Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

So apparently this pattern is really popular right now but I hadn’t even heard of the company until recently. A number of indie pattern companies were hosting sales to benefit Harvey relief and that’s how I found Chalk and Notch. I liked the Fringe’s casual modern design so I bought a copy.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

The fabric is a Japanese cotton from The Cloth Pocket (no longer available, unfortunately). It’s very soft and finely woven but wrinkles terribly. Oh, well.

I liked both Views but I decided on View B for this version. The ties are set into the front darts. It has side seam pockets with tacks at the openings. The neckline is interesting and I appreciated the front neck facing that extends all the way to the waist so it’ll never flip out.

The pattern instructions were good – I appreciated being able to print just my size using the layers feature and the illustrations were clear and easy to follow.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

I gotta say I REALLY like this dress. The armholes aren’t cut too low, the hem curves up on the sides with a nice shape, and the waist is ever-so-slightly higher than natural which I find to be a modern touch.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

I think it fits quite well, too, which leads me to my one issue. And it’s not so much an issue for me particularly but it might be for someone else.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress
Perhaps I cut the wrong size, a size too small, but looking at these pics the fit seems fine. But the dress is a pullover and in the company’s samples and most of the tester images, the dress seems loose at the waist.

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

On my version, the waist is loose but not by much and I have to gently squeeze the dress over my bust. I can still take it on and off fairly easily but I would worry that someone with a very large bust compared to her waist measurement would have trouble putting on the dress and a cursory google search didn’t reveal any reviews from especially busty seamstresses…

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

UPDATE: I just re-checked the pattern text. The bust measurements for a size 4 are 34″ but the finished waist size on the 4 is only 31″. There are no closures, you’re supposed to pull the dress over your head. 31″ is smaller than 34″ which explains the need to squeeze. So again, if you have a large difference between bust and waist, maaaaayyybe size up in the waist to get it over your bust…

Chalk and Notch Fringe Dress

Anyway, I would DEFINITELY make this dress again. I want to try View A with the buttons as well as a shirt version. Future TNT pattern, maybe?

Grainline Farrow Dress

Grainline Farrow Dress

This is the Grainline Farrow Dress pattern that I sewed a sample for my new class at the Cloth Pocket.

I wanted a dress pattern that would be simple enough for true beginner garment sewists. Beginners often have a difficult time with bias binding around curved edges like armholes. This dress uses facings for the neck and armholes which are much easier to sew if you’re a newbie.

Grainline Farrow Dress

The dress went together quickly. Instructions were good as usual. The only major changes I did were grading between sizes at the hip which was probably unnecessary considering the dress is so A-shaped.

The fabric is from the Cloth Pocket. It’s a thin chambray with lovely drape a woven texture that forms a subtle stripe. I only thought about playing with the angle of the stripes after I cut out all four back pieces so only the bottom front panels go at an angle.

 

Grainline Farrow Dress

It was pretty windy today so you can see how well this fabric moves.

Grainline Farrow Dress

I did a blind hem by hand and finished all the seams with a serger.

Grainline Farrow Dress

On dresses like this without a defined waist shape I like to cut the hem a little extra high. I think the shorter length helps offset the lack of curves. I like that this dress has a subtle hi-low hem which makes shortening the hem a little safer if you know what I mean…

Grainline Farrow Dress

My favorite part about this dress are the pockets. They’re built into the two front pieces so they lay nice and flat and are tucked into the side and center front seams so they don’t flop around at all.

Grainline Farrow Dress

One thing I’d like to change about this pattern: it needs an all-in-one facing. This isn’t an issue if you make the sleeved version of the dress but for the sleeveless I’d rather have one complete facing than separate ones for the two armholes and the neckline.

Grainline Farrow Dress

Even if you tack down all the facings at the shoulder and side seams the armhole facings still like to flip out when you put the dress on. They don’t flop out while wearing the dress but still, it would be a cleaner finish.

If you’re in Austin and you want to learn to sew this dress, sign up for the class!

True Bias Southport Dress

True Bias Southport Dress

True Bias Southport Dress

Summer is in full swing here in Texas. Time for some sun dresses!

This is the Southport Dress by True Bias Patterns. I’m a little late on the Southport bandwagon but I’m so glad I hopped on. This is a great little dress!

I made the short version without any major changes.

This cotton stripe chambray came from a swap and was leftover from my Oceanside shorts.

True Bias Southport Dress

I liked the stripe so much that I chose to do bias binding on the arms and neckline rather than using the bias as a facing as the pattern calls for.

True Bias Southport Dress

The white buttons are vintage. I believe they’re some kind of carved stone. They’re too heavy to be shells, I think.

True Bias Southport Dress

The drawstring is just some cotton cording and I added two silver-colored metal stoppers from my stash to the ends.

True Bias Soutport Dress

I blinded hemmed the dress by hand and finished the seams with a zig zag stitch.

True Bias Southport Dress

My favorite little features are the stitched tacks at the top and bottom of each pocket along the side seams. They help keep the pockets sitting forward rather than being pushed toward the back of the dress or getting bunched up along on your sides. It’s a nice touch that adds some value to the pattern design.

True Bias Southport Dress

Fair warning, you’re probably gonna see this hat around a lot on the blog this summer. I am a convert to Church of Hat. It’s great for keeping the hot Texas sun off your face. Hats are highly underrated and I intend to get as much use out my hats as I can. Yay hats!

Historical Costuming: 1840s day dress and bonnet

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

After what seems like years I’ve finally finished my 1840s costume. I completed the dress months ago but the bonnet languished unfinished until recently.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

Underneath all of this, I’m wearing my Victorian undergarments (including four petticoats!), silk stockings and brown leather ballet flats (not exactly period accurate but close enough for now).

Let’s talk about this dress:

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

The pattern is Laughing Moon Mercantile #114 with some minor adjustments. I made View B but with the flat back of View C. I added velvet ribbon on the sleeves based on some extant dress which I can no longer find online. The sleeves of View B are actually three layers (difficult to see in this print), the uppermost layer is pleated three times, hence three rows of ribbon.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

The rose print fabric came from Joann. Is it period accurate? Not exactly, but I have seen red and white cotton extant dresses from the time period.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

I also had to sew several more rows of gathers in the center “fan” front at the waist to rein in all that excess fabric. From other reviews I have read, this seems to be a common fix.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

Other than that, the dress fit me quite well out of the envelope with the exception of some ripples on the back. Not sure if that is due to my corset or if I simply need to slice off some of the length in the back.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

If I were to make this pattern again in View B I would choose a much thinner fabric. The fabric I used was too thick at the armhole seam (this style has very dropped shoulders). With added piping, that seam had 5 layers in it!

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

The skirt is cartridge pleated. I did this so long ago now, back when I was a beginner at costuming. If I were to do it again, I’d make my pleats smaller and tighter.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

The dress closes in back with hooks and eyes so you need help to put it on.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

This “coal scuttle” bonnet is what kept me from finishing this costume. It seemed a daunting task to create an entire buckram and wire framed bonnet from scratch but it wasn’t that difficult to sew when I actually sat down to do it. The pattern is Timely Tresses’ Ada Gray mid 1840s bonnet. It’s mostly hand sewn.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

The main fabric is ivory silk taffeta from some website I don’t remember now. The ribbon is also from Timely Tresses. The feather and vintage velvet flowers are from Etsy. The body of the bonnet is lined with linen and gathered white lace. The bravolet (the little skirt in back) is lined in net.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet

The date I was going for with this outfit is 1847 which is right around the time Texas joined the Union. These pics were taken on a short overnight trip to Leakey, Texas on the Frio River in the Texas Hill Country. I might be able to wear this outfit to some kind of Texas history event but for now, it’s just another fun costume to have.

1840s Day Dress and Bonnet