Lee’s Dress Looks

As you may have noticed, I missed a post on Tuesday. This was due to a sudden but not-so-serious illness: I woke up on Sunday with a sore throat, and saw it best to take some time off work. Resting for a couple of days seems to have taken care of my horrid flu, and I’m on the mend. Still coughing up bits of brain and feeling woozy, but that I can live with. Today, I’m feeling well enough to give you a few ideas on how to wear a kimono dress! Lee’s Dress, our featured product for this week, was launched last Friday, and features elements of oriental fashion. I seriously love this dress, but styling it quickly proved a bit challenging. With such a strong look, this dress can be picky about accessories.

Grey Lace

I made Lee’s Dress with a light faux silk. Though it isn’t see-through, I like to wear another layer under it. The fabric feels light and delicate, and somehow flimsy. Adding a petticoat gives the dress more coverage and warmth. I actually made a new one to compliment Lee’s Dress. I took a piece of light, elastic poly satin, you know, the kind of fabric slips are made of, and sewed a strip of grey lace onto it. A few seams and an elastic band turned it into a petticoat that goes beautifully with Lee’s Dress. For this look, I wore a strip of grey lace as a belt. I used a brooch to secure it, and chose grey heels to compliment the shades of grey in this look.

Silver Details

For the second look, I wanted to turn Lee’s Dress in a more casual direction. This dress can feel really fancy, and I wanted to show you how to wear a kimono dress in a relaxed, fun way. I like to wear Lee’s Dress with a belt mainly because it has a seam at the waist. Covering up seams is one of my favorite hobbies, so… For this look, I chose an elastic belt with a silver buckle. This is both comfy and casual, and helps tone the dress down. I chose silver jewelry for this look, and continued the theme with silver heels. To achieve an effortless look, I wore my hair down. It needs dye just as desperately as I need tights that don’t have runners!

This look is perfect for casual parties with friends, or even a dinner date. I’d totally wear this out without changing a single detail. Except maybe tights…

I hope you’ve enjoyed my ideas on how to wear a kimono dress.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Lee’s Dress

Last weekend, I went to London to see Garbage play at Brixton Academy. The trip exhausted me a bit, so instead of pushing out a proper blog post for Tuesday, I updated this one in order to make it appear a bit more like a proper tutorial. Now I don’t know how well I did, but I do hope it’ll offer aid in transforming dresses. And speaking of dresses, I made a new one for London. It’s inspired by traditional Japanese fashion, made with faux silk (or real one if you so choose), and launched today! Here’s Lee’s Dress, a kimono dress that’s ridiculously easy to sew!

I found the fabric for Lee’s Dress around Christmas. It refused to tell me what it wanted to be when it grew up, so I planned to sew it into a wrap skirt, a wrap dress, a sleeveless dress with a waterfall neckline, a circle top, and even loose pants. The fabric refused all my ideas, and then, all of a sudden, it announced its desire to become a kimono dress. I said good heavens, that certainly took you long enough, and set to work.

The idea of creating a kimono-inspired dress has been bugging me for a while now. I love the shape of a kimono-collar and the loose, square sleeves but using those elements in a modern design was a bit scary. Luckily, a quick trip around the internet proved that kimono-inspired dresses have been around for quite a while without really offending anyone. Lee’s Dress was born pretty quickly after that. I wanted the dress to have a perfect fit, and spent two days measuring and re-measuring and over-thinking it. Finally, I’d gathered up enough courage to cut the dress and to sew it. And lo and behold, it turned out perfect! The only thing I altered was adding darts the back of the bodice. Other than that, everything fit exactly as planned, and I wore Lee’s Dress out to dinner on Friday night.

In London.

Lee’s Dress is designed with a kimono collar, and empire waist, an A-lined hem sewn with panels, and a short zipper in the center back seam. Long, loose sleeves can be gathered with ribbons, and worn either short or long. This dress is best made with non-elastic materials, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that a slightly stretchy fabric would work, too. An elastic satin, for example, would be a good choice for Lee’s Dress. Jerseys, on the other hand, are too floppy for this dress. Choosing a high quality non-elastic material will make Lee’s Dress look classy and smart and, let’s face it, more expensive.

Lee’s Dress will be on sale for all VIPs through next week, so if you haven’t already, now’s a good time to join our mailing list to gain access to all sorts of special offers.

I hope you’ll enjoy our brand new kimono dress sewing pattern!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Daisy’s Dress Looks

Last Friday, I launched a brand new sewing pattern. It’s for a high waist dress made with two kinds of fabrics. For mine, I used solid lycra and a printed velvet, and today, I wanted to show you two velvet dress looks made with it. I call this style Daisy’s Dress, and it’s on sale for all VIPs until Monday 17th. This velvet dress is designed with informal parties in mind, and made to be as comfy as possible. It’s pretty easy to sew, too, if you aren’t intimidated by velvet and elastic materials!

Puffed

I like dresses that come with an element of versatility. Daisy’s Dress is pretty straightforward in design, but it does have a fun feature. If you so choose, you can insert a ribbon into the hem, and turn the dress from A-lined to puff-ball! For the first of today’s velvet dress looks, I wore the dress with a gathered hem. As Daisy’s Dress is made with a printed velvet, it doesn’t require a lot of accessories. Hairdo and make-up can do a lot for this dress, and change the way it looks drastically.

For the first look, I accessorized very lightly. I wore my chiffon sash to hide the seam at the waist. I tied the sash into a bow to gain a small detail at the waist, and chose black and red bangles as jewelry. This easy and elegant look can work for any kind of family get-together, from GranDad’s birthday to second cousins graduation.

Warmer

As fall draws closer, cardigans creep back into our everyday lives. I wanted to incorporate one into the second of our velvet dress looks. As Daisy’s Dress has a lot of red in it, I chose to pair it up with my red cardigan. I knit this one last fall, I think, and it features stockinette and seed stitch. This one is pretty simple, and I like it best paired with basic dresses. It does work for a party look, too, though it does tone Daisy’s Dress down to that “just having dinner with boo” -level.

I really like this look. It’s cute, comfy, and warm. Though it is a bit on the colorful side, I ‘d totally wear this out!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s velvet dress looks!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Blue Dress MakeOver

Each fall, I go through my wardrobe, and pick out dresses I haven’t worn in a long time. Instead of getting rid of them, I like to give them make-overs. Today, I wanted to show you one victim. You might remember the petrol blue dress I made a while back? The one I kinda like but never wear out because it’s so bleeding blue? Yeah, that’s the one. Yesterday, I took the dress, and asked it whether it would like some black inserts. The dress said OK, so I proceeded on with my dress make-over.Dress Make-Over - this is where we'll start from

The original dress had a short hem that widened just a little bit. I wanted to keep the shape, and enhance it to create a wider A-lined hem.

I started by opening the side seams and center back seam all the way to the waist. Instead of cutting, I carefully picked out the stitches. The dress had shrunk in the wash a bit (it is a well known fact that ladies never put on weight, their clothes just shrink and require adjusting) so I wanted to add width to the hem. That’s one of the reasons I picked the seams open instead of using scissors: this way, I got to work with the original seam and not have to waist fabric on creating a new one.

Dress Make-Over - carefully open side and back seam to the waist

I took a black viscose jersey that almost matched the original fabric in quality. Then, I proceeded to cut out wedges out of it. The original hem was a little bit longer at the back, so the wedges needed to match that. I cut a wedge for each side, and a longer one to the back by measuring the slanted edge to fit the open edge of the hem.

I serged the wedges into place one side at a time, taking advantage of the original seam.

Dress Make-Over - sew in wedges

I hemmed the wedges by doing a basic rolled hem. The original dress was hemmed with lace, but, sadly, I had none left. As the wedges create a big contrast to the original color, I figured a contrasting hem detail wouldn’t go amiss.

Dress Make-Over - hem wedges, try using contrasting methods!

I had some fabric left, and the blue dress was a bit revealing. I don’t have issues with wearing low cut things, but it is starting to get cold outside. A fall dress is more comfy if it offers a bit more coverage.

After deciding what to do with the neckline, I proceeded to cut a yoke out of the black fabric. I took the pattern I’d used for the dress, and drafted out the shape of the original neckline onto fabric. By continuing the shoulder lines and drawing out a new neckline, I gained a yoke, which I then just sewed together.

My original plan was to sew it with a real button list, but as I was pressed for time, I went with a fake one. After sewing the yoke, I stitched it to place by hand to avoid ripping the neckline binding off.

Dress Make-Over - an after-thought yoke makes any dress warmer

At this point, the dress make-over was starting to look really good, but I wanted one more detail.

I took the remainders of fabric, and cut out two wide strips. I sewed them together, turned the tube right side out, and attached it to the back of the dress to create a sort of a half-belt onto the back. There must be a proper word for it, but right now, it eludes me. The result, though, pleased me quite well. The black bit at the waist creates an interesting detail, and hides the starting point of the wedges. Though I did plan to leave them revealed, and sewed them in neatly enough, a distracting detail is always welcome.

Dress Make-Over - add details!

The finished dress is a lot wider at the hem, which, interestingly, makes it appear a bit longer as well. I love the two-toned hem, and the added yoke makes the dress much warmer and comfier. After surgery, my blue dress feels a lot more like me!

Dress Make-Over - and this is how it turned out!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my dress make-over!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Daisy’s Dress

On Tuesday, I showed you a Pretty Basic Jersey Dress I made from a printed, elastic velvet. Today, we’ll continue with the same fabric. Originally, I got it for a pattern I wanted to make. Tuesday’s dress was a by-product, and today, I’m happy to announce the launch of Daisy’s Dress, an empire-lined velvet dress fit for informal parties!

Daisy’s Dress is easy to sew. It’s actually border lining a Pretty Basic! Since it is designed for challenging materials, I decided it deserved a place among the more difficult styles. Daisy’s Dress is made with two fabrics, one of them being printed velvet. There are many things you have to take into consideration when working with prints, and velvet raises the bar even higher. Elasticity adds yet another bar to the difficulty, so though the pattern itself is quite simple, this dress can prove tricky to make.

Daisy’s Dress features a high waist line, a shaped hem, and short sleeves. These design elements make the dress feminine and flattering. I wanted to make this velvet dress as easy to wear and accessorize as possible. Making this can prove challenging, so wearing it should definitely not be that!

This dress comes with an option to sew a double-bound neckline, and a puff-ball hem. You can also use a variety of materials for this design. Try using a solid velvet, or even a thick, elastic satin. Choosing to sew the dress in two layers gives you an option to use a light satin lining and elastic lace. And if the need to install a zipper arises, pop it into the side seam.

Daisy’s Dress Sewing Pattern is our featured product for this week and next, which means that it’s on sale for all VIPs. To gain access to this offer and others like it, just order our newsletter. We send out a weekly note with a recap of past week’s blog posts, and a discount code for featured products.

I hope you’ll have fun sewing up Daisy’s Dresses! Next week, I’ll show you a few looks created with this velvet dress.

Until then.

Love,

Heather

Pretty Basic Velvet Dress

A few weeks ago, I went to the fabric store in search of a black lycra with a blue floral print on it. I came home with a black velvet with a red floral print on it, so I call this a success. I had planned to use the fabric for a new pattern, but I had enough for two projects. As I needed a not-black party dress, I decided to use some of my new material for a Pretty Basic Velvet Dress.

Basic Velvet Dress - printed fabrics love simple patterns

Velvet, especially printed velvet, is a pain to work with. You have to take both the direction of nap and print into consideration when cutting. I got the nap down perfectly, but the print gave me a harder time. The print has flowers against a night sky in it. A lovely, beautiful sentiment, but along with blooms, the print has moons on it. Large, round moons that serve as efficient eye-catchers. As they are scattered across the fabric, it’s nearly impossible to avoid having a full moon in an awkward place on your dress. I managed to get one smack in the middle on my belly.

I used our Pretty Basic Jersey Dress Pattern for this dress. A printed velvet requires a calm canvas, and a simple shell felt like the best choice for me. I wanted a dress that could work for both informal parties as well as quiet nights out. A basic pattern allows the printed fabric to steal the spotlight, and gives the dress a casual feel.The original pattern has long sleeves. I wanted to make my dress a little lighter. A long-sleeved, printed dress can look too much. Short sleeves take it back just a little.

I used the same binding for both sleeves and hem. This gives my basic velvet dress a uniformed, polished look.

I’m really happy about the way my basic velvet dress turned out. It’s cute, it’s comfortable, and with the right accessories, it works for all kinds of occasions. I’m planning to wear this to a sister-in-laws wedding party later this fall!

Basic Velvet Dress - short sleeves give the dress a casual look

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my basic velvet dress. You might see more of this fabric on Friday, so stay tuned!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather