Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Alright, I finished this dress:

This plaid fabric dictated the pattern I decided to make. I chose small pleats instead of gathers because they were very easy to fold with all of the plaid guidelines. And I chose to do a dirndl skirt instead of an A-line skirt*, that way the hem would end on one line. I added a little interest to the plaid by cutting the pockets and the straps on the bias so the lines run diagonally.

I crossed the straps, because well, it's cuter that way. I had originally planned to make a belt, but the three buttons up the back were all this really needed.


When I go to vintage clothing stores, I often look at the way garments are constructed, and I saw a dress that had buttons and snaps similar to this:


I really like this dress. It's simplicity reminds me of Claire McCardell. Although, I don't know if she would actually put buttons in the back of a dress, because they might need some assistance to button. I can get in and out of this thing by myself, so maybe she would approve.

I am ready to wear this thing, but it isn't quite warm enough yet. (I was freezing when I took these photos.)


*For those of you who don't know, the pattern of a dirndl skirt is a rectangle where one end is gathered to the waist, and an A-line skirt pattern is shaped like an 'A'.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Studio and some other stuff

When I first started sewing I was in my Mom's room on a little machine, on a little table, in a little corner. When I moved out, I upgraded to a new (but crappy) machine on a little desk, in a little room. Then I moved in with my boyfriend and bought a Bernina Activa 210 (which I love) and sewed on the kitchen counter. Remember this? That's me in on the kitchen counter, with books at my feet, no place to put patterns, probably some pasta or something not far away, it sucked.

Ahh, but that is no more. I now have a great sewing machine, on a big table, in a big corner. I have shelves, a little rack to hang my patterns on, a mirror, a mannequin.

It is great! However, it does cost money. So I am going to start selling some custom sized skirts and dresses on Etsy. Hopefully that will be going by March 1st.

On the left in the photo is my latest design. I wanted a dress that I could wear sneakers with, and I had this fabric left over from a draping project so this is what I have come up with. It's not done yet.

I am liking it so far, and I was hoping this would be one of my designs to sell on etsy, but I went back to the fabric store and there was only about 1 yard of it left. If they can't order more, then I have this idea to use some really cool fabric from Ikea. I'll have to see if it will work as a dress though because it is upholstery fabric. So we'll see. . .

This fabric on the other hand,


will work great as a dress or skirt. This is the only stuff I bought in New York. I could have bought a few more things, and trust me there was sooo much there that I wanted to buy, but I didn't have a lot of money. I bought 10 yards of this with the intention of making several dresses out of it for selling. So what do you guys think? Might you see a dress made of this, and think I want it? If so check sugardale.etsy.com in the near future, I'll have a design soon.

Monday, February 9, 2009

That Wool Dress

I am finally getting around to posting more about the dress I made to wear in New York because I have been busy moving all of my sewing stuff to a studio. Yeah, that's right, I have a studio to sew in! Oh my god! More on that later, though. . .

Here it is:

Since I didn't have any dresses that were appropriate for the weather, I decided to make this wool dress. I basically had the pattern made, I just modified this dress, adding lapels, and changing the sleeves, which I also had a pattern for, so the pattern making part was fast and easy.

The most difficult part was sewing the lapels. This was my 4th time sewing notched lapels, and I think the process is finally etched into my brain, and I don't think I'll need the book next time.

The book I am talking about is called Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket. While it is for tailoring, there are some really good pointers for sewing, fusing, lining, vents, pockets. . . I highly recommend buying it.

Anyway, the lapels:

Oh and this belt buckle was the easiest one I've ever sewn. Before I would hand stitch the entire thing, starting at at one side and stitching all the way around. This time I stitched all the straight sides first, then went back and stitched the corners last. If any of you sew belt buckles, this is the way to do it, unless you already did it this way, then you were ahead of me. But man, it was so much faster and easier.

And if you don't know how to cover your own belt buckles, and would like to, this issue of Threads taught me how.

And the sleeves:

I've made this same sleeve before (on this dress-which is almost the same design, but wasn't my size), but here it is easier to see the inverted pleat. To get that sharp point on the cuff, I just ironed the seam allowance down, and top stitched the whole thing on.

This dress, unlike all my others doesn't have pockets. I had every intention of including pockets, but when I went to cut the pieces out, I didn't have enough fabric. It is an easy fix though. I just have to open up the side seams, and sew a couple in. I'll get around to that one day.