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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Dreaming of Dresses

Blue Velvet Dream & Beyond

Spring is in the air these days, and maybe that’s only in my mind as we are still in monsoon season out here in Portland and I know many of you are wading through some heavy snow throughout the country right now, but never the less, I am feeling the energy of the season approach!

As many of you can probably tell by my most recent posts, I am in fabric heaven these days. For those of you who are like..what on earth is this girl doing and why has she been so scarce?, well, I’ve actually been sewing my little heart out. I can’t seem to help it though, I’m driven by my desire to turn fabric into lovely little fashionable items! My hands are pretty worked these days but since early December I have been working on a number of new items, many of which are dresses I am going to show you today.  I also have a number of new items on the cutting table including 2 vintage dresses, one in black linen and another in this gorgeous Audrey Hepburn styled dress in a really cool dinosaur pattern for my sister (her pick. If little sister wants dino fabric she gets dino fabric-I don’t believe in limiting a girls personal style ;), a pair of black pants that are really going to be nice for Spring and Summer, a new sleeveless blouse with black corset for underneath (the sleeveless blouse is rather sheer), a number of clutches, wallets, tops and more dresses. These items will be listed on Craftzies and Sophia (www.Craftzies.etsy.com  + www.SophiaDeLaMer.etsy.com) depending on where I think they will work best.

Some of these items have been made for a family member, customer, or even myself such as the case with the Blue Velvet Dream Dress.  I found the color on this velvet to be so very unique and being one who loves all shades of Blue, I saved this velvet for at least a year before finally deciding on an item worthy of its lovely fibers. I love this dress and made it for my sweetie’s holiday party this last year. I wore it with a pair of black heels and a black velvet jacket. I styled it based on the fabulous sewing book The Party Dress Book by Mary Adams.

For my birthday I had asked for the Party Dress Book and it will be an all time favorite for sure. Many of you might know how fantastic this book is and I of course could not agree more! I originally decided without a doubt that I had to have this book when I saw a really nice review online for it. I believe I ran a search on Amazon for sewing books and it came up, and then I ran a Google search on the book itself to see what others were saying and to see if there were any pictures. Well, all those lovely other seamstresses and fashionistas out there have put up so many lovely reviews, and quite honestly, it was the reviews and photos that really sold me. HAD TO HAVE!! I can’t really remember which review in particular it was that sold me, but here are three nice detailed reviews that show how really great this book is.

 I’m not going to bother putting up a detailed review of this book myself because so many others have done it justice, but when you’re finished looking at all of these fun photos of new items I have been working on, definitely check out those links above and see how gorgeous this book truly is ;)

So, here is the Blue Velvet Dream Dress.  I styled the bodice with the bodice pattern from the book, and for the skirt I went with more of a straight skirt with darts in front. When the dress is on the mesh underneath is less visible. I went with the blue velvet for the bodice and skirt, soft black mesh sewn to the top bodice across with a zig zag stitching and black mesh straps. I went with a blue lining with black mesh for the petticoat, and for the waistline I went with black lace with Swarovski crystals and a black velvet ribbon in the middle. The lace was about an inch wide and I really wanted a waistband that was at double that width so I picked up double the length needed and I sewed the black lace facing up and then matched it up so the other strip faced down, and I hand stitched the lace on to start and then took it to the machine and then reinforced with machine stitches carefully. Then I ever so carefully sewed the velvet ribbon on top of the seam where the lace strips touched. Having hand sewed down the lace first kept it from bunching, and then I slowly sewed the velvet ribbon down.

I didn’t run into any problems really except in the future I plan on sewing velvet using a stabilizer because I found it bunches a little, and that doesn’t seem to change when I widened the stitches either. I was using my pfaff 1122 (ohh such a beautiful machine!), but when I found the velvet was bunching slightly I switched machines to my pfaff tipmatic/ triptonic. That machine is so different, and another really fabulous machine. I figured the tipmatic would handle the thickness of the velvet a bit more, but again, I didn’t see a less amount of bunching. Maybe slightly less. A friend has suggested a stabilizer so I’m definitely going to try that soon with some more velvet items. I would have liked to get some of those velvet items made and listed before the holidays but alas, that did not happen. Since we’re still in colder weather, and knowing Fall of next year will again be a super busy season, I am definitely planning on making a number of items before the cooler weather passes. No one wants to sew velvet and other warm weather fabrics in the warmer months!

For the petticoat, I followed the recommendations in The Party Dress book and made that out of the blue lining fabric I matched up to the blue velvet and then a black mesh and black tulle. I left the bottom hem of the velvet raw, cutting the front out just a little shorter than the rest of the dress to show the petticoat just slightly. I added a hidden zipper in the back and there you have it, my ohh so pretty Blue Velvet Dream Dress!  Since I do not have any more of this blue velvet (well, not enough for another dress, but you will probably see the rest of this velvet mixed into other items as time goes by) I am going to stop in and see what velvet colors are available and then list those for custom orders. Matching up the other materials to those colors won’t be a problem. For lace, since I don’t know if the crystals are available on the lace in colors other than black, we will just have to add them with our own mini crystals and some diamond glue. Certainly a project for another day but I guarantee we can remake this and similar dresses in different colors, it is possible!

The next dress is the new  Romantically Involved Dress and definitely one of my favorites! This dress has been made with a white cotton fabric and around 120 or so white fabric petals cut out and sewn to the bodice. The sweetheart styled bodice is outlined with a red bias tape as well as around the bottom hem of the dress. The bottom half of the dress features a full skirt in which I used the skirt pattern from The Party Dress Book, and I added detail including lace, ruffles, ribbon and bias tape. The petticoat is made with a really soft, lightweight white knit material and tulle in white and red, which also throws shades of pink where the white and red are layered. The back of the dress features a hidden zipper and red lacing up the back.

Originally I just added the zipper but found it was a little bigger than I wanted, so I added some of the white lacing I had used for the skirt vertically to each side of the zipper, and then I used that lace to lace up the back with the red satin twine. I really liked this addition because for a strapless dress, you can make sure you have the perfect fit no matter what. No one wants a loose fitting strapless dress and let’s be honest, we all fluctuate slightly in size depending on the temperature, the undergarments we are wearing with the dress, etc. so having the opportunity to alter the bodice size slightly was a nice feature in my opinion, and it did not make the skirt look bad in back at all, I found it to look just fine as the skirt went down the back. 

This  Romantically Involved Dress is currently listed on Sophia as a custom order. I have the original and plan on listing it, but because it was a larger size, I decided to list it as a custom order, and once I have a few more items listed, I will begin to list the originals as ready-made items. So, if you love this dress and you’re a 16-18 in size, shoot me a message over on www.SophiaDeLaMer.etsy.com and it can be yours! The ready-made items this season are all going to be marked slightly lower than the custom made items if only because they're done and ready to ship.

The Peruvian Dream Dress is a dress that is not new, but gaining popularity in that it makes a comfortable, sleek, sexy dress and can be worn just about anywhere whether it’s the office, running errands or even out to dinner with friends. Someone once messaged me via etsy asking why this dress was named Peruvian Dream. One morning after the dress was finished and on the sewing doll, and I was sipping a lovely cup of coffee, staring at the dress and thinking up a name, I looked out the window and saw the mist rolling in from the hills. On the weaving loom sat a purple silk wool scarf partially finished and it was in that moment that I realized Peruvian Dream would be perfect as the colors of pretty Purple Dress with olive green Obi belt reminded me of the lush colors used by the Peruvian Weavers. This dress has been requested in hot pink and in black as custom orders. Here are a few photos in purple and hot pink.

This item is currently available in the clothing shop as a custom order in a variety of colors, and I also have 3 of the purple currently in stock in a medium, large and xl at the moment. I believe I have only 1 ready-made dress in purple listed in the shop but the others will be listed soon. In the mean time, shoot me a message via etsy if you want a different size or color and I either have it in stock or I will be happy to make you one as a custom order.

Next I have The Marilyn Dress and this dress is again not a new one, but I wanted to include it seeing as this post is on dresses, and this is by far my most popular dress. People seemed to like it so much that I got a bit tied up making these and was unable to move onto new styles until now. I have made this in classic white with a white sparkle waistband as seen here in the photo and many customers have ordered this style and color. I like to keep a ready-made dress in this style in stock, and if you like this dress you can order a custom dress or the ready-made one I currently have in stock on Sophia.

I have also made it in cream colored silk duponi as a custom order for a summer bride and this also turned out quite lovely. The photos were taken on one of the warmest and yet windiest days so the photos certainly don’t seem to do it justice but in person this turned out absolutely perfect and featured the most delicate accents such as a diamond button at the back neck closure and an understated sparkle waistband. Another dress I made, this one again in classic white, was made as a custom order for a lovely customer of mine. She always picks the cutest prints and embellishments, and in this case she requested a boa added to the bottom hem. It was winter when these photos were taken, again not the very best, but it gives you an idea of just how elegant this dress is in person.

Here we have a photo of The Marilyn in Classic white with a Boa for detail around the hem of the skirt.

This dress is fairly popular in white solid fabrics however it has also been well received when made in patterned cottons as well. I have two currently listed as ready-made dresses, one in Pacific Batik, and one in Pink Hyacinth. Neither of these fabrics are available as custom orders any longer as I am out of the fabric but similar fabrics can be used for custom orders. For the Pacific Batik Dress, I went with the nicest batik fabric with ribbon for accent at the waist. The back of the dress features a hidden zipper for closure and the bodice is lined in a soft sand colored tone.

The Pink Hyacinth Dress is exactly the same only with a dynamic pink and orange print which just shouts high vibrational happiness to me! You don’t know what I mean by that? Buy the dress! Lol.  It’s just so bright and cheerful you can’t help but look like you’re glowing. The bodice of this dress is lined in a light pink fabric and as is currently available as a ready-made item in my clothing shop. And for those of you who don’t like sleeveless dresses, this looks fantastic with a sweater or bolero.

Next we have The Cherry Marilyn and made from a Michael miller cherry print. It was a custom order for the same customer who ordered the classic white with the boa for the trim at the hem. She requested the cherry print for the dress and a red + cherry print reversible print for the bolero. The bodice is lined in a soft pink for the bodice, full skirt, pink and white ribbon for the waistline, and a hidden zipper in back. The jacket was 100% reversible and I have to say, again, her pick for pattern with the matching bolero made a really cute outfit.

Last but not least I am including The Victoria, and this dress is so pretty and absolutely stunning in person. I'm working on getting photos on a model, but until then all I have are a few photos of the dress laid out flat. This dress was originally made as a custom order but more are coming soon since I now have the pattern in various sizes. This dress was a pattern I designed in which you have a dynamic navy silk duponi (an ever so hard to find color it seems-thank you Mill End!) and a lining to match. The skirt is ever so lightly gathered, the entire dress is lined including the skirt, the skirt offers hidden pockets, and there is a hidden zipper in back for closure. This dress also features a removable halter strap and 2 removable shoulder straps so you can wear this dress with a halter strap, with regular shoulder straps, or strapless depending on what you feel like.

So, that’s what I have so far for dresses. I have a few more to share but this post is running a bit long and the rest are a bit more MOD in style so I might as well stop here and add the rest in a separate post on MOD designed clothing. I really liked each of the styles shown here and yet am also looking forward to a number of new styles. Im looking forward to making the McCalls 4425, the Advance Tea Party Dress, The Wiggle Dress, and well..I can’t give it all away at once, but a whole lot of dress happiness to come for sure!

Next is either a post on new corset-styled tops or Chewbacca Slippers..I’m not completely sure just yet but I guess you’re just going to have to check in again soon as see which I decided to go with next huh? Until then have an awesome weekend and happy crafting!

Lindsay ;)

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