I conquered my confusion

I made myself a new dress for work from freebie houndstooth, and conquered my mental block on sewing bodice linings.

I have long struggled with trying to work out how on earth a fully lined neckline and armholes work.  Wanting to make myself work-suitable dresses meant that I really needed to get over this.

So when one of my colleagues gave me some black and white houndstooth crimpolene(!) that her mother was clearing out of her stash, I decided it was time to face this conceptual block once and for all.  This dress made up like a dream – apart from a few weeks in the middle of making it when I got a bit busy with other stuff…

Houndstooth Dress

I had to alter the pattern (Burda issue 01/04, style 111) somewhat, as it is quite fitted through the skirt, and while my top half might fit a Burda 38 well, the lower half is something more like a 42.  There are no side seams on this dress, rather princess seams front and back, and long underarm darts for shaping.  I didn’t get the adjustment quite right on front panel, so I had to take those darts in a little more.  I’ve still got a little too much fabric across the front waist, but nothing that I can’t cover up with a belt or cardie.

Is it possible to be coy while wearing houndstooth?

The seaming through the back on this style is really nice.  I realised as I was cutting that the darts had slightly different shaping on each side, so I marked them carefully with chalk and basted by hand, matching up the lines before stitching.  I’m sure this helped with the overall fit and finish, especially for the side darts.  You can’t really tell from this image, but the invisible zip is near perfect :-).  I love how they are so much easier to insert and I especially love that you don’t have to handstitch the lining to them in the back.  Because you don’t topstitch like you do with a normal lapped zip opening, you can just flip the lining over so you have the right sides facing, and then stitch the lining into the seam allowance along the teeth of the zip.

And it turns out I had nothing to be worried about with the neck and arm edges.  I followed the directions in the Burda magazine for pushing and pulling, and got a really neat finish, even without using a wooden spoon!

I think I nailed the neckline and arm edges!

I added to my stash (whoops)

I bought fabric for a new dress! Oops 🙂

Last Sunday was the final day of the Global Fabrics sale, so I headed along to claim my 50% off fabric.  I’d seen some lovely wool crêpe at the start of the sale, when it was only 40% off, and I was really hoping there would be some left.  Unfortunately no (although they did tell me there was some more coming, at full price).  I found some another wool/polyester mix though, and it might turn out even better for the pattern I have in mind (I believe having synthetic in the mix helps pleats hold their shape.  Can anyone confirm?).

This is the pattern I have in mind:

Black woollen dress from Burda
Burda magazine, 2/2005, p85

It’s from one of my many Burda magazines – I collected almost every issue for about four years.  I think the only issue I don’t have from during that period was because the container fell off the ship, so none ever made it to NZ.

I’m not sure how soon I’ll get to actually make this.  March is turning into March Market Madness month for me, so I’m concentrating on making stuff to sell for the next few weeks.  After that, I’m planning on really getting into my wardrobe revamp!

Feedback time!

I’d really appreciate your comments on:

  • Is it true that synthetic content helps with pleats?
  • Will this look good on pear-shaped me?
  • Anything else you think appropriate 🙂

The last thing I made

Showing off the last dress I made.

Whoops, February is slipping away on me, and I still haven’t made anything new.  I have to take the machines in for servicing this week, so it might be a little bit until I have something really new, but in the meantime, I thought I’d show you that last thing that I did make myself.  I whipped this dress up for my parent’s 50th anniversary.  It’s made an appearance several times this summer, as it’s light and easy to wear.  And flattering, which is always a good thing.

Light summer dress

The pattern is from Burda Magazine 6/2005, style 112.  I didn’t add the pockets or frills though – not quite me :-).  I also added a lining, as the fabric is a very light cotton.  It’s cut on the bias, and I think if I make it again (quite likely) I’ll skip the zip, as it’s easy enough for me to slip on and off over my head.

What’s coming next?

As suggested by Cindy, I definitely need to get on to making myself a new handbag.  I also found an almost finished pair of jeans that I put aside about 3 years ago, after a booboo on the waistband.  Stay tuned!