Well, now that Oscar is almost three weeks old, I can finally sit down and start blogging again. I was pretty good about blogging when I was pregnant, and was even able to do some blogging right after he was born, but when I have THREE different blogs, one or two tends to get neglected.
So, normally I would have done this particular type of post on Sunday for Throwback-ing purposes, but I’ll do just this one today; I’ll explain why later down in the post. This is actually going to have two posts from my old blog; but that’s because they are related to each other. Here goes!
The Making and Designing of a Dress
(Originally posted on 06/11/10)
So, June is Make it, Wear it! month over at Sew, Mama, Sew! You can check their blog out for this month’s make it and wear it projects… so many awesome ideas! Well, I figured it would be the perfect motivation to create something.. for myself! I’ve made myself a top -that I’ve only worn once, because we have not had very many warm days this year.. hopefully we’ll get some scorchers soon- from a Simplicity pattern and because i’m a spendthrift these days, I carefully folded up the pattern for a later use.. and that time has come!
So you ask, “Wamber, are you going to make ANOTHER top? Why would you want two of the same top but in different fabric?” Well, let me tell you.
No. I’m not making another top, but instead I’m slightly modifying the pattern to turn into a dress. It’s going to involve a measuring tape, parchment paper, some heavy-ish stuff, tape and a marker, rotary cutter, cutting mat and a few prayers and crossed digits. Basically, I’m going to alter the pattern and create a dress.
But not just ANY dress. See, we’re planning on having another baby, and so I want a dress that will triple as a dress that’s wearable while not pregnant, a maternity dress AND a nursing dress. Loose flowing dresses are in fashion right now, so that’s okay. Now you’re probably thinking, “How are you going to pull off that?” Here’s my VERY rough sketch. Don’t laugh please.
Basically, I’ll make the front and the back full length, but the front will have cut outs or slits or something so I can have an opening to nurse. Since I’m going to do this in an empire waist style, I will make a modesty panel that will be interfaced and have elastic casing (casting?) so it will elasticize in the front and so there will be no free peek shows. I will also add a cas(t)ing in the back to keep both sides of dress consistent with each other.
I drew this with spaghetti straps, but in hindsight, I will more than likely be making thicker 1″-1.5″ straps.. when I’m nursing I cannot get away with going braless, so I’ll need to make the straps so they’ll cover bra straps.
Of course, now everyone’s wondering, “What fabric are you going to use?” I’m going to be using Anna Maria Horner’s VAH01 in the Berry colorway from her Little Folks voile collection. I went to The Material Girls Quilts store in South Jordan, UT over Memorial Day weekend to score at their sale, and to my great shock and dismay -this is a good thing in this case- they had some bolts of her fabric! I stood there staring, heart pounding for about 3 minutes before I moved and sprang into action. I saw the bolt of the fabric, and after asking if I should get the berry colorway or the sweet colorway (same design) and after it was decided that the sweet colorway would wash my skintone out, I bought the rest of the bolt, which ended up being 2 yards. SCORE!
I’ve actually got everything I need for this except the proper interfacing.. I need to go and buy some interfacing. However, I probably can get away with just doubling up on the fabric for the modesty panel. I don’t want to buy anything for the project and use what I have on hand. And because I’m so flippin’ short -4″11′ go me- I probably will end up with a TON of fabric left over. I’m not complaining, it can in with the rest of my Little Folks Fabric.
I will of course, keep you updated on my progress, hopefully I’ll have this done in time for our wedding anniversary next month.
(Originally posted on 6/15/10)
I finished my dress, and my plan worked perfectly! I ended up browsing on the ‘net to find some ideas to create the nursing access, and I found a tutorial of sorts over at a blog called rostitchery. Basically, You do a double layer of fabric overlapping and make it appear that the garment does not have nursing access at all.
However, I didn’t 100% follow her tutorial, because if you look carefully at the mannequin, the bottom layer stops under the bust Edit 06/22/10: I contacted Rowena (rostitchery) to let her know about the dress since the nursing access was inspired by her top, and she corrected me; I apparently did follow her tutorial, the bottom layer DOES in fact go over the bust; she only had it pulled down to illustrate the nursing access, and due to the flowing style of my dress and it being an empire waist style, I decided the top of the bottom layer -try saying that 5 times fast- would be better suited to go over my bust, very similar to a tube top dress. I did three rows of shirring with elastic thread -tutorial can be found here- and then I used 1/8″ wide elastic for under the bust, and then I did two rows of shirring in the back.
Here’s me modeling the dress outside by my wild looking rosebush. What I love about the dress is how versatile it is, and yet at the same time, you can’t tell it’s a nursing dress.
What I liked about creating this dress:
Modifying an existing pattern to suit my needs. Yeah, I’m sure I could have found a similar dress pattern, but I didn’t want to go out and buy another pattern just to make this dress. I just traced the original pattern pieces onto freezer paper and then added the length needed to turn it into a dress, and made a few other tweaks. The original pattern can be found here, and I actually used the front and back pieces for style F, surprisingly enough.
Working with the voile. It’s made by Anna Maria Horner and is probably my most favorite fabric ever. I used a size 9 needle and gutermann thread. I LOVE gutermann thread because it’s thin, does not have a halo -where the thread looks fuzzy- and it’s also very strong. I think any other thread would have been too thick. Surprisingly enough, the voile is actually very durable despite how lightweight it is.
What I didn’t like about creating this dress:
The neckline. I had some difficulty gathering the neckline and then when I sewed on the bias tape to finish it, I had stretched it out again and made it all wonky. I ended up having to shirr the gathered neckline, and then I had to shirr the bias tape twice to get it back up where it needed to be. Once I got that taken care of, it was smooth sailing at that point.
I had to add extra fabric for the shoulder straps. In hindsight, I should have added extra length to the straps since the particular pieces I used were meant to be used with a yoke instead of straps. I guess I could have used the front and back of a different style in the same package, but I didn’t want to bother with cutting the pattern out. Even though I added extra fabric, it still kind of digs into my armpits a bit, but the fabric is soft enough that it doesn’t bother me at all.
Would I do this again? UM YES. Now that I know what I need to do for next time, I can see myself making the dress again; perhaps with sleeves or making it longer or even in a different fabric; I’m thinking jersy knit! Jeff thinks I should make more of these dresses and sell them, but I’ll have to see about that.
Realistically, this can be done with almost any dress pattern that’s loose fitting and that can be modified into an empire style dress with some elastic. You don’t have to modify a top pattern to duplicate this. Experiment and see what works for you.
Anyways, gonna go add this to Sew Mama Sew’s Make It, Wear It! flickr challenge pool. Hope it gets featured on their blog! *crosses fingers*
Back to the present..
Well, in case you are curious, I still haven’t worn the dress; it’s been hanging in my closet since I made it last year.. yeah I know.. I fail.
So, the reason why I brought these particular posts up is because I’m participating in Rae’s Spring Top Sewalong 2011! In previous years it was called “Spring Top Week” but since it lasts longer than a week she changed the name. So, once again I’ve decided to make something with nursing access. And once again, I’ve decided to use Anna Maria Horner’s Voile.. this time however I’m mixing it up and using this fabric this time around. I selected this fabric, simply because Jeff doesn’t really like the fabric the dress is made from -part of the reason why I haven’t worn it yet- so I figured this time around I’d pick something he likes. And also, I picked a coordinating solid since there’s a bit of contrast fabric required for the top I plan on making. But no more on that. I’ve already bought the required fabrics and patterns and I’m just waiting for my Voile to get here; I’m expecting it sometime today or tomorrow. I’ve decided to document making the top in pictures; and once I’m done with that, I’ll post them here on the blog, and of course enter my top into the flickr pool. I gotta get working on it ASAP, since the deadline is next Monday!
And to make it offical; here’s the blog button: