Dixie DIY: Ballet Dress

DSC03112Wow guys… two makes in one weekend. I think that’s a record for me. I’ve been so busy having fun every weekend that I really wanted to chill out and spend some QT with my sewing machine. I made this sweet little knit dress using the Dixie DIY Ballet Dress Pattern. I really love this dress. It’s comfortable, skims the body enough to show you’re a lady, and easy to make.

I was going to add a skirt to my Maria Denmark t-shirt pattern, but then felt lazy. Dixie already did the work for me, it’s only $4, and (this is really why I didn’t buy this pattern sooner) Etsy now allows *instant* PDF downloads. Also I wanted to help a sistah out.

DSC03115I cut a size medium, but ended up taking the side seams quite a bit. Next time (and there will be a next time), I’m going to start with a size small and go from there. I didn’t make an changes to the pattern, other than shortening the sleeves. I really wanted to see how this was going to fit and wear before I started going crazy with the one billion hacks and variations I’ve got swimming in my brain.

I need to add about one inch to the front bodice piece. It pulls up on account of my bosom. It almost feels like an empire waist dress. Marie had the same issue when she made the dress, so I’m going to assume this would be a needed adjustment for somebody with a full C-D cup bra size. Also the sleeves are pretty loosey goosey. When I make  a long sleeved  version I’m going to slim them down quite a bit.

DSC03121I love the drape of the skirt. It flares out in the most flattering way and moves and swishes with you as you walk. This photo isn’t the greatest but it shows how it skims, but doesn’t cling to my figure problem area, known affectionately in my house as my pizza pouch. I eat the shit out of pizzzzzzzzzzaaaaaaa.

DSC03123I changed the order of construction, because I like to work flat with knits as much as possible. I work in a production studio for a knitwear line so I can do this in my sleep. If you’re interested here is my usual order of construction:

(1) Sew shoulder seams, apply twill tape for stability. (2) Sew sleeves to shoulders. (3) Attach elastic to the top edge of the skirt pieces on the wrong side. Be careful to not stretch out the elastic. I used my walking foot. (4) Sew skirt pieces to both the bodice front and back (5) Sew the side seam in one long continuous seam, matching the underarms and waist. I like to start at the sleeve hems because I get to the match points sooner. (6) Apply the neck band (7) Hem, I used my twin needle for this.

xx, Cynthia



Sweet-Twee Macaron

I know this isn’t Earth shattering news, but I absolutely adore Colette Patterns.Sarai designs such pretty, flattering, feminine designs. I always feel like a lady when I wear one of my Colette’s. I even got a compliment from a stranger as soon as I left the house today. That always feels good 🙂 This is Macaron, and I unfortunately let it languish in the pattern stash far too long. I decided to pull it out so that I could participate in this months Sew Collette, hosted by Erin, Rochelle, and Sarah.

I found both of these fabrics thrifting, so this pretty dress cost me only about $15 to make. Gotta love that! The blue floral is a very light and somewhat sheer cotton gauze, and the brighter blue is some sort of drapey linen blend. I have a bunch left of both fabrics, so you might see some more of them.

As far as making this , I finished this in a day. That’s not to imply that it was easy or came together quickly. I just got super focused and had a dressmaking marathon. I think I spent about 8-9 hours total on this (thank you Radio Lab and This American Life podcasts)! I found this dress to be quite challenging and every bit the intermediate rating that it has.

I had originally planned for some sheer silk chiffon for the upper bodice and magenta rayon twill for the body, but I’m glad I haven’t cut into those fabrics yet. I’m not sure if my skills are up to snuff to make a challenging dress out of challenging fabric.

I don’t know if other people have noticed this, but I had a few typos on my pattern. Most notably one of the midriff pieces, was missing the cutting line for the size 4 . I guestimated, but there was little bit of fudging the skirt to match the waistband. Other than that every thing went together well, if not quickly. It’s pretty tricky attaching the sweetheart, to the upper bodice. That alone took me an hour.

I love the shape of the sleeves on this dress. It’s a very subtle but pretty detail. It mimics the overall curviness of the rest of this dress. I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding these sleeves to other patterns in the future. This dress is so flattering and easy to wear. I really like this! The guts of this are serged and not super interesting. I also finished this with a super-crazy-long metal invisible zipper. I didn’t want to frack my scissors up cutting it down so the zipper goes all the way to the hem.

I’ve had it in my head for months to make a fall version of this dress with a cream colored cotton lace and mustard yellow wool. Since I haven’t found either of those fabrics, don’t expect to see that version anytime soon. I’m really itching to make it though, so hopefully I can find that fabric come October or November.

xx, Cynthia

P.S. I just saw that I’ve reached 100 followers (I’m at 103 actually) which is very exciting to me. I’m very thankful to have ya’ll to gush about our mutual hobby with. I’ve got a giveaway to say thank you planned. I just have to decide what I’m going to put together. It’ll be a nice goody-bag of supplies, patterns and fabric. Expect a post on that this weekend.



New Vintage Patterns and a Blouse

I picked up this blouse at Goodwill about a week ago and I thought I would do a quick outfit post. It’s from the 80’s, but is very Edwardian in style. I’ve been watching Downtown Abbey, so that look is in my mind right now. I paired it with some jeggings to balance out the proportions and did a half-tuck to tame the baggy fit. I wore this to a concert and then again the next day to run errands. I love this blouse even if Chris thinks it’s granny-esque. Duhhh, that’s the point.

Now onto a sewing related topic. I don’t care for the nearest fabric shop to my home. It’s very expensive and snooty. The second I walk in there the shop ladies stare at me as if I’m going to shoplift a bolt of wool. It’s also creepy quiet. It has a weird vibe fo sho. Therefore I only go in there when I need to pick up a quick zipper or some thread. Today I had to do just that. I’d run out of plain white thread. How does that happen? Instead of my usual bee-line to the notions area I got distracted by the Burdastyle Sewing Handbook and flipped through it. Boy, am I glad I did. If I hadn’t I wouldn’t have seen the basket of vintage patterns for $2 each. They were  hidden in a dark corner waiting for me. I actually squeeled while flipping through them. I picked up 8 of them. It was hard for me to show that much restraint, but I’m broke yo. They’re all unused and in their factory folds.

The Butterick pattern is the oldest. It’s from the 1950’s, but I can’t find an exact date on it. I want to make the little bra top and shorts to ride my bike around Sauvie Island. I’m imagining it in a yellow seersucker. I’ll look like Annette Funicello. Adorable!

These three are from the 60’s. The swing coat is from 1962. I love the cover illustration, but I don’t have any immediate plans to make this up.  The long gown is from 1966, I love the strap detailing on the back of view 1 with the bow. The tent dress (Simplicity 7310) is from 1967 and I’m thinking this might need to be my birthday dress. I’m picturing it in a midnight blue with sparkles and my hair piled high on my head.  It’ll be an homage to what Betty wore in the episode of Mad Men when they went to Rome.

These three are from the 70’s  and I love the silhouettes on all of them. The wrap coat looks so cozy and warm. I love the hair on the girl wearing the white coat. I might have to get my hair cut like that soon. I like the ruffles on the yellow version of the McCall’s dress. It looks like an easy to wear casual dress. I adore the third pattern. I like the 2 mini dresses on the lower left corner. I’m not sure if I’m going to make the version that ties at the neck or the mandarin collar. Eek, so many possibilities!

The last pattern is a romper from 1967. Now that I’m looking at it again it’s my least favorite. My mind might change about it when it’s crazy hot again outside. I’ll revisit it again in the summer.

Now I’m off to read the instructions on all of these and lovingly stroke them (that’s what she said!).