Saturday, July 31, 2010

McCalls 6024 - First Basic Ruffled Wrap Dress

The pattern:

My dress--sleeveless version with ruffles:

Of note--the neckline was too low, but rather than raise it by adjusting the pattern, I decided to leave the neckline as is and attach the bodice ruffle with a medium wide bias band. It worked perfectly.

Enjoy this beautiful day!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Westwood Friday Inspired Peplum Top

As I mentioned last time, Vivienne Westwood's Friday top, which retails for $585, inspired me. As soon as I saw it, I wanted something similar!!! I didn't do an exact knock off because the Friday top would not work 'as is' for me. I'm a proportioned hourglass 8 and a lot of styles don't work as is for me. I always have to tailor styles to suit me.

There's a little more than just a pic in this post because this doesn't involve just sewing straight from a pattern.

This is the Westwood original:

The very narrow width of the shoulder straps would have limited the places I could wear it, so I made the straps wider than the original. And with my smallish waist and hourglass hips, the rounded and poufy peplum would have made me look too hippy. Because I'm petite, a peplum as long as it looks on the original and with only one focal point would not have been flattering on me. So I changed all of that.

I'm not sure how the twisted shoulder treatment was accomplished on the original because I haven't seen it in person--I don't think anyone in the city where I live carries Vivienne Westwood apparel, so I did my own thing. I thought about several possibilities, but opted to simply twist the front shoulders. The thing about sewing it like this is that you have to get a perfect fit or the twist will not lay flat. Here it is on a hanger so you can see exactly what I did. Doesn't look like much, does it?

The neckline on my version can look as cowled as the original, but I decided to tuck it in at the sides for the pic, which gave it a little more fitted look. I also didn't make the neckline as low as the original because I don't like low cut clothes.

As I mentioned earlier, I changed the peplum on my version because when I replicated the original, it made me look very hippy. I futzed with the peplum and decided on a two pronged design because having two focal points made it look slimming, but still hourglass-y on me. This was my muslin, so I didn't line the peplum. I intended to completely line the peplum of my final, but I really like my muslin, so I hand hemmed it and called it my final.

I don't need more than one of this top because it's so distinct, but if I'm still hooked on this style when my muslin wears out, I'll make another one and will line the peplum on that one. Here it is on me (I cropped myself out). The twist lays flat on me because I fit it perfectly to myself. This top was definitely worth my time and I am over the moon over it! BAM!

If we're going to do a peplum with asymmetry, we hourglass types really need the asymmetry to be two pronged so we won't look so hippy. Without two focal points, I'm sure people would have looked and would have thought wide load ahead!!! Ok, they might not ever think it about you, but they would have thought it about me. :-P

This started off as a muslin so I didn't make a belt for it. I still have some leftover fabric and might make one later, but right now I'm leaning towards wearing it belt-less because I'm thinking that a self belt with a bow as large as the original might make it look too costume-y.

Here's the pattern info:

I made my muslin from the bodice of a TNT basic wide square neck dress pattern. I rotated the front waist darts and front side darts to the neckline to make the cowl, extended the front shoulder section so they'd be short straps, removed the back shoulder section to accommodate the straps, removed the back waist darts, attached the front facing, twisted the front shoulder straps inwards once, pinned it to the back, attached the back facing and it was perfect. I redesigned the way the front shoulder attached to the back because I didn't like the way it looked on the inspiration top. It looks like an afterthought.

I have to say, though, that if my straps weren't as wide as they are, it would have twisted the back bodice. Because I made wider straps, they lay flat. I now understand, though, why the original was constructed as it was.

This is the pattern I started with (bodice only)--Vintage Simplicity 3994. I picked it because of the wide shallow neckline.

These are the adjusted main pattern pieces:

Adjusted bodice front with darts moved and the center front cut on the fold:

Bodice back:

I also drafted front and back facings. The peplum piece is too big to photograph, but it's basically an L shape with the front section tapered and curved to be narrower at the end.

And now that I have my inspired top, my plaid fabric is still sitting here as stash. I still want a plaid top for this Autumn, so I am going to start thinking about a style. I want it to have a peplum, but maybe I'll go with a fitted one that's cut on the bias to show off the plaid.

I have to think about it a little more, but in the meantime, I'll work on a couple of basics that are sitting in my UFO pile. I have some summer pieces sitting in that pile and I want to clear them out of that pile.

I also want to get on with doing more inspired pieces. A lot of designer pieces are inspiring me right now, not the least of which is this $495 Burberry skirt. It look easy to replicate, but I need to redesign a little, so I'm not quite ready to start on it:

That's it for sewing for now. The only sewing I've done since Sunday was to hem my Westwood inspired top.

So, until next time, have fun sewing, but sewing is very sedentary, so go and enjoy the wonderful world outside of your sewing studio, too!

Take good care of yourself and enjoy this beautiful day!

Blessings to all,