Thursday, May 7, 2015

Tilly and the Buttons Arielle in Progress

I am currently sewing the Tilly and the Buttons Arielle skirt.  I couldn't resist ordering it because it is so cute in all the photos.  And Tilly is adorable.  Look at it. Swoon.
Photo owned by Tilly and the Buttons

I just love how this skirt looks.  On these people.  I am struggling a little with the fit for my body type.  The pattern allows for a hip that is 9 inches larger than the waist.  Uh-oh.  I am something more like 13 inches larger at the hip than the waist.  And 13 feels so nice, I usually do about 14 just for good measure.  There is a significant amount of junk in that trunk to deal with.

Arielle skirt piece
I redrew the pattern to combine sizes to get the correct hip and waist measurements without an issue.  The problem is that the skirt falls straight down from the widest point on the hip.  When I choose the longer length, it ends up looking very, very matronly due to the wide fabric at the knees.  Noooooooo!  Where is my cute skirt? It is so frumpy.

It hasn't been hemmed yet, but this work in progress picture does give an idea of the shape. I also put in a zipper, but only really because my buttonhole function on my machine is currently acting up.  I'll put at least fake buttons on it because I think it is part of what drew me to this skirt.

To be clear, I think this is a great pattern and there are great instructions.  I would recommend it.  But for my body type and there need to be some adjustments to make the skirt less bulky because I made  sizing changes.  Specifically, I think I can bring the skirt in a bit like in the wiggle dress from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.
Image from http://www.blogforbettersewing.com
Here is the pattern piece for the wiggle dress.  After the fullest width at the hip, it tapers in. I may not make Arielle as tapered, but it does give me adjustment ideas.

Photoshopped full skirt
Above, is the wiggle dress I made unretouched on the left, then I photoshopped a fuller skirt on the right.  It is an ok look, but more matronly than I am looking for.  If I adjust the skirt pattern to taper in like the wiggle dress, I think I will get what I want.

In other news, when I am not sewing, I read a lot. I have gotten some great recommendations from blogs I read, so I thought I'd pass one on.  Right now I've started The Mortal Instruments book one City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.  I am well aware that I am not likely their target demographic since this is young adult fiction, but it hasn't stopped me from enjoying the first half of the first book.  I am excited that if I like it, there are 5 more books in the series to read.

I only have one complaint about the book so far.  The author has her characters biting, chewing or gnawing on their own lips a lot.  So much so that it is distracting.  "She bit her lip and answered him." "He chewed his lip and stood up."   It must have happened about 30 times in the first half of the book.  Get these people some chapstick.

More on the Arielle skirt in the next post - so.. until next time!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Dress Mash-Up: Vogue 8943, Simplicity 1194 and Simplicity 8470

I tried a mash-up of three different patterns:
 Simplicity 1194 ( a re-issue from the 50's),  Simplicity 8470 (a vintage pattern) and finally, Vogue 8943 (currently available).

Why all of the mashing? My goal has been to create a pattern for a wedding dress. Here is my inspiration.

Isn't it lovely?

I picked up some lace that has a beautiful edge on it and I  want a full skirt (tea length) but it can't be a circle skirt or the edge of the lace would be lost.  I tried pleats, but they didn't look good with my  lace.  I also tried to make a mock-up of a gathered skirt, but no matter how much I try, each time I make a gathered skirt, I hate it.  I like gathered skirts on other people, but on me... so very bad.

This is the mash-up with some cheap black satin and black lace.  My idea was to make a dress I could wear again, but it really looks more like a costume.  (Black Widow Bride!)
I I can't tie a decent bow.  Not even after watching YouTube tutorials.  Don't judge.

This dress is actually two separate dresses.   The first is a satin dress with Simplicity 1194 for the bodice.  The only modification I made was to remove the straps and make it strapless.

For the skirt, I used Simplicity 8470 because it has panels for the skirt like pie pieces... which allow for a straight edge on the hem but no gathers or pleats.  Yaaaaaayyy!  I had thought of this before, but it wasn't until I saw it in the pattern that I really believed it would work.

Taaa daa.  I won't need to do this with my final satin skirt - I can just make a 3/4 circle or full circle skirt with it the normal way, but it was nice to see it work.


For the lace layer, I also used Simplicity 8470 for the skirt and Vogue 8943 for the bodice without any modifications.  Without much work at all, the darts in the bodice and the seam lines in the skirt panels lined up.  Huh. 
(I drew the red lines with Photoshop.  The photo makes it look like they might be part of the fabric.)

For the final version, I think I will make two changes - I'll make the two wide center front and center back panels into two pieces each and make them even wider towards the hem so that the skirt is  fuller.  I'll be wearing a crinoline for it so I can get my fairy tale princess on. I wasn't going to, but when else will I get to wear a huge dress without inviting stares and pointing? 

Only two three more weeks until the wedding. It is sneaking up on me.  Dresses!  Favors!  Photographer! Guest list!  Menus!  Plates!  Wine! Table rental! I don't actually talk about much else these days.  I have a friend who assured me that I would be interesting again after the wedding. 

For no good reason, here is a picture of a bunch of different flavors of panna cotta that we made.  We invited people over for a tasting party to see which one they liked best and we will serve the winning combination at the wedding. 
After seven little mini-desserts each, the winner was lemon panna cotta with tart lemon jelly, a square of sweet raspberry coulis jelly and candied orange peel on top.  

I learned that pistachios and flowers are terrible on panna cotta (bad texture combination), candied ginger tastes good with passion fruit but not lemon and that spun sugar melts in the jelly and only looks cool for a couple of minutes.  Which makes sense, but I wanted that to not be true.

Thanks for reading.  I swear, I will talk about non-wedding stuff again in the future.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Vogue 8766 with Some Modifications

This is my first attempt at a trial for a wedding dress pattern.  I found some seriously cheap fabric (like a dollar a yard), so I thought I would give Vogue 8766 a shot as a possible pattern.
I made it out of two layers.  One was a white satin and the other was a see-through material with some pretty black flowers.  The original pattern has a round neckline at the front, but I decided to make mine square.
And I also have a nice piece of lace that has a beautiful edge that I want to show, so I have to make either pleats or gathers, so against my better judgement, I made gathers.  Which is basically just taking a rectangle of fabric for the skirt. And once again, I hate gathered skirts.  

I had to put a large gros grain ribbon on the waist just to make it look ok.  If The ribbon wasn't there, it was just too puffy right around the only feature I usually want to highlight - my waist.  I drown in the fabric and it feels uncomfortable.

 I wanted the ribbon to be fairly tight and smooth, so I made the band with some heavy-weight velcro instead of tying it, then made the bow separately and made it attach with more velcro.  In hindsight, maybe just a simple sash would have worked, but it was a fun project and the bow always stays perfect.
The bottom line
This is not the pattern I will use for my nice lace.  I want to show off the edge of the edge, but gathers aren't going to be a solution.  I don't really love this dress.  Back to the drawing board.  I love the waist seems of a circle skirt, but that won't work for the edge.  Pleats may have to be a solution.

I did manage to wear the address for some photos we took for our wedding Web site.  Not really engagement photos, but something for people to see as the RSVP.  A friend of ours is a photographer and I was lucky enough to find out she wanted to try out a new lens.  These photos are taken in downtown Phoenix.  Message me if you need a wonderful photographer - I especially love what she did in the last photo. 

 


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