Christmas Velvet

I love this dress. I love its fabric. I loved making it. I loved wearing it.

I really really hate my photographs of this dress. This is one of those times when I acknowledge that I really need a real camera. And maybe some practice, or some skill. And probably a better spot than my dining room or back porch to take photographs. This dress is amazing. My pictures of it are absolute crap.

Other than that, I’m really proud of this project.

I made this dress for a Christmas/Birthday party we threw at our house for a roommate. I wanted something visually simple but that felt wonderful and moved with me.

I chose a very nice dark green velvet for this dress because I wanted that tactile experience. I also have never sewed with velvet before, and I wanted that experience. Photographing that velvet was a serious challenge with a crappy phone camera. It is a very dark rich green color, and when the low lights hit it at the christmas party, it glowed. It was beautiful. I lined it in silver satin-y lining which felt soft on the inside and showed when I twirled.

This pattern is Vogue 8814. It didn’t turn out quite like I imagined, but I made it work in the end. You can read my review of the pattern here: Vogue Dress V8814 ★★. The pieces are large and simple to put together, but joining those pieces cut on the bias gives it a very elegant look. I included a picture of the cover of the pattern. Because of my inability to photograph the velvet well you can’t see the very interesting structure of the dress. It is comfortable to wear, and twirls fantastically.

I altered the back of it pretty dramatically. The pattern had two choices, with a fully closed back all the way up to the neck and a zipper, or crossed straps. I used the pieces for the full back, but then cut out a diamond shape where the zipper would be and had it simply close at the back of the neck. I attached a filigree bead and a Swarovski crystal to add an awesome sparkle and bring interest to what is normally the most boring part of a dress.

50’s Silk

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I made this dress for a wedding I attended last summer. You may recognize the pattern, I used it for the Science Girl Eats dress, and (with heavy modifications) the Fifties Alice dress, and this border print contra dance dress, and this first instance of the returning dress. And even, actually, when I made a bride’s maid dress for a friend’s wedding last june.

This dress is silk, and I took more care with it than I usually do with sewing. I even used horse-hair braid in the hem and I cut the hem unevenly (intentionally this time, I promise!) because I wanted the hem to curl and twirl with every move. It worked perfectly.

I love this pattern because it is easy to sew, it is super flattering, it is easily adaptable to whatever I need to use it for. The dress can be casual and fun or formal and yet still comfortable to wear.

I reviewed this pattern here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★

Hey readers, its sharing time! Do you have a pattern that you return to time and time again? Do you have a pattern that is perfect nearly every time you use it? Do you have a pattern that you’ve had to buy multiple times because you keep wearing out the tissue paper (or maybe you don’t even need the pattern anymore because you can draw it with your eyes closed)?

Science Girl Drinks Beer

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There is a local science museum that holds adult events where you can drink beer and eat food and learn about science! They’re pretty fantastic. My roommate works there, actually, so from the earliest events I’ve had fun creating themed garments to wear to each event.
This was for the yearly favorite of Science of Beer (last october). The fabric is decorated with beautifully sketched hops, an important ingredient in brewing beer. It is designed by Phillip Markel.

The dress pattern is excessively simple, as are my preferences. You can basically lie down on the fabric and trace yourself, then add a seam at the sides and on the shoulders. The fabric is spoonflower’s organic cotton knit.

If you’d like to see the other dresses in the Science Girl collection, check them out here.

Bridesmaid Dress

This was a dress I did to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding last summer. And yes, you’ve seen this pattern before, its one of my favorites. Its the Retro Butterick 5630 dress.

I lined it and added some green tulle to simulate a petticoat and add a little flash of color when I twirled.

Its made out of spoonflower sateen that is hand-dyed. It was a charming and fun wedding. Each of us made our own dresses and dyed them. The bride and groom are some of my closest friends, and they know how to throw a wedding.

I reviewed this pattern here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★

Butterick Jacket B4954 ★★★★

11lineartI was very pleased with this pattern. I altered it somewhat heavily, and went for a lapeled look instead of the high collar. And added turn backs to the slit/pleat at the back of the coat as well as the front, as I was going for a completely different look. But this pattern managed alterations well, and was easy to construct in the basics.

It is definitely a time intensive pattern, as with the lining et al there are a lot of pieces to match together. But the result was well worth it for me.

I used this pattern for this project, it was my Lion Tamer’s tailed coat: Spoonflower Halloween – Phantom Circus

Spoonflower Halloween – Phantom Circus

You know me, (or, maybe you don’t, but just so you know…) I like to make a big deal about halloween. I love it. Its fun. I go all out. Luckily, I work for a fabric company, and my coworkers also love to go all out. This year, we well ALL OUT. We picked a theme: Phantom Circus. We designed a whole collection of fabrics, so that our costumes would naturally match each other. We sewed, and bedazzled (my hat, my spats and my corset are all bedazzled. I’ll post closeups if I get a chance), and be-feathered, and be-corseted just about everything and everyone. It was fantastically epic. Several days in advance of halloween, our graphic designer (The lovely snake-charmer) whipped up some posters and we put them up around the building. I will probably never pull off anything this epic ever again. But it was so worth it.

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(In order of personal photos) I was The Lion Tamer, obviously the best job at the circus.

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Then we have The Bearded Lady (yes, thats a real beard), The Fortune Teller, and the Snake Charmer.

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The Jester, The Tall Man (we thought about putting him on stilts, then we realized we didn’t need to), The Tightrope Walker.

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The Sword Swallower (yes, she can swallow that) and The Ring Leader (who was totally the ring leader of the project in real life, she designed half the fabrics and kept the whole thing going and sewed half the costumes up there too!)

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And last, but probably my favorite costume, the Tattooed Lady (she designed her own tattoo fabric, in which her dog Ruby makes numerous appearances.)

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To see the fabric on Spoonflower, follow these handy links:

Photographs were taken by our lovely graphic designer and spoonflower photographer Caroline Okun. She also made adorable retro posters:

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I managed to get a few decent closeups of the halloween Lion Tamer costume. (Granted, these were taken with my cellphone in my dining room, and not by the lovely professional photographer who took the others.)

The jacket was an altered pattern from Butterick #4954. I removed the high collar, and gave it lapels and turn-backs instead of the straight buttoned front that was pictured. I lined it with bold stripes to give it that true circus look.

I reviewed the pattern I used for this jacket here: Butterick Jacket B4954 ★★★★

jacket

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The corset was from Butterick #5662. I removed the lacings from the front, for simplicity’s sake, and added some large brass brads. I wrote a review of this pattern here: Butterick Corset B5662 ★★★

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You can also see the truly ridiculous number of crystal rhinestones that I added to the corset, the hat, and the spats. I was going for a sparkly flame effect, and if I’d had more time I would have covered the whole jacket in flames as well.

hat

While the whole costume went off fantastically, I think my favorite part of this project was designing the fabric designs themselves (with the help from my fantastic coworker.) I enjoyed creating the metallic gold effect in the printed designs. Spoonflower cannot print with metallic inks, but you can simulate the effect with some fancy photoshop gradients, and a little bit of work. I think it turned out fantastically! You can also see in some of the pictures that we added some fake distressing, dirt smudges, dirty cracks, frayed threads. We wanted the costumes to look well worn. This is also my excuse for not ironing them well, by the way. We’re a phantom circus, a ghostly dead circus, clean unwrinkled clothing is beyond our cares.

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Butterick Corset B5662 ★★★

12lineartA decent basic corset pattern, if entirely unhistoric. There’s nothing creative about this corset pattern, and the fit isn’t perfect, but it works well in a pinch. It definitely wont serve as an actual silhouette altering or waist narrowing corset, but as an over the top costume piece or prom dress prop it works well enough.

For my project I removed the clasps/lacing from the front, and only had mine lace in the back, as I wanted more the idea of a boned vest bodice instead of a corset.

I used this corset pattern in an epic halloween project: Spoonflower Halloween – Phantom Circus