Thursday, September 29, 2011

Just a quick note...

In today's NYTimes Thursday Styles section, there is an article "Fashion Forward?  Check!" that review's this seasons designers love affair with houndstooth.  You can read the short clip, here.  It also features a picture of one of the Ferragamo dresses that I just adore from the Fall 2011 line!

There's also a review from the On the Runway Blog written by Cathy Horyn about the Dries van Noten Spring 2012 fashion show.  I know this is getting a little ahead for us sewing fashionistas who are heading into fall, but it was an interesting read.

Okay, I'm out!  Gotta do that day job that allows me to pay for my sewing passion and fabric addiction!  *LOL*

...btw, I finished my houndstooth inspired I'll have pics soon. always, more later!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Designer Interpretations - Fabric Inspired

I don't want to sew pieces of a wardrobe.  I don't want to figure out how to make 5 or 6 pieces work with each other.  I know that in times past, I've extolled the virtues of wardrobe sewing and I've even wallowed like a pig in mud, dreaming up and constructing wardrobes...but right now...I don't want to sew that way.  So I won't be finishing up a 6pack...cause I don't want to. 

Now...right now...I'm inspired by designer garments.  This fall season is offering up so many delicious pieces made with wonderful details in amazing fabrics.  I want to make those things.  My mind is overflowing with creativity caused by all of those glossy pictures in the fall magazines featuring the best of the designer collections.  The garments that cause me to go crawling around in my fabric collection pulling out pieces of fabric to then add to a TNT pattern and coming up with my own designer inspired creation.  

Today's designer inspired piece is based upon Salvatore Ferragamo's Fall Line. EricaB has highlighted it and there have been three to five page ad layouts in most of the September magazines.  I love the silhouettes the designer, Giornetti, used but mostly I absolutely ADORE his use of black and white houndstooth.  He has recycled a classic fabric into new silhouettes that have sent my creative spirit into overdrive.

So I found this fabric in the collection:

It's a take on the classic houndstooth pattern in black and white that I've used with my TNT dress pattern...and a black petersham ribbon.

I also added a little piping to the neckline:

An invisible zipper to the back...
and I got a great pattern match here...

And that's as far as I got Sunday evening before I packed it in for the night.  The dress still needs to be hemmed and the armholes finished.  Both are things that I can finish up this weekend so I will have a new dress to wear to work next week...when the weather finally starts to act like it's fall.  

BTW, I've taken the Leather-Look dress apart...I need to cut out the silk organza pieces and stitch them to the dress before I reassemble it.  I also found some brown leather-like piping from Daytona Trimmings to add to the neckline and this dress has become a little more involved.  And Toy, the dress is to wear to an after work event...I wanted something a little funkier, trendy and fun...I thought this fabric would make a dress that would fit the bill. always, more later!

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Why is it when you have no time to sew that you have so many ideas?

Why is it when you pledge not to purchase any more fabric - that perfect piece that you've been searching high and low for comes along and makes you break your vow?

Why is my fabric multiplying behind my back?  I know that small length in that color combination was not purchased by my fabric has to be reproducing right?

Why is it that when you've finally worked out the solution to the sewing problem that's been bothering you...just niggling away at the edges of your have no time to actually see if it will work?

Why do I have to explain my fabric obsession to anyone?  Seriously...why?


I'm off to work tomorrow...begrudgingly...soooooo begrudgingly...but I'm going to stop off at Daytona Trims and Pacific Trimmings to pick up a few notions.  And no Elizabeth, I am NOT going by a fabric store...okay!?! *LOL*

Hopefully I won't be too tired on Sunday for something to "magically" appear from my sewing machine...

A Parting Shot:

Oh and a great big thank you to Wendy for helping me resolve "the pop-up" issue!!!! always, more later!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This and That Again

This post is just a bunch of here goes:

1.  I know about the pop-up issue with my blog.  I've reached out to blogger but they say they don't get them when they come here.  Since blogger hosts the website, there isn't too much more that I can do about it...I did start getting them when I switched over to the new interface so I'm hoping that when they've worked out all the "issues" with the new interface that they will go away.  I apologize to anyone who gets them...I never see the pop-ups because they are blocked by my Norton's...and I do get them on my iPad too.  So if someone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it!

2.  No I don't want to move my blog.  I have 1088 posts here and the thought of reworking them on another site makes my head hurt.  I really just want someplace where I can write & talk about sewing, show pics of my garments and encourage others to pursue our passion.

3.  Thanks for the comments and suggestions on my last post.  First - the fabric is NOT leather.  It's a leather-like look that I bought from Fabric Mart because it was interesting looking and cheap!  *LOL*  Second, the underlining idea really appealed to me but I don't want to use cotton...I was thinking silk organza.  Do you think that would work or does it need to be cotton to cut down the static?

4.  I'm at the end of my last roll of Dick Blick tracing I was thrilled when I got home tonight and found that more had arrived!  I love this stuff because it makes tracing new pattern pieces so easy.  However, my TNT patterns (those that I use over and over again) are all being transferred to the white numbers/letters tracing paper (if they aren't already on that paper) because the Dick Blick paper is lightweight.

5.  This also came in the mail from Sawyer Brook Fabrics:

Description from the website:
"This wool blend cable knit could double for outerwear too. The cable stitch chains its way down the yardage of this dark chocolate brown texture resulting in a desirable linear aspect. Imported from Italy for Milly. 25% crosswise stretch. 58 in."

It is just awesome!  I have some brown wool crepe that I want to make some separates from and this ties together so well with it.  If you're one of those people that I've recently told that I need to stop buying so much fabric, please understand that I bought just this ONE piece because it was too amazing not to come home with me!

6.  I don't know how many of you read Stitcher's Guild but Nancy Erickson has a folder there where women sew the most amazing garments from her patterns.  Now these patterns create a more traditional, tailored, working woman's wardrobe and do not include plus sizes...but Nancy has a yearly subscription and swatching service.  I'm always interested in everyone's take on the fall season's fashions and this year I decided to purchase Nancy's September Issue of her newsletter.  She sells single copies for $7.  It was a comprehensive view of the season and an engaging read.  I sat and read it from cover to cover and then moseyed over to Stitcher's Guild to hear what others had to say about it.  Anyway, if you need a more professional wardrobe and are looking for a good resource, I highly recommend her September Issue.

7.  My girl Christine Jonson is having an open house on Thursday, September 22nd and boy do I wish I had the ability to go!  But she's thought of everything...if you can't go to the Open House, she's having a 25% off sale on her patterns until Sunday, September 25th.  So if there was one that you were thinking about but didn't purchase last time...this is your chance!

8.  While I'm mentioning Christine Jonson, Barbara of Cat Fur Studio, made CJ's Double Collar Jacket.  It is a beautiful transitional piece and definitely made me take another look at that pattern!  Use the link above and see how Barbara made an awesome version of this jacket!

9.  I have to work the next two Saturdays...I'm soooooo not looking forward to this.  We work alot of long hours normally so my policy has always been  "no weekends" but our offices have been expanded - we are on two floors now - and I have to help pack portions of the office for the move.  So two less Saturdays to sew...*sigh*

10.  There is fabric ALL OVER my livingroom.  Seriously, it's in piles on the sofa, the coffee table and in big 25 gallon Rubbermaid bins...and it doesn't include what's in the bedroom or on the shelves of the fabric closet.  I have ALOT of fabric!

...more later!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A hot mess = help!

I have a plan of things I want to's written out and I should be following it right?

Of course not...I saw this pic in my email this weekend:

And since I've recently been handling all of the fabric in my fabric closet (more about that later) I knew I had this cool piece of "leatherish" fabric and I thought I could make a dress from that.

Well I made the dress...but I can't get the fabric to stop sticking to everything...even after I put a lining in the dress:

So I'm coming to you asking for suggestions to make the fabric less staticky.  Should I use a product?  Is there a trick to anti-static?  Anything you suggest would be appreciated because I actually think this would be a funky kinda dress to wear on weekends and on casual fridays at the office...

(the flash made this look really shiny
it actually looks more like the first picture)

...but I've learned something today...I need to stick to my list and not free-style.  My list is well-thought out for all happenstances...when I free style I end up with messes...interesting messes but messes just the same.

...any help you can provide would be appreciated...

...more later!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

My mind wanders whilst sewing...

A few thoughts that came to me during my week of sewing.  These are in no particular order...just as I thought about them...

1.  I love the feel of a lined garment in my hands...especially one lined with bemberg lining fabric.  The heft of the garment is comforting and the cool sleekness of the lining is refreshing.

2.  I'm one of those people that not only change my sewing machine needles when using different fabrics...but I also change it after every 3 or 4 garments sewn.  Does anyone else do this?

3.  My serger can still intimidate me.  Using it still hasn't become intuitive yet.  On the Mixed Fabrications dress I changed the serger thread three times, and I found myself warily approaching my serger always hoping for the best.  I can't wait until I'm as familiar with it as I am with my sewing machine...on the other hand...I love that I don't have to mess with the tension anymore and get a perfectly balanced stitch no matter what fabric I'm serging.

4.  Speaking of sewing machines, have you seen the new Janome Horizon Memory Craft 12000?  Oh my is that a pretty sewing machine!  I'm like a myrna bird always attracted to new and shiny things...sigh...  That machine is awesome, as well it should be for a starting price of $10,000.

5.  Now that I've overstuffed the fabric closet, I'm finding that I'm turning to it more and more when I'm thinking of a new project.  No more heading to the internet to look for fabric or the bricks 'n mortar store for I just reflect on what's living with me!  All of the fabrics for the dresses from the sewing vacay came from The Collection.  The only thing purchased was the lace for the Lace Inspired Dress.

6.  Can someone please tell me why floppy ties or bowties on women's blouses are called pussy bows?  That comment was left more than once on the Pinstripe Inspired Dress so I just wondered why and when it originated?

7.  Another comment on that post asked what the cost of the Pinstripe Inspired Dress was?  The cost for that dress was $28.85.  The most expensive part of the dress was the bemberg lining (which I've become addicted to!) at $20.85.  So the fabric and notions came to a grand total of $7.50 - besides a great fabric bargain - there is something to be said for buying notions in bulk!

...a few of the things that ran through my mind while I was sewing... always, more later!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sewing Her Way Out of Poverty

I read this Op Ed Piece, "Sewing Her Way Out of Poverty" by Nicholas Kristof in yesterday's New York Times and this article really resounded with me because she's used sewing to form a new life for herself.  If you are a sewist and a frequent reader here you can understand Jane's passion for sewing and how she's used it to improve her life in Africa.

So the purpose of this post is to highlight the fact that Mr. Kristof has provided information on how we can help a fellow sewist.  On his blog post entitled, "Can Old Dresses Help a Kenyan Dressmaker" he shares where dresses and donations can be sent to help out Jane.

From the blog post:
"I’m sure some readers will want to help Jane and her family, by digging out any old fancy dresses you may have in your basement. Her specialty is buying used wedding dresses or bridesmaid dresses on the second-hand markets of Nairobi (typically donated in the U.S. and then send in bulk containers to Africa), and then cutting them up and turning them into two or three children’s dresses."

The television documentary company that I’m working with (we’re filming a PBS documentary of “Half the Sky,” the book about empowering women that I wrote with my wife, Sheryl WuDunn) has agreed to accept parcels at its New York office. The company, Show of Force, will then trans-ship the dresses to Nairobi, paying the shipping costs and customs duties (which can be considerable), and get them into Jane’s hands. I hope to be able to run a follow-up blog item down the line with photos of Jane and whatever you send her.

So if you’re so inclined, send the dresses to: Half the Sky, c/o Show of Force, 430 East 10th Street, Suite 3A; New York, NY 10009 I’m sure that some people will ask about contributing money to Jane to support her children’s education, and let me preemptively say that you can make checks out to Force Film Foundation and send them to that same address, clearly marked as for Jane. It’s a 501c3 organization, but you’ll have to ask your accountant about a tax deduction. (So don’t make any checks out to Show of Force or Half the Sky, but to Force Film Foundation.) The foundation promises to forward the money, but it doesn’t have any capacity to monitor its use. If you include your email address, either Jane or her daughter Caroline (who’s more adept at email) may thank you

I know that I want to give a fellow sewist a helping hand and I hope that you will join me.  Again the address is:
Half the Sky, c/o Show of Force, 430 East 10th Street, Suite 3A; New York, NY 10009
I really hope that if you have something to pass on that you will... always, more later!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wrapping it all up

My sewing vacay was shorter this year than in years past...and on top of that I ended up getting sick when I went back to I was home bedridden for two days...cutting into the weekend sewing I'd planned on doing.

I have three items left on my list to sew...the accompanying jacket to The Lace Inspired Dress, the second inspirational Jason Wu dress and a designer inspired dress that I'm still going back and forth over whether I can pull off.  Hopefully the jacket and JWu dress will make it out of my sewing machine before the month is over because this is the first time since I've been doing sewing vacays that I've felt unsatisfied with what I accomplished.  Not in the quality or even the amount but that I fell far short of my personal goals.

Here are the finished garments from this sewing vacay...

The Lace Inspired Dress, The Pinstriped Inspired Dress,
The Mixed Fabrications Dress and The Quickie Dress

...what I finished last year...

...and the year before...

I will be interspersing quite a few of these looks with the four pieces I just completed to wear to work this month...and even though these were very involved garments...I never reached the creative nirvana that I usually experience after a sewing vacay.  So the main lesson I've learned this year ~ I need the full week off to be creatively satisfied.  Believe me, this won't happen in 2012!!!

The full collection along with construction pics can be viewed in my flickr album.

Finally, I want to thank you all for following along while I sewed...for all of the wonderful comments you left regarding the dresses and for realizing that even fat girls can be fashionable! always, more later!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Quickie...

As I said in my last post,  I needed a quick project to finish off the week.  The Designer Inspired Series Dresses were labor intensive full of pattern alterations, hand stitching, lining and involved embellishments.  A quick and easy project was needed badly...

Enter Vogue 9245...I've been wanting to make it up in a ponte knit...and the purple ponte knit was calling out to my purple it became this:

Now when I say truly was a quickie!  The longest part of making this dress was making the pattern alterations I made last time permanent by making up an actual pattern piece instead of pivoting and sliding the pattern on the fabric.   Again the entire dress was sewn on my serger. 

I even only serged the neckline because even after raising it an inch it is still a titch too low for me...

...and the hemline of the dress.

However, this is still in the wearable muslin stage because even though I've got the sleeves to fit my bodacious biceps and enough fabric around my abdomen, I need to make an adjustment to the shoulder seams.  They are about an inch too long so that the sleeve cap is hanging down on my shoulder, a problem I don't remember experiencing when I made it up in the ITY knit.  Even though I never like to emphasize my booty, I will have to make a swayback adjustment if I want to continue to use this pattern.  This is just too poor of a back fit...

But the dress looks good with my purple slingbacks doesn't it!  *LOL* 

Now this is a do as I say - not a do as I do moment...because I am going to wear the dress out of the house...with a sweater on top of it! *LOL*  And I've already made the alterations to the pattern so that the next version will fit better.

I guess you're witnessing the process of a pattern getting to TNT status...since this particular one is better than the first but not yet at the point where I can lay it down on the fabric and end up with a great fitting dress.  Don't worry, I have plenty of ponte knits to make additional stay tuned for the next one!  However, it did fulfill two of my requirements was quick and easy and it went with the purple slingbacks!

...more later!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Designer Interpretations - Mixed Fabrications Dress

The Dries van Noten dress resonated with me from the moment I first saw it in the September 2011 issue of Elle magazine. I'm sure to some it looks like a mixture of prints that don't play well together but I saw a dialogue between fabric and silhouette...and that's what I was drawn to...

So my interpretation of that dialogue becomes Dress No. 21 for this year, Dress #50 from my TNT pattern and the third in the series of Designer Inspired Dresses.  To say that I love a dress is becoming somewhat of an understatement...

Some stats:

TNT dress pattern - altered to interpret the designer dress

Vanilla 4-ply silk crepe from the collection
Black worsted wool crepe from the collection
Silk Houndstooth purchased from Fabric Mart April 2011
Printed silk charmeuse from the collection

beige bemberg lining
18" ivory invisible zipper

The Construction Journey:
After making the pattern alterations, I ended up with quite a few pieces...all of those pieces cut from single pieces of fabric needed to be kept separately so that they could be matched up correctly during the assembly process.  Someone referred to the Macy's Dress in the comments section that I made during last September's sewcation, and that was a simplier sew.  Simplier because I only made the interlocking pieces for the front of the dress and left the dress back uncomplicated.  The back on this dress does have a design feature...a little less design than I originally imagined but some detailing nonetheless.

The Dress Front:
There are three very distinctive fabrics used in the front of the dress.  At first glance they don't exactly coordinate...but pieced together they do speak to each other and I like the conversation they are having.  The first thing I did after cutting out the pieces was to beef up the printed silk charmeuse triangle by adding a piece of the lightweight silk used in the HeidiM inspiration dress.  I didn't want to have any difficulties with the weights of the fabric working together once the dress front was assembled.

An additional concern was where all of the fabrics came together at a point.  To insure that it laid flat, I graded some of the seams, used alot of steam while pressing and my clapper very liberally.

The other change in construction - is that my side piece is a little larger than the inspiration dress.  From what I can see in the photos, it is a slim piece with the fabric overlapping it in places.  I made my side piece a little wider (wider body/wider piece) and it works for the look I was trying to achieve...

The Back:
I used the already altered pattern pieces from The Versace Dress back so the sewing wasn't complicated.  I deliberately cut the pieces so that there was a jag around the zipper to add a little interest to the back. 

Originally I was going to add a strip of the printed charmeuse to the back hem...but as I worked on the dress, I decided against it...even though a piece of the print is on the hem of the designer dress.  Also, instead of using a 22" invisible zipper, I substituted an 18" invisible zipper.  The 18" zipper works as well for opening the dress to slide it on so it was no big deal to change that out.

The Lining:

I used a beige bemberg rayon lining instead of a white one because I wanted to mute the opaqueness that the white silk/white rayon lining combo had.  No lace was added to the hemline of the lining.

A few more pics:

I have two more dresses that I want to sew in the Designer Inspired Series.  However, they will come to fruition later in the month.  After sewing three very labor intensive dresses (even if they look simple) it made me want to sew something quick and easy as my final vacay dress which I will share with you next.

Parting Shots:

I bought these shoes earlier in the summer.  They aren't what I normally purchase but I love the AK Anne Klein line of shoes and they are slingbacks another fave...but most especially they are purple!  I think they work perfectly with this dress that pushes my corporate world boundaries a little...just like my shoes.

Shoe portrait in the mirror

Single shoe alone always, more later!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Tenth Anniversary...

This is a difficult day for me...and the fact that it's ten years later...doesn't make it any easier.  I'm happy that I don't have to journey into the city today because even now I start to breathe a little faster and tears come to my eyes when I think about September 11, 2001.

I know that there were many people trapped in NYC that day and that they all have memories of that horrid day...but here are a few of mine:

1.  I remember exactly where I was, what I was wearing (never wore it again), and what I was doing at 8:43am when the first plane crashed into the first tower of the World Trade Center.

2.  For days and weeks afterwards, I looked for people that I rode the bus to NYC with worried that they were part of the missing.

3.  I never made it home to Jersey that day or the next...thankfully I was living with my parents at the time (in the midst of a divorce) so my daughters were safe with them.  The officials of NYC shut it down so quickly and so tightly that I could only get to my friend's house in Connecticut.

4.  I was on the train out of Manhattan with people covered in ash and dust.  They were like zombies - so shell shocked.  I remember that at every train station, there were ambulances and medical personnel to assist them as they got off the train.

5.  I cried for two days straight once I got to my friend's house and finally spoke to my daughters.  I didn't shed a tear until then...and after that I couldn't stop shaking and crying.

6.  Many people lost friends and family members in the towers collapse. I didn't.  My cousin who worked in one of the towers didn't go in to work that day...but I did lose the security and joy associated with being in New York City.

7.  The bus I take to NYC comes down the helix into the Lincoln Tunnel with a great view of lower Manhattan.  For weeks after the towers collapsed, I had to close my eyes until we were safely in the tunnel because otherwise I would become hysterical looking at the cloud of dust that hovered over the spot where the towers use to stand.

8.  Walking across town was like walking from one memorial to another.  There were pictures of the missing on every lamp post, every stop sign, even attached to fences...the sorrow of those looking for the missing was so overwhelming...

9.  There were so many funerals and memorial services.  My boss at the time went to at least one, sometimes two funerals a week once the bodies started to be pulled from the rubble.  It was a daily reminder of how many lives had been lost and how many families were affected.

10.  I've never been to lower Manhattan again since.

These are my memories.  However, the real heros of those horrendous days were the Policemen and Firefighters who raced into those buildings trying to save the people trapped there.  The nurses and doctors who waited for the trauma patients that never came. The citizens of NYC who stood in long lines to give blood that was never needed.  The rescue workers who foraged through the remains of the towers for days, weeks and months ~ first looking for survivors and then looking for remains to give the families some what we now know was a risk to their own health.

Those are the true heros of September 11th...them and all of the innocent victims...

May we never forget their sacrifices...

Friday, September 09, 2011

Are you ready for some shopping?

Elizabeth who authors the blog, SEWN, has scheduled a shopping day in NYC on Saturday, September 17th.  This trip was originally scheduled for Saturday, August 27th but then Irene blew into town and wreaked our plans.

The trip was rescheduled for when none of Irene's friends and/or relatives will be around. 

Here are the particulars:

9:45am Gather in front of Starbucks at 494 8th Ave (corner of 8th and 35th St). I will hand out maps of the garment district and we’ll split into 2 groups.

9:55am Each group will walk to either Metro Textiles
(265 W 37th St, Ste 908, between 7th and 8th but closer to 8th)
or Elliott Berman (225 W 35th St, #7, between 7th and 8th but closer to 7th)

10:00am Shopping to commence!

11:00am Start having your fabrics cut

11:30am Leave for other store. If you started at Metro, go to Elliott Berman
and vice versa

12:00pm Shopping!

1:00pm Start having your fabrics cut

1:30pm Finished at both stores

At this point, you can use your maps to shop at other fabric or trim stores in the district, have lunch or just go home. I look forward to seeing you all there!

So if you've been looking for an opportunity to join like-minded fabricaholics in NYC's Garment District here is your chance.  Please sign up here on PatternReview...just leave a response and let them know that you will be joining in the fabric fun!!!!!

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Designer Interpretation - DVN Dress Pattern Alterations

The next dress up in the Designer Inspired Series, is this Dries van Noten dress:

Dries van Noten Fall 2011
(photo courtesy of

It's the mixed fabric combination that appeals to me and that look is being shown in several designer lines this fall.  I've pulled these fabrics to fashion a dress that has more of a corporate slant - yet takes advantage of the mixed fabrication of the designer dress.

left to right:  vanilla 4ply silk crepe, silk herringbone,
black wool crepe, print silk charmeuse

Of course to achieve the look of this dress, I had to make some alterations to my TNT dress pattern.  It basically meant chopping up the dress into pieces to use with the different fabrications.  Here are the pattern alterations for the front of the dress:

For the dress back, I will use the pattern pieces from the Versace Inspired Dress. 

I'm sure that this isn't what the DVN dress' back looks like...this is just my interpretation.  It's what I'd like the back of the dress to look like.  Also my dress back will only use 3 of the 4 fabrics shown above.

All of the pattern work has been completed and the fabrics cut up is the sewing.  So hopefully there will be a completed dress to share soon. 

I have one more Designer Inspired dress left to make after this one is done alongwith the jacket for the Lace Inspired dress.  Hopefully, I will get all of this finished before Monday.  If not, I still have some Sundays in September to work on garments since I have to work a few Saturdays this month. always, more later!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Designer Interpretations - Pinstripe Inspired Photos

As I mentioned in my last post, this dress is an interpretation of a Heidi Merrick dress. This too is a sheath dress with interesting details...and it's those interesting details that made me want to make a version of my own.

Some stats:

TNT dress pattern

From the fabric closet, I pulled a lightweight pinstripe tropical wool that I purchased from Fabric Mart during one of their 'the entire store is $1.00 per yard' sales. The sleeves and tie are made from a very lightweight silk that I purchased from Fabric Mart during the April Fabric Shopping Spree.

22" black invisible zipper
black bemberg rayon lining
1" black lace

I loved the sleeves and the tie on the designer original. I loved that the dress was made from a pinstripe fabric which is such a corporate fabric but had the fashion forward sleeves and tie. And I realized that this dress would be very easy to make using my TNT dress pattern.

I made a few changes to make the dress suit me. First, the sleeves have the puffy sleeve cap of the original BUT I left the sleeve hems flowy and loose. This looks better on me than the banded or elasticized sleeves. I know this because I did make the sleeves with an elasticized hem and it looked like I was wearing a little girl's dress...NOT the look I was going for! *LOL*

Second, I made my tie extra long but thinner than the one the designer used. Since I'm still experiencing my own personal summers, I decided that a longer but slimmer tie would give me "the look" without all the extra fabric
around my neck.

Otherwise, this was a normal dress construction once I'd worked out the sleeve issues. I added a lining to the dress with a lace know how much I like that finish in my dresses...

...and that was it.  I think I made the dress work for me and I really like it. Amazingly, so did both of my daughters!

Here are a few more pictures:

I've started work on the next dress in the Designer Inspired Series. This one involved some pattern alterations to my TNT pattern and I will share those next... always, more later!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Designer Interpretations - Pinstripe Inspired - "The Sleeves"

My next dress is one that I'm copying twice over.  I saw this dress on The Selfish Seamstress' blog.  Elaine made her own interpretation of a Heidi Merrick dress and even though she is petite and thin, I thought that this dress would work for me.  Because we all know that a sheath a sheath a sheath dress!  Here's the original:

picture courtesy of The Selfish Seamstress blog

Again it's the details that drew me to the dress...this time it's the sleeves and the bow tie.  I have once again started with my TNT dress pattern and two pieces of fabric pulled from the fabric closet.

This post is about the sleeves because to me if the sleeves work, then the dress works.  So the first thing I needed to do was alter the sleeve pattern for my TNT dress pattern. 

I had a basic idea of how to go about doing this but I knew that there were instructions and diagrams in the book, "Make it Your Own Personalizing Patterns for Creative Design" by Lori Bottoms & Ronda Chaney.  This book is out of print.  However, it is one of my treasured resources because it was one of the first books that taught me that I could alter a pattern successfully and without fear.

Chapter Four - Savvy Sleeves is where I found the information I needed to alter my pattern piece.  I made a copy of the original sleeve pattern piece and then following the instructions for enlarging a sleeve, I placed three slits in the pattern.  One in the center front and one on either side of the center slit. Then I added 2" between each slice, so that my altered pattern piece looks like this:

Since I only had a small piece of the lightweight silk available, I didn't want to ruin it so I made a sample sleeve from a piece of silk charmeuse that was comparable in weight to the silk chosen for this project...

...then I inserted into the shell of my pea green linen dress...a dress that's hanging waiting to be completed btw...but made from the same TNT dress pattern...

I like the fullness that this added to the sleeve...the detail that I believe is necessary to make this design work.  Now that I'm sure the sleeve pattern will work, I've moved onto making the dress and the tie.

...more later!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Designer Inspirations - Lace Inspired Photos

The dress is finished. It took quite a bit of work to get it there ~ 2 full days to complete and at least 6 hours of hand sewing...but it is finished and I love it!

The Jason Wu Dress that inspired my garment is sold at Bergdorf Goodman for $1,695.00. My version cost $68.91!

Some other differences:
~ the original dress is sold in sizes 2-8, mine is in a size 24.
~ the original dress has lace down the sides and over the shoulder seams,
   mine has the side lace and black piping at the neckline.
~ the original dress has a "high" waistline, mine is a straight sheath
~ the original dress has a high u-neckline, mine is slightly wider
~ the original dress is made from a wool/spandex blend, mine is from a 100%
   Italian wool

Some similarities:
~ both are lined
~ both have an invisible center back zipper
~ both are sleeveless

Some additional stats:

TNT dress pattern

100% Italian wool purchased from Metro Textiles - 2 seasons ago

22" gray invisible zipper
black bias binding
rayon seam binding
7" wide black lace from M&J Trimmings
black satin piping

The detail that drew me to this dress was the lace accents.  I only used it on the side seams and omitted the lace detailing on the shoulder, however, that was the detailing I liked least in the original designer dress. 

I replaced that detail with black satin piping at the neckline because the neckline did need something and this will work well with the jacket I plan on making to coordinate with this dress.

The lace accents on the side are very slimming and I love that about my dress.  While my dress is based upon a high fashion designer original, I believe it will still work in my corporate workplace.  I may be pushing the envelope just a bit but it will work nonetheless.

A few more pics:

Finally, this is the first piece of my newly revised Autumn Six Pack plan! always, more later!


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