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Monday, May 30, 2011

Too much gather equals broken needles

There is a huge difference when using a vintage pattern to a modern pattern. The gathering on these skirts are so tight. Lighter fabrics are fine but when you are dealing with heavier fabrics watch out. I broke 3 needles on my serger to finish the edge. It wasn't pretty and I added a zig zag for extra reinforcement. The lining went just fine. I have this fear that if a dress has to be alter that the seamstress is going to point out every flaw. Kind of like computer technicians tend to do. I know crazy thoughts. Here is a small section of the mass gather. This dress is going to weigh 3-4 lbs I'm sure!
 I still need to hem. Not looking forward to it well the chiffon part of it. I want the larger hem that the original vintage dress had so I cut the overlay a lot bigger. All I have to do is hem the dress and it is completed! I totally love it and thank you Jen for allowing me to make such a remarkable gown. It has been a true joy and hope it meets your expectations because it will be shipping this week! I still have that petticoat to make.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A pattern I really want but can't afford

This has been on E-Bay for so long. I've seen the price go up and drop down. I give them my offers and they refuse each time lol. I would love it to be in my collection but for almost $200.00 I don't think so. It is  Spadea Claire McCardell Dress.
C'mon already no one has bought it in a year take my offer!

Oh Happy Sewing Day a 1950's Dress

I have to admit it is a relief and refreshing to get back to making my favorite era of dresses the 1950's! After making the same dress over and over again I'm thrilled to being doing something different.

I got so much done today. All this includes cutting! All I need to do for this dress is French seam the chiffon and attach it the skirt and bodice. Add a zipper and hem. I'm thinking the petticoat is going to take me longer than the dress!

I modified a vintage pattern McCall's 5817 to start the recreation. I had to modify the back to create the V Back. The cummerbund on the pattern is not attached to the dress. I modified it to fit the dress properly and added the seam to match the inspiration photo. Here is the color palette & photo of pattern. The olive greens are for the petticoat. The fabrics are chiffon, organza, lining and Duchess satin. The dress itself is champagne with an off white chiffon overlay. I'm going to try my sister's trick with the petticoat. Stayed tuned for that.
For those that missed the dress I'm recreating you can click here.

I tend to cut big and fit to my form. I'm not sure if it is the proper way or not but I've done pretty well doing it this way. I literally put the dress on the form to shape my pieces. Then cut one as a pattern for the rest. I really would love to take a class on proper techniques though honestly I probably would still do it my own way. Here is pinning it to fit.
Darn I should of taken pictures prior to cutting the back & adding the rouched waistline. Now that I have an idea of how much I either needed to cut or take in I can sew it up. I cut quite a bit off the back not including the V section. Here it is attached to the lining.

Now I'm pretty sure the girl I'm making this for follows my blog so there is only so much I can post so I don't spoil the final results which I prefer to be in person. So for her and your viewing pleasure here is the lining (inside) of the dress! Love how full it is even without the petticoat!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Butterick 9635 in my sweet possession

I keep saying no more patterns...but then this little number came along. It is so beautiful!
Don't ask when I will be able to make it lol

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The end of bridesmaid dresses

They are boxed and being picked up tomorrow. I have 5 more of these to go but they are at a later date. Fun fabric for those. Here is the Coal and the Green. I should of ironed before taking the pictures. I iron so much then box them up just to arrive wrinkled.
The green in person is not so bright it is actually a forest green. It is Kaufman Ultra Sateen and simply stunning. I had to buy a bolt of it. Lucky for me I can use it for my Green dress with bolero.

Had some fabric woes. I received my order from fabric.com and was missing 3 yards of Black Duchess satin! I e-mail them and they are now out of stock. I've been having some problems with them. It is because they are under staffed right now. That is too bad for me and them. I ended up getting the satin from Vogue fabrics. I may have to find another source. I run too tight of a schedule to mess around with fabrics.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Learn from my mistakes don't make a dress for free!

So you've seen my troubles with alterations, unpleased customers so here is an update and hopefully my mistakes will help you out.

Blue dresses although I made it to her measurements I took in to her new measurements at no charge. I did tell her that I should charge her and I even went as far as to offer to make another for $50.00 to cover the costs of fabric, because I was afraid I would not be able to take it in enough. Good news she was happy with the new fit :)

This is the one is a huge mess. The purple dress straps too long and wrong color sash. She wanted the petticoat fuller too. I'm so trying to be flexible. I offered to alter it and of course get her the right colored sash. She takes the dress to a alteration shop who says that the petticoat needs more 20 yards.  I charged a mere $120.00 for this dress and petticoat. Sorry but a petticoat like she is thinking I would charge $120.00 just for that. Not that there is anything wrong with my petticoat.

She isn't offering to pay anymore either, but is asking for a partial refund of $30.00, a fixed petticoat and the sash. I tell her if she is sending the petticoat back then she should just send the dress back to for me to alter it myself. Oh no she wants to be there. My policies say that I refund minus 25% of the list price. Which would be $30.00. Previous I told her she can either return it (being nice) or she could keep it and I would send her a partial refund of the 25% to help pay for the costs of taking the straps up. I'm sure it isn't $30.00 but whatever.

Finally after all this I just told her I don't think I can make her happy and for her just to send the dress back for full refund. She says she wants dress and asked for me to send the partial refund as I previously said I would.

A price break down:
$120.00 for the dress and petticoat
$65.00 for the materials
Wow smart that is $55.00 to make a dress and petticoat. I'm changing my name to Eleen's Sweat shop
$30.00 for the partial return
Total: $25.00!

I can take that down a bit more if I calculate the Pay Pal fees and Etsy fess.

I do strive to make my customers happy, but feel this time I really feel I let myself get taken advantage of. Don't sell yourself short. Charge for your time, add all fees and materials do a little math so you don't get short changed.

I always use quality fabrics and I'm charging for muslin lol

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is it June Yet?

So I'm anxiously awaiting June. I have four elaborate dresses to make. The Funny Face Gown, the dress from my sketch and these two little dresses. This will be fun month for me for sure

This one will be the same except as she described it an obnoxious teal for the bow. I love teal!
 I adore this dress. It will be a champagne with a off white overlay and a olive petticoat.
 How many more until I can start these four dresses? Back to work!

5 more to go...I'm getting a bit tired of gray

I have two more of the light colored gray then I can move to the coal and give my eyes a break. Here is the completed halter version. When I make myself one I'm going to have these straps.
 I think I've posted enough on the light gray dresses. I will post a coal one when I'm completed with it. My blog doesn't have much of a variety this month, but next month just you wait!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Do I really have to do a zipper?

This is for the seamstress without the invisible zipper foot and a basic machine. I personally hate putting in zippers. Me & my sister joke that we will take $20.00 off your order if you put in your own zipper. I've changed up the way I do them and wanted to share to help a customer who is on the road to becoming an seamstress. I've seen her projects and am quite impressed with her natural abilities.

Look at the zipper lurking at me saying I'm not going to line up...but I'm going to wait until you finish sewing me so you have to take me apart. I've been doing pretty good with this method. I pinned the zipper rights together.
Now I sew close to the edge of the jagged edge of the zipper. I take the pins out as I sew and keep the edge of the zipper lined up to fabric.
 Tough part at the end. You want to lift your pressure foot and zip up the zipper to be able to go all the way to the end. These are sometimes my throw a  fit moments as I can't zip the zippper and bang my fingers.
This is what it looks like when it is sewn and zipped. Seams and piping detail look lined up! This dress is fully lined so now I must attach the zipper to the lining. I've seen dressmakers using an invisible foot and zipper leave the zipper as pictured and then slip stitch the lining. Standard zippers don't look so nice so we better hide it more. Nor did I use a invisible zipper foot.
I've pressed my finished edges of the lining all the way to where the zipper ends. Now it's time for some good old fashion hand basting. If you are better at pinning than I am I'm sure you can pin it. I prefer to hand baste it to make sure I have it perfect. 
We are now ready to stitch our zipper. When completed just take out the basting threads.
 Here is the finished zipper. No need for hook & eye because the zipper goes all the way to the top. Beautiful on the outside and inside! Just needs a little pressing
 Just in case anyone thinks I actually did this on one try I didn't. My goof you ask? I forgot that I had black lining so I sewed the entire zipper with grey thread instead of changing my bobbin thread to black. Not the end of the world but it would be so nice to do something once. Well it has happened once in a while.

Happy Sewing! 

The gray with halter

Okay I'm sold on this version. Almost done, skirt lining, zipper, hem and a good ironing. I love the halter straps on the dress though. I added a pleat not sure if you can see that clear in the pictures. We'll see how the spaghetti straps look next.
Although the dress has halter straps I still treated it as a strapless dress. Fully lined, underlined and boned. When these dresses are done...I just may give them a hug. I really do like them!

I will be posting a small how to on the zippers, which I hate and it is extra hard when you have line up so many sections in the back. One of my customers told me she was inspired by my work and went out a purchased a sewing machine. She sends me pictures of her projects. She is truly gifted and will be surpassing me in no time :) She struggled with her first zipper. Hopefully the way I do them will make it easier for her.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Battle of the grey or is it gray?

I have to say I am in love with Kaufman Kona Cottons! Easy to work with. Excellent quality and it even has a slight stretch to it. I had to special order it and had to buy by the bolt. I'm sure I will have some of this fabric left.
I have seven of these dresses to make. I've done one. Should of been done yesterday but I had my usually goofs. Four of these are going to be this grey. The other three are going to be the coal same color as my piping detail. For the coal dresses I will use the lighter grey for the piping. I think it gives them dimension. The next dress will be the lighter grey but I'm going to add some halter straps to it. We'll see how that turns out. Three of the others will have the spaghetti straps (one removable).

I love this dress! Which is good because I think I have a total of 17 of these dress that I have to make in the coming months. Well 12 this month 5 in the near future. Wait until you see the fabric for those. LOVE IT!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Three dresses to ship tomorrow

I have another floral dress, Breakfast at Tiffany's and this cute little number shipping tomorrow. Mine is different of course :)

It is pale pink and will have removable spaghetti straps. I'm a bit disappointed with the fabric. It was supposed to be a light weight denim & it seems just like a regular cotton to me. It is so light weight I had to line the skirt or my customer would be showing all her glory. I think it will be OK though because where she is having her wedding it is super hot. I will post pictures of it later because I know she follows my blog. Here is the inspiration photo.

Next I have to take in that one blue bridesmaid dress and I will be starting 7 bridesmaids dresses. Same as the floral dress but light gray & coal. I will be glad when this month is over. I only have 9 booked for June so I can take it down a pace.

Opinions please

I've posted this dress before and now I have another version of it without the piping but strips instead. It would be one less step and the both look great. Which version do you think is better?

Here is the bodice detail. No piping to the left piping to the right. I should stick to taking pictures outside. Well I can't all the time because I live in the rain State!
 I think I may have enough of this fabric to make one more. Maybe. I threw a tissy fit with one of the bodices from the three and had to redo it. Temper temper!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A New Craft Pattern Mouse Pot Holder

I don't post many crafty stuff here but I do enjoy dabbling with crafts. I have been stashing some fabrics for a quilt I want to make some day. I've never made one. I admire the quilt makers out there, it seems so tedious with all those squares.

I love mice and thought it would be cute to do a little mouse pot holder. I used an old Joanne's paper for the pattern. For the tail/handle I just cut a strip. As you can tell I changed my mind with the size of the body, nothing a little tape won't put back together.
 I wanted kind of a shabby chic to it so I have button eyes and nose. No whiskers because I was afraid something thin and dangling could catch fire. Two of my brothers laughed at the idea because who wants a mouse in the kitchen. I also have a plan to do a hen and....oh you will just have to wait.
 It is super cute but not functional as a pot holder. I used quilting batting but when I tested it at 350 degrees I felt the heat. It didn't burn me but if I'm going to sell these in the future they need to be made right. I'm going to buy the heat resistant batting and do another. They have it right here at fabric.com. This one is going to my mom as a decoration piece. The nice thing about this little project is I was able to use two fabric squares to complete the project!

I seriously think I will be cutting back on my dress making when I catch up so I have some time to do things for myself.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Not much work but it is okay

I took a rare day off today because it was my mom's birthday. It was sooo nice. We all went to the fabric store for supplies and just kicked back with my family. My sister is going to be making a man's suit. I will post it when it is done. It is for her friend's son 8th grade graduation.

Tomorrow of course is Mother's Day. My plan is to get up early and get a little something done then go to my mom's in the afternoon....or better yet just in time for dinner lol

I have all my fabric in for my 7 bridesmaid dresses, got the zippers, boning and strap slides & rings. I purchased the rattail for the piping at fabric.com. I just could not see paying 79 cents a yard. I got 33 yards. I think that will last me a long time.

I need to get better organized and start having a bigger supply of notions so I don't have to spend so much time shopping for them.

Tomorrow I will be complete with the green dress with bolero. The dress is basically done but not the bolero. The bolero takes less than a hour. It will ship on Monday and hopefullly a pink strapless dress will ship then too but more Tuesday seems more probable. I'm just not whipping them out as fast as I use too. With today's day off I do feel refreshed!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Happy Birthday Audrey Hepburn

Today would of been Audrey Hepburn's 82nd Birthday. This post is in honor of her and my Aunt who also shares her birthday who is no longer with us. Both have influenced my life and the person I want to be. Of course my biggest influence is my mom! Hi Mom!!!
 Two of my favorite pictures of Audrey. That smile just makes me smile. Genuine beauty. She shines!
 She is a timeless beauty both inside and out.  Happy Birthday to two of the greatest women that ever lived!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Three Floral Dresses for Bridesmaids

So here are the three floral dresses! I love them. Some of you may recognize the pattern.
 I especially like the piping detail. I have twelve more of these dresses to make this month. For five I will be using Kaufman dark green sateen. For the seven bridesmaids there will be four coal and three a lighter gray. I may have that the opposite. Yes I will double check prior to cutting. I will be using Kaufman Kona cotton for those. I just contacted her about using the piping & for the coal dresses using the lighter gray & for the lighter gray the coal. I think it would add more contrast and a little drama. If not she won't hurt my feelings if she says no. They also want to have removable adjustable spaghetti straps. I think that will be really cute.
 These dresses are fully lined and underlined/boned in the bodice. They also have two front pockets if you can't tell from the picture. Super adorable. Now all I have to do is wait and hope they all fit :) I'm really surprised I don't have an ulcer from the stress.
Now I better get back to my cutting. Making the green dress with black bolero again. I probably wont post it because how many times do you all want to look at it lol.