Summer Sewing #6 – Painted Stripe Dress

Here's the first finished piece of my Summer Sewing. Yay! One down, six to go. I'm really looking forward to all of my sewing projects. I will not be sewing in order so be prepared for some surprises! This is a great summer dress with its casual painted stripes and cheeky cut out shoulders. The weather here has been cloudy in the morning and sunny and warmish in the afternoon. I'm hoping I'll get the chance to wear this dress soon. Maybe for a happy hour by the beach with oysters and bloody mary's. What could be better?

The pattern is from the book Built by Wendy Dresses by Wendy Mullin. I've had the book for quite a while. When I opened the pattern pieces and found they were uncut, I was completely shocked. I had looked over the book so many times before I thought I must have made something from it. The "Bow Wow" dress is the one that has been calling to me ever since I first bought the book. At the same time, I was apprehensive about the location of the slits because it would make it hard to wear a bra without the straps sewing. But I'd wanted to make this design for so long, I decided to take the plunge.

I cut the size for my bust (a large) but I think I could have gone down a size. Alterations may be in order. The shape is very simple and and it was quite easy to construct, as is common with BBW patterns. So alterations would not be too difficult. The dress is not exactly like the drawing which could just be my sizing issue. In the drawing the shoulders are much tighter and the slits are not gaping.

Above I'm wearing it without the belt and you can see it's not fitted. I'm considering adding some darts at the waist, front and back. Wearing the belt (see below) does help bring in the dress and show off the waist but it's not a smooth line.

I haven't even mentioned the fabric yet and that's probably the biggest deal with this piece. I used a navy solid Japanese cotton that I bought at Mood a few weeks ago thinking it would be classic. But once I sewed up the dress it was soooo boring. And I thought it kind of resembled scrubs. Ew. So, I got kind of very ballsy and painted stripes onto the dress. Yes, I got some paint and painted it. I went for an intentionally loose, rough brushstroke so that little mistakes wouldn't be that noticeable.

The trickiest part was painting over the seams and the invisible zipper. The paint tended to pool up around the bumps so I tried to pull it smooth when painting those sections. I used Jacquard white fabric paint with some water added and a stiff paintbrush.

I used an invisible zipper for the back closure. The zipper was given to me by the lovely folks at Kollabora along with a few other things that you will definitely be seeing during my summer sewing. The zipper arrived just in time for this project and was the perfect color and length. If you haven't already set up a profile on Kollabora, I highly recommend it. They have a great community of crafty people and a very friendly user interface. Thank you Kollabora for the sewing gifts!

So, what do you think of the dress? Should I make some alterations? Add some darts? Would you ever paint stripes onto one of your creations?

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Drape Drape No. 3 Dress

I've been wanting to make this Drape Drape dress ever since I first bought the book Drape Drape by Hisako Sato. I traced the pattern ages (probably years) ago and on a whim, decided to finally make it. I love the result. The dress is so unique, comfortable and fun to wear. 

The dress is made from one piece of fabric. Can you believe that? It goes together almost like magic. Check out Dixie DIY's version of this dress to see a picture of the pattern. Seeing hers totally inspired me to actually make one of my own. Anywho, I chose to use a thick knit fabric; the same fabric I used for my Spring Wardrobe pleated pants. The fabric has stretch which I think is probably a necessity for this dress. I'm not sure what the book recommends as my copy is in Japanese. 

I made a few changes to the dress for a better fit. (I'm 5'11" with a long waist so these are pretty standard adjustments for me.) I lengthened the waist by slicing and separating about an inch and a half. I also lengthened the skirt a couple of inches too. Because the fabric is stretchy, I was able to omit the back zipper. The dress easily slips on over the head. I cut a size large and the dress is fitted in the shoulders and bust but a little loose in the hips. I do have narrow shoulders and usually cut my shoulders a size smaller than the bodice, so I'd be careful if yours are regular to wide. 

This dress is perfect for a night out on the town. If it was a little more fitted on the hips (for me anyway) it would be even a little sexier. I love it all the same. I wore it out the other night with a patterened jacket on top and pointed, patent flats. I have all 3 Drape Drape books in Japanese and just love them. I highly recommend checking out Drape Drape 2 and Drape Drape 3 as well. Do you have any of the books? Have you made this dress yet?

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How to DIY a Summer Dress

There's nothing better for summer than a flirty dress. My closet is chock-full of dresses. As soon as summer starts to appear, I just can't resist making a few more. I love dresses for so many reasons. One, they're so easy to just throw on and go. Two, you don't need to worry about all the matching of tops and bottoms. And three, simple shapes are really easy to fit when you're making your own. So that's three. :) Why do you like to wear dresses?

How to DIY a Summer Dress

Step 1 I love today's inspiration dress with the lace shoulders, fitted waist and gathered skirt. This dress is the Something Blueberry Dress from Modcloth.

Step 2  Simplicity 1873 by Cynthia Rowley is a classic dress with a fitted bodice and full skirt. I've recommended this pattern for a DIY before because it's a classic that you can easily adapt it for a variety of looks. To make our inspiration dress you'll need to make just a few adjustments. First, you'll need to make gathers instead of pleats at the waist of the skirt. Second, you'll need to alter the bodice to incorporate the lace. All you need to do is draw the line on the pattern piece where you want the seam between the lace and the solid. Cut and separate and add a seam allowance to the new seam line you created. Piece the two bodice fabrics together and then proceed as usual. To finish the neck edge, use a bias strip of your solid fabric.

Step 3 For this dress you'll need two fabrics, a stretch lace and a solid dress weight. For the lace I found a beautiful poly lace from Mood. It's currently sold out but this lace is similar. For the solid fabric, this cotton lycra blend from Mood would be great.

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