Tag Archives: dresses

Carmenklänning

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Hej hej! Can you believe summer is almost over?  My fiance and I enjoyed a quiet weekend which included dinner out at a local German bar (after he patiently accompanied me to the fabric store for the first time) and lots of sewing. I wanted to get another summer dress finished before the end of the season, and I knew I could finish this one before fall weather takes over, so I spent a leisurely weekend sewing a summer dress. I’ve got to make hay while the sun shines–literally! In a few months it will be dark for most of the day.

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I followed the instructions in Swedish Burda magazine 07/2014 for the tiered dress they charmingly called a “Carmenklänning–” a Carmen dress (for its Carmen Miranda ruffles). I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, but I think it’s surprisingly cute.

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As the magazine promised, this was really easy to sew! I finished it at a leisurely pace over weekend. The pattern fit accurately. The only trouble I had was with the ruffle in the off the shoulder part.IMG_1439

The instructions told me to only gather the ruffle piece between the straps in the front and the back, but not gathering the sides meant I had to take out about 4 inches of extra fabric from the sleeve area on each side.  Before I did this, the neckline was drooping in the front and the off-the-shoulder sleeves looked really weird. Luckily, this was easy to fix by just taking it in about 4 inches on each side. Next time, I think it would be best to gather the whole thing or just make the ruffle piece shorter.

This was the first time I’ve ever made my own bias binding. I was surprised how easy it was to do and how little material I needed, which was great because I only had a little over 1.5 meters of fabric. I don’t have a bias tape maker so I used the sewing pin method described here on Creative Little Daisy’s Blog.  It’s such a clever DIY idea! Of course it took a little more time than having the proper tool would, but it got the job done. I used bias binding for finishing the armholes and neckline around the ruffle, and for the straps..

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Closeup of neckline, and a happy doggy!

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It was also the first time I made a dress with an elastic waist.  Why haven’t I done this before?  It’s so much easier than a zip!  Another great thing is this will still fit as I get in shape for our wedding in two months.  Nothing is more frustrating than sewing something up and it not fitting by the time you’re done–especially when you forget to add the seam allowances like I did.  The pattern only goes up to a 44, so I graded this pattern up to a Burda size 46 the easy way (using the tutorial here on BurdaStyle’s website), and ended up with something closer to a size 44 in the end, so that was pretty silly of me.  At least I had the elastic waistband to save me.  Next time I’ll remember my seam allowances!

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Hopefully I will get at least a few weeks wear out of this dress before the fall weather sets in.  If not, I can always wear it when we visit California, where the sun is always shining!.

What are you sewing right now? Are you trying to make any more summer items before the warm weather ends?

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Lady In Red–By Hand London Georgia Dress

Laaady in reeeeeedddd!

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By Hand London Georgia dress in red cotton canvas

I still have to hem it and adjust the straps, but I am excited to share my this one.  After letting it sit in my pattern stash for a few weeks, I finally dived into By Hand London’s newest pattern, the Georgia dress.  And what a perfect project to follow up my challenging (and still unfinished) Burda off the shoulder dress.  This fantastic pattern came together in two evenings, which included tracing and cutting my size.  It was so easy, and very well drafted.  My measurements fit the hip and waist measurements on their size chart almost perfectly, except in the hips. The hips were a little tight in the finished dress, but I expected that because I my hips are about a half inch bigger than the size chart.  Also, I didn’t use a stretchy material like they recommended, which would have helped. My bust was a couple inches smaller around than the size chart, but all I had to do to fix this was to tighten the straps a little in the front. Easy peezy!  Usually I have gaping in the underarm area with most patterns that are a little large in the bust, but not with my girl, Georgia!

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While I was attaching the skirt to the bust, I noticed that it wasn’t quite lining up to form the “crisp point” the instructions talked about. On closer inspection, I realized that I had attached the bust piece upside down!  It wasn’t too noticeable in the way the skirt hung, and fixing this would mean ripping out the lining where I had already trimmed the seam allowances, so I decided to just roll with it.  Or rather, bounce with it.  It definitely resulted in some va va voluptuous cleavage!

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Remarkably, Georgia holds them in!

I like the way this dress could be casual, pinup-y, or formal. There are so many possibilities!  I think I have a new go-to pattern.

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He likes wearing red too.

Side note: I haven’t done a photo shoot since my mom had me model for her eBay vintage clothing business in high school, so it felt really weird taking these photos.  Thankfully I had a very patient photographer–thanks Eugene!

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