Sunday, 22 June 2014

The Denim Dress : Vogue 1273

This dress turned out to be surprisingly straightforward to make and just a flattering as my sketch promised.  The sweetheart neckline stays nice and close, and does wonders for the bust.  The skirt is super easy to put together, the pleats don't puff out at all, and the pockets!  POCKETS!!!!!!!  These photos were taken part way though a full day of public transiting and fabric shopping on Queen St. W. Toronto hence the wrinkles.  I was shoving my phone, tokens, transfers, change.... everything in those babies.  Handiest things ever, pockets.  *snigger*  ...pun intended...

Anywhooo....  As previously mentioned, I ended up using a stretch denim and I'm very happy I did because I don't think I could possibly insert a zipper into the bodice side where there are 4 layers folded over itself at points.  I zigzagged and fake serged the skirt to the bodice and the whole shebang is pull over-able.  In the process I did manage to misalign one of the skirt pleats but at this point I'm happy to leave it be.

Can I complain about Vogue sizing too?  I know it's been overdone, but bear with me.  This pattern has zero ease according to the finished measurements.  Though I was skeptical, after reading the sole somewhat detailed pattern review I could find which had no mention of size difficulties, I cut out a mock up of the bodice in a non-stretch in my measured size of 16.

4" of ease folks.  Four.  Inches.

Admittedly it had none of the foundations layers, but that doesn't account for four inches.  I even scoured the pattern for mention to use a different seam allowance to no avail.  In any case, after re-cutting to a 12 the bodice did fit very well without any other alterations which was a happy surprise, though the princess seams would have made alterations very easy.  In the sewing and final fitting process I think it probably was cut down to a 10 due to the stretch.

left: pocket!  center: pocket!!!  right: inside of bodice showing "french felled seam" and overlay fold over

I used what I'm calling "french felled seams" on the bodice.  I made a french seam to the right side of the fabric, then top stitched.  It made a very, very clean inside, and the stiffness in seams adds a lot of structure which is nice.  I didn't even try to do french seams on the sides where the overlay is sewn into the seam, but just fake serged the layers together, sewed a regular seam, steamed it open, then top stitched to each side.

The only real issue I had that wasn't user error was that the center front tends to curl down as the knot is pulled on by the overlay.  If you boned the bodice I don't think this would be an issue, but I ended up adding a sort of stay across the front to keep things pulled up.

I think this is a lovely pattern and quite versatile if you like to get creative with fabric and finishes.  It could just as easily be made without the overlay for a more plain look, or the skirt could be made on its own if you added a waistband.  I really want to make a second in a large print cotton sateen in a lighter more summery colour.

My attempt at a fashion pose.  That, or I'm checking out my sexy, sexy hiking sandals.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Badgley Mischka Vogue 1275 Planning

This is Vogue 1273, a Badgley Mischka desigern pattern (now oop, but still available on the Vogue website) and the project I'm currently working on.  I had previously started to sew up a super cute 70's skort/culotte thingie, however things got tricky and I got frustrated.  Instead of doing the logical thing and start on something fast, easy and rewarding, I went the complicated and involved route of course.

So, so floofy.  :(
I loved this pattern the first time I saw it.  It has some very striking details, yet isn't over the top and also has the added benefit of adding some... omph... to the bust area.  And the best thing- IT HAS POCKETS!!!!!  When is the last time you saw a cocktail type dress with pockets?  And not just the standard one hidden in the side seam, but angled and designed ones.  Anyway, I bought it not having an exact plan on how to make it up as I (sadly) have very little reason to wear shiny, fancy dresses, but I have since decided to use a trick I've used before- make it out of denim!  Cross my heart, there isn't a garment out there that, if even somewhat suitable for a heavy fabric, cannot be made into everyday wear by doing this.

The plan is to fake flat felled (french) seam everything, do lots of top stitching, ditch the foundation layer and lining, and add some straps to break up the barren expanse of my shoulders and upper chest.  Hopefully all of these changes will also have the added benefit of casual-ifying the dress even more.  I toyed with swapping out the funky pleated skirt for a more standard, rectangular, pleated one but it just started to look floofy which is a look I neither like, nor can pull off.  I drew the skirt as being quite a bit longer than the envelope shows, but I think I'm going to have to wait and see how much volume the awesome double pleats have, and which length will look better.

As a last note, while shopping for the fabric, I accidentally managed to pick a denim with lots of crosswise stretch though I think this will end up working in my favour.  I'm crossing my fingers that if things stay stretchy enough  I a) won't have to deal with inserting a zipper into the gazillion of layers around the pleated overlay and b) will have extra room for food induced expansion.