Saturday, October 27, 2012

Flowery Dress

This pattern is from a 2003 Patrones magazine. It was earmarked since I bought it, and I've been, what... nine years in having it done! At least I can say I am very very happy with the result, eventhough I had serious doubts durintg its construction (as it is usual, at least in me...). Last winter I found this lovely soft cotton flowery fabric, then I remembered the hippie dress I had earmarked and proceeded.
Well, as you can see in the model image, there is some engineering in the upper body of the dress. The bust dart is accomplised by attaching this piece to the front of the dress. I decided to sew my neckline facing first (after applying some fusible interfacing to the upper body piece), turning it over and polishing it, all around the front neckline and front opening, with ties included. Secondly, I procreed to sew the upper piece to the medium section of the dress, manouvering each section, by machine sewing it to each corner, not beyond, as I understand is done in quilting. I must confess I do not quite master this technique, and I have decided to do some quilting basic course just to understand how to sew pieces toguether with corners going in both directions. This wonderful Ungaro's dress, for example, used by Shaeffer as an example in her wonderful book:
How is it done??? How are the green stripes sewn to the yellow base???

But somehow my intuition was correct, and I managed to get quite a good result, with the exception of some little ruffling somewhere, indetectable to the eye, so all in all, I was quite happy with the result. After that, I sew by had the facing to the back of the piece, securing all the seam allowances, once trimed and scaled, inside it.
Then I proceeded to try it on, and started to panic...
The neckline was too wide and it nearly fell off my shoulders. I should have tried on before all that intricate sewing, but I was lazy, and only measured the patters in bust, waist and hips to see it was ok. Those areas seemed to fit me perfectly, only the neckline was too wide. I decided to go, the most difficult part was complete anyways, and maybe solve it with some bra channels to support it.
So I went on sewing.
I decided to enclose all seams, since the ones in the upper piece attachment were so wonderfully hidden. I enclosed the sleeves seams and its little flounces', the sides seams and the big flounce at the bottom of the dress too. The inside of the dress is as neat and polished as the outside. I machine stitched all the seams with marine blue thread in my bobbin, which in this flowery pattern, is invisible.
I had to shorten both the dress and the bottom flounce for my taste in lenght. I sew on two little braserie channels and tried on.
The neckline was still too wide and although it did not fell off, it gapped.
The I decided to make a little pleat in the back of the neckline, catching 1 inch (x2) and sewing it by hand at both sides of the inside. I was very happy to see my little trick worked to perfection, but I learned my lesson. Even it you have to rip it off afterwards, one first fitting in bastings is always necessary.
The dress is lovely, it is very confortable and soft to my skin (cotton!) and flattering to my figure.

Here I am wearing it with my Ugg boots.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Formal Dresses For My Nieces

These two are my awsome nieces, and her mother asked me to make them some dresses to attend a formal party. She gave me some ideas from a catalogue, and I decided on this style.
To find two appropiate fabrics -different, but coordinated, as her mother and I wanted- was a little bit diffcult and limited my choice quite a lot, but we finally decided on this piqué in grey/pink. It was a little bit boring, but ellegant and beautiful.
I took the pattern from Burda magazine, but I had to make it four times smaller, so my recently acquired pattern-making habilities came up handy.
I was really happy with the result, but three days before the party, when their parents tried them on, they realized they were far too small. They had just grown a lot during the last week (after some bad cold), and although they managed to put one dress on, they had real trouble to take it off! So, in two days, I had to undo both dresses (dress itself, undelining and facings!!!) and resew them again. I even took them one afternoon to work (I had some free time there that day) and I was sewing hiding in a corner (relax, nobody saw me).
Well, as you can see, the dresses finally were fine, and they have been wearing them in several occasions this summer, but I learned how difficult is to fit dresses to children, specially if they do not live with you.