Cat Print Grainline Alder Dress

Cat Print Alder Dress

I don’t know why it took me so long to make this pattern – it’s a fantastic pattern, as I would expect from Grainline. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t often wear sleeveless tops/dresses? Although, this dress may be the one that breaks that habit.

Cat Print Alder Dress

This’ll be a short and sweet post. Not much to say about this dress other than praise. It’s not very fitted at the waist so I like the scooped side hem. The shorter length in the front and sides helps balance out the looseness, I think.


Cat Print Alder Dress

Cat Print Alder Dress

The pattern is Grainline’s Alder dress and I made no significant changes to fit or design other than slightly adjusting the pocket placement.

Cat Print Alder Dress

Jen at Grainline is a genius when it comes to armholes – she drafts them perfect every time. No gaping, no pulling, not too low or too high. And the armscye works for everyone – even if you need to do an FBA/SBA on her patterns, you don’t have to mess with those armholes. It’s like the Goldilocks armhole.

Cat Print Alder Dress

This cute print is from Stitch Lab here in Austin. It’s a quilting cotton but it works well for this pattern. The little round kitties on this print are so much fun – it’s like wearing Neko Atsume on your body.

The simple plastic buttons are from my stash.

Cat Print Alder Dress

I always get compliments on it when I wear it because of the print. People love cats!

Game of Thrones: Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

This whole costume turned out much better than I anticipated so be ready for an abundance of photos in this post. If you want to see more pics, check out my Flickr album.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

I also promise to keep this post as spoiler free as possible.

margaerydress

So, why Game of Thrones? Why Margaery? Well, the costumes on that show are fantastic. And GoT has no shortage of fabulous lady characters of all types but I like Margaery’s character for several reasons. As a young queen she’s clever and ambitious. Tenacious, self-serving but at times truly kind. She’s loyal to her family but is always looking out for #1. She knows how to play the game and she does it with flair.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

And she is played superbly by the lovely Natalie Dormer whom I first watched on The Tudors many years ago (her signature smirk is difficult to mimic, I tried my best).

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

But in the end, I thought I could figure out how to design one of her iconic costumes without needing to use a pattern.

Let’s talk about the dress. After assessing pictures of the real costume, I used the highly accurate method of “Let’s See if This Works” to design my version.  I did a combo of flat pattern manipulation, draping, and excessive pinning until I got a bodice shape that worked.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

From the production stills, it looks like a wrap front gown with skirt gores. So I designed a cross-over front with hooks and eyes for closure.

As for the skirt, I measured my waist, divided it by six, added seam allowances and cut 7 gores (one for overlapping in the front) that widened at the hem. I lined the skirt and the bodice with white muslin.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

The shoulder bits wrap over from front and attach at the back sides. There’s actually a trapezoidal shaped piece under the neck connecting the two shoulder pieces in the real version but for mine, I decided to simply make the shoulder parts wider to meet in the middle.

The main bodice fabric is some poly brocade from Joann, a lucky find as I struggled for months to find a suitable design with the correct colors. The only problem – it frays and snags easily.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

The shoulders are a stretch velvet, also from Joann, stiffened with some deco-bond-like Pellon interfacing for handbags, and are attached by hand tack stitches in a few spots along the bodice.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

The skirt used voile from Fabric Wholesale Direct. It was cheap, wide, and the perfect color.

I lined the skirt and the bodice with white muslin.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

What to do with my hair kept me from taking photos for so long. I hate wigs, usually, but I had to admit, my natural hair wasn’t going to cut it. So I bought Arda Wigs’ Grace Classic in Light Brown. I still don’t enjoy having an itchy, sweaty scalp but for less than $40 it was the perfect hair for this costume and I’m glad used it.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

Finally, the belt. Margaery hails from Highgarden so flowers play a major part in her costume motif. Her house motto is “Growing Strong.” I purchased my resin rose belt from this Etsy seller (highly recommended, but it looks like she’s no longer making it. You could always send her a message and ask). The belt is attached with skinny ties on either side sewn into the waist seam.

Margaery Tyrell Cosplay

I’ll try wearing this cosplay to the local Comic Con in the fall. I had better wear it while I can, the final season of the show comes out next year!

Red Rayon McCall’s 7381

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

The photos of this dress were taken at the launch party for my friend Melissa’s brand new sewing book, Sundressing. Check it out – the book features designs for both women and girls and shows you how to alter a simple bodice block into all sorts of fun summery dress designs.

Sundressing-book

I finished this dress at the last minute, the day of the party. The details can be difficult to see with this fabrc so here’s the line drawing:

m7381

This rayon came from… I’m actually not sure where but I’ve had it for years. I at one time cut out some sleeves from it. I don’t know where the rest of the shirt/dress those sleeves were to be attached to are now however…

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

The pattern is McCall’s 7381 version C. I liked the front ties and back elastic waist. I sewed a size 12 but I think this pattern has too much ease. I’ll go down a size next time. I helped combat the ease by tightening that elastic in back but the dress is still a tag big in the shoulders and bust.

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

The only bit I messed up: I gathered the sleeves. I misinterpreted the “ease-between-dots” dots as “gather-between-dots” dots. But since the cap gathered so well it makes me wonder just how much extra ease was built into that sleeve cap? Oh, well. It doesn’t really affect the dress at all.

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

Maybe it’s the rayon or the stitched down pleats at the skirt and shoulders, but this dress has a vaguely 1940s vibe.

Justin says I look like a candy cane, and I say “why you gotta hate?”

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

Anyway, I love this dress. It works perfectly in a drapey rayon. The method of construction seemed more sophisticated than other Big 4 patterns I’ve used in the past, specifically regarding the bodice. I would have expected them to pull some unnecessary hand sewing nonsense in the lining attachment but they didn’t.

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

The way the front bodice piece attaches to the lining to create the ties is rather clever and the cross-over panel in center front closes with snaps. The slightly upcurved waistline in front is a nice detail as well.  The overlap in front is held together by 3 snaps. All in all, this is a great little frock perfect for everyday wear and for parties!

Navy Floral Dress and Thoughts on the Fit and Flare

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

Oh, the fit and the flare. This silhouette, probably more than any other, has dominated fashion for several years.

Having spent so much time researching and sewing historical costumes, I’ve realized that every decade has an easily recognizable silhouette.

Historically, women’s fashion has represented something about the ideals of its time, and not just beauty ideals but social, political, or artistic.

In the 1920s it was the unrestricted, boyish figure of the modern woman:

1920s_flapper

In the early 1800s, after the French Revolution, fashion shifted from rococo madness to Greek classicism:

1810column

In the 1940s shoulders got bolder and skirts shorter reflecting the influence of war on fashion:

8050

In the 1830s it was… uh, whatever the hell this is…?

1830s

Anyway, fifty years from now, how will we look back and define early 2000s style? My vote is the fit and flare.

fitandflare

(these examples are all from ModCloth, they even have a whole section dedicated to F&F)

This style has been lauded as universally flattering and classically feminine. There’s something appealing about the contrast between slim and full shapes. But I think it’s the vintage revival movement that has played a major role in the F&F popularity.

And the style is not restricted to dresses. Sometimes you see it reversed with the oversized, loose shirt paired with skinny jeans or leggings.

It’s certainly a style I keep coming back to over and over again.

The fit and flare is a relatively easy shape to sew. If you can get the bodice to fit then you don’t have to worry about the hips because the skirt is so full. The simple shape is perfect to showcase a fun fabric (Dolly Clackett comes to mind) and there’s nothing like wearing a cute dress to make you feel pretty.

With all that said, let’s move on to this dress in particular:

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

It began with Simplicity 1419 (which I used for this dress) but I made several changes. The floral cotton lawn was too sheer on its own so I fully lined it in navy voile. Each fabric came from different – now defunct – local fabric stores. Double sad.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

Rather than pleating the skirt, I gathered it and spaced the gathers out so there are four “gathered groups” collected under the bodice darts.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

I hemmed the lining normally but I bound the hem of the outer fabric in bias tape. I had justenough of this red tape left which closely matched the red in the flowers.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

I had a navy colored invisible zipper but it was too short so instead of driving five minutes to the store and buying a new zipper like a normal person, I made a keyhole-esque part at the top center back and added a hook and eye to keep it closed.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

Lastly, I raised the waistline by an inch (something I also did on my last version). This wasn’t a fit issue, purely aesthetic. For some reason I like the look of the ever-so-slightly raised waist on a dress like this.

Oh, and no pockets. ‘Cause I’m laaaaazzzzyyyyyy.

Navy Floral Fit and Flare Dress

 

So, do you agree with my thoughts on the fit and flare? Is there another style right now that you think deserves the top spot for “2k10s most popular silhouette”? Do you wear/sew F&F dresses?