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Category Archives: Fancy

My blue Anna

In october I attended the wedding of a former collegue and very good friend of mine. October is a hard time to figure out what to wear. It can be really cold or still quite warm. It took place in the mountains, the alps, so I expected it to be more on the cold side. So I wanted to wear a floor lenght dress, to keep my legs a little warmer than they would be in a cocktail lenght dress. Since quite a while I was eyeing the Anna dress pattern. The thing that held me back were the kimono sleeves. I´ve never made or worn a garment with kimono sleeves and not looked like a professional boxer in it. As the date of the wedding neared I couldn´t make myself excited about any other pattern. So I decided to risk it.

My next problem was the fabric. I had my eyes set on this gorgeos blue satin. But when I went to the shop to buy it, it felt just wrong. Very plastic-y and frizzing with static. So I asked the shop clerk for another fabric in exactly this colour. We spend about an hour looking. Most of the fabrics had this cheap looking sheen or felt not right. Finally I settled for microsatin, which had this amazing matte back side, which I used for my right side. It was kind of expencive but it was the best choice I had. Vienna sucks regarding to fabric shops.

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Anna came together beautifully. I chose the floor lenght variation with the V-neckline and the tigh high slit. The pattern pieces fit together perfectly and it was really fun to sew. I stitched down the neck facing and slit down by hand which took a while but was totally worth it.

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I took the shoulder seam in about 1,5cm and shortened the armhole for 5mm. The bust pleats hung too low, so I lenghtend them about 1cm.

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The fabric made the dress so floaty, it was a joy to walk and dance in it. I guess it is the most comfortable fancy dress I´ve ever worn/made. And the best thing: I didn´t look like I had hideous broad shoulders in the sleeves! They looked…normal! I´m just realizing how crazy my hair looks. Well, can´t look too fancy 🙂

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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Fancy

 

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Finishing touches on the wedding dress (picture heavy!)

After finally completing the lining of the dress, I was able to start with the hemming and embellishing.

After the last fitting with the wedding shoes I shortened the dress 6cm, thenI cut out the lining 8cm shorter and without seam allowence in the hem. When I turned the hem two times 1cm, I encased the lining in the main fabric.

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Now it was time to handstitch an invisible hem. I didn´t want the seam to be visible on the outside, even though there´s a layer of lace over it. It just looks tidier and more exquisite this way.

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Next on was the lace. I  sewed it on with tiny hand stitches, hidden in the floral pattern of the lace. With the 6m of (6,6 yards) hem circumference it took forever. Yesterday I just could´nt stop myself. With every inch carefully pinned and sewed on the silk I was getting more excited. So I finished the whole lace trim until it was well past my regular bedtime.

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So, now the dress itself is finished! I can honestly say, it´s the most beautiful thing I´ve ever sewn. But see for yourself:

 

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I hope I can add bride-in-gown pictures after the wedding 🙂

 

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Fancy, Wedding

 

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Prom dress (I feel old)

A few weeks back my sister told me, that my former babysitter-kid needs a prom dress. My first thought was “Prom dress? God, I´m old!!”. The girls has grown up now to this beautiful 15-year old who is going to a prom soon. So I got to work and made her a dress.

She bought the fabrics herself, a dark red lining taffeta, a black duchesse and a wonderful burgundy fabric, for which I don´t know the englisch name. In german it´s called a Borkencrepe. It´s sheer like chiffon but creped and with a little more grip and structure. It´s made out of viscose.

For the pattern I used McCalls6893 in the smallest size and needed to take in a few cm at the waist for her hourglass figure. After making the mousseline I started the real dress yesterday in the evening. The measurement chart was far off, according to it I would have had to make it 2 sizes larger.

For the boning I used my spiral steel from corset making. I never use plastic boning as it tends to deform or crack and never gives the support a spiral steel can give you. I put boning in the front side seams and the back side seams. I always have the problems that the caps of the boning tend to slide of, so I dipped the ends in liquid gum, the kind you use for isolating cables.

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For the casing I used bias tape, so it follows the curve of the front seams.

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I made french seams for all the skirt seams, so it won´t show any serged seams when she´s dancing and twirling:

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The bodice got an underlining out of the lining fabric with the addition of iron on interfacing. I hand basted the viscose parts to the underlining and used them as one layer.

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The dress got a 6cm sash on the waistline with an attachable bow, so she can wear the bow on the side or on the back. This picture captures the colour best.

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The dress came together suprisingly fast and it was fun to make. Other than the weird mearsurement chart everything came together nicely. I hope she has a blast wearing it to the prom 🙂

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Posted by on May 1, 2014 in Fancy

 

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More on the wedding dress

Today I was able to get in a lot of wedding dress sewing time.

I had to baste together the underlining with the silk crepe de chine. This was about 21 yards of handbasting. Oh yes, my fingers are still red.

 

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Sewing together the front and side front skirt pieces I had to carfully leave out everything over the circle marking, so it´ll form a nice point after sewing it to the band.

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While sewing up the skirt I went through a pack of needles and every single one of them broke. I used the thinnest once availible, Nr. 60. No matter how I adjusted the tension, All of the broke. So I went one size up and used the Nr.70 needles and they worked perfectly! I was afraid to use the before, because at a test piece they pulled a lot of threads from the silk. Together with the underlining it was okay.

 

I basted in the invisible zipper  with zigzag handstitches before putting in under the machine.

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Then I sewed the dress together with the band and the bodice and here we are:

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Posted by on April 12, 2014 in Fancy, Wedding

 

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Wedding dress progress

Oh, it´s been quite a while since my last post. I´ve been very busy with my wedding dress project. It requires a great deal of hand stitching on slippery fabric, so it consumes almost all of my sewing time. The dress is so fun to make, with every little step it get´s more beautiful.

The main part of the bodice is made out of sheer silk mousseline. While sewing I had to run a tissue paper under the seam, otherwise the machine would have swallowed up the fabric.

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On the back I hand sewed a lace applique with tiny stitches:

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The front inserts and they´re lining are made out of silk crepe de chine:

ImageAt this state I had another fitting with the bride. The bodice fits perfectly and she´s very happy with it. I can´t wait to see the finished dress on her, she already looked so beautiful in just the top part 🙂

Next comes a lot of hand sewing – I need to hand baste the crepe de chine to the venezia underlining for the skirt parts.

 
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Posted by on April 4, 2014 in Fancy, Wedding

 

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Georgia dress, all finished

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The sewalong is not yet finished, there´s one more post coming – the zipper and hemming.

I, of course, couldn´t wait and finished the dress today. I had so much fun putting it all together, it´s such a great dress!

The pattern pieces went together easily and the instructions were pretty straightforward. So it all went faster than I expected.

I used size US 4/ UK 8 from the bodice to the waist and size US 6/ UK 10 for the waist. I was in between those sizes at the hip measurements, so I decided to go for the larger size to ensure that the dress will be comfortable.

I never got why so many sewists are scared of the invisivle zipper. Once I figured out how to put it in, I´ve been able to sew it faster than a regular zipper. I have an “invisible zipper foot”, which was really quite cheap at my local fabric store.

This is how i sew in my zippers: First I finish the raw edges with my overlock, where the stitch is exactly 5mm wide. I use the edge of the stitches as guidence for the zipper tape. I pin it in place with a few needles. Then I set in my invisible zipper foot, set the needle position to the middle and start sewing. The foot rolls the theeth of the zipper out of the way and sews it in with almost no effort. After that I just close the rest of the seam with the regular foot.

I don´t like how the zipper end just hangs loosley in a dress, so I made a litte zipper end cover. I used a 4x6cm scrap of fabric, folded it in half, turned the opening edged 5mm outside. Then I stitched the side seams with 5mm seam allowence. At last you just need to turn it over, stick the zipper end in and close it.

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The fabric photographs horribly. It looks more grey than black in the pictures.

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Next time, I have to make a SBA, the bust has 2 tiny crinkles that are bothering me, even though you can hardly see them. And I can take the side seams in for about 5mm at each side.

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ImageIn the last picture I´m standing in a kind of weird way but it´s the only picture where you can see the pattern properly.

All in all I´m very happy with my very first little black dress! It is very comfortable and perfect for formal or informal occasions! Just throw it on and feel fancy 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Fancy, Sewalong

 

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Victorian peacock dress

Today I´m sharing a dress I made last year with you. I wanted a victorian dress from ca. 1880, where the natural form tornure was popular. The dresses had no bustle with boning underneath the skirt, just a light padding with bumpads.

ImageThe dress took me a few months to complete with the underwear and the hat. I used silk dupioni for the main dress and the corset, voile for the chemise and cotton for the underskirt. The skirt has yards over yards of folds on the hemline.

ImageSorry for the messy hair, I had like 5 minutes to change into the dress and do my hair. The hat was a mini straw hat I bought at Nehelenia. I draped the silk with long narrow pleats to lie flat on the top part. It has a hair comb on one side, so it doesn´t slide off my head while moving.

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I didn´t like any of the patterns for the apron overskirt I found, so I drafted it myself. The waist closes with a skirt hook, so the ties are really just to underline the shilloutte. On the side are 3 decorative buttons made out of the purple dupioni.ImageHere is a close up of the bodice, it took me a few trys to get the fit right, the pattern was an original from 1880, and the body shape was a lot different than now.

ImageThis picture was taken at a different photo shoot with my cousin schildgroede, but you can see the corset. I used Silverado pattern from Truly victorian.

I really enjoyed making this ensemble from the underwear to the hat. Now I only need an occasion to wear it 🙂

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Fancy, Historical

 
 
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