Lois Dress

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I whipped up the new Lois Dress from Tessuti. We have a couple of weddings coming up, and I wanted to make a new dress to wear to one of them. Overall, it was fun to sew, especially the neckline seam! I french seamed everything, except for the waistband. I zigged that seam as well as the dart seam allowance, as specified. I cut a 8-6-10, and was very nervous that the seams wouldn’t line up right with all that grading between sizes, but overall I am very happy with it. I had to extend the side darts A LOT, they stuck out exactly where my hips are widest and it looked really bad. So bad that I didn’t think I would ever wear it. But I stopped over to consult with my sewing teacher and she quickly pinned out the darts to extend several more inches down the side, and now its MUCH better. I also had to redo a little bit of the side zip to take in a little bit more of the dart.

One important note: the skirt pieces require 55″ wide fabric. I neglected to realize this until I had cut out the pattern and laid out all the pieces to cut out, and saw the front skirt was extending past the fabric. I slashed the pattern and brought in the a-line to accommodate my 43″ fabric. By the way, this is silk CDC from Mood that I got awhile back. I bought 2 yards, and it was JUST enough. I had barely any scraps left after I cut everything out.

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The neckline is very risqué, but I like it! I tried on several bras with it, but none of them are low enough to not show when wearing the dress. If I make this again, I will underline the front bodice to provide a little bit more… coverage?

Overall, I love it, especially the midi length. I wore it to dinner for our anniversary last night, and am planning to wear it to a wedding this weekend!!! Update: Here is a shot from the wedding:

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Making My Wedding Dress

Its been almost a year since I wore the most time-intensive garment I’ve ever sewed! I thought it was time to share it.

Time: 9 months, not working on it every weekend, and mixing in smaller projects to keep my sanity. I did not keep track of hours.

Materials: Ivory silk charmeuse and ivory silk chiffon, bemberg lining and interlining, all from The Fabric Place in Mt. Lebanon, Pittsburgh. Also some boning from Joanns.

Hand-rolled double circle skirt hem length: 57 feet.

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Photos by Julie Hagenbuch.

So… how did this come about? I knew I wanted to make my wedding dress, but I was not sure what I wanted. I decided to go to a local shop in Lawrenceville to try on a bunch of different styles to see what I liked. The person who helped me at the shop was very kind, but I was not a fan of being in the dressing room with someone else and having very tattered, worn by so many people sample dresses clamped on to me with clips to simulate the true fit. Out of the dozens of dresses I tried on, I really only liked one of them. It was $4,000:

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I loved the materials used in this dress: silk chiffon over a silk charmeuse. The DOUBLE CIRCLE skirt was SO dreamy, I couldn’t stop lifting it and squealing as I swished all the fabric around me. I also loved the very dramatic back cowl.

Determined that I could recreate this dress, I signed up for a Pattern and Fit class at Cut and Sew Studio. I found what I thought was a similar pattern and came to class with a muslin made. It was not nearly as close to the inspiration photo as I hoped, so with the help of Catherine Batcho, I drafted a new bodice pattern. 5 muslins later…. I had the fit just right.

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Fitting one of the muslins in nasty mauve fabric.
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back view of an early bodice muslin
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Working on the drape.
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EEEP final fabric!!!!
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One of the final fittings.
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Back drape.
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Cut out and sewed the skirt!
I ended up adding boning to the back “neckline (not sure what else to call it?)” to ensure it wouldn’t gape. It was very hard to anticipate fit issues like this before sewing the skirt to the bodice.

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Pre-hemming.
DEAR LORD, pinned hem. This took SO LONG.

I had 4 (I think?) follow-up sessions to help fit the bodice and hem the skirt. I have a bad habit of rushing through projects, and I tried my hardest to take my time and do the best job I could. I am so so happy with how the dress turned out, and I am so happy I can say I made my wedding dress. Thank you so much to Catherine Batcho, I could not have possibly completed this project so wonderfully without your help.

PHEW, who needs a drink?

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Photo by Julie Hagenbuch.

Tessuti Patterns love affair.

tessuti_alice_topI visited Tessuti Fabrics when we were in Sydney a few months back. What a wonderful store! I bought the Alice top pattern while I was there, and have made two so far. It is a really nice, quick pattern. I have not tried a dress version yet. Here is my version in a wonderfully drape-y crepe de chine from Blackbird Fabrics. It was a little fiddly to work with, I think I ended up using a 5/8″ seam allowance for the sleeves instead of 3/8″ to catch all the layers of fabric (understitching changed the sizes pretty considerably).

Very fun and swishy! I think I can dress this up or down. I also finished the sleeve seams and yoke seams with bias tape so nothing would unravel. I added some side slits, although I wish I would have made them even bigger. Just a quick baby hem since the fabric was so slippery.

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closeup of the front yoke.
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slighty sheer, delightfully drape-y.
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swingy!

I also made a Tessuti Tokyo Jacket. I got this very delicate and floaty silk/cotton from The Fabric Store in Aukland. I french seamed everything, and its a bit bulky at the arm pit, as the pattern hinted it would be, but I didn’t want “overlocked (don’t have a serger)” seams hanging out. I omitted the pockets for a more floaty finish. I enjoyed the cuff technique, I was very skeptical at first but when I finished the first one I thought, “HOW CLEVER!”

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all photos by Leah Vautar.