterns Hazel I sewed last weekend! #ifeelpretty

Edited to add: And here’s my third finished dress! I actually managed the whole thing – from cutting to finished – in a single day. The pattern is Hazel by Colette. The fabric is some cotton that I picked up at Lincraft during their sale. (No matter how much I iron it, it looks wrinkly. I think it just wants to be wrinkly.) I didn’t bother with a muslin; I just went for the size based on my bust. Unfortunately I think that was a bit too big, as I ended up having to go back and take in the bodice side seams a bit. Next time I’ll do a smaller size. I had been nervous about the diagonal bodice seams, but they turned out pretty easy. The zipper insertion was fairly painless too. Pretty cute, huh? The only negative is that the strap placement made it difficult to find a bra to wear with it. I ended up going with one with “clear” straps so they’re less visible. Still, I think I’ll definitely make another of these. I’ve got a border print calling to me…