April 3, 2014

best dressed


Here's the Simplicity 1654 finale! Ha ha! Since I already had this white leather jacket that I made and never blogged from last year, you're getting a double dose of sewing goodness today. I'm seriously, seriously surprised at the outcome of this dress. I had some pretty grave doubts that this pattern would pass muster. I have no idea why, I just did. But I'm wonderfully, pleasantly surprised. Yes. I love it when stuff like that happens.



In true commercial pattern style, the bodice is the only part lined via the instructions. For this dress in particular, I would rather have the entire dress lined, so that's what I did, in rayon bemberg lining. I tried a new technique for lining this type of bodice style - meaning that it doesn't have sleeves which can give some cause for serious pause. I've tried lining sleeveless bodices before, several times and each without success. But it just so happens that I agreed to alter a dress for a customer at my shop - perish the thought, right?!? To make a long story short, I found a RTW way to sew a lining to a sleeveless bodice without too much fuss and without leaving a shoulder seam open in the lining or having to do bindings at the neck or the armhole. All this due to an alteration I had to think fast with. I'm tempted to create a video tutorial for it, but we'll see. Needless to say, this dress is lined pretty beautifully.


I'm pretty happy with the fit of this dress. I had to take in the waist about 1 inch and with the alteration I did to the neckline for the strap, this is actually one very comfortable dress. And seriously, those two little fitting alterations were the only alterations I did! For me, this pattern fit quite well, especially for all the stuff that's going on here. It happens all too often that I'll go a little nuts and make the bodice section a little too snug and then once I've eaten a meal, the only thing I can think of is tearing that dress right off. I took extra care NOT to do that here. There's still some nice eating room which the practical girl in me loves. And this lovely aqua linen - it will be super fantasmic come summer when the heat is roasting the skin right off my bones!


This is actually the second round for this bodice. The second round has the bodice entirely interfaced with a very lightweight tricot like interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. The first round was not interfaced and there was rippling in ever single seam. Yikes. So I block fused the bodice, recut it all out and things went much better. Just something to keep in mind if you are planning to make this dress in a lightweight fabric that could benefit from stabilization.

Now you're probably wondering about the jacket. It's McCall's 6611 (now out of print even though I swear this pattern just came out last year??) and its leather. I made it last spring and never said a word about it here. There's actually several things from last year that you haven't seen. Anyway, this was my first time dealing with leather and I have to say, its such a controversial textile! In that so many people have so many different opinions on how to work with it. Unfortunately, I didn't do enough research about it and ended up listening to everyone and everything and well, it shows were you to look hard enough. You can actually tailor a leather jacket. That means you can apply interfacing and that also means that you can press it too. You just don't want to press it with steam. Moisture damages leather, heat doesn't. This is lambskin and it took 4 hides. Additionally, for such a small jacket, I didn't have enough hides. So I had to go to my local leather place (there's actually a few in Utah, crazy enough) and I bought a deer hide to go with my lambskin. The deer hide didn't quite match so I pieced the front panels together so that it looked intentional. I think the jacket is OK, but to be honest, not my favorite. Meh. I lined the jacket and ended up tacking those front lapel pieces in place since they flopped around like a fish out of water when they weren't tacked down. Still a wearable jacket though and wear it I will with this dress for Spring! Yay!

Now off to finish up some much needed tops, friends! Ciao!
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41 comments

  1. oh. my. GAH. sunni. just take the perfect shade of blue and make it into a masterpiece and make me choke on my morning coffee. is that a coverstitch on those seamlines? and that jacket is swoony as well! would you like it better if you belted it?

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  2. I hope you do come up with an easy technique for lining on video. I can do it but would love to see your version. Hugs, Doris

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  3. I love the details on the bodice of that dress. Takes it from a great dress to a spectacular dress.

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  4. Beautiful dress and jacket. That colour is perfect on you. Wow. The top-stitching is beautiful too really funky and modern.

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  5. Your dress is gorgeous! Also, I'd love love love a video tutorial on how you did the lining. I have made several sleeveless lined dresses and never found a satisfactory way of finishing it all.

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  6. Love the dress! The lines are so interesting and the colors really make the dress come alive.

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  7. I had some doubts when I saw the first post of this dress, but I am eating my words! This dress is gorgeous!! I thought all that front stitching would be too busy, but it works out so nicely. And that color of linen is to die for! Just beautiful.

    My hand is also raised for the lining tutorial, please :)

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  8. I love everything about this outfit -- dress, jacket, red shoes. What a great look for you!

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  9. Absolutely stunning, Sunni!! That blue looks so SO gorgeous on you! And I love the coverstitch detail to highlight those awesome geometric seamlines. The white leather jacket... don't even get me started!! I'm a huge HUGE fan of working with leather, and YES I just realized to that it actually loves being pressed and interfaced and all the rest. I also remember loving that pattern and now I'm kicking myself for not picking it up when I had the chance. It's a great modern jacket for spring!

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  10. Wow! This is a gorgeous outfit. I love both pieces, but the dress bodice in particular is fabulous.

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  11. I LOVE that dress -- just gorgeous! Those seam details! And I also really love the jacket, too:)

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  12. If the back or the front is open, in two pieces, it is indeed quite easy to line a garment without having to futz about with the shoulder seam. There are at least two good techniques for lining vests, that are easily transferable to other bodice linings. First, sew the shoulder seams together on fashion fabric and lining fabric. Put them right sides together, and sew the armholes together (it's like a big letter C) and sew the neckline together, all the way to the opening edge. Turn garment right side out -- thread the open side through the shoulder seam tunnel. Press neck and armholes.
    Now, put right sides together at the side seams. You can either sew one long seam starting at the bottom, fashion-to-fashion up to the armhole seam and down the other side, lining to lining; or you can sandwich one side within the other (the Gold Medal technique). I much prefer the one-long-seam technique, as it does not leave an annoying jog of fabric at the bottom of the armhole.
    Lastly, poke the entire vest inside itself to put right sides together for the opening and bottom of the garment. Leave an unsewn bit for turning the nearly-finished garment right side out. Sew that hole closed somehow, and press, and put in fasteners. NB: With a zipped garment, you'll have to wait for Sunni's tutorial, as I avoid slide fasteners whenever possible.

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  13. I'm so glad to see that someone else has finally made this dress! I just made a muslin for it and I'm getting ready to cut it out in a plum-colored linen/rayon blend. Still trying to decide if I want to brave the topstitching...

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  14. Sunni, that blue looks wonderful on you! You've convinced me that I need to add a light blue dress and white blazer to my closet for spring. I think I love the dress even more because of the contrast stitching on the seam lines, it really makes them pop and stand out. Fabulous!!

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  15. I've used this tutorial before to line a sleeveless bodice.
    http://secondbedroom.blogspot.ca/2011/07/tutorial-burda-dress-bodice.html

    I don't know if it's the same as your method, but it's pretty straight forward.
    The dress is looking really nice, it's a great colour on you!

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  16. Dear heavens, I love everything about this. I love how you stay true to your own style. It inspires me. That's why I love reading you.

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  17. This is beyond gorgeous. The pattern looks crazy scary but you may have given me the push to give it a go -- seriously, I had to stop and just stare at your picture for a while before I could even process the words on the rest of this page. Amazing.

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  18. Best dressed indeed. It's amazing how much interfacing makes a difference and it certainly shows that it did wonders with this make.

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  19. That is beautiful! I love the shape. so, so flattering. I need to give this pattern a second look!

    I would also love to see a tutorial on lining a sleeveless dress. I can't tell you how often I've put off sewing a dress because it needs lining. I've only done one - a cambie - and that isn't the same process as a normal sleeveless dress. I'm a horrible hand sewer so anything more machine based is great!

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  20. Could there possibly be a better shade of blue to complement your red hair? I think not. You look absolutely beautiful in this dress, and I love every detail. The topstitching looks perfect. I would very much appreciate the lining tutorial that you have suggested you might do.

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  21. Beautiful. Love the color and the top-stitching.
    Simplicity 3620 is where I learned to do the easiest lining insertion for sleeveless garments. I use it for all my sleeveless projects, whether I'm doing lining or facings. I'm curious to hear/see the method you used.

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  22. That colour really pops on you, it looks great! Actually the whole outfit is fantastic. And kudos for making a leather jacket, that's pretty intense-level sewing!

    Do you know why the instructions would call for you to line the whole bodice rather than do an all-in-one facing? Is it preference or for a particular reason?

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  23. Thanks Oona! I do love this particular shade of blue. The topstitched seamlines on the bodice are actually just....zig-zagged. That's what the pattern actually called for and at first I was skeptical, but it looks pretty darn awesome in the end. Totally worth a try.

    Hadn't thought about belting the jacket, but definitely worth a try. Ohhhh!!

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  24. I had serious doubts too - I just didn't know if the bodice would work all that well on me and with the topstitching.... But I'm totally pleasantly surprised. A definitely a-list pattern in my book.

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  25. Oh thanks! It's not the same method that I did, but definitely another thing to try. Those blasted sleeveless linings!

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  26. I thought it looked kind of scary too, but its way way easy! Definitely go for it!

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  27. I really love the fresh blue with white leather. The top stitching gives the dress some real interest and highlights the design lines. Always enjoy your posts.

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  28. Gorgeous dress!! It looks so great on you :) Love the fabric, color and the dress detail. It matched well with the jacket too. Beautiful work as always :-)

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  29. Love.this.dress. Fabric, color, fit - it just rocks. Looks so pretty and feminine on you, Sunni. Enjoy the heck out of it!

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  30. This dress is so beautiful! And I am jealous of your lining skills! I would love you to do a video tutorial (but no pressure ;) ) You look fabulous!

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  31. I have loved this pattern from the first time I saw it. I attempted a version for New Year's but it became quite bastardized through choice of fabric and fitting woes that the only thing recognizable was the notched out V-neckline. You've inspired me to try it again. Yours is so lovely.

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  32. […] fabrics with hearts, rainbows or strawberries (and that was totally a strawberry necklace you saw me wear yesterday!) – that’s definitely the 80s kid in me. Most definitely. I think my mom does too […]

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  33. Your dress came out great! I love the color and it makes me think of Spring. (It's been raining for three days...) Happy Birthday as well. May this year be better and better.

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  34. this dress turned out beautifully! it's always a fine line between "fit" and "comfortable fit." looks like you nailed it! i love the color and the contrast stitching, and it is so cute with the jacket!

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  35. Love it! I couldn't visualize the final dress from the muslin, but the final dress is lovely!

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  36. The lines on the bodice are so cool. And I would love to see how you lined the bodice!

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  37. Ooh, love seeing the dress finished! So flattering on you. I the contrast stitching on the bodice. I know I for one would love seeing the technique you used for lining it, because I know I'm going to want to sew some sleeveless summer dresses but haven't wrapped my brain around lining.

    And though you might not consider the jacket a total winner it looks absolutely fantastic! What a great pairing with the dress. :)

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  38. Absolutely love this dress. In your fitting did you use 2 - 3 inches of ease in the bust? as you suggested in your ease chart many moons ago. This dress looks absolutely fabulous on you - it would not suit that many people so well.

    The jacket is a credit to you as well but, in my mind it begs the question, why are there so many American patterns with peplums? I find that they add to the fitting problems with jackets without contributing to the overall look of the jacket. By this I mean that with a peplum you need to keep the jacket buttoned up at all times. Just my opinion! I suppose this comes from my experience of not having a fitting "buddy"

    Anyway keep up the good work, it such a pleasure to see your work each week.

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  39. Love this colour on you , and the fit is sublime, you look great ! also ,totally irrelevant but can I just say ,I think you have quite a look of Joanne Woodward . Considering she was married to the most beautiful man ever to walk the planet , you should take that as a complimet !

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