Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The Daughters of Triton Dress...

Hello All,

So I never actually finished the Vegas Holiday line up!

This was because I really wanted to make some adjustments to the dress before I took pictures, and I only just got around to doing it! 

I'm calling this the Daughters of Triton dress, because when I was trying to come up with a post title, I realised my hair and dress had a bit of a Little Mermaid theme going on :) All I need is a shell to sit in...

This is the teal duchess satin BHL Anna bodice with a circle skirt.

Basically, the issue was that I had added horsehair braid to the hem (or at least some sort of plasticy nylon equivalent) and I ballsed it up a bit.  I was trying to go all out, and even got the braid in a jade green to blend in with the dress.

I spent hours and hours ensuring the hem was level. All I can remember about the days before the trip are: that hem, and watching Three Men and a Baby while working on that hem.

But of course, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to attach the braid while overlocking the hem. Could've worked out ok, but I didn't realise how much the braid can stretch out, and of course the implications that would have on how the hem would sit. And it must have stretched all sorts of crazy.

However, I only noticed this when I put the dress on in Vegas - because I had not tried the dress on until then. The front centre hem loop looked mental, looked like I sewed it drunk. Mega drunk. Tequila Drunk.

So unbelievably skew-iff, I was mortified.

So bad in fact, that I spent the evening folding the front loop over to one side with my arm as I was meandering.

So, I upicked the whole overlocked hem the other night, threw the horsehair in the bin (it was ruined anyways as the overlocker had nicked some of the braid and it was all unravelling), and hand stitched up the (now well-pressed) hem.

Putting it on now, it is a million times better, but looking at the photos, the front loop is still marginally longer than the rest. I may go back and re-do it, but I may not.

At least its not looking like its tipsy. Its at least sitting even across the loop. 

In these photos its actually the bottom of the zip that's annoying me, as it doesn't look puckered like that in real life!

I do really like the dress, but I don't love it as much as I thought I would. 
In my brain it was going to be THE DRESS.

I think contributing factors are the fact that the skirt is a bit shorter than I wanted, and the other factor is that the bodice is a smidgen short - which combined with the volume of the skirt at the waist, is not entirely my most flattering look from the side. I need to wear it with a belt to keep some of the volume down!

 I'm also starting to think that maybe I should try out the V-neck Anna neckline for a change. 

Finally, I've sort of fallen out of love with full circle skirts recently. It's just too much fabric to handle when you're trying to sit down, etc. And of course it's way worse at a shorter length than a longer one. 
It can be surprising how much a skirt rides up at the back when you sit down!

Bit of dance action there for ya

So yes, details of the dress.
Nothing else mega special. Hand picked lapped zipper with a matching metal zip. I loves me a metal zip.

The duchess satin presses really well. and I washed a test square on a 30/30 wash and it came out no different so I didn't pre-wash the fabric.

Ain't nobody got time for that coming up to a holiday!

(But you really should make time, do as I say, not as I do, lol)

Here's a couple of mannequin shots for a change! and a peek at some of the stash lol

And that's it folks! Whoops, I almost forgot - one on the night!

I think the holiday is finally finished, and only 2 months after :)

Maybe I can start cracking into the US fabric now. Although I held up one piece today and went to myself - you bought one yard. ONE That wasn't your cleverest move. 

In case you don't know me. I never buy less than two METRES; never mind one yard.
I guess there's some pencil skirts on my horizon, eh?

Emmie x

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Sort of not a Coco at all....

Hello all,

So, this is what I hoped would be my 'simple' Minerva make - you know, after the trauma of last month!

And I guess it was (simple, that is)

The plan was to make a Tilly & the Buttons Coco dress

I thought - it's simple, it's quick, and it's similar to what I wear to work on a daily basis, and aren't we all always going on about how we need to sew sensible pieces that we will use everyday?

I myself change into a uniform at my place of work, so the clothing I wear on a daily is worn to-work and from-work, and usually no longer (I love my pjs)

And as I am usually running late, and getting changed is a giant pain in the arse, it's awfully nice to wear a simple knit dress. Whip over head and step into uniform.

But of course nothing ever goes to plan!

Before we go anywhere, let me show you the dress.
I would like to forewarn you that I look mad as hell, but I was actually channeling a moody ambiance for the photo shoot. Cheery photos didn't feel right for 'the look', lol.

Here goes

You may notice a few things about this dress, the first probably being that it is definitely not a Coco dress.

You would probably bet your bottom dollar that I had swerved and made a Nettie dress.


The dress did indeed begin it's life as a Coco.
But it was god awful on me.

Basically, I decided that I would make a Coco, but I didn't want it to be as short as drafted as I'm not one for the short skirts. So I added 4" in the 'shorten/lengthen' line. and then followed the line of the upper waist down to the hem, but marginally wider (about 5/8"). 

I think this was my first mistake.

My second mistake was trying to make the dress reversible.
Because, as you may not realise, this is actually the wrong side of the fabric.
I had ordered the Grey Embossed Floral Ponte Roma, but the dress in my head was nothing like the dress on me. The picture also makes the fabric look a bit shinier and more metallic.

This is a nice enough print, but I think I could only get away with having it as a pencil skirt or something.
Not as an all over print.

Anywho, as the plain grey was so nice, I had this wonderful idea of flat-felling the seams to make the dress reversible. Lets just say all that remains of that idea are some flat-felled shoulders I couldn't be bothered to unpick (again)

But it was only when I started putting the dress together did I only realise fully how awful the fabric was on me. 
So I abandoned the reversible.

Only once I had the dress finished did I realise how awful the dress was on me.
Honestly, I think the main problem was those 4 extra inches of length.
It was drafted to sit at the point it does for a reason.

Once I realised this I was about to throw in the towel, hold up my hands and say "Sorry, I messed up, but I cannot and will not put this online as something I created". Although now I am slightly regretting not taking a 'before' picture!

But something in me pulled myself together, and began to hack.
And hack I did.

Firstly, I grabbed a fitted pencil skirt from my wardrobe, plonked it down on the dress and drew around it with chalk. I sewed that and tried it on.
Then began the 6 million tryings-on and tweakings of the dress.

In total I think I changed the skirt, took in the waist an additional time, scooped the neck, took in the bust side seams through to the armpit, pegged the skirt a little more and then took little extra bits at the hips that were sticking out funny.
Bits and pieces like that.

I have also taken in the sleeves since these photos were taken, to give a more snug and fitted finish.

I didn't set out to make a Nettie-lookalike, it only struck me once I took these photos, but it looks a bit like one to me! An unconcious homage to Heather Lou

Now this dress would not be the thing I normally wear. If you know me, you know I do not do fitted very often, and I hate anything clinging to my stomach. 
(In the interest of full disclosure: I am wearing some awesome controlwear in these photos)

But (with the controlwear) I really enjoyed wearing this dress! I felt sassy and wiggly, and a bit like a secretary - but in a good way - especially with a pair of heels on!

So there we go, not my usual on here but I learned stuff, and that's always good.
Has anyone else saved a disaster recently?

Emmie x

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Vintage Guts part 1

Hey Guys!

I bring to you the first installment of my Vintage Guts series!

I'm excited - I hope you are!

So the first dress I'm bringing you is my blue Wrap Dress. I bought it in April in a shop called Retro Fit in San Francisco. The shop I bought it in was really awesome, the best part being that the changing room had a submarine door to climb through.
It appears to be made of a chambray, and I think it cost me $103 with tax.

 There was another dress I liked too, but the lining was shredding and I thought it would need to much work. Also, Mr.G was all 'you don't have much room in your case and you don't know what else you're going to find'. To be honest, that was true, it was our first day. But it was super cheap because of the repairs needed.

So as you can see, the dress kind of has a dungarees feel about the straps. The wrap-ties button at the front, and there are MASSIVE pockets on the front, with appliqued rose baskets. These pockets are amazing, they hold so muc, and even better, half the time you can't tell there's anything in them.

It looks to me like the rose baskets are all one print - cut out of a print in one piece, and then appliqued around each piece to make it like like patchwork. The roses are quilted, and puffy with wadding.

The pockets are edgestitched at the top centre front. And for some reason asymmetrically.
Which is probably why the pockets sit differently sometimes. I might rectify it, as it bugs me sometimes.

A I mentioned, the wrap-ties button at the front.

And there are two sets of buttons for, you know, if you've had a big dinner.. I like how you can't tell the second set are there! From doing this post I have realised that the placement of the buttons on either side and centre front of the skirt in relation to the darts, is completely off.

There are three darts shaping the bust, which I definitely appreciate! Gives less of a boxy pointed bust, and I enjoy the fact that one of the darts goes into the arm.

The straps have a dungaree feel about them. The whole neckline is faced, and the staps are just topstitched on. The straps travel down the wrap back into the waist, and enclose the side backs in the process. It is topstitched all over.

The back skirt seams utilise the selvedge. The selvedge of this chambray is basically the exact same as the rest, which is awesome, and it isn't obviously the selvedge, but you get that finished edge with no fraying!

The outer wrap has folded in the selvedge by about two inches, and it is simply pressed, but the inner wrap isn't folded at all!

The under wrap comes through the side seam, where a gap has been left, and topstitched around. 

Now going inside out...

The company brand label is still intact! It looks like they trademarked at the end of 1959, so the dress is Early 60s probably.

As you can see, the straps enclose the side back on the inside too! the waist is pinked and topstitched up. You can see the selvedge edge of the skirt.

I love how the dress looks almost the same inside out.

The hem has a small turn and then a deep one, and is handstitched. It's a little uneven but hardly visible from the outside.

Some of the seams are pressed oped in parts and some aren't. The skirt sides are pressed open for the waist seam but pressed to the side at the hem. The bodice sides are a little erratic too!

As you can see theres a small red mark in the fabric at the waist front which was pointed out to me when I bought it. I had already seen it, but I couldn't leave it behind.

The front neckline is faced, understitched and topstitched. The edge of the neckline is turned under and stitch, although a small bit needs to be repaired. The centre front of the facing V is seamed.

You can see the edges of the straps are turned in and topstitched.

I think one of my favourite parts of the dress is how the straps enclose so many seams. If I want to replicate the dress, I will really need to think about the order of construction!

I don't think there's anything left to cover in this one!

Hope you guys enjoyed it, and if you notice anything that I haven't - let me know!!

Emmie xx

Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Chicest Kid on the Block

Hey Guys!

Who doesn't like exciting news round these parts??

Not me - and believe you me, when I heard this gossip a short while ago, I was squealing!
Actually, more accurately, I was swearing :)

One of our most honoured Spoolettes, Sally, has only gone and done it.


And beyond that, BEYOND THAT, she hasn't launched just one pattern. 

There's SIX - a whole collection!
Now, I don't know about you, but I love a collection.

We all know and love Sally in her CharityShopChic persona. Her skill for transforming everyone else's cast offs into high style pieces is second to none. Even more than this, I have always been in awe of her pattern drafting, which has been showcased especially in her high fashion inspired makes.

The words that have always come to my mind when I think of Sally, and the clothes that she produces, are clean lines, simple elegance and sophistication. Clothes that you would wear with a cocktail in your hand.

And of course the other thing that springs to mind when I think of Sally is cocktails - Fitting therefore that her each piece in her collection is named after a different cocktail! 
I'm sure I've seen each one of them in her hand at one time or another :)

The six patterns are modern, contemporary looks with interesting details inspired by both high fashion and street style. The collection features work wear and cocktail wear, but most of the patterns could transition from day-to-night. Many of them work together to mix and match, and there are lots of pattern variations to sink your teeth into. My favourite is the Martini dress, and I also need to get my hands on the Bellini blouse too! They are aimed intermediate sewists, and those who want to learn some more advanced techniques.

I've seen both Bellini and Martini in person, and can vouch for their brilliance!

The patterns come as downloadable PDF files, but Sally has gone the extra mile to ensure that each of the patterns are printed with minimal pages. That's a detail I'm sure everyone will appreciate! She has also included a copyshop file - and if anyone finds a shop who does them in London, let me know! They are also available in both side of the Atlantic's paper formats :) I've had a sneak peek at the instructions, and they are very detailed, with illustrations for each step.

So what are you waiting for?

There are four more patterns for you to check out!

I hope you will join me in congratulating Sally on all her hard work, and wish her every success for the future! I, for one, am very excited!

So when's the next collection??


Emmie xx