Completed: Colette Truffle #3

Long time, no posts and no finished projects.  But that’s changing now.  I’ve finally got a new dress to show off!  🙂

Here’s my latest version of the Truffle dress:

Truffle

Okay, so you may be thinking it doesn’t look much like the Truffle dress.  I know.  I made some changes to the pattern.  I left off the front drape, like my previous versions.  Then I redrafted the skirt to be straight, and added a vent at the back.
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I really like this pattern, I think it’s pretty versatile and for me, it was easy to fit. (Waaay easier than the Peony for sure! I’m still tweaking my muslin on that one.)  I’d recommend the Colette Sewing Handbook, just for this pattern alone.  Anyway, here are some more details:

The main fabric is just cheap poly, but I love the print.  It also has a slightly slubby texture that makes it look fancier than it really is.  I was careful to cut it out so that the black leaves  fell on one side of the dress.

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It’s fully lined (in Ambiance Bemberg Rayon)
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There’s a lot of hand stitching on this dress.  I did a hand-picked (or prickstitched) lapped zipper.  (This was my second go at this technique, and I really like it!)  And I slipstitched the lining to the zipper.
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I also added an embroidered label, and understitched my neckline and armholes by hand.
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I sewed a vent for the first time too!  I drafted and sewed this according to Sunni’s tutorials.
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I started this dress ages ago, and finally finished it up over the weekend.  I must say, I love it!  Only wish I had finished it sooner.

Truffle 3.1

Summer Spark Sew Along: Licorice Dress #2

Whew, I finished my latest dress just in time for the Summer Spark Sew Along.   I was so happy with my first Licorice dress, that decided to make another version.  But this one gave me some troubles.

Licorice Version 2

Actually, I almost gave up on this dress.   I chose a very lightweight cotton/nylon blend fabric, that has the slightest stretch.  I thought it would make a nice cool summer dress that would still be work appropriate.  But this stuff was a nightmare!  It wrinkles.  It puckers. It frayes.  It slips.  It melts.  Did I mention it wrinkles?  Seriously, it’s so bad that I feel like I won’t want to wear it much.  Oh well.  It’s done.

My first problem was the invisible zipper.  I had a really bad bump at the bottom of the zipper.  To get around it, I ended up hand sewing the seam below the zipper for about 1 1/2 inches.  It’s better, but not great.  You can still see it.  😦  My invisible zippers are never as nice as I want them, I think the next time I put one in I’m going to try a new technique. Licorice Zipper Bump

The next problem was the length of the dress.  For some reason this dress turned out too short.  I have no idea how it happened, I used the same pattern pieces as my last Licorice.   Not that I am against short, but I wanted to wear this to work.  So I added an extra band of fabric at the bottom.  Maybe it looks weird?  I haven’t decided yet.  For now, I’m calling it a “design detail.”

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Okay, enough about the problems.  Here’s what I LIKE about the dress – the lining!  Of course, it’s Bemberg Rayon again, in this most luscious purple!  Maybe I should wear the dress inside out – ha!

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I understitched the neckline and armholes by hand.
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And there’s my tagless garment label!!

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Finally, I made a matching belt.  But I didn’t feel like following the pattern directions, because I don’t like trying to turn a skinny tube of fabric.  Instead I folded each side over about 1/4 inch and then folded the belt in half and stitched down all four sides.

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Licorice Version 2 front

In the end, I still love this pattern, even though my fabric choice let me down.  And if I can get past its flaws, I know I will be cool and comfy wearing this dress throughout the summer.

Tagless Garment Labels

Yesterday I said I’d share how I incorporated some embroidery into my latest project.  So to make good on my promise, here it is:

Embroidered Tag

Very simple, I know.  It’s just a small monogram embroidered into the back of my dress to serve as a “tagless” garment label.  I’ve been wanting to buy or make some personalized tags, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.  Then when I starting thinking about how I might include some embroidery into my projects, I thought why not make a tag?  First, I considered embroidering a separate piece of fabric and then sewing it in.  But then I thought why not just embroider straight onto my lining?  So that’s what I did.  Here’s how I did it.

First thing to note – I embroidered my lining before I did any sewing.  I looked at a couple of my finished dresses, and decided it would be too difficult to add the embroidery after the dress was constructed.

1. Find the design you want to embroider.  There are so many options!  You could buy iron-on transfers, like this booklet:

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Or, hit the internet.  Some sites I like and/or found helpful are:

Sublime Stitching – Has really cute designs.

Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Flickr Group – A nice collection of free vintage templates.

Needle’N’Thread – Another source of free templates and a good embroidery resource overall.

Free Printable Stencils – Free Alphabet templates (I found my design here).

2. Cut out lining pieces and stay stitch the neckline.  (This is important.  It will help avoid distorting the neckline when you put the fabric in the embroidery hoop – plus it’s a good idea to always stay stitch anyways!)

3.  Transfer your image to your fabric.  There are different ways to do this.  Sublime Stitching and Needle’N’Thread discuss different methods.  For this project, since the dress lining was a dark color, but also thin, I used the low tech “window method.”

4.  I printed out my design onto plain white paper, and taped it to my window.
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5. Then I taped my lining piece on top of that, and traced the design with a white marking pencil.  (This is my soap stone pencil, which is my favorite white marking tool, btw.)
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A note about placement – make sure you leave enough room for your seam allowances, and make sure you transfer your design onto the right side of the fabric.
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6. After your design is traced, carefully place the fabric in the embroidery hoop and stitch away.  The Needle’N’Thread website has a great list of Tips and Techniques, and has several videos of different embroidery stitches.  I used the easy and beginner friendly backstitch.

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7. After your done, you’re ready to sew up your garment as usual.
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8. And voila!  You now have an easy, custom, tagless garment label!
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