New Resolutions and the Liz Dress!

Making 2020 a year of fabric stash busting and sewing through my vintage patterns.

Here I go again! I’ve tweaked my 2019 New Year resolution (which I wrote about what- 3 blog posts ago? I have been terrible about keeping up this blog.) There are so many cute vintage dresses I see on Etsy, on Instagram, etc and would love to buy, but I have a hard time justifying that when I have a very full stash of vintage fabrics and patterns. So this year I am resolved to use some of those items that are collecting dust and challenge myself with some of these harder vintage patterns! I’ll do a post soon with some projects I have in mind, but for now I’ve been meaning to share my Charm Patterns Liz dress and all the work that went into it!

The finished dress in all it’s glory. Look at that super full skirt!

This dress was definitely out of my comfort zone but I was getting tired of doing the same old darted bodice. I knew it would be a challenge, but with it being a Christmas dress I figured if I messed it up I would only wear it once a year anyway! And I wanted to really take my time on a project. In the pattern insert Gertie mentions that it definitely is something you want to take your time on and quotes Liz Taylor: “It’s not the having, it’s the getting!” Going in with the attitude that it would be slow sewing definitely helped. Here’s a bit of the process:

I spent about an hour in the fabric shop picking out my contrasting fabrics- I didn’t want any drastic differences in the fabrics. Settled on these 2 RJR Fabrics, and Moda Grunge fabric for the lining.

Here are all the pieces cut out! Dress, Lining AND underlining! And facing as needed. It doesn’t look like much, but it took a while!! One fabric is for the bust and tie, the poinsettias are the skirt, midriff, and strap.

Of course with a pattern this complicated, you must make a muslin, and I made TWO! I was really expecting that I’d have to make about 4, so I consider myself lucky. The only change from before to after was that I had to go down a cup size. Such a difference!

There was a LOT of this going on- clipping. And notching. And basting. Those cups are curved so much that you have to clip and notch to get the pieces to match up.

This lapped zipper had to be sewn onto a few layers of fabric- considering that, I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out! The shoulder strap is all one piece that comes around the front under the bust- a bit challenging, but I just took it one step at a time. Gertie’s instructions are very thorough!
The inside of the bodice- I chose not to line the skirt, although that was an option.
I’m very pleased with the finished dress and feel so glamorous when I wear it! Now I need to make one that’s not Christmas-y so I can wear it more often!

Feels so good to get this blog going again. I’m going to set a goal to post once a week, probably on Sunday mornings (when I’m normally reading the paper, but it would probably help my mental health to do this instead)!

I have an idea for the direction I want to take this blog and I hope some folks will follow along with me on this sewing journey. Happy 2020!

“Jane” Dress

Gertie is one of my favorite seamstresses/sewing instructors – I’ve been following her for years and have all her books and most of her patterns (Simplicity/Butterick, and her own line, Charm Patterns). Her most recent is the Jane Set pattern- which features this lovely bodice paired with capris or shorts. I’m not quite ready to dive into the capris but I LOVE that bodice so I set out to pair it with a pleated skirt!

adorableness.

I first made a muslin, which ended up being 2 muslins to get the right fit:

Thank you, old bedsheet, for giving me muslin material.

Once I got the fit correct, I went about “fussy cutting” this beautiful fabric (also Gertie’s – she has a gorgeous vintage inspired fabric line) to make best use of the borders and different sized flowers:

The instructions were straightforward and I only had one hiccup: I forgot to add my pockets and had to seam rip the side seams of the skirt to put them in. I debated doing this but decided I HAD to have pockets!

Oops- there are my pockets calling my name! “You must put me in this dress”…

I love the interior details of this dress! The inside is just as pretty as the outside:

Isn’t that lovely? It has an interior bra; the instructions call for boning but I skipped that. The fabric has a nice structure and I felt it didn’t need it.
Lapped zipper- so satisfying to see those waistline seams lined up!

And… ta-da! Now that I have this bodice down, I’m going to use my Hawaiian fabrics and attach sarong skirts for some Summer vacation dresses!

Emergency Avengers skirts

During a Friday night 3:00 AM “think session” (don’t you just love those?), I decided that I HAD to make an outfit to wear to wear to see the Avengers on Sunday – HAD to. One of those ideas that you just can’t get out of your head. A simple elastic skirt should be easy, I just had to find the time Saturday to do it in-between all of our activities. Totally doable, right?

So, my first thought upon waking was to not deal with Joann’s and just use what I had, but that would not make it a quick project so off I went- luckily the cutting line was non-existent and I was in and out quickly with these fabrics (oh yeah, I decided to make one for my daughter too):

The skirts came together pretty quickly, as they were just single seam, elastic casing waists. I don’t usually go for elastic waists since they can look bunchy- but for an “emergency” project it’s perfect! The only issue on mine is I cut it too short so I had to add a bias strip for the hem- but I actually am please with the way it looks!

And of COURSE why not make more work for myself and whip up some Captain America headbands? Being a crafty hoarder means you have lots of felt and plastic headbands around..

Modeling our cute headbands

Ta-DA!! All in all, took about 2 1/2 hours for everything and now we are “extra” for the movie!

(Maybe a little too extra ha!)

Opening this blog again!

I’m going to start posting my projects and processes here again; I no longer am selling. But I think it would be fun to document my vintage sewing journey! I’ve also just binged (twice in a row yikes!) Mad Men again, and I realllly want to make some more clothes based on those amazing costumes! I’ve already done two, see below, and plan to make the Betty floral dress soon!

The “sad clown” dress (so named by the costume designer for the show, Janie Bryant):

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Kitty Romano’s red roses dress:

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And plans for the next one:

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Psychedelic Wrap Skirt

img_2005I have been so busy getting ready for my brother -in-law’s wedding and Christmas that I haven’t done much custom sewing. I did have a client ask for a gift to be made for her sister for Christmas, and we decided on this wrap skirt in bright colors to potentially go with many tops in her closet. When we were picking out fabrics, my client described this one as “Peter Max-ish”, so I’m going with psychedelic to describe this one! This skirt is perfect to give as a gift, as it can fit many sizes. It also features roomy pockets, a favorite of mine!

Zombie Pinup Dress

The fabric is Beauty and Brains by Alexander Henry Fabrics. When this client told me she wanted to wear this dress to New Orleans for her 10 year anniversary, I knew I had to get it done in time because it would be perfect for that!! I converted her previous telephone dress into a halter dress, and this is the result! Looks gorgeous on her!

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Derby dress

Custom prettiness for a client! All fabrics from The Cloth Pocket here in Austin. Top fabric is Cotton and Steel Sprinkle basics in navy, and skirt is Birch Organic Fabrics in Tall Tales Buttermilk. Box pleats and as always, pockets. Really love this pattern combination! This dress was super quick to whip up because I already had my client’s pattern on file- this is her second dress. When that’s the case, we only need to alter a few design details and the dress is finished faster – no muslin needed!

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