Blue Velvet Vintageness

A very long time ago I made this dress. Although I wrote a blog about it at the time I never posted photos of me wearing it. As I wore this dress to a 21st last Saturday night I thought I’d get some snaps with it on. Blogging about this dress has got me thinking – do you blog about everything you make? How do you choose which items make the cut?

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This dress is made of deep navy velvet using a vintage McCall’s pattern. I bought it from etsy at least a couple of years ago and used it first for this dress, and later for Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men Sewalong last year. I chose it because I like the dramatic low back and I high neckline. I love this dress and have worn it a lot. It’s strange to me that it’s taken so long to get some photos of me wearing it! I blog extensively about the creation of it so perhaps I thought you readers must be over it by the time I finished!

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Also this is how I did my hair, or more correctly, how I saw my hair with my ipad!

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Velvet Dress Finished!

As I mentioned yesterday I finished my velvet dress. It’s first outing was to Florence and the Machine. Whilst the dress is not perfect, nothing in life ever is, so I’m very pleased with how it turned out. Here are some pictures:

    

I wore it with this necklace that I bought from Tiger Eye Beads in Wellington (check them out – they’re pretty cool).

In order to get the dress finished on time for Florence, I had a mad rush of sewing the zipper in and slip stitching the facings down. I did a slack version of a lapped zipper where I just lined the zipper up off to one side of the centre. If you want a tutorial on how to do it properly Gerty has written a great one or here’s my slack one:

Somewhere along the line I forgot that my Sewing Class tutor had suggested that I only put in half the darts as there were eight in total. Whilst this seemed a good idea at the time, it meant that my dress was MILES too big for me!

I was in quite a hurry by this stage, so I decided, that rather than doing it properly and sewing the other FOUR darts in I would take it in on the sides and whack off the excess from the sides (I know, I know – slacker!).

I’m very pleased with how the dress turned out and will post photos of me wearing it soon. For now here’s one of me and my Lovely at the concert:

Velvet Inspiration: Pattern Suggestions Please?

So I haven’t exactly finished my current velvet dress project but I’m already onto thinking about the next one. I saw this amazing dress in an etsy shop but unfortunately it is a touch too small in the waist (damn you 1950s sizing!) Also, I feel like I’ve seen a couple of sewing patterns for this type of dress and was wondering if anyone had any pattern suggestions to make this?

VELVET HOURGLASS Dress – 90s does 50s – Handmade – xs

But it got me thinking more about velvet and velveteen dresses and how they are both classy and super warm – which is important as we are heading into winter down here in the Southern Hemisphere. So here are some velvet dresses for inspiration.

Velvet A-Line Dress
ASOS Velvet Puff Sleeve Dress
Velvet Halter Dress – Looks Lovely in Plum Too
Little Velvet Dress – Red Dress

And my personal favourite – unfortunately no link *cries*

What ‘s your winter fashion fix?

Sewing Class: Week Three

Monday was my thrid week my sewing class where I’m making this dress. During the week I had already finished putting the darts in, joining the facings together at the sides and over-casting the lower edge of the facings by hand. (Here’s how to do it)

My (not very neat) version of an overcast stitch:

Attaching the facings using my Grasshopper

So when I got to class I carried on making the sleeves:

I sewed 5/8″ edge down

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Trimed the excess:

 Matched the front and back shoulder seams and machine sewed them together following the folded down edge as a guide. The facings sat nicely together so I then I hand sewed the facings together. 

 

Here is the finished sleeve – voila!

How’s your sewing project going?

Sewing Class: Week Two

On Monday I went to my second week of Sew, Sew, Sew! I got there early and got cracking with sewing my velvet to the lining as I had finished cutting, pinned at home on Sunday evening (aren’t I good!) Remember this pattern…?

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The instructions wanted me to baste the lining straight onto the velvet shell. My tutor was a bit dubious about this approach but thought it best to go along with what the instructions said. I took a guess and thought that a half inch seam allowance would suffice.

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I then stitched the shape of the side darts, front darts and back darts right through the velvet and the lining as the instructions asked me to. This seemed somewhat unusual aswell (tutor also agreed) but who am I to argue with the pattern?

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The tutor and I also thought that having four parallel darts in the front as well as four more in the back could look be a bit bulky with the velvet. Soooo I have only put in the larger of the darts (closer to the middle) on the front and the back and will see how that looks. I put the side darts in like normal.

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Also here are some more pics of the lovely bouquet my sister bought me for graduation… just cos I felt like it…

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Sewing Class: Week One

A few months ago I was talking with a colleague of mine about sewing. I mentioned that whilst I enjoy sewing I don’t have much in the ‘skills’ department. Not for lack of trying… I just don’t have a neighbour I can ask, or mother or sister who sews, or really anyone who I can ask for sewing advise.

Her advice: Join a class. She’s so wise.

So yesterday was my first class of Sew, Sew, Sew! (Great name, right?) It’s a night class held at the local high school. We all brought along our own patterns and fabric etc and the tutor went around the class helping us.

I brought this pattern with me:

McCalls 6564, circa 1960: Dress consists of three main pieces plus facings, has long darts at back and front. Neckline is rounded at front, dips to low V at back. Center back zipper and vent in seam. I’m going to make the shorter version

I’m going to make it out of the navy velvet I bought in Wellington a little while ago.

I didn’t get very far in the class, as I find that laying out and cutting the pattern is the most time consuming part of sewing for me. Also, as this pattern is a size 14 I had to add a 1/4 inch to the bust pattern pieces and 1/2 inch to the waist and hip pattern pieces. I just added these to the side seams of pieces as the adjustments were only small.

Things I learnt:
Vintage patterns come in one size – you will always need to alter the pattern pieces (unless you have a oddly perfect body)
Fold the right sides of the fabric together when cutting the pattern. This is so the markings are on the wrong side of the fabric which you look at whilst sewing. (Logical, right?)