Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bias Dress

Hi everyone! (Sorry for hitting publish too early! I don't even know how it happened!)

Ok so I know I promised MeMadeMay pictures. but I'm having SO much trouble with my camera. I promise I'll have it by the end of this week!! REALLY!!

Anyway, I hope a sewn garment will be enough of a compensation!

This dress was copied inspired by a dress worn by Sarai in her discussion of the deterioration of garment making in the past decades.

Not only did the dress inspire me in itself, but Sarai opened my eyes when she pointed out that there is no such thing as mid range clothing anymore. Everything is made the quickest and the cheapest way possible. This is one of the reasons I love sewing, I actually know how well the garment is sewed (even though I can't say I'm always proud of my sewing, either. At least it's my fault though!) and I can make the extra effort of putting more details and better finishings to make my garment better than store bought.

Some of the garment I make are quick and easy project that are meant to fill a hole in my wardrobe or a sudden urge to do a quick project. Then there are the ones that I think about a little more, it can be a generic detail like inserting a lining or more advanced technique like applying bound buttonholes (which I have yet to master to my satisfaction) that add a little personal touch (that I have come to accept that only sewers can appreciate) that really make my garments special to me.

Bias garments are rarely found in stores these days because they use up much more fabric than sewing on the grain. (I don't even want to talk about stripe matching, which I have done i the skirt, that is rarely done in RTW clothing. It makes me want to puke). When I saw Sarai's dress I knew I HAD to recreate the bias effect on the top and contrast it with a "on the grain" skirt. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, the plaid is much more prominent in real life.

Not only is the effect with the plaid cool, but cutting fabric on the bias changes it's properties completely. Even fabrics that have no stretch to them on both the cross grain and the straight grain will stretch on the bias (you can easily try this out yourself by trying to stretch any old cotton on the bias). This is why bias strips (strips that are cut on the bias hehe) are used to finish curves - they can stretch to accommodate the shape of the opening. For this reason, cutting fabric on the bias is considered more flattering (and is done not only with prints that show off the effect), the fabric takes the shape of the body and contours it, if you will.

Ha! Finally a clear picture!
I did a lot of research before drafting the top of the dress because I have never sewed with fabric on the bias before. All sites recommended to start with non flimsy fabrics (stay away from silk charmuese and all it's man made an non man made equivalents) and to cut the pattern on one layer of fabric. I opted to remove the darts (this was a gamble as I didn't see this actually written anywhere) because I thought the bias fabric will provide enough elasticity. I removed the darts in the most vulgar way possible and hacked off an inch of the waist in the back and two inched in front. (I can upload photos of the process if you like though I don't pretend to be an expert and my methods would probably be frowned upon by anyone who knows anything).

The bottom of the skirt is made out of a pencil skirt block I made for myself.

Can you believe the bias just molded itself to the contours of the bodice? I mean, it's doesn't even look like it doesn't have darts! I'm definitely inspired by this to explore the world of bias cut garments, it's like it's a whole different fabric! Are you guys as surprised as I am??

I love the color scheme of the plaid, it has all these deep browns that, frankly, kind of remind of old lady clothes but I LOVE it!  As you can see, I wore this dress with a gold necklace and blue shoes and I think it made it slightly younger (though I fully accept the fact that I dress like an old lady). At first I thought about applying light pink piping to the waist seam to give it a (although muted) pop of color. After consulting my mom (and displaying my dilemma on my new dress form!) it was decided that I leave the dress neutral. Here I took a different route the styling and opted to go all the way with the old lady vibe and wore a brooch with the dress:

The dress closes (and opens teehee) with an invisible side zipper. In full disclosure the zipper kind of distorts the bias cut fabric (I imagine the stiff zipper and the flowy stretchy fabric clash) but I really couldn't think of a way to avoid this. Maybe inserting the zipper in a back seam would have been better as it is a less curvy area... Does anyone know how to deal with this?

I finished the neckline and armhole seams with store bought bias tape (which I see I haven't pressed properly. MY IRON SUCKS) and hemmed the skirt by simply folding it twice over and top stitching the hem. I know a lot of people tend to do blind hems or whatever to conceal their stitching but to be honest I fund that it isn't worth the trouble for me, I don't mind the stitching at all!

In conclusion, I am fascinated by biased cut garments an certainly plan to make more of these in the future! If you guys are interested in seeing how I altered the pattern I'd be happy to show you!

Have you ever made a bias cut garment? Do you like plaid as much as I do? How do you feel about old ladies?

Have an excellent week!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Birthday Dress

Why Hello everyone!
I'm haing such a weird few days. I got really badly sunburned on Friday and I feel like shit, or more like friend chicken, if you will. I've never bee burned this badly (and I did put on spf!) I'm even having trouble sleeping because leaning on my back or having any part of my body touch  another part of it is like being hugged by lava. Which meant I had to sleep like this:

Only I definitly wasn't as cute.

Anyway, thought I'd share with you a garment that I'm incredibly proud of even though I really don't think it's my greatest achievement or even a very good fit. Incidentally, it's the same color of my skin at the moment.


I've been craving to sew with lace for a while now and I love underlining (that's weird, right?) and so I thought this is the perfect project for me. I had made a lace shirt (I will show it to you guys soon!) before so I knew in wasn't very difficult to sew with lace. The thing is, I didn't take a few crucial points points into account and that made the process of making this dress quite long.
For one, I wanted to buy cheap lace (in retrospect, I have no idea why I was being so stingy, I guess I was afraid I would mess this up and didn't want to ruin perfectly good lace) and the only lace I could find was stretch lace. I didn't want this dress to be a stretchy dress though so I decided to underline it with regular poly satin. BIG MISTAKE ( I really don't know what I was thinking!).

I ended up having to hand baste all the pieces together rather than machine baste them, because the lace kept stretching out and by the time I finished the row of stitching I'd be stuck with tons of lace and no satin. This added like two hours of work, especially the half circle skirt which was SO much work.

I drafted the dress myself, as usual. There really isn't anything interesting about the pattern, there are side darts (dior darts?) and bust darts and the skirt is a half circle skirt. I underlined the whole dress and lined the bodice with the same poly satin fabric. I don't line many of my garments and I have to say - I'm sold! It just upgrades the whole garment! It does take longer to sew, but if you consider that making facings or finishing the openings with bias tape takes time as well, it may be worth it!

What do you guys think about lining your garments?

The skirt isn't as twirly as I'd like, I wanted to make a full circle skirt but I somehow miscalculated the amount of fabric I needed to buy and only had enough for a half circle skirt.

My original inspiration for the dress was this number worn by Michelle Williams. Can you blame me?

Then I saw Lauren's dress:

How could I now want to make a lace dress after that??

I made a satin belt from the same fabric as the underlining, using this tutorial (again inspired by Lauren) but I ended up not wearing it to my party because it kept slipping and sliding. So this is what I ended up looking like:

I kind of like it this way too! Though I definitely look less like a present. I wore it with a leather jacket part of time because it was kind of chilly out, I like the way the girlyness of the dress clashed with the masculinity of the jacket.

The fit isn't perfect, I don't know if you can tell but the neckline is definitly gaping and the straps are too large. I noticed these fitting issues only after I constructed the whole bodice and lined it, which made it basically impossible to make any changed without killing myself
 Anyway that's it!
FYI I know I was supposed to upload my MeMadeMay week but I lost my camera cable so I'll only be able to upload it won Tuesday.

What do you think? Do you guys line your garments? Have you ever sewed with lace?

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Me Made May: Week 1

Hey everyone!

I've been thinking about signing on to MeMadeMay for a while now but I wasn't sure I was completely up for the challenge of wearing me made stuff every single day. At some point I realized that I had made up that rule and after inspecting Zo's rules more closely and finding that each sewer can adapt the challenge for themselves, I decided to sign on myself!

 'I, Kessem of DinosaurGirl, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear a me made garment 5 days a week for the duration of May 2013'

I know this wasn't a whole week but I thought I'd still do a roundup:

Wednesday: (May 1st)

I made this dress last weeked and have yet to blog about it so more info to come!

Thursday: (May 2nd)

This I made two weekends ago and haven't blogged about either AND I WON'T BE BLOGGING ABOUT IT EVER. You want to know why? Because the second time I took it out of the closet I saw THERE IS A HUGE GAPING HOLE IN THE FRONT.
Now, I knew this wasn't the greatest quality fabric but this is the second hole I found in this dress - shouldn't it be criminal to sell this kind of fabric? I'M SO FREAKING ANGRY.

Wore them both with these shoes:

That's it for this week!
Also - I got bangs! WOOP! I love them. It took a while getting used to but now, I can't believe I was ever without them!


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