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Silk Maxi Dress

Silk Maxi Dress

by Pauline Alice

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I’ve always loved maxi dresses, flowy and romantic skirts. You see, I had more of a bohemian/hippie style when I was in college so sometimes the urge to wear loose dresses comes out.

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This summer, during the sales, I found this amazing silk fabric. And I thought it best to make a simple dress to emphasize the lines, tribal pattern and beautiful colours.
I just cut the fabric along the lines (very easy to follow) and gathered 3 tiers. The bottom one is 3 m wide (twice the fabric width), the second one is 2 m wide, the third one 1,5 m (one width). Then I gathered the top one to a small bodice, self-lined as the dress is to worn bra-less. The bodice is also gathered at the neckline and I added an elastic at the back. I made the crossed-straps with a length of fabric folded in two like bias binding.

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That’s a very comfortable dress to wear during summer. The silk is so light and soft against the skin and I think it would also look great with heels and without the belt for a party. And don’t let anyone tell you maxi dress are not for short girl: I’m only 1,55 m (5 ft 1) and I love this look!

 

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Camí Sew-Along: Collar Variation – Peter Pan Collar

When I first designed the Camí dress pattern, I spent a long time deciding whether I should make a classic shirt collar or a cute peter pan one. Well, you which one won but I kept the peter pan collar as a backup idea. I am going to show you how to draw your own peter pan collar for the Camí dress (or any other dress or blouse). If you don’t feel confident enough for the shirt collar or want to go for a super cute look, that’s a great alternative!

Pendant la conception du patron de la robe Camí, j’ai longtemps hésité entre faire un col chemisier classique et un col claudine. Bon, vous savez lequel l’a remporté mais j’ai quand même gardé l’idée du col claudine dans un coin de ma tête, juste au cas où. Je vais donc vous montrer comment dessiner votre propre co claudine pour la robe Camí (ou toute autre robe ou blouse). Si vous ne vous sentez pas prête à attaquer le col chemisier ou que vous voulez une robe au style encore plus féminin, voilà la parfaite alternative!

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1. Take your front and back bodice pattern pieces. On the bodice front, decide where you want your collar to arrive: cross over the button placket (first picture – fold the first part of the placket), join at the middle of the button placket (no picture – fold the placket on the button line), before the button placket (second picture – fold the whole placket). Mark the seam allowances at the shoulder (1,5 cm or 5/8″).

cami-sew-along-collar-variation-peter-pan-collar-32. Match the seam allowances at the neckline.
cami-sew-along-collar-variation-peter-pan-collar-43. On the other side (armhole), overlap the shoulder seam. The more you overlap, the more the collar is going to stand up. A good measure would be about 2 or 3 cm (6/8″ or 9/8″).

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4. Now you’ll need to paste the pattern pieces together so they don’t move and get some pattern paper. Trace the neckline.

cami-sew-along-collar-variation-peter-pan-collar-65. As my back bodice pattern is cut on the fold, I am going to draw a full collar on the back. The peter pan collar pattern will be cut on the fold as well. Decide how long you want it to be and add 3 cm or 4/5″ (1,5 cm or 5/8″ seams at the top and bottom). Start tracing the total length all around the neckline.

cami-sew-along-collar-variation-peter-pan-collar-76. Once you arrive at the front seam, add a 1,5 cm or 5/8″ seam allowance. Finish the collar with a nice curve.

7. Cut two pieces of this pattern on the fold in the fabric and interfacing. Interface and stitch the exterior seam with right sides together. Clip the seam allowances or cut close to the edge, turn inside out and press flat. Ready to attach to your neckline!

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Scarlett Dress: the construction
If you’re like me, when you see a garment you like on the internet, you want to know how it’s made. There is nothing more frustating than finding the perfect dress or skirt and having no idea of what pattern was used or good enough pictures to figure it out. What I love are blogs with construction pictures, that way, even if I don’t have the pattern, I can try to make something similar. If only I did that! But everytime I try to take pictures of the construction, I forget and keep on sewing until it’s almost finished… Do what I say, not what I do 🙂
Ok, I made an effort and took pictures of the construction of the Scarlett dress, good girl!
Let’s start with the corset:

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It’s made of heavy muslin (or coutil in the corset world). I am pretty happy with it being my first corset but I would make some changes for the next one. I wasn’t able to find spiral metal boning in any notion stores in Valencia so I had to use plastic boning. Not bad for a night but I don’t think it would be confortable for a longer time. Nor was I able to find a busk to close and open the front. So I have to lace it open everytime I want to wear it.
The pattern is made from my measurements and is amazing. I found it here, the fit is perfect and it’s very easy to follow and make, you just need a piece of paper, a ruler and a calculator. The same girl also has a tutorial on how to sew the corset here. I didn’t make the same flat-felt seams, just regular seams with slip-in-the-ditch to create boning channels.
I didn’t have metal grommets so I sewed them by hand like small buttonholes. Took me a whole movie, not so bad…

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Here is the hoop-skirt: the most important part of the costume as it support the whole dress. The volume depends of how many hoops you add and the width. Here is how I made mine:

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Now the underskirt: you need it to cover the hoop skirt and smooth the boning lines. It’s very simple to make: gather a big rectangle of fabric! For example, mine is 4 meters wide (it has to be wider than the hoop skirt, important). I made a small gathered flounce at the bottom (6 meters x 20 cm) and sew it to the big piece. I also made a separate waistband so it would be easier to gather the ribbon around my waist to close the skirt.

 

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I also found this pattern on the internet but I think it’s out of print. Maybe you can find it on ebay or etsy.
And for the umbrella, I found the recover tutorial here. I had a vintage umbrella from the 20’s with a broken fabric so I decided to recover it. It’s not difficult to do and it’s a great way to customize an old umbrella.
I hope it was useful and that you enjoyed it. If you’re still reading, sorry, this has to be the longest post ever 🙂 If you have any questions, just ask in the comment section, I’d be happy to help.
Have a nice week end!

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Scarlett O’Hara Barbecue Dress
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That’s the last dress I made: the famous barbecue dress worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the wind.
I made it for a special occasion (I don’t wear that kind of dresses on a daily basis, sorry to disappoint you): a costume birthday party! How cool is that? I love costume parties…
And as the theme was the cinema, I couldn’t think of a better heroine than Scarlett.

scarlett-ohara-barbacue-dress-sewing-pattern-2scarlett-ohara-barbacue-dress-sewing-pattern-3I drafted the pattern myself: the skirt is gathered (5 meters of fabric) and the bodice has front and back darts. It was not a dificult dress to make even if it looks like it, but quite time consumming (one week-end non-stop).
The most important part of the costume is the foundation: a corset, a hoop-skirt and an underskirt. I will explain all those parts in the following post.

 

scarlett-ohara-barbacue-dress-sewing-pattern-4The dress was surprisingly very confortable and so dramatic. I didn’t want to take it off at the end of the night…
I leave you with a short excerpt from the movie where you can see the dress and the foundation worn by Scarlett I used as inspiration.
See you on Friday for the details post.

 

 

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Flamenca dress part 5 – The dress! at last…
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After so many previews, here are the final pictures of the flamenca dress. Enjoy!
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As I didn’t know if I was going to be able to take good quality pictures during the Andalusian party, we decided to go to the park before and have a little impromptue photoshoot. And just so you can see my accessorizes (blue of course), here is a picture from the party with my friends Mari Paz and Pilar (who brought from Sevilla the beautiful flower and earrings. Thank you Pilar!).
 
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I hope you enjoyed the flamenca dress series and if you have any question, feel free to ask, I’d be delighted to answer (or try to…)!

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Flamenca dress part 4 – skirt
Let’s follow yesterday’s post and continue on the flamenca dress.
We have set the the sleeves in the body and attached them to the lining, what we need to do now is make the skirt, join it to the dress, sew the zipper on and we are ready to hit the street.

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I chose not to line the skirt flounces (contrary to the sleeve ones) because the outside is not going to show and it takes too much fabric (I might never wear this dress again for all I know).
1-Sew together all the circles of the same colour so you obtain one big flounce.
2-Stitch a row of basting along the inner curve of the flounce and clip (like for the sleeve).
flamenca-dress-part-4-sewing-pattern-13-Here is a drawing (very bad!) I made to explain how to place the flounces on the skirt. You see that the first flounce is sewn right side up and the following ones wrong side up with the flounce facing upward (that way, the seam allowance is hidden nder the flounce when folded).
flamenca-dress-part-4-sewing-pattern-2flamenca-dress-part-4-sewing-pattern-3flamenca-dress-part-4-sewing-pattern-44-Repeat step 7 of the previous post to sew the back the dress (remember to sew each flounce separately).
5-Baste the zipper and sew it to the dress. Attach the lining to the zipper and hem it where the bodice meets the skirt.
flamenca-dress-part-4-sewing-pattern-56-Hem the skirt and the flounces as you choose (decorative binding, turn in hem…).
I wish you all a nice week and I leave you with this picture (the “real” post is coming in a few days, I promise).
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Flamenca dress part 3 – sleeves
I am getting ready right now for the Andalusian party tonight so I thought it would be appropriate to make a new post about the flamenca dress.
If you remember, I already made the dress body and the lining. Which leaves me the sleeves and the skirt: these are the parts that are more time-consuming.
Today I’ll start with the sleeve and tomorrow the skirt part will follow.
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For the sleeves, I decided to line the flounces with self-fabric as the outside is going to show quite a bit.
1-Take the sleeve flounces and place them right sides together.
flamenca-dress-part-3-sewing-pattern-1flamenca-dress-part-3-sewing-pattern-112-Remember to press flat (if the curve isn’t round, notch more closely but be careful not to cut into your row of stitches).
3-Add as many flounces as you want (I have two, one blue, one white).
4-Sew the flounces together at inner curve.

flamenca-dress-part-3-sewing-patter-105-Take your sleeve piece.

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 6-Pin the flounces to the sleeve right sides together (for example: blue against blue). Remember to clip the curve of the flounces so it’s easier to pin.
flamenca-dress-part-3-sewing-pattern-8flamenca-dress-part-3-sewing-pattern-77-Stitch the flounces separately, press the seam allowances open, finish the edges as you prefer (zigzag, serger, bias binding…).
  

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There you go for the moment! I hope it was useful and I will post the skirt explanation tomorrow and the final pictures during the following days.
Now excuse me, I have to finish my make up for the party… Bye!
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Pink Babydoll

Pink Babydoll

by Pauline Alice

How amazing it is to be able to dress like that in February! This is one of the many reasons I love Valencia…

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I made this dress before Christmas and it has been one of my favourites ever since. I am already sewing another one in blue with short sleeves.

I lve the flirty flounce, the hidden pockets, the button placket… And the pink fabric of course! I mean, I wear so much pink it’s actually hard to believe my favourite colour is blue (I swear it is!).

You might have recognised the fabric, it’s the same one I used for the petal coat. I have tried wearing the two garments together and I have to admit that even if such sweetness is not for the faint of heart, I love the matchiness of the outfit.

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Lately, I have been experiencing and learning about patternmaking and my last projects have almost all been self-designed. This one follows the same rule.

It was fun to incorporate all my favourite elements in one dress and make it work as a whole. The pockets were particularly exciting to design.

The overall loose shape allowed me to have a placket opening at the back instead of the regular zipper one, but I don’t even need to open the buttons to pass the dress over my head.

 

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I hope you like it as much as I do and hopefully I will be able to show you the spring version soon.

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Flamenca dress part 2 – dress bodice
Hello everyone,
I hope you all had a nice week-end. Mine was spent cutting large circles of polka dots fabric, it could have been worse. I don’t have any pictures of the cutting process, because it’s just cutting, nothing special about it.
You saw my cutting plan, just make sure everything fits on your fabric before you start cutting. I like to trace all my pieces first and then cut them all at once.
I also followed Bea‘s and Azahara‘s advice to line the dress. At first, I thought I wouldn’t need to as I am planning on wearing it over a slip (that’s something I always do with tight dresses). But as they both had experience in flamenca dresses and told me it would be more comfortable, I went through my fabric and found some white cotton. I cut only the front and back bodice parts, I won’t bother with lining the sleeves. Thank you for the advice girls!

 

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Here is the dress bodice, with the lining attached, on my dressform. This is just to give you (and me) an idea as this dressform, even if adjustable, does not fit my clothes. The minimum size is too big (bust) and too long for me, that’s why there are some pulling lines on the dress. But this dressform is a great coat-hanger…
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tutorial flamenca dress pattern

The next step is sewing the sleeves with ruffles. And hopefully I will have time to start on the skirt as well.
Have a nice week!
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New Year dress

New Year dress

by Pauline Alice
As promised, I have some posts to share during the week. I accumulated sewing before the holidays as I knew I was not going to make a lot of things at the beginning of the new year.
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Here is the dress I made for New Year’s Eve. I wanted something dressed up that could also pass as a costume. My friends and I always have a costume party for New Year’s Eve and this year I was Bree Van de Kamp. With our red apples, we looked like a poster for Desperate Housewives.
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The pattern is my own design: a corset bodice with princess seams and a gathered skirt. I added some boning to the bodice so it would stand up on its own and would allow me to wear the dress without a bra. There is a zipper in the center back.
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I had some black tulle with grey plumetis in my stash and black piqué left from my Burda black dress to underline it. The bodice has a third layer of thick muslim where the boning is sewn and then is lined for more comfort.
I added a velvet edge for a more festive look.
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It was a perfect dress to party and dance, what else could I have asked for?
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pink Dior coat

The Dior coat

by Pauline Alice

I am glad to present The Dior coat in all its spendour:

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I designed the pattern myself from a princess seam slopper I did for the scallop coat I made in october.
The idea was to accentuate the waist and have a full skirt like the type of coats popular in the late 40’s, early 50’s. I also had some contempory inspiration but even those were based on retro models.

Earlier this year, I purchased an e-course on Craftsy called the Starlet Suit Jacket (sorry, I can’t link it, it appears to have disappeared from the classes availables). The course focuses on sewing a fitted jacket with hand-tailoring (or fusible-tailoring), using bound-buttonholes. welt pockets, and other vintage/tailoring technics.

I mostly bought this class because the instructor was Gretchen Hirsch, whose blog I religiously follow and whose book I bought and devoured. The woman is so passionate about vintage technics, her style is very close to mine and I love the fact that she is self taught (by that I mean that she has not been to fashion school, because she obviously has been to a lot of sewing classes with the crème de la crème of US sewing teachers).

Anyway, the craftsy class was great and I learnt so much from Gertie while sewing my coat. I even took the welt pocket pattern from her jacket and added it to my coat as I found it very elegant and I wanted to included as much technics as I could. I fear those technics are disappearing and that’s a shame as no machine will ever be able to make such beautiful and delicate buttonholes for example. Go to any store and try to find a jacket or a coat with bound-buttonholes, that might be mission impossible (or they will be very expensive).

pink Dior coat front details

I interfaced the front, the side front and the facing with weft fusible interfacing. I wasn’t feeling confident enough to do the whole hand tailoring method for the moment and I was also afraid it would take me months instead of weeks. And as my wool was very thick, the interfacing was just for shaping, not for supporting the fabric. So I am very happy with the fusible method. But next time, I definitely want to try the hand-tailoring method.

I wanted the shoulders to be structured without giving me crazy swimmer back. In the craftsy class, Gertie explains how to use biais cut mohair strips to consolidate the sleeve cap and give structure in the sleeve head, that technic is often used on tailored jackets and coats and it works wonderfully. I also added small shoulder pads.

As I might have repeated thousands of times, the fabric is pure double face wool from Dior in fuschia. It is very heavy, the coat has to weigh about 3 kg! But it feels so luxurious, even more when you get a peek of the bright fuschia silk lining (sorry, I realise we didn’t take any pictures of the lining). There were some moments I thought my sewing machine was going to die from the thickness of the fabric. Imagine sewing the seam allowances where you have 4 layers… a nightmare! But Elna survived! Good girl!

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I am very happy and proud of the work I have done with this coat. I love a fast sewing project like a little dress or skirt that you can wear the following day but spending hours and hours on a project like this one is rewarding in a different way. I have learnt a lot in terms of sewing technics and for me that’s so much as I am self taught.

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self-drafted garden roses dress back

Garden Roses: self-drafted dress

by Pauline Alice

I have been enjoying the beautiful weather of Valencia in my new self-drafted dress last week. It’s perfect for walking on the sunny streets, doing some window shopping, taking late afternoon pictures in the park and going to dinner in the city afterwards.

self-drafted garden roses dress side

self-drafted garden roses dress back self-drafted garden roses dress front

I drafted the pattern myself as I wanted to improved my skills and I felt like making something that I had in my mind for some times now. The skirt is gathered, I just left the central piece flat as I found it more flattering. The bodice has princess seams and three-pieces straps made with self-fabric biais binding. The biais binding “machine” I bought was one of the best investment I have made, and it costed less than 10 €. I wasn’t sure about crossing the straps at the back, but after a try, it seemed the best idea.

The fabric is a very light cotton with red roses. It has a crisp touch, which is very nice to wear but in order to give some opacity, I entirely lined it with light baptiste. That way, it’s still breathable and light for summer but nobody has to see my underwear… (or absence of it as this dress does not allow bra!)

Here is a more close-up picture to see the details: the princess seams, the straps…

self-drafted garden roses dress details

 

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