Monday, October 09, 2017

'Rolling In The Deep' Green Frock - Vogue 2745


Pattern: Vogue 2745 (2003)

Pattern Description: Close-fitting, bias dress has gathered shoulders with lingerie strap guards, side insets, and shaped hemline.

Pattern Sizing: Size (14-16-18) I cut a 14 for the bust moving out to a size 18 for the waist and hips.



Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it did!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, the only difficulty was in the insertion of the side panels. If I ever make it again, I will redraft those sharp angles as shallow curves instead.


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the shape of this dress, I love the retro 30s style, the handkerchief hem, and how in the color I chose it evoked "that" green dress worn in Atonement by Keira Knightly.


Fabric Used: 3-1/2 yards Kelly green silk crepe de chine (100% silk) from Mood Fabrics at $22.99 a yard, 100% polyester Gutermann thread in Kelly green #760

Tools Used: Collins .5mm steel silk pins, Schmetz Microtex Sharp needle 70/10, Dritz brass sew-on snaps size 4/0, Pellon 830 Easy Pattern tracing cloth

Fabric preparation: The thing that scared me the most about this project was having to deal with sewing silk for the first time. There were many warnings about how difficult it would be to cut, how easily it could be stained if it became wet, and that it would need to be dry cleaned. After purchasing the fabric I cut a 4" x 6" swatch in two and experimented. I sprinkled water on one and washed the other by hand with a little detergent. The water drops, even when dried, left a ghost-like mark on the fabric. The washed segment, while not as smooth, gained a subtle texture, shrunk very little, and kept its sheen and glow. It could now be handwashed because my personal history proves that I do not dry clean.

Next step was trying out tools and techniques on scraps of silk. I purchased silk pins and a fine 70/10 machine needle specifically for this project. Again, everything worked well. I did not need my walking foot because the fabric did not slide around under the needle. In addition, the pins did not leave any holes.

I pre-treated the silk by submerging it in warm water mixed with a tiny drop of detergent and applied some gentle agitation. I finished by putting it in the dryer on low heat for only ten minutes in order to remove some of the water weight before letting it dry completely over my shower rod.

After the fabric was dried, but before I cut into it I wanted to make sure it was on grain and had not been stretched out by my method of drying. I pulled a thread on the crossgrain at each cut end and ensured a straight grain for this glorious silk and the best outcome for a bias gown.

 

I heard so much about how slippery silk could be to cut that other sewists cut it out between sheets of paper to keep it from moving around. Luckily, this crepe de chine gave me no worries, perhaps because of it's new texture or the subtle texture from my cutting mat. I used my rotary cutter (with a fresh new blade) and since my Olfa mat is small and could only work under a 18" x 24" section at a time, I sacrificed my $12 cardboard cutting board to the blade in order to cut all twelve pieces without moving the fabric around unnecessarily. It worked fine with minimal damage and I still haven't needed to replace the board.

Easy Pattern tracings of bodice pieces.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Just like with the slip, I traced the bodice pattern pieces with Pellon Easy Pattern so that the originals could stay intact. It's very durable and I like that it is a heavier weight and not as slippery as the paper pattern pieces because they didn't move at all when I was cutting this potentially slippery fabric. This is great stuff and I highly recommend the product.


See ripply neckline with tiny hems.

I made a muslin of the bodice in the same fabric as the slip muslin, which was an annoyingly slippery polyester. I attempted to form the tiny hems on the front and back necklines and on the armscyes. NOT pretty.

Vogue designed a single layer bodice, preferably made in a lace or sheer fabric, with rolled hems on all the edges and I did not have the confidence to believe I'd be happy with the outcome. There was too much potential for error, even if the first section turned out great there were seven other opportunities for disaster. Since using an opaque fabric I wouldn't have the issue of visible seams so I decided to line the bodice with self-fabric which would encase all the bodice seams.



Therefore, when it came to cutting out the pattern I cut the four (now eight) bodice pieces in size 16 for the shoulders, neckline, and length but cut the sides in size 14. This was my untested way to address my C-cup self in a B-cup drafted pattern. (However, this didn't work the way I expected and I wouldn't do it that way if I ever make this again.) I cut the main skirt pieces at size 14 at the waist moving out to size 18 near the inset insertion points while the inset pattern piece was cut in a straight size 18.


Construction:


I used thread tacks to make all of my pattern marks using my smallest and most delicate sewing needle. When it came to the darts, I folded them into place and thread traced the stitching line for stabilization. It worked well and became the process for all my future seams.



My construction of the bodice is, of course, different from the pattern. Besides cutting double the pieces to line the bodice, I also attached each front and back at the shoulders placing a strip of the fabric selvage in the seam for reinforcement.


Some reviews complained that the darts were pointy and I agree. I tried to alter the dart point in my stitching but I didn't have that much control with the silk. Since I had four finished darts in all, I was lucky that I could pick and choose the two least pointy ones to pair together for the outside layer of the bodice.


Per the instructions, for each seam I stitched a second line 1/4" away and trimmed close to that line. For each bodice pair, I alternated the seam allowance to reduce bulk at the shoulder; pressing them forward on the outer layers and to the back for the lining.



I paired a front and back outer layer with the corresponding lining and pinned then together within the seam allowance. Once sewn together, I pressed the seams flat using a press cloth each time. Like with all the other seams in this project I stitched another line 1/4" away and trimmed away the excess.

 

Then came the fun part of pulling the pieces through the shoulders. The pressing flat of these pieces took almost two hours(!) as I used my fingers to set down the edges precisely and then pressed them, tiny area by tiny area, using the press cloth. It's important to get a truly crisp edge as you go along for a well done finish.


I opened up the sides to sew the side seams, from the lining to the outer layer, so to leave no visible unfinished edges on the inside. After basting the bottom edge of each piece, I set them aside to work on the skirt pieces.

First thing first, I stay-stitched the top of the main skirt pieces and reinforced each inset insertion point. My lined bodice was now heavier than the pattern had planned so I thought about adding selvage strips at the waist and at the insertions for added structure but couldn't figure out how to not have those visible on the finished dress.


The side seams were sewn together, trimmed, and pressed towards the skirt back. I pinned the insets into the main skirt and basted the entire seam first, anticipating the coming difficulty of sewing them in (and the importance of getting it accurate in the silk in the one and ONLY try) This was very time consuming. I had no problems sewing the seams, I mean there were slight bubbles at each inset but it wasn't as noticeable after the dress hung for 24 hours and even less when worn on the body. I pressed and trimmed those seams as instructed.

This is the accurate color but the detail is clearer below.


It was now time to decide what to do about that 107" hem! I remembered that I owned a narrow hemmer foot bought maybe a decade earlier. However, after watching a tutorial and practicing some I was not convinced that I could use it successfully. I decided to refer to Jen Beeman at Grainline Studio for an easy rolled hem tutorial and just took it very slow and deliberate in order to not stretch the fabric and create a rippled edge.

Finishing steps:

One of my last things to do was tacking the v-neckline so that it laid flat on my chest. After trying the dress on I noticed that the bust darts were a little low so I had to take up the shoulders 1/2" for optimal placement (something I may have done to myself by trying that makeshift FBA.) I gathered them per the instructions but am not happy with the look. Because of my unique constitution I couldn't open up the seam and correct it the usual way so it was a bit sloppy. If I had more time I would have created separate fabric loops or bands to cover the gathering stitches.



I have to admit as the countdown to the wedding sped up I did not spend enough time practicing the thread chain for the lingerie strap holders so it was not as neat as it could have been but they worked and were hidden. I consider that as mischief managed.

Would have been SO easy!

Next time, I will probably go to the trouble and make my own with matching ribbon or use the store bought ones, like above.

See how well the lingerie straps were managed!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, but I would alter the pattern in the following ways:
  • Shorten the bodice by 1/2" between shoulder and underarm and take in the bodice by 1/2" at the sides OR cut a straight size 14 bodice from the beginning!
  • Exaggerate the scarf-like curves of the hem even more.
  • Create some interest in the middle of the neckline, perhaps with a brooch or a fabric rose.
  • Construct a matching thin buckled belt or a silk ribbon tie.
  • Create some type of shoulder drape or neck tie for added interest.


 
These are not the shoes I wore.

Conclusion:

Testing the China silk over the slip/dress.

I had so many ridiculous doubts before buying the fabric for this dress (all having to do with money!) when I should have bought it months ago! However, the closer I got to the wedding travel date, the more research I did to justify whatever reason I chose. There was a point where I checked to see what other fabrics Mood had in that same Kelly green, hoping that one of the fabrics would be just as wonderful but cheaper, such wishful thinking! I found their polyester charmeuse for $6.99 and their China silk for $13.99. The China silk (seen above) was exactly the same shade but far too sheer and my sewing machine did not like it at all. After realizing I wouldn't be satisfied making my dress with any other fabric than the one that inspired it (DUH!) I bit the bullet and clicked that order button!

Some reviews that did convince me were Aga Hagstrom's incredibly detailed and documented pattern review entry for her wedding dress using Vogue 2745 and Lladybird Lauren's luscious blue silk crepe de chine Anna dress which convinced me that this WAS the right fabric for the job.

Information on sewing with silk:

2. Sewing with Silk - Sew 4 Home
3. More Tips and tricks-sewing with silk - Craft Stylish
1. Differences between types of silk fabrics - My Textile Notes
5. Clean finish a lined sleeveless top tutorial - The Slapdash Sewist
6. How to fully line a bodice - Kitschy Coo
4. Easy rolled hems on silk - Grainline Studio

Project Links:
Surprise! Actually Buying Fabric With a Purpose!
A Change To The Wedding Guest Dress
Wedding Guest Dress - Finalizing Details
'Song To The Siren' Slip - Vogue 2745

* Rolling in the DeepAdele, 2011.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Curbing My Enthusiasm

I just wrote all about my sewing plans and trying not to buy more fabric and working solely from the stash, right? Then how come I keep taking pictures of fabrics at Jo-Ann?

You see, whenever I see a fabric I can imagine in a pattern I already own or a style I want, I take a pic of it and the label (because not all their fabrics are on their website) for reference. Lately, the hits kept coming...


.
I've already raved on Instagram about the texture of their refined ponte, and now it's available in my most coveted and near impossible to find colors; a rich green and a dark pumpkin-like orange. Both perfect to make any one of these ponte-perfect dresses: Butterick 6316, Butterick 5672Vogue 8787, or New Look 6968.



Recently I became excited about making my first bathing suit (for 2018) based on this Talbots swim/athletic ensemble:

Talbots Sanibel Tankini

I have the means to create it with Simplicity 8424, the Simplicity 1163 skirt (view A), and my TNT underwear pattern (based on indigorchid's original but-no-longer-available design.) In the last two months, I've found not one but two great green nylon/spandex fabrics. One is specifically for swimsuits and the other is a Yaya Han costume fabric whose fabric content matches that of the Talbot fabric.



This fabric would be ideal for the Vogue 8925 "sweatshirt" which had already appeared in my sewing plan but at the time I couldn't find a suitable fabric. I no longer have ANY warm winter sweaters or tops so this may be a justifiable breach to my rule.


Also in the running for that Vogue 8925 sweatshirt are these new-to-me Luxe fleeces (yes, I'm actually thinking of buying fleece at Jo-Ann!) in rich jewel tones that would work for that pattern.


This fabric immediately made me think of my old dream to have a sequin t-shirt-style dress ideal for New Year's celebrations. I have not attended a NYE event appropriate for a sequin dress in years but maybe if you make it, it will come? The exact color of this fabric is not captured well in this above pic but it's a mauve-y, rose color that looks amazing with my skin.
This one, of all the fabrics in this post, has the least chance of being made since I just made a long brightly colored silk dress with its own limited wearing opportunities.

So, it comes down to this:

Jo-Ann has a great tendency to carry a fabric through several seasons so I will not allow myself to panic. I'm gonna trust them to continue to carry that ponte since it's a good investment. However, I probably will give in to the quilt-y gray goodness because it isn't on the website and my whole no cold weather wear problem. I will make myself finish three or four more items on the plan before I buy any more fabric though. I truly need to deplete my stash.

My temporary fix was to obtain swatches of these fabrics and maybe the fact of having them in hand will subconsciously satisfy my need. Hmmm...


DONE. 

Luckily, Jo-Ann cuts their swatches from selvage to selvage so I have 45" to 60" of each to play with. Cut sections of the fabrics (except for the metallic knit*) have been through a machine wash for testing. Maybe I cut them too small because I still can't find two of them! Those were the luxe fleece and the green swim nylon.

I am still holding out, at least until the next 60% off coupon but I can say with confidence that some of that quilted fleece will be bought!

*The metallic knit has been eliminated. In addition to shedding and needing to be hand-washed, once cut it rolled up into a tight tube which means it would also need to be lined/stabilized for the dress I want. Without having a real need in my wardrobe, that is too much work already.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Anthropologie...For Less!

A link to this Marimekko dress from another blog led me to the Anthropologie website, somewhere I haven't been for years. I used to study that site all the time for inspiration but found that research is done far more efficiently in the actual store. I would take a bunch of interesting items into the dressing room, studying the design details and unique construction while sketching wildly and secretly taking close-up photos with my phone. Ahh, those were the days as I'm now about an hour away from their nearest store.

What I found on their site, on the first page of their dresses was surprising. Many of these dresses were very familiar to me and probably are to you too. They are perfect for replication and below some are matched to similar home sewing patterns. So here's another makeunder post for you. I mean, just look at how much money you could save!

https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/marianne-silk-wrap-dress?category=dresses&color=049
Marianne Silk Wrap Dress, $538. 

Vogue 9251

So close right? If you wanted the same volume in the shoulders as the Carolina K dress on the Vogue pattern you would only need to slash and spread the pattern piece some.

Myriam Bell Sleeve Dress, $608.

McCall's 7654

To more closely resemble the Shoshanna dress this McCall's pattern just needs a pattern piece change: add the longer flared arm flounces from views C or D to the bottom edge of the upper sleeve in view D.

Rebeka Floral Maxi Dress, $228. 

By Hand London Anna

This Yumi Kim dress seems meant to resemble this By Hand London Anna dress, and it does a great job. I wonder if they figured out how to solve that upper back gaping issue?

Olia Column Dress, $158.
Vogue 8904

See, so familiar! This Marci Tilton pattern would need no alterations whatsoever to replicate that Bailey 44 dress!

https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/rose-garden-dress3?category=dresses&color=060
Rose Garden Dress, $398

https://voguepatterns.mccall.com/v1471
Vogue 1471

I admit that this ML Monique Lhuillier dress is slightly different than the Nicola Finetti because it has a center seam, does not have a waist yoke, and they added wrist flounces (which would be an easy addition) but it would still get the job done.

It just show that as home sewists we have such an advantage, almost anything is within our means, and we don't need $600 to own an off-the-shoulder black lace dress that will fit us like a glove. Yes!I


Images: Anthropologie photos, pattern envelope art from The McCall Pattern Company and By Hand London.