Happy Friday! You made it! The Weekend is here!
Some of you may have seen in my Instagram feed a while back
Some of you may have seen in my Instagram feed a while back
A few month’s back I was asked to make two dresses for a local high school opera production. When I got the text of the pattern I’d be using to make the dresses, I was immediately ecstatic. Simplicity 1715 is an Edwardian style dress that reminded me of Downton Abbey. My husband and I had just caught up with the series and I couldn’t wait to re-create one of Lady Mary’s styles.
The fabric had already been purchased for the blue Lady Mary dress, but a second dress required black and red satin so I headed to F&M Fabrics (TheFabricMarket.com) for those supplies and they had everything I needed.
This dress pattern was…interesting, to say the least. I am not a true costumer, per se, and this pattern was written specifically for costume. The construction methods seemed very unorthodox for someone whose training is in clothing construction and bridal.
The base of the outfit is this corset. It is unlined, but made with boning applied to the seam allowances. The top edge is finished with bias tape and the bottom with piping. The pattern called for every closure to be hook and eye but since this was not to be used for many girls, just the one I was sewing for, I decided on zippers.
After the corset was made, you start to construct the outer garments. Here is a close up of the bodice overlay. It was intended to be loose & drapey with gathers on either side front and a crossover V in the back.
The skirt and skirt overlay are then constructed as individual pieces and then the finished satin skirt, with waistband and everything, is placed on top of the corset piece and just stitched on! They could have easily made it a dress, in my opinion, but instead it was this strange two piece thing sewn together. I also replaced the hook and eye closure with a zipper again, then attached the skirt overlay. The belt was constructed separately and placed at the waistline where the skirt was sewn to the corset.
The second outfit used the same corset from the Simplicity pattern with added trim at the top and a tulle ruffle at the bottom. The skirt was made using a handwritten tutorial and photos and included 3 layers of circle skirts, a built in petticoat and elastic waistband.
It was fun to delve into some more elaborate patterns again. I truly enjoyed learning about costuming techniques throughout the process and it’s such a joy to see the dresses in action. This is the same customer I was altering dresses for last week for her next level in Jr. Miss. This beautiful young lady is going places!
Hi & thanks for stopping by for the Itch to Stitch* Marbella Dress Pattern Blog Hop!
I’ve always loved Audrey Hepburn. I know I’m not the only one. As a teenager she was a great role model – classic, beautiful, charming, graceful, timeless. I love her in this iconic photo wearing that boat neck dress with tulip skirt pegged down to the floor. *swoon*
Lovely, but a little impractical for daily wear. Insert the Marbella Dress by Itch to Stitch Designs*.
As I mentioned on Monday’s Post, when I first saw the Marbella Dress I was over the moon for Kennis Wong’s design! I’m sure a lot of it had to do with it’s classic feel and clean lines. I was so thrilled to be able to test such a lovely garment pattern. The Marbella Dress features a wide boat neck, front and back yokes allowing for color blocking, feminine princess lines that allow for a close fit in the bodice, roomy, slightly above knee tulip skirt, functional in-seam pockets and invisible back zipper closure (description from the Itch to Stitch website*).
The group of testers and Kennis were so wonderfully helpful through the entire process. Before cutting into our fashion fabrics (mine being this solid blue, slightly textured bottom weight from F&M Fabrics), several of us started with muslins (practice garments) from solid cotton or leftover fabrics to get the fit just right. This pattern has sizing for A/B/C/D cups (I KNOW!) so the bodice fit wonderfully in front right off the bat. However, I did have some pooling of fabric at my lower back. That was quickly remedied by a sway back alteration on the appropriate pattern pieces. This is a common alteration for me on all patterns, one I failed to do (since I skipped the muslining stage) on my Easter Dress and really regret! As you can see in the picture below, the alteration was worth it! No extra fabric, just smooth seams.
Another change I made to the pattern was to blend between sizes. This is also common for me as my measurements always do land a little smaller on top than on bottom. At first Kennis and I did not think it would matter since the skirt is so roomy, but after some mystery fitting issues with the first muslin, I cut a larger skirt and attached to the practice garment after resolving the swayback and the correct size skirt made all the difference in the world.
I really want to emphasize that these are alterations I have to do every time I sew for myself so it was definitely not the pattern! In fact, the pattern itself was wonderful to work with. Everything fit together beautifully. And I really adored the techniques outlined in the instructions. They made me a better seamstress by walking me through some steps I am usually in too much of a hurry to consider (like trimming the lining pieces slightly to make them turn a little inward so you don’t see the lining peak out from the front of the garment). Little things like that, and more outlined in the instructions, really contribute to a professional finished product!
I think this dress has a lot of potential to be drastically different just by changing the fabrics! The fabric I chose is great for fall/winter with a jacket or sweater, but a floral would be great for spring and the yoke and bodice would lend themselves beautifully to color blocking, as you can see in some of the others’ tester versions. So be sure to click around below and follow the tour – you won’t be sorry!
*The Marbella Dress pattern was given to me in exchange for sewing and testing the fit and pattern details. Opinions are all mine. This post does contain affiliate links*
Tuesday, October 21:
Diane Guess Post on Itch to Stitch
Ajaire from Call Ajaire
*Any link with an asterisk indicates an affiliate link. If you make a purchase through any of these links, I earn a small commission. Thank you for your support! See more on the Disclosures tab.
When I saw Kennis Wong mention an upcoming testing call for the Marbella Dress* in my Pattern Workshop* Group, I practically begged her to let me sign up before she was ready to take sign ups since I was leaving the next day for a weekend away with no internet or cell service.
I absolutely LOVED the design and I was SO afraid I would miss the official call because, let us be frank – without a deadline, almost no sewing gets done for myself. Sure I could have purchased the pattern when it was released, but it would most likely have gone on the long list of projects waiting to be done and never see the light of day. Safe to say I was jumping up and down when I made the tester cut and was excited to get to work.
Starting Wednesday of this week, there will be a Marbella Dress Blog Hop over at Itch To Stitch so you can see all the lovely tester versions and read everyone’s opinion on the process and the pattern. Last week, when the pattern was released, I leaked this picture of my finished dress.
But be sure to stop back by Thursday to see it from every angle and to hear about my testing experience, the changes I made and why you might consider picking yourself up a copy! See you Thursday!
I’ve “met” another great new pattern designer you all need to know about! Her inaugural pattern is a staple you’ll want to sew up again and again! Allow me to introduce to you Terri Lin of Sew Straight Patterns who has just released the Uptown/Downtown Dress! AND You’ll get to see all the variations this week in the Uptown/Downtown Blog Tour! I’ll reveal my version on Thursday, but you’ll want to check in to the Sew Straight & Gather blog each day to see all the other versions of this great dress!
Not only will you be inspired, you can enter to win an amazing prize bundle!!! One lucky person will win:
So click below to be whisked away to the Rafflecopter widget and enter away now through August 11th and be sure to visit the Straight Stitch Pattern Company to see each day’s tour stops!
AND – if you don’t win, don’t worry. Terri Lin has set up coupon code uptowndowntowntour to use for 30% off the Uptown/Downtown Dress Pattern now through August 16th!
See you Thursday!
The Lorelei is perfect for Easter and will last you all summer. It is a fitted dress with a yolk an empire waist and an optional sash that makes into a wonderfully large bow.
The dress is fully lined and has a row of gathered netting/tulle sewn into the skirt lining that gives it some body & movement for a retro feel. There is a zipper in this dress and some hand sewing on the yolk facing, so if you’re ready to take the next step in your sewing, this would be a great choice.
It’s just a classic, beautiful design that can be made fancier with satin and lace, or for every day in cottons & eyelet. Be sure to check out the E-Beth Designs blog post featuring all the tester dresses to see this design made up in other fabrics and styles.
Click here to see the doll version of The Lorelei Dress pattern and a sneak peak of the Women’s dress in the works at the bottom of the post!
Have you entered for your chance to win a Kate Spade Wallet or a $50 iTunes Gift Card?!? If not, Click here to do so, then come right back for today’s post!
Well, I know that Christmas is over and the New Year is here, but I wanted to share with you today the Christmas Dress I made for my daughter this year.
When we found out we were having a girl almost 3 years ago, I was a little freaked out. I was always a tom-boy and wasn’t sure how I’d handle relating to a girl when I had always been one of the boys, so to say. Well, it has truly been a blessing to have our little miss Elise. And I’m here to tell you, while she loves the color pink, she is definitely a girl I can relate to and admire.
You see, she refused to have her picture taken until there was a sword in her hand. WARRIOR PRINCESS! YESSSsssssss! Ok, on to the dress. This is yet another FooFooThreads dress. (Click here to see the fancy FooFooThreads dress I made for her Halloween Costume.) You know I’m a former tom-boy when I say, if I could, I would dress her in a FooFooThreads dress every day. I can’t get over the cuteness. But my very favorite part is that while it is beautiful, it is equally practical.
The front looks well fitted, but the back is completely elasticized. This is awesome for several reasons: 1) No closure (zipper, buttons/buttonholes) to sew. 2) Elastic means comfort. What woman doesn’t want to look amazing and be comfortable at the same time ?! 3) She can wear it much longer since there is so much give. In fact, since Halloween, she’s requested to wear her Pretty Pretty Pink Princess dress several times in dress up and it still fits even though it is a size down in the bodice from this dress. 4) It’s SOoooo easy – all you do is hand wind a bobbin with elastic thread and sew rows back and forth at an equal distance. The closer together your rows, the more it gathers and if you need a little more, a shot with a steam iron pulls it up even more. Seriously. Elastic thread in the bobbin, sew, and it magically gathers just.like.that. EASY! As I did for the Halloween dress, I made her size in the bodice, but a size 5 in the length. I wanted it to be ankle length and it’s perfect – she can run around with ease, but it has the formality of the length. Since it’s made from cotton, it’s easy to wash & wear.
(Are you done yet? ) Anyway, here are all the details:
Pattern: Josephine Dress from FooFooThreads
Main Fabric: Christmas Peace by Windham Fabrics
Sash, Red & Gold Ruffle Fabrics: From F&M Fabrics locally
Elastic Thread: Wawak Sewing
Every year for Halloween we go all out. Not because we particularly love Halloween, but mostly because it gives us a chance to go all out! What other time of year do the kids get to parade around town pretending to be someone else? And sewing for Halloween definitely is a different change of pace from the cotton I generally choose to work with.
A few months back in June, my son requested a Green Ninjago costume. Here’s a picture of the final product. You can click here to read more about how I made it.
So since he’s still thrilled with this costume, we’re going to use it for Halloween. This leaves me plenty of time to work on my daughter’s Pretty Pretty Pink Princess Dress. I chose the pattern a while ago – The Sugarplum Princess Dress from FooFooThreads.
I went to our warehouse fabric store and bought two shades of satin. It’s Halloween, after all. What’s Halloween without costume satin? And BOY, was it fun to cut out!?
But now that the cutting’s over, I’ve been able to get some sewing done! Here is the bodice before shirring the back.
If you’ve never shirred with elastic thread in your bobbin, it’s magical. The instructions in the FooFooThreads pattern are wonderful, but if you don’t have the pattern, here’s a great tutorial to check out.
You literally hand-wind your bobbin with elastic thread and set your machine to it’s longest stitch and proceed to stitch back and forth. The machine does it all for you and the gathering appears before your eyes. It’s pretty amazing.
So now I will move on to the skirt. There is an underskirt made from cotton with ruffles attached to the bottom edge that will hang out below the hem of the overskirt. Then the overskirt has ruffles on the back and each side, so I’ll be pulling gathering threads for a while, but I’ll be sure to show you the finished product when it’s all said and done!
Are you working on a handmade Halloween? I’d love to see what you’ve made or are working up. Leave a link on my facebook page or in the comments below! I would love to follow you on instagram too so let me know if you’re there!
Lastly, have you heard about the $100 Gift Certificate Giveaway to Stitch Stash Diva on the Whimsy Couture Sewing Blog!? That’s right – up for grabs is $100 of free fabric! There are two days left to enter, so be sure to check it out! It would be a great boost for a Handmade Holiday or just some fun sewing for yourself! Have a great week!
We were so excited to find out my Cousin Jason and my husband’s long-time friend Jason (not the same person, despite the sharing of names) were getting married this last May and June, respectively. Both wedding colors were orange and blue and my husband was a groomsman in one of them, so I wanted to make a comfortable dress that coordinated, but didn’t make me look like of of the bridesmaids either! I found a summery knit print on fabric.com (LOVE them!) and got it just in time to make my dress.
I chose a New Look pattern, 6001, which isn’t a maternity pattern, but lent itself very easily to what I needed. The only alteration I made was to add 1″ (to make 2″) on the center fold of the skirt, just.in.case. I probably didn’t need it but it didn’t hurt either! I also made a slip for underneath since the knit was very thin. Here are some pics of the dress in action.
So Congrats to Jason & Eleanor and Jason & Jovina! Thanks for the opportunity to make and sport a new dress!
I am finishing up my last (non-family) wedding and it has been a lot of fun! The bride’s name is Crystal and she has one bridesmaid, her sister Lizette. Lizette is not in town so I have worked with her long distance to make her dress. I was able to take her measurements in December myself so that was a big help. Then I made a muslin of the dress and Crystal mailed it to her. I received the dress back in the small USPS flat rate box! 🙂 With some written instructions and promises of pictures in my email inbox. This worked out perfectly!! Being able to see the dress on her along with notes from another seamstress allowed me to adjust the pattern and create the finished product very simply! You can see it below. All that is left is to secure the straps and install the zipper. This will allow for minor take ins/outs after the final fitting May 10th (The wedding is the 15th!!). I hope she will allow me to take pictures of her in it so you can see it on a person!
Crystal’s dress is covered in a beautiful ivory lace. Unfortunately I did not get a “before” picture, but we modified the design of the back from all buttons and loop to a keyhole. It buttons at the top with a hook and eye and 3 buttons/loops, opens in the center back, and concludes at the waist with corset loops and a satin insert I made from the fabric removed from the hem. I really love what it adds to the dress! For the bustle, we decided on a french bustle, but upon installing the ribbon and loops, I realized it would be easier if the layers were separate, so I bustled them independently.
In between working on those dresses, I snuck in some personal projects. Desiring to have some fun with t-shirt makeovers again (Click here to read about my first try at it), I asked for a Large shirt at the last 5k I ran a few weekends ago. I came home that afternoon and made it into a tank top! Here are the results:
After the picture, I did even more to it. There was a saying on the sleeve, which I cut around and sewed to the front left. I also added some elastic gathers at the waistline in the back to give it some more shape. I loved doing it so much, I decided to find some knits to play with! Lo and behold, fabric.com sent me an email that they had some knits on sale for $1.95 a yard!! I found 2 for t-shirts and 3 moisture wicking fabrics I plan to make running tanks out of for this summer. After a quick search on Burda Style’s website, I found Sadie. You can get the pattern too by clicking the pattern pic below:
On my friday lunch hour, I cut out and started sewing the first Tank. I figured I would make it exactly the first time and then start playing around with style after I see what I’m working with. Here is the first tank:
My assessment is that it is a little too short and too tight. I like the smaller armhole, but I fear the fabric might rub my arm too much while I am running and present a problem. Yesterday I was shopping in some outlets and got a really great tank at Tilly’s. I think I may use that as a pattern the next go-round…it has some lace on the back, so I was thinking of finding some sports mesh to give it the same sort of style. The fit is long and loose. On another, I was thinking of an empire waistline and some gathers….I have a few yards… 🙂