Friday, July 31, 2015

Pattern Review - 2015 Historical Fashion Contest - Past Patterns 4998

Past Patterns 4998 made circa 2001 with floral rayon georgette
Oh lawdy! I had entered this contest, and was so short on time to complete it!! If you don't know about, they are a website with thousands upon thousands of members with varying sewing experience. You can find reviews of all sorts of patterns, sewing machines, and even find a tutorial or two. They hold monthly contests, and this was my first entry into one.

This contest was for any costume reflecting any period of fashion from the 1920s and earlier. Most likely I will not win as my little dress is competing against Renaissance era gowns, etc with tons of detail and layers. Here is the Gallery of all those that entered. Either way, it was a good way for me to get my feet wet in the whole experience, and as Brando once said....I coulda been a contenda!!! LOL

Because I was short on time, I stuck with a pattern I had worked with before: Past Patterns 4998 - 1929 Slip On Evening Frock and Bolero Jacket. Past Patterns is a wonderful resource for authentic past decade patterns (1940s-1780s) that have been reproduced for sale at a very fair price!

Since I had worked with this pattern before, I knew I could whip this out pretty quickly in the time frame I was working with....1 whole day!! I used a midnight blue (almost black) poly chiffon lined with a linen blend peach shantung. I had to make a slight alteration to the skirt pieces and my chiffon. The skirt pieces are supposed to be cut on the fold, but I didn't have enough of my chiffon. To compensate, I cut the pieces with a small center seam on both the front and back skirts.

The neckline and armholes are finished with bias tape. Attaching the skirt to the bodice is the only difficult part of this pattern. When pinning the right sides together, the bodice has an 'arch' shape while the skirt has a 'U' shape. I sewed most of this area on the machine, taking it slow to move any full ease out of the way and making sure my bodice underneath wasn't folding up. I then hand sewed the side hip area where all my pieces met.

The result was pretty stunning, although I wish I had had time to do some beading and/or appliques.

Voting ended on August 9th, and with the final stats now posted, I placed 8th out of 18 garments. Honestly, that is much better than I thought I would end up. Congrats to the winners and all those that participated. I get inspiration from seeing what other people create, so something like this is always a win-win for me. Well....on to the next contest for August ~~ The Inspired by Books Contest!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cocktail Rebel - Butterick 5603 (sort of)

My second dress for the Cocktail Rebel event was made for, and worn, by my life long gal-pal Kassy. When asked what she wanted to wear to the event, she sent me this picture.

She wanted a high neckline, so looking through my pattern stash, I found Butterick 5603.


Originally, I had wanted to turn the skirt panels into box pleats, with gussets placed in between each at the waistline. After reading many reviews on this dress pattern, I constructed my muslin with the changes I wanted to make. As many  had previously reviewed, the fit through the waist was very poor. I ended up keeping the bodice, and scrapping the rest of this pattern. I drafted a midriff piece, then drafted my box pleat panels and gussets.

The pattern had a band and bow at the front neckline, but I ended up taking my contrast material and draped a faux-scarf. I also scrapped the underbust band, but kept the bow.

In lieu of the lining on the bodice, I constructed another shelf bra by duplicating the bodice and adding a 1" elastic band cut 1" short of Kassy's under bust measurement. An elastic bra hook was placed on the elastic band, at the side opening.

I sewed the shelf bra and dress together like a lining at the neckline, then top stitched. The arm straps were way too thin to construct as a regular lining and to be able to turn everything inside out like I would need to. Because of this, I kept the shelf bra and dress armholes together, and finished with single fold bias tape.

I would have taken more pictures during the construction of this dress, but this was one of those pieces I kept running into issues with. So many, in fact, I was not even sure I was going to be able to finish it in time. Many of these issues were due to my mistakes more than anything else. If you've been sewing for a while, that is just how some projects go!

Once I was on more solid footing with this project, I decided to add two scarves to the back, continuing the drape of the front neckline. I drafted the pieces, gathered them at the shoulders, and let them hang freely to the length of the dress. This was absolutely the perfect touch!

All the frustrations were worth it as she looked absolutely beautiful for our event!!

Cocktail Rebel - Butterick 5882 - Cha Cha's Dress

Cocktail Rebel was a Rockabilly event at the beautiful McNay Art Museum. Upon deciding to attend with two of my girlfriends, I asked them what they wanted to wear. My BFF sent me a picture of Cha Cha's prom dress featured in the movie "Grease".

I had Gertie's retro pattern, Butterick 5882, that I had been wanting to try.


I wanted to keep the ruffles from the Cha Cha dress, at the bust. I pulled out a damaged vintage peignoir set that I was saving for such a project.


I had also recently snagged some small shoulder pads at a thrift store, and immediately thought I would try something new. I wanted to place a shelf bra in the dress with padding at the bra cups. I decided to sew the shoulder pads together to make a full circle. I then added elastic, slightly stretched, around each top half of my 'cups' to ensure coverage and give each a more natural shape.

I then encased each cup in the peignoir fabric, and hand sewed the peignoir ruffle collar to the areas of the cups that would be exposed. My shelf bra was made by taking the bodice pieces to slightly below the bust area. I used a thin, lycra poly knit and added a 1" elastic band, cut 1" short of my my BFF's under bust measurement. I then added an elastic bra hook to the back.

I sewed the top of the shelf bra to my main fabric like a would a lining, leaving the center back unattached. Once all was placed together, and my zipper was placed, I then hand sewed my bottom bust ruffle trim, securing the outside dress to the bra cups to prevent separation of the pieces while in wear

One additional change was that I changed the arm straps into a halter.

I could not be happier with the end result, and my BFF was gorgeous!!