Today’s Pattern Story: McCalls 5136

by Erin on August 20, 2014

McCalls5136

 

Frieda: That’s … interesting. Syncopation is not everyone’s friend.

Melba: My goodness! Her frock is … only fringe. Entirely fringe! Over no combinations! Mother is certainly going to need some sal volatile.

Evelyn: Too, too tedious, darlings. Do you know if Jimmy brought the cocaine?

(See the Vintage Pattern Wikia entry for this pattern here.)

Oh and hey if you are in a voting-ish mood, and enjoy this blog, would you consider nominating/voting for A Dress A Day in the new BurdaStyle Best of Blogging Top Fifty Blogs contest? You know, if you have nothing better to do …

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A shirtdress MADE OF SHIRTS

by Erin on August 15, 2014

So as you all already know, I love shirtdresses. Love ‘em. Buy tons of shirtdress patterns! Which then languish, mostly unmade, in my sewing lair.

Because, as it turns out, I love shirtdresses, and I really really love shirting fabric, but I am not really enthused about:

  • sewing buttonholes
  • making plackets
  • creating collar stands

So a while back I saw a really cute project where someone (uh, Martha Stewart) had used an old men’s shirt to make a dress for a little girl, and I thought, “Hey, what about …”

Shirt-shirtdress front

Behold, a shirtdress made of old men’s shirts. Here’s the bodice, which uses the collar and placket and sleeves of a man’s shirt.

Shirt-shirtdress bodice

I kept the collar buttons for the center skirt piece, because: why not?

Shirt-shirtdress skirt front

The sleeves are bound in bias tape made from (you guessed it) shirts.

Shirt-shirtdress sleeves

Different bindings for each sleeve. Note the visible french seam here in the bias binding, I really liked it.

Shirt-shirtdress sleeves (#2)

The skirt is an adapted BurdaStyle Heidi skirt! And as you know, I think you can never have enough pockets:

Shirt-shirtdress shirt/skirt pocket

I originally made this too long, but I really liked the effect of keeping the shirt-tail hem as the “skirt-tail” hem. So I just cut the hem off, then reattached it with more “made from a shirt” piping. (I very rarely meet a seam that is not improved by piping.)

Shirt-shirtdress hem & piping

Here you can see the color-blocking of the different shirting patterns, and the SECRET POCKET inside the pocket.

Shirt-shirtdress pocket and skirt (with bonus pocket)

Each pocket has a secret pocket. Oh and I piped the pocket edges with more bias trim made from a shirt, because why not?

Shirt-shirtdress side pocket and skirt with bonus pocket

Here’s the (inexpertly-ironed, it was late) back view:

Shirt-shirtdress back

I wore the longer version of this last weekend and loved it. SO comfortable and fun to wear (although the previously very long length made it more difficult to walk in, and weirdly made it feel slightly more “Japanese designer” than my usual efforts). Thus the skirt-shortening.

Because I like how this turned out so much, I plan to make another one (or possibly two — I bought a lot of old shirts at Goodwill!) and post a full tutorial. You know, the kind with instructions and pictures and everything. (I have a few tweaks I’d like to try, like maybe doing tucks instead of darts in the bodice and making the skirt fuller with a wider center panel.) This is really ridiculously easy to do, once you have the model of how it should work straight in your head. (The tricky parts to figure out were how to bodice-ize the shirt and how to get the skirt hems to line up nicely.) Everything else is a “simple matter of engineering”, as they say.

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Today’s Pattern Story: Butterick 3613

August 10, 2014

  ANNOUNCER: Today’s elbow-wrestling contestants are Katrina Williston and Melody Gunnersdottir, both of Pleasant Prairie, Minnesota. COLOR COMMENTATOR: So a real home-town grudge match, huh, Tom? ANNOUNCER: Well, Bob, Pleasant Prairie has been a hotbed of elbow-wrestling since a spate of unfortunate hand amputations from thresher malfunctions back in the Great Depression. But it’s only been in […]

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Hearts and Bones

July 28, 2014

I finished this dress up last weekend: This here is the part I like best. I was going to do plain red piping, but the reds didn’t match. (And neither did the maroons or blues. I have more piping than a Scottish funeral.) The striped piping is from Britex. Every time I go in I […]

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Today’s Pattern Story

July 24, 2014

  Claudine: Move it a little more … a little more to the left. Claudette: My left, or your left? Claudine: Um, his left? Oh wait, he’s left. Smoke break. Claudette: Goddamn illustrators. Bunch of nicotine fiends. Claudine: Might as well put it down before you get dizzy from the rubber cement fumes. [Pattern is here […]

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Book Review: Super Stitches Sewing

July 19, 2014

When you’ve been sewing for as long as I have (30 years!), it can be hard to discover the gaps in your own knowledge. You have your own routes to the places you need to go, and time doesn’t always (or even usually) permit the kind of aimless wandering that leads you to new discoveries. So when […]

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Piping Merrily Along

July 16, 2014

This dress is all about the piping: Okay, it’s also about being in one of my all-time favorite Liberty prints, Mark, but mostly it’s about this gathered-shoulder silhouette: And if you’re going to pipe the shoulder seams, you must pipe the pockets as well (it’s the law): The shoulder piece makes this really nicely satisfying […]

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Cinco de Mayo Simplicity 5238

July 13, 2014

Here’s a more true-to-life (or at least, true to the pattern illustration) version of Simplicity 5238: I actually bought this fabric yonks ago. I bought it in early autumn and thought it was too summery, and then it suffered from a lot of being “too” other stuff, as well. It was too heavy for a […]

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Another Frankendress

July 7, 2014

So this is the same pattern (or lack thereof) as the last dress, only in this Liberty fabric that I adore. Look, they’re little matches! (It’s called “Strike” and Shaukat still has some in the green colorway which is *almost* as adorable.) Because Tana lawn is so light, I piped the pockets: The zipper’s not […]

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Conscious Incompetence

June 3, 2014

This photo was taken last Friday by the very nice Leslie Dela Vega, of OZY, for this article. She was super-nice about taking photos, and I hope I was nice back, even though I really really hate having my picture taken. I’m glad she took this photo, even though I don’t think it’s all that flattering, […]

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