Sunday, November 28, 2010

Little Black Heart Dress

I have been surprised and excited that my Femme Capelet has been a success!  I sewed this capelet only for me but I have had women stop and ask where I purchased it, and when I told them I made it they wanted to purchase from me!!  I also have come to realize what a powerful marketing tool the internet is and have had orders for my capelet on line.  So I have been busy working full time and sewing the orders at night.  I enjoy making this so this is a bonus that I can sell something I enjoy doing!!  In the midst of this its that time of year when my husband and I are invited to dinners and parties.  I needed a little black dress and came up with this design.  I like hearts and the colour hot pink so I combined these two for this dress. I used a heavy crepe satin for this dress.
Here is my mini tutorial for making the heart cut out back.   I first cut out a heart template from white tracing paper.
then I cut out the interfacing for around the heart at least 1 inch bigger all around using your template as a guide and then cut out the center- I used a light but next time I would use a medium weight interfacing.
Measure where your heart goes on your bodice piece and cut out.

 Do the same for the lining.
 Iron on facing to wrong side of lining.  (My ironing board is white so it looks like a whole heart but it actually the cut out.
Pin right side of fabric and right side of lining together.

 sew together
 turn right side out and press well
 this is what the lining looks like

 and the fabric

 Sewingadicta has a great blog and I used her tip and cut the lining for the bra on the bias.
 I had to hand sew the cups to the lining

This is the bodice I designed!

I also added inseam pockets using the left over cut out hearts 

 Place pockets about 3 inches from waist
 sew together along seam
 fold pocket over and press and pin skirt together at seams
 sew seam but do not sew pocket together (leave opening)
 Now sew pocket together around curves (not down the center)
 its done your inseam pocket!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Femme Capelet

I have been having a few sewing failures this week with patterns so I have decided to go back to sewing my own designs.  That is really how I how got interested in sewing - I wanted to design and sew my own clothes.  I was not impressed of how clothes were fitting me and how cheap some of the material was - even the so called "designer clothes" lacked design and fit.  I also could never find a dress that fit me properly on the bodice  and skirt.  It was always too big or too small.   So I poured over every "teach your self how to sew" books and I was hooked.  I designed and sewed my first few dresses and skirts without a pattern and had fun creating something from a few meters of fabric.  I also read some great tutorials from other blogs by some really great seamstresses.  I was amazed at what these women could sew and seemed to make it look so easy.  Also when I emailed these wonderful women with a newbie question on how they used a certain technique they were very generous with their time to email me back with an answer!  I never new this wonderful sewing world existed and I was encouraged to be part of it and this was 6 months before I started my blog.  No one in my group of friends sews so books and blog tutorials have been my sewing education.  Here I am babbling - back to my pattern failures, I have learned quite alot from patterns, one being patience (which I don't have) and proper cuttings and I guess sometimes fit.  My last few projects I have measured properly, cut properly and sewn with the correct needles and after all that - disaster - the red skirt, purple dress, merlot cardi-wrap does not fit!  I have not posted these projects, that will be for another post.  For the merlot cardi-wrap I even took apart the stitches to see where my mistakes might be - with no luck.  I used the correct fabric, thread and it was still too big and hung on me funny.  I put those 3 garments away (flung them in the closet) and went to watch Top Gear on BBC.   The next day after work I went to the fabric store (they pretty much know me now) and purchased some gorgeous wool fabric and designed this capelet (since the cardi-wrap was a no go).

I love capelets and had made a simple one this summer with a matching skirt.  For this one I added a hood, the same hood design as my Volturi Dress and wool was a fabric that I have not yet sewed with so might as well try something new and not give up!  I also wanted this capelet to be warm so wool was the choice.  The armhole was something new to learn and went smoothly.  I used my own measurements and height for this design.  I also put in a hook & eye closure at the bottom and a button & buttonhole at the top (another new technique that I read from my Singer manual and practised on scrap fabric until I got it). 

I sewed this on my other Singer 1960's machine because I thought the wool was quite thick and this machine is my workhorse for thicker fabric.  I also usually keep it threaded black for quick sewing.

I hemmed all the edges of this capelet and made it so the darker brown selvages are draping in the front of it.

When I finished this I sewed up a another top in my favorite Metropolitan design fabric(this is my 2nd top with this great fabric), this time I sew it with a contrasting long black jersey sleeves and then finally a  black duiponi silk skirt, both my own designs.  I made the skirt in a asymmetrical design and I have no problems cutting or sewing with duiponi silk! 

All these photos were taken by my Model (middle child) and all it cost me was a Baconator at Wendy's!!  I like this one with the sun setting.
This skirt is 3 pieces with a yoke and gathers.  By accident I found a simple way to add gathers to the silk, I just layered or scrunched up the fabric and pushed it through as I was sewing- it gathered!  Real seamstresses are cringing right about now and I don't know if this will hold up but I will wear it and hand wash and see what happens.  I was doing the gathering before the correct way by sewing 2 lines and then pulling together but I always seem to break the thread!  I like the way silk drapes and it is one of my favorite fabrics.  I am so happy that I finished this outfit as we are going out for our anniversary dinner tonight.  I have not completely given up on patterns, just taking a break and to see what I can design next!