Finished: 50s Halter Dress

Hi all!

Of course it would be better if I had finished this dress just a week ago, because we had some very hot days over here. But I was busy and didn't feel like rushing. So here it is, at the end of summer I finish a summer dress. Oh well, it won't be the first time that I'm a bit behind with sewing. 

Before talking about this dress I want to let you know I've been thinking about my blog lately and what to do with it. I like to share my finished projects, but I also want to give it something more. I was thinking about writing tutorials. But I realise there are so many great tutorials out there already and I don't feel like writing stuff which has be done already a dozen of times. And probably in a much better way then I can do, because I still don't feel really confident about my (English) writing skills. 

But I will write a tutorial about drafting the bodice of the halter dress. So far as I know, it has not been done before and I can try if I like it and make it work. If it does work out I might try this more often, but only when there's not already a good tutorial out there. 

So that's the thing about tutorials. I also thought I can add references to the techniques I use in my projects. If one want to use a paticular technique they know where to find it this way. You have to think about books, youtube, websites, blogs, ecc. At least you know I have tried it with succes and hopefully it inspires you to add some nice techniques to your sewing projects as well. I hope this will give some more depth to my blogposts. 

Adding more accessories :D
Ok, lets talk about the dress then :) I really loved making this dress. Things went pretty well and it was a great opportunity to try some new sewing techniques. I drafted the Bodice myself using my block pattern and after some trial and error I got a good fit and the halter straps behaving in a way I really liked. As inspiration I used these pattern illustrations:

The skirt pattern is borrowed from a pattern I found in one of my early 50s sewing magazines. It is a 3/4 circle skirt with lots of gathers. It consists of 4 pieces. I really love how the skirt falls, it's very elegant. 

Because of the halter the back has no support. I decided to add Spiral Boning and a Waist Stay, so the bodice has some support and stays at the right place. I never used spiral boning before, but had it in my stash for quite some years. It's great material to work with. I definitely prefer it over plastic boning,because spiral boning is much more flexible. It can bend forward and backward but also to the sides. Because of the boning I also added a lining to cover the boning up. The waist stay is made of grosgrain tape and I added hooks and eyes at the ends.

Inside out: Seam Binding, Waist Stay and Machine Stitched Narrow Hem
As usual the seams are finished with Seam Binding. I still think this is the prettiest way to handle raw seam edges. To prevent stretching I added Stay Tape to both sides of the straps. You can imagine the fabric will stetch over time. 

I did some pattern matching at the center front and center back seams. At the center back I also added a Lapped Zipper. I sewed this in by hand so I had more control over the fabric. The hem is finished with a Machine Stitched Narrow Hem.

Pattern matching on center front and back

And now I'm hoping for some more summery days so I can wear this dress just a couple of times before autumn starts!

A dress like this screams for a 'good' twirl!
Here are the used techniques with their references:

 Seam Binding:  
Tutorial written by Laura Mae; Prefold Method (I don't cut the pieces at the right length beforehand, but just iron very long lengths of seam binding and cut them to the right size afterwards. 

Spiral Boning:
J. Cole & S. Czachor, 2010. Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers. Pp. 171-174. 

Hand Picked Lapped Zipper:
I learned this technique when I made Vogue 8767. It was part of the sewing instruction amd since then always do it this way. 

Note: Make sure that the overlap will cover the zipper at the waistline seam. You will see that the overlap will pull away a little at this point.

Stay Tape Neckline:
Tutorial written by Tasha of Sewaholic

Gathered skirt:
Modevakschool Nationaal. Kleermakerspraktijkboek. Pp. 56

Note: This technique is very common. If you search on sewing gathers you find similar techniques.

Drafted Bodice:
I couldn't find anything similar in my pattern drafting books or on the internet. So I figured it out myself.

Machine Stitched Narrow Hem:
C. Shaeffer, 2011. Couture Sewing Techniques. Pp. 74. Called Pin Hem.
J. Cole & S. Czachor, 2010. Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers. Pp. 419-420.

Waist Stay:
J. Cole & S. Czachor, 2010. Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers. Pp. 246-247.


Finished: Doreen Jumper


If you're following me on Instagram, you already now that I recently finished two of my knitting projects. And today I want to show one of them to you :)

It's the Doreen Jumper and it's a late 40s/early 50s pattern which is published in a knitting magazine called 'Magriet Breit' (Margriet Knits). 'Magriet' is a Dutch magazine for women and is on the market since 1938. 'Magriet Breit' is a supplement which is  mainly dedicated to knitting as the title suggests. But you can also find some crochet and embroidery patterns in it. 

A few years ago I was lucky to find a pile f these knitting magazines at a fleamarket for a very special price. The ones I have are mainly late 40s or early 50s. I wish I someday find some older magazines as well. But they are pretty scarce in our country. 

I think this is the fastest knitted sweater I ever made. I'm kind of a slow worker, because I often doubt if I'm on the right track which means that I can be quite obsessive about how things are coming along. So I'm continually checking and rechecking my work, frogging parts, adding this, changing that, ecc. You can imagine that this is very time consuming. And I never follow a pattern to the letter, I always think things have to be different or better. So that doesn't help either.

But this project went very smooth. I had to make just a few changes. I graded the pattern down to my size and I added some length to the sleeves and bodice. The neck was also a bit on the small side and I knew my head wouldn't fit through the hole, so I made the neckline a bit wider. 

The pattern consists of mirrorred cables which give a braided look. Between the cables there is a small braid. The neckband is about 5 cm wide and folded to the inside and sewn to the jumper to create a tunnel. With the help of a safety pin I put the cord through this tunnel. The cord is a so called i-cord which can be knitted or crocheted. I choose to crochet the cord, because I didn't had the right double pointed knitting needles.  

The color is a beautiful greyish green and is perfect for autumn if you ask me. At the moment we're in the middle of august and I'm wearing this jumper. Isn't that insane?!? The weather over here is just horrible! It's cold and there's a lot of rain. But for me a great opportunity to take pics of this jumper, because I wouldn't do this when it would be a hot summer day!

I think I spent about 8 weeks knitting this jumper. With an avarage of 10 hours a week. So this means I spent 80 hours to make this beauty. Compared to my colorwork projects, this is very very fast!

Me being silly again
As you can see, I'm qutie happy with the results :)

Hopefully, I'll be able to make some pictures of my other finished knitwork so I can put it on my blog!


WIP: 50s Halter Dress

Hello there!

Yesterday I got hit with the stomach flu :( and although I feel a bit better today I decided to keep things calm and stay in bed watching some tv series, doing some knitting and write a blogpost :)

A while ago I was a bit indecisive about which summer dress I would like to sew and wrote blogpost about this, which you can read here.

Recently I started with the dress I choose as my first option. It's the 50s halter dress with crossed straps. The bodice is drafted by me. After some trial and error, I got a really nice fit and I like how the fabric gathers around the neck. If you're interested I can write a tutorial about how I drafted the bodice. 

The skirt pattern comes from one of my early 50s sewing magazines. It´s a 3/4 circle skirt with lots of gathers. 

When I was satisfied with the muslin I cut out the fabric and started sewing the skirt. Since the skirt uses a lot of fabric it has to hang for a few days to evening out the hem. You can also add little weights to the hem if you like, but I have never done that myself. So far I always get good results without putting extra weight to the hem.

I did some great pattern matching at Centre Front

Then I started with the bodice. I decided it needs boning for some extra support (especially in the back). A couple of years ago I bought some spiral boning and decided this is the right time to finally use them. 

But before adding boning to the vertical seams I wanted to fit it once again. Just to be sure because I don't feel like removing the boning channels if the bodice won't fit me properly. I know I already made a muslin, but sometimes the 'real' fabric can behave a bit differently then the muslin fabric. The skirt is basted to the bodice and I basted a zipper in the centre back of the dress and it was ready for a fit. 

At this point I fitted the bodice and added the boning and it's ready for another fit. Hmm, am I a bit obsessive? I don't know. I like to check the fit during the proces, because I really hate it when I put a lot of time and effort into  making a garment and it doesn't fit me properly. 

When I'm recovered again I really hope to spend some time behind the sewing machine!

Enjoy your weekend!!