Friday, May 10, 2013

"The Sultry Sheath" from Gertie's Book for Better Sewing

First finished project from the book! All in all a good sew. Weekend date, summer nights dress? After this one I need to make some more casual pieces. But this was one of my favourites from the book and I felt it would be a really good fit with this fabric so I couldn't resist giving it a try.

Construction notes:

I made this in some Nani Iro double gauze fabric I had been hoarding for a couple of years. When I made my muslin I noticed that the shoulder straps were sitting on my outer shoulders but looking at the photo in the book I decided that was how they were supposed to look. That was a mistake, as when I made my original bodice the straps kept slipping down my shoulders! I think the fact that the double gauze was softer then my muslin made the problem worse. I often sew using my high bust measurement because I have narrow shoulders so I'm not certain this would be a problem for everyone (due to my fit issues) but it's worth looking out for. Luckily a poster on who had made the pattern mentioned taking a wedge out of her shoulders to draw them up, so I decided to try a similar tactic:

I drew a wedge which was 1" at the neckline on both front and back and then cut out the wedge and closed it. I then traced the new pattern. I also lowered the armhole by about 1/2" using my french curve. Once I did that (and tried it out on a new muslin) I luckily had just enough Nani Iro fabric left for a second bodice.

The Fit is still not 100%. I traced the pattern using my high bust measurement (size 2 in the book) and tracing out to the next largest size for the waist (4), and then went from 4 in the waist to 2 in the hips. I should have just used a 4 in the hips as well because I think the pulling in the back is due to it being a bit too tight (it also feels a bit tight in the hips when I sit, but nothing that will stop me from wearing the dress). I'm closer to the listed measurement for 2 so I guess my advice would be to size up if you're between sizes unless you like it tight.

I didn't follow the instructions to the letter, as can be seen here with my invisible zip. I'm not sold on lapped zips unless I'm trying to make something completely authentic to a period. Plus I need to use up my collection of invisible zips. One side of my zip top is a couple of millimetres longer then the other! erg. "Only I will notice" is my sewing nitpicking mantra.

This was actually my first time making an all in one facing. I think it's a new favourite way to finish a garment. I did a kind of time consuming and fiddly finish to it where I used my decorative scallop stitch and then trimmed it down. I've actually done this before and it held up well, but it's hardly efficient, I just like the look!

And finally, I used a trick I read in Lynda Mynard's Couture Sewing Techniques and reinforced the back slit with a metal hook and eye bar. 

Final Thoughts:

I think I'm definitely going to come back to this pattern again! Other then the issues with the straps and the fact that I should have used a larger size hip, the pattern was very straight forward. The instructions were easy to follow, although I did not to use some of the more 'couture' techniques.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Bombshell" Tiki Dress done at last!

Hello abandoned blog, nice to be back.

After working on it tiny increments at a time I'm finally finished my Bombshell dress from Gertie's course! This project took me almost a year to complete? Not that the construction was quite that time consuming, but I kept forgetting to get certain materials or having to order things online and so it just kept getting put aside in favour of other projects. But finally everything came together and I have a lovely and impractical dress perfect for pretty much one thing only, visiting my local tiki bar. A good excuse to drink zombies I guess!

Looking Cross.

And trying to smile.
 I really need to get better with the self timer. It's pretty awkward. Songza has a tiki playlist which I listened to while taking these pictures but I'm not sure if that made me feel less silly or just made it worse. Nerd out here if you want. 

This dress was a lot of fun to make, and I definitely recommend the course. I held off for a while because I wasn`t sure how much I liked the pattern but I really wanted to take it, and the dress has grown on me. I was worried that a bustier style like this would look odd with my A cup, but all in all I think its pretty flattering. I prefer how it looks with the halter strap, however it stays up really well as a strapless dress thanks to all the construction details. 

Construction Details:

Might miss some notes since this took such a long time to complete... 
The material is a cotton I bought off a seller on etsy. I think it was a nice fit with the pattern because it has a tiki vibe without being a straight-up Hawaiian print. I messed around with the fit of the cups a lot. Once I had taken out fullness from across the cups as directed in the videos they were scandalously tiny so I redrew the  bustline of the top cup peices. I did not lengthen the bodice but I`m a bit short waisted so I think it turned out fine. I was not sold on the side gather when I did it, but after several tries I just accepted it and now I think it looks good, so I suppose that's a lesson not to get too critical before I see the final piece.

It's lined with the finest vintage sheet cotton. The spiral steel boning was expensive, I had to cut corners somewhere! The grosgrain for the waist stay was sent as a bonus from a etsy fabric seller! I also could not find thin batting for lining the cups as described in the course so I used knit sweatshirt material. 

I spent a lot of time trying to match the floral pattern for my bodice only to have it fail. Oh well! Also, I made   lapped zipper even though I was using an invisible zip. lol!

Final thoughts:

All in all, had a lot of fun making this dress and am quite pleased with how it turned out. Might finesse the cup fit and make another in a more casual fabric with a dirndl skirt and sewn in halter straps. Learned a ton in the course!