Posts Tagged ‘dress’

It’s like a wearable disco ball!

I may swear off of sequins for a while, this dress was almost the death of me.  There are still some little things that I’m not completely satisfied with but there really isn’t much I can do about it except to start over…like that’s gonna happen. 😀

So here it is for your viewing pleasure.  If you would like to see it up close and personal, feel free to drop by Fabricland at 1352 Weber Street N in Kitchener where it will be on display for the next few months.


Sparkle Dress update

I think this dress is gonna take a bit longer than anticipated.  I find the sequin removal a bit tedious but I know it will be worth the end results.  I will have to pick up some invisible thread so when the dress is together I can re-sew some of the sequins back onto the dress.

In order to do the dart I knew i had to take out the sequins first, especially at the point, so it would lay flat.  What I did the first time was to draw on the sewing line with a marker and then cut out the sequins from that line.  The yellow dot in the first picture is my pin marking the end of the dart.




Once the lines were on I simply snipped the sequins in half being careful not to cut the thread holding them to the fabric.  The sequins are attached with a chain stitch so I didn’t want to accidently cut the thread and have it unravel.

When I did the first dart I just removed the sequins along the stitching line.  I realized after sewing that I needed to remove almost all of the sequins, especially at the dart point, so that it would lay flat.  I also cut the dart open to remove any bulk.



Once the dart was done, I moved on to working on the seams.  In hindsight I should have cut the front as one piece, despite the fact that the pattern has it in two pieces.  The pattern shows this center front seamline as a decorative seam with topstitching on either side but due to the fabric I’m using, it wouldn’t show so I’m not doing any topstitching.  One thing I did want to show is what the dart looks like, and this will be how my seams will appear as well.  Because I had to remove sequins, there is a line around the seam where the backing fabric shows through.  To remedy this I’ll need to sew sequins back on to the dress to cover up these spaces.


If the sequins were in a straighter pattern this may not have been as much of an issue but the wavy pattern makes it near impossible to avoid having the backing fabric show through.

I’ll be updating again soon, hopefully with photos of the finished dress.

Sparkle Sparkle!!

I love things that sparkle, with the exception of certain vampires but that is a whole other story.

One of my fav things about my job is that we have an opportunity to make displays to show off the fabrics in the store.  It’s been proven time and time again that these displays help sell the fabrics because it allows our customers to visualize what it will look like when made up.  It also allows us, the employee’s, to understand how the fabric is when making something out of it.  Sometimes we get so excited about a fabric only to find out it is incredibly difficult to work with, or doesn’t wash well or something like that.

For me, it allows me to make fun stuff that I normally wouldn’t bother with because of the expense.  I also like that it gives me an opportunity to use fabrics that are challenging, such as my next display.

We got in several bolts of sequined fabric.  Not the kind that is just sprinkled with a few sequins, but the kind that is completely covered with no fabric backing showing.  I’m naturally attracted to shiny things so I’ve been coveting this a bit since it showed up in the back room. 

Earlier, before the shiny fabrics arrived, I had asked to do this Vogue dress out our our Ponti De Roma knit.

It’s a fantastic dress and I spent more time than I should have trying to avoid black but ultimately I ended up with black because it was all I could find a contrast fabric for.  So I submitted my idea but I got it back with the note that the fabric has already been used and to try something else.  I let it sit for about a week before it hit me.  I could use the sparkly sequin fabric!  I thought about it for a few more days, partially because it’s a difficult fabric to work with and partially because I was unsure about the pockets on the dress and how that would look in the sequins.

What I settled on was to do the silver sequin fabric with black pvc contrast around the zipper.  I also decided to add the black pvc around the pockets to add a little contrast and to make them stand out a bit. 

So here’s my fabric!


The sequin fabric as this cool flame-like design at the borders so I plan to use that at the hem of my dress.  I will be lining the whole thing with black knit lining fabric.  I plan to line the inside of the collar with the lining fabric as well so it won’t be scratchy on my neck.

I am going to try stitching through the sequins first.  Failing that, I’ll have to remove the sequins from the seam allowances first.  I’ll be using a heavier ball point needle on my machine since it’s a knit mesh backing.

The pieces are almost all cut out so I’ll be updating the progress of the dress shortly!

Elastic thread shirring and French Seams, new and old favourites put together in one cute dress!(TUTORIAL)

I’ve always wondered what elastic thread was for.  It intrigued me but I had not idea what to use it on or how to use it.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I’ve read a couple of tutorials now on how to use it and one of it’s most popular uses is for making stretchy shirred tops/dresses.  They are so cute, and looked very easy to do.  Here are a couple of sites to give you an idea.  The possibilities are almost endless really, it depends on your creativity!

Your Fabric Place – this has pretty good instructions and photo’s of the actual process.
Kuky Ideas – this one shows a really cute dress/top idea.
ThreadBanger – and for those that need a video tutorial, ThreadBanger has an awesome video tut just for you!

And here’s mine.  My brother and his girlfriend are expecting their first baby this summer.  Not too long ago she had asked me about making her some dresses for the summer that would accommodate her growing belly.  I wanted to make something that was comfortable, uncomplicated but not tent like.  The idea of doing the elastic shirring for the top portion while leaving the bottom gathered and flowing seemed like a good option.  I found a really great remnant at work one night.  It was a black, grey and white striped rayon fabric, nice and light without being too see through.  It was about 1.5 meters by 1.5 meters (that’s 60″x60″ for you non metric folks).  I don’t think it’s really enough for a dress so I figured it would be a cute tunic top if it’s too short for a dress.  Originally I was just going to cut the piece in half and stitch the two rectangles together so the elastic shirring would make up the top of the dress and I would just have to do the two side seams and hem the top and bottom.

However, I needed to make sure that there was enough fabric to go around her baby bump, and I had to make sure the stripes were going up and down, so I cut the piece in half horizontally.  The one half would be the front of the skirt.  Then I cut the second piece in half.  One half would be the back of the skirt.  This last piece I cut in half once again to make the piece for the top.

dress diagram

These measurements are approximate.  Since my fabric was rayon I knew it would shrink some so I washed it first.  It depends on how your are going to use the shirring as to how much fabric you will use.  For a dress figure 2x your bust measurement (or hip or belly measurement, whichever is larger) and then the length from the top of your bust to where you want the dress to end, about 33 inches will give you a dress that goes just above the knee.  Again, this length will be different for different figures, the curvier you are, the more you may find you need for length.

Follow the instructions in one of the links above for sewing.

Here’s what I did, and this is where the french seams come in.  I stitched one side seam of the top using a french seam.  A french seam is a great finish, especially for those of you that may not have the luxury of a serger, or for those like me who have a serger that isn’t stitching properly at the moment.  It’s clean and sturdy, works great in most fabrics but is best in lighter weights and is ideal for sheer fabrics like organza and chiffons.

Colette Patterns and Hoppo Bumpo have pretty good tutorials on this.  Basically put your fabric wrong sides together, stitch a seam (3/8″ or 1cm is good), press flat, trim to about 1/4″ and flip fabric so right sides are together.  Press again and stitch your seam again, about 3/8″ or 1cm.  This encases the raw edge.  press and your done!  You can make this wider or narrower depending on the thickness of your fabric.

Once I had done the one side seam I hemmed the top edge by turning it under 1/4″ and then again 1/4″.  Then I hand wound the bobbin with elastic thread.  THIS IS IMPORTANT!  You must wind the bobbin so that there is no tension on the elastic.  I wondered why I couldn’t just do it with my handy bobbin winder or on the machine but quickly realized after putting the bobbin in the machine why this is important not to do.  When the bobbin is in the machine properly, you will find there is tension now on the elastic thread as it is coming out of the machine, which is what helps it to gather. If the thread is wound tightly on the bobbin it will either gather improperly or break the thread.  You will have to rewind your bobbin often, I only managed three passes with each bobbin, so if you have extras, wind them up to save time later.

Once your bobbin is in the machine (put it in just like you would if it were wound with regular thread), set your stitch length to the longest straight stitch.  Make sure your top thread is regular sewing thread.  Then stitch straight lines!  I started at the top just under the stitching line on the finished edge and spaced my lines about 1/2″ apart.  You can make them closer or farther apart, it depends on the look you are going for.  Be sure to leave tails at the end and not to trim them off too close.  When you are finished sewing your lines (i did a total of 17 lines) knot the ends of each row and trim off.

I then did another french seam.  When you trim this time, try not to cut the knots of the threads, I cut a few but I’m hoping the double stitching of the seam will have caught the elastic.  I then did french seams to finish the side seams of the skirt.  I hemmed the bottom and then did another french seam at the waist.  I had to gather the front section in order to fit properly.  Then all that is left is to press and add shoulder straps!

Here are some pictures.  I haven’t put straps on it yet.


Here’s what the inside looks like.


And some thoughts on this project.  I should have done more lines of shirring to take it right to the seam line, I think I can still add those in without too much difficulty. I also think it would be better to have a line of shirring right close to the top edge.

If at all possible, it is easiest to do this with as few seams as possible.

I may leave this strapless or make straps that need to be tied so that they can be tucked in for a strapless look or tied if straps are wanted.

Feathery Flower Frock, in progress

I know, I know, I am supposed to be working on my bra remake.  And I am, I just don’t want to post anything until I’m complete and I promise to post it whether it is a success or a failure. 🙂

My friend asked me to make some dresses for her.  She had recently discovered and through alchemy she had commissioned someone to recreate this dress for her.


Lets just say the finished product was not exactly what she was expecting.  Wrong fabric, wrong style, wrong flowers, just plain wrong.  We even asked a guy what he thought and he noticed it was not the same dress.

Now, I’m not saying that it should have been exactly like the photo.  That would be just about impossible unless she bought this dress from the original designer.  But she was looking for something at least close.  So this is where I come in.

I’ve got the dress pretty much put together but I think I need to make some changes.  My dress form is slightly bigger than my friend so I will have to make some adjustments anyhow but there are a couple of design details I think need changing.

Here is the front, side and back view of the dress.




So first thing you may notice is that the one side of the top is slightly different than the other.  I made the strap wider just in the front so that I would have a base to attach the ruffles to.

I think the two major changes I need to make are to narrow the black band and to make the left top smaller.

Completed wedding dress!

Yay! I’m finished!  Now I need to get the dress dropped off before Friday night and keep my fingers crossed for a positive outcome from the competition.  🙂

I encountered a few snags, some I overcame and some I have to live with.  There were quite a few pick marks and tiny holes that I couldn’t do anything about.  They don’t detract from the dress and are not noticeable (except to me, anyhow) so I left them.  It would have been too awkward to cover them.  I did have to deal with the couple of stains on the bodice, I couldn’t ignore them.  I added lace to the bodice and added some of the beads and sequins I took from the original lace.  It wasn’t a mirror image design in the lace so I couldn’t make a perfectly symmetrical design from the flowers.  I opted to try for more of a non-specific design and I hope it doesn’t appear as though it was just added for the sake of adding it.

I had had an earlier problem of the sides of the dress sticking out.  I’ve somewhat solved the problem by removing the armhole thingys and re- attaching to take up the slack.  I think it is more of a design problem though and in the future I will probably take a different approach to the whole backless dress idea.

I also had originally made some really pretty organza flowers that I wanted to put on the dress.  I had added a cluster on the bodice, a cluster at the top of the train and one of the ends of the ribbon ties.  However, I found that they just didn’t fit.  Once I removed them, the dress seemed ‘finished’ so I’m happy to share the results.

Dress Front


Detail of Dress Front


Dress back


Detail of armhole thingys and the lacing. 😀


Detail of lace flowers on end of ribbon ties.


If all goes well I’ll have some professional photos of the dress to show you. 😀  Wish me luck for the competition!

Dress Update #4

I’ve hit a mild snag.  I have the plaid fabric on the dress and will be able to put the train on very soon.  I was having some trouble with the zipper.  First it was a bit short which meant that the wearer would have wiggle a little to get in.  Then there was an issue with how I put it in.  I tried to do a centered zipper but found that it didn’t really look that nice and also noticed that the back had stretched a bit, causing some gaping.  So I made some adjustments to give allowance for a longer zipper and reinforced the back so it wouldn’t stretch.  The plaid fabric just needs to be stitched on, by hand, now.

My snag is that now that everything is just about together I’ve noticed that the sides of the top are not sitting right.  I’m not sure how to fix this at the moment, I’ll have to think about it.  Right now my focus is to get the plaid fabric and the train on.  I have just over one week left to finish this dress in order to get it into the competition.