This project started out with an off-the-rack black dress that a friend was getting rid of. The dress was a little small for me, but it had a huge, floofy tulle skirt that was gathered at the waist, so of course I took it! I removed the bodice, closed up the zipper opening, and attached a wide elastic band for a waistband.
Unfortunately, then I discovered that the skirt was so heavy that any amount of bouncing (something that is a regular part of Scottish country dancing!) would cause it to…slide down. Like…to the floor. Oops! But I was committed to keeping the elastic waistband for comfort, so I solved this problem by attaching straps made of twill tape. Good enough!
Then on to the bodice/overskirt, which was entirely made from scratch. This is a lush, gorgeous poly/spandex stretch velvet from Spandex House (a fabric I loved so much I bought it again in another color for another dress!). I bought it in person, so I’m not totally sure which color it is (Garment District stores don’t believe in labeling their fabrics), but maybe this one?
I started with the bodice pattern for the Deer&Doe Zéphyr dress (I needed a well-fitting bodice for a knit with princess seams in the front and back). I lowered the neckline, turned the back neckline into a vee, and extended the lower edges into a flared skirt that was shorter in front than in back. While sewing it up, I added elastic bridal button loops (I don’t know what it’s called exactly–an elastic strip with elastic loops every inch? I found it at Pacific Trimming) in the back princess seams to run some decorative gold ribbon lacing through.
It’s hard to see in these photos, but the front of the overskirt is ruched on both princess seams. I did this by running embroidery floss up through the channel made by the surging in those seams from the hem to just below the waist, then rucked it up and just tied off the floss.
After I’d finished the neckline and armscyes with facings, I thought it just looked too plain. So I added a collar. Done! And I can reuse the separate pieces with other garments if I want (let’s be real–I’m just going to make new tops to wear over this giant skirt).
Right before leaving for Pinewoods last month, I had a sudden burst of inspiration for how to use a random yard of knit fabric I picked up just because I liked the pattern (sadly, it doesn’t seem to be available any longer and I don’t know what it’s called or who manufactured it). First I madea bodice out of some solid black performance knit (double score–used up the last bit of that, too!) using the Brazi Bra & Dress pattern .
Then I added a skirt with a deep ruffle. I started off with the bra’s lower edge measurement, extended that down to my high waist, then flared out as much as possible given the width of the fabric (and the fact that the print is directional). The rest of the fabric was used for the ruffle. I really eked out every inch from this one yard! And by finishing the hem with a three-thread overlock, I kept it as long as possible. (Still a bit short for my personal taste, but wearable.)
As much as I love the Lady Skater
pattern, I’m finding myself preferring princess seams on bodices so the Zéphyr Dress from Deer&Doe was a good pattern to try out. The bodice does indeed fit nicely thanks to the four princess seams. I didn’t even need to shorten it! I followed the pattern exactly except to grade between sizes like I usually do, and I’m pretty happy with how it looks. But this also means no pockets. (What can I say? I was lazy the day I made it. . . .)
I did have a couple of issues with the pattern. One is that the arm bands are really, really short (hence all the wrinkling around the armscyes–I had to stretch the bands a lot to get them on). I googled a bit to see if this was a problem other people had (maybe an error?) and the only mention I found was that one person said they seemed short but she drafts her own bands anyway. If I make this again without sleeves, I’ll definitely do the same.
Speaking of that . . . I don’t know why I thought I would be happy with a sleeveless dress. I guess I’m spoiled by all the patterns with various options, because it’s kind of disappointing to have no sleeve options at all (and no pockets–come on, guys!). The paper pattern and instructions are quite lovely, but if I make another one I’m definitely going to try to add sleeves. (Maybe redrafting the armscyes based on the Lady Skater pattern and using those sleeves might work?)
The fabric is the other mystery fabric in that order I mentioned in my last post. I asked the retailer which one they thought it was, and they said this was probably the Soft Wicking Jersey
. Remember, this is the one that’s a bit less smooth and had a rubbery smell (which has finally mostly faded after the third wash!). I definitely prefer the other fabric (Interloc Wicking
), though both do dry quickly, are similar weights, and do not require hemming. Thanks for the help, The Rain Shed
Hurray, finally I made something from an activewear pattern that I actually like! This is the Jalie 3670 Loulouxe Skort. I made the version with leg bands and two pockets (obviously!).
I added about 3 inches to the skirt length (ha) and flared the front skirt panel a bit more, but otherwise followed the straight size for my hips. And it’s very comfortable!
I’m not sure exactly which fabric this is since I bought two cuts of black activewear knit in the same order and they weren’t labeled when they arrived. I wish I knew because I like this fabric a lot so far, but the other one still smells faintly of rubber, even after washing twice. (I used that one for a dress; will post about that soon.) Otherwise, they are a similar weight and conveniently don’t curl, so I didn’t have to hem either garment (hurray!). UPDATE: I contacted the retailer and they said they think this one is their Interloc Wicking item #4325. At that price, I’ll definitely try ordering again!
I had just enough fabric leftover from my last dress to make this simple circle skirt. It’s all cut in one piece, and then the waist is serged to a loop of 2-inch-wide flat elastic that serves as the waistband. That’s it! I didn’t even bother hemming it. Hurray for this lovely, stable knit!
I finished this dress months ago and have worn it to two events now, so I think I should just accept that I’m not going to get any better photos. I do think it looks much better in person–but of course the only time I remembered to get photos was when I was already sweaty and shiny in the middle of a ball. Oh well!
This is another McCall’s 7160, View C. This time it’s in a lovely wine-colored rayon jersey (that seems to no longer be in stock) with a black lace overlay (the sleeves left unlined). If I’d bothered to get swatches first, I might’ve gone with a brighter color to contrast better with the black lace. But, again, oh well! The belt is just a length of wide satin ribbon held in place by a couple of thread belt loops. Of course, it has pockets.
Anyway, it looks kind of limp and unexciting in these photos, but that circle skirt swings nicely when dancing. (Someone was taking a video of at least one dance this evening and I keep hoping it gets posted somewhere, but nothing has materialized yet.) Plus, I can scrunch it up in my suitcase for easy transportation to dance events–no need for a garment bag.
A few weeks ago I attended Pinewoods Scottish Session II; it was my first time at Pinewoods and I had lots of fun! In addition to some practice clothes, I made two special-occasion outfits especially for camp. The first is this dress, which I wore to the Highland ball.
(Please ignore the sneakers.) Okay, it’s not very ball-gown-y, but since it was made of embroidered cotton lawn it was very comfortable in the extremely humid weather. And it has a surprise on the back:
What you can’t tell from these photos is that the skirt is also delightfully swirly (I’m wearing a ruffly petticoat underneath).
The dress began with the bodice block that was fitted to me during the Workroom Social Dressmaking Intensive, which I modified by moving the zipper to to the side, adding ribbon loops to the back side seams for lacing (there’s also a bit of elastic at the waist in the back panel to keep the skirt from sagging there), lowering the neckline, and replacing the sleeves with flutter sleeves. The skirt is a long half-circle skirt, gathered at the waist.
The second special-occasion outfit was for the themed ball–the theme this year was “Under the Big Top.” Naturally, I just shoehorned this into my interest in Victorian costuming and dressed as a steampunk circus performer (ring leader?).
(Ugh, this is the best front photo I have, sorry!) I already had the mini top hat and shirt, so I made the bloomers (from this YouTube tutorial), bustle (just the back part, shortened, of Truly Victorian’s Wash Overskirt), and corset (the long view of TV’s Victorian Corselets, but constructed following regular corset methods, including adding a front busk).
The hair falls are just yarn looped over hairbands (in what is apparently called a lark’s head knot), which are then slipped around buns.
So there you have it: two very different looks for Pinewoods 2016!
I’ll be going to Pinewoods for the first time this year, and I recently glanced at last year’s schedule and realized that I’d need clothes for FIVE evening dances PLUS four days of classes!
Now, I’d known I needed more bras, specifically some sports bras, and had come across the Brazi Ladies’ Bra and Dress pattern. After confirming that I could make it entirely on my serger (no stretch/zigzag stitching necessary), I grabbed it and made a test bra out of leftover red roses fabric. Well, turns out that particular fabric is too soft and stretchy to make a bra on its own (yes, I researched sports bra and activewear fabric AFTER I sewed this up), but it was so comfortable and fit well over my regular cross-back bras that I added a black panel to the bottom and voila! A tank top!
The skirt is a basic half-circle skirt, with a high-low hem for some additional interest. The waistband is just some 2-inch-wide black elastic. This was super fast and easy, requiring only one vertical seam, joining the elastic into a circle, then serging the elastic to the waist of the skirt. I didn’t finish the hem and…I’ve pretty much decided to just leave it that way. The fabric is a silky and drapey rayon/nylon/spandex ponte knit.
Now that I’ve done more research into activewear fabrics, I’m ready to try making that Brazi bra out of the right materials. I wonder if I can actually manage a tank top that’s supportive enough to not require a separate bra so I can pack less….
And I’ve really got to finish my ball/party dress, but I’m on the zipper insert stage and ugh. 😛
(In other news, I moved a couple of weeks ago, hence the new photo location!)