Friday, December 23, 2011

Cupcake Wiggle Dress


This is a project that has been hanging around my sewing room for MONTHS. But it's finally done! It's a simple black wiggle dress with pink soutache trim (more on that in later in this post). The pink swirls remind me of a Hostess cupcake. Yum. The black fabric is a tropical wool of excellent quality and drape that I scored in the Paron's 50% Annex years ago.

 
 


I made the pattern by attaching the bodice of this dress that I draped last year:

 To this vintage skirt pattern, purchased on etsy.
I really love how the pockets stand slightly away from the body--perfect for embellishing!

So let's talk soutache. I read an article on soutache in Sew Beautiful magazine (issue 139) a couple months ago, and got really obsessed with the idea of using it on a dress. Sew Beautiful is an heirloom sewing magazine, but I've found that it has lots of great techniques for retro garment sewists too. Here's a little snapshot of the dress they featured:



I ran out to Mokuba (OMG, have you guys ever been to that store? It's a Japanese trim place and it sells the most amazing stuff. Worth a blog post on its own) and they had soutache in dozens of colors and varieties.

Soutache is a fascinating trim. Here's how it works. It's a rayon braid with two cords inside it.
You have to fray the ends slightly to get to the cords.

Pull one cord and the soutache will curl up. If you pull the other cord, it will curl in the opposite direction.
I made my embellishments by arranging the soutache how I wanted it, pinning it to the dress, and then attaching it by hand with a small back stitch. Any ends have to be covered up and sealed with a product like Fray Check.


Kinda cool, right? It's kind of painstaking work, so I think it's best for small areas. I had a fantasy of embellishing the hem of a circle skirt this way, but I'm thinking better of it now.

The inside of the dress is both faced and lined with bemberg.


I learned this technique from an article in Threads. You cut out both facings and linings, turn the facing edges under 1/4" (I staystitched at 1/4" first to make this easier), and lay the facings on top of the linings. Baste together, and then edgestitch the facing so it's attached at the bottom to the lining.

Also: pink lace!
All in all, a fun project. I love this pattern and can imagine making it in other colors and varieties. Sans soutache--I only have so much patience!

69 comments:

  1. Fabulous! I love that neckline on you.

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  2. Adorable and perfect!!! Merry Christmas!!

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  3. LOVE this so much! One of my favourite dresses you've made!

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  4. really nice! it absolutely does look like a cupcake :) i love your tights too :D

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  5. Your trim idea is over the top- soutache really does have a gorgeous vintage look (love it)!

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  6. I'm an heirloom sewist almost by default. In reality, I'm just using vintage techniques taught to me by my mother and grandmother which have since been labelled 'heirloom'!

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  7. Lovely - the dress looks stunning! as does the embellishment

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  8. You look amazing! and I love the dress. Want to make one for me now.

    Thanks for the link to the Threads article too.

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  9. What a fab embellishment idea. I love the dress, it's a great shape on you and perfect length too. I think I might give soutache a try on one of my next projects. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  10. Gorgeous! And you look amazing in it!

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  11. Lovely dress, Gertie! I especially love the way you lined it (and shared pictures!).

    Also, thanks for posting today! I'm alone at work as everyone is out of the office for the holidays. Seeing this post made my day. :)

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  12. Love it! It totally reminds me of a Hostess cupcake too!

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  13. gurl you look HOT! beautiful work.

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  14. It looks great! Are you going to wear for any holiday/New Years parties?

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  15. Lovely! I especially like the cut of the back. You are always as inspiring. Merry Christmas to you all!

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  16. Gorgeous dress - love the trim. You are so right that it is painstaking work. Certainly worth it in this case.

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  17. Adorable. I love black and pink together.

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  18. I love those types of pockets as well! I carry weight in the middle, so I love how they stick out and make it look like I have bigger hips than I do.

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  19. Beautiful dress! I love the neckline and trim.

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  20. Love it. The braid really sets off a little black dress, but it is so distinctive, you wouldn't want it on every dress even if it wasn't fiddly.

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  21. This is so pretty! Are you going to put something like this in your book?

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  22. Now that is interesting, we call soutache russian braid, which makes sense given its popularity in doing cornelli work like this. It's actually quite easy to machine on too, even in complex patterns, and if you use a bright or fancy thread, it makes for an interesting effect. Stitch it in the ditch between the two cords. Gertie you would have loved the 90's for sewing, lots of those kind of techniques around! hehehe. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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  23. I like the soutache... at first glance I read "moustache" so you could imagine my confusion. Now I know what to call that kind of cording. Love how you applied it to the neckline!

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  24. You are insanely clever (and gorgeous to boot)

    That dress is to die for and the embellishments are gorgeous. The way you lined it is lovely and the lace at the bottom of the lining is such a great idea.

    Meryy xmas

    Dee

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  25. Ohhhhhh....

    I <3 <3 <3 this dress!!!

    Could this be a future "Craftsy" project in the making???

    Please oh please say "Yes" for I'd sign up for that course as well!!!

    Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

    ~mimiO

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  26. Very inspired, as always!

    Happy Holidays and thank you for your blog. It has inspired me for the past several months!

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  27. Your new dress looks gorgeous - I love the trim, and I agree about the cool pockets which are just made for embellishing! Have a great holiday!

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  28. I am in love with the black dress! You look beautiful in it. I love a garment that looks so good on the inside.

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  29. Beautiful! i've let my subscription to Sew Beautiful slide; it became too expensive for an international subscription considering many of the projects require you to make further purchases like MP patterns to complete them.

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  30. The pink and the black is really cute - I did this kind of trim once before (ages ago). Thank you for reminding me how great it lookks!

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  31. It looks amazing on you! Thanks for telling us about soutache (is that how you spell it?). Oh! And a merry Christmas to you and Jeff.

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  32. Fab dresses aside, do you keep getting hotter?

    Have a great Christmas. Thanks for all the inspiration throught the year.

    x

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  33. Never knew that you could pull the cord to make the braid bend like that. I scored some soutache as part of a job lot of vintage notions some time ago but have never dared use it. Must give it a go now that I know how it works!

    Anway, that dress is simply gorgeous (I love the pockets!) and looks amazing with those shoes.

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  34. Beautiful dress!
    Have a Merry Christmas !

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  35. Wow Gertie, this dress is so beautiful! And I love it with those fab stockings you're wearing.

    I think I'll add soutache to my to do list, for a more patient day of course. Oh, with wine.

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  37. Another great dress, Gertie! Happy Holidays.

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  38. It looks so beautiful. Wow, this is my favorite of your recent projects: great color, I love the soutache, and the fit is terrific. The best is the back! It packs a nice punch. A fabulous dress.

    I always wonder how one can tell a wool is "tropical." Is it the weight? The finish? The drape?

    Happy Holidays, Gertie!

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  39. You look like a cupcake in this dress...totally sweet and cute! wonderful work~

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  40. That's quite cute, and I can see why you've called it the cupcake dress :) ! As for how painstaking the soutache is, have you seen this tutorial from Coletterie (ex-Colette Patterns) for covered cording, arranged then hand-sewn onto fabric? I imagine it being a little less painful because you could arrange it as you go, and not have to pull the little wires each way to get the curves you want. Anyway here's the tutorial: http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/vintage-details-surface-cording-tutorial
    Keep up the awesome work :) You're such an inspiration to me!

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  41. DARLING DARLING DARLING!!!! love it, but for the sake of God, why did't you wear PINK shoes!!!!

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  42. The dress looks very simple. Good for formal occasion for a simple woman. With a vintage look.

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  43. The dress is beautiful! And thank you for the how to on soutache.

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  44. it looks really fantastic and I love the facing/lining!!

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  45. This is so cute! Although it was painful, the trim is lovely!

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  46. really cool. I've never heard of soutache. Must try it now

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  47. It's been said a hundred times. . .I absolutely LOVE this dress. I must make one for myself! I never knew soutache braid did that. It's just the right amount to set off a classy LBD. Love, love.

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  48. What a great dress! With all the trim and linings, how do you clean it? Do you dry clean, hand wash or what? I am always wondering about this with custom details.

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  49. Very cool! I had no idea that soutache worked that way!

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  50. This is so pretty! I especially love the details. And the pockets make the dress just that much more awesome. Great job!

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  51. I have ALWAYS wanted to try that sort of embellishment. It is absolutely stunning. But, with little patients maybe i'll just stick to simple hemming like lace.
    Really like your work, keep sewing!

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  52. The dress is gorgeous!!!!! I like simple styles and little details that make them perfect! And you look wonderful in it! By the way, when I look at you close up pic I think short hair would suit you beautifully.

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  53. I think that is your best dress yet! LOVE it and desperately want one just like it!

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  54. Oh wow I love the little accessory you added! You always make such gorgeous quality dresses! Enjoy wearing it! XxxX http://thesecondhandrose.blogspot.com/

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  55. I absolutely love it! It looks fantastic on you, and so cute!

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  56. I just love the dress. Without soutache actually. But now I know my reason to learn sewing!
    All the best in New Year! :)

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  57. This dress is beautiful. I'm definitely making one!

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  58. Your dress is so beautiful, I wonering you like it very much, you like beautiful dress and me too, So i find a so nice cheap omega watches store,I think you have interesting to it.

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  59. Wow thanks for the info on soutache! I used this sort of trim on my dogs sweater last year and realize now why the loops weren't as even as I would have liked. I got here from reading your Talented Mr Ripley post, what a great discovery.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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