Monday, February 22, 2016

1940s Tea Dress

Sew Over It
1940s Tea Dress
Size 10

Alterations:  1/2" swayback adjustment
Forward Sloping Shoulder
Removed 1/2" from the cap of the sleeve
Removed 3" from length



I love this dress!  It makes me want to sew up other vintage-style dresses.  It's is so pretty and feminine looking.  My fabric is a rayon challis.  I made a muslin of the bodice.  I don't always make a muslin, but I loved my fabric too much to risk a mishap.




This is the only Sew Over It pattern I have.  It comes in such a nice booklet and the pattern is printed on sturdy white paper, which makes tracing easy.  The dress is not lined and all seams are overlocked after stitching.


The back has an invisible zipper. I do have a bit of a "poof" of fabric at my upper mid back.  I'm not sure what is causing this.  

I shortened my zipper but too short!  I have to slip the dress over my head since I can't step into it...my hips won't fit through.  Darn!   It is a little snug coming over the top too, so I have to carefully pull the dress over.  Double darn! LOL  But I can still put it on and that's the important thing.


It took a painfully long time to sew my first sleeve in.  It has been a while since I have done this, but I just couldn't ease all the fabric in without a lot of puckers.  I unpicked my seam and reduced the sleeve cap by 1/2 inch.  It went it so much easier.


I like the modest neckline.

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Creating a Costume

My husband and I are big fans of Las Vegas--we were married there.  
This year we are celebrating 20 years!

Have you ever been to the Rio?  It is such a fun place with a Mardi Gras atmosphere, which I tried to duplicate here.  Look up Rio Rita and you'll see my inspiration.  She is even pictured on some of the casino chips!

I  spent about 3 weeks drafting a pattern to designing my hat!  What an undertaking, but I'm really pleased with the final results.  

I did make a simple muslin of the dress to ensure a good fit before using my purchased fabrics.  I definitely see the benefits of working with a muslin and also working slowly and checking fit with each new pattern piece addition.


To get started, I used this McCall's pattern to create my bodice sloper. 


 It was just a starting point, because as you can see, I had to cut the bodice at an angle on the bottom.  The pattern is for wovens and utilizes a zipper at the center back too.  Since my dress is made from a knit, I made a full back bodice piece with encased elastic at the top.  I used a method I learned making many sundresses for my girls when they were little.  I also lengthened the bodice straps so they could be tied instead of fastened at the neck back.


Below the bodice, I used nude mesh for the midsection.  I laid my bodice piece on top of pattern paper and extended my dress design from there.

For the skirt, I measured my waist and hips and drafted a pattern that was widely curved at the hips and then narrowed it at the lower edge.  I used the same piece for both front and back.  Once those pieces were cut, I laid my skirt at the bottom of my mesh pattern piece to determine the angle I needed to cut at the skirt top.

After the side seams were sewn, I rounded the slit side edges.  It's hard to see that with the ruffles in place, but this opened up the skirt more at the bottom and helped to give me a proper curve to attach the bottom ruffle to.  All ruffles were sewn with long basting stitches and gathered by hand.  That took a painfully long time. 


For my hat, I cut off the bill of an old ball cap I had.  Next, I covered it with the velour and  sewed it to the edge of my ball cap.  I did break one needle in the process when I was sewing through the Velcro. 




 Next, I hot glued the fruit to the top of the hat.  I was careful not to over do it with the fruit because I didn't want a neck ache hauling around a heavy hat!  The strawberries are incredibly light weight and were also a good way to hide the glue used to hold everything else in place.  Then I used a rectangular-sized piece of velour to tie up and around my hat.  It is a little bit of a balancing act with the fruit cap while getting everything snug and tightly tied.  For ideas on how to tie a turban, I found plenty of you tube videos.

For my small sleeve, I measured my arm and cut a rectangular piece of velour, leaving extra to attach Velcro.  Then I cut 2 of each color of my nylon spandex.  I sewed each color set together and then inserted a shorter length piece of 1/4" elastic at the bottom seam between the fabrics.  This gave it the poof I needed.  However, it is one heavy little ruffle!  I enclosed the outer seam with FOE.



For my long sleeve, I used a sleeve from a knit shirt pattern I have.  Then I simply chopped off the top portion of it, made a couple straps, which I then attached to a key ring.  I made one more strap to attach at the top of the key ring with a loop at the end. One of my bodice straps is then fed through this loop to keep my sleeve in place.

I used my Sihouette Cameo to cut out silver HTV for applique designs.  I also glued jewels around the top front and back of my skirt, as well as the bottom front and back of my bodice.


My necklace is a strip of velour folded with edges turned to the inside and zig zag stitched down.  Then I glued some jewels spaced one inch apart, fastening with a hook and eye at the back edge.


Materials Used 

Dress:  Purple Panne Velour 
Neon nylon spandex and nude mesh 
Jewels & fabric glue
Silver HTV for applique designs

Long Sleeve:  Key ring, silver HTV for applique designs, silver sequins

Ruffle Sleeve:  neon nylon spandex, 1/4" elastic, Velcro

Hat:  Ball cap with bill removed
 Apple, pear, banana, grapes & strawberries
Pink & Purple feathers

So now I have a great costume to wear and it would be perfect for any Mardi Gras celebration!   I will get good use out of it and perhaps my girls may want to wear it one day when they are older.  

Thanks for stopping by ~ Shirley