Vogue 8645, my giraffe print dress

I have had this really cute green giraffe print fabric that I bought super cheap for $4 a yard, but it is really sheer so I have been debating on what to do with it. I have seen good reviews on Vogue 8645 which is a fully lined dress with ties at the shoulders and a belt around the waist and figured it would be a good project!

Normally I avoid lining dresses if at all possible because for one, its such a pain in the ass. Second, I live in Louisville which has unbearably hot summers due to the city being nestled in the river valley, so any additional layers of clothing is one too many. However, since this fabric was so sheer I decided to suck it up and line the dress and wear this in the evening or to places inside. I found a light beige mesh from Joanns that matched the tan color in the giraffe print and used this for the lining.

This dress is one of those “very easy” Vogue editions, and they ain’t kidding- this dress was a cinch! It had no zippers, elastic, interfacing or nothing. It was just 4 panels, two front and two back pieces that were sewn together, ties, the belt and pockets. The pockets on the side were a breeze. I think pockets have become much easier to sew now that I have worked with them a lot. The lining was also extremely easy, it was pieced together the same as the dress, and sewn to the top with right sides together. The straps were sewn together afterwards. I love the ties on the straps, they give the dress some flare where it otherwise would have been a pretty plain dress. This dress absolutely needs the belt though, it looks like a potato sack otherwise. Depending on the fabric and pattern you use, a different waist belt would look cute with this dress too.

Personally I think this is a pretty dressy dress, especially with the added lining. (I do think that the lining could be omitted though with a thicker less sheer fabric, the arms would just need some bias tape for reinforcement.) It would be great for going to dinner, a play, or even a casual garden wedding would work. Its a great versatile piece and I would definitely sew it again.

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Summoning the Sun!!

It has been raining cats and dogs here in Louisville and I have just about had it! I decided it was time to make the Simplicity 2362 pattern I have had in my queue for a while now. I picked out a bright yellow fabric, maybe it will inspire the sun to come out!!

This is probably one of the easiest dresses I have ever made. It pieced together like a puzzle, especially the front pocket pieces. Although I made one rookie mistake, when I was cutting out my interfacing for the bodice I didn’t have enough to fold over so I cut the bodice pieces on the single selvage. I must’ve been in lala land because I didn’t even notice I had cut out two right boobs until after I fused the interfacing to my lining! Woops..  Easy fix though if I had more interfacing on hand I would’ve just redone it, however I didn’t and I am lazy. So I just applied more lining to the opposite side and flipped it over. Tada! good as new. I ended up shortening this dress about 2 inches and as you can see its still pretty long with heels on. I love how it flares out towards the bottom, its a great dress for those days that you plan on eating a whole bunch (think cook out!) and want to wear something light and not too clingy. I added some wooden buttons on the bodice pleats to add a little bit of detail.

I give this pattern an A+, I would even go as far to say its a good beginner’s piece. I would definitely make this again and I love the black version in the photo on the package.


Paisley dress

I found this paisley print by Michael Miller, called Posh Paisley. It comes in many different colors but I loved this bright pink one. I’ve had this Simplicity pattern 2584 in my to do pile for a while and this fabric was perfect for it! Its a cute, casual dress that I can wear to work, hanging out on the weekends or for dinner and drinks.

It was an easy dress to make, the most challenging part was the yolk (neckline) but I had a lot of fun putting it together. After lining the yolk section, I mtched the notched sections and dot and sewed it onto the dress. After fusing the interfacing to the lining and sewing it to the outside, I sewed two straight lines down the center, and you cut all the way down between these to create the neck opening. The lining gets inverted to the inside, and then you just iron it out and it completes the collar. It was almost like a magic trick!

The sleeves were made by sewing in an inch wide channel and pulling through elastic. After trying it on, I fit the elastic to my arm so it wasn’t too tight or too loose. By itself, Chris thought this dress looked like a night gown. This was pretty annoying but I’ll admit (especially in this pic) that without a belt and some cute heels it does kind of look like something your granny would bust out.

I really like this dress, and I would definitely make it again. The pattern came with different variations so the next one I would try would probably be the version with the puff sleeves and tie waist.


Cynthia Rowley 2178…. WTF??

So I tried this new Cynthia Rowley pattern from the new Simplicity 2011 Summer collection thinking that I could wear it out for a Bachelorette party in May and yeah… so much for that idea. This pattern is so strange and ended up being so asymmetric, perhaps it was the crinkle gauze material I used which I have not worked with before, or maybe it was all the weird random pleats and gathering, I don’t know but it ended up being a hot mess.

In the photo on the pattern it looks a little Grecian Goddess-esque which I thought was pretty, but my finished product didn’t look like this in my opinion. The fabrics they called for ranged from linens, laundered cottons, and crinkle gauze to satins. In hindsight the satin may have been a better option for this dress as it woud have been more sturdy and clean in the pleating and gathering. The bodice came together pretty easily, the strap construction used interfacing and wasn’t too out of the norm. Then I made the Midriff waist section which somehow came out way to short. I used the same measurement on all pattern pieces but ended up having to recut this section longer, luckily I had enough fabric left to make these long pieces.

Next I made the weird skirt. It had one slit at the top of the waist (imagine a missing slice of pizza) this was to make one random dart. Umm alrightie… Then the pattern had gathering on one side near the dart, and then just folded pleats on the other side. Maybe I just messed this up somehow but the skirt ended up being so off center. If I could go back I would have skipped the gathering and just made plain and simple pleats ignoring the instructions. The hem was also strange, it had a ring of interfacing that was sewed around the bottom with facing. I guess this was to create sort of a hoola hoop effect and make the skirt flare out. Mine of course ended up being uneven in the back- hey why ruin my asymmetry theme?

Here is the full view of the dress. I am going to quote the movie Clueless and say that this dress is full of Monet, from far away it looks ok, but up close its a big mess.

In the end I could probably wear this dress out to a dark bar where people would be drinking and no one would even notice the imperfections, however for the experience and issues I had making this dress, sorry Cynthia Rowley I love you but 2178 gets a thumbs down. <PPHHHHTTTTTHH!!>


Green dress for an orange poppy flower wedding

This May my best friend Jo is getting married to a wonderful guy Dave, and I am so so so excited for them! They have dated for almost 8 years (just like Chris and I) and Jo will be the first to tell you that its about doggone time! I’m really excited for their wedding which is taking place at Jo’s parent’s home in New Castle Kentucky. They have a gorgeous home and acres of land, which is perfect for an outdoor spring wedding. They decided on an orange California poppy flower theme as they have lived in California for the last couple of years and are finally moving back home. Hurray!! Since it is a more casual wedding, I wanted to make a dress that would suit both a formal and a casual setting for the event. I also wanted something light because in Kentucky it goes from winter to summer over night, and Kentucky summers are HOT! I found some light rayon material in a beuatiful green color, and decided to make the Cynthia Rowley dress from pattern 2406 (can you tell I’m a fan of the Cynthia Rowley line from Simplicity?) I love how unique the cut out sleeves are and the open back which makes it a bit more formal.

The pleating around the neckline was a new trick for me. I sewed interfacing on and flipped it inside out with facing on the inside and it worked like magic! The back was done with the same method and is enclosed at the top with a hook and eye. Here is the back view, keep in mind you’ll need a good sticky cup bra for this dress!

Here is the pattern I used too:

I can’t wait to see Jo looking gorgeous in her beautiful wedding dress, it is going to be a very special and unforgettable day!


A Birthday Dress

My Birthday was just a few weeks ago, but I had been eyeing this Cynthia Rowley pattern 2586 from Simplicity for a while and thought what a better occasion to make this dress for? I really loved the way it looked in the dark blue fabric they pictured so I tried to replicate this. I found a stretchy midnight blue nylon/polyester blend fabric and it worked perfectly! The dress consisted or rouching around the neckline and on top of the sleeves at the shoulders, and ruffles around the hemline which were so much fun to make and look super cute and flirty.

The part that I found the most difficult was the bonding around the neckline, I ending up having to remove the seams and redo this twice because I could not match the stitching up to the front. Now that I have run through this, I think the second time around would be much easier as I would cut the pattern piece wider and just sew the front to the back simultaneously.

I also think I may add some little buttons to the sleeves to add a bit of flare. It was a fun dress to wear and people were asking me where I bought it all night!