Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Painted Wool Herringbone Pieces ~ The Dress

At first I was just going to make a basic sheath dress with a little piping at the neckline and armholes.  My standard work dress.  Then I saw this dress on the Jones NY website...

...and I loved the tabs.  I knew that not only would they bring some interest to my "basic" sheath dress but they would help add to the allusion of a Martha would say, "that's a good thing!"

I could have gone with same fabric tabs but I wanted a little more drama after all of the basics I've been sewing. What can I say? Even though I work in a conservative atmosphere and dress that way, underneath it all, I'm a brightly colored, vivid print kinda girl!  So I try to bring a little drama to my outfits within my company's dress code.

Construction of the Faux Leather Tabs with Buttons ~
That's why I indulged my love of faux leather with the side tabs. I didn't use a pattern piece for these tabs.  They are a combination of measurements and a quick tutorial that I read on Dixie DIY's blog.  This is what I did...

1. I pinned out the path of the belt ~ from the center back seam to a place on the front that looked good on my body.

2. The tab was made by taking the length from pin to pin, then adding 1.5" to the measurement.  My final measurements were 14" long by 2" wide.

3. Since I was using faux leather as my tab, I decided to use lining fabric as one side so that the tab wouldn't be too bulky.

4. Next I opened up the center back seam about 1" wide.

5. Inserted the band and stitched the seam closed.  Then I pinned the band down the back side and side front.  I know sewists are encouraged not to pin their faux leather but these slight marks can be eased out with a little rubbing. Also you'd need to be right up on that tab to see a tiny little pin prick.

6. The band was stitched onto the dress using a 1/4" seam.  The first band honestly wasn't stitched down as well as the second one.  Instead of stitching in the same direction, I went around the band causing the faux leather to pucker.  I didn't make that mistake for the second one.

7. A good press using my silk organza pressing cloth and my clapper to hold everything flat resulted in passable tabs.

8. I stitched black buttons with gold fluted edges down on the front of the faux leather tab.

More Construction Info. ~
I added black piping at the neckline and armholes.  This was always in my plan because the print is unusual and if there wasn't a start and stop place for the eyes, it wouldn't work as well.

The lining is the heavier satin lining for the same reasons I stated in my skirt post. The lining does have a little lace at the hemline. 

Again there is quite a bit of hand stitching in the construction ~ piping basted down prior to insertion, lining hand stitched to the zipper tape, the bias binding at the armholes sewn to the lining, and the hem hand stitched.

Otherwise, the dress is constructed just like all of the other sheath dresses recently made.

Dress Particulars ~
TNT dress pattern ~ if you want to make one of your own, try Simplicity 1586 because adding the tabs is easy to do.

100% painted wool herringbone 

Satin printed lining
faux leather scraps
Two - 1" black & gold buttons
22" invisible zipper
black piping
brown striped bias binding (I found another roll in the bias binding stash!)
brown rayon seam binding
1" lace trim

Finally a few pictures of the dress...

Conclusion ~
Well we knew I wasn't going to stay with simple and basic for long, it's just not in my creative DNA.  I like the challenges that constructing this dress brought. It is my basic silhouette but with enough interesting details to elevate the style.  I'm really thrilled with the dress because if you put it next to one of the simpler sheath dresses, you can really see how the details make this dress distinctive.

As I was setting up the camera to take pictures, my Mom saw my dress and asked to see it up close.  I turned it around so that she could see the front and the back and then turned it inside out so she could see the finishing.  And then it Mom said, "that the dress was so well finished that you could wear it inside out."  Peoples, best compliment EVAH! *Score*  *doing the happy happy dance* *LOL*

I went back and forth over whether or not to make one final piece to go with this grouping or to move onto a new piece of fabric because I'm feeling very red. However, everything is threaded with brown thread so it just made sense to keep working with this color scheme.

I've had this brown knit fabric in the collection for awhile, though how long I have no idea because this piece is missing it's fabric tag.  Mentally I've paired it with this pattern for quite some time because  the pattern has a copyright date of 2006. That means both have been in the collection since before I moved.  Anyway, this is what's up next. I will be moving onto some red wool doubleknit after that... always more later!


  1. Another great dress in your arsenal!

  2. The tabs are the perfect detail! Fun and so flattering.

  3. That dress is GORGEOUS! So stylish. Very nice indeed.

  4. Very nice, I like how the small addition of tabs in a contrasting fabric give a totally different look to your TNT dress. And as usual your finishing of the inside is impeccable

  5. Great idea! Those tabs hit you at the perfect spot, too!

  6. Love those tabs and your placement of them. Wonderful dress and I agree with your mom--so beautiful inside and out.

  7. Great dress, the tabs are a great addition. Thanks for all of the interior details.

  8. Lovely dress and the touch of lace on the hem of the lining is perfect.

  9. It is always a wonderful thing to have the approval of one's mother...I developed a love of sewing because my mom was an excellent seamstress. Your dress is impeccably made and I love reading your blog.

  10. A gorgeous dress and the tabs do add a bit of distinction to it. It looks fabulous on you. And, I agree with your mom's comment.

  11. I'd actually have loved to see some pictures of you wearing it inside out, too.

  12. Lovely, love the addition of the tabs, great look, and your Mom is absolutely right! Always a beautiful finish, inside and out.

  13. The tabs are fabulous! They really do give a different look to your TNT. And wow, the inside of your dress really is scrumptious -- that lace hem is such a nice touch. Congrats on getting high praise from your mom, that never gets old (and we never get too old to value it).

  14. Love the tabs. As always your look fabulous.

  15. I agree with your mother you could wear it inside out. I wish I had the courage to try the things you seem to do quite easily. Armhole binding AND lining. pff if I could do one I would be thrilled.
    New Zealand

  16. Looks great. Love the tabs. Great inspiration. Thank you.

  17. Great dress! I think the tabs were exactly the right call! (Isn't it fun to add a little pop of no-so-appropriate-for-work sort of fabric into a very appropriate dress?)

  18. This is my favourite piece of the collection so far! I love how the extra details just elevate the dress into couture! Been reading a little of Claire Shaefer's Couture Details and what with this dress I am inspired!

  19. Fantastic dress and love the tabs!

  20. I agree with your Mom! The inside is as lovely as the outside.I missed your last post.Just wanted to say that the skirt/vest outfit is one of my favorites that you've made. Just love it!

  21. Love those details! A great-looking dress.

  22. I love the tabs. What a difference they make!

  23. I love the dress. The tabs add so much.

  24. love this! what a great design detail those tabs are. incredibly flattering little detail. great dress, as usual, Carolyn!

  25. What can I say Caroyin, you are a true profession as always! Great details which add enormeously to an otherwise simple dress.

  26. Love it. Great way to change up your TNT.

  27. The waist tabs were genius. They make a basic sheath dress in to something really special. And I love the compliment you got from your mom! :)

  28. Outstanding job on the dress!!! Really love all the details, the dress is exquisite!!

  29. Looks great! I love those extra details in your garments - they make otherwise simple garments really special.

  30. Hello! I stumbled upon your blog this evening and can't stop reading! I've read back to this point! I just had to tell you how beautiful you look in this dress! I just love what your Mom said about the inside finishing! My Mom passed away 2years ago, and I always hated machine sewing, but have started small with a few projects lately, and am amazed at how much I learned from my Mom, and how it is helping so much now, when I don't have her anymore! Your blog is such an inspiration, and I just have to say I love your sometimes hilarious posts, where you are so honest about ugly patterns (or should I say FUGLY)!!!!! Thanks for your blog! i am going to add you to my blog list!


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