Last-Minute Bra-Top Dress

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.)

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2018 Outfit Along

Oops, meant to post this on July 31! I did finish my outfit for the 2018 Outfit Along on time. For the sewn garment, I made another Laneway Dress, this time out of a pretty quilting cotton with the centered collar. The facing is an embroidered white cotton lawn.

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For the knitted garment, I made a Miette cardigan out of a lovely cotton/modal/silk yarn. Details on Ravelry!

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Zéphyr Skater Dress

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. . . .)
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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?)
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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!

A Witchy Knit Dress

Last autumn, I completely fell in love with a dress I saw online, but I didn’t feel like I could justify spending ~$75 on it when I didn’t really need a new long-sleeved black dress. Fast-forward several months and Fabric Mart was having a sale on some delicious viscose/lycra ponte. I snapped up a few yards (for far less than $75) and when it arrived I realized it would be perfect for re-creating that dress I’d fallen in love with!

I started with McCall’s M7349 and made these modifications:

  • Increased the flare of the skirt from the waist (generally necessary for me with this pattern anyway).
  • Drafted asymmetric bell sleeves.
  • Replaced the neckband with a short funnel neck. (I didn’t actually have to change the neckline at all–it’s very high on me–but instead of using the neckband pattern piece I cut a rectangle about 3 1/2 inches wide x the length of the neckline, joined it into a circle, folded it in half, and sewed it onto the neck with a 1/4-inch seam allowance.)
  • Added in-seam pockets.

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(I still haven’t found a good place to take photos in the apartment. This is the least-cluttered spot, but it sure is ugly!)

Bloodsplatter Dress

As soon as I saw the announcement for the Laneway Dress, I knew: At last, here is the perfect excuse to buy that bloodsplatter fabric I’ve been dying to get!

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The black fabric is a cozy cotton flannel, and the skirt is underlined in a delightful red antistatic lining to keep it from sticking to tights.

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I did my usual grading to a larger size for the hips, but otherwise didn’t make any changes to the pattern! The open darts in front are nice and low (usually I have to lower the bustline) and the waist is high, which I prefer. I could’ve cinched it a bit tighter in the side seams, but right now it’s really comfy without looking oversized.

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(Yes, I already owned these tights. Obviously I had to pose in them.)

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Generally I prefer a fuller skirt, so if I make this again I might substitute a circle skirt. But I really like the fit overall, the nice V in the center back neckline, and of course…

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the pockets!!

I think this would be an easy pattern to dress up for cocktails or the office, or dress down for a casual sundress. Or, uh, just to finally have an excuse to use some novelty print…. 😉

Now I still have 3/4 of a yard of this bloodsplatter fabric–what should I do with it?

Blue Floral Summer Frock

Another summer party dress! This one is made from stretch poplin, which gave me the courage to finally make a tight-fitting bodice in a woven fabric. The bodice is McCall’s 6989, which I modified by making the front a V-neck (which included adding a center front seam) and leaving off the sleeves.

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The dress is unlined and the neckline and armscyes are finished with bias binding.

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The skirt is a full circle skirt with, of course, pockets.

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I kind of wish I’d piped the bodice princess seams and waist to make it more obvious that I was in no way attempting to pattern-match there, ha. And that I’d lowered the neckline a bit. Next time. Looking forward to dancing in this at an event in early September!

Lace Dance Dress

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!

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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.IMG_7235

 

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.

Purple Rose Giselle Maxi Dress

I admit, this was almost 100% copied from Marcy Hariell’s Giselle. In fact, it’s thanks to her post that I discovered and bought the pattern in the first place, so it’s kind of funny that it’s taken me this long to actually make the maxi version! (I did make View A a few years ago.)
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The fabric I used is a lovely, cool rayon challis, which sadly doesn’t seem to be available anymore. I did underline the midriff with cotton lawn to give it a bit of stability since it’s very drapey and shifty. I started with View B, and make the following changes:
  • Added the sleeves (I used the View A upper bodice and back pieces).
  • Lowered the bustline to get the midriff under my bust, which caused the lower edge of the midriff to hit my high waist, so to me it doesn’t really read as an empire waist (this is what happens when you have a “short” waist). Beware, this makes it rather low cut! I debated adding a piece of lace to fill in the V a bit, but Instagram/laziness convinced me that it’s okay as is.
  • Swapped the two skirt pieces so that the longer one was on top, though now I’m wondering if it would’ve been better the other way–eh, I’m happy with it in any case.
  • Added in-seam pockets!
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I was planning for this to be a casual summer daytime dress, but I feel like the fabric makes it look pretty fancy. Oh, well! Now I have a dress for summer cocktail parties (if I ever go to any, ha).

Blah Black Knit Dress

I don’t know what I was expecting, but this dress just turned out . . . blah. It’s McCall’s 7349, which I have made and loved before. The differences from the last one are:

  • Short sleeves
  • High-low skirt (my attempt at making it less blah)
  • Lower neckline w/ band instead of facing

Maybe it needs to be shorter? (But here’s the thing–I dislike exposing the skin in my legs to the subway seats, so I tend to only wear shorter skirts in cold weather, when I’ll be wearing tights anyway.) Maybe it needs a more interesting neckline? Fabric with less drape? More flare in the skirt? Exciting accessories??

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(Kitty cameo!)

I don’t know, but I think I’m done messing with it. The fabric is some bouncy, spandex-y stuff that came in a kit for a skirt. I discovered after cutting out half the skirt pieces that there wasn’t enough fabric (grr!!!), so turned it into this instead.

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To be fair, the dress is really comfortable and cool, and will protect my skin from the subway while not flying up in a stiff breeze. Plus, it’ll be easy to add layers to it (such as the jacket/cardigan I’m knitting!). So I may end up wearing it a lot this summer despite my current lack of enthusiasm. We’ll see.

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Speaking of knitting, I’m joining this year’s Outfit Along! I confess, I’m using a knitting project already in progress rather than starting a new one, but my excuse is that I’m a beginner and was already well into my first top when the OAL was announced. I’m afraid I’d lose my momentum if I set is aside for a couple of months. So the garments I’ll be making are:

  • Evening Spencer Jacket in red cotton
  • Quarter-circle maxi skirt (self-drafted) in a black linen/cotton blend (hopefully with some embroidery if I still feel inspired when I get to that stage)

Regency Dance Weekend 2017

I’m combining these two dresses in one post since they’re essentially the same dress in different fabrics. Both were worn at this year’s Regency Dance Weekend in Salem, MA.

The pattern is Laughing Moon #126, and both dresses have the View A bodice front with the skirts cut on the short side for dancing. (Possibly too short–but, speaking from experience, I much prefer that to tripping over my hem all evening.)

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The first dress is my wearable muslin, made out of an old duvet cover. I was so pleased with the fit that I decided it was useable as a dress for the first night and for the daytime tea on Sunday. It has View B puff sleeves with detachable long undersleeves (as in, they’re attached by whipstitching). For daywear, I also added a chemisette, spencer, cap, bonnet, and shawl.

The second dress was made from a sheer chiffon sari (a gift from a former colleague) and white cotton lawn, and uses the View C puff sleeves. The sleeves are unlined, the bodice is both flatlined and lined (this made sewing that shifty chiffon much, much easier!), and the skirt is a lawn underskirt with a shorter split overskirt made from the sari. I loved using the sari–it’s just instantly more impressive with all that nice embroidery! Plus, it has built-in matching trim (that trim at the neckline and sleeve bands is cut off a different part of the sari). I wasn’t going to attempt to make self-fabric ties from chiffon, so the ties are a coordinating ribbon, which I’m pleased to say was a simple substitute (and I’d be tempted to do the same for future dresses just to avoid the extra work of making the ties).

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I’m also wearing a high-waisted petticoat under the purple dress, but I don’t have any photos of that because it’s the type that’s held up with just straps instead of a full bodice (like this one). I used the skirt from the dress pattern, but didn’t cut the front slashes, left an opening in the center back, and threaded a drawstring through a waistband. It’s got a couple of rows of cording and tucks at the hem to help it stand out a bit. The straps are just wide twill tape.

All in all, I really like this drop-front dress design. It’s kind of a wrap dress, with all the easy, flattering fitting that entails, plus you can get in and out of it yourself (though it’s always nice to have another pair of hands to make a neat bow in the back).