Cut-out Dress Version 3.0

Bonnell Dress
I’ve been busy busy busy working on all kinds of sewing but it’s been so cold and rainy lately that I’ve not yet been able to take pics of anything until now.

This is my third iteration of this dress and I’m quite excited to share it with you!

Bonnell Dress

The Pattern: Self-drafted. I only made minor adjustments since my second version but nothing that is noticeable.

Bonnell Dress

The Fabric: A brilliant silk/cotton blend with a paneled border print from Austin Fabric Co-op. Alas the Co-op is now closed – the third fabric store closure in the last 6 months. I’m so sad.

I snagged the final two-ish yards of this fabric on the very last day the shop was open and I struggled to fit my pattern pieces just right to take advantage of the print. I barely squeezed out the front bodice with some scant seam allowances on one side.

Bonnell Dress

I love the geometric look which compliments the triangle cut-outs, I think. The border print makes it look like I’ve got a nifty yoke on the bodice.

It was difficult to match up the print when cutting because the fabric shifted so much. I had to spray starch most of it.

The lining is plain ol’ white muslin.

Bonnell Dress

The Changes: The only real difference – I lined the skirt. The fabric was too sheer on its own.

Bonnell Dress

The Results: This dress probably now resides in my top 5 garments I’ve ever made. The print, the colors, everything just screams ‘cool.’ And the cut-outs just add to the fun factor.

Which brings me to the good news – I’m making a pattern for this dress!

Bonnell Dress

First of all, I think I need to mention that skirt. I know I said I was planning on releasing a new pattern for a skirt months ago but I kept running into problem after problem with it, including major measurement issues. At this point I figured it might be easier to just start over from scratch. With that setback I felt like I needed an easier pattern project. One that didn’t frustrate me. One with fewer pieces. One that I could feasibly finish within a reasonable amount of time.

And huzzah! This dress pattern I’m almost finished! The PDF will have TEN (10!!)!!! sizes!! Also, full illustrations, detailed instructions, sewing tips, and more.

I’m nearly ready to send the pattern out to testers so if you’d like to test for me stay tuned in the next few days for more information!

Dotted Mini Skirt

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This is the product of my first test print of my soon to be published (and by “soon” I mean in the amount of time it takes George R.R. Martin to publish his next book) skirt pattern.

The first test print is exactly what it sounds like. I digitized my pattern, graded it and re-printed it out to compare it to the original pieces. This is the first – but certainly not last – step in the testing phase.

It’s important to figure out any obvious issues like, for example, that I somehow missed adding seam allowance to the center back of the waistband pieces. Oops.

Or how there’s no way I’m going to be able to fit the bottom band piece in one long section in the upper size ranges. It will just be too long for the width of the fabric so I need to chop that piece into at least two smaller pieces.

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Also, large sizes might require longer zippers for the pockets so I’ll need to decide if I put different zipper length requirements for upper and lower sizes or just make all sizes use the longer zipper?

Usually by the second test print all these main problems will be dealt with. Since I’m expanding my size chart I might get someone who fits a larger size to test because the upper sizes will be drafted from a different block than my size. And if all that is good to go I can move on to asking all you lovelies to test for me!

You’ve seen this design before with the zip pockets and lots of crazy seaming (which is easier to see in my previous version).

This time I made it out of a brown dotted cotton/linen blend from Cloth Pocket. It’s medium weight and I added interfacing to the waist. Facings and pockets are just some light blue cotton voile I got at a fabric swap.

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I also made this one slightly longer than my gold version by about 3/4″.

I topstitched all the seams, too, but it is difficult to see because the thread blends in perfectly with the fabric. I like the topstitching, though, because it keeps the seam allowances flat on the inside and makes it easy to stitch down the facings without needing to do it by hand, or stitch in the ditch, or use some trick around the top of the back zipper. Easy peasey and it looks nice too.

For the next go around I might try a striped fabric. I want to see if the seaming allows for some cool chevron effect action.

Oh, and I’ll share more about the top I’m wearing in an upcoming post. ;)
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Also, just to let you know, I’m planning on raising my pattern prices pretty soon so if there’s one (or two or all three!) that you haven’t bought yet but have been wanting to, better get them now at their lower price.

Gold Denim mini skirt

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This is s skirt I’ve been working on and surprisingly enough has been probably my most successful draft of any pattern I’ve made. I had a basic straight skirt block and turned it into this, no fitting adjustments needed. Winning!

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I drew a sketch of this design, like, five or six years ago, crazy! Early pattern drafting days. I had completely forgot about it until I was cleaning up and I found my little sketch. Later I discovered an old UFO bag with green corduroy pieces cut out and some zippers. Apparently at some point I tried making the skirt but I hardly remember it at all and obviously never finished it.

Flash forward a few years and I’m now slowly working on making a PDF pattern for this design. Unlike my past patterns I’m doing 9 sizes meaning I have to draft two blocks to grade up and down from. It’s taking me longer but in the end it’ll be nice because the pattern can be used by a wider range of sizes.

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Basically it’s a mini skirt with a thick waistband and a bottom hem band (both with facings). It’s got a total of 7 “panels,” two of which have these slanted exposed zip pockets. It hits about 2″ lower than my natural waist.

This fabric is a denim I got from a new Austin store called The Cloth Pocket. The owner said she got it from a local custom jeans designer so that’s kinda cool.

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The pocket interior and facings are left over Liberty of London. Yay for using scraps! (especially expensive scraps…)

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The back zip is a regular zip and the front pocket zips are some metal jeans zippers. I top stitched all the seams in gold thread.

It’s definitely an above the knee mini skirt but I think it can be lengthened easily in either the panels or the hem band.

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I’ve been wearing it pretty often which is always a good sign. I made it in a solid so it goes with all kinds of tops but yet the seaming and zips give it some interest so it’s not a plain ol’ denim skirt.

Well, whatdya think? And would anyone be willing to be a pattern tester for me? More details on that in a future post.

In the meantime…

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Hmm, the blog has been a little slow lately, not because I haven’t been sewing. In reality I’ve been sewing quite a bit, some modern and some historical although none of it has been in front of a camera yet.

Another thing I’ve been working on…

(Peanut is not impressed)

Ah, yes, pattern design. That thing I was doing and then kind of took a break from. Seems I got the inspiration for it again. More on this in the next few weeks.

In the mean time I wanted to let you know about a couple things:

First, my good friend and fellow Austinite, Lauren, who blogs at Rosie Wednesday just wrapped up an awesome 60s Shift Dress Sew-along. I intended to keep up but I haven’t finished mine (pieces cut, not yet sewn). Still, her sew-along has a lot of good tips including fit adjustments for plus sizes, sway back, sleeve changes, etc. And for several steps she has great video tutorials.

Plus, Lauren is just plain adorable.

Also, many of you are members of PatternReview.com or are at least familiar with the site which allows sewists to read other users’ feedback on sewing patterns. It’s usually the place I visit to look up a pattern I’m about to make to see if there are any common issues with the fit or design so I can make changes to save time later.

Well, every year they have a Pattern Review weekend and this May 2-4 it’s going to be here in Austin! One of my good friends from my sewing group is co-organizing the event so I know it’s going to be great. Besides getting to meet a bunch of awesome sewists and bloggers, there’s going to be speeches by Daniel Esquivel (Project Runway contestant) and a professional organizer to get your sewing space in order, a live runway show, fabric store shopping, and classes like bra-making techniques and sewing machine maintenance. And PR Weekend overlaps with Austin Fashion Week (you can buy discounted tickets at PR weekend and see runway shows by up and coming designers).

So if you’re going to make it down here for the weekend sent me a message and we can meet up!