Downton Abbey inspired dress

20140228-125328.jpg Once upon a time my roommate and I went a bit fangirl over Downtown Abbey and decided to go to a party put on by the local NPR affiliate that was Downton Abbey themed.  So of course, I made a dress for it.  It’s a reworked Louisa Drop Waist Dress from the book BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern. 20140228-124852.jpg The alterations I made were redrafting the neckline from a scoop neck into a boat neck, and also creating an illusion neckline by splitting the front and back bodice pieces to make a separate yoke.  I also omitted the skirt ruffles because…I don’t like ruffles. I made the yoke out of silk chiffon, and the body out of velvet.  If you read my blog, it probably looks familiar. 20140228-124907.jpg I also made a matching tie belt.  The pattern called for a much shorter one with a hook and eye, but I doubled the length so I could tie it. 20140228-124919.jpg I spent a looooong time on this beading. my original vision was a gown totally covered in beads like the lovely ladies of Downton are always wearing, but after I spent about 2 hours beading just one armhole, I knew I would need to amend my plan a bit. I might go back and do some more beading and wear it again to another event. 20140228-125128.jpg A finger wave in progress. This hairstyle turned out to be way more difficult than I thought It would be.  I was wishing for a ladies maid to do it for me! 20140228-124859.jpg 20140228-125154.jpg These pieces just about drove me nuts.  The silk chiffon was, as always, a bear.  I’m getting quite a bit better at it but finishing the neckline and armholes was a real challenge. I ended up using liquid stabilizer to stiffen the raw edges and then doing a rolled hem on my serger.  But there was a lot of cursing and hair pulling in the between time.  The velvet was also challenging, but once I had all the wrinkles steamed out and put the walking foot on my machine, it was all gravy. 20140228-125205.jpg I did a lot of the construction of this dress while home at my dad’s for the weekend. I do at pretty frequently because my moms sewing room is a good deal larger than mine and has all of the fancy knick knacks and tools.  So I can do all of my cutting a good deal faster than I can do it at home having to cut on the floor, and I can leave everything sitting out rather than having to put it away each night so it’s not taking over the apartment. The only disadvantage is that my dad’s two kittens really love playing with dangly threads and fabric hanging over the edge of a table and basically anything that moves. Here I was trying to take a shot of the dress in progress and had to hold the cat at bay. The two of them seemed hell bent on destroying my velvet. I had laid it all out across my bed to avoid it wrinkling king, and came back 5 minutes later to find one of them sleeping right in the middle of it. 20140228-124844.jpg And I leave you with a final picture of the coat and scarf I wore.  That is some legit fake fur right there- I made it last summer in a fit of Gatsby when it was waaay too hot to wear it.  And the coat  is a lovely wool cashmere blend I bough at Savers.  I didn’t like the color, so stay tuned for a post later this week in which I dye it a better one!

Foxy pencil skirt

20140222-185519.jpgI saw this Fabric last week at Grey’s Fabric and Notions, where I go for a Wednesday night sewing club (I know what you’re thinking, how do I pack so many thrills into my life??).  It called out to me from the bolt.  If you’re wondering what does the fox say ,I can tell you it’s saying “make me into a little pencil skirt!”  20140222-185452.jpgI used the same pattern that I used for this guy in sweater knit and this guy in stretch velvet.  That is to say, not a pattern at all but self drafted from my measurements.  Have I mentioned lately how much I freaking love knits??

20140222-185501.jpgI promise I did eventually hem the thing, but I wanted to take the pictures yesterday before it got dark and postponed the hemming, hence the way it’s rolling up.


The weather was gorgeous this weekend so we finally got to take some pictures outside. I am really looking forward to a return to the carefree springtime days of outdoor photos.  Now that we’re in the depths of horrible frozen February, if it’s not too cold out to take pictures, then it’s definitely too dark out. 

I’ve got some exciting other stuff in the hopper and I can’t wait to share it with all of you when it’s done!  Currently on my sewing table is a 20s style dropped waist dress for a Downton Abbey party I’m going to next week.  I decided to really challenge myself by making some big alterations to the pattern I chose , and also by using some very finicky fabric.  So all told it’s been a very time consuming project, but I am quite pleased with it so far.  I’ll be blogging the finished product next week, so stay tuned!

Pencil skater in sweater knit


I resisted the Lady Skater for a long time.  I saw many beautiful versions of it all over the internet, but that swingy skirt is just not for me.  I have one silhouette and that is pencil. There is no fit and flare.  Only fit and fit.  I digress….

I found this sweater knit at sewfisticated and I knew it needed to become a cozy sweater dress.  So I broke down and bought the lady skater pattern, and decided to do a bit of franken-patterning.  I used the same self drafted pencil skirt pattern that I used for this little velvet version from last week.  It turns out, the lady skater is fucking awesome and I plan to make about 5 more (more sweater knit is winging/fed-exing its way towards me as we speak).

Here it is sans-accessories.


I’m going to really have to work on the neckline binding for the next one- you can kind of see in the pictures how it gets skinny on the lefthand side.  Though my love affair with my new serger is passionate,  it’s still in it’s early stages.  AKA sometimes the thing sort of runs off on me, chopping away and looping like crazy and fucks something up irreversibly. But I love it so

Also I cut out the wrong size and had to take it in a ton.  I was waaayyy too lazy to unpick the sleeves and take them in properly though, so the shoulders are a bit wonky.  Next time I’ll just cut a smaller size.  I may also put little buttonholes into those cuffs so that I can stick my thumbs through them.  It’s so COZY.  I don’t know if my knits craze will ever end.  THERE IS NO ZIPPER.  I repeat, absolutely no closures.  No darts, no bullshit, it took about 3 hours, and it just fucking fits exactly right.

aaaand I’ll leave you with the back view.