The people have spoken- GertieLex wins

ok, we’re going gertie-lex!  the tulip skirt and strapless bodice won out.  Except I’m not going to use the strapless party dress pattern from Gertie’s book- I just don’t like those little wings.  I looked at a lot of different bodice patterns:


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But V1174 from Vogue patterns won out. I love the bodice and I think sticking a tulip skirt on there can’t be that hard….right?


I also got the fabric this weekend at sewfisticated!  I’m going to keep that a surprise until I finish the dress.  But lets just say it’s a color I don’t normally wear.  And I normally wear grey, black, and navy.  So the field is wide open….

This will be my first time combining two patterns together, but fresh off of my triumphant (read: semi successful) re-sizing of the Gertie Wiggle Dress (Bust at size 8, graded to a size 4 at the hips), I think I’m ready for it!

Also, I took advantage of the Craftsy sale to buy Gertie’s Sew Retro Perfect Bombshell Dress class.  Because lets be real, I really don’t see myself getting through a boned bodice without some kind of professional help.

Twin Peaks inspired flannel Zinnia


I know my eyes are closed in this picture, but I think it shows the skirt the best.  It’s my first Zinnia!  The lovely new skirt from Colette Patterns


How’s this? Eyes open at least.  I finished this skirt this weekend in a marathon of Sunday sewing.  It took me quite a bit longer than I expected, probably because I decided to add the lining in once I’d already cut everything else out.   I made it out of navy blue 100% cotton flannel I got at Joanns.  I think I paid something like $12 for 5 yards of it.  It was a real steal and I think I might even have enough left to make a shirt. The lining is just plain old poly to keep the flannel from sticking to itself and my tights.  I toyed with the idea of using some silk chiffon I had leftover from another project because I wanted to avoid adding too much bulk to the flannel, but in the end my desire to keep it machine washable won out.  I was right about the bulk- the skirt really has a lot of body which is the only thing I don’t like about it.  I don’t usually wear A line skirts, so it may just be that I’m just imagining it to be larger than it really is.


I’m pretty proud of the sewing – I think it has some really nice details. I used some 30s reproduction fabric for the in seam pockets.


I took my time and hand stitched the lining to the zipper and really made sure that the closure looked nice, which I don’t usually do and always end up regretting.  I used a vintage yellow button to top off the zipper.  I got a set of 3 of these at an estate sale a month of so ago and I had been hoarding them to use all together but the yellow and the blue went together so well…  I suppose I can always snip it off if I finally get around to sewing the perfect blouse for them.


This skirt was inspired by, and sewn while watching Twin Peaks. I get the feeling that this will not be the last Audrey Horn inspired piece that I sew this fall.

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Wiggle Dress!

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I finished this little number earlier this week but haven’t had a chance to photograph it until now. It’s a bit tricky now that the days are getting longer because there’s never any sunlight left by the time I get home from work. I tried to organize a little photo sesh before work the other day, but we were interrupted by our landlord who had come to demand that we pay the rent. We’d been witholding it pending some repairs to the apartment that we’d been waiting on for weeks.

I was all decked out to have Dan take the pictures- the shoes, the hat, a giant vintage bag, everything, when Gino pops out of nowhere to accost Dan about the rent. Gino is a short, older Italian guy with a ridiculous toupee, a 70s wardrobe, and a Mario Brothers accent. So i’m lingering on the landing, trying to hide behind the door in my giant hat while Dan tries to placate him. “Whya you don’t paya the rent!? Whatta you needa screens inna the windows for? ”

Dan calmed him down and we scurried off to the train- no time for photos. (In case you’re wondering- we caved and paid the rent, still no screens in the windows)


The dress is the Wiggle Dress, from the book Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing, which I also used to make the blouse I entered in the Fall for Cotton Challenge. The dress is the cover image on the book:


I used a mysterious navy wool blend suiting for the body of the dress, and I did something I’ve never done before which is grade between sizes- it’s an 8 through the shoulders and bust but graded down to a 4 at the hips. Gertie wrote these patterns based on her own shape, and I am just not that pear shaped. I went for an exposed gold zipper in the back. I’ll never get sick of that. invisible zippers can suck it.

And to answer the question that I know you’ve all been thinking about- no, i did not make the armhole gussets. What a weight lifted off your shoulders, knowing that one, eh?

The dress has a really close silhouette, which doesn’t really jive with the kimono sleeves. So it is supposed to have these extra little gussets in the armpits to give your arms room to move but not ruin the line. Here’s an example from Gertie’s blog:

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ain’t nobody got time for that…. I left em out and just gave myself some extra room in the arms. The thing is still tight as fuck though, and not just under the arms. I don’t know how I’m supposed to move around in it. Can’t decide whether to let out the side seams a bit or just go on a diet. I’ll keep you posted.

My inspiration lately has been a hell of a lot of Lana Del Ray.

Her controversial video for the song Ride is frankly pretty fucking creepy, but worth watching for the amazing outfits she wears in it, if you can get past the feminist outrage (transitioning later into culturally appropriative use of an indian head dress heeby jeebies). Anyway, as long as she keeps up that fantastic ’60s style, I’m gonna keep copping it (see also: summertime sadness, national anthem).

So how good’s my copycatting?

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Help! What should I make for my Aspen dress?

The time has come for me to start my Aspen gala dinner dress.  This is a formal work event. Literally the only time all year where I have occasion to get this dressed up.   I can’t decide what to make! Will it be:

The Elisalex

Drew Backless Dress

Something long and modern, like this Drew Backless Dress from Named Clothing


Some Gatsby inspiration?

something a little more lana del rey?

Gertie’s strapless party dress?  or maybe some franken-dress action- I’m thinking strapless party dress bodice, with an elisalex tulip skirt. An Elisagert.  Gertielex.  Whatever.


I also kind of like this Burdastyle illusion neckline dress. Buuuut I kind of feel like I’ve been there, done that.

I CAN’T DECIDE. Time’s ticking away.

And then there’s the fabric question!  If I’m going the long and flowy route I think chiffon is the obvious choice. But for any of the more structured options I just can’t make a decision.  Taffeta?  Silk Dupioni?  Brocade? Velvet? NO SATIN (except i might possibly consider silk duchesse, but who am I kidding I don’t have $50/yd).

HELP (I need all 3 of you followers to weigh in on this, I don’t have a big enough following to allow anyone to slack off!)

PS here’s what I wore last year:

that’s some secondhand designer silk right there. I also wore it to my own birthday party.  it’s my birthday and I’ll be overdressed if I want to.

My Fall for Cotton Blouse

I entered my first sewing challenge! It was the Fall for Cotton Challenge put on by Lucky Lucille and By Gum By Golly.  I haven’t quite mastered the whole editing-the-sidebar thing, so I’m leaving off the button until I figure that out….  


I used this excellent tutorial from Coletterie to make the surface cording for the front.  It’s pretty easy to do and creates such a beautiful effect. I had a hell of a time turning the cording inside out until my mother pointed out that I hadn’t trimmed the seam allowance down enough (I was at home for the weekend).  If only I could always benefit from her sewing wisdom….


The pattern is the Bow Tied Blouse from Gertie’s Book for Better Sewing.  The blouse itself is really easy to make, though my attempts to draw a new neckline made it a bit more off the shoulder than I was intending…. so I won’t be wearing it to the office anytime soon, but it works fine for something more formal.


I created the design by just pinning the cording directly onto the blouse (see my extremely professional pillow dress form above ha ha….).  The first half was easy….making it symmetrical was the real struggle.  I think next time I will create the design on paper first, and just turn it over for the mirror image so that it’s perfectly symmetrical and draw it onto the fabric with chalk.  Seems like I spent hours trying to get those loops the same size….


Sarai’s tutorial suggests hand stitching the cording down from the front, but I found it much easier to do from the back.  The only problem with that was that my pins kept slipping out.  My  mother had the excellent idea of using painters tape to hold the cording in place while I stitched it down.  It worked pretty well- though in the end I used a combination of tape and pins.

The fabric is an organic cotton sateen from I bought it after reading a review of it on Lucky Lucille.  It really lived up to her glowing review.  I also bought some of the same sateen in navy which I used to make my second Belladone, but this color (Baltic Sea Blue) had a much more beautiful buttery sheen than the navy.