Fancier than Casual

The things I do for my girls.

Friday.  The day everyone says;  “Phew, glad that week’s over, time to chill.”  Not me.  Not today!  There is something guys just don’t get.  Girls need advance warning of plans.  Girls need to plan.  And daughter no 1’s boyfriend stumbled into this one.  He texted her last night to say he wanted to take her out to dinner tonight.  Where?  That’s a surprise.  Ok, what is she to wear?  Not jeans.  Fancier than casual.  See daughter go into a tail spin!!  She had almost her entire wardrobe out and covering every surface in her room before you could say mushroom ravioli.  Everything was either too casual, or too fancy – prom fancy.

And I walked into the next one.  Remember my New Year’s resolution to say “No”?  I forgot.  I heard myself say, “Do you want me to make you something?” before my brain had engaged to stop those very words leaving my lips.  Thank goodness I have a pretty good dress pattern run up and a stash box cupboard!  A quick rumage revealed some black silk linen, perfect for the top half, and a grey crepe backed satin, perfect for a skirt.  I intended to use the pattern I used for the Liberty Dress and the Reception Dress, with some slight modifications.

Belt made from layering grossgrain ribbon and metallic lace

The pattern I had made for the other dresses has a gathered skirt.  I couldn’t do that for this one, as the grey satin I dug out of the “fancy fabrics” box had been a dress skirt in a previous life.  It was 4 sections of a very gathered, full circle skirt.  The problem was that it was too much just to re-use onto the tiny waistline I was working with.   I halved the skirt and adjusted the top of the seams so it would just ease onto the width I had, but I left the lower width of the skirt alone.  Satin has such a lovely drape, and on this dress I am glad there is no gathering.  The silk linen bodice was completely interfaced with a fine sheer fusible interfacing for support, and I lined it with a cotton voile.  I didn’t have any black lining in my stash.

Now I am happy just to wear black and grey, but daughter no 1 needed some colour.  I fished around in my ribbon box crate, and found a length of 40mm wide black grossgrain and a length of 20mm wide dusky pink.  She was intending to wear nude shoes with the dress, so I thought I’d work this pink in somehow.  Diving into the lace box I found a left over bit of old-gold coloured metallic lace.  No idea where I got this from, I have tried to buy some recently and got nowhere fast.  I layered the three and I love how they look together.

Fancier than casual?  Check!

Friday – busy day!

Wow, I can honestly say I am gobsmacked!  This little blog of mine has been ticking along with a handful of visitors, when suddenly the tracking spiked!!  Thank you so much to BurdaStyle for making me featured member of the week!  Another big thank you to those who have added my blog to their subscriptions lists, and those who left me comments.

New Blocks

So back to work!  I have re-drafted some of my personal blocks.  After making the jacket this last month and having way too many adjustments to make, I gave in.  So yesterday I drew a new Jacket Block, Coat Block, Close Fitting and Easy Fitting Bodice Block.  They will all be used this season!  I still need to toile and fit them, and draft their respective sleeves, but in the mean time I thought I’d share what I intend to do with them!

I have a lovely purple georgette that has been begging for something pretty and floaty.  I am going to use the Easy Fitting Bodice Block to make a loose-fitting top with a dropped shoulder and ruffles along the neckline.  Isn’t that top cute?  And purple will make a change to my usual grey, black or blue!  The georgette is not silk, unfortunately, but I loved the colour when I saw it on Ditto Fabric‘s website, so I had to have it!

Purple Georgette & Ruffle Top

Next, the Close Fitting Bodice Block will be converted into a One-Piece Dress Block and then I will adapt the bodice and sleeve to form a Kimono Block.  I have FINALLY decided what that green and turquoise silk is going to be!

Silk Graphic Kimono Dress

The Coat Block is going to be a hip length Pea Coat in the most beautiful pale, ice-blue cashmere that I bought at Fred Winter back in January on their winter sale!  I already knew I wanted something different, so I also got some Liberty silk for the lining and some Dupion to make piped details!

Cashmere and silk for Pea Coat

And the Tailored Jacket Block??  Something simple.  A cropped jacket with 3/4 length sleeves, possibly cut on the bias to take advantage of the burgundy/maroon flecks in the grey wool I got last week at Fred Winter.  I was really good, only getting 1.7m instead of going for the remains of what was on the roll, 2.5m!  I am sure I would have used it somewhere, but if I had got 2.5m I just know I would still be procrastinating this time next year!  I am going to use the last three buttons from my antique shop purchase, the others are on the Spotty Jacket.

Grey wool and Jacket sketch

So that’s that!!  Busy me!  Have a fabulous sunny weekend (if you are in the UK) I will be making winter goodies!  😀

Graphic dress

I have found something to use that wonderful silk in, thanks to Kim and Immi for their suggestions.  Mooching on Pinterest today, my eye was caught by this pretty blue number…  I had thought to change the collar though.  I really like the “Just like a stole” detail from Pattern Magic 2, so I thought I’d give that a go, and change the sleeves a little.  As summer is pretty much over here in the UK, I will want something to take me into the autumn, so I think a 3/4 sleeve will do.

Just like a Stole - Pattern Magic 2

I can’t make up my mind whether to have a plain but fitted sleeve or something with a bit of oomphf, like a sleeve with a cowl drape at the head??  I always liked this dress from Burda Style‘s December 2010 magazine.  It’s style no 102 for those who want to dig it out..

Dress with drape sleeve - BurdaStyle magazine 12/2010

I guess I had better get cracking with the paper and scissors then..  ;D

Help Wanted

Twill weave silk

I’m a little stuck.  I have 1.9m of this gorgeous lime and turquoise fabric, and I just cannot decide what to make with it.  It was the end of the roll in the shop, so I couldn’t leave it there, it was just too beautiful.

So I need help.  I had thought of a cowl neck dress – or a kimono sleeve top – or an empire line – or a skirt of some sort…   I don’t want to cut it on the bias though.   I just don’t want it to join the rest of the silks in the cupboard, waiting for me to decide what to make with them.  You know the feeling – you buy something because it is beautiful, and then cannot bring yourself to cut it up and make something just in case it isn’t quite right, and then it’s all been for nothing.

So I await your comments….  🙂

Lime and turquoise silk

Liberty Dress

Another project done!  😀  I have finished putting together the Liberty Dress, at long last!  Many things conspired against me this week, but there you go, that’s life!

Inspiration picture - dress from Anthropologie
Reception Dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the exact same pattern as the Reception Dress, see how the different weight fabrics affect the hang of the skirt – as well as not having the copious amounts of tulle underneath! All three fabrics are Liberty Tana Lawn, the dress is lined with a white cotton lawn.  I interfaced the upper sections with Gill Arnold‘s polyester fine sheer fusible for strength, but again like the Reception Dress, I didn’t bone the bodice.

So here are the shots of the finished garment, I’d love to hear what you think…

Liberty Dress
Liberty Dress
Liberty Dress

Quick Missoni Dress-Top

A piece of fabric practically jumped into my hands a little while ago while all I was supposed to be getting was a zip…  On the remnants table at Fred Winter was this 60cm piece of ex-Missoni knit fabric.  I couldn’t leave it there, could I??

Missoni knit fabric

You can just make out the cutting lines in this picture, I halved daughter no 2’s measurements and took 10% off the bust.  As this is a stretch knit we didn’t want anything to fall down!  Then I added to the hip measurement so the top/dress would flare out nicely toward the hem.  Next I cut along the fold and overlocked the sides together.  The top edge was overlocked too and then I turned under a casing for the elastic.  This I used a twin needle to do, not having mastered the coverstitch on my overlocker just yet…  Then I cut the straps off an old bra that had a matching colour to the stripes and sewed them on, daughter no 2 didn’t fancy any wardrobe malfunctions!  I used the zigzag selvage for the hem, it just needed some tidying up, but I think it looks great!

The Selvage as Hem

And this is the finished product!

Missoni Knit Dress
Missoni Knit Dress

Reception Dress

What a hectic week it’s been!  Summer holidays are here and between that and getting our house ready to put on the market I have been away from my sewing machine far too much!  Daughter no 1 needed a dress to wear to a wedding reception this weekend.  We had planned to alter a dress she already had, but I did a foolish thing.

I made the toile of the dress pattern based on this dress, and she fell in love with the shape.  “This would look great in that fabric with the brown roses….. Can I have that for the reception??”  Needless to say there was much fluttering of eyelashes going on and puppy-dog eyes.  Of course I gave in!

Reception Dress

The fabric is a decent weight cotton with a very slight stretch.  I used a cotton poplin for the lining of the bodice, and an acetate for the skirt as I wanted it to be light and not stick to stockings, if she wore them.  We wanted more of a 50’s silhouette to go with the pattern on the fabric, so I added width to the skirt and gathered more.  The lining skirt is much fuller, with a layer of fine tulle to hold the outer skirt out.

From the Back

The pattern itself was quick to adapt.  I started with a fitted bodice block and converted it to the lingerie block.  I drew on the lines for the midriff and skirt and cut these off.  I closed the darts and blended the upper and lower seamlines.  For the skirt I lengthened it first, then added side flare from the hem to the hip.  Then I divided each skirt into 3 and cut and spread on these lines.  The straps were rectangles that I double turned on the sides and pleated at the ends to make them prettier.

Strap Detail

I have cut out the Liberty fabric this dress was going to be in first, so that will be the next finished project, and you can compare the two finished items.

I think she likes it…  :p

Ready for the Party

Playing with paper

Pattern Magic - Tying a Bow

I have finally got the bodice blocks drafted and adjusted.  This morning, with the damp and dreary conditions outside, I decided would be the day – the Magic day!  I have adapted bodice blocks drafted from Winnifred Aldrich to the style of the block in Pattern Magic.  Now I am having a brilliant an interesting time playing with the adaptations.  I really want to get the toile finished by school pick up time!!  Here are some pics of the patternwork in progress today.

Front bodice adaptations - tying a knot

Front is marked up with the pleat and the slash lines, just needs the skirt for the dress.

Slashing the front open

Skirt added, lines slashed and armhole dart closed.  There is an 8cm gap between all the slash points.

Dress front complete

Just look at the size of that monster!  I recon this is going to take quite a bit of calico.

Back bodice adaptation - tying a knot

The back is much simpler.

On the subject, I notice Amazon UK have another book by Nakamichi Tomoko, Pattern Magic:  Cut and Sewn.  I wonder how long it will be until this is available in English??

So now I just need to figure out how it all goes together.  Hopefully the toile plays ball  and there will be more photos later.

***   UPDATE   ***

Toile - Knot Dress

Toile complete!  I altered the pattern slightly, leaving off the pleat in the front, and adding a 6cm flare instead.  I think I might just leave this off too, as the front is wide enough!

Toile - Knot Dress

Daughter no 2 likes the style, but wants it more fitted in this weight fabric.  So I was thinking of making it in linen…  I will have to make it more fitted to the waist if I do it in linen, but apparently it won’t “be so bad” if I use a floaty fabric. I just may have something in my stash.

Toile - Knot Dress

I guess I am off to source some suitable fabric now!