2 dresses

The other day I spent half a day walking around Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade and the brand new Santa Monica Place mall looking for a dress, a dress for a wedding we are going to in a couple of weeks. I even went to a department store (and i dislike them with passion)! Bloomingdales of all places. Nothing. Well, there were dresses, but they were either too formal (the wedding is outdoors, in Ojai, more on a casual side), too short or did not fit in the right places. Or just plain ugly. And then, some stores have their fall lines out already. I got very discouraged and frustrated.

Then I thought – well, I have a sewing machine, I have time (hubby and kids went on a little vacation) – all I need is some fabrics. I wasn’t in the mood for driving downtown – it’s too hot! But then I remembered a nice little new store on Lincoln, Planet Fabrics, and I found these two fabrics there – the one on the left is a silk, the one on the right is a very sheer chiffon.

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So, I started sewing. And the first dress is… actually made from fabrics in my stash. I was a little intimidated by an idea of cutting a sewing chiffon. I’ve done it only once before. The results were catastrofic – the whole thing ended up in trash. The silk I though would be easier, but I had only 2 yrds and I was still trying to decide on a pattern.

The fabrics I chose is linen – top is charcoal and the bottom off-white with charcoal lines:

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This one was easy to cut and easy to sew. No surprises. I wasn’t really sure what the dress would look like, since the pattern was for a chiffon dress (Burda magazine, 07/2009, dress 119 – second one on this page). I did change one thing, I added the ties in the back. It just gives it a little bit more shape. I am happy how it turned out. It wrinkles, of course, so I am still debating whether this is going to be the one.

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The serger really helped. I did not end up sewing the seams with the serger, because I wanted to iron them open (especially for the side slits), but I used it to finish all the edges.

The serger was especially of good use with this other dress, silk, with yellow chiffon lining. I added the chiffon, which peaks out a bit, because I did not have enough of the silk fabric and the dress was just a bit short.

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The pattern was again from Burda magazine, 03/2010 (the fourth picture here, dress 111). Let me just say, if I did not have the serger I would not have been able to finish this dress. My sewing machine did not like the silk. The needles just would not go through – I tried all of them, from those for thin material, to those for heavy fabrics, but nothing worked. The silk just kept bunching up. So I did all of the sewing on the serger, and for the rest – handsewn. The biggest job was sewing the bias tape around the neckline. As for the seams – I just did the narrow hem.

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The dress had nice flowing kimono sleeves and and A line skirt. It can be worn with or without a tie around the waist. It looks good both ways – on the picture it looks better with the belt. (my waist is no where near that!)

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After working with the yellow chiffon, I have no intentions of making another dress from that pink/gray chiffon in the first picture. Even with the serger it was no fun. And talking about sergers – I have not used in a while so I spent soooooo much time figuring out the settings for different sem/hem types. And different fabrics. It might have taken the same amout of time as the actual construction of the dress(es). Once or twice I almost scrapped the whole thing, but then I rethreddded the machine and the thing worked. So if averything else fails, rethread.

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