Archive | Embellishments RSS feed for this section

Folkwear’s Russian Settler’s dress: Sarafan

22 Mar

A bit late for last year’s Vintage Pattern Pledge, but hey, it’s done! And please to also admire my lovely overgrown garden 🙂 It’s about 3 times bigger out there now, the middle of the wet, than it was when these piccies were taken towards the beginning of the wet season. This picture was taken on a dark cloudy day in murky light, but the camera picked up all that glare. Inneresting…

Oh wait, this is a sewing blog? Not gardening? oh ok then…

I used this lovely pattern from Folkwear:

Construction:

The construction is supposed to be very straightforward. Two rectangles of fabric, the front one with a bit of shaping at the top for the waist. I added in a dart at bust-level to accommodate my D-cup bust, however I could have gotten away without it.

I accidentally adding some shaping round the waist and hips, where the pattern is literally straight down. I cut it a bit wrong then to fix it I needed to add to the hips. I wish I’d been able to make it without that hip shaping. I figure why bother making something different to your usual fare then accidentally make it half-similar after all. Ah well…

The pleats were also straightforward, till I misread the tape measure (dyslexia, honest!) and thus miscounted. Lots of faffing round and eyeballing it eventually got it Good Enough. In the notes on the history of the Russian Settler’s sarafan it says the women making them would do the pleats completely by eyeballing it, creating a mass of tiny pleats. Wow. I’m impressed!

I brought the ribbons up from where they were indicated on the pattern and still they held the pleats down to my waist. I was after more of an empire-line skirt. More swishy. Butterflies need to swirl!

Sarafans usually have two straps from the front, joining as one in the centre-back. I made two so I could wear it with a bra, without a top on underneath the dress.

Preparing the pleats – a task impossible without the help of a sewing-cat …

All pleated fairly evenly. Finally!

Getting distracted by a ta-ta lizard on the screen door

The pattern said traditionally the hem is finished with rows of ribbons and matching lace. I envisioned it with a good few inches of lace, but the only matching lace was very narrow, though prettily gathered. So I used the same fabric as the chest bands and shoulder straps as a ruffle to add to the effect. I may or may not be a total sucker for ruffles of any sort 😛

This photo makes me laugh, I look like I’m Receiving The Light! However I wanted to show how flat the front is on this style of dress. I wanted something different to my usual fitted silhouette and I got it 🙂 I love how the fabric released from the pleats curls over the hips and flares nicely.

Lovely, isn’t it?

It just had one major flaw. So major in fact that I’ve cut the top band off and will remake it as a Tina Givens-style lagenlook-y dress (Well that’s the plan, at least.)

In butterfly purple and grey   A sort of modern does 1920s dress. Greta dress by Tina Givens

The flaw? Look at the hemline in the above photo, the front is higher than the back. It wasn’t sewn that way, but there’s twice as much fabric in the back as front, so gravity pulls the whole dress backwards after only a few minutes of wear (or adjustment). The front chest band rides up nearly to the neck. It was SO uncomfortable. I tried some lingerie straps to help anchor it, they didn’t work at all. I considered a waist stay but the loose nature of the dress made that inappropriate. It’s actually a similar issue to the realities of the Walkaway Dress that so many people found. The heavy back pulls the whole thing out of alignment.

GAH!!!

And it was such a pretty pretty dress *mourns*

To be fair to the pattern there’s one version with equal amounts of fabric front and back. I’m sure that would have worked out just fine.

I am sure I can create something equally lovely, maybe even with better swirl for the butterflies on the fabric to swirl beautifully. But I’m still very very sad about this not working 😦

Mind you, there’s a definite satisfaction in just having made the dress, and all those pleats! And I have the photos to prove it 😛

You can find a pattern review here

Swirl dress!

1 Dec

Here’s the swirl dress I’ve sewn as part of a sewalong I’ve referred to a couple of times, held by the talented and awesome Sew Retro Rose.

Here I tried the classic pin-up girl pose so commonly seen on sewing and fashion blogs; I think mine needs some work. But it probably won’t get worked on as in taking this photo, the whole ‘pin-up’ women as sexual images for men’s consumption thing did upsetting things to my head. (Hence the rather unsure smirk on my face.)

Moving on to happier thoughts, the front trim for the original pattern stopped at the shoulders. Since I’m not really into coffin dresses, I continued it round the back and down to the waist. A word on the fit of the back, shown below, I think it’s about as good as I can get it until I learn how to fit it more effectively. Due to the wrap-over part it was much harder to work out how or where to take the extra length up, so I just took it off at the waist. It’s good enough.

I love the effect of the bias-cut back skirt that is subtly observable in gingham. The front is on the straight grain, and the back is a semi-circle so curves from straight at the sides to the bias as the edge of the wrap. I love it!

You know, I’m not sure if I was just standing oddly, or not, but in this photo I look like I really do have a sway back. I never thought I did, just that I had a very short back. I should keep an eye out for it to see if that is my natural posture or not.

The side view, for what I can learn about fitting:

  • Perhaps my FBA wasn’t big enough? There’s more differentiation between front length and back length in my body than there is in the dress. Or perhaps it’s being distorted by catching under the arms?
  • The back’s too long but we knew that already 😛
  • It’s also too wide across the shoulders, so it’s catching under the arms when I have my arms forwards, rather than falling away from my arms smoothly like it would if properly fitted across there. I’ll take it in. The skirt’s fine though.

In this photo I don’t look at all like I have a sway back.

See the wavy hem? In the hopes it might flair the skirt in a suitably vintage manner, I put some horsehair braid from my stash in the hem. First time I’ve ever used it, and I’ll definitely use it again, it helped sew the hem really easily and with no warping of fabric as I went round the bias parts of the hem. Awesome!

However, the poor braid had been stored in a nice neat oval-shaped roll for so long, when unrolled and put into the hem, it still held the curves of the roll. I am very sure all I need to do is press it on a suitably low temperature to straighten it out, but I didn’t have time before these photos.

I’ve since washed the dress, (the braid handled being through a normal wash cycle perfectly), but it still causes the waves shown above! So I definitely need to get in there and press it properly flat.

The hair kerchief is one I made years and years ago, blue roses on a yellow background, with toning blue ric rac trim round the edge, all in one of my favourite colour schemes, baby blue and soft yellow. Like the dress! A happy accident that the two matched 🙂

Mori Girl fashion goes tropical or: Burda 7109

14 Jul

Catching up on things I sewed while studying. October hit, the hottest and most humid time of year, and I needed Floofy Clothesasap. I really like the whole Mori Girl concept. Before I got a pinterest account I’d never even heard of Mori Girl style. How lost I must have been …

However, all those layers are way too hot for the climate I live in, so I tropicified it by paring it back to one layer. A nice loose swishy layer. In fact a nice nightie pattern, adapted for streetwear, coz there’s nothing nicer than wearing your nightie all day!

Burda 7109 front

I just knew that deep neckline both front and back, would mean the dress sliding off my shoulders so I put some cross-straps on the back. Works well, and it’s nice and cool too, more so than if I’d just raised the back neckline.

 

Here’s the pattern I used. I placed the front and back pieces a few cm away from the foldline to add in enough fabric to create the pleats.

A note on the actual pattern: that neckline is very low at the front. It’s also really a bit too wide from shoulder to shoulder. I recommend measuring to make sure it matches your shoulder width both front and back!

Burda 7109

 

In keeping with the soft floofy Mori Girl idea, I created some floral and leaf embellishments.

Well they’re meant to be floral, but to be honest, if you didn’t know they were, would you think they were? I’m a bit dubious. But it doesn’t seem to stop people from complimenting me on their existence on the skirt.

Lovely big gathered pockets, one with a butterfly on it. I overlocked the top edge of the pocket.

Ruffles everywhere! All hems and neckline roll-hemmed on my overlocker. Gosh I love that function on it! This photo also shows very nicely the soft colours of the fabric, which I think is very much in keeping with the Mori Girl look.

 

  • Fabric/trims/notions used
I just realised I could have written this post from an entirely different point of view, that of being in the same league as Scarlette O’Hara, as this fabric started off it’s life as curtains 🙂
The trim was all hand-made from the same fabric, apart from a bit of pretty matching ribbons.
  • Construction notes

I love the rolled-hem function on my overlocker!

I added in an extra pleat both front and back which pulled the shoulders in to fit me better.

The embellishments were made from strips of gathered bias, then sewn together as a flower. These were machine-sewn on as it turned out the fabric was to closely woven I couldn’t really get the needle through! So my poor machine had to plow through a whole lot of layers of very thick fabric. It survived, my nerves didn’t though! I sewed a bit of ribbon in the centre of each rose.

I thought if I added in some leaves as well, they would help the beholder to realise the frayed lumpy-bits along the left hem were actually flowers! I left the edges of both leaves and flowers to fray nicely.

  • Cost
I ‘ve forgotten the cost of the original curtains. They were in use about 7 yrs ago.
Ribbon – $2
Pattern – $5
  • Last word

I am quite surprised how much I wear this. I usually go for neat, fitted styles. But the swingy, floofy, very cool and breezy nature of this makes it really lovely to wear. It also helps that in my own mind (No idea about external observers!) I’m wearing a Tropical Mori Girl dress – it’s a specific Style. Having said that though, it also helps that it’s essentially a glorified nightie. Nighties for daywear yeah!

I get sooo many compliments on this dress 🙂

 

Vogue 8888 or: a sweet but scratchy vingette

1 Sep

According to wiki, a vingette originally meant “something that may be written on a vine-leaf.” Hmm. A written on a fig might be more appropriate for these lovely french knickers?

 

  • Fabric/trims/notions used
Royal blue rayon cupro (an op-shop find!) YUM!
Black nylon embroidered lace
Underwear elastic
  • Inspiration

I’ve been working on sewing my own undies for a while, having a lot of fun – and no little frustration – experimenting. Vogue had a $5 per pattern sale at Spotlight recently. An invitation I can’t pass up on. I saw this gorgeous-looking pattern and nabbed it. I have some idea of one day making that wrap. And one day making a cami from it too. But this week I made the french knickers

  • Construction notes

The knickers are cut on the bias. I cut out the largest size – 20, not sure how the fabric would behave, and if the measurements given were stretched bias or non-stretched or what? Let alone having no idea how tight they might be across the top of my thighs, which are quite big. (Dancing. Gotta love it!) Ended up being just fine across the tops of my thighs, but a bit too big in the hips so I cut it right back down to size 14 in the hip, sizing up to 20 in the thigh. I could possibly have sized them down in the thigh a bit too, but they’re perfectly comfortable so I may as well leave them.

I liked the instructions to sew the seam, then simply sew it again just inside the original stitching. I haven’t thrown them in the washing machine yet but being bias-cut I think that’s likely all the seam will need to stay neat and not-unravelling.

The elastic around the waist is pretty loose. I didn’t use the elastic guide, I just estimated on my own hips but I think it needs a more solid affair around the hips. I might cut it off and redo it. The rise is high enough I could easily get away with losing a half-inch from elastic mistakes and the knickers still work.

Rather than following the instructions to put the lace over the actual fabric of the knickers then cut the excess fabric under the lace away, I added it to the bottom of the leg hem. This made them wider in the crotch and longer in the leg. Cute over the leg, but really annoying in the upper thighs, bunching up. I’m not entirely sure I actually like wearing french knickers. Owning them, yeah! But wearing them? Another matter entirely. But with these ones I could actually see that the width in the crotch is vitally important to comfort. Too wide it will start bunching between the upper thighs and pulling the whole garment out of wack. Aha! Maybe if I make the crotch the actual same width as my own self in that area, the knickers might sit nicely not pull out of place when I move, thus staying fitting nicely and be *gasps* comfortable and cute all in the one lingerie garment. That would be a major WIN!

Seeing if I can fix them so they don’t bunch won’t be too hard because …. WAGH!!! The lace is scratchy 😦 So much so, that in spite of it making the knickers extra-sweet, I’m gonna chop it off, and either replace it with a simple gathered edging I have in my stash or, of that looks like it won’t work in the crotch area, I’ll just rehem it and try it out sans any trim or lace.

  • Cost

Fabric: 50c op shop find

Elastic – $1

Lace $3

Pattern $5

total: $8.50. Hmmm, that’s competitive with my go-to rtw Bonds hipster undies. Kewl!

  • Last word

In spite of my plans to pretty much redo the waist and leg hems, I couldn’t resist taking a piccie and doing a post coz they’re so very very sweet as they are. Looks-wise, at any rate. We won’t mention the effect of horribly scratchy lace on the comfort of them!

Simplicity 9769, or: the unauthentically silk chemise

22 Jul

My sister’s great, and needs spoiling, especially for her birthday. So I made her this (the dupioni silk chemise, that is, not the collection of fridge magnets and list of gardening tasks!) Apparently silk is historically inaccurate for undergarments, as pre-modern-washing machine laundering wore silk undergarments out far too quickly, even for very rich people. Linen was the undergarment order of the day. I honestly can’t remember where I read this, but it was on the interwebs so it must be true, right? 😉

Of course, it never occurred to me to iron the chemise before taking photographs. Besides, knowing my luck I’d manage to melt the polyester lace.

from this pattern:

Here are a few highlights:

The neck yoke ended up clearly being waaay too wide for my sister (hey, she lives in London, I live in Darwin, Australia. Fitting, especially for a surprise present, was a little difficult!) So I found this gorgeous lilac ribbon in my stash, and threaded it through the narrow neck yoke so she could gather it to fit. I also added pearl buttons, just because…  🙂

My first ever triangly insert thing at the base of the sleeve. (Oh, what is the proper name them? I’ve forgotten 😦  )

More lovely lace around the hemline.

And as a finishing touch, I made her some satin-silk bloomers from the colette madaleine mini bloomers pattern, previously made and blogged about here.

Photo

  • Fabric/trims/notions used
White silk dupioni
White satin silk
oodles of lace
pearl (fake!) buttons
lilac ribbon
  • Inspiration

Years ago someone gave me 3m of white silk dupioni for my birthday. He said when he went to buy it, the women at Spotlight reckoned 3m was a good amount, I could sew most things out of that much. And to get white so I could dye it another colour if I wanted.

This someone is now my ex – and became my ex not long after this present. (Although I don’t think the present had much to do with it either way!) I just felt a bit … off … about using it for myself so it sat in my stash for years. Then while working out christmas and birthday presents last year (My sister’s birthday is close to christmas) I thought of making her a lovely nightie. (not too hard to get the fit right, and I could make it really lovely, something she’d never find in the shop. And the silk dupioni, now long rendered neutral in feeling, sprang to mind.

  • Construction notes

I flat-felled all the seams, as I’ve found on my own  nighties that’s the most comfortable kind of seam to lie on. As all the seams in this pattern are basically straight, it was very easy to do them.

The sizing chart wasn’t much help, as the size is essentially determined by the width of the shoulders, not the bust/waist/hips, so I had to guess. I measured it on myself, then went down a size as my sister is smaller than me. It turned out HUGE, hence the lilac ribbon to draw it tighter. Apparently it was still far too big on her anyway. Oh well.

The width of the actual chemise was crazy-wide too so I cut it a bit smaller too – just eyeballed it.

The instructions were clear and easy to follow. The underarm/sleeve gusset (aha! finally remembered the word!) was easy to achieve, following their instructions.

  • Last word

Well… as sewing goes it was a spectacular success. A beyooootiful lingerie set. But, sadly, as presents go it wasn’t. Oh dear. You see, my sister lives in London, and my innocent self thought she could wear this as her Summer Nightie. However, my sister explained very gently to me, she only wears a summer nightie for less than 3 weeks each year. Basically it’s so darned cold in London she wears long-sleeved jammies all year round.

Oh. *gulps* I knew England was cold and damp and miserable all the time but I didn’t realise it was that bad.

However, she found the mini-bloomers lovely to wear as a slip-substitute under her work-dresses. YAY!

So I suggested, rather than all my hard work and love in every stitch go to waste have it sitting unworn in a cupboard forever, she sent it on to a dear friend of mine who loves a poet-shirt style for her night attire, and … lives in Florida. A lot more opportunity there to wear a nightie like this.

My friend was the happy recipient of the set 🙂

However in the end, my sister’s birthday wasn’t a resounding present-failure. Over the years, through op-shopping, I’ve collected some very nice silk camisole-slips of the slinky wear-so-your-bedmate-can-take-it-off kind. Or maybe you’re supposed to wear them under a dress for warmth?

I ended up never wearing them. Not my style of bed attire and I don’t need added warmth in my clothes! (And my partner, in that mysterious way men have, seems to find the shapeless tent night attire more alluring. Something to do with invoking his imagination, apparently …???) I asked my sister if she’d like those as a present instead? She did, I sent them off.

I got a call when they arrived. “Imogheena! They’re fabulous! I showed A___ [Her bedmate] and he was very impressed that you sew such gorgeous things.”

“Oh… ah, well… I didn’t actually sew those… ” and I ‘fessed up about the op-shopping.

“Oh. Oh dear. I er, told him you sewed them.”

“Oh that’s alright, I don’t mind A____ thinking I sewed them!”

Simplicity 8640 as Folkwear Armistice Blouse.

30 Jun

Still catching up with stuff from last year!

I saw a piccie of Folkwear’s Armistice Blouse and fell in love, not so much with the top one, but that gorgeous white one at the bottom.

But it’s kinda expensive to buy and get sent over (postage can be kinda crazy). And the wonderful Sewsquirrel, who stocks lots of Indi patterns, doesn’t stock Folkwear. Oh well.

Then I realised that perhaps I could make this pattern from my stash that I’ve never used before, work. You can’t see clearly, but the blue version has a collar. I liked the sweetheart neckline too. The centre front panel is wider than the Folkwear Armistice Blouse but I decided fiddling round with the pattern to make it a bit smaller wasn’t worth the effort.

I cut out the bodice, and instead of shaping in for the waist, I just cut it straight down, then extended it to get the length I was after. It worked!

Here’s a close-up of the neckline and crochet. I’d made the collar wider than the pattern, thinking it might make it look more like the Armistice Blouse, but it just looked weird. So I cut the collar down and used more of the crochet to edge it. I don’t have a close-up of the final affair but it looked heaps better. I’ll have to see if I can get a close-up and add it in.

See how pretty that fabric is? 🙂

  • Fabric/trims/notions used
Grey Rose cotton poplin, and some white cotton broadcloth. The poplin with grey roses was a present from a very dear friend of mine. I’d been having a bad time of it with the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he decided to treat me to this gorgeous fabric. Thankyou “T/S”
Crochet edging by me, in white cotton, size 40.
Tie is a silk sash I got as a free present with my first order of dyes from Dharma Trading.  Nice! I’ve worn it with a few other ties at the waist, and even without any tie, which actually looks better than I thought it would.
  • Inspiration

The Armistice Blouse from Folkwear.

  • Construction notes

It went together very easily. I bound the inside of the collar with a small facing, clean-finished by that great technique where you sew the outer edge of the facing to the interfacing, and turn that edge inside out, hiding the raw edges inside. The facing extended an inch or so below the start of the inner panel.

The crochet set everything of so nicely 🙂

I did a silly thing. I simply extended the pieces straight down rather than narrowing in for the waist. And DUH!!! I needed to have widened them from waist down for my hip. So now it has a rather long side-split so it fits without straining across my hips. Hey, it works!

 

  • Cost
The fabric and sash were a gift 🙂
  • Last word

I really love this pattern. I’m now on the lookout for the Perfect Fabric for another version, probably this time truer to the pattern, with that lovely peplum instead of extending it straight down. Not sure about the tassels on the corners of the peplum though! Might not be too practical for laundering. We’ll see…

 

Blouse pattern loveliness

10 Nov

I loves me a delicate white blouse. I loves me bias clothes. I loves me this pattern, Colette’s Jasmine Blouse, and I want to make it in some white silk I have in the back of the cupboard. I can order the pattern in Australia!  I just discovered SewSquirrel’s site thanks to sewbusylizzie‘. Er I think Sewsquirrel is in Aust. I’m not getting charged postage at anyrate, and you know what that means! More money for patterns!!!

Now, un-sidetracking from the point of this post, did any Australian readers watch Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries on the ABC earlier this year? I’ve read all of Kerry Greenwood’s books I’ve ever got my hands on, not just the Phryne Fisher ones, and thus just had to watch the shows. Ok ok of course I’m in love with Phryne’s wardrobe. I would have to be 6 foot under to not be. However I also just loved Dot’s blouses. She seemed to have a long procession of sweet often white or a subdued brown blouses with the collars edged in lace. ENVY!!!

Looking around for a pattern so I can have a sweet blouse with a lace-edged collar too, I found the Armistice Blouse from Folkwear.

Folkwear Armistice Blouse

Here is Casey of Casey’s Elegant Musings’ version. Oh I love this.

Then I remembered I have this pattern, which if you look closely and ignore the stamp on it, you can see the bodice and collar on the blue dress are very similar to the folkwear pattern:

Then I saw this fabric in Spotlight – cotton poplin, which I fell in love with and a wonderful friend bought me as a little present. (Thankyou so much S___ :-D). (Bet you can’t see where all this is heading!)

And I have literally a good few metres of this lace I crocheted myself, from an Irish Crochet pattern from the early 1900’s, similar time frame to the Folkwear Armistice Blouse:

I really like the tie-waist of the Folkwear pattern, as with this top, I discovered I like wearing looser-style shirts tied at the waist, so I figured if I used the bodice pieces but didn’t shape them in to the waist, I’d get the same effect.

And I’ve just cut it out! Stay tuned to find out how it all comes together…

%d bloggers like this: