Saturday, December 28, 2013

Baby got Bling!

It may not be obvious in the picture, but this dress is covered in "rhinestone" bling!  My oldest daughter was inspired by this rhinestone covered chiffon gown.  

I recently took an online class called Fast Track Fitting by Joi Mahon on Craftsy.com, which creates perfectly fit basic pattern pieces based on detailed measurements.  I really like the class and used the muslin it made to create a cover for my dress form that can be used over and over again for each individual client

For this dress I drafted the bodice and lining by adapting the basic patterns created by the Fast Track Fitting pattern.  The skirt is simply multiple layers of tulle gathered and attached to the bodice.  Trimming the bodice is double strands of the "rhinestones" in an optical illusion of waist definition.  Draped from the waistline of the skirt is a rhinestone mesh separated into single strands that hang loose and move with the skirt.  The necklace is made from a rhinestone piece of trim held by two "rhinestone" strands.


Pattern Description: - A satin and tulle cocktail dress with "rhinestone" trim and drape.

Pattern Sizing: Custom fit using techniques from "Fast Track Fitting by Joi Mahon on Craftsy.com" for a curvy apple figure with a 34D bust.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? This dress was only intended to be loosely based on the inspiration dress.  It did look like the sketch.

Were the instructions easy to follow? There were no instructions for this simple dress!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The "rhinestone" mesh had to be cut into individual strands and hand sewn to the bodice and waist.  It was a lot of work!

Fabric Used: White satin for the bodice, nylon lining material and "rhinestone" mesh from the home decorating department.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This was a simple dress, flattering to the client.  I will probably make a similar silhouette multiple times for this particular client. 

Conclusion: This dress was designed for family Christmas pictures, and hopefully prom, but ultimately to wear to my 20th wedding anniversary party. This daughter loves all the shiny bling!


Friday, December 27, 2013

Chiffon Cocktail Dress adapted from RTW

Inspiration dress
Cocktail Outfit Contest

My youngest daughter tried on this dress -->
and instantly fell in love.  It was very expensive (about $300), but my main concern was how much leg showed on her 6 foot tall frame (she's obviously taller than this model because it almost showed her panties!).  She especially loved how it fit her elongated hourglass figure by accommodating her (substantial) bust, clinging to her tiny ribs and flaring over her hips.  She also asked that the hemlines in front look a little more blended and wanted a little bling added (like this other version of the dress that we found on the website).  We also created a necklace to draw the eye from her decolletage to her pretty face!

http://www.bellanovaaustin.com/proddetail.php?prod=LaFemme_15033






I looked everywhere for a pattern, since I'd never worked with a pattern with this particular fit and drape.  I finally stopped procrastinating, took a deep breath and drafted my own pattern using some techniques I'd learned in an online class called Fast Track Fitting by Joi Mahon on Craftsy.com, which created perfectly fit pattern pieces based on detailed measurements.


Pattern Description: - A hi-low cocktail dress in multi-layered chiffon with rhinestone details.

Pattern Sizing: Custom fit using techniques from "Fast Track Fitting by Joi Mahon on Craftsy.com" for a 6 foot tall elongated hourglass figure with a 34DD bra size.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? This was an adaptation of RTW LaFemme 18049 I believe it looks a lot like the original with the exception of a few requested modifications.  I wish you could see this dress in motion. We didn't have a fancy wind machine like the RTW models!

Were the instructions easy to follow? There were no instructions for this complicated dress!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I really struggled to get this dress to cling to the ribs and still flare over the hips without using any darts and very few seams. The top layer was bias cut, but the fabric wasn't wide enough to do the same for the rest of the layers.

Fabric Used: Fabric from my stash, in this case Nylon chiffon drapery fabric! Yes, this is another dress I stole from our family room curtains.  "Rhinestone" mesh for the trim and necklace.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: The original RTW dress was waaay too short in front for this 6 foot tall girl. She also wanted the hemlines in front to look a little more blended and wanted a little bling added (like another variation of the dress on the website ).

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I actually would make this dress again. Once I got over being intimidated by all the layers and how form-fitting the dress needed to be, and actually started on the construction, it turned out beautifully, and my incredibly picky client loved it!

Conclusion: I made this dress for my youngest daughter, who is a total fashion diva, to wear for family Christmas pictures, and hopefully prom, but ultimately to wear to my 20th wedding anniversary party. Over the years I've made a lot of dresses for this daughter, and she has never been totally happy with them... until this one! I tried a lot of new fabrics and techniques on this dress and I am proud of how this dress turned out.

Monday, December 23, 2013

20th wedding anniversary

1994 Original Wedding Dress 
My original wedding dress, from 1994.  Custom sewn by me, with all hand beaded lace, including the hem and train upon which was appliqued 8" deep, hand- sequined and pearled lace.

Inspiration Dress
The modern 20th wedding anniversary gift is platinum.  I wanted to wear a wedding dress for my anniversary party, but instead of white, I chose to wear a silver (platinum!) dress.  I tried on many dresses in my search for an inspiration.  This side draped dress was close to the preferred silhouette.  In my fabric stash, I found a pale silver fabric to pair with some white chiffon.

Recently I took a class called Fast Track Fitting by Joi Mahon on Craftsy.com.  I really liked this technique of creating and altering patterns based on detailed measurements, and used it as the basis for this dress and cocktail dresses for my daughters (future posts).

The final results.  A side draped dress with a sweetheart neckline.  Rhinestones follow the drape, leading to a chiffon inset (in person the rhinestones stand out significantly more dramatically).  The necklace was made from the same rhinestones as the dress.  (More details about the rhinestones in a later post).

Due to fabric limitations, the dress was not quite as full as originally planned.  Hopefully I'll lose a few pounds before the actual anniversary which will add a little more draping.  (I'll also not be sewing right up to the time the photo was taken, so I'll have time to iron!)

Final Version!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Corset - Lingerie contest - Vogue 9273

Lingerie Challenge Contest 2013

Pattern Description: Vogue 9273  Lined top has princess seams. A: front zipper. I modified this pattern so extensively I'm not sure you can still say it's this pattern.

Pattern Sizing: 14-16-18 - Modified for a 36GG cup!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Only superficially. I changed the cup dramatically and extended the torso to a long-line princess waist.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Honestly I never looked at them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? * In order to fit correctly it NEEDS an underwire (I made this pattern once before), and it still didn't fit flat to the ribs in front. * The zipper/buttons in front are pretty far apart which shifted part of my breasts into my armpits!

Fabric Used: Sheer ivory polyester chiffon. Made a previous version with red vinyl - not comfy!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  •  Self drafted bra cups from one of my bras. 
  •  Added boning since I didn't have any extra bra underwires. 
  •  Extended waist to a long-line (like B) that came to a point in front (like C) and in back. 
  •  Extended top edge of sides and back to provide more support for cups. 
  •  Added elastic to top edge. 
  •  Added self binding to bottom edge. 
  •  Used heavy duty zip ties for boning - used a modified version of a french seam to encase them between the fabric and "lining" (both layers are the same sheer fabric).


Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? It's a pretty pattern and I love the corset styling. I'll probably tweak it and try it again.

Conclusion:  I really want a pretty corset and this is a fun pattern - I just wish it weren't so hard to modify to get the cups right!

Not modeling this one as it is totally sheer (you can see the bra pads I used to try to make the mannequin look more like my measurements!)!
Actually, I'm not modeling either one, as my cups runneth over in the red vinyl!!  
(Obviously the mannequin is not set up for my measurements!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

New Bags!

I've been designing custom bags for awhile now, but keep forgetting to show you guys!

This cute little bag was purchased by the winner of the Trauma Mama auction.  She requested a smaller purse in bright colors, especially greens and purples, and loved elephants, monkeys and Cloisonné.

The elephants' ears can flap and the lavender elephant's trunk is free standing.  The inside is lined with pockets.

The back of the purse is a sunset with gold stitching.  The strap is adjustable.




This purse is one I designed for myself!  I love the bright colors and that it's big enough to hold my design book!  I've been stopped frequently by people asking where I got it!

The inside is lined with a red vinyl that gives it some body.  The outside is a decorator fabric with extra circles embroidered on.  The strap is decorated with abacus beads!  Inside is a self designed "wallet" with 8 pockets (4 on each side) for all the cards I own (insurance cards, loyalty cards, business cards... all labeled). 



****

This wristlet was designed to coordinate with a custom, one-of-a-kind evening gown. It was made from scraps of beautiful, Chinese vintage silk, a family heirloom. The gown had an Asian-inspired sleeveless tunic in the silk and coordinating floor-length flowy skirt in layers of  sapphire blue chiffon.
Vintage silk from China

Thirty One Bags used to carry a "Skirt Purse," this was a cool purse with a removable outside cover. The bag stayed the same, but you could switch out the cover. This client loved the color green. That was all the direction I was given! Here's the bag with 2 different skirts.

Can you spot all the ladybugs?

Other side of the "Ladybug"skirt

Green patchwork fun!


Additional bags
Latest BeTA Auction Winner


Purchase:  If you're interested in purchasing a custom tote or bag, please leave a message on this post -
your e-mail / contact info will not be published  
20% of your purchase of a custom-designed tote or bag will be donated to BeTA 
- a support organization for parents and caregivers of children who have experienced early trauma and have attachment issues.  They offer scholarships to an amazing annual retreat and  provide continual support to caregivers of children of trauma by organizing regional meetings, networking, and education. 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mini Wardrobe Contest Entry

This is a contest to create a 4-piece wardrobe in 4 weeks. You will determine what clothing pieces you use in your wardrobe.
The 4 garments must combine (without adding additional garments) to create at least 4 "looks".

Look 1 - 
Look 2 - 
  • Blue drape top
  • Purple pants
  • Optional: (not sure if it counts since it's using the reverse of the same piece) - Purple side of the reversible jacket, unbuttoned with the lapels opened and the purple side of the reversible buttons in the top 2 buttonholes of both sides of the lapel.
Look 3 - 
Look 4 - 
  • Plaid wrap dress

PatternReview.com Reviews -
  1. Reversible jacket (Vogue 1643 view C - Modified)
  2. Blue drape top (McCall's 6563 view A) 
  3. Purple pants (Butterick 5403 view B)
  4. Plaid wrap dress (Butterick 5101 view C)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Butterick 5101 Dress for Mini Wardrobe Contest



This is a fun wrap dress using Butterick pattern 5101 version C, which I recently made for a client in a gorgeous hot pink silk.  I love the way it drapes, and that it's not too low cut, even for my full bust.  

 Pattern Description: Wrap front top and dress have all-in-one sleeve, pleated collar extending into front neckline, side tie, sleeve length and hem variations. Designed for knits, but works well with woven fabric as well. This pattern is now out of print. 

Pattern Sizing: XS-XL. I made an XL. 

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, although my version had no sleeves.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were fairly clear throughout although I didn't follow them too closely and did have to add some edge finishing since I wasn't working with a knit fabric. I did remember that the instructions told me to put the belt loop on the wrong side, so I didn't make that mistake again. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that this pattern is very forgiving. It fits a wide variety of figure types and the wrap top doesn't gap and crosses fairly high (it fit nicely on me too, even though I'm very busty) meaning you wouldn't have to worry about safety pins or some other form of closure which is often an issue with wraps. I did have some issues with the skirt not staying closed when I sit down and blowing open in the wind - both to be expected with wrap dresses.

Fabric Used: No idea what the fabric is! It's a slightly shiny, medium weight bright, abstract plaid that's been in my stash, waiting for me to find a good excuse to finally make it!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Since I wasn't using a knit, I serged and finished the edges differently than those called for in the directions. Someone suggested cutting the back on a fold if you're working with a print - a great idea for plaid! I left off the sleeves and shortened the hem. 

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will most definitely be making this again. It's easy and classic.

Conclusion: This was my favorite piece I made for the contest.


McCall's 6563 Top for Mini Wardrobe Contest

Pattern Description: Fitted, pullover, bias tops have draped front neckline, shaped hemline and narrow hem. B: contrast band and right side. C: sleeve tabs. A, B and C: cap sleeves.

Pattern Sizing: XS - XXL

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Pretty much.

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, although I admit I didn't pay a lot of attention to them.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the drape, but maybe because I'm full-busted, my top looked a little strained in spots and wrinkled in others.

Fabric Used: Some shiny, light-weight polyester fabric I had in my stash. I didn't have enough to cut both pieces on the bias so I only cut the front on the bias.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Back not cut on the bias. I made a lot of alterations to accommodate my smaller frame and full bust.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I will probably sew this again with a silkier fabric that drapes instead of wrinkles.

Conclusion: I like the color of this top, but wish I'd made it in something silkier.
McCall's 6563

1643 Vogue Basic Design Jacket - Mini Wardrobe Contest

I modified this out of print pattern quite a bit, including making it reversible.




Pattern Description: Out of print pattern.  Semi-fitted, lined, above or below hip jacket has neckline variations, shoulder pads, princess seams and long, two-piece sleeves with mock vent and button trim.

Pattern Sizing: Multi - Mine was an 18-20-22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Not really, because I modified the heck out of it!

Were the instructions easy to follow? Honestly I didn't follow the directions, because I modified the jacket to be reversible.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Based on the pattern images, I assumed the pattern was a little more fitted.

Fabric Used:  The fabrics I used had been in my stash for a significant amount of time.  The purple was a medium weight fabric.  The stripe was very lightweight.  I had very little fabric left and had to piece the purple on the lapels and collar and didn't have enough fabric to make a deep lapel.


PhotoShopped sketch
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I found this gorgeous black and white striped jacket and wanted to use a fun striped fabric from my stash. To match the inspiration jacket, I altered view C to have pointed lapels and cut the front corners off the hem.   Then I tailored the whole thing to be more form fitting and adjusted for a full bust.

I decided to make the jacket reversible so I didn't use facings.  I didn't have enough of either fabric for a full length sleeve so I altered it to 3/4 sleeves.  The purple pockets on the striped side are faux. I put buttonholes on both sides and sewed the buttons together so that they work like cuff links.  I used a covered button covered in the purple fabric for one side of the buttons.
Would you sew it again?  Maybe.  It's very basic.  I would definitely use a heavier fabric next time or interface the heck out of everything.
Would you recommend it to others?  Sure.
Conclusion:  This is a very versatile piece for the Mini Wardrobe contest.  It can be worn 3 ways. Stripe side with purple buttons.  Purple side with gold buttons.  Purple side - open with the strip side showing and the purple buttons in the top button holes.

Butterick B5403 - Pants for Mini Wardrobe Contest




Pattern Description: This jean design features a straight waistband with belt carriers, front hip pockets, mock fly front zipper, classic yoke with back patch pockets and topstitching details. Jeans A have straight legs. Jeans B have wide leg. I made the wide leg version.
  Pattern Sizing:XS to XL
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Unfortunately, yes. I didn't notice on the pattern how high-waisted the pants are. They were also very short. Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I was very unhappy with how high-waisted the pants are. They tend to blouse in the crotch, maybe because I didn't make them in denim.
Fabric Used: This fabric has been in my stash for so long I have no idea. It is a medium-weight synthetic that doesn't wrinkle too badly.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I wanted this to look more like slacks than jeans so I left off the belt loops and back pockets.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?   I won't be making these again. I really disliked how the crotch looks.
Conclusion: I loved the color of these pants and of course they match the jacket I made for the mini wardrobe contest, but I think I'll be giving them to my mom.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Mini-Wardrobe Contest 2013

I'm thinking about entering this contest, but would love some opinions on the pieces:


Mini Wardrobe Contest
September 1 � 30 2013
This is a contest to create a 4-piece wardrobe in 4 weeks. You will determine what clothing pieces you use in your wardrobe.
The 4 garments must combine (without adding additional garments) to create at least 4 "looks".
For Example, but not limited to...
1. tee, blouse , pants , skirt. Tee/pants, blouse/pants, tee/skirt, blouse/skirt = 4 looks
2. Dress, cardigan, top, pants. Dress, dress/cardigan, Pants/top, pants/top/cardigan = 4 looks
3. 2 pants, top, jacket. Pants1/top, pants2/top, pants1/top/cardigan, pants2/top/cardigan = 4 looks
As long as you can take the 4 items and wear them in at least 4 different combos, your entry will qualify.
Rest of the rules at the end of this post. **

This PhotoShop version of the dress is not made in my fabric

I have this gorgeous plaid fabric that I'm excited to finally find a use for!  I want to make it into a wrap dress using this pattern that I made for a client recently.  I want to make the dress (view C), but without sleeves (this is Texas after all!).

Here's the plaid fabric I want to use.  I really want to make a cute short yellow jacket that will go with many other outfits, but the only fabric I have enough of to make the pants and other pieces is a gorgeous deep purple.  I like bright colors, but a yellow jacket with purple pants is a bit much so I'll need to make a purple jacket..

These are the fabrics (although they look really washed out here!)

So I'm thinking purple slacks and a pretty blue blouse (the blue fabric is a pretty lightweight shiny fabric that almost looks like lining material and should make beautifully into something "flowy."  Here's what I'm thinking for the top.  Opinions?
Top A
Top B
 I want to make a jacket and have enough of the purple left for a cute jacket, but I'm tempted to make a reversible jacket using this interesting striped fabric which needs the purple to give it just a little oomph (it's not quite as exciting as it looks here - plus PhotoShop is not my friend on diagonals!).  You have to imagine it all in the stripey print, I only PhotoShopped 1/2 of it.  Love the way the stripes look on this one!

Jacket A
 I got lazy PhotoShopping this one - imagine it striped, not graffiti looking!  I like it with this outfit, but I'm trying to picture it as a solid purple with the printed wrap dress.
Jacket B

Blazer with "my" plaid
Which jacket do you like?  Do bolero jackets look right with wrap dresses?  I don't have enough fabric for a full sleeve so they'd have to be 3/4 sleeve (not even sure I have enough for that!).

Bolero - not my plaid

My husband (who has great taste) suggested that Top A and the bolero jacket might be a little juvenile so I've decided to go with the the drapey top and the blazer.


So my "wardrobe" would be:
1.  Dress
2.  Dress with jacket (purple side)
3.  Pants with top
4.  Pants with top and jacket (striped side)











**Choice of garment types and styles is entirely up to you!
Optional Storyboard: You may include a storyboard, or plan, showing the planned garments and the minimum quantity of outfits.
Entrants must do an individual review for each pattern used (can update previous reviews). The actual contest entry review is the "composite review" for the mini-wardrobe itself. The composite review must have links to the individual reviews. (If all items are from one wardrobe pattern, one review will suffice.)
Pictures are required for voting. There must be a photo for each of the 4 looks.
Final garments may be pictured on a dress form or worn by the garment's intended owner. Please consult with the contest moderator if neither of these is feasible for you, and options will be discussed.
This wardrobe/ensemble may be created for men, women, or children. Doll clothing is not admissible. Accessories do not count as one of the 4 items, but may be made and showcased with the mini-wardrobe.


Prizes
First Prize: $100 Gift Certificate from Fashion Fabrics Club
Second Prize: $50 Gift Certificate from Fashion Fabrics Club


General Rules for all Contests
1. All reviews must be entered for submission by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on the last day of the contest. It is suggested to start your review as a Work In Progress (private or public) so that you can get any bugs ironed out prior to the deadline. Although Contest Managers and Contest Committee will help with technical issues, they may not be available at the end of the contest so be sure to allow adequate time to post your entry before the contest ends.
2. Fabric may be pretreated before the start of the contest.
3. Patterns MAY be muslined prior to the start of this contest however; fabric for contest garment may NOT be cut prior to the start of the contest.
4. Items intended for sale, or for which you were or will be paid to make, do not qualify for any contest, but items made for charity are welcome.
5. Unless otherwise stated in the rules, all reviews written for a contest entry must include a picture of the entry, preferably on a live model.
6. Interpretation of rules is subject to the discretion of the contest manager and the contest committee.
Contest Eligibility:
***Rule #1 is changed for 2013
1. Any member of Pattern Review, either paying (FoPR) or non-paying, who is a registered member on the site before the contest begins is eligible to enter.
2. Any member of Pattern Review, either paying (FoPR) or non-paying, who's been a registered member on the site for 90 days prior to the end of a contest is eligible to vote in a contest.
3. Any member who's won first place in a contest on Pattern Review that ended in the previous four-month period is ineligible to win another contest (during that four-month period).For this contest, first-place winners from the following contests are NOT eligible to win:
Accessory Challenge
Jeans Contest
UFO Contest
Fabric Stash
UFO
Sewing for Men
Sewing for Children
Voting Guidelines:
1. The first, second and third place winners will be decided by member vote. Prizes will be awarded to the first and second place winners.
2. Each member can vote on up to five entries.
3. Because of the high quality of the garments we're seeing entered in PR Contests, we're setting forth some guidelines that may help you choose when voting. Consider how well the entry fulfills each of the following criteria in order to narrow down your votes:
Does the garment clearly reflect the pattern's line drawing?
How well does the garment fit the criteria stated in the contest rules? How well does it fit the spirit of the rules?
Are the construction methods, including but not limited to seam finishes, lining techniques, etc, well suited to the design? To the fabric?
Is the fabric choice well suited to the design? Are the lining and interfacing choices appropriate?
Is the review complete and well written?
Taking into account the stated ability level of the entrant, how well does the garment fit?
Creative points. You may choose to give extra credit here for an entry that reflects additional creativity (embellishment, fabric choice, etc.) while staying within the nature of the original pattern.
Complexity of the project. Relate this to the skill level of the participant. If a participant is a beginner then a princess seam may get the same complexity level as an underarm gusset gets for an advanced sewer. This is purely subjective, but a complex garment might garner more points than a simple one if a tie-breaker is needed



Join the contest now!