Tag Archives: dress

Completed Sewing Project: The Tiramisu Dress

I love that this dress has pockets!

PatternTiramisu by Cake Patterns
Fabric: Jersey from Metro Textiles in NYC
Size: 35C

So this summer, I’ve sewn not just one, but TWO dresses! I love this print too. I picked it up at Metro Textile earlier this year when my sister was in town. Originally, I was planning to use this knit fabric to make a top to wear with blazers, but I realized I had just enough for Cake’s Tiramisu dress.

I had read that the sizing for the bodice was purposely designed so that there would be no gaping—fantastic! So, using the bodice formula, I was a size 35.  However, after I constructed the bodice and tried it on, it was ginormous—almost comically so. I panicked and Facetimed my sister (love technology!), who had made two dresses from this pattern already, to get her advice. Interestingly, even though we have completely different body types, we both had the same problem with the bodice. I ended up using the solution that she used by cutting off some of the bodice length and taking in the side seams.

Curtseying outside Gramercy Park.

In the end, I wound up shortening the bodice by an inch and taking in an inch on both side seams. The bodice still doesn’t fit as well as I’d like, but I’m hoping that after I wash it, the fabric will bounce back. Otherwise, I guess I‘ll have to take in the shoulders a little and add snaps where the bodice crosses over.

Aside from altering the bodice, it was an easy dress to sew and the instructions were very clear. Plus, it was nice that the instructions fit on one sheet. And this dress is soooo comfortable! I know that I’ll be getting a lot of wear out of this dress before it gets cool.  I would only recommend that if you have an average bust for your size, that you may want to go down a bodice size.

Onto the next project!

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Completed Project: Vogue 8766 Spring Fever Dress

Ooh – I’m a little squinty! Now I know why all those fashion bloggers wear sunglasses!

Pattern: Vogue 8766  /  Fabric: 100% cotton from Mood Fabrics  /  Lining: 100% cotton shirting (lime green!) also from Mood

Shoes: Aerosoles; Belt: Target; Earrings: Icing; Necklace: Me&Ro; Bag: Kate Spade

So, let’s go back a couple months…Remember how I was learning about fit with the Sew the Perfect Fit on Craftsy? Well I finally “completed” this Vogue 8766 dress at the end of June. But something about the dress was bugging me. For one thing, it looked really dumpy on me. The center front of the skirt had excess fabric and it didn’t look flattering. So I put it away for a little while.

After the July 4th holiday, I decided to revisit the dress. I pinned up the sides of the skirt and realized that I had had too much ease in the skirt! So after all of the fabric I had added to my muslin to accommodate the hips, I ended up taking in 3/4″ on each side. Go figure! (ha ha)

Now, the excess fabric is gone from the front of the skirt and it fits much  better. I can wear it in public now! Funny thing–when I finally really completed this dress, we were in the middle of a heat wave. So Spring Fever dress is now the Heat Wave dress!

I definitely recommend Craftsy’s Sew the Perfect Fit class. With this class I got my sewing mojo back– woo hoo!

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Completed Sewing Project: The Audrey Dress

Pattern:  Butterick 4443
Fabric: polyester from Joann’s

Belt: Gap
Shoes: Bandolino

It is done!! After much hemming (ha!) and hawing on my part, I finally finished the Audrey dress!

This week I’ve been on a staycation and determined to finish this dress. For some reason I thought this dress would be an easy project, but along the way I realized that I still have a lot to learn. My sewing skills are still rusty. Some things I learned:

There are no shortcuts

Any where on the dress where the sewing isn’t precise, I can spot it a mile away.

Granted, we are always more critical on ourselves and since I’ve been living and breathing this dress since May, I know exactly where all of the mistakes are. Some of the errors I went back and fixed, but others I decided to live with and chalk up to a learning experience.

Muslin, muslin, muslin

I would have been much less frustrated if I hadn’t breezed through the muslin and thought I could make fit changes on the fashion fabric. Huge mistake.

At this point, I don’t even know what size I ended up making since I took the dress in (and out at one point) so much in the bodice and skirt. I originally used a 16 for the bodice and 18 for the skirt to skim my hips since those were the sizes that fit my bust, waist and hip measurements. The dress was huge! I ended up taking in the waist and shoulders and cutting 2 inches off both sides of the skirt since I looked like I was being swallowed by a skirt. I decided that I wanted a less poufy skirt instead.

I wish sewing pattern sizes were more in sync with ready-to-wear sizes (or vice versa) – then I would have a better idea of which size I am. It’s so confusing!

Butterick 4443 pattern images

I have learned that just like there are size differences between retailers (like Gap vs. Banana Republic), there are size differences between pattern companies. All the more reason to work on a muslin first to fix all the sizing kinks.

You need quality equipment

For some reason, inserting the invisible zipper was very challenging for me. It’s not like I’ve never worked with one before either.

After visiting Colette’s site and viewing their awesome video tutorial (click here to see it), they mentioned that using a plastic invisible zipper foot, which was what I was using, was disastrous.

I immediately hauled my butt down to City Quilter to get a Bernina metal invisible zipper foot. Wow – what a difference that metal foot made! I inserted the zipper so easily. That restored my sewing confidence a bit.

Now I’m ready for my next project! Stay tuned.

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Sewing Project: Audrey Hepburn-style Summer Dress

White floral Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn

White floral Givenchy dress of Audrey Hepburn (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lately I’ve been dipping my toe back into sewing with some small projects, like the tote bag and quilted sleep mask, but now I think I’m ready to try a bigger project – a dress!

About 6 or 7 years ago, I bought this Butterick 4443 pattern (see below) because it reminded me of the Givenchy dress Audrey Hepburn wore to the Oscars in 1954 when she won Best Actress for Roman Holiday. I love that fit and flare shape and I especially adore bateau necklines. Also, that 50’s silhouette is pretty flattering on me too!  I had bought a lovely cotton/poly blend fabric with a black and white floral print from Joanne’s that would be just perfect.

My husband and I are going to a wedding this Saturday and I thought this would be a great excuse to make a dress – and give me a deadline so I couldn’t procrastinate. I started it over the Memorial Day weekend and well, today is Tuesday, and I thought I’d have finished an awesome, swingy dress to brag about by now. Not so much.

I first made a muslin version of the dress last week, just as a run through so if there was anything I found confusing in the instructions, I could work it out on the muslin. Also wanted to make sure I was the same size as I was 7 years ago when I first cut out the pattern!

So good news/bad news – the good news is that I have to take in the bodice a little bit. Bad news is that I’m not sure how to go about it. I made the rookie mistake of thinking I could do all the alterations on the real fabric instead of testing it on the muslin. Argh! I may go back to the muslin version to figure it out before ripping the bodice apart.

This afternoon, I decided to look up the pattern on PatternReview.com and lo and behold, there are over 40 reviews of this pattern. And wouldn’t you know, the biggest complaint is how big the bodice is and how the shoulders are designed for a linebacker. Awesome!

I’ve got my work cut out for me. So do you have any sewing alteration tips? If so, please share! More to come…

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