Velvet Rose Ballet Dress

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I feel like I’ve been neglecting you, poor blog. I’ve been working (somewhat) diligently on new patterns but pattern development takes so long for me that I lose steam without having a tangible finished project in my hands. Sometimes you need that quick sewing fix, ya know what I mean?

So this is it – a short sleeved version of my own Ballet Dress pattern. I lost weight since I originally made this pattern so I re-printed the whole thing and started from scratch one size smaller (it fits!).

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The pattern was pretty easy since I’ve made it before, of course, and I decided to go with shorter sleeves, less to cut out, and it’s a simple design which makes for quick sewing. Just what I needed!

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My only issues were with this fabric. It’s super cool looking – a heather gray jersey with velvet rose outlines all over. I bought it at a new Austin store called Stitched Fabric Boutique that specializes in knits (a store full of knits, be still my heart!).

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The problem is that while the velvet is a little stretchy it isn’t nearly as stretchy as the jersey. I had to cut a thicker collar because trying to stretch the original collar to fit the neck would distort the fabric, meaning the velvet kept the jersey from stretching evenly. I didn’t cut my collar any longer but just wider to compensate for the distortion.

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Also the velvet seemed to exacerbate the tunneling with my twin needle and trying to run the textured lumpy fabric through my machine stretched out the hem on the sleeves (and probably the bottom of the dress, too, but it’s not as noticeable).

It’s annoying but I’m going to run it through the wash and iron those sleeves and they’ll probably shrink back up. My answer to every problem is ironing!

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Believe it or not my twin needling was even worse on my test scraps so I tried some of Susan’s tips from her recent post on twin needles. I used some stitch witchery on the hems to stabilize it a bit (those areas didn’t need to stretch much) but I think I should have used thicker witchery because I can tell where my stitches must not have gone over the stabilizer.

Also the variation in thickness between velvet and jersey made it difficult to get the needle tension just right.

My serger had no problem with this fabric, just my regular machine. Maybe next time I’ll add bands at the sleeves and bottom rather than just hemming to avoid using my twin needle.

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I still love this fabric and I have some left. Next time I’ll take what I’ve learned and approach working with it differently.

Also, I’m feeling kinda “meh” on my picture posing lately. I need some new posing inspiration. There’s only so much “one hand on the hip, the other fluffing my hair” pictures I can do. I need to channel Rachel Pinheiro or something, get creative. Do you know of any bloggers with fun photo poses??

  • How super cute, love it! This pattern of yours is on my wishlist, can’t wait to make it up one day! And I totally hear you on the posing front, I’m terrible and boring at it! I love Sophie’s posing as she does a lot of action shots – http://cirque-du-bebe.blogspot.co.uk/

    • Done – bought the pattern ;o)

    • Wow, thanks Marie! 😉

      and thanks for the link.

  • Try some poses that look like Real life, like the Yarn bearer does! http://yarnbearer.wordpress.com/

    I love the dress! I wish I could wear dresses… I live in a very windy city!

    • thanks for the link, and here’s a secret – i have a slim half slip under the dress which i wear with most knits to help smooth over things, ya know. it’s also great in case of unexpected gusts of wind. 😉

  • I just recently discovered how banding everything can keep from having to hem. I hate hemming knits! Whether the fabric was a pain or not, it sure made a pretty dress. No help on posing. I do the same old, same old. I’m pretty boring.

    • thanks liza jane! you’re right, banding is so much better than hemming knits!

  • Ooh I love how your dress turned out! I see what you mean about the fabric — I will bear this in mind when/if I ever decide what mine will become. 😀 (And thanks for the link love!)

    • thanks lady! i’ll wear this dress one day and show you what i mean about the odd stretching and stuff.

  • Really nice ballet dress. I’m planning on buying the shorts pattern this weekend (and making up pants with them!).

    • pants! how awesome!

      thanks nothy!

  • Simple, easy to wear, and interesting fabric makes a winning dress!

    • why thank you, kelly

  • Gosh I can’t see any distortion from the pictures but I know what you mean. I haven’t had a chance to go to Susan’s link (thanks for that) but I use soluable embroidery stuff which you iron and steam on then sew over. It is perfect to stop all distortion but you have to wet it to remove it so trying on straight away is, um, tricky!

    Oh and thanks for the tip about sewing a wider collar to reduce distortion. I’ve filed that away for later 🙂

    • hmm, i haven’t heard of that stuff. i’ll have to look into it, thanks!!

  • What a cute dress… it looks great on you! Thanks for the heads up on the new fabric store in town!

    • thank you angela! you should check it out. it’s not very big, yet, but they have a great quality selection.

  • You are looking very pretty, nothing mehhh about hand on hip… I love this dress and the tip to reduce distortion… Different fabrics make so much difference in a design…. We all losing some weight, me, you, ladybird. We gotta sew new wardrobes soon.

    • thanks! i’ve been slowly working on a new wardrobe while at the same time mourning my old makes that no longer fit :*(

  • You know… I went to bed last night thinking, “I haven’t heard from Dixie lately. I wonder what she is up to?” Funny how seamstresses minds are connected.

    The dress looks great and don’t worry about those minor nonmistakes. No one will notice except you. In the future though, I definitely suggest using your serger. When I was in tech, that was the machine used most often.

    • aww, thanks for thinking of me! i feel like i’ve been a little MIA. you’re right, no one notices but me. i’m learning to be better about letting the little things slide.

  • Loving that knit! And the length on you, too. My boy has a teeshirt with velvet writing on it, and I’ve always had a thing for that shirt. If I saw a fabric like this in a store, I would snap it up in an instant!
    I’m hearing you on the photos… it’s the thing I struggle with about the whole blogging thing the most. If it weren’t for the fact that I enjoy seeing garments on other people, all my shots would be on a mannequin! Maybe Rachel needs to do some kind of photo-posing workshop for us… 😉
    And yeah, Ironing solves most things for me, too!

  • Ooh, I love the dress! Just the right cross between cute and cool. 😀 Fabric’s fantastic, too bad it was difficult to sew. A store just with knits sounds right up my alley. Maybe I should plan a trip to Texas at some point… 😉

  • Bands. Love ’em. Also, for pics I love Amanda of Bimble and Pimble. Her poses are so sassy.

  • love the dress and fabric! always frustrating when our knits don’t behave though. i don’t know a thing about posing, i’m all sorts of awkward non-photogenic. check out mokosha.blogspot.com. she is super creative and has great pics!

  • Amy

    Ooh, another cool store! Not that I need more knits at the moment, but I’ll probably *accidentally* drive up there this week.

    Darling dress–with roses! I love it. My favorite pictures happen when someone else is taking them. It’s hard to organize, but I behave more like me and less like I *think* I need to pose. (For some reason I always look sideways to some weird distance and never at the camera when I’m by myself.)

  • Oh this is excellent. As you may be aware by how many damn times I have made it, I love this pattern, and the short sleeves are so cute! Man, now I have to go make a short sleeved version, sigh. I take terrible blog photos so I’ve got no good advice for anyone.

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

    • thanks leah! i love all your ballet dresses!

  • Ironing solves everything I say. Love your dress!

    • it’s my life motto 😉

  • This is so cute! Great job, girl! I love it!

  • Your dress turned out amazing even though you had those slight set backs. What is your secret you look more and more gorgeous each time you take photos. P.S cant wait to see these patterns you have been creating!!

    • haha, you sure know how to make a girl feel good about herself. 😉

      thanks!