Lace Wedding Outfit

I’ve finally sewn up some of the lace I wrote about in my post about lace. Hurrah! (I was meant to take pictures at the wedding, but totally forgot, sorry! I blame the prosecco….)

Wedding-Outfit-11I made this dress for a wedding I went to last weekend – which was awesome, by the way. I haven’t been to loads of weddings – I’m not someone who has multiple ones every Summer for 5 years in a row (maybe I don’t have many friends!?) – so it was fun to have one to dress up for. There wasn’t an official dress code – which is awesome – but I still wanted the excuse to dress up and make myself something fancy.

You may remember in my lace post I mentioned making a dress for the wedding and I found some photos as inspiration. There was one that stayed with me and became my main inspiration for this dress. I liked the simple top, pleated skirt and sort-of-matching-but-not-really underlining and lace.

Style Inspiration: Navy Lace DressI was planning to also copy the high-low hem, but after a google of what they look like on actual people and after scratching my head about how to do it with the scallop edge of the lace being all around the bottom, I decided to forgo it.

I decided to underline the dress instead of lining it so all the seams would be hidden on the inside and I wouldn’t have to fiddle around with teeny french seams or double stitching or anything like that – I would like to have a go at this, though, and since I have plenty of lace left I can easily make something else that’s lined instead of underlined. I used the left-over fabric from my BHL Georgia dress (this is a bit of a BHL outfit btw) as the underlining. There was exactly enough left – and I had to cut the back bodice sideways to the grain. The 2 skirt pieces are on the selvedge (which cunningly meant I didn’t have to hem them!) and the front bodice is on a scrap folded in towards the middle – I had to cut out the skirt pieces before I could cut it out!

Wedding-Outfit-4

I agonised for ages about what colour to put underneath my lace. You may remember it looked dull when put over bright colours. I had pretty much decided on cream but then changed my mind and went with navy and I’m soooo glad I did! I cut out the pieces in lace and the cotton sateen (as I think my Georgia was made from) and zig-zagged them together with bright orange thread – so it would be easy to unpick. This was the theory anyway – a lot of the time it got caught in my seams and was a pain to get out, especially in the pleats on the skirt! Definitely use either a tiny or massive seam allowance if you do this!

IMG_0139The bodice is the Emery bodice as I’ve already made it twice (1, 2) and done all the fitting work before and I’m inherently lazy when it comes to fitting! I sewed the side seams with a 1cm instead of 1.5cm seam allowance as I’d done last time when the bodice ended up a bit tight!

I didn’t really think about the pattern placement when I was cutting out the lace – apart from the scallops on the bottom. I probably should have centred the lace pattern on the bodice, I wouldn’t do well on the Great British Sewing Bee! I did manage to remember to sew in one of my labels, though.

Wedding-Outfit-8As well as the bodice, I used the pockets from the Emery. I LOVE pockets!!! It was really useful on the day of the wedding too, as they were big enough to hold my phone so I was always ready to take photos.

Wedding-Outfit-14

The skirt of this dress was the real challenge. I used the BHL Elisalex skirt as a basis – in terms of length and width at the top of the skirt. I probably could have started from scratch given how much I changed, but it felt too scary! Since the Elisalex already has pleats in, I thought it would be a good starting point. It has box pleats, though, and I wanted knife pleats (I think they’re called knife pleats!). Each box pleat was 8cm on each side, so I could change it easily to be 2 knife pleats also of 8cm each. I initially wanted 3 pleats, though, but couldn’t fit them in nicely – the 3rd one ended up on my hip, which wasn’t the most flattering. I had already added another 8cm into the width of the skirt pieces, though, so I made 2 12cm pleats instead. I’m talking about in each ‘quarter’ so 2 pleats on each side of the front and 2 on each side of the back. I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out! They maybe could have been a little closer to the centre, but they seemed pretty close as it was on the pattern.

Wedding-Outfit-18The other bit of measuring was to make sure the width of the top of the skirt minus the pleats matched the bottom of the bodice pieces – I included the seam allowances in my measurements as it was the same on the bodice and skirt. The Emery and Elisalex were pretty close and I only had to alter it by a cm or two. It was particularly important for me to make sure these matched as I was adding the inseam pockets from the Emery, so I couldn’t alter the side seams of the skirt – and I couldn’t alter them on the bodice either, or I wouldn’t have got it on/ it wouldn’t have held together.

Wedding-Outfit-1You may also have noticed the fact that the skirt is not tulip shaped as in the Elisalex, but more a-line. I made the bottom hem of the skirt 10cm wider than the top of the skirt (which was 24cm wider than the original pattern) and drew a straight line for the side seams, for the back and front pieces. Once I’d taken out the pleats, the difference between the top and bottom became more pronounced. I’m really pleased with how it turned out – I didn’t want it to look like a circle skirt but I wanted it to balance out my shoulders.

Wedding-Outfit-16Although I said I didn’t think about the pattern placement – particularly obviously on the bodice! – the one place I did think about it was on the skirt side seams. I made sure the scallops looked uninterrupted so the seam wouldn’t be quite so obvious on the hem. Also, as you can see, the underlining skirt was 1.5 cm shorter than the lace over skirt, so the scallop looked its best. One of the things I loved about making this dress was than I didn’t have to do any hems! Does anyone else hate doing hems?

Wedding-Outfit-13I took a further 2.5cm off the length, on top of the 2ocm I’d removed previously! I wanted it to sit just on my knees – and because of the scallops I knew it would be a massive pain to take it up, so I measured my ideal length and hoped for the best! It could maybe have been a cm or two shorter, but I think it looks fine.

Wedding-Outfit-15

When I had the idea for this dress I didn’t really think about the weather. Here in the UK we’ve had a rather cold May and it was really really cold the weeks before the wedding, so I decided to make myself a jacket. Since I already had the BHL Victoria and had made it twice (1, 2), I thought it would be a good option and – hopefully – look nice with the dress. I decided to make the cropped version as I measured the hem would hit the waist of the dress.

Wedding-Outfit-3Mustard yellow and navy is one of my fav colour combos, so I ordered 2m of mustard yellow ponte roma from ebay and hoped there would be enough fabric to self-line it. Spoiler alert! There was.

Wedding-Outfit-2I had originally wanted to make the jacket in coral – and have matching coral shoes –  but I really struggled to find any coral fabric. If you know of anywhere that sells coral, do let me know! The other problem is no-one really agrees on what colour coral is! Sometimes it’s pretty much pink and sometimes it’s orange. I couldn’t find any coral shoes either, so I decided to go for mustard. Couldn’t find any mustard shoes either, though – hence the boring navy, though I’ll probably get more wear from navy court shoes. One other thing I learned – love wearing yellow/ mustard. It looks disgusting as nail varnish!

Wedding-Outfit-6The Victoria Blazer really is quick to sew up! It’s not too tailored, which I like – it gives it a more relaxed feeling. I think if I was in a really tailored blazer with this dress I would have felt my outfit was less young, if that makes sense? I love a tailored jacket, but with like skinny jeans. I thought about leaving off the cuffs and collar, but decided against it as I was worried it would look really weird! It was fun to sew this up in a knit – albeit a knit without a huge amount of stretch. I made sure the stretch went across the body and not up and down – I didn’t want it sagging! Because this is a pattern for wovens, though, I used a straight stitch and sewed it up as though it was a woven. Luckily I have a little left of the fabric, so I’m thinking a Colette Astoria, which I just bought in their sale this weekend!

Wedding-Outfit-17All in all I think this was a successful wedding outfit! And I mastered sewing with lace for the first time! Hurrah! Also, I’ll definitely get lots more wears out of the jacket, so it’s not an entirely ‘special occasion’ outfit.

I’ll leave you with a photo of me and The Boyfriend tearing up the dance floor! Sorry-not-sorry for my slightly manic face.

IMG_0372

 

 

You-may-also-like-coral

Coat into BHL Blazer Fabric Inspiration - Lace Emery-2-Thumb 2

Save

Save

I’ve refashioned some of my me-mades!

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may know that ages ago (I think 2 years ago) I made 2 BHL Elisalex dressesone as a wearable muslin and one for a wedding – and there have now been 2 Me Made Mays (2014 and 2015) where I have failed to wear them. I have worn them only 2 or 3 times each – it always seems a shame to spend all that time making something and then when it’s finished you’re not sure whether it’s your style. I’m getting better at knowing this, but I still get seduced by new shiny patterns, especially if a lot of the blogosphere make them, even if probably really deep down I know that it maybe won’t suit me.

So here they were in their original incarnations:

IMAG0600

You can read the full post on the blue one here and the green one here. IMAG0595

 

 

I kind of liked them at the time, but I think I over-fitted them so they were a bit too tight to be comfortable and although I did hack quite a lot off the length, they still look a bit frumpy. I have finally realised, as a short-arse, that above the knee is my friend!

Here they are in their new forms!

Blue-Elisalex-refashion-1

Green-Elisalex-refashion-1

I should really have ironed the green one before I took the pictures! Also, these photos are still blurry. I really don’t know what to do about it – I think I need more light, so I may need to get over the embarrassment of taking outfit pictures outside! The problem is our flat has no outside space and the house it’s in has no private space, so I have to stand on the street! I’ll find a nice secluded street somewhere……

Blue-Elisalex-refashion-3Green-Elisalex-refashion-3

There are, I think 2 fairly obvious changes: 1. I got rid of the sleeves; 2. I got rid of the pleats on the skirt in favour of gathers. I think it’s much better without sleeves – the neckline looks less wide somehow. I was conscious that they made my shoulders look wide, so this is definitely an improvement. I was worried I would have to alter the armscye as this can be a problem when you just take off sleeves, but it seems fine.

I removed the pleats in favour of the softer gathers because I felt like the exaggerated shape didn’t really do me any favours – they seemed to emphasise just below the widest part of my hips, not a good look! I unpicked the lining and then the whole waist seam, but left the zip in place, and then gathered the skirt and resewed it to the bodice, matching the side seams. I couldn’t face redoing the zips after the faff of putting them in about 12 times each when I made the dresses!

Blue-Elisalex-refashion-2 Green-Elisalex-refashion-2

A change you made not be able to see is that while I had the lining unpicked, I let out the side seams (of the dress and lining) by 0.5cm as they were just too tight to be comfortable before. I also lopped another chunk off the length – 7cm with a 2cm hem, so 9cm in total. I’ve just looked at my original post and I took 20cm off the original length, so it’s now 29cm shorter than the pattern! That’s basically a foot!

Blue-Elisalex-refashion-4Green-Elisalex-refashion-4We had a mini heat wave in London a few weeks ago (and it’s been kinda cold since then, boo!) so I wore both dresses then, and I wore one of them to do to the theatre and I got loads of compliments from people at my work! Yay! I love it when someone says ‘I love your dress’ and you can smugly reply ‘I made it’! But once people learn you make stuff, they then ask if you’ve made it which always makes me paranoid it looks all homemade and crap! Anyway, enough rambling!

Have you ever re-made something you’ve made? I normally am too lazy, but I’m glad I changed these as they are totally wearable now!

 

Elisalex Number 1

So, I’ve conversely posted about the second By Hand London Elisalex Dress I made first because the first one was always meant as a wearable muslin, so I did all the steps, including the lining and fitting a zip to check the fit and also to finish both dresses, to have…..2 dresses! I finally finished the first one the other night, when I sewed the lining down on the inside. I (obvs) made all the same changes to this one as I made in the second dress. The only difference is that the fabric for this dress was super cheap, very synthetic stuff from one of the cheapo shops in Walthamstow so I underlined the skirt as well as the bodice, because it was pretty much see-through. I don’t know what this stuff is, but it melted when I put the iron on it, on not a very high heat! I bought it thinking I would make a floaty top, like Tilly and the Buttons’s Mathilde Blouse or something, but even by the time I got home I had fallen out of love with it. Having said that, I do actually quite like it as a dress (even if I am falling back into my old ways of wearing mainly blue!).

But enough rambling, here are some photos:

IMAG0600

It looks really long in this photo (it must be the angle), but it actually hits me on the knee, like the other one.

IMAG0603

IMAG0605

Again, not perfect from the back (plus you can see the top of the zip sticking out because I took the photos before it was totally finished). I sewed in this zip about 5 times and actually put more ease back into it as it was so tight, in order to get it looking nice at the back, that I couldn’t take a deep breath!

Here’s a close up of the fabric – it’s got some grey in it, so I used this grey zip from my stash. Handy!

IMAG0631

Here’s the inside – I used some white cotton I had lying around, which my mum added to the last time I visited. I love how neat a lined garment looks from the inside! So pleasing, even if no-one really gets to see it when you’re wearing it!

IMAG0630

IMAG0609

Elisalex Number 2

I’m posting the second Elisalex dress I made first, as the first one I made is still not finished – I just have to sew the lining in on the inside. I wore this version on Saturday to a friend’s wedding, having finished it an hour before I had to leave the house. Some might say I left it until the last minute, I would say it was finished in the perfect amount of time!

IMAG0585

It’s made from a heavy, probably upholstery weight green and white stripey cotton from Rolls and Rems in Holloway. You can’t see the stripes from a distance, but it’s really pretty. I bought 3 metres but have loads left – any ideas what I can make from really thick fabric? I’m thinking maybe a pleated skirt of some kind?

Here’s a close up:

IMAG0616

I had to make a few changes to the pattern, but luckily not too much – I’m not sure I have the skill level for a bust adjustment just yet!

I cut out a size 8, grading to a size 10 at the waist, on the side seams only (I didn’t want to mess with the princess seams) as those were the closest measurements to mine. I cut out a size 10 on the bottom as I figured it would be easier to ease a bit out of the skirt than the bodice. As it turns out, the 2 pieces fitted together rather nicely. I’m quite pleased with how I got the seams and pleats lined up:

IMAG0618

When I cut out the pattern I realised that it was way too long for my 5’2” frame, so I cut off 20cm from the skirt length before I cut out my fabric (which might be partly why I needed much less fabric than suggested). I then sewed a 3cm hem to get the length to just above my knees.

I didn’t have a 22” zip, as the pattern suggested – I think the zip is meant to go all the way down the back? So I used a 19” zip instead, from my stash. Because it was from my stash, it’s yellow – it was the best one I could find and I didn’t have the time to go and buy another, more matching one. I managed to hide it so you can’t see it when the dress is on – I’m getting much better at zips than when I made my first dress!

IMAG0611

Part of the reason I’m getting better at zips is because I must have sewed the 2 zips for my 2 Elisalex’s about 10 times between them. This wasn’t just me being rubbish, but me trying to get the back to fit better. This was the main change I had to make – I sewed the zip(s) in with a 2.5cm seam allowance, going up to 5cm at the neck, for the top 2 inches or so. When I put the zip in as instructed, the back gaped loads and taking fabric out of the zip seam allowance seemed like the best way to get it to fit – there might be better ways, but I had made pretty much the whole dress at this point and was too lazy to unpick it and work out a better way to fit it. You can see from this picture that I have a narrow back – I look much thinner from the back than the front! It’s still not perfect, but I tried it with even less ease and I couldn’t really breathe, so I compromised for comfort!

IMAG0592

I used a bit of old gingham I had lying around for the lining. This is the first time I’ve lined anything and I really like it – the instructions are really clear and the pattern comes together nicely, so it was a good introduction to linings. It was also quite necessary to have something a bit softer next to my skin!

IMAG0610

I’m quite pleased with how neat it all looks from the inside – this is by far the neatest of any of the insides of anything I’ve made so far. I even did french seams on the side seams of the skirt, so it all looks lovely!

IMAG0591

The only other change I made (I just remembered) was I took 12cm off the short sleeve length as otherwise they would have come down to my elbows. I made the sleeved version so that I can wear it with cardigans in the winter – and it won’t look as odd as wearing a sleeveless dress in winter.

I was worried the dress would feel restrictive and not very comfortable, but aside from getting a bit warm with all the dancing at the wedding, I forgot what I was wearing, so that’s got to mean it was comfy! I might give the bodice a go with a circle skirt like lots of other people have done – this pattern is definitely a winner!

IMAG0595