Monday, June 02, 2014

The Optical Illusion Dress

The good thing about having a large fabric collection is the many choices available when you start a new project.  Now I know that I said I'd use the new fabric from Elliott Berman but when I landed in the sewing cave Saturday morning, it just wasn't speaking to me.

I honestly just wanted a great "corporate" looking piece of fabric for a sheath dress for work.  Now I have loads of pieces to choose from using that general description. I added the color gray so that I'd only be looking in one section of the collection and lightweight because the temps are suppose to rise this week. These were my two choices ~


Green striped wool/lycra blend and plaid linen

After pulling out and touching the fabrics, the green one really caught my eye...and I knew as soon as I touched it that it should be another version of The Whitney Dress.



Some Stats:

Pattern ~
A variation of my TNT dress pattern

The original Whitney Dress was based upon a dress that Whitney Houston wore in one of her videos.  I made the dress shortly after Whitney passed since I'd spent the weekend watching videos and mourning her.  This is my third version. Each one is different and this is my first spring/summer version.

Fabric ~
Ltwt wool/lycra blend purchased from Fabric Mart December 2012.


I bought 2.5 yards of this fabric because I knew that I wanted a dress but at the time I thought I would add some sleeves, thus the extra 1/2 yard. Now don't think I had the date labelled on this fabric, I didn't.  Fabric Mart keeps a listing of all your fabric purchases and if you leave the label on your fabric you can go back and look at when you purchased them. In my case it's kinda depressing to see how much I've invested in the well being of Fabric Mart! hahahaha!

Notions ~
22" green invisible zipper
rayon seam binding
strips of lightweight black fusible interfacing
bias binding

Construction ~
Since this dress is made from my TNT dress pattern, it was just remembering how I constructed the dress. Usually I check the blog, but this time I just wanted to sew.  

The only construction technique worth noting is how the inserts were added to the dress. For the other two versions, the inserts were cut on grain. For this one I cut them on the bias. So to insure that the bias stretch did not affect sewing the pieces of the dress front together, I added strips of fusible interfacing to them.



The other item to note, is that the dress is unlined. I started with a lightweight seasonal wool blend and I didn't want to make the dress to heavy or uncomfortable to wear. Because the dress is unlined, I used bias binding to finish the neckline and the armholes.  Also, I rounded the neckline a little since the original TNT variation had a v-neckline.

Lately I've been using a four pattern piece back on my dresses, but for this one I used the two piece back. It was sheer laziness that made me use the two piece back because I didn't want to match the plaids across the four pieces. Can you imagine how amazing that would have been though...

Finally since I talk about the good and the bad - I hate my darts! I have to rethink how I'm sewing them because I hate those bubbles at the tip of the dart...it was on this dress and the lilac ponte dress...and not a usual feature of my dresses. Back to basics for me...

Design Details ~
When I first pulled the fabric and thought of a Whitney Dress, it was because I wanted to highlight the unusual fabric. I knew that running the stripes down the front of the dress would give it a slim silhouette.  The decision to cut the inserts on the bias was done to play with the optics of the fabric's design.

When I started to put the dress together, I was really struck by how the stripes played out.  I'm so glad that I listened to the fabric...



Please note that I'm back to having my pictures taken by my daughter. Sammy is 4 months old now and my daughter is in a routine, so they are showing up on Sunday afternoons to take pics again. I have to give her a shout out because it's really nice not to have to worry about stray hairs, (and she also does my hair before pictures) weird angles or taking a million and one shots to come up with a few good ones. We've fallen back into our pattern and the last couple of outfits have been shot by her. She's also game to take a multitude of pictures in various spots around the condo to get the best background for my outfits.



This was a one day sew. Seriously I started it about midnight Sunday morning. Went to bed and then got up in the morning and finished it off in the afternoon. Here are a few additional pictures of the dress...

Walking away - the dress in motion!

With a very old RTW cardigan

Truly this dress is all about the fabric.  I love how the design of the fabric highlights the dress and it needs nothing else to make it work.

Next up is a shirt from my Smugglers Daughter fabric...

Lastly, thank you to all who left me birthday wishes. I read each and every one and so appreciate the comments you left. If you noticed in the ten years I've been blogging, this is the first time I've actually written a birthday post. This birthday is a really important one to me...sort of how you feel at 18 and/or 21, 30, so I wanted to celebrate it with all of you!  

Thanks also for the wonderful comments you've left on my last couple of makes. I'm thrilled that you appreciated the time and effort taken to create each one. However, I'm mostly happy that you left a comment either encouraging, complimentary, but mostly because you understand the process.

...as always more later!




65 comments:

  1. Lovely dress! Such a cool fabric - the pattern just keeps the eye moving. I love it!

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  2. How cool is that fabric and the way you have used it to show of the lines. Looks great on you and thank you for the tip about the bias pieces.

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  3. Stunning. I would never have picked up that fabric and thought to treat it like that. You are so creative. Your dress is beautiful (love the shoes too).

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  4. I bought three yards of that plaid from Vogue Fabrics at SewExpo this year! It has become My New Precious and is not telling me what it wants to be. You are tempting me with ideas again....will discuss with the yardage and see what turns out.

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  5. Love love love this dress! Great use of the fabric and so flattering!

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  6. This is so cook! I love the effect of changing the grain on the pattern, its almost 3D. And lucky lady having not just a photographer, but one who is good /and/ tidies you up first :)

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  7. Wow...I love how this fabric works with this dress. Fabulous

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  8. Wow, your dress s amazing! The fabric is really fabulous and the inserts are a stroke of genius. You never fail to create something original and beautiful. This is truly inspiring.

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  9. I have loved your last 2 makes - you certainly can tell all the skill, patience and effort that have gone in to them. After returning to work after maternity leave I have noticed a gap in my work wardrobe and you give me lots of inspiration to make flattering and beautiful pieces from a TNT pattern...all I have to do is try to find the time to sew with a little one lol!

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  10. Wow! I can't stop looking at this dress! Even the back is beautiful.

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  11. It is amazing how cool the dress looks with the fabric on the bias in the inserts. And it must be so nice having your daughter/mother time again with the photos.

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  12. I think it is a wonderful pattern when you have "little stomac" and it looks so good on you. But it does not fit well in the back. Is it depending on the sewing on bias in the front? I always think the back is as important as the front and sometimes even embroider flowers there to cheat the eye and let them have something to look at.
    Marianne P

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    1. This pattern and fabric look great on you. I would never have thought of designing on the bias but it works beautifully. The dress at the back is very flattering I think. The lines are all running balanced, takes very skilled sewing to do that with a fabric pattern of this type. I wouldn't change a thing.

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  13. What an amazing dress!! Your fabric choice is superb and I love that you cut the little inserts on the bias - it just gives the dress that little bit extra.

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  14. I like the "illusion." You know I am the queen of darts and I never have those little puckers at the end. You could try shortening the dart and not have it end right at the fullest part of the breast. Also don't back stitch at the point. Gradually sew off the fabric, lift the presser foot and need and sew back into the fabric of the dart...if that makes any since. If you have any of the Palmer/Pletsch books I think they address this issue. I still like the dress, the style and the color.

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  15. Your vision with this one is amazing - the cutting of the inset pieces on the bias make the dress look really stunning and very flattering at your waistline

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  16. A beautiful dress. Love the fabric and how the bias pieces make it look.
    When sewing darts, Ron Collins told us to start the dart with a short stitch length (1 on my machine) for several stitches, then lengthen to regular length and then shorten again when you are about 1/2" from the point. Sew off the dart and cut your thread. I do this all the time now and no issues with darts.

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    1. great tip.. i'm going to try that because I have trouble with darts also

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  17. I love it when the fabric "speaks" to inspire a project! What a gorgeous dress!

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  18. I saw this posted on instagram and had to find this on your blog. I likey!!!

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  19. Wow! So glad you listened when that fabric spoke to you!!! This is stunning!

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  20. Love your dress, good marriage of design and fabric.

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  21. I love the play on the fabric!
    and Thanks for the tip on adding interfacing to bias pieces... It's so simple but i'm still learning.... never would of thought to do that.

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  22. This is SO COOL! The plaid really plays tricks with your eyes- it looks awesome! But lady, never look back at your order history! I did that once with Seamless Web (the food delivery website) and was completely appalled... apparently I never cook! Now I know where all my money goes, ha! Ignorance is bliss! ;)

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    1. S., let's not talk about Seamless okay?! I must use them every other day at work because it's just tooooooo convenient!

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  23. You are on a sewing roll, Carolyn! Love your last creations especially this plaid dress.

    Karen

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  24. Wow! That is really so interesting and cool!
    As far as those darts go...after sewing darts from seam to tip (and having that pounded into my brain for years) forever, I have recently started sewing from tip to seam. I think it is way easier to start at exactly the right place and sew the first few short stitches parallel to the edge than it is to start at the seam and end up at the right place. I mean, there's a lot of real estate in between!
    It may seem committing sacrilege, but I think its worth a try to experiment with it and see if you like it.

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  25. Carolyn - that dress is very nice and yes Ms Fabric Whisperer that fabric spoke and you listened. Great job on all your creations but sometimes like this time you hit the ball straight out of the park.

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  26. STUNNER. this dress is magnificent! and your daughter... i can borrow her ;)?

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  27. I love this dress on you! It's very flattering and interesting, and the colors are absolutely gorgeous.

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  28. Your dress made me gasp! It is lovely!!

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  29. Great use of wonderful fabric. It's a terrific dress.

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  30. Amazing dress, great use of fabric.

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  31. That fabric is amazing. When the fabric was just laying there flat, I didn't think it was anything special. In that dress and the way you placed the inserts it takes on a whole different personality. The fabric just looks light-filled, at least on my computer. The dress is simply gorgeous.

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  32. Brilliant use of plaid, also love how you styled with cardigan & shoes. Your daughter and kids are beautiful!

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  33. I loved your last dress with the piping, and I love this one, too! What a great use of that fabric! And kudos to your daughter for being a willing -- and flattering -- photographer. No one here really wants to take my photos, and even when they do, they are so unflattering that I am being forced to learn how to do it myself:)

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  34. I love how the fabric and pattern came together to create such a unique and stunning dress!

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  35. Such a perfect mix of fabric and pattern. Unique and fabulous, just like Whitney!

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  36. Oh, this is a knockout! You are SO good at adding those special details that propel an outfit right into the stratosphere! Creative Hormone Rush

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  37. I love this fabric and how you used it is something else. It truly is flattering! I envy that you can look at a piece of fabric like this and see something quite different than what it looks like laying flat! Great job as always!

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  38. Great dress and a wonderful play on the plaid/stripe.

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  39. That dress is fantastic! I LOVE the fabric!

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  40. Oh this is so cool!!...both the dress and the fabric!

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  41. This dress is incredible! Excellent job! It takes experience and creativity to really listen to a piece of fabric like this ... and wow, your daughter wins Best Daughter Award. Takes photos, in multiple locations, and does your hair? Does she travel to Massachusetts? :p

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  42. Carolyn, this is another amazing dress. I love it. I agree with Mrs. Hughes that the fabric looks 'filled with light'. The lime green just glows - and yes it's a good thing.

    (I'm starting to hate the iPad. everytime I make comments with it they vanish. UGH!) g

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  43. What a gorgeous and creative dress. Love it and it looks great on you.

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  44. Awesome dress! When I grew up I want a fabric stash just like yours.
    -Sewingelle

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  45. Take my breath away beautiful. Great job "listening to the fabric." There's so much to learn from you.

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  46. I have a couple of these shadow plaids ( or some similar description I have seen used to describe them) in my stash, so I was delighted to see it used for a dress. Love the way it looks, and especially on the bias in the waist inserts. It made a unique and flattering dress. Happy birthday a bit late!

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  47. What a cool use of this fabulous fabric, the bias side panels really show it off.

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  48. hi, gorgeous dress and the one before that had the piping, Just an observation.... I think you should come in a little at the waist.... just a little... as it seems to me a bit big...

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  49. You really used this fabric to its greatest potential--wow!!! I wish this fabric hadn't been bought so long ago because I would absolutely buy some yardage, haha!

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  50. I love how this turned out and the way it catches the eye and light.

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  51. This blew my mind when I saw it in on IG. You seriously need to think about teaching us underlings. :) Your techniques are amazing!!!

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  52. Stunning! Simply stunning.

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  53. I absolutely LOVE that dress. The fabric is perfect for the design elements. Kudos Carolyn. Another winner!

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  54. This is stunning! and the linen dress is just beautiful. It's awesome that you have beautiful dresses that fit your body and you know you aren't going to "meet yourself" when you go out. Kudos!

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  55. Amazing amazing dress! You have topped your best with this one. Seriously stunning.

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