Sunday, December 14, 2014

Simplicity 1776

Since I made a dress for my engagement party, I figured I should also make a dress for my bridal shower, which was in October.

The pattern is Simplicity 1776.  I made the sleeveless round neckline version.  The bust and hips are a size 10, the waist is a size 8, and I chopped 6 inches off the bottom.

Bust: 35"
Waist: 31"
Hips: 38"
Length: 30"

I used a shimmery black rayon/linen blend from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I know linen is a summery fabric, but I feel like this dress is totally appropriate for fall and winter.  I apologize for the wrinkles; the hot iron melts the shimmer finish, so I am trying to avoid ironing this dress as much as possible and I took these photos after wearing this dress all night at my bridal shower.

Total Cost: $7.15
  • Fabric: $5.40
  • Zipper: $1.75

I originally sewed this dress in August 2012.  I made a size 8, which was too small, and the zipper was a mess.  So I went back and took it out at the side and shoulder seams.  Let me tell you, fixing a dress is way harder than making one from scratch.  Thank God I didn't trim my side seams.

I faced the neckline and used single fold bias tape to finish the armholes instead of doing a full lining as called for in the pattern.  Don't judge me for this mediocre display of sewing.  This was one of the first times I'd used my serger, I made this over two years ago, and I whipped this dress up in like two hours.

I like the silhouette of this dress.  I think it's really easy for shifts to look boxy, and I don't think this one does.  Probably because I took it in at the waist.  And I like the length; it's just short enough that it doesn't look frumpy, but it's not too short. 

The neckline has a tendency to gape a little bit, but I don't know why.  I don't think that facing the neckline instead of doing a full lining would cause that to happen, but maybe that has something to do with it.

I took out the old invisible zipper - which was an ugly ecru color - and I replaced it with a hot pink zipper because I knew I would be wearing this dress with my hot pink heels or my black heels, which have a hot pink sole.  And I like contrasting zippers anyway.

Here is a picture of me and my maid of honor, Simone at the shower. (She took my engagement photos and is wicked talented and you should look at her website:  She's wearing the bridesmaids dress, which is from ModCloth.

And here are some action shots from the shower:

That's me and my mom!

And, of course, Sox:

I've started packing for my move to Fresno and it has made me realize how much sewing stuff I have.  I think I bought every single thing in the Jo-Ann notions aisle.  Really though.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Engagement Dress

I got engaged!!!!  To Bruce, the soap on a rope to my loofa and the recipient of the crocheted earflap hat.  I went to visit him at his Naval base in Pensacola for the Fourth of July and he proposed!  It was romantic and fabulous.  He came home to visit in August so I obviously had to make a dress for the engagement party and photos.

My lovely maid of honor is a professional photographer, so she took the photos for us.  She is so talented! If you live in the New England area you should hire her to photograph your events.  Check out her website (and more pictures of me and Bruce) at

Now, about the dress:

The pattern is McCall's #7575 from 1995.  My grandmother volunteers at a secondhand shop in Kansas and collects old sewing patterns for me.  She also got me Simplicity 5357, which I made in the spring of 2013.  (Side Note: Simplicity just re-released 5357 so now it's available to the general public, which sort of makes my sweet vintage halter top less special.)

I made the size 8 with a 35" finished bust measurement.

The fabric is a cotton border print from Journal Fabric in the LA Fashion District.  I bought it in January 2013 when I was out there visiting a few of my sorority sisters.

I bought 2.5 yards of this fabric (well, I only paid for 2 and the guy at the store gave me a half yard for free because I saw a spot on the fabric - yesssssss) and I was really cagey about how I used and cut it for this dress.  To conserve fabric I used muslin from my stash to line the bodice and for the back and side back.  So I think I have enough fabric left to eke out another dress.

Total Cost: $13.25
  • Fabric: $12
  • Zipper: $1.25
  • Muslin: stash

The pattern called for armscye and neck facings, but I decided to fully line the bodice since it is a bra-less kind of dress.  I actually started this dress in May of 2013 and had everything done except the sleeves and when I went back to sew it I decided I wanted it to be sleeveless.  So I pulled apart the bodice and lining and I'd already trimmed my seam allowances and the moral of the story is that I have visible side seams.

The bodice front has two waist darts, which is why I chose this dress pattern for this fabric.  I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the floral pattern, so I didn't want to make a dress with princess seams or with bust and waist darts.

The skirt is a 60" x 20" rectangle.  There is an invisible zipper at center back and I used three hooks and eyes on the back waist to keep it from gapping too much.

I love this dress so so much.  I had a lot of fun making it and I got lots of compliments at the engagement party.

And here are a few photos from our engagement shoot:

And a couple photos of Sox getting involved in the dressmaking process:

Bruce has been stationed in Lemoore, California and I am moving out there to join him at the end of the month!

Friday, October 31, 2014

DIY Halloween Costumes: The Best Of

Happy Halloween!  I have no exciting plans this year but I thought it would be fun to share some of my better DIY Halloween costumes from previous years.

Halloween 2013 - Loofa:

My boyfriend Bruce (the one I crocheted a hat for) was soap on a rope and I was an adorable - if I do say so myself - loofa.  I used the leftover tulle from my Design Wars/Project Pink Competition Entry dress to make this costume.  I ended up having to buy more, which sort of defeated the purpose, but my costume was wicked cute, so whatever.  And I bought a home dec trim from Jo-Ann Fabrics to use as the loofa string.

For Bruce's costume I ironed white SOAP letters onto one of his white t-shirts and he tied a rope around his waist.  He actually wore that shirt around for months after Halloween and it just looked like a plain t-shirt.  Not much of a costume, but pretty practical in the long run.

I ended up leaving my giant loofa costume in the back seat of my car for months until Bruce finally took it to the dump.

Halloween 2011 - Pikachu:

I bought a men's large t-shirt, stuck my shoulders through the neck, and tied the sleeves in the back to make the dress.  (I learned that at college; the sorority girls would do that with their Arizona shirts for football games.  It makes a pretty flattering dress.  I wore a pink version of this dress under my loofa costume from 2013.)  I made the Pikachu ears using bunny ears from a party store.  I cut off the fluff and covered them in felt.

And I even found another Pikachu at the bar!  He said his costume was better because his had a tail but, let's be real, I was way cuter.

Halloween 2009 - Red Solo Cup:

I was a red solo cup and my friend was ping pong balls and together we were beer pong.  This was probably my most labor intensive Halloween costume ever.

I bought a trashcan, spray paint, and a rope at Home Depot.  I got a frat guy to cut off the bottom of the trash can with an electric saw, I spray painted it red, used some white acrylic paint laying around the sorority house for the trim, used Sharpie for the lettering, and tied the rope to the trash can handles.  People threw trash at me all night.  It was terrible.

 Halloween 1999 - Pokemon Card:

I guess I really like Pokemon costumes.  I made this all by myself, hence the terrible artwork.  (Which hasn't improved much in the past 15 years, by the way.)  I wore a sweet poster board sandwich board type thing.  It was awesome.

Halloween 1999 - Clown:

My first Halloween.  To be fair, my mom is the one who "made" this one.  As in, she made a few pom poms and attached them to my onesie pajamas, shoes, and a BIRTHDAY HAT.  Mom...what???  Who just has a spare birthday hat laying around?  And that face paint is truly bizarre.

I wish I had better photos of my costumes, because they were pretttttttty sweet.  I'm not dressing up this year, but hopefully next year Bruce and I will have an awesome couples costume situation going on.  

Speaking of Bruce, my next post contains some exciting news...

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blue Wrap Competition Entry

I am the worst blogger ever.  It has been almost two months since my last post.  Although I have been very busy...Details and exciting news in my next post!

So anyway, last spring I entered a competition at school where students had to design and sew a garment using surgical blue wrap from a local hospital.  I won Most Wearable!  The competition entries were on display at the school library for Earth Week.

The blue wrap is a stiff bonded fabric that doesn't fray, which is why I decided to design something with scallops.  I didn't need to worry about facings or anything and the stiffness of the blue wrap held the shape of the scallops well.  The blue wrap can't be ironed, so it would have been impossible to sew the scallops in the traditional way with facings and linings and whatnot.

I used the pattern from my Colorblocked Shift Dress as a starting point for the bodice of this dress.  I took the pattern in at the waist and I drafted a basic two-dart pencil skirt for the light blue underskirt.  For the scalloped skirt overlay, I closed out the waist darts, which added some flare at the side seams to give it an a-line shape.  Here's a shot of Sox with my pencil skirt pattern pieces:

I also used the scallop pattern piece from my Colorblocked Shift Dress as the stencil for the scallops on this dress.

I winged it a lot with this project and it worked in my favor.  I sort of just threw the scallop pattern over the bodice front and traced the shape.  I did the same for the back.  Usually I overthink things and focus too much on details and on doing things "the right way" and I think my projects would go more smoothly if I winged it a little more. I got the scallops on the skirt to line up perfectly at the side seam with barely any work.  I think I would have been unsuccessful if I had worried about the scallops too much.

I used facings to finish the armscyes.  Side note: this is not a perfect zipper because I had to re-cut that back piece and I had to pull out the zipper and sew it back in.  It was a whole thing.

But look at how perfectly the scallops line up at the side seam!

I made a little slash with an exacto knife for the buttonhole on the back and covered the button with the light blue wrap.  The back waist looks crooked, but that's just the way it's sitting on the dressform.  I had issues with the bodice back pieces bunching and sitting oddly and I was on a deadline and didn't have time to fool around with it too much, so they aren't sewn to the skirt.

Sox was adorable - per usual - and made a fort out of the blue wrap:

I just realized I never blogged about my dressform.  I got it a year ago when I was taking Draping at school.  I got it from The Shop Company.  I was going to post about it to let the other sewing bloggers know about the high quality and affordability of the dressforms and then I forgot.  And then a bunch of other bloggers got The Shop Company's dressforms like six months later and there were all kinds of coupon codes on their blogs.  Boo.