Sunday, October 03, 2010

Dress No. 42 - Construction

Friday night after work I went out with the Significant Other and got in late Saturday morning...therefore there was no sewing here on Saturday.  Lots of sleeping and lazying around but no sewing!  Then I got a late start today.  I knew what I wanted to make, I just wasn't sure about the alterations to the pattern.  After dancing around the pattern a couple of times,  I finally settled down to work.

Let me start out by saying that the dress isn't finished.  I have the basic shell completed but the dress still needs sleeves, a lining (which I only decided upon after getting the shell done), and I may yet add a black band to the bottom of the dress.  It is still very much a work in progress.

The Ingredients

embroidered tropical wool, black wool crepe
mother of pearl flower buttons

I found this Out of Print (OOP) Vogue Pattern by Sandra Betzina in the collection while searching for another pattern. 

I loved this top when it came out and thought the details would work well on my TNT dress.  I didn't want the neckline but the sleeves with the band & button were very appealing.  I finally decided that I would make black colored bands at the neckline and the sleeve bands.  A search through the fabric closet yielded a medium weight black wool crepe that was the same weight as the tropical embroidered wool.

Pattern Alterations
Of course, I used my TNT dress pattern as my starting point.  The first alteration was to make the bands at the neckline on the front and back dress pieces.

front piece with yoke

back piece with yoke

My method for insuring that the plaids match...cut out the front piece and lay it on top of the fabric next to the back piece - matching the plaids to the key points on both pattern pieces.  This is similar to the single cut method but I like laying the pieces next to each other to insure that the plaids will match at the seamline.

The construction was pretty straight forward.  Each band was added to the bottom dress piece and pressed towards the band.  An invisible zipper was added to the back of the dress...

matching the plaids and the black bands

...then an embellishment was added to the neckband.  I really wanted the embellishment to be a rounded band with the button added to it...but I just couldn't get it to work.  So I cut the band down, twisted it and anchored it to the neckband with zigzagged bars and a few hand stitches.  Finally I stitched the button onto the top using a double strand of waxed thread. 

I'm liking this look and doesn't the button work well with the fabric?!  It's not quite how I imagined the dress when I started the process but it incorporates the buttons & bands from the inspiration piece. It's also unlike any dress presently in my wardrobe. 

So this is where it stands now:

I will work on it again next weekend...hopefully getting it finished, as well as, the Simplicity jacket...which now no longer works with this dress...but it will work with the pieces I made during my sewcation. always, more later!


  1. Cute! It's very feminine and has a lovely vintage feel about it. Look forward to seeing it finished.

  2. Looks like a beautiful beginning! Can't wait to see the finished product.

  3. How pretty! I love that embroidered fabric!

  4. Thanks for your very nice comment on my blog! :)

    I do not recognize this older Sandra Betzina pattern, but it does have interesting details. Your dress is turning out to be very cute -- it's amazing that it's #42 from your TNT pattern!!

  5. Looks promising so far. I'm curious to see how this will look when finished. Such well-matched checks... and those buttons are perfect with the embroidery (and I usually don't like fancily shaped buttons)

  6. this is beautiful, I love the flower detail on the neckline, the fabric is gorgeous too

  7. I love the fabric. The neckline is adorable.

  8. Lovely! And I have to share my Burda experience this weekend... I was tracing the pattern when my hubby came into the sewing studio and wanted to know what I was doing. When I explained, he said, "Do those people (Burda) have a brain tumor? For what this printer costs them, and the software to lay out all these patterns on top of each other, why don't they just include a CD in each issue? Or put them online and let you download them?" The pattern came out pretty well, and I'm happy with my new blouse. With some tweaking, this will be a TNT.

  9. Lovely dress with a great print.

  10. This is looking good. The neckline is really cute and the buttons are a perfect match.

  11. I love this! And of course, it looks nothing like the other 41 :-)

  12. So far it looks fantastic. One thing about sewing, you need to be flexible because sometimes you have to change directions midway through a project. Well done. Can't wait to see the finished project.

  13. Lovely fabric and buttons! I love the style of the tops, not sure why I don't have that pattern on my shelf? since I have most of her patterns :)

  14. I love seeing your process for altering a TNT pattern into the dress you want to make. Thank you for sharing and blogging.

  15. I am so print challenged. I never would have the courage to choose a plaid with floral embroidery. Your dress looks so retro-chic. Kudos!

  16. Wow, another winner, even unfinished (although I really like the look of it sleeveless).

    Question for you -- what is the purposed of the centre front seam? Could you not avoid the pattern matching with a single piece? Or does adding that seam help with shaping/fit somehow? I'm not at all criticizing your choice, just eager to learn why more experienced sewists do the things they do. Thanks!

  17. Very nice, Caroline, and great fabric!

  18. This is an example of a fabric I would have passed over in the store, but it is fantastic! Your dress is lovely and the neckline detail is a nice touch that brings it all together. I really like this one.

  19. Gee Willickers, I want that FABRIC!!! This is going to be a great looking dress. Of course :-)

  20. Looks great so far! Fabulous fabric.

  21. This is looking so great! The accent on the front band is what really sells it.


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