Details: Butterick 5032 (Mad Men Challenge Dress)

Here’s the inside story of my Mad Men Challenge dress.
Mad Men Challenge Dress

The main fabric is a cotton/poly sateen.  I like it because it doesn’t wrinkle very badly.  But pressing was a pain!  To help minimize shine and the darts/seam allowances leaving imprints on the front, I used a silk organza press cloth and card stock.
If you don’t have a silk organza press cloth – get one, seriously!  It’s so great to be able to to see through the cloth when pressing.  (I bought a yard of silk organza, and cut myself a square from that.)


Pressing the belt for my Robson Coat…. More on that soon!

I learned the card stock trick in tailoring class.  If you sandwich strips of paper between your seam allowance/darts and main fabric, it prevents them from marking through on the front.  It’s fiddly to do at first, but gets easier with practice.

Anyway, enough about pressing . . . back to the dress . . .
One of my favorite details on this dress are the front pleats.  I was worried my fabric would be too heavy and stiff for them.  But a trip through the washer and dryer fixed that.  The heat from the dryer made the poly all soft and drapey.

The dress is fully lined with gray Bemberg lining.  I also finished the edges of my facings with bias strips I made from the lining.

And check out edges of the facings and the waist seam  – they match up almost perfectly!  This is probably the best I’ve done yet!  Ya, I know, I probably get too excited about these things that no one sees.  🙂

Also added my ‘label’ and under-stitched the facings by hand.

I did another handpicked lapped zip.  (If you haven’t tried this yet, go watch Sunni’s free zipper tutorial on Craftsy.  It’s great!  She shows how to do a lapped zip on the machine, but you can easily adapt her method to do it by hand.  Instead of top stitching down the outside with your machine – hand sew that part with pick stitches.)
I’ve struggled to find the best way to finish the top of the zipper and the facing.   I messed with this for a long time, and while it could be less bulky, I think it hides the tab pretty well.

The pattern has a slit in the back.  Normally I would have changed it to a kick pleat, but decided to give the slit a try.  It turned out okay, but I like kick pleats better.

Mad Men Challenge Dress Back

And check out my mitered corners on the inside of the slits.

On the hem, I tried something new.  The sateen puckered really bad when I tried to hem it by catching just a thread of fabric on the back side.  So I fused some weft interfacing along the hem line, and caught that instead of the fabric.  It solved the puckering problem.  Hopefully the fusing will hold up in the wash.

So there you have it, the insides of my Butterick 5032.  I like this pattern, it was easy to fit and easy to sew, making it a double-winner for me!  🙂


Completed: Rose Truffle Dress

I was in the mood for a quick, instant gratification kind of sewing project.  So I turned to my tried and true Truffle pattern.  Since I’ve made the this pattern so many times, I thought I’d knock out in a few days.  But sometimes things don’t turn out like you plan.

Anyway, without further adieu – here’s my Rose Truffle:
Rose Truffle

On this version I raised the neckline, moved the zipper to the side, lengthened the skirt, and of course went ruffle-less.  I also fully lined the dress, and drafted neck facings.

Rose Truffle
I moved the zip to the side so I wouldn’t have to match the fabric on a center back seam.  I also just like how side zips look.
Rose Truffle
I handpicked the zipper again, which has become my go-to method.  This time I added light interfacing to the seam allowance before installing the zip and I think it gives the lap more structure, and it sits more smoothly.
Rose Dress Details
Rose Dress Details
As for the lining, I finished the edge of the facings with a hong kong finish, in a contrasting color.  This is my favorite detail of this dress.
Rose Dress Details
As usual, the Truffle pattern didn’t let me down, and I’m really happy with this version!
Rose Truffle
More details:

Rose Dress Details


Rose Dress Details


Rose Dress Details

Rose Dress Details

Lining. (Those are sun spots btw, and not a problem with the fabric.)

Rose Dress Details

Rose Dress Details

And in case you’re thinking I only sew Truffles, I swear, I’m working on a different dress pattern right now!  🙂

Completed: Holiday Truffle

With the upcoming holiday party season, I decided a holiday dress was in order.  Here’s my completed holiday version of the truffle dress.  This is officially Truffle #4 for me.  I might be a truffle addict!

For this make, I altered the pattern even further. I raised the neckline, added a waistband, and made double darts on the skirt front.

Holiday Truffle

Holiday Truffle

I made this with some inexpensive brocade. My ideas was to make this quickly and not put in too much effort. But then the perfectionist in me couldn’t stop from lining it, and doing my usual amounts of hand sewing. I like the end result because it feels like a party dress, but now I wish I would have used better quality fabric. It’s already snagged in a few places, and I honestly don’t think this dress will hold up for the long run.  So sad.

Holiday Truffle

Holiday Truffle

Dart detail

The insides:

Holiday Truffle
Holiday Truffle

Holiday Truffle

Hmm, my embroidered tag almost disappeared into the print.

I did another hand-picked lapped zipper too. It’s official, I think I may do all my zippers this way forever.
Holiday Truffle

Stay tuned, I’ll be posting more about how I made my modifications soon!  And, yep, I think it’s time to admit that I’m definitely a Truffle addict.  🙂

Holiday Truffle

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:


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.

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.



It’s fully lined (in Ambiance Bemberg Rayon)

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.

I also added an embroidered label, and understitched my neckline and armholes by hand.

I sewed a vent for the first time too!  I drafted and sewed this according to Sunni’s tutorials.

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

Completed: Simplicity 2703

This dress took me way too long to finish.  Not because it was difficult.  But because I kept getting sidetracked.  Anyway, I’m happy it’s done.

Simplicity 2703

I’m not as unhappy as I look here – it was just really bright outside!

Simplicity 2703

I made this with a linen/cotton blend that was really nice to work with.  Since the zipper is in the side of this dress, the back does not have a center seam, which is nice for prints (no worrying about matching!)

The front has four small pleats at the neckline.  I think they get lost in the print though.

Here’s a shot of the muslin, you can see the pleats better here.

The pattern, as written, is not lined.  It had a really big front facing piece, that went nearly to the waist.  I wanted a full lining, so I ditched the big facing and drafted my own, skinny one.  Then I attached my facings over my lining pieces and installed them as one unit.  I like this method for lining because it does away with the need for interfacing.
Back Lining

With every new project, there’s always some new technique or skill to learn.  This dress was no different.   This time I did a lapped zipper for the first time, and it’s prickstitched by hand.  I followed this great tutorial from Sunni.  It worked perfectly.  If you haven’t tried this yet — Do it!  Seriously.  I was so much easier than putting in an invisible zip.

Here’s how it looks closed:

Lapped Zip
Lapped Zip

And on the inside:
Inside of Lapped Zip

Am I a little obsessed with this zipper?  Maybe!   I do love it though!

Simplicity 2703

Where’s my zipper?





Back facing/lining



Overall I am happy with this dress.  It’s comfortable and light weight.  In the photos, the skirt looks a little stiff, and kind of stands away from me at the sides.  I think it’s because I used spray starch to stabilize the lining, and I haven’t washed that out yet.  It should drape a little better after I do.

So now that I’ve finished this, I don’t have anything on my sewing table at the moment.  I’m eyeing this new fabric though . . . .
New fabric.