Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Vintage Geek Chic Star Wars Dress

I'm back!! I didn't plan to take the summer off, but with the trip to France and then finalizing my sewing room set-up, I've been a busy bee. My room is FINALLY all done and everything has its place, I'm loving it. I plan to make a blog post soon giving a little tour of the finished product, so keep an eye out!

About this dress, this is actually the first dress I've made for myself all year. That's 7+ months of not having made myself a single thing, which is probably the longest I've gone since I started sewing garments! This was intentional, for a certain reason, and this may just be a special exception. I haven't decided yet. But it was so nice to make something for myself again, and especially with this pattern that went together very nicely!

 What was the occasion, you ask? An original Star Wars trilogy marathon on the big screen! Now, I have to say I wasn't a huge Star Wars fan growing up. It was fine, but you know I was more into princesses and stuff. I married an IT guy, though, and so with that comes some learned geek appreciation. ;-) Costumes and dressing up were encouraged at the event, but I knew I wasn't going to be doing a full on costume, so I figured I'd just marry geeky with my usual vintage and go from there.

I used New Look 6143 for the bodice, I wanted that sweetheart neckline specifically.

When I was first contemplating a Star Wars dress and looking at fabrics, with the busy prints I found available I worried a dress made entirely of the same fabric would be a bit overwhelming, so I wanted to break it up a bit. I drew up a quick sketch based on the pattern.

The pattern went together really easily, I hardly had to make any alterations at all, just a little bit of extra length in the front of the bodice as usual. I did make one change to the bodice, I split the back pieces so that I could keep that yoke look all the way around.

I made my usual favorite self drafted gathered skirt with a flat front, and a pocket, and again to break up that busy print made a large border with the small black and white polka dot. I was very pleased with the result!


I'm always worried about sleeves being too tight or restricting. These were great for me, didn't have to change a thing!

It was a super comfy dress to wear to watch 7 hours or so of Star Wars! I got lots of compliments, and I was so pleased with the fit and comfort of this dress, that I may even end up wearing this out in the regular public at some point, lol. It will definitely be my designated Star Wars watching dress for all the future movies, though.

So glad we got a pic with the some of the guys from the local 501st Legion!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sewing Room Redo Progress

If you've been following my Instagram, you already know I've been super busy with renovating my sewing room! It's essentially my birthday present this year. I keep meaning to share some pics here, but just haven't had a spare second until now.

Here you can see my old wall color, a lovely olive green that I enjoyed for many years.

Lately, though, I've been craving something lighter, so up went the primer and new paint color! I used Flora by Behr, it's a really lovely soft green with hints of blue or gray depending on the light.

I didn't start out planning to redo the floor, but I started dreaming and checking just for fun, and found a very budget friendly option for wood laminate at Home Depot ($0.64/sq ft!). Even more importantly, I mentioned the possibility to the hubby, since he would be the one doing the majority of the work, and he was not opposed! So that's what we spent my birthday weekend doing. :-) It makes SUCH a difference!!

We got rid of both bookshelves in the room, as well as the old computer desk, and I decided to replace all of them with Ikea's Algot system of wall shelves. I love how customizable they are, and how light, airy, and open the room feels now! I need to go grab a few more shelves to finish it off.

Another thing I'm excited about is my picture taking space. I've never had one great place with natural light to take pics of my projects. I realized where one of the bookshelves used to be would be perfect because it's right across from the windows. So I decided to paint some faux moulding as a backdrop for my projects. I'm sure you'll be seeing this wall frequently on the blog!

I decided to repurpose my ung drill frame, which I'd used as a fabric covered cork board, to a decorative frame on the background wall. I asked my collective Facebook friends for opinions on keeping it black or painting it white, and got the excellent suggestion to paint it gray, which continued a theme I already had going! I ran out the same day to get paint and did just that. :-)

These were some of my other gray themed accessories, a new gray table, gray striped curtains, and a gray striped ironing board cover. I was also able to use some vintage Barbie fashion prints from an old calendar that I loved...still debating adding a couple more!

And that's about where I am now! I have to start the task of moving all the stuff back in, which is not a small job. I'll be sure to share more pics when everything is back in place!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Vintage Mashup Maternity Dress

This was such a fun project!! My friend Theresa (who I made the minty tulle bridesmaids dresses for!) is a fellow vintage enthusiast, and also happens to love classic movies. Every year she attends the TCM movie festival, and usually wears an amazing true vintage gown on the red carpet. This year, she is expecting (yay!) and since there aren't a lot of formal vintage maternity gowns around, she asked if I could help her keep the vintage theme going by making a maternity dress using vintage patterns.
 We started looking at patterns from the 60s mostly, going for that popular empire waist of the time. We settled on vintage Vogue 5942 for the top, an empire bodice with a lovely low back, and vintage Simplicity 8497 for the bottom, a gorgeous flowing floor length full skirt. Neither of these are maternity patterns, but the empire lines just lend themselves perfectly to it! Then we found the most amazing silk that was just screaming to be used for this dress, a radiant teal silk with metallic copper/gold giant polka dots. This stuff just shimmers like you wouldn't believe, I think it looks like coins falling from the sky, lol.

It was really pretty quick to put together, it fit her great right off the bat. I didn't even have to alter the skirt much at all, it was full enough to accommodate the baby bump! I just left some length in front so I had plenty to work with when hemming.

I added a ribbon around the empire waist to break up the print a bit (was just testing the color here, didn't plan to keep that bow!)

And bra loops to keep the bra straps hidden.

I also added a pocket, of course. ;-) Then, probably my favorite part, we snuck a sweet little bow on the back!

I was able to snap a few pics of the final dress on her when she picked it up. I think she looked just stunning, as always.

And here she is shimmering on the red carpet at the festival!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Altered Walkaway Dress

I recently had a commission for Butterick 4790, the Walkaway Dress! It's the first time I've made it since my first attempt several years ago. It's amazing to think how far things have progressed since then, it was one of the first patterns I used, one of the first dresses I made for myself, and I was so scared of patterns! Now I have a huge pattern stash and I love making dresses for other people. :-)

I made a few alterations to the pattern, though. I wanted something that could be worn over a regular petticoat, rather than having to make the split front version I did the first time around. In order to do that, I knew the underdress portion, the front, needed to be fuller in the skirt. So, instead of a sheath type dress underneath, I decided to cut the front pattern piece at the bodice, and then attach a gathered skirt. (Sorry for not getting a clear pic of this, in typical fashion I was sewing up to the second I handed the dress over so I didn't get a chance to take lots of detailed pics!)

I also saw this version of the walkaway with ties, and loved it! So I decided to add ties, which also made it a bit more easily adjustable.

We went with a simple white for the underdress, and a navy floral for the overdress. When she tried it on at her fitting, we agreed it needed a little something around the neckline, so I added a floral lace trim that went perfectly!

For the attachment of the underdress at the back, I wanted something with a little bit of give. I thought about it, and remembered seeing bra hook extenders or replacements at the fabric store, which I thought would be perfect! They hook nice and snugly, have a couple hooks to choose from like on a bra, and have some elastic built in for a bit of give. So I bought some and sewed them on, and it was exactly what I was looking for.

I'm pretty pleased with the end result, especially with the alterations I made! Maybe I'll even make another one for myself at some point.

Friday, April 22, 2016