Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Peony Fit For Me!


You've probably seen a ton of pictures of this fabric on my instagram already. It's Pendleton wool circa 1950 and I've been obsessing over it for weeks. I actually bought it at Hawthorne Vintage before meeting a cute guy for coffee. The whole time we were hanging out I kept peeking in my bag and drooling over it! I seriously couldn't focus on anything he was saying, I was too busy imagining what I was gonna sew. Oh geez, I'm gonna die an old maid...

Oh well. I've been wanting a wool Peony since last winter and I was over the moon to see that I had enough fabric here to make one at last! I don't find matching plaid to be that difficult, at least not since making my Martha Dress

If you fold your fabric really meticulously before cutting, everything should match up just fine. I pin along the fold and then press it. Then lay the fabric out on my cutting surface and ensure that the plaid pattern matches up at the sides and along the salvage. Easy!

The pinked seam allowance on this dress made me so freakin happy. How lovely is that??




I just adored my pockets, but when I finished everything I found there was way too much material in the skirt. From some silly reason I'm always über meticulous about fitting the bodice, but then just sew up the skirt however the pattern says. If I know I need to drastically alter the bodice fit, wouldn't I likely need to alter the skirt too? Yes. 




But this extra fabric was unacceptible. If I had cut the fabric on the bias it would have probably been good volume, but as it was, it gathered awkwardly at the sides. Poor bootyless me...

I took 8 whole inches out at the hem and graded that in to my waist. Most of this was taken from the skirt back section. At first I thought I had altered the design so drastically that I'd sucked the "Peony essence" out, but in the end I retained the A-Line shape of the skirt, the boat neck and a waist detail (though I used beaded notions rather than the cummerbund thingy). I literally almost cried when I finished all the components (handsewing the lining, adding the hook and eye closure, etc.) 

BTW, think I use the expression "I almost cried I was so happy" in excess? Watch this video of Kristin Bell's Sloth Meltdown. I'm not the only one!!

Ok, imma post about a million pics now A: Because my friend Mercedes was kind enough to take them for me and B: Because this dress is officially my favorite garment I've made to date. Woot!


For the sleeves I was going to add a 3" flounce but my wool was too thick. I considered adding some eyelet trim but decided I liked the clean lines. 


My invisible zippers are improving, but I dont get how you get even closer than I did here and still manage to actually zip up the dang thing when you're done!


While I can lift my arms in this dress, I wish I would have thought to try the gussets Gertie demonstrates in her handbook. Next time!


If you're curious, my wrist tattoos say "Cogito Ergo Sum" and "Sum Ergo Cogito" which is Latin for "I think therefore I am" and "I am therefore I think." Yeah, I'm a philosophy nerd too. 


I had to take the waist in an additional 1.5 inches from the size 0 original pattern. And in other news, I tried to buy a bra at a specialty shop called The Pencil Test and found out I need a 26 bra band. Which I can only buy from some Polish company online. Seriously?!


Lolz, moster angle, argh! But I just love these beaded notions! I put one on my Purple Plaid Pendleton Shift Dress, too. (Oh, how I love plaid... and Pendleton... Yes, there are more of these things to come.)

I also had to change the skirt gathers into darts because of the thickness of the wool. But you can see the cute gathers on the lining below!


Um, don't worry about where these pics were taken... I wanted to be sure you saw the oh-so-lovely white-on-white cotton print I used for the lining! Cuz you know you can't have wool against your skin for more than about a millisecond before breaking out in hives. 


I did a free hanging lining and whip stitched it to the zipper. I like free hanging linings because they create a super easy neckline finish, no mussing with hem tape or any of that fancy jazz. 



I also whip stitched the lining arm hole (is there a proper term for that?) to the sleeve. I'm kinda obsessed with whip stitching things these days... idk.


Channeling Joan Holloway. Where is my pen necklace?


This is the Pearl District of Portland, btw. 


Oooh, here you can see that the skirt back is just a touch longer than the front. This was intentional. 

And best view for last: The Freemont Bridge!

20 comments:

  1. Just started following you blog! The plaid is a score and this dress is so lovely--I've seen so many pretty Peonies but just can't seem to get around to making one myself.

    ps. I totally feel for you on the tiny ribcage front, i'm a 28 band and there's few enough of those. It really does make a difference though! You may want to try out the Little Bra Company depending on your size, they have 26 bands and they're located in the states!

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    1. Thanks for following! I have heard of LBC but their cup sizes are too small for me. I'm wearing 28 DDD right now so in 26 I'd be a... DDDD. Blurge!

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  2. I love it! The beaded notions instead of the belt are perfect. I'm still afraid of plaid-matching on such a large scale--good for you!

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    1. Hmmm, maybe I'll have to make a tutorial :D

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  3. Found your blog via WeSewRetro-My goodness your dress (and you!) are so stinkin' cute! Nice job!

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    1. Awe, you're too sweet, thanks for visiting my blog!

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  4. What a gorgeous dress! It fits you beautifully and the plaid is fantastic.

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  5. Oh my goodness, you are adorable. I loved the beaded notions. Great job matching the plaid. I've got an amazing piece of magenta and fuchsia that I'm terrified to cut into, but it would be such a cute Peony. Maybe I'll be brave like you one day. :) Great shoes btw.

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    1. Thanks! Maybe you can start by making a plaid muslin? My sewing philosophy is "Do Not Be Afraid!"

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  6. Very nice dress and you are looking gorgeous in it!

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  7. This dress is really gorgeous, you have fitted it so well!

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    1. Thank you! I'm all about fit, it's why I started sewing :D

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  8. Fits you perfectly. I love the fabric and the beaded details.

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  9. There's a local place - Just Like A Woman - that carries specialty bra sizes. Call first, though.

    I love the addition of the beaded lace! It totally makes the whole dress.

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    1. Ooooh, thanks!! I called them, eagerly waiting to hear back about my size...

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  10. Hi Rachel,

    I'm Grace and I love your blog! I have a embroidery/ sewing blog—handmadegem.wordpress.com.

    I want to nominate your blog for the Liebster award! First, I want to make sure that your blog has less than 200 followers (one of the requirements). I'll be posting the award on my blog by the end of the week!

    I'd also love to chat with you about doing a blog swap (maybe vintage patterns or accessories), a guest post or any other sort of collaboration!

    Thanks!

    Warm Wishes,
    Grace

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    1. Thank you so much, Grace! Haha I only have 6 followers. Please feel free to direct message me on Twitter so we can exchange emails and plan a swap :)

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  11. This dress is just SO gorgeous. Xx

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  12. I recently discovered your blog, and I'm slowly making my way through your back posts. I absolutely adore the sequined applique on your Peony! What an ingenious method of adding fancy at the waist. I will have to keep this idea in mind.

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