Christmas Looks with Velvet Dress

Christmas is almost here, and this is 2018’s last blog post. I’m going to take a little break from work now, and will return to blogging on January 8th. Before the Holidays, I wanted to show you looks with The Velvet Dress from Tuesday. As you probably remember, I shared a dress make-over, but didn’t show you how the dress looks on me. Let’s look at it now!

The original dress had a front that was way too open. I sorted out that problem by turning the dress around, and giving the back a V-shape. To make the back more secure, I closed the V with skin-toned mesh. I have issues with necklines that fall open at the slightest careless move, but have absolutely no problem with showing some skin at the back! Also, since the dress will reveal bra straps no matter what I do, I decided to go to town with them. I picked a bra with a butterfly at the back, and kinda like the way it shows through the mesh.

The front of the dress is now nice and smooth, and has a very modest neckline. I’m really happy about this alteration. It made the dress look less like it escaped from the eighties, and made it much comfier to wear.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what to wear on Christmas, and have finally settled on this modded Velvet Dress.

Christmas

When I was growing up, my family had a very specific Christmas routine. We’d get up, watch The Snowman followed by the declaration of Christmas peace on TV, and then decorate the tree. We’d get dinner started, and while everything cooked in the oven, we’d have a sauna. After, we’d put on beautiful clothes, usually with something red, and eat until we were ready to burst. Then, we’d open presents, and maybe eat some more. Food and clothes were the things I remember most from childhood Christmases, and I still want to wear something extra nice during the Holidays. This year, I plan to wear this velvet dress look with a red and black sash.

I hope you’ll all have a wonderful Christmas and the happiest New Year. I’ll see you on January 8th!

Until then.

Love,

Heather

Velvet Dress Mod

Last summer, I found a dress at a flea market. I liked the fabric, and I liked its sleeves, so I bought it. At home, I tried it on, and decided it needed a dress make-over. The sleeves and hem were good along with the fit, but the front… well, see for yourself!

I have nothing against a wrap-cut front, but this dress completely failed at it. The front was too loose on me, and fell open if I leaned over. In order to wear it as is, I would have had to use fashion tape to hold it put. A dress make-over was most definitely in order!

I started by ripping the front open. At first, I planned to give the dress a basic wrapped front. Then I started thinking.

The front didn’t have all that much fabric, and cutting it to shape would eat a lot of it. A wrap front would be flimsy and low, and this dress sort of needed to be toned down.I gave the dress a closer inspection, and found that the sleeve scythes were cut symmetrically. The front and the back piece were exactly alike. This meant that I could do the easiest mod ever: wear the dress backwards! Despite this, I still needed to mod the neckline. I continued my dress make-over by shaping the wrap-cut shape I originally had planned. I also lowered the front a bit at the neck. Not a lot, just enough to make it comfortable.

I used elastic lace to bind both the neckline and the wrap-cut back before changing my mind yet again.The wrapped back, as I tried the dress on, proved to be a touch on the slippery side. It really-really wanted to fall off, so I took a piece of skin-toned mesh, and used it to make the back more secure. And when I tried the dress on again, it was perfect!

How perfect, you ask? Well, I’ll show that to you on Friday!

See you then.

Love,

Heather

New Dress

A while back, I went to the flea market, and came home with a pretty good haul. Among the garments I got, was a velvet print top, and a basic jersey skirt with two layers. Neither of these two fit my personal style as they were, so I morphed them together to create a new dress. I started by chopping the top to length, and taking it in at the sides. Then, I took what was left of the hem, and used it to sew ruffle cuffs.

The original skirt had a seam at the hip. I cut the skirt there to get rid of both the seam, and its elastic waist. It was too long to begin with, and a seam at the widest part of my hip looked just wrong.

After the quick surgery, I gathered the hem, and attached it to the top’s hem. Ruching two layers of slippery jersey, and pinning them to another layer of slippery jersey was not easy! Luckily, this was the hardest step of the entire process.

Turning the top and skirt into a new dress took literally an hour, and I could not be happier with the results. The dress is super-comfy, super-cute, and looks like ME. I’ve already worn it out, and it proved to be the sort of dress I could just forget. It required no adjusting and no tugging, and behaved beautifully all night.

For the finished look, I wore the dress with minimal accessories. I hid the waist seam with my chiffon sash, and went for very basic heels. As this dress has a wide, rather voluminous hem which I want to emphasize with petticoats, I wore my hair in a bun. Leaving it loose adds a lot to my width, and paired with wide skirts, that’s not a good look. A messy bun works much better with this look, and is also much more comfortable.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my new dress!

Love,

Heather

Shoe Mod

My favorite shoes broke in the spring. They were very, very old, and I loved them. I’ve been on the look-out for a replacement pair ever since. Finding a pair of shoes that scream nineties is surprisingly difficult, I tells you! Finally, I found a semi-acceptable pair on H&M.Nothing spells quality shoes like H&M, so I was pretty happy to see them on sale for only 18€. I ordered them, got them, and said “ain’t it a good thing I’m a professional, and can give this pair a shoe make-over”. Here’s where we started from!

Originally, I planned to use lace for the shoes. Later, I changed my mind, but that’s the reason why there’s lace in the photo.

I started by using my scissors to cut the leg of the shoes. That was pretty easy since they were made of fabric, and the actual shoe part was stitched to the fabric bit. The picture shows it better than I can explain it!

This wasn’t the first time I did a similar shoe make-over. That’s probably the reason why I went ahead and ordered a pair of shoes just to cut into them… The first pair I modded was so good I wore them until they fell apart on me. Literally, I was walking along, and they started to disintegrate. Luckily, I was quite close to home, and made it there without injury.

Anyway, after cutting the shoes to shape, I took black bias tape, and hand stitched it to place. That does sound like a lot of work, but sewing keeps the binding in place better than gluing, leaves a tidy finish, and can be replaced if need be.

The finished shoes are very, very basic and super plain. They’re also very high, and I feel that decorating them would make them appear a bit too much. In their current basic form, they fit all outfits, and won’t clash with styles.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s shoe make-over. I promise to show how these look on me in Friday’s post!

Until then.

Love,

Heather

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