Dresses: Day 45

So this is the same dress as  (SimplicityVogue 5121), but was made earlier … this was the trial run:

Does anyone have a favorite source for inexpensive, brightly-colored buttons? My local fabric stores tend toward the bejeweled and the overly-representative (cats, soccer balls, etc.) I was hoping to find turquoise buttons but I like the yellow more now that I see it in the photo:

The zipper. Semi-related question, if anyone knows: when you’re altering a bodice to allow for more … padding … in the waistish region, occasionally I feel like the sides of the bodice slope down a bit more than they ought. Anyone have a link to a good tutorial? My cursory investigations have only gotten me so far.

This collar was made before I read . See the difference? See that roll in the wrong direction? It’s terrible. (Luckily it’s at the back of my neck so I don’t see it very often.) I would take it off and redo it … but … (looks off into the middle distance, whistles).

Sleeve finished with bias tape, as per usual:

The back view:

This is my absolute favorite kind of fabric for a trial run. First, it was cheap. (I think maybe under $3/yard? Might have been a dollar-a-yard wonder, even.) It’s also a nice mid-weight poplin, so I don’t have to worry about fabric being too lightweight and floaty or too stiff and unyielding. And most importantly, it is SO BUSY that I could have created & mended a giant triangular tear in the front of the bodice and you wouldn’t even notice from further than a foot away. Cheap and busy are probably the most important criteria for “wearable muslin” first drafts with new patterns, in my opinion. I mean, there’s a center-back seam in that picture right above, and not only did I not try to match the pattern, I’m not sure if it would have made any difference if I had …


Dresses: Day 44

Totally new dress! I bought this pattern ages ago, and finally finally made it up:

It’s , and Liberty fabric (). Here, check out the buttons:

They’re a little too far over … I’m going to have to move them over a tinch. They’re just plain ol’ plastic buttons from the fabric store. I can’t remember whether I bought them at the Hancock’s that was going out of business near my house in Chicago, or at Fabric Outlet in the Mission. Either way they match nicely, don’t they?

I’m very happy with the collar — I used and it worked beautifully:

(More photos of the collar under construction at the bottom of this post.)

Also, this zipper is SO much better because wonderful reader BeckyW sent me a link to Ken’s Sewing Center, where I bought , and it is like night and day. It’s like going from a butter knife to a steak knife.

And, um, here’s the back. I thought about mirroring the print along that back center seam but I almost didn’t have enough fabric, so I decided against it.

Extra collar pictures! This is the underside — do you see how the seam is nudged to the back?

Here’s the other side, a little wonkier:

And  from the front (these were taken on my ironing board, thus the weird light):

And the other side:

This collar is a bit tricky, attachmentwise, so it was nice to have it all crisp and tidy for the rest of the seams.

I like this dress and want to make it much, much more. It’s really fun to wear. In fact, I made this version as a stunt dress, because I went to talk to a few weeks ago, and this is what I wore. (With a bright pink belt and pink shoes.)

This was the second time I made this pattern; you’ll see the draft version tomorrow.

Dresses: Day 43

This is another (I posted it earlier, ):

Despite really liking 1) this pattern and 2) green denim I’ve been a bit “meh” on this dress. Although one of the things I like about sewing with denim is how it whitens at the edges with wear:

Here’s the zip, which is really not good. I should re-do it, but I’d have to redo the seam on the other side to get the ease to fix it, and … well, it hasn’t made the top of the to-do list yet. (It hasn’t actually gotten ON the to-do list yet.)

My favorite part of this dress is the camouflage pocket linings:

I was going to make camo bias tape for the sleeve finishing as well, but, um, I didn’t.

Here’s the back view, which, in line with the rest of the kind of lick-and-a-promise I gave this dress, didn’t get settled on the dress form properly.

I can’t believe we’re this far into the the hundred dresses posts … getting close to halfway! And thanks to you all, book is doing nicely, too — some very kind reviews on  and .

Dresses: Day 42

Happy Bastille Day! Here, have an Eiffel Tower dress:

I really like the scale of this print:

I had some blue and white piping that matched perfectly, so I thought: why not?

The buttons are from a swap that put together in Chicago before I moved away:

Here’s the zipper, not bad!

The pockets obviously needed the same piping as the sleeves, right?

And the back view:

This is Butterick 7504, which I was SURE I had posted before, but no dice:


I love this illustration, I think of Print Dress and Blue Dress as members of the notorious West Side Wimmin gang, and Gray Dress With Hat is their mouthpiece. I wish I could stand like this normally — hip cocked, head cocked, hand in pocket, fist on hip: a posture that says “I’m ready for a fight!”  if there ever was one. (Of course, if I did stand like this normally, I imagine I would have more neck and back issues than I would like to have, so perhaps it’s better that I’m not always in “spoiling for a fight” stance.)

This is the first time I’ve made this entire pattern — I used the skirt pieces (those pockets are SO NICE) for . (Which will show up in the Hundred Dresses countdown eventually).

Dresses: Day 41

Today’s dress is another , and as I was looking at these pictures I was thinking “why haven’t I made *this* dress a hundred times?” It has all the lines I really like, including soft side pleats in the skirt:

Plus a roundish collar and kimono sleeves:

Here’s a better look at the collar and buttons. The buttons are vintage. This is before I started my trick of interfacing all collars and facings with silk organza, so this dress is a little under-stiffened in the placket department.

(Here’s my trick for silk organza interfacing: 1. buy silk organza from 2. Buy this . 3. Cut out your pattern pieces in the dress fabric. 4. Spray wrong side of cut pieces with 505. 5. Press pieces to organza (make sure they’re nice and smooth). 6. Cut around edges. 7. Treat the stuck-together pieces & organza as one. 8. Live happily ever after.)

Here’s the side zip. The dress is hung up on my dressform a bit weirdly.

And the back:


I can’t remember when I made this dress; I bought this fabric (Liberty Schlesinger) in , so it had to have been after that. It’s also a little on the tight side, so I probably made it at the perigee of my normal weight fluctuation, and I know I redid the side zip and added a deeper side-seam pocket at some point, too.

Dresses: Day 40

Another ! This one is in :

Here it is in slightly better light:

And close up:

The shoulder, for a closer view of the print. I love that soft pink and the grayish-blue together:

The zipper! There’s a bobble at the top:

And the waist seam doesn’t QUITE match up:

Here’s the back:

And the facing:

A closer look at those bodice darts (they are so satisfying to sew, honestly):

And the hem!

This dress pattern is definitely going into my regular rotation, but I’ve only made these three so far … what should I make it in next? I have plenty more shirting, and plenty more seersucker, and more dotted swiss than a nearly 42-year-old woman should reasonably have …


Dresses: Day 39

Another ! I bought this very cheerful fabric in :

I forgot to point out yesterday the really elegant double darts in the bodice front — they’re one of my favorite features of this pattern, even though they are slightly tricky to sew:

Here’s the zipper — I’m very pleased with this one, as well:

And the back:

You might have noticed that this dress is longer than yesterday’s, because, well, it is. The first time I wore yesterday’s dress I was biking, and the dress was slightly too long and got caught in the back wheel between the wheel and the fender, and the accumulated city crud on my fender left an ugly black smear. So I washed it and shortened it by about three inches, so that I wouldn’t worry about it getting caught on the bike. I think this one I will leave long, though, since it’s more of a dinner-out dress than a “hop on my bike” dress.

What fabrics would you make this dress in?