Archive for January, 2012

January 30, 2012

My Someday Dress

While riding the ferry last fall,  I spied this woman wearing an incredible dress. What I loved most about it was the sweetheart neckline and raised collar. I knew I had to make it.

I started drafting it last week and made up a muslin on Saturday. Although I knew this wouldn’t be a quick dress, I had unrealistic expectations that I could make it for an upcoming Sew Weekly theme. I realize now that it’s going to be a long process before this dress is ready.

The shape of the neckline around the bust isn’t quite right and should also be lowered. I think instead of dipping in the front I’d like it round and concave. Although this is a ways off, I thought it would be fun to share with you ‘my someday dress’. Do you have any projects that you’ve been working on slowly over time?

January 26, 2012

Ease and the Bodice

I mentioned in my Truffle post that the rayon shirting forms soft vertical wrinkles around the waistline when my posture is anything but perfectly static. You can see what I’m talking about in the picture above. This is something that didn’t show up in my muslin nor does it show up in the lining if I try the dress on inside out. I imagine that it is more pronounced in the rayon because of the drape of the fabric. The drape is perfect for the skirt but I wish the bodice was stiffer. The issue could be solved by bringing in the side seams but if I took any more ease from the dress I would need to install a zipper. I’m wondering if there might have been a solution to this problem so I’m asking you: how does one sew a bodice with ease that doesn’t look sloppy and unfitted? Could an underlining give the rayon more structure?

January 25, 2012

Update: Independent Pattern Designers

I apologize for the fake post this morning but my finger was trigger happy and pressed the publish button before I even started! I’d imagine readers who subscribe by email will get two very similar posts.

I’m thinking this might be the last update of this style but I haven’t decided how to let know you all that there are new additions to the list. I’ll let you know but until then, enjoy these great sources!

  • Dixie DIY – I recently found Dixie through The Sew Weekly and have enjoyed perusing her blog recently. She’s published a few of her designs in PDF’s on her blog. Most are free and some are multi sized.
  • Angela Osborn – Anna of ::Paunnet:: introduced me to Angela Obsorn’s patterns recently and I’ve been so excited to share her store with you. She sells her PDF patterns through her own website as well as Etsy. There’s an interview with her over on Anna’s blog this morning that you’ll want to check out.


January 24, 2012

My Polka Dot Confection

Pattern: Self drafted version based of Colette Truffle
Fabric: 2 1/2 yards of rayon shirting (it has a really nice slubbed texture that isn’t shown in these pictures) and 1 yard of white cotton lawn
Notions: No, eliminated zipper
Time: once the first muslin, the drafting, and the second muslin were finished… 5 hours.

I’ve been in a bit of a sewing slump since my last wardrobe challenge ended. It’s strange not having a clear plan to sew from – I get so easily paralyzed by all the creative directions that I could take and I’m not nearly as productive as I’d like to be. I gave myself a week to just be but finally it was time to get moving again.

Since receiving my copy of the Colette Sewing Handbook, I knew that I wanted to make Truffle. It’s feminine and fun while still maintaining a crisp and tailored look.  I traced off the pattern in early January before I even had an idea of the fabric I wanted to use. However, the muslin showed that I had a lot to fix – a small bust adjustment, taking in the upper sides while letting out the waist, and shortening the bodice back length were the biggest issues but certainly not the only ones. I tried my best but I quickly become frustrated by the amount of work and decided to scrap the original pattern and draft my own instead. My patternmaking classes are starting again in February (I took a leave in November for our trip to Vietnam) and this was a nice exercise to get me familiar with the process again. The neckline could still be lower and wider but all in all I think I did a pretty good job at recreating the look.

Since I decided to leave out the back zipper I needed to leave about 2″ of ease in the bodice so that I could slip it over my head without help. I go back and forth on whether this was a good idea. I find that dresses without zippers get more use in my wardrobe. More than likely it’s the added ease and not the lack of zipper that sways me! That 1 1/2″ to 2″ gives me enough room to move around but I still feel gussied up because I’m in a dress. However, looking at the photos, I do wish that the bodice was more fitted and I don’t think the rayon helps. It definitely has a tendency to sag at the waistline whereas the muslin had enough structure to stay “up”. Or at least that’s what I think is going on. It’s certainly not something I had thought of when I started the project.

The sewing process was pretty uneventful. I started with french seams on the bodice lining but when it came to the self fabric the rayon shirting was fraying like crazy so I pulled out the serger. My serger has been on the fritz (I think there might be a short in the pedal) but it pulled it together long enough for me to put the body together. Since I eliminated the back seam, I needed a way to finish the armholes so I grabbed out Lynda Maynard’s The Dressmaker’s Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques and tried out her baby french binding. I’ve wanted to try it since I took a class from her last summer and I’m so glad I finally did. It’s similar to a turned in bias binding and although this particular go around isn’t perfect but I can see how easy and clean it could be.

So my forced creation turned out to be a success but it did nothing for my slump. Now that it’s finished I’m back to wondering where to go next.

January 20, 2012

Support Indie Pattern Designers

It’s been a quiet week, I know, but I’ve been in a creative slump lately. I’ll be back next week with a finished garment, some upcoming projects, and new content. Until then, I’ve made up a blog button for the list of independent pattern designers. Clicking on the button will take you to that post. If you decide to grab it for your blog, I’d love to know. Tell me if you have any problems – I’m new at this stuff and don’t know for certain if it works. Hope you have a great weekend!

A Good Wardrobe
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January 16, 2012

Update: Independent Pattern Designers

Before I started the list, I was bemoaning the lack of independent pattern designers but look how long that list is! It’s only been a month and I’m finding more and more sources every week. I really appreciate everyone’s input! Adding:

  • The Sewing Workshop – writer and sewing instructor Linda Lee offers a variety of apparel patterns. Also available from her shop are the intriguing Shapes patterns but I’m uncertain whether these are her designs as well. Can anyone confirm this for me?
  • In House Patterns – Alexandra describes her line as “runway inspired and vintage influenced creating a perfect blend of sophistication, elegance, and style for the fashion savvy home sewist.” Keep your eyes peeled for new PDF patterns from this emerging company!
  • Seamingly Smitten – Although the majority of Jenny Hall’s patterns are for children, she does offer a few women’s blouses.
January 13, 2012

Outfit: Fake Spring

The unseasonably warm weather had me pulling out my spring clothes last week. The skirt, the top, and the scarf were made last summer while I was avoiding my fall wardrobe challenge and have seen a considerable amount of wear since then. I brought all three on our trip to Vietnam and despite the rough laundering they’ll survive another season. Sadly, our true winter weather is creeping back in and these will soon be shoved to the back of the closet until Spring truly appears.

January 12, 2012


Happy birthday to the best man a woman could ask for!


January 11, 2012

Sew Weekly: Accessorize

Although many of you are readers of The Sew Weekly, I thought I’d mention that I’m a contributor this year and yesterday I was featured for the weekly theme! Jump on over to read about my version of Chloe from Victory Patterns.

January 9, 2012

Update: Independent Pattern Designers

I know how much you hate* these posts and I swear I’ll stop once you all quit introducing me to new sources! Adding to the list:

  • Onion – Jette Frokiaer designs sewing patterns with an eye on Scandanavian fashion trends.  Her patterns have been translated and are sold through MariaDenmark.
  • Your Style Rocks – This pattern company takes reader design submission and offers FREE downloadable patterns from the winners!
  • Pattern Scissors Cloth – Patternmaker and designer, Sherry, offers her patterns through her blog. She is just finishing a sew-a-long for her Ruby Slip so there’s a lot of support available!
* I’m just being jocose – don’t misread me!