The “Falling For You” Dress

The Inspiration
This week’s theme at SewWeekly is Fall Palette. My interpretation for the theme is rather literal, I decided to wear fall. Yes, falling leaves in autumn! Besides, the fiancé and I celebrate our special day this week so that calls for an occasion for a new dress.

The Dress
With such a busy print, I opted for a simple silhouette: shift dress with a slight flare. It is also work/teacher-friendly which adds on to my working wardrobe. Well, I wasn’t very happy with how it looked when I first pieced the dress together. I thought it was too stiff, and flat (READ: boring). Thankfully the end result didn’t look that bad after I paired it with a belt.


The dress is fully lined, concealed, with the bust darts were folded instead to give a little more space to move. It’s also possible to fold the waist darts if it is not a shift dress. Folded darts are slightly more comfortable as it is less restrictive.

The Fabric
It is purchased from one of my favourite local stores at Chinatown which I love to frequent once every few weeks to get hold of some freshly imported fabric when I wasn’t on self-imposed shopping ban. This is a piece of slightly stretchable cotton in the sweetest palette for fall.

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The “Feeling Blue” Dress


The Inspiration
I have been missing France, missing Paris. I can’t help but feel blue at the thought of it. Besides reminiscing through instagram, I decided to wear my favourite city. With all the feeling ‘blue’ and colour theme of my fabrics, you should have guessed the theme for this week’s challenge at Sew Weekly.


The Dress
I chose a sweetheart neckline. The cliché, if you get it, is unintended. The skirt is the tricky part. As the words run perpendicular to the selvage, it took me a while to decide if it should be cut on bias. Straight in your face or the arty-farty less obvious orientation. I choose the latter.

After drafting out the skirt, I conveniently cut out two quarters (of a circle), instead of 1 quarter for the front and 2 eighths for the back. This leaves me with a seam down the centre front if I were to attach the zip down the centre back which I always do. As I insist that prefer back zips, I pinned the bodice to the skirt just to double confirm how the seam down the centre front would affect the aesthetics of the ensemble. It turned out to be quite hideous so I had to resort to side zips. That means being extra careful with the hair and makeup when I wear the dress.

There were extra fabric so I made interfacings and bias tapes to go with the Parisian theme as well.


The Fabric
What I really enjoy about being able to sew is the part where I manage the fabric – both the prints, colours and type. You decide exactly what fabric and colour(s) to use, what kind of prints – from your favourite florals to city maps, as long as you dare to wear it. I rummaged through my stash of fabrics to retrieved all my Paris/France-themed numbers. They are all cotton and happen to be blue of some sort. I stared hard at them and finally picked the less loud of the lot and matched it with a navy silk linen blend. I am not that brave to wear the entire Paris on myself yet, thus an introductory street names/attractions de Paris. Let’s see, among those featured, I’ve been to Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Lourve, Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame, Parc du Champ de Mars, et Rue di Rivoli. You can find them here!

Signing off with a clearer view of the sweetheart neckline and missing Paris even more!

The “Tissue Pouch” Dress


The Inspiration
This is not a new dress I made. I blogged about it very briefly here. It was Mad for Plaid on Sew Weekly two weeks ago but I did not participate because I didn’t have a suitable fabric. Self-imposed ban on fabric shopping only allows me to use up fabric from the stash. Still, I want to share with you one of my favourite dress. Other than the special event I wore the dress to, the dress is significant to me because it is my first ‘praactice’ dress. The first time I made a dress on my own! I completed by beginner’s course at Kadomay, made 2 skirts, 1 blouse and 1 dress and it was time to practice and revise the techniques. So here it is!

The Dress
A simple round neck and a-line skirt, nothing fancy. The only modifications I did to the basic block was to add in the gathers at the neckline.

The Fabric
The boyf and I went fabric shopping because I wanted to make him a tissue pouch. He picked this for the pouch and then requested for a ‘matching’ dress. I have no idea why he wants me to have a dress that match his tissue pouch, but that was his request. I didn’t want the entire dress to be made from the plaid so I matched it with a plain black cotton.

The “Tang-erine-o à Paris” Dress

The Inspiration
I have been on the hunt for a suitable shade of Tangerine and it’s no easy feat. My skin colour has yellow undertones and I am not fair. Any shades that has yellow undertones are big nono because they will rob off all glow away from me! So I am more particular about the shade rather than the material this time round. So why Tangerine? It is one of the featured in Pantone’s Fashion Colour for Spring 2012 which we had to use for the Pantone Challenge. Initially I planned to use french dior in starfish from my stash, or to buy a really lovely piece of cotton lace in cockatoo. However, since Tangerine is crowned the colour of the year, it gives me additional months to embrace such spirited colour (Pantone, 2012).


The Dress
I knew I want a sleeveless midi dress the very moment I saw the colour and touched the fabric. I don’t want a plain boring bodice so I picked Colette’s Sorbetto with a pleat down the center front, and drafted a V-neck for the back for a change. The skirt is a rectangle skirt, which is very useful when you want something horribly simple, yet un-plain.

Not a very flattering photo of the back

The Fabric
The boss told me it’s peach skin but I doubt so because it is not ‘furry’ to the touch. Besides the lack of ‘fur’, it is very much like the fabric is used for my red toga. No need to line, weighty and breathable! Best part is that it costs only SGD3 (or is it SGD4)/metres at Arab Street.


Notions
To cut the long story short, I chose Sorbetto with the panel down centre front so that I can install my buttons and it was a tough choice between the vintage Marc Jacobs inspired boutons or the cute wooden Eiffel. Now that I’m experiencing Europe/France withdrawal syndrome, it is no longer difficult to decide!

Just had to end the post off with a picture WITH the Eiffel.

The “Mademoiselle” Dress

Chanel Resort 2011
(Style.com)

The Inspiration
Needless to say, everything about this dress is Chanel-esque. It is inspired by Chanel, or rather, intended to be à la Chanel! Chanel has almost trade-marked the use of tweed. It is impossible not to be able to see its appearance in any collection.

The Dress
Coco Chanel envisioned the LBD to be “minimalist, sophisticated, elegant, to be worn at any time of day” (Telegraph, 2007) and I want this dress to be so. I chose a basic shift dress pattern, folded the bust darts, disregarded the waist darts and lowered the neckline a little. Voila! I also made use of the selvage for the hem and lined the dress with concealed lining. Very basic, nothing fancy about it.


If you are looking for a commercial pattern, you can try Very Easy Vogue 8147.


The Fabric
This lovely 3 yards of fabric is gifted (yes, very lucky I know!), which a friend purchased from Chợ Hôm, Hanoi. If you happen to visit Hanoi, do drop by Chợ Hôm! It’s a fabric HEAVEN! I choose to believe that it is tweed. It is rough, has a distinctive warp and weft, in different colours and forms small check pattern (Smith, 2009). Other than the fact that it frays very easily, the tweed is very easy to work with. It doesn’t slip which makes it very tame while pinning and sewing. Remember to give extra extra seam allowance, just in case the fabric frays a lot.

Notions
I’m still looking for suitable trims to complete the Chanel look. I can’t seem to see any in local stores.

Mademoiselle is made for Tickled Pink Challenge. Check out the other saccharinely sweet creations on Sew Weekly!

The “I Want to Wear A Red Dress and Twirl at the Eiffel” Dress


The Inspiration
I always wanted a red dress. A red dress that I can twirl in. A red dress that I can twirl in, at the Eiffel! I have the fabric in the perfect shade of red, which has been sitting in my stash for a year, but I lack the motivation to make one. There’s a lot of other dresses to sew! The Red Challenge on Sew Weekly earlier in February was enough for me to break the inertia. Since a twirl-y dress would mean at least a half circle for the skirt, I decided to draft something new for the top.



The Dress
This is my first attempt at drafting and making a toga and I’m quite happy with the fit and construction. I consulted my sewing buddy (she learned the drafting and construction of a toga pattern in class) and the rest is pretty much on my own. I sewed running stitches on the toga slant? to secure it (VERY IMPORTANT!!!) and took in an inch at the pit after trying. The amount to take in depends on your fitting. As toga has only one shoulder, the slant has to fit perfectly so that you will not expose the unnecessary.

The skirt is a half circle derived from “πr”.

The Fabric
I bought the fabric in Kluang at a really good deal, less than RM 10 if I didn’t remember wrongly. When I saw this gorgeous shade of red, I knew I must have it! It is not easy to come buy a shade of red that I really like. I do not like it too bright, neither do I like it too orangey-vermillionish or dull. The fabric is also textured – feels very much like peach skin (both literally and the fabric) –  and is quite weighty. Now I regret not buying more!

Notions
Due to a blunder when handling the pattern, I had to cover up a huge gathered mess of fabric at the shoulder seams. I found some lace in my stash and bandaged it. Yes it looks just a tad like a bandage (can’t help it especially when it is white), so I may attach a lace ribbon or fabric flower onto it.

The Blunder
The pattern blunder. Initially, I planned to make a toga, with a more grecian-drapey mini live pleats. In order to do so, I should have cut the pattern into 6 separate parts and arrange them about 2cm apart, instead of making 5 slits. Because of the slits, it gives excess cloth at the top for the pleats. What I should have done is to cut up the pattern.

If you haven’t found out, this week’s theme at Sew Weekly is the Circle Skirt Challenge. Do check out the other twirly creations on Sew Weekly too!

The “Mad-about lace-Men” Blouse

MadMen was featured on Sew Weekly 2 weeks ago. Truth to be told, I haven’t really sat down and watch the drama in its entirety but I know I love almost every single dress from the show. School was mad busy that week – I spent most of my time finishing tons of readings for a 4000-word literature review – yet I was very much distracted by the theme!

The Inspiration
While compiling a list of favourite MadMen outfits in between my reading breaks, I chanced upon the MadMen Collection by Banana Republic. THEY ARE TO DIE FOR!!! It has a slightly modern take on the 60s fashion. I would love to own every single piece! I finally decided on this lace number because it screams me. It’s LACE and I just happened to have enough lace in my stash. One brownie point for using up fabrics from the stash 🙂


The Blouse
The pattern is modified from my bodice block with minimal allowance. It got to be the most fitting blouse I’ve ever made. I usually add about 1-1.5cm of allowance at the waist. I also cut in about 3cm at the sleeves.

If you want the blouse to be fitting and your body is heavier at the top, you may want to include the bust darts, or transfer them to the waist, for a better fit. If not, there may be pulling at the sides.

The Fabric
The blouse is made of japanese lace from my usual local store at Chinatown. It is a little on the expensive side, SGD 16/yard, but really sturdy lace. Sturdy because it doesn’t slip (it’s the satin lining that slipped like mad), doesn’t stretch, and very crisp to cut. It would be a little more perfect if the the floral motifs are denser, like the original BR piece.

The lining is also from the stash (another brownie point!), which I bought from Muar 2 years back. It feels sturdier than the usual satin lining but less flimsy than duchess.

Notions
Other than the lace and MadMen inspiration behind the designs, I really love the oriental button attached at the back. Initially, I intended to use a zipper at the back of the blouse, but it didn’t work out. The neck opening was too small for me to zip downwards and I will not be able to squeeze into the blouse if I zip upwards. So I joined my back pieces and made an opening big enough for my head to get through. I wanted to combine both my favourite things together – the lace, and pearls – but couldn’t find a pretty pearl button and settled on a lilac oriental instead (another of my favourite!).