I’ve been a speedster all up in my sewing room of late.  I’m attempting to get through a cosplay of Rose Tyler’s purple jacket from Journey’s End and hopefully a 10th Doctor suit for my husband by the end of Patternreview’s Costume Contest.  The jacket is 86% done, but the suit is going to be a big tall mountain.  This last week, I finished up a batch of dresses for SEWN, the local boutique that I sew for.  My latest video goes over the details of the 8 dresses and includes some backyard catwalk fun courtesy of my friends.  But I’m sharing here some more pictures including some of our outtakes of my SEWN Denver Fall 2017 Collection.

SEWN Denver Fall 2017 Collection

Tie neck dresses

The first 4 dresses are all knit dresses with nice flare skirts.  I used the the same style as the velvet dress from my winter collection but I lowered the neck into a high V.  The tie is a big glorified binding that’s longer than the neck edge on both sides of a little loop that’s sewn near the neck edge.  The ties thread through the loop to create a tie that’s not really a tie.  I like this finish because I think sometimes tie necks can be too bulky.  This first geometric knit really benefited from the less bulky tie.

Embroidered circles

On the ITY versions of this dress, I added circles to the skirts from ponte and a rayon/poly/lycra knit on the blue dress.  After I affixed them to the skirt with a glue stick, I stitched back and forth over the circles.  I love this technique, and I use it frequently on appliques.

Overdyeing the lining

The blue dress is a refashion from a size 20 Coldwater Creek dress.  There was a lot of fabric on the original dress–so much so that I was able to cut the whole thing minus the sleeves from just the skirt.  The blue is a rich rich cross between royal blue and navy.  It’s truly beautiful fabric and when I spotted it at the thrift store, it was clear that it had been worn about twice.  Do you sometimes buy things at the thrift store as a rescue project?  Sometimes I’m downright indignant that things end up there, especially when they’re this nice.

My problem is that the only knit I had available to line the bodice was a baby pink poly interlock.  As lining fabric goes, this stuff is wonderful.  It’s got great recovery, it sews easily and it offers the support and opacity that’s required.  But, the pink was so so ugly against the blue.  I thought about it for a while and decided to dye the whole dress with Rit DyeMore in royal purple.  The blue did not take any of the dye, but the pink settled down to a nice lilac and the circles picked up a hint of the purple.  It was such an upgrade!  It might seem fussy to go through the trouble, but the whole process took about 10 minutes plus a run through the wash which I was going to do anyway.

Handkerchief hem dress

I cut this handkerchief hem dress from a curtain panel.  I say curtain panel, but this was one that someone had professionally made.  So this is actually a good weight cotton fabric, not a home dec fabric with some of the finishes or blends that you see in curtains that you buy at home stores.  I was drawn to the stripes in the print and the beautiful fall colors of the floral.

The bodice is a vintage style cap sleeve style.  I’ve used it before on the wax print dress here.  The skirt is a big giant square with a hole cut out the size of the waist.  I so loved the gentle flow of the corners of the squares on my chiffon skirt that I wanted to replicate the look on this floral fabric.  I like how the stripes sit on the handkerchief hem.  My only wish is that I had had a little more width on the fabric so that the skirt could be a little longer.  As this is a fall dress, I’m okay with it being shorter.  I personally wear leggings with all my cooler weather dresses.  Hopefully anyone buying this will be smart enough to do the same!

Caftan-ish dresses

I’m currently taking Laura Volpintesta’s intro to patternmaking class, and on one of the videos she talks about the origins of patternmaking in traditional garments like kimonos and caftans.  (Though I’m moving along at a snail’s snail’s pace since I’m in the heat of soccer season when I have zero spare time) She was so enthusiastic that you could just do a whole lot with a little elastic to add some shaping to what would otherwise be a giant rectangle, that I decided to take her up on it.

Both of these dresses are essentially rectangles, though there’s a yoke with an extended cut on sleeve with a little sleeve band.  The ties are attached to elastic that goes around the back in a casing. I had doubts about this whole style and then I put on one.  Boy howdy is it comfortable and way cuter than you’d think.  I take back everything I’ve ever thought about how shapeless caftans are.  I suppose they can be, but they need NOT be.

Eyelet dress

The eyelet version is underlined with a blue chambray in the yoke.  Hot pink satin is an underlining on the lower part of the dress.  I really love the hot pink against the forest green.  When I was searching through my linings, I thought they looked really nice together but I was skeptical about the combination.  Would it appeal to anyone?  Is it current or at least not out of date?  After seeing a few style bloggers sporting hot pink + forest green, I felt a little more settled about the “trendiness” of the two colors.  Not that being current is what I think about when I sew per se, but I never want my stuff to have that “of an era” look.  You know like this:

image found on Pinterest from Vintage Everyday

Fall wax print “caftan”

This fabric was such a find.  The fall leaves plus the cool black chevrons opened up a lot of possibilities.  I used the chevrons on the yoke and for the hem.  While I thought about making self ties for the casing, I went for black twill tape which I think is a good contrast.  I still had some of the wax print leftover, so I made a twin dress.

Pinstripe wax print dress


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The navy pinstripe is from a Banana Republic dress.  I think it’s a linen/cotton blend though the fiber content tag had been removed from the original dress.  The skirt was what drew me to this dress.  The play with the stripes and the flounce on the hem were too good to pass up.  There were sleeve flounces too that I saved.  When I disassembled the bodice, I had very little fabric to work with. I was able to cut one front and one back from the original dress.  The wax print is for the rest.  There’s another dress that I haven’t blogged yet because it’ll be in the next Altered Couture issue where I did this same kind of print blocking.  I personally like the contrast.

Plus my friend and I had too much fun taking twin shots.  I think we were flipping our hair here?

Overall, I’m really pleased with this collection, and I’m hoping that things sell well!
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12 Comments

  1. What a wonderful collection! You certainly have been busy. 🙂 I am OBSESSED with that handkerchief dress… the fabric, the pattern, those boots! 😀 Wish I was in Denver so I could snatch that up!

  2. Speedster is an understatement, lol and you’re making costume contest outfits while trying to keep up with kids soccer. Amazing!! I love the fabrics you chose for your collection especially that handkerchief dress, so perfect, well done!

    • Thanks Linda! I’ve got help this year with driving for soccer which is helping, but man, nobody tells you it’s a 4x/week commitment when you become a sports parent! The Rose Tyler jacket is done minus touching up some of the paint, and I measured hubby for his suit last night. It’ll be tight to try and finish that one for the contest, but it should get done for Halloween.

  3. Wow, I need some of your energy! What is my excuse??? No one home but me and I’ve only sewn one thing since I returned from vacation! LOL! Your dresses are all nice and I do love the green and pink together! Great work and looking forward to your costumes! Good Luck!

    • Thanks Myra! I must admit I spent a week puddling around after the 8 dress week! It’s good to take a break especially when projects are big! I like the green and pink together too! I always feel nervous/embarrassed putting myself out there for people to buy my stuff, but hopefully things will sell. I think this has been my best group yet.

  4. All these dresses are lovely – the eyelet one is my favorite! I am certain they will sell well. They look so comfortable on everyone modeling them.

    • Thank you! The eyelet has a place in my heart. I was thankful my friends were so at ease. It’s a different experience seeing your work on other people and when they look like themselves in that work. That’s just special.

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