Melbourne Frocktails Dress – V8555

Finally, behold, my Melbourne Frocktails Dress!

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I know I am remarkably tardy in posting this, but in true Lizzie form, I was chattering way too much at Frocktails to get any pictures of it. Also, going through everyone’s photos here, here and here, one would think I didn’t attend at all as there is little to no photographic evidence!

The dress is of course Vogue 8555 as per my last post and constructed much the same…

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…with one major change.  Can you see my zipper?  Nope, not the best invisible zipper ever.  When I was trying it on for fit with it basted up, I realized I didn’t require one, so I left it off!! I know, weird right? It felt a bit weird omitting it, almost like it’s an unfinished dress, but of course makes the back lovely and flat.

The only thing I was a little annoyed at myself for was the pattern matching or lack thereof.  When I cut it out for some reason I gave it very little thought and as a result have a stupid double print down the front. Whatevs.

Because I always forget, here are some shots of the insides:

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The fabric is a gorgeous patterned supposedly silk blend, which I think is maybe 5% silk at best, sure feels flammable, but whatever, it feels amazing to wear and doesn’t crease, so winning!

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The second (and final) change for this version was to raise the neckline by an inch for a little more safety and to make it a little more wearable for work.

Now to my question, if you were going to put a little jacket or cardi over this for layering warmth, what pattern would you use and what colour?  I am really having trouble pairing this with anything I currently have.  Suggestions please!!

The Distraction Dress – V8555

As many of you will know, recently Melbourne held their annual Frocktails event. I am terrible when it comes to sewing to a deadline, it’s when the ultimate of distractions happen.

Here’s how my thought pattern was working three weeks out from the event:

  1. Hmmm, frocktails is coming up, I should make a dress
  2. How about I start with one completely not intended for Frocktails
  3. Followed by, I kinda know what I better make, but I better make it in different fabric first just in case (in case of what, I am not sure)
  4. Crap, I only have one weekend left, I better get moving!!

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This is my Frocktails practice dress – Vogue 8555.

I did a muslin of the bodice first – I generally find it works well for my shape to cut a smaller size in the back than the front. I often do an FBA as well but this time it wasn’t needed! Huzzah!!  The only adjustments required were a little off the shoulders and narrowing the waistband by approx. 1.5cm.

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I love the details of the bodice, the neckline pleats, the gathering under the bust and the waistband. The skirt is lovely and full and has pockets – everyone knows all good skirts should have pockets 🙂

Warning – the neckline is pretty low, I don’t mind this too much normally, but for work I would prefer it higher as I feel like everyone can see down it!

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Construction wise, this went together fairly easily and the pattern is marked by Vogue as Easy. The only tricky bit I found was the zip.  My fabric has a lengthwise stretch so it kept bubbling when I was inserting it. I ended up having to baste it in first to get it to sit flat – very frustrating, but I got there in the end. I’m no quitter!!

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Likes:

  • bodice shape and the flared skirt
  • pockets!!
  • easy to construct

Changes for next time:

  • shorten the waist panels a little more
  • raise the neckline a little for better office suitability 🙂

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So, spoiler alert, if you haven’t guessed, I used this pattern for my Frocktails dress which I will blog soon!

PS – If you’re wondering why I am intently looking left, it’s because the sun was blinding me and I left my sunglasses at home!

PPS – Summer is on the way – yay!! Tights begone!!

V1395 – Tie-ing something new

Hello again! Finally I have chance to get back to the blog. It has been crazy busy around here lately, mostly because I went to Melbourne Frocktails last weekend and procrastinated on my dress and then decided last minute that I needed a coat too!  Yep – I am clearly quite mad!! However, job done and I will share these with you soon, just need to take some pics!

I have a shite-load of garments that I am behind on blogging, but this is my new favourite to wear so you get to see it first! I made this when procrastinating on making my Frocktails dress.

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It’s V1395, a sweet little pullover, elastic waist dress with waist ties (get my blog title now? insert eye roll here).  I expected this to be a comfortable dress and wasn’t sure it would be overly flattering, however I was hopeful and forged ahead in a polyester from my stash in the home of ending up with a wearable muslin.  Better than that, I have a dress that I love and now am planning more!!

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I’ve no idea why I am frowning so much in this pic!!

I cut a size 16, narrowing at the shoulders as is normal for me. I also raised the shoulders as I am short in this area. As it was intended to be a wearable muslin I skipped the French seams and just stitched and overlocked as is normal for me for most garments any way.

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I don’t like how the instructions have you attach the lining and create the casing. It is not stitched down in anyway and therefore doesn’t sit flat at the waist.  I think next time I will stitch the casing to the dress at the time of creating it. I didn’t end up with the low armholes that other bloggers have mentioned, I think because I raised the shoulders.

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I only shortened the waist a smidgeon at the back so be warned if you are taller. Also, this is the pattern length, again pretty short since I am only 5’2″.  I love the ties, but be aware if you make this that the reverse of your fabric will be visible.

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This a great versatile dress, I wear it with plain black tights and low heels to work and then with ballet flats or boots for casual. I have another one planned in a silk crepe and then another in a rayon blend – perhaps one for each day of the week! Do you think anyone would notice if I only made/wore this pattern?? 😛

Wardrobe Winner Cardi – V8780

Who doesn’t love a wardrobe winner, a perfect garment that suits so many occasions? I swear Vogue were just trying to keep this pattern under wraps, the envelope is U.G.L.Y. (you ain’t got no alibi), just terrible.  Look at it:

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Seriously? What about this looks compelling? The line drawings peeps, it’s always about the line drawings. I can’t take all the credit for finding this little gem. Lizzy found it first and her cardi is marvelous!

Enough with the Vogue bashing, here is my version:

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So much better than the envelope and so much more stylish (if I do say so myself).

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No word of a lie, cutting and sewing this up took less than 30 minutes! I sewed the whole garment on my overlocker on the rolled hem setting. All the seams, edges and hem are overlocked – the super narrow finish works brilliantly.  Only the sleeve hems are done on my coverstitch.  I made a size medium, but I think this pattern runs large and really you only have to choose your size based on your shoulder width as the rest of the garment just drapes. I over estimated my size (as usual) and mine is a touch wide on the shoulder, for my second version I sized down and it is perfect.

I made View A (the shorter version) out of a lightweight merino bought at the Fabric Store.

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This really does go with everything. I wear it with jeans (obviously), I take it to work and wear it over my dresses, it goes with work pants and it squishes down and fits in my handbag to take to the movies or anywhere where the temperature is potentially questionable.  Aircon over here tends to be a little too enthusiastic for my liking.

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A word to the wise on the collar construction, the instructions are a little odd and confusing for my little brain, if you make this, just remember that it flips and rolls to the outside so you need to ensure the centre back doesn’t show.

A friend of mine has a cardi that is super similar, but hers has a little hook and eye set up for the option to wear it like this:

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What do you think? Does it look weird?

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There is already one more of these in my wardrobe and two more planned as I do believe I’ve found my favourite layering cardi.

PS – worn with M6766 tee

Vintage Pledge – V2876

Hellooooo again!  Soooo…I signed up for the Vintage Pledge..yep it’s out there in the Blogosphere so I’d better do it huh? I have loads of vintage patterns, mostly from the 40s and 50s. I love the artwork and the interesting details not often seen on patterns nowadays. I also have a number of the reproduction vintage patterns and have been meaning to make them for a while now. I thought the pledge might be the motivator I need to actually sew them instead of just stare wistfully at them. I have started small and have pledged to sew three patterns this year.

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This is the first, Vogue 2876, a vintage reproduction.  The pattern is for knits and wovens apparently, I chose an ITY knit to give a dress in the Leona Edmiston style that I adore.

PSA: This pattern has EIGHTY steps!!  Don’t let this put you off, this is not as complicated as it sounds. A lot of the instructions are super basic and in my case, I felt some were completely unnecessary e.g. I omitted the shoulder pads so that eliminated 7 steps, and I left off the side opening and zip as it neither were required with the knit fabric eliminating a further 16 steps.

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The insertion of the diamond was the most tricky part as it is done via top-stitching it on rather than a back to back construction approach.

The bodice is also supposed to be attached to the skirt by top-stitching but this was not really possible with the slippery knit fabric. Instead I placed the bodice and skirt back to back and stitched most of it together this way except for the wrap section which I pinned extensively and top-stitched.

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Changes to the pattern:
– As usual I shortened the bodice, this time by 2″.
– I took the pleats out of the sleeve and made them 3/4 length
– narrowed the shoulders by 1.5″
– 3″ off the length of the skirt

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Look – faux wrap!

 

What I like:
– the front diamond and bodice gathering
– love the style
– it’s dressy enough for work
– it feels amazing to wear

What I would change for next time:
– nothing and there will be a next time for sure, I’d love to make it in a plain fabric to show off the details more

PRO TIP – Don’t try to do clever things like play pattern tetris and flip your pattern pieces. Doesn’t work with an asymmetrical pattern if you only flip some, you just may end up with two right fronts – ask me how I know 😦

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Are you participating in the #vintagepledge? How are you going so far? If I make two of these does it count towards the pledge??

Mash up magic dress

I told you I’d do it – mash up the bodice of V8766 & the skirt of M6503! It is everything I thought it would be – faultless simple four dart bodice and gently flared skirt.

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I made it in a lovely Lisette cotton sateen fabric, bought from Spotlight (the Aussie equivalent to Jo-Ann in the US).

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Construction wise it was pretty much the same as last time, except this time I “drafted” an all in one facing. When I say drafted, I really mean “cut a truncated version of the upper bodice”.

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I also lowered the back by about 4″, mostly to make it easier for me to zip up, but also for a more summery feel.

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Ummmm, not much else to say about this, so here’s a couple more photos:

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My polka dot obsession aka V8766

It’s no secret to anyone that I like polka dots, in fact I went out the other day in this dress, polka dot shoes and my phone cover is polka dot also. Obsessed much? They make me happy, end of story.

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So of course it goes without saying when I found a polka dot cotton in navy (my new favourite neutral) but with pale blue, white and red polka dots I snapped it up. It was such a dreary day that day in Montmartre, raining, depressing and no good for a tourist in Paris. I just knew this would cheer me up!

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The pattern is Vogue 8766, a dress pattern with a simple four dart and options of sleeves, sleeveless and spaghetti straps.

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I did my usual FBA, narrow shoulder adjustment, took it up an inch at the shoulders and shortened the waist. All normal adjustments for my short frame. I also lowered the neckline by approximately 1.5″ as I find this more flattering. I eyeballed this on the fabric so can’t be exact (oops forgot to transfer it back to my pattern).

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This fabric was a super wide 150cm, unusual for a cotton so I was pleased to be able to get a full circle skirt out of it. Normally I’m a bit cheap with fabric and only buy enough for a pleated or dirndl skirt (old habits die hard).

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I love the swooshiness of the circle skirt, but I have to say it certainly is not weather friendly right now. We have been getting some crazy wind of late and this has serious flasher potential!!

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Now I am not sure if you would call this lazy or genius, but I made the entire dress on my machine. I attached the bodice lining using the Cambie lining technique, I then used stitch in the ditch at the waist to catch the lining down at the waist.

This pattern is a great simple one to use when you want to let the fabric do the talking, it is straightforward to construct, and fully lined so has a great clean finish. I will make more of these bodices, but the full circle skirt won’t happen too often as I don’t find it so great for every day wear. I can definitely see the bodice working with my beloved M6503 skirt.

Polka dots FTW!!

Vogue Mash-Up Dress

Recently my new friend Marjorie, also living in Brisbane, invited me around to check out her Burda collection. Not in the “check out my etchings” style, but in a generous sewing kind of way.  She ended up lending me a few patterns and Vogue 8663 (OOP) was one of them.

I loved the pleated neckline and immediately imagined as the perfect pattern for the teal ponti bought in the UK recently.  One problem…I didn’t have quite enough fabric for the full skirt.  However, in a stroke of genius (if I do say so myself), I remembered V8667 and the great box pleat skirt, so I mashed the two together. Voila!

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This was super easy as they are both Vogue patterns and so the measurements are fairly similar.  Also any discrepancy in waist measurement could easily be hidden by adjusting the box pleat. Ha!

I really like the pleating around the neck although found it a little tricky to get sitting just right, the pattern is a little confusing as it gives the impression the pleats are stitched down. Anyway I forged ahead to get the look I was happy with and it seemed to work.  The only thing I am not 100% happy about is the dress isn’t lined so the neck is simply finished with bias leaving an obvious stitching line which I am not sure I like. No-one else seemed to notice though, so perhaps I am being overly critical.

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Hmmm…a bit obvious I have been sitting in it today, sorry!

Pattern alterations:
– shortening the bodice length my standard 1″
– narrowing the shoulders slightly
– here’s the surprise  FBA not required – I guess the pleats provide enough ease

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I know this may emphasise my boobs, but hey, they get stared at anyway, so what’s the difference?!

Whilst I love the end result of the ponti, for some reason my machine hated it and the sewing was painful with the machine skipping stitches all the time. So infuriating!! The worst was when I twin needled the hem – I used a stretch 70 needle and look at the result:

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The left stitch was fine and the right kept skipping!  It was a brand new needle out of the packet.  I tried changing the thread, the bobbin, the tension and I tried a non-stretch needle. I threw it aside for a couple of days in disgust all prepared to take my machine to the shop, although it was sewing other fabrics fine. But then I had an epiphany, try every single twin needle I have!  I ended up using a size 75 twin needle with a blue marker on the top, I can only presume this is a blue tip needle?  I have no idea as I don’t even know where the needle came from, it is part of a large number of loose needles I inherited from somewhere. Anyway it doesn’t matter – it finally worked!! I was contemplating buying a new machine!!  (any excuse right?)  Perhaps a coverstitch machine might be the way to go forward…..hmm I digress.

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Have you ever had a frustrating experience like this?  Did you persevere, or give up??

Vintage Vogue 9463 and a spot of tea

Do you ever go away for the weekend and then find it takes several days to get back on track again?  I went to Melbourne last weekend and still don’t feel back on top of things. Why do chores not just do themselves?

Anyway, enough moaning and on to the point!

As you may have heard in the blogosphere, Mel of Poppykettle arranged a high tea (Sewcietea) so that sewers have the ideal opportunity to show off their fancy garments.  What a perfect excuse for a weekend away to Melbourne. I used airpoints and mooched accommodation from my brother, so a cheap weekend away. Plus it was my birthday last week, so it was like a present to myself!

This dress is a combined birthday/Sewcietea dress. The pattern is Vintage Vogue 9463 from 1958. I love the bow detail and the pleating detail on the skirt.

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I used a light cotton that was a dream to sew, is light to wear, falls beautifully and isn’t see through – what more could a girl want from a dress?!  It also went together really well with no major alterations needed.  I think the only change I made was to the sleeves as I didn’t have enough fabric to do the cuffs.

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We had such a lovely afternoon eating little sandwiches, mini savouries and of course dessert!  Check out the pictures of the day here.

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I am sure I ate too much, but can you really have too much of a good thing?? I had so much fun meeting a bunch of sewers I had previously only chatted to on Twitter or via blogs.  There were 26 of us all up, all in our own homemade dresses.  It was really funny how we were admiring fabrics, finishes, patterns and construction.  There was a lot of turning up dresses to see the seam allowances!!

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One of the best parts is that it is going to be an annual event!!

PS – thanks to Rachel of MyMessings for taking my blog pics 🙂