Science Girl is Sour

Science Girl had the opportunity to attend a new event last week. The Museum of Life and Science had an After Hours event about the “Science of Sour.” It covered everything from fermentation, to pickling, to how your taste buds work. And of course I had to make a themed dress.

Spoonflower actually had a pickle design contest lately, so I had a lot of designs to choose from. My favorite was this design by pinky_wittingslow covered with watercolor cucumber slices, and even a hint of dill in the background. I used the cotton lawn fabric because of its soft texture and easy drape.

I used the same dress pattern you’ve seen plenty of other times on other projects. To switch things up a bit I hand drafted petal sleeves. I’ve been meaning to try them again in something more formal, and I’m so glad I did. It added an interesting element to this dress that I feel really drew attention.

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

Because the lining would show at the edge of the sleeves I wanted something perfect that would complement the colors of the pickles. I chose this design by brainsarepretty and printed it on satin. Slippery to sew, but perfect for linings.

 

Christmas Dress 2014

So this was my Christmas dress of the year. I knew I wanted to do something a little bit over the top, couture inspired, silvery gray, and covered in sequins. I was predominantly inspired by this 1950s dropped waist dress by Hardy Aimes. (And created a inspiration board on pinterest.) I ended up not going with the scalloped edge neckline like I wanted, but kept the scalloped dropped waist.

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I bought an entire bolt of tulle off amazon (where, fyi, you can get it super cheap!), about 60000 sequins in a variety of gray and smoke and rainbow sheen colors, about 10000 hotfix crystals, and an acre of ribbon. I even got a tambour embroidery hook and frame, and told myself I was going to learn an awesome new skill. As you can see, I totally ran out of time. There are some sequins along the seam at the dropped waist, and at the neckline, but thats it. The neckline was actually originally going to be the edge embroidery on an epic shawl I planned to wear, but ended up repurposing when it was clear I was barely going to be able to get the dress finished, much less the decoration.

I didn’t use a pattern at all. This is probably the most complicated garment I completely planned and draped by hand. There were a couple of terrifying moments when the party I wanted to wear it to was three days away and I thought I had completely screwed up the bodice. Thanks to an amazing friend who ended up drafting extra darts while it was on my body, the thing turned out amazing. The upper back is unlined gathered tulle, and on my skin it looked amazing. I wish my dress form wasn’t gray so you could see the effect.

Overall, I am very happy with this dress. I got an unusual shape that I’d never played with before in the dropped waist. The color was beautiful at nighttime parties with lots of lights. I got a ton of compliments, and would probably wear it again if I had fancy parties to go to, ever. But I do wish I’d been able to sequin and bedazzle the shit out of it like I wanted to. Maybe I’ll get around to it someday, but I doubt it. There are always more things to sew!

Librarian Apron Dress

I was planning this dress out nearly a year ago. I never actually got around to finishing it until we got crazy snowed in this week.

The pattern is the Retro Butterick 4790 dress. It has an interesting structure, its all one piece that goes over your head and connects in the back and the front. I’ve been meaning to try it out for awhile, just for that uniqueness.

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I found the sizing a little odd, which is not unusual for retro patterns. Luckily, it has a very casual fit, so it works out. The waist was very tiny and the bodice was a little large. I used ties in the front instead of buttons, which also made the fit easier. It has that great classic ‘50s silhouette, and the full skirt swings around your knees. I can just imagine a crazy librarian wandering around and climbing up ladders and dusting shelves in this dress. It makes me happy.

I wrote a review of this pattern here: Butterick Apron Dress B4790 ★★★

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I designed my own fabric for the front part of the “apron.” It features quotes from my favorite authors, including Dorothy Sayers (as always), Neil Gaiman (for an even longer always), Lois McMaster Bujold, Jasper Fforde, JRR Tolkein, Connie Willis, and others.

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Words mean a lot to me. A lot a lot. I want to wear my favorite words, because I take them with me everywhere anyways. This will at least warn people what they’re dealing with when they talk to me.

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The fabric is Spoonflower’s organic cotton sateen. The quotes fabric is by me, you can see it here. The book spines fabric is a lovely design by peacoquettedesigns, and I’ve wanted to do something with it ever since I first saw it.

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)?

50’s Mad Hatter Dress

A friend of mine was having an Alice in Wonderland themed party, and what else could I do but go as a 1950’s style Mad Hatter?

The dress is mostly spoonflower’s organic cotton sateen. The overdress is hand dyed, and the underskirt is printed textured checkerboard (because with Alice there must ALWAYS be a reference to chess!) The top of the bodice is purchased lace, and you can see in the back where I used the pretty edge of the lace.

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The pattern is my ever favorite Butterick Retro B5603, which if you’ve been following me for awhile, you’ll notice I’ve made this dress five or six times. (I reviewed it here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★). However, I made some pretty substantial alterations to it, this time around. The sweetheart neckline and lace is all mine, as well as the pleats up the left side. I had a lot of fun making this dress up as I went along.

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The final picture is my favorite from the night of the party. Alice, the birthday girl is centered, with a rave-styled Cheshire Cat on the left. We clearly had the best headgear at the party (Photo by Jayce Williams). Also pictured are my fellow Fifties Caterpillar (see the long cigarette holder? Hehe), and her Cheshire Cat (his bowtie has orange kitty faces on it!) One of the best nights I’ve had this year.

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50’s Birthday Dress

I’ve been a little 50s dress obsessed lately. Maybe I jumped on the Mad Men wagon a bit late, or maybe its just the fun Retro patterns I got on sale. Anyways, I decided I needed a tea dress, petticoat et al. The dress is a simple cotton (not spoonflower actually, I wanted something a little softer than our quilting weight) with my favorite boat neckline, and a low back. I love this style, it is ridiculously flattering on me. This was also the first time I ever made a full petticoat. I used the sugardale tutorial, which was very well written, simple, with clear directions. It was one of the most tedious sewing projects I’ve ever done. And took longer to make than the dress itself. But it looks exactly like what I wanted, so I’m satisfied!

I wrote a review of this dress pattern here: Butterick Retro Dress B5603 ★★★★★

Adventures in Steampunk

Yes, I know, its not as cool now that everyone knows about it. Still, there’s something about it that draws my heart… I think its the idea of pure adventure. So many people have so many different ideas about what steampunk “means,” but there’s always the common tie of good old fashioned romantic ADVENTURE. Not romantic as is gooey romance, but romantic as in fanciful, unrealistic, idealistic, completely and utterly impractical (I mean really, people flying zeppelins in corsets and bustles and top hats, that must be the best example of impractical anyone could ever come up with).

So anyways, even though “everyone’s doing it now” I still love steampunk. The problem is, I don’t have a properly amazing steampunk costume. Also, due to my incredible good fortune of befriending a certain someone in highschool, I have a free ride to GenCon in Indianapolis this year. So I need a good steampunk costume. A properly impressive people compliment me on my awesomeness as I walk down the hall steampunk costume.

The pictures you see here are just the beginning elements. I haven’t even decided what direction I’m going to go in yet, I just went to my closet/fabric bucket, and picked out anything remotely steampunk-esque. Most of it is just fabric draped over a mannequin at the moment, I don’t even know what I’ll end up using in the end.

Obviously, the leather buckled corset is a necessity (www.ribbonsandrivets.com I actually know these people and have worked with them, they’re pretty awesome).

I haven’t decided yet if I want to keep the circular hoop skirt and go with a romantic style, or work without it and do more of a bustled victorian look.

Also, I would love to create some sort of awesome jacket to go with the whole thing, but that would cover up the buckles in the back of the corset, which is pretty much the main feature of the top…

The hot air balloon fabric is just awesome, but probably too busy for clothing. I just can’t think of a way to incorporate it without looking gimmicky…

Choices choices, what will I do? (Life is just awesome)

This is a crappy picture of a very cute bolero I decided to make for the steampunk costume. Short in the back to show off the buckles of the corset, and looks good buttoned or unbuttoned. I used the Butterick 5232 pattern, technically, and then altered the sleeves to fit what I wanted. I might change them again, just because they don’t leave me with a good range of motion, but it looks pretty good on, so I’ll have to decide.

I wrote a review for this pattern here: Butterick Bolero B5232 ★★★★

These are the final pictures of the steam punk outfit. Sort of. They’re not great pictures, because its night and I couldn’t get good lighting with my dining room chandelier, lol. Also, I’ll probably still wear the red corset, but the blouse shows the details of the jacket better in photographs. Anyways, I ended up making the lace detachable, because I still couldn’t decide which way looked better, now I can change my mind as much as I want. Also, I can raise and lower the rouching at will, in four places.

Gen con was a great success. There were beautiful costumes, fun games, much drinking and partying! And a life-size TARDIS of course!

Victorian Dress

I created this dress for the 2011 Victorian Ball (put together by Triangle Vintage Dance). No, it is not strictly victorian, I decided I’d just rather have fun with it, and create something I thought was pretty. The dress is two separate pieces, the green overdress, and the cream ruffled underskirt. Also, I specifically taught myself how to crochet just so that I could put my own lace on this dress. And in case anyone is wondering, I’m really bad at crocheting, I much prefer knitting.