Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Lemony Sheath Dress

Can't you just hear Pee-Wee Herman now? "Mmmm, Leee-mony!" I kept hearing his voice in my head as I was sewing this dress! I am crazy for both Pee-Wee and lemon prints, so I was super excited that this one was chosen to be in my spring fabric collection. It's a 100% cotton sateen, opaque with a soft drape.

Black Sateen Lemon Print
I decided this print needed a simple, classic dress silhouette, so I decided on a summer sheath dress. The pattern is from Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book. I matched the strapless bodice with the pencil skirt, and made two simple straps to go with it.

The dress made its debut for Viva Las Vegas! I've never been before, and it was so cool to see everyone done up Rockabilly style. I tried to make my hair and makeup as '50s fabulous as possible, though the windy days made me wish I had invested in better hairspray.

Of course, flats are essential when doing a lot of walking!

Construction-wise, the only complicated thing about this dress is the bodice. It's both lined and underlined in black Kona cotton, and then boning channels are sewn to the lining layer. Steel boning is inserted throughout. I find boning to be essential for a dress like this, because it keeps a closely fitted bodice smooth throughout. Ten rows is my minimum for this bodice design, and that's what I used here. The most important placement points, in my opinion, are over the princess seams, side seams, diagonally on each side of the bust, and on either side of the zipper. 

Here's the inside of the dress. I didn't line the skirt, because I loved how the fabric drapes on its own and I didn't plan to wear hosiery with the dress. 

 I lightened this one a bit so you can see the boning channels.
I love how the boning keeps the back of the bodice smooth. I used a lapped zipper, my preferred method. 

This print is also available with a blue background on a cotton lawn. It has a lighter, almost gauzy feel to it, and I'm definitely going to make a full-skirted dress with it. 

This dress uses the same bodice and skirt pattern as two other dresses in the book! Can you see the basic similarity?
Faux Sarong Dress, Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book
Fringed Cocktail Dress, Gertie's Ultimate Dress Book
The latter two use the sweetheart option on the bodice, rather than the straight neckline. But see how much you can do with some different straps and trims, using the same bodice and skirt?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

New Summer Butterick: Sabrina/Marilyn Mashup, Dirndl Chic, and Tiki Separates

I have three new patterns out in my Butterick line for summer! An evening gown, a collection of Hawaiian resort separates, and a dirndl-inspired dress.

First, the evening gown! This is B6353.

As you may have guessed, this is almost entirely Sabrina inspired. The fabric, an embroidered organza, is part of my new special occasion fabric collection from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.

But look at the bust pleats and the pink illustration, and do you see the shades of Marilyn?

The gown has boning throughout, felt underlining for the bodice (that's how those pleats stay perky), a satin lining, a removable train, and a contrast belt.

As usual, I modeled the patterns! They were shot both on me and a model, so here they are. Believe me, I'm not crazy about showing my pictures side by side with a "real" model (that would require unshakeable body confidence from any woman). But I always like seeing designs on different body types when looking at a garment, don't you?

Here's the line drawing and pattern envelope. 

Next up, B6352 is a dirndl-inspired dress for every day wear. Dirndls: they're not just for October fest anymore!
I became dirndl-obsessed after my recent trips to Germany and Austria, and loved the idea of making a dirndl-ish dress that could be worn everyday. This design is my answer to that idea.

The dress has puff sleeves that resemble a dirndl blouse, a low-cut square neckline, princess seams, a front zipper, a gathered circle skirt with a hemline ruffle, and a waist sash that calls to mind the traditional dirndl apron.

I used mini pompom trim in the sleeve cuffs, neckline, and back princess seams for a fun take on the traditional use of piping in dirndls!

The skirt length is almost tea-length for a retro look. 

The fabric is a lovely rayon challis with allover roses and strawberries, also from my new collection. 

The pattern envelope shows how you can use contrast fabric for the princess panels (and wear sassy sunglasses). Cute!
Lastly, here's B6354, a collection of four tiki-inspired resort separates that can be worn layered or on their own. 

The idea here is that you can wear the bustier and shorts out on the beach . . . 

. . .  and then add a wrap skirt  and perhaps a bolero on top for a little coverage on the town!

You can see the details, as always, in the included line drawing. 

These pieces were sewn in a tropical print sateen

I hope you love the new patterns! You can get them on the Butterick website, or your local sewing supply store.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

New Gertie Special Occasion Fabrics!

In addition to the new spring apparel fabrics, I also have a line special occasion fabrics available! These were inspired by the likes of Audrey Hepburn and Mad Men, and are specifically designed for sewing cocktail, party, prom, and evening dresses. These are all at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, with online links below each picture!

The first is this white organza embroidered with black flowers with a scalloped border.
Embroidered Black and White Organza
It was inspired by Audrey Hepburn's Sabrina dress, and I have an evening dress pattern coming out with Butterick next week that will help you recreate your Audrey fashion fantasies.

Next is this super fancy organza! This stuff is seriously special. 
3D Blossoms on Cream Organza
So, here's what it is: it's an ivory organza base with an allover floral print. Then, on top of the print are stitched-on three-dimensional flowers. I cut it out in the three-quarter circle skirt pattern from my book and pinned it to a dress form.

And here it is with some ivory crepe pinned underneath it. 

I have to say, it looks so pretty and ethereal that I'm dying for someone to make a wedding gown out of it! There are lots of options with this fabric. You could do the whole dress in the fabric, or just the skirt. (I'm also kind of dying for someone to make a burlesque costume with the blossoms strategically placed. They're already nipple-width apart on my form!) The blossoms are easily to remove with a stitch-ripper for sewing seams and such. 

Next, a printed matte satin. 

Aqua Printed Floral Satin
I already have this cut out for a dress! Here's the skirt, so you can see how it looks on the form. This is the box-pleated circle skirt from my dress book. It has a lot of drape to it; it just hangs beautifully.
This one was inspired by those great floral satin dresses from Mad Men.

Finally, some jacquards!
Metallic Aqua Rose Jacquard 

Black Metallic Rose Jacquard

 These are just gorgeous in person, textured and metallic. I did a little draping with them so you can see better.

Obviously these would make a great slim sheath, a la Betty Draper. 

But they also have the right body for a nice full skirt.

I hope you love these. Now we all just need the right occasion to wear them to! Cocktail party, anyone? 
© Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing. Powered by Cake