Contemporary Pattern · Dress · Finished! · Modern Sewing · Pattern

The wacky print modern dress

Just a quick post tonight before I head out the door! So, I finished this new dress yesterday, and I think I started on it the day before that. I just needed an easy project that I knew would go together after the struggles I had with what eventually became the red taffeta circle skirt. And, yes, an “easy” project for me means a dress with a lined bodice and gathered skirt. 😉

Red shoes!

I used my modified version of Butterick 4443 (one of my favorite bodice patterns ever).  It’s the same pattern I used for the Jenny in Paris dress, and Rachel Berry halloween dress. I just love having a go-to pattern that I know will fit (I’m sure you all feel the same!).

This project was another stash buster, with the fabric, zipper, and thread all coming from the stash. It’s nice to see the stash start to get smaller, albeit slowly. 😉 And it’s especially nice to finally have used this fabric! I don’t know about you guys, but sometimes I just can’t cut into a piece of fabric because I have so many projects I want to make with it, but I have a limited quantity of the stuff, so I have to decide on one project. Which can be incredibly difficult. 😉

Anyways, I’m wearing this dress tonight for a Project Runway party I’m going to! To tell you the truth, I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by the designers this season, although I’m not ashamed to admit that I love the drama. 😉

What about you, readers? Any fellow Project Runway fans out there? Anybody working on a stash busting project?

Dress · Finished! · Modern Sewing · Pattern

A frock for the end of summer

It’s hard to believe we’re at the end of August, readers! I mean, Saturday will already be the first of September. Normally I would be doing back-to-school shopping right now, but this year I’m not. I have to say that it’s really nice to not have that dread, but it’s also really odd. I mean, for the first time since I was 5, I won’t be starting school in September. I figure I will go back to do grad school at some point, but for now, it’s nice to not have to worry about that. Instead, I’m worrying about unemployment (though, there are a few neat job opporotunities that I recently applied for and am hoping to get. Please cross your fingers for me!). Alright, enough about boring real life things and on to my new dress!

I finished this little number today, after deciding that I desperately needed wanted a new summer dress. The bodice is a really heavily altered version of Simplicity 1779, which I originally was going to use to make a shirt for the 1938 picnic. As you can see, the bodice goes down a bit low, so when I was mocking it up in the blue and white polka dot fabric (which I knew I would eventually turn into a dress), I decided to scrap it for a 1930s shirt and wear something from my closet instead. Which actually worked out really well, since I didn’t finish the suspender skirt until the morning of.

I made View D of this pattern. The collar was really wide (it looked like I was wearing a low-cut version of a judge outfit), so I actually turned it under and sewed it down after I had already sewn the collar in (which is why those little wing things are there on the ends). Both the waistband and skirt are just rectangles, so nothing too spectacular about that. 😉

Yes, my legs really are that pale . . .

The best part about this project is that with the exception of the patterns and buttons, everything I used came from the stash, and both the fabric and thread were from Nona (thanks, Nona!).

The hat was a lucky find at my favorite antique store downtown. I picked it up last week on my way to get a straw bag for the picnic.

Anybody else trying to get some last minute summer sewing in?

1850s · 1850s sewing · Dress · Finished! · Reenacting · Reenactments

Smoke gets in your eyes (aka the reenactment)

Well, I’m back from a full weekend in the 1850s! It’s amazing how pooped I was this morning. As I’ve mentioned before, this is the only event that I camp out at, and, as a result, it requires a lot more planning and prep work than the typical reenactments I go to. So, I expected some tiredness as a result of the fabulousness that was this weekend, but not as much as I got!

I actually made 3 new dresses: a wrapper (which is like a mid-19th century robe) which I unfortunately didn’t get any pictures of, a lavendar sheer dress:

and my blue print work dress:

The blue work dress definitely got the most wear, and I’m really glad that I went with the short sleeves as it was hotter than Hades this weekend.

I spent most of my time in it hauling wood, looking after twins, and cooking over an open fire, where I got a lot of smoke in my eyes (hence the title of this post, it’s not a reference to the Mad Men pilot!) and mouth and had coughing attacks. As a result, all of my clothes smell like campfire, and they’ve been airing out all day today.

But, it was all worth it to get to play with historic babies in costume!

Anyways, I’ve decided to take a break/hiatus from reenacting and historic costuming for a while, and focus on some other hobbies (like finally learning the ukelele that I got as a graduation gift back in June!). I’m just a bit burned out by reenacting right now, and am really dying to sew something that I can put a zipper in! Anybody else ever get burned out from a hobby before?

1850s sewing · Dress · In-Progress

Buried beneath a pile of costumes

As normally happens in the lead-up to a weekend-long event, I’m frantically sewing away on lots of different things. Of course, I have way more projects than time to sew them, so I’ve had to scale back a bit from my original plans (whole new set of mid-19th century underthings by Friday afternoon!? Yeah, not gonna happen). Luckily, I was able to get a lot of sewing done this weekend while I house-sat for my mom. In between watching copious amounts of television and sitting in front of the fan, since it was hotter than Hades. I only really ventured outside when it was necessary (like to check the mail or take the dog out). I just don’t do well in the heat, I’m very pale and delicate, as I’m sure you all know. 😉

But, I just thought I’d share a quick shot of my in-progress work dress for this weekend (sorry I don’t have more than this to show you! So many of my projects are in various stages of completion right now).

Yes, internet, this is what annaintechnicolor looks like without any make-up.

The bodice is yoked (meaning the front is 2 pieces – a smooth top and fuller bottom) and because of the motif on the fabric, I was able to play around with the design while I pleated it to get this really neat squiggle effect. I plan to be very “Jane Eyre chic” in it while I haul water and firewood this weekend. 😉


Dress · In-Progress · Pattern · Regency era costuming

Regency dress sneak peak . . .

Just a quick photo of the Regency dress I spent most of today working on (though I started it yesterday)! I’m using Simplicity 4055, which luckily isn’t out of print, and since it’s supposed to be hotter than hades this weekend, I’m using a sheer black and white swiss dot fabric. The photo above is the lining (cotton batiste!) on the inside being whipstitched, which I did this afternoon. I loved how the pins looked.

Ok, off to go finish the eyelets on the short stays. They’re taking so long, but they look so lovely when they’re done, and unfortunately, I can’t finish the dress without finishing the corset first, since the bust of the dress lies wierdly without the stays on.

Also, with all this hand-sewing, I’m running out of costume dramas to watch! This week alone I’ve already rewatched some of my favorites, including Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Hours, and Becoming Jane, and last week I watched Hemingway & Gellhorn, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and Birdsong. Suffice it to say, I totally have a thing for Eddie Redmayne now and I definitely need to see My Week with Marilyn. 😉

Anybody have any good suggestions of costume dramas to watch? Or good films in general?

1960s · Dress · In-Progress · Pattern · Vintage

Toile-ing away on a frock for my graduation party

In terms of graduation parties, I realize that I’m having mine a bit late in the game (the party is this Saturday and I graduated, oh, 2 weeks ago?). That being said, having mine later means that I get to channel my inner Bree Van de Kamp and make sure that everything will be perfect (and I actually will be baking a pineapple upside-down cake). The theme that I’ve picked is “1960s Garden Party” based on the photo “Summer Pleasures” taken in 1960 for Life magazine:

Anyways, I’ve already planned the food and decorations, and now I’m working on the most important part (he hee): the dress!

I’m using a shot silk synthetic blend fabric that I got from the fabulous Kendra of Demode during her last blog sale, coupled with Butterick 5748 (a modernized reprint of an original pattern from 1960).

I’m really glad I made a toile/muslin mock-up of the bodice before I cut into the fabric, as there was a ton of ease added in to the pattern! This was my first time using a reprint pattern, so for those of you with more experience: is this a common issue with pattern reprints? I didn’t have to do too many alterations, except take extra fullness out of the center front (I just made a 5/8″ tuck) and take in the shoulder seam 1/2″.

Sorry for the shoddy quality on this one . . .

And in related graduation news, I just wanted to congratulate my little sister again for graduating from high school last week! We’re so proud of her, and she’ll be going to my alma mater in the fall. 😉

Alright, back to sewing!

Commission · Contemporary Pattern · Dress · Finished! · Modern Sewing

Commission: The “Wing It On” Dress Knockoff

A happy customer means a happy seamstress!

Hello, everyone! I thought I would share photos of my latest finished project, a commission dress! The dress is part of an exchange that I’m doing with my dear friend, Lauren.* Lauren has her own photography business, and in exchange for her taking some professional photos of me and my sewn garments for my portfolio, I made her a custom dress, which she wore to her graduation party this past weekend!

Love the shoes!

Anyways, the dress is a knock-off of this one from ModCloth. Lauren specially ordered printed cotton poplin fabric from Spoonflower, and I love the black and white together combined with the red nails! 😉

I used Simplicity 2588 as the base, but heavily altered it in order to get the open back (which involved making a waistband for the dress) and made a gathered rather than pleated skirt. Besides the design changes I made myself, the pattern was pretty straightorward except for the neck yoke! I messed it up both on the mock-up and the final one. Suffice it to say, if you ever make this pattern, the instructions should be read very carefully before constructing the yoke!

The Spoonflower fabric came with this neat label, so of course I had to put it in!

Since I don’t have a serger, I used my favorite seam finishing technique of stitching 1/4″ into the seam and then pinking the raw edges.

Speaking of graduation, I feel like I’m in an odd state of limbo since finishing college last week (and thank you everyone for your well wishes on my last post about that!). I’ve moved back home for the time being (and I never really realized how much crap I have!) and am still looking for work (everything that they say about the recession and college grads is true), although I just got a call last week about an interview for a really neat summer job that would involve costumes and history! I’m not going to say anything more than that since I don’t want to jinx it, but please keep your fingers crossed! But for now, I’m just sort of content to nap, sew, and read for fun. Being a bum is quite enjoyable, although I’m sure I’ll get bored of it very quickly. 😉


*Note: All photos of Lauren in the dress are courtesy of Lauren herself, and my sincerest thanks to her for letting me post them here!