Sunday, 8 April 2012

Blog Social and Pattern Giveaway: Update

Hiya peops. So, as previously explained, I'm taking part in the Simplicity Patterns 'Get a Vintage Look' Blog Social and Giveaway. Upon receipt of the three patterns that are being given away my job was, along with four other talented sewer-bloggers, to make one of them and blog it on a specific day.

Except I got confused. When I was initially approached to take part in this, I thought that we had to make up each of the three patterns. So I delved into my fabric stash, waded around in there for awhile, and came up with some plans. By the time I figured out that actually I was only required to make one of the patterns, I had already got really into the plans for two of them. And seeing as I had sufficient time, I went ahead and made both anyway. Here's what I made...

First up is #2282. Initially my least favourite of the patterns, the view with the peplum really grew on me. I cut a size 12 for the bodice blending out to a size 14 for the hips/bum area. I also pinched 2cms out of the length of the bodice to allow for my short-waistedness.

the construction process for this pattern was quite interesting (have a go at making it and you'll see what I mean!) and it was something of a challenge at a couple of points. Particularly tricky was the stage where you join the side and back bodice to the centre front and skirt panels whilst trying to avoid catching the peplum section awkwardly.

I used some crazy black and gold matelasse/brocade-y stuff that I bought a fabric sale in San Francisco about five years ago. It's not as scratchy as it may appear! I think the stiffness of the fabric worked well, especially for the peplum, but I'm not sure it did the front pleats any favours. If I were to make this again, I'd probably try and remove either or both the front pleats, as I think the peplum detail would benefit from a smoother skirt underneath. I also brought the side seams of the skirt in to make it less A-line. I'd liked to have made the skirt even more pencil-shaped, but that would have involved making a back pleat or vent which I had run out of time and motivation for! All in all, I'm a fan of this garment which I've entitled the Super Hero dress!

Next up is what I think is the most obviously 'vintage' inspired of the three patterns: #2444.

This dress has some really nice elements to it which make it far more interesting than you standard bodice-and-full-skirt 1950's style pattern. It's tricky to tell from the front of the pattern envelope, but the bodice has some interestingly positioned darts which come up from the waist, and those are then echoed in the pleats which control the fullness of the skirt. As Lavender perceptively wrote regarding her creation, you could so easily get carried away with adding all the design elements these Project Runway patterns offer you. However, I was pretty adamant that it should be the waist bow OR the shawl collar, and I felt my fabric choice was more day-timey, so I went with the collar option, plus I didn't want to hide those cool darts with a big bow.

I know that I have some members of the sewing community would have expected a more nautical interpretation of this dress from me, and I'm sorry to disappoint! But know this: my love of nautical is almost matched by my love of African wax fabric! ESPECIALLY if the design features birds, or something mental like oysters, brooms or stilettos (and have seen and almost bought all three). This wonderful piece of fabric was given to me by my friend Anna who brought it back from her honeymoon in Ghana last year. This stunning dress by Cassie Louise taught me back in 2008 how good African wax fabric could look when made into, and somehow subverting, an overtly feminine 1950's silhouette.

I cut a size 12 bodice, folding only 1cm out of the bodice this time to account for my short-waisted issue. Seeing as it sits so high on the natural waist, I thought anymore might be too 'little girl's party dress'. I cut in between the size 12 and size 14 for the hips and beyond. The construction of this dress was pretty simple and would be a nice pattern for someone fairly new to sewing.

There are a few bits I dislike/would change/would have noticed if I could ever be arsed to make a toile. Firstly, I don't think it was necessary to design the pattern with a centre-front seam on the skirt. That was probably a measure for fabric economy, but I feel it is unnecessary and creates problems when using a printed fabric. Secondly, the back neck gapes a bit. I cannot be bothered to unpick the zip, facing and collar to adjust it, but I'd pinch out a couple of cms at the top CB blended down to nothing at the waist before making this again. Lastly, I think the pattern is a bit stingy around the top of the front bodice, making it quite tight across the front and difficult to raise your arms very high. You can kind of see the model on the pattern envelope is also afflicted by this issue. However, this probably wouldn't be a problem if you made a sleeveless version.

I am really into this dress though. I think the length is perfect for me (I'm 5ft 5") and I don't feel too much like a bridesmaid, which I often do in full skirts.

I'll do a more analytical blog post for each of these creations in the near future. But enough of my warbling for now! Head over and see what the other ladies in this blog hop have to show you. Suzannah made a delicate beige day-dress from #1913, Sunni turned the same pattern into an elegant, office-appropriate, rust coloured delight and Lavender rocked that pattern hard into an uber-versatile and fun piped chambray affair whilst bustin' her mama's stash in the process! We'll have to wait a little longer until 10th April to see what that talented chica Tilly makes of all this!

36 comments:

Hannah Jean said...

I really like the first one, I think it looks really daring and also well-fitted through the bodice! Sorry the sleeves are so constricting on the second one.

Heather Lou said...

I really love both of your takes on these dresses. I think the fabric selection helps hip them up a bit and makes them feel more modern. I especially adore that black & gold polka dot. So stinking cute. And it's funny that you reference that dress by Cassie - I just bought some stunning fuschia African prints to funk up a classic 50's silhouette inspired by that same dress!

Allison said...

I love, love, love the second dress. I've actually made that pattern myself, and eliminated the center front seam.
I also thought the bodice gaped at the back. But I still love that dress.

Far said...

Really really pretty dresses! :)

Cynthia said...

Thee are both WOW's. I love the peplum gold number, perfect for a fancy date night. And, birds, OMG. I"m a sucker for anything with animals on it. Too cute!

Miss P said...

Holy moly lady!! That first one is aMAzing! Defo better with the pencil skirt. Sheesh! Gorgeous!
Px

Tors said...

I think both of them look great, I love what you've done with both and they look amazing on you. You rock that peplum dress lovely, and we all know I'm a sucker for 1950's style dresses which, I might add, your fabric choice is genius. I do love how you take something and throw a twist in with your fabrics!

MrsC said...

Jeez Zo, I LOVE your versions of these dresses a million times more than the ones 'on the tin'. Fabulous colours, cut and style!

Kestrel said...

Wow, both are fab! First one is super stylish and second is a great mix of classic shape and pattern

didyoumakethat said...

They are both unbelievably gorgeous dresses. You are so clever and creative, Zoe. I love your fabric choices.

Catherine Daze said...

Love them both. The fabric choices are unexpected but work so well. And they both look amazing on you. I particularly like the way you styled the second one with the seamed stockings and shoes.

sorbetsurprise said...

I had the same problem of back gape when I made up the last pattern and I cut the skirt on the fold instead of doing a centre seam as I didn't see the point either. I love your fabric choices and prints and now that I have seen the peplum one made up, I really want it!

House of Pinheiro said...

I love the 1s dress.. The peblum is a style I love.. Love the fabric of the second dressy

Rachel-Lou said...

Love the fabric choices on both. Very tempted to try out the first pattern for myself

Tilly said...

Gorgeous, lady! You really do look like a (sexy) superhero in the first one, ooh la la! INCREDIBLE fabric. I was expecting the spots to be smaller from your description, more disco, but they are definitely befitting of a crusader like you. I'm not used to seeing you in full skirted dresses but the second one does look great on you. Again, awesome choice of fabric. What a beauty! xx

Phil said...

I love both dresses but I think I favour the second one. It's such a funky print and you could wear it anytime ( here's hoping for a great summer!). inspiring as always x

Roisin Muldoon said...

They both look great, Zoe! I love how mod the first one looks and I'm inspired by your use of waxed cotton in the second one, I have a few metres of gorgeous african cotton that I bought in Paris a few years ago and I have been at a loss for what to do with it. Mine is white so may need to be underlined but now I am determined to do something with it!

Alana said...

That first one is amazing! It would be perfect for hitting up vegas or the like!

Marie said...

Look at you making more dresses than you had to! Both are just stunning though, despite any issues you may have had/have with them.

Lavender said...

I was so wrong in my prediction :) The super hero dress is fantastic! You look so futuristic, ready for the alien attack!!! The peplums scared me off a bit, as I didn't want to draw any more attention to my large hips. But you look perfect, and I love how you've pegged the skirt to balance it out. 2444 is great, too! Way to make it not look so fluffy and girly in the African print. I made it as extra credit, and like it a lot, even though I feel kind of weird in full skirts. What's up with the neck gape, huh? Well, I know I've a curvy back, but 1913 & 2444 also fall a bit lower, so I'm wondering if that's part of it? I totally tucked out a 1/2" above the sleeve so I could raise my arms okay.

cosir coser sewing said...

CONGRATULATIONS!! the birds dress is fantastic. I love it

Meg the Grand said...

I love both versions! Such different looks but you rock both 100% - your fabric choices were spot on :)

Cecili said...

O-M-G!!!!!! I'm in complete love with your dresses, actually I want to get married with the wax birdy dress AND have an affair with the golden peplum one^^! What more can I say than you're incredibly talented :)

Jane said...

Both dresses are stunning but the second one is especially gorgeous. The unusual fabric is the perfect choice and you look completely sexy in the whole ensemble.What a beaut! Xa

velosewer said...

Great work both in fabric choice and your handywork.

Sunni said...

I adore both dresses! Oh my goodness Zoe, you completely outdid yourself. Both are completely stunning. I adore the peplum-ed dress and the african wax cloth for your second dress is so magnificent. Fabulous work on both!
xoxo, Sunni

Rehanon Mackenzie said...

Having seen the first one in the flesh I can for sure it's super. You totally owned it love and that second one is so sweet it's making me teeth hurt. Such a gorgeous use of fabric. You rock!

Ginger said...

These are both gorgeous! The first one, in particular, is so flattering and sweet on you (well, they both are, but I have already made the second pattern, so it's not new to me)! Great job! This blog social has been so fun-- I've loved seeing what you lovely ladies made!

sallie oleta barbee said...

Both of these dresses are so gorgeous!! I love your bold choices of fabric. The large print on the second one makes it really unexpected and cheeky.

But my favorite may be the first one - I've just been in love with peplums recently - they do incredible things for one's shate!!

sallie oleta barbee said...

*shape* !!

Clare S said...

Both dresses look amaaaazing! Love that gold spot fabric. I probably wouldn't have looked twice at that peplum dress pattern, but now I'm very tempted! Thanks a lot for sharing :)

Juliette Sewing And Style said...

Brilliant versions for both of the patterns! Well Done!!!

rubyru_rubyru said...

I love the african batik birds dress, it's stunning and looks great on you. I like it so much I would wear it!

Nikki said...

Simplicity 2444 is a favourite of mine. I love your version, I actually made up the same style but without the sleeves about two years ago and really love the fit, although it's possibly a bit short in the waist for me. It's certainly the most vintage inspired of the two I reckon.

Anna Harris-Noble said...

YEAH... both dresses are awesome. SO glad you have made something with that awesome waxprint. I remember trying to hold it down when I saw it in Makola market in Accra (fabric heaven - a whole hanger of African print) so I wouldn´t get too ripped off in the bartering process!

Ren said...

Ok, so I never comment on blogs that I'm reading through google reader, but I really had to stop by and say BRAVO! Both of those dresses are amazing! Great job, great fit! Thanks for sharing!

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