New Dress! … or two

Not everything I sew turns out as a pattern, or even a tutorial. I make loads of things just for me, sometimes without a pattern, sometimes as heavily modded versions of our designs. Today, I wanted to show you something I made during the summer. A new dress never goes amiss, so here’s two just for the fun of it!

It’s a Wrap

Lately, I’ve been really into wrap dresses. They’re easy to wear, and fun to sew. They’ve also been fashionable lately, so I guess I got influenced by advertising. Luckily, the wrap dress is a classic that never goes out of style. I made this version with light, elastic satin in two colors.

I used our Sleeveless Wrap Dress Pattern as a guide for this dress. I did modify the pattern quite a bit, though, adding sleeves and a red panel to the hem. Originally, I thought I’d use buttons to close this dress, but that didn’t work out as planned. That solution felt not-so-secure, like the dress could pop open at any minute, and also didn’t look that pretty. To make the closure more secure, I took the buttons out, and replaced them with chiffon belts. That felt a lot nicer, and the belts do add a cute detail.

For this look, I wore the dress with my in-progress shoe modding project, and red and black jewellery. This outfit is really cute, and I’m so wearing it out first chance I get!

Orange

By now, you probably know my relationship with colors. Therefore, this next new dress is a little bit… surprising.

It’s orange.

What happened was that I went to the fabric store with Mom. She refuses to believe that I don’t wear colors, and pretty much forced a not-black fabric on me. I do love this shade of orange, and the black print tones it down a bit.

Deciding on a pattern took forever. I wanted to turn this see-through georgette into a light, flowing dress or blouse. Unfortunately, there wasn’t that much of it. After a long time of pondering, I decided to take the idea behind Amanda’s Dress, and turn it into a sleeved direction. I also decided to add some black georgette to the mix. The sleeves are pretty basic puff sleeves made with black fabric, and the back has a black panel topped with a black bow. All in all, this thing is super-cute, and I will wear it to the next family party come hell or high water.

For this look, I wore my orange number with a black spaghetti strap dress under it, and a long chiffon sash as a belt. This outfit is totally cute, and I do reckon it would be Mom-approved, too.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Lace Dress

A while back, nearly five weeks ago, we went to London for the weekend. We went to museums, ate all things tasty, and saw Garbage. I’ve been hoping to see them ever since Only Happy When It Rains came out as a single, so the occasion naturally required a new lace dress. I made one out of black lace and purple lycra, and felt very good about it. I also felt very good about finally getting to see Garbage: it was well worth the 13 year wait!

I chose to sew a separate slip and a lace dress. This way, I could combine the pieces with other elements, too. The materials for this new dress came from our local fabric store. I went in looking for skin toned jersey for a slip, and walked out it purple lycra and black lace. Could have been worse, though. I could have walked out empty handed!

After pre-washing the fabrics, I started to think about patterns. A simple design seemed like the best option. I wanted a narrow, purple slip, and a black lace dress with a wide hem. Choosing a design for the slip was easy: our spaghetti strap top worked perfectly after adding length to the hem. But the lace… well, that gave me a hard time. I wanted to make the dress with as few seams as possible. Patterned fabrics have a tendency to dislike vertical seams in particular. After giving the dilemma an entire hour of thought, I decided to go with our Hooded Dress Pattern.

Cutting the dress was fun. I’d chosen, at random, a nice and sturdy cotton based lace. It had a little bit of elasticity to it, and that promised a dress both cute and comfy. To make it easier to actually get into the dress, I installed a zipper into the center back seam. I used most of the fabric into the dress’s bodice and hem. This meant that I had to settle for short sleeves. Long ones would have of course been nice, especially with winter coming, but short ones are sometimes OK, too. I went with a basic cuffed sleeve, and sewed pleats onto the shoulder for an added detail.

The finished dress was even more comfortable than I imagined! I was so happy to pull it on, and notice that it, even combined with the slip, required no tugging or pulling. The dress even takes accessories well, and I’ll show you an outfit based on it on Friday. I’ll also style up my hoodless version of our Hooded Dress, so stay tuned!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Taking in a Tardis Tee

A while back, I stole a T-shirt from Charming. I’m not a T-shirt person, but this one had the coolest Tardis print, and I had to have it. Needless to say, the Tee was designed for a boy, and would not flatter a girl. Since I really wanted to wear it, I decided to go on a T-shirt resizing quest. Here’s what I had to work with!

The T-shirt was pretty OK around the shoulders, but below that, it was a disaster. Way too wide at the waist, and a touch tight at the hip. I started my T-shirt resizing by putting it on inside out. While wearing it, I pinned down the sides using safety pins. Next, I opened the side seams, and removed the sleeves.

I shaped the side seams to gain a narrower waist. To add room to the hip, I decided to add wedges. Cotton jersey was a bit sparse (I don’t really care for it, cotton has a tendency of clinging to itself and that makes me fidget) so I settled for left-over lace.

I closed the side seams while adding in the wedges, tried the Tee on, and found that it was good. Also, I found that I needed to change my original plans a bit. The shoulder width was fine, but arm scythes were waaaay too big!

To remedy this flaw, I ripped off the neckline binding. Then, I cut off a bit at the shoulder, and shaped the neckline on the back piece. This does seem like a lot of work, but it is the most efficient way to shorten an arm hole.

After closing the shoulder seams, I returned to the sleeves. They were the basic boys’ Tee shape, which can only be described as “boxy”. I could have cut them into a narrower shape, but instead, I merely shaped the cap a bit.

To hide the extra width, I pleated the excess around the shoulder to gain a puff sleeve.

Though the Tardis Tee needed a lot of work, the actual T-shirt resizing only took two hours. Putting a Tee together is pretty straightforward, and I think I spent most of the two hours seam ripping and taking photos. The finished product is still a bit loose at the waist, but I don’t think a T-shirt needs to be super tight. What matters is that it’s no longer baggy at the waist and small at the hip!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s T-shirt resizing adventure!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Blanket Coat

This week, we should be focusing on knitting patterns. Instead, I wanted to give you a quick tutorial on how to make a blanket coat! As fall is coming, we all need something easy to sew, something that will both lift our spirits, and make us feel pretty. A blanket coat fits that bill perfectly. This project is super easy, takes about two hours, and grants you a flowy coat to wear on cold, grey days.

How to sew a Blanket Coat

You will need light wool fabric, and satin lining. You can use other lining materials, too, but satin is preferred since it looks pretty, and drapes beautifully. Drape is the most important thing to look at when choosing materials for this coat: there will be a lot of fabric around you, and if it doesn’t fall soft and pretty, the coat might look bulky. Pick light and soft fabrics!

You’ll need about 80″ of 60″ wide fabric, both lining and wool.

How to sew a Blanket Coat

Fold your fabric lengthwise. You can make this coat as long as you like, naturally, but a knee-length version is the most practical to wear. It keeps you warm enough while flowing around you, but won’t weigh too much, and most definitely won’t drag through mud. How to sew a Blanket Coat

Next, determine the center of your material. You can do this by folding the fabric widthwise, or by measuring. The latter is more accurate, of course. Cut one layer of the fabric open along the center line. Shape the upper part of the opening to a V-shape. At this point, round the corners. This is entirely optional: this coat will look just as nice with crisp corners as it does with a rounded hem.

Repeat with your lining.

Sew the wool and lining together with right sides facing leaving a gap at the back hem. Turn, and close the gap.

There are loads of tutorials on how to make a blanket coat on the internet. Most of them end here, leaving you to tie the coat on with a belt, crunching up all the fabric at the sides and leaving your arms to freeze.

We’ll take this one step further.

How to sew a Blanket Coat

Determine the distance from shoulder to waist, and mark it on both sides. Measure out your waist, half it, and transfer the measurement to the coat. Then, sew buttonholes through both the front and back of the coat. This will attach the front to the back.

Open the buttonholes and push a belt through.

Sew another buttonhole to the top of the center front opening, and add a button to the other side for easy fastening.

You can also embellish the coat if you happen to feel like it. Add patch pockets before sewing the lining to the wool, or add lace applique to the thing. Or you can do what I did: take a Queen Anne’s Lace Scarf you never wear, and sew it to the neckline as an afterthought to create a warmer collar!

How to sew a Blanket Coat

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick tutorial on how to make a blanket coat. Oh, and I did incorporate this week’s featured product into the photos!

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

Elastic Corselet

As you may have noticed, I have a thing about super-comfy clothes. I refuse to wear anything that’s constricting or hard on the skin. If I can feel it, I don’t want to wear it. That’s why I go for elastic materials in everything, including corsets. Now I know what most of you are saying right now: you can’t make a corset from elastic fabric!! You’re absolutely right about that. You can’t make an elastic corset, because it defeats the whole purpose of a corset. You can, though, make an elastic corselet that isn’t meant to be anything more than a decoration. An elastic thing can’t be used for waist reduction or body modification. As such, it also can’t cause damage to the body.

I’ve made quite a few corselets and light corsets in my time, and from my own experience, I dare say that elastic waist corselets are the comfiest of them all. I’ve only had one for a long time now, and I desperately needed another. As we entered June, I took a discarded skirt, and cut into it. I used our Reversible Waist Corset Pattern for this one. I cut out the pieces from elastic material, sewed the corselet up, and decorated it a bit. I added pockets to each side, and sewed thick cotton ribbons to the side seams.

I wanted this elastic corselet to be all black. It has black details, black binding and bone channels, and a black button closure. I chose to go with my trademark criss-cross button fastening. I love the way this looks, and buttons are surprisingly comfortable when a garment is worn. A zipper can get caught into clothing, and it can feel cold worn over a light layer. Buttons don’t do either.

For today’s look, I wore the black corselet over my petrol blue dress. I made this dress using our Hooded Dress Sewing Pattern with only minor alterations. This dress doesn’t have a hood, it’s made with only one layer, and it’s a bit shorten from the original pattern. The shape of the bodice and sleeve are the same, though. I wore the dress with black details and jewelry. Black pearls match the buttons on the corselet, and a black rose in my hair gives this look the romantic detail it deserves.

Thanks to all elastic materials, this look is really comfortable. I love everything about this style, and would totally wear it out.

On a brave day when blue doesn’t scare me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Elastic Corselet post!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Snap Frame Purse

I’m back from holiday, and a little less refreshed than I’d hoped. Instead of a cold, rainy summer, we got an unusual heatwave, which drained me of energy quite well. I had all sorts of fun things planned, such as shopping, knitting, trips to the museum, and maybe even going to a park, but instead I spent most of my time wondering why I own such a limited amount of summer dresses. To compensate, and to cope with the heat, I modded a few dresses to fit the warm weather better. We’ll get to those later, but today, I wanted to show you a little project I did on the first week of my vacation. It’s a really big snap frame purse!

A while back, I got a piece of faux leather on eBay. I’d stashed copper-toned metal parts earlier, but for some reason, the pieces refused to play nice together. It took a lot of convincing to get them all to behave! I was kinda hoping to get more metal incorporated into the purse, but I do like the way it turned out. Instead of a Goth Witch purse, I got a more inconspicuous bag that goes with most of my dresses. Now the sad thing is that I managed to break my favorite Vagabonds that match this bag’s personality… I hope a shoe-mender can save them! If not, I’m going to have to do some serious shoe-specking.

My snap frame purse is a bit on the large side, which means that it has a lot of space. I added pockets to the lining, one with, and one without a zipper. The purse also has a zippered divider, and a D-ring for hanging keys from. This is probably my smartest idea ever: keys have a tendency of getting lost inside a larger bag. Attached to a D-ring sewn near the bag’s mouth, they’re always safe and easy to find.

I also added pockets to the exterior of my snap frame purse. I wanted a small detail on the pockets, and ended up choosing square rings for them. I attached them with strips of leatherette, and used long, narrow strips to hide the seams. I love this look, and an kinda toying around with the idea of sewing something similar to a piece of clothing. These kind of pockets could work for a jacket.

I sewed the bag’s handles from leatherette as well. I stuffed them lightly with poly-cotton, closing the ends a bit higher so I could sew them on more easily. I then took buttons and even more strips of leatherette, and used these to attach the handles to the bag.

I’m really quite happy about the way my snap frame purse turned out, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about it. I’m hoping to incorporate it into Friday’s photos, so you’ll get to see the size of this thing!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Fits Like a Glove

… or a Pretty Basic Jersey Dress.

As you might know, I got married in April. We didn’t have a huge party, but the event still demanded a new dress. I didn’t want anything fancy or over-the-top, just a nice dress I could wear as a party dress in the future.

That wasn’t an order too tall, but it still sent me into a spiral of dress-panic. First there was color to decide, then there was material, and then style. So I did what any nervous bride would: chose my favorite color and my favorite style, and topped it off with with a crazy fabric.

… and then changed my mind a gazillion times, and ended up getting married in something else.

I had a snake-skin lycra stashed, and decided to turn it into The Dress. I wanted over-hand cuffs like in our BombShell Dress, a naked-detail on the back, a long hem, and a hood. Some of those requirements actually made it into the finished garment.

Sewing a dress isn’t always easy. With this one, I had a little accident when cutting. You see, the selvage edges weren’t symmetrical. There was a wide printless bit on one end, and I didn’t notice that until I had already cut my back pieces. At that point, The Dress needed a serious time-out.

At that point, I also noticed that the lycra smelled like PVC, got offended, and used the time-out to create Mary’s Dress.

Upon returning to The Dress, I decided to sew a Pretty Basic Jersey Dress instead of a long number. Everything went beautifully on the second go, and I even got my over-hand cuffs.

I wanted the back to be revealing, and still comfortable. To avoid slipping and sliding, I cut the back into a V-shape, and filled it with a skin-tone mesh. I bound the neckline with a strip of fabric, and saw this was good. I even made a hood for the dress, and decided to make it detachable. Hoods are cool, but it’s nice to have the option of going without one. I haven’t gotten around to sewing snap fasteners to the hood, so you don’t get to see that today.

On the morning of my actual wedding day, I changed my mind for the gazillion-and-first time, and figured I’d just wear this after all. I pulled it on, walked to the kitchen, and noted that my pretty little lycra dress climbs. The registry office was a 10 minute walk away, and I didn’t feel like pulling this down fifteen times on the way over there. So I wore Mary’s Dress.

I did wear this tuned-up Pretty Basic Jersey Dress to a Goth party a while back, and it was perfect for that!

I do love the way this dress turned out, though making it was a bit of an adventure. That just goes to show that even professionals make horrendous mistakes!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Pretty Basic Jersey Dress near-fiasco!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

Birthday Dress 2018

It was my Birthday a week ago on Tuesday, and just like every year, I made myself a new dress. My B-Day celebrations consisted of shopping with Mom and Dad and eating loads of cake, so I didn’t get to wear this. I plan to, though, since summers are always full of fun! This year, my birthday dress came together really slowly. I ordered black satin from Minerva Crafts in March maybe, cut into it in April, and spent two months arguing with it. Sometimes, fabrics just refuse to come out the way I want them to. Finally, on the eve of my Birthday actually, I said “fine then”, and gave the dress a pre-birth make-over.

I had a cap sleeved blouse I got from a flea market. I liked the fabric, but not the sleeves. I took the blouse, ripped the sleeves off, and cut its hem off. Then, I ripped off the bodice of the dress, and Frankensteined the two together. I proceeded to install big puff-sleeves, and cuff them with the black and white remnants of the blouse.

The original plan was to create an all-black dress with a fitted bodice and empire waist. I ran into issues at the waist, though. I needed to sew a lot of darts into the bodice to get it to fit, and that just doesn’t look good on satin. Getting rid of the original bodice, and replacing it with that of a blouse saved me from a lot of trouble! This is definitely not the optimal way to make a dress, but it worked this time. And taught me not to sew darts into satin.

My Birthday Dress features a black and white bodice with an open collar, huge puff-sleeves, and a long empire-lined hem. It’s super-comfy, and I plan to wear it out soon!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Birthday Dress post!

Until next time.

Love,

Heather

PS: I’m on vacation right now, which means that The Pretty Basics are on sale. I’ll try to schedule an Everyday With an Edge -post for every Friday through July, but will make no promises. Follow us on IG for (hopefully) more regular updates!

Faeries

On Tuesday, I shared a brand new knitting pattern. It’s for top down gloves with an upside down Indian thumb gusset. I made these gloves with what was left from The Faerie Dragon Shawlette. Instead of striping the gloves, I made one purple glove, and one green. I love the solution: these gloves are perfect for bringing a touch of madness into any outfit.

The Faerie Gloves are available as a free download for all VIPs until Halloween. I’ve created an automated email that sent out to each new subscriber. That email includes a coupon code for The Faerie Gloves, plus a 20% discount code to be used on anything you choose.

Now my older subscribers moan in dismay, but fear not! If you’re already on our mailing list, you’ll get the coupon code later today.

Along with something else.

I’m pretty ready to start my summer vacation. That happens on June 26th, and on that day, our Pretty Basics go on sale for everyone, and stay on sale until August 6th. That’s a lot of time to shop! But before that happens, we have time for one more featured product. This week, it’s The Faerie Dragon Shawlette with matching Faerie Gloves! I was actually going to do a really cool outfit post today, but I didn’t have time for a photo-day. I will rectify this next week, and in the mean while, we can walk down the memory lane for a spell. When The Faerie Dragon was first launched, I did a party-themed outfit shoot with it. The weather’s warmer now, but there was a look that will work during the summer as well.

Fun with Faerie

Cotton is a light, breathable material perfect for summer. I created this look with our Yoked blouse, and a circle skirt. Though this is pretty concealing, it is, thanks to light cotton, cool to wear on a summer day. I would stay out of direct sunlight, though, since black has a tendency of becoming really hot in the sun.

I love this look: it’s cute and fun, and the wildly colored vortex shawl gives it a bright pop of color. The long sleeves are perfect for keeping lethal rays away from vampire-white skin, too!

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s post.

Until next time.

Love,

Heather