Sunday, February 12, 2017

Engagement Dress: Vogue 1314

Photo by Sebastien Bicard

For a break in the wedding dress series, I present my engagement dress! Actually, it was just a dress I made and realized it was the best garment I had to wearing during my engagement photos. Our wedding photographer is Sebastien Bicard, based in Northern California but travels a TON so ring him if you need some really great pictures. He was amazing to work with, Pete and I aren't very good at getting our picture taken, but Sebastien made everything feel really natural. I totally recommend him! But I have him for May 27th!

Photo by Sebastien Bicard

For this dress I used Vogue 1314, a Rebecca Taylor design. Its a good old-fashioned knit sheath, but with lots and lots of ruching down the sides. I actually wish there was at least 50% more fabric to ruche up, as it is, I think its a little spare. I used merino wool knit (another step in my apparent goal to have an entire wardrobe of merino) from Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley. There is no lycra in this fabric so I'm waiting to see how it will wear. I already notice the hem getting a little stretched out at the end of the day so I'm a bit worried. The entire dress is also lined in the same fabric so its quite cozy. 

Photo by Sebastien Bicard

As the dress and the lining are only sewn together at the neckline and armscyes, I find sometimes the lining rides up and bunches which is pretty annoying. Also, for a knit dress, the lining has a bust dart which is pretty weird. Might want to change that next time. 

Photo by Sebastien Bicard

You can't see my dress in this picture, its just my favorite one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Wedding Dress Series: #3

Lots of progress since the last posts and I am getting really excited! I'm just going to dive in with the pictures.

Please excuse my turquoise bra, its my something blue.

This was my first time using a Marfy pattern and you know, its kind of fun driving without a map. The only instructions are printed on the pattern themselves and they are translated from Italian. "Half-back on the grain?" It actually means "cut on the fold". Those patterns are super nice though, they go together seamlessly. Pun not intended, but welcomed. For the skirt, I kept the center-front length of V1486, but extended the side seams. For the back, I matched the side seam length and significantly extended the center-back. I want drama. For the ruffle, I eyeballed the length and gathered and gathered and gathered and gathered.

Oh this dress is so flat, I was really questioning my decisions.

So there's a lot of things wrong with V1, not least of all that it look like something out of Little House on the Prairie. Everything seems to depend on the skirt portion which in V1 is all wrong. Compared to the inspiration dress, the skirt needs to be quite a bit shorter and be more circle than A-line.

Oh that's so much better, I mean, look how happy I am.

Oh, that so much better. Pretty much that only thing that changes here is I redrafted the skirt. I recut the bodice because now I know where the waist is on the pattern is and wanted to test it out. I'm still trying to figure out the proportions, I know the whole dress could still be a little shorter in the front, but I don't know if I want to take length out from the ruffle, the skirt, or both. I was trying something out with the neckline, thinking maybe I'll go with a halter, but I've realized that with the size of my chest, a sweetheart neckline is really the most flattering. Doesn't hurt that my fiance has been requesting a strapless dress since we got engaged.

I just ripped the ruffle off the first dress and reused it, but you get the idea.

Now I'm going to focus on the interior corset, because there's really no reason to fit unless I'm fitting to how my body will be held underneath the dress itself. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Wedding Dress Series #2

So with the style settled on and failing trying to keep from looking at more styles on Pinterest, its time to start the real work. For the foundation I am going with Marfy 2630, blatantly copying Poppykettle's AMAZING series on her wedding dress. I ordered the pattern and there was only one size left(!), so I went with it knowing it would probably have to redraft a bit anyway for the bust. I'll be following what Poppykettle's fabric choice as well.

Marfy 2630

For the bodice, I'm starting with another Marfy, this time 2616 which has some interesting folded bust darts that I think will complement the ruffles nicely. I'm still waffling between keeping the strapless look or making it into a halter. According to some advice from the amazing women of The Fabric Store in LA, I'll be attaching the corset to the dress itself. 

Marfy 2616

For the skirt portion, I'll be extremely modifying Vogue 1486. The inspiration skirt is actually two layers where the outer layer has the ruffle and the inner layer is a high-low circle skirt. And I'm keeping those pockets, oh yeah.

Vogue 1486
The fabric is all based on the amazing advice of Douglas from Britex Fabrics. According to Jason Wu's website, the dress is making of silk gazar. I went to Britex on a hunt for gazar and Douglas finally convinced me to turn away from gazar and turn to satin-faced silk organza. You were right all along Douglas, you are awesome. I plan to underline the bodice with flanelette and I'm still not sure what I'm going to line the bodice with, recommendations welcomed! I won't be lining the skirt, two layers should be fine. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Wedding Dress Series: #1

I am getting married May 27 of next year! We have the band, the food, the photographer, the photobooth, the save-the-dates are out, and everyone is offering their help wherever they can. Of course that all pales in comparison to the dress. Now if you know me personally or are coming to the wedding, you have just signed an NDA, please don't share.

Photo from Vogue Pinterest 

I've looked at a lot of dresses. If you sew, you can imagine how many dresses I've looked at. I tried a bunch of dresses on and definitely decided that I wanted something big and modern, no rhinestone embelishments and such. I prefer a modern, clean style with nothing that implies lingerie. There have been short flirtations with other dresses, but those crushes passed and I've always come back to this dress from Jason Wu's Spring 2012 line. Those ruffles just get to me. I few months back I decided to stop looking at all the pictures and acknowledge that this was my dress, I just have to make it reality.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Sewing For My Man

Is it just me or are men's clothes of medium quality and very expensive or terrible quality and kind of expensive? I was sick of Pete's clothes falling apart or pilling so bad they were translucent that I decided to make him a new sweater. He liked Thread Theory Newcastle Cardigan and I am a loyal fan of The Fabric Store's merino wool.

My handsome man! He says the sleeves are too long besides me having him try it on to confirm so I'll have to take the cuffs off and recut sometime. 

Pattern was fine, I do really like the way they put together their patterns. I'm not the biggest fan of Thread Theory's armscye drafts, they always seem to be puffy, almost feminine, which can be seen even in some of their samples so I fought to keep this one looking good. I think I did ok.

Required booty shot. There's a tiny bit of pilling where his backpack rests, but that's expected.

To jazz things up a bit I quilted the front and back yokes in a light-shade and weight merino. I quilted the yoke pieces then sewed them to the body, rather than quilting everything together, which turned out really well. Even the undercollar is quilted because I'm fancy like that.

I made him put on his sweater inside out in an airport to the confusion of a couple watching us

The insides of this garment are gorgeous if I do say myself. The shoulders are stabilized with twill tape and I am so proud of them! I've made Pete take it off to show people the shoulders. My machine couldn't make it through the layers of the button placket for buttonholes so I took it to a tailor in the city. It was $10 a buttonhole! I was ticked it was so expensive, but the sweater had languished closure-less in the closet for two months so I went ahead and paid. The buttons are lovely things from Stone Mountain and Daughter.

Little tack to keep the facing from flapping around and ticking off the wearer who gets ticked off at clothes easily

The weight of this is absolutely perfect for the Bay Area's constant chilliness. Pete overheats really easily and merino wool is perfect for regulating temperature. I want to make him another one, but the Newcastle is a fairly specific garment so we'll see what else I can do with the pattern.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Pants of Many Mistakes

I love these pants, but let's just start with: I made so many mistakes on these that I'm lucky I ended up with a waist and two leg holes. I've been wanting some of those trendy, fancy sweatpants for a while and what's more ridiculous than merino wool sweatpants.

I went with Named patterns Alexandria Peg Trousers and my favorite merino wool from The Fabric Store, previously seen here and here. That was the first mistake. The Alexandrias have front pleats and are really better suited for a thin fabric with all those layers that build up. The pattern says if you're going with a knit, use sweatshirt jersey, whatever that is, but from the sample it looks significantly thinner than what I used. So there, that was mistake #1.

Mistake #2 was a doozy and it all started out right with me making a muslin. I'm not about to cut into my favorite fabric in the whole world without knowing the pattern works on me. As printed, the Alexandria is really really high on my body, like very low crop top-high-waisted. Knowing that I shortened the waist, cut into my precious merino, and started sewing along merrily. Apparently I lost my mind because I did not redraft the crotch curve or the pockets into my altered pattern.  I was happily sewing along and went to put the pockets in and was terribly confused as to why the pocket curves were so small. Do you see where this is going yet? So the crotch on these pants are actually the shortened pocket curves. I figured it was close enough in shape after comparing them. Then I recut my pockets from my shortened crotch curves. And finally I had to true up the waist because that was all sorts of screwed up, what was supposed to be the middle of the pants was now the sides. Dude, I almost gave up sewing altogether.

Mistake #3 was small, but still silly. When I sewed by muslin, I used a thin jersey so the pleats were compact little things and I didn't think anything of it. With my merino these were like 9 layers and my machine hated sewing through them. Turns out when I actually sat down and studied the directions, I was folding the pleats wrong, it was only like 4 or 5 layers. Still, use a thin fabric!

One fun thing I did was I actually dyed the black pieces as I wanted some contrast, but I'm too cheap (and I hate waste) to buy 1/2 yard (minimum cut) and only use a fraction. The dye took fantastically and hasn't faded a bit. I recut the waistband so could insert the contrast piece and I added some cuffs.

Anyways, I love these pants. I wear then ALL THE TIME, so much so that the crotch is actually significantly pilled, damnit, so I don't really wear them to last minute grocery store runs anymore. The fit is a bit wonky, but that's 100% my fault as the crotch are pockets and the sides are the middle. I'd love to make another pair in a suitable fabric, silk twill maybe, without totally screwing everything up.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Ms. Morris and the Quilted Sleeve

So I moved to the San Francisco area back in November and no lie, the temperature has changed by at most 10 degrees that entire time. My body still thinks its sometime in February. My wardrobe made for Boston and then Los Angeles weather, either hot or really, really cold is just not cutting it. I need a max 75 degrees and windy as f--- wardrobe.

Enter my new Morris from my pattern soulmate Grainline. Ms. Morris is perfect, I can throw her over my large collection of sleeveless blouses and wear them to work and through the wind tunnel that is San Francisco. The fabric is an amazing merino wool, nylon, lycra blend from my fabric store soulmate, The Fabric Store. This fabric is probably stretchier than what Jen recommends, but the nylon and lycra content give the fabric an amazing recovery and there has been absolutely no bagging whatsoever. I interfaced the facings, but not any of the body.

The pattern went together beautifully, minus some changes that were completely my fault. I did a combination FBA and general lengthening and even though I thought I transferred all changes to the facing, I did not and didn't have enough fabric to recut them. I then removed the added length from the front, so the general shape of the hem is not as angular as the original pattern.

My favorite part of this blazer is the double layered and quilted sleeves! I love them! (they are also the reason I didn't have enough fabric to recut the facings) The wrong side of the fabric is kind of nubby so it needed to be lined in some way and quilting them like this was by far the most badass. I used quilting adhesive to keep the sleeves together and my walking foot so that everything would be nice and smooth. Love that walking foot. The only problem is that the sleeves are now a bit too heavy for the jacket so I used some black twill tape on the shoulders to keep the sleeves from pulling them down.

If I could change something about this blazer, I would probably line the fronts instead of facing them. When the SF winds blow my jacket open and then catch the facings, this literally turns into a parachute. Also the added weight of a lining would hold the sleeves up better.