December 7, 2013

Ice Day Sewing

The weather down here went a little crazy yesterday.  Wednesday it was in the 70s, then Thursday night and Friday morning we got sleet, freezing rain, and general wintery weather.

I should be using this time to work on my finals and get things done before next week.  But…I had fabric that was calling my name, and I just couldn't resist.  There's something about a cold, wintery day that just makes me want to curl up with fabric and make something.

I bought the black and white houndstooth fabric from JoAnn Fabrics when their suiting was 60% off.  I've been lusting after their wool suiting for a while now, but fell in love with this wool blend.  It's still lovely to touch and drapes nicely.  Plus, the pattern is just fun.  My original plan was to use some black linen I found in the remnants bin (which was 75% off!), but there wasn't nearly enough.  Instead, I found some leftover red fabric that I thought looked nice with the houndstooth.  It wasn't too plain, but the pattern didn't clash with the wool.

Using the peplum blouse pattern from Simplicity 1590, I sketched out a bodice on some muslin.  The blouse pattern have buttons down the front with darts, and I wanted a princess seam with buttons on the front, so I had to alter the pattern quite a bit.   Also, after testing the pattern out on some scrap fabric, I decided I didn't like the shoulder seams, so I took those out and made the pattern so that the front side was connected to the back side, and the front center was connected to the back center.  I knew the basic shape fit me fairly well. Let me add that I've never done anything like this before, so I was pretty confident it would fail.  

I turned the front pattern piece into two pieces (Front Side and Front Center) by drawing a line from the center of the shoulder, to the side dart, to the lower dart, then followed the dart down to the bottom of the bodice.  I also removed the side dart on the Front Side, which made the Front Side piece more curved.  This took several tries, but eventually I had a pattern I liked.  

The left pattern piece is the back center (top) and front center(bottom).  The right pattern piece is the back side (top) and the front side (bottom).  

When I had the bodice as I wanted it (my husband told me it was the best looking shirt I'd ever made), I cut it out of the red fabric, and put some of the houndstooth around the neckline.  The skirt was easy - I have a basic circle skirt pattern that I adore.  My fabric was wide enough to cut the skirt in one piece.  I added side pockets and a back slit for buttons, and was pretty pleased.  

Here is the dress so far.  The skirt is basted onto the bodice, and the "belt" is actually my husband's tie.  I realize the skirt is now sewed on straight.  But something seems to be missing.  I am not sure where to go from here.  Any suggestions?


  1. I love the bodice (that tone-on-tone pattern looks good with the houndstooth), including the touch of carrying the skirt's houndtooth up to the trim around the neckline. The skirt looks like it needs something - perhaps figure out some way to carry its fabric down into the skirt somehow? Maybe a subtle touch of piping around the pocket?

  2. Hmm, I would prefer the top without the houndstooth trim. I do love the two fabrics together with a black belt.

    I am sure you will get plenty of opinions - I'm no expert!

  3. TheWilsonZoo, I like your idea about piping around the pocket! Of course, then my pockets won't be invisible and I'll have to figure out how to make them look a bit better…

    Kushami, I'm definitely going to get rid of the houndstooth trim, and replace it with a black satiny edging. I'll probably add in a wide belt, too.

    I'll post pictures next time I work on it!