Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My MOB Dress

This post is long overdue. It reveals the dress I made for my daughter's wedding in May in Italy. Oh, what a magical wedding it was!

I was so busy the month before the wedding getting things made I had no time to blog or teach or do a lot of things I should have. My days literally up to the day before we left for Italy were filled with sewing. I was busy sewing flower girl dresses for two sisters who live in Italy, the ring pillow, my daughters chapel length lace edged veil (more on that later), my suit, a handbag for the bride and one for me as well. Add into that getting ready for the trip to Europe, I didn't have a minute to spare. 

You would have thought I had plenty of time to get all of this done, and indeed you are right. Everything, unfortunately, took much longer than I ever would have anticipated. The flower girls dresses took me three months to get done. Not because I needed that much time to sew them. But, getting muslins back and forth to Italy to get the fit right took some time. 

The veil was another three month ordeal - I'll deal with that in the another post. Then there was my dress. I resorted to making one at the last minute because I simply couldn't find anything I liked, or better said, looked good on me. 

One of the curses of being old is I can't wear much of what's in the retailers for MOB's. I'm sure there are lots of women who share this same opinion. My issue is arms. I no longer like to show my arms. Plain and simple. I wish I could, but I prefer not to. So, that meant eliminating all sleeveless dresses. Well, most of what's out there that is decent looking is sleeveless. Had I wanted sleeveless, I would have had no problem buying something. There were plenty of gorgeous dresses in that category to pick from. 

If you have to wear something with sleeves then everything else available are the dresses made for 80 year olds. Nothing in between. Either sleeveless or look 20 years older than I am. Ergo, I decided to make my outfit. 

This was a wedding that took place in the afternoon. Though very elegant, it was not an event that warranted a long evening gown. Anything too glitzy or with rhinestones was out of the question by both me and my daughter. So, I opted for a dressy suit. 

Here is the picture of the suit I chose to replicate:

In spite of losing almost 20 lbs, I am not as thin as the model so I couldn't achieve the same slender and tight fit. Also, I didn't want the portrait collar to dip as low as the one in the photo. This photo illustrates a strapless dress covered by the portrait collar jacket with lace or embroidery embellishments that run along one side of the two pieces. 

My version is an A-line skirt and jacket combo. To make the jacket I used Vogue pattern #7963.  I modified the pattern making the portrait collar larger and angled the center front opening to replicate the model garment I liked. 

For the skirt I used Butterick #5466 - a simple and basic A-line skirt pattern that anyone who likes skirts should have. I both underlined and fully lined the skirt and applied a narrow waistband. In the back I inserted an invisible zipper and added a mitered slit at the hemline. It turned out great and fit perfectly. 


The suit was made out of silk shantung that I had to special order from Haberman's Fabrics. It was quite easy to work with, but I wish I had ordered a silk that was a bit more substantial. In spite of the fact that the suit was both underlined and lined, as you can probably tell from the photo, this one shows ever wrinkle. The suit jacket was also fully lined, but I opted for a polyester lining rather than a silk to save a few dollars. I purchased 3 yards of the shantung and though I expected to only use about 2 1/2 yards of it, I ended up using every bit of the 3 yards. I had to compromise on making a matching evening bag as I simply didn't have any pieces large enough left over. 

The embroidered lace embellishment that runs the length of the skirt and jacket was sold in panels. I used a little more than one panel length for the suit. The embroidery is applied to a netting backing that I simply cut into the pieces I needed and than hand stitched them onto the suit pieces. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Latest Sew News Article

Core Wardrobe Patterns in the June/July issue of Sew News

The most prized patterns I have in my rather huge collection are those that represent simple, basic silhouettes. No fancy neck treatments, embellishments or intricate style lines. You might ask why are these so special? Because as basic patterns that can serve as templates for creating, or recreating, many of the designs that are popular in today's retailers. 

If one examines the garments that fill the racks in most of today's fashion retailers you'll be amazed to discover that many of the designs start from very basic silhouettes. What transforms them into the popular looks of the day are the fabrics chosen, embellishments, style lines or sewing techniques that are added. The important point is they essentially start from a basic silhouette.

The article talks about building a library of patterns in such fundamental looks that fit your style and lifestyle preferences. Once the patterns are adjusted to fit you they become ready-made templates for designing your creations or for replicating designs that inspire you.  In many ways they are like slopers, but in my opinion, better as these already have ease and seam allowances incorporated into them.  

I am a huge fan of this concept and whenever I see - which is not often by the way -- a good basic pattern, I add it to my collection. 

Take a look at the patterns I have identified as wardrobe building worthy. You can always add or delete ones that better fits your taste and style preferences. To show how this concept works I have also replicated a store bought dress using one of my favorite dress patterns.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Latest Blog Post on

Travel In Style: Make a TSA Toiletry Bag

Planning a trip soon to the airport and need to get past the TSA screening with liquids? My latest Craftsy blog post provides instructions to make a cute makeup-style bag that will work great for this purpose. 

They are not only a cinch to make but can be done in an hour. The best part, these instructions work for any kind of small bag for all kinds of uses. Just change the plastic into fabric. Have fun!  

Here's the link to Craftsy:  How to Make a TSA Toiletry Bag