Belladone Opposites

Remember the contest I talked about early this year?

I also picked up the Deer and Doe pattern Belladone, which I am in love with!

(Granted, I fall in love with a lot of patterns…)

But seriously, I’ve made 2.5 of these in the first quarter of the year…

The ice blue one is version 2, and the green skirt is version 1, but I am combining them for this post, along with the bonus of the skirt I made from the same pattern (Version 2.5). Because they’re all done, with almost no changes between the versions, so why not? And though I know I should make some more adjustments, I didn’t pause in between making these.

The Belladone is one of those patterns that I’ve seen around for so many years, and yet I haven’t gotten my hands on it mostly due to the shipping from France thing. And I don’t have many paper patterns from indie companies (read: none), so I couldn’t really see buying the paper patterns. But so many people have made fantastic versions, and I wanted to join the legion!

I made the cutaway back version for both dress options, and I had to make one (rather large) adjustment, which I assume has to do with my broad rounded back. I had to sew a huge dart from just underneath the overlay to the armscye. And now the back lies smoothly against mine! The hem was also “very long” on me, meaning at knee length, but I prefer my skirts to be a bit higher, so I went back and hemmed each version a couple inches.

Version 2 (which was finished first) is made from an ice blue cotton with neon slubs woven in (that aren’t visible from more than one foot away), and is fully lined. Granted, that means its mostly interlined for the bodice, and then actually lined for the skirt. Version 1 has a chambray bodice (woot for scraps!), and what I think is a cotton/poly lawn (woot for scraps part 2!). And then I made a skirt version out of the same wax print cotton that I made my Uganda dress out of a few years ago. I had just barely enough to make it happen, but it’s infinitely more wearable than the dress is, which is a great thing!

I made up Versions 2 and 3 for my this big conference in Seattle, since I don’t have much of what you might call “business casual” and then decided to alter them. The skirt only got hemmed a bit higher, but the ice blue dress got a stencil treatment. I laser cut a stencil with a vaguely floral geometric design, and I used silver Jacquard Lumiere paint to put it on the waistband. The design is not terribly visible, even though I used a Micron pen to outline it a bit, but I like the small amount of definition it gives to the dress.

Because Version 2 was fully lined, I didn’t need to bias bind the neck or armscyes, but when I finally finished Version 1, I had to bias bind them, which I did in a lovely green, and I’m considering stenciling the waistband with a gold fabric paint. We’ll see what happens in a couple weeks.

These are wonderful dresses/skirts though. They worked well for the transition from winter to summer, and so far are doing well for actual summer too! Wait until I show you my hack of this! It’s going to be awesome (judging by the wearable muslin, at least)!

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Shifting Waters Fumeterre

Last summer I was lucky enough to win a prize in the Indie Pattern Month competition for my pattern hacked Nettie dress, and this prize included two patterns from Deer and Doe, and one pattern from Paprika Patterns! I’ve been interested in both companies for a while, since I found the folded mini skirt tutorial from the latter years and years ago, and since I tried the Deer and Doe free t-shirt pattern.

This is the Deer and Doe Fumeterre skirt, and I made it in January. And yes, this is March. I’m not fantastic at the getting posts written and picture taking at reasonable times…

I bought this awesome two tone (green and aqua) chambray over the winter holidays, and had no idea what to do with it. I remember the bolt saying Robert Kaufman (like my favorite fabric-dress combo) but I can’t find it online. It’s got some weight to it, and pretty much no drape, but its not heavy enough to count as jeans-weight denim, and I probably wouldn’t have worn it as a jacket (though it would’ve looked awesome)! Yet I couldn’t bring myself to remove it from my shopping cart. Both colors you see in the photos in this post are accurate, in different lights!

When I got it back to my house, I looked through my “catalogue” of patterns, and realized that even though it doesn’t have the drape expected for the Fumeterre, it would look so awesome!

Using the recommended size, I traced my pattern pieces, and was able to cut out the skirt with very little left over. Looking at the pattern, I decided that I couldn’t give up the chance to use the pockets, and the button band. I’m not regretting the button band idea, but I now wish I’d used only a partial button band instead (faked the lower half), since the opening doesn’t flow well due to the lack of drape in the fabric.

The pockets are glorious though! I interfaced the pockets, which does affect the drape, but they haven’t really stretched, which is ideal. They’re huge! So handy to have in a skirt, and they look pretty cool too.

The inside has a lining, though I attached each lining piece to the pattern pieces, so I suppose it’s more of a flat-lined lining than a true one. But it made it easier to deal with just a bit of lining that slinks, rather than a full skirt of slink that I would need to deal with the seam frayage. This way, I just bias bound each of the skirt seams, and ironed the seam flat. This did eat up a lot of my bias stash, but it was worth it!

(Also, I noticed the stain when I was already on vacation, and just decided to go with it… I’m going to work on it later!)

The hem is long! I’m almost 5’3″, and in my heels around 5’4″, and I shortened it by over 2 inches, and might have cut off some in advance as well. I like the length I’ve got it at now, but I’d definitely shrink it earlier in the process next time. Mostly because I’m not really a heels-often person. Though my new pair is super comfy!

One of my favorite things about this version (beyond the fantastic pockets) is the buttons I chose. The waistband button is a golden shank button, made of plastic, but so cool! The other buttons are a greenish-blueish shifting ombre color thing. They’re pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

The only issue I’m finding with my skirt, which is totally a fabric thing, is that is wrinkles early and often. It’s definitely something I’m going to find annoying as I continue to wear it, but I also know that this skirt is wonderful to wear and waft around in, and I’ll wear it until it falls apart!

This got its first real wear in Seattle for a meteorology conference, and the next big wear in New Orleans for a vacation, where the green wall pictures were taken… I’m considering this business casual, but it works in real life too!

Dancing Shoes

Have I ever told you that I ballroom dance?

I think I have, since I judge nearly every make involving a skirt for its swishability, but just in case, this is your warning!

So I go to social ballroom events monthly, and typically more often than that, especially during the semester. And that means I almost always have the “But what should I wear!!” problem…

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This summer and fall I rectified this by altering a vintage dress, and making a gathered maxi skirt.

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Now, the vintage peach dress fit me nearly perfectly off the rack. It would fit better if I wore a vintage bra, but that would require me having one…

It looks to be a handmade dress, as there’s no label, but if it isn’t then it’s been drastically altered. It looks to me like a 50’s dress, and the seam lines are so interesting that I considered buying it regardless of if it fit me…

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But it did, and that made me quite pleased. Until I tried to take it off, and couldn’t manage. It had a side zipper and slipped over my head with little issue, but then I couldn’t get the dress over my lack-of-biceps… Luckily I had a friend with me in the thrift store.

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However, I did not have a friend around a few days later when I got stuck in it again, around midnight. So I seam ripped and carefully cut my way out of the sleeve. It felt like a real workout by this point. I seam ripped the zipper out, and sewed up the side seam, and input a center back zipper. It’s not my best work, but it’s passable in person.

I also took up the hem of the “slip” underlayer a bit, since it was at an awkward length for me originally, and left the tulle lace layer alone. Every time I touch that layer, though, I seem to tear the tulle, so I try my best to be careful, but I’ve mended some of the big tears, and I have more to do.

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So then a few months later I wanted to make a new skirt to help get me out of my fall funk, and I put together this maxi skirt together out of a length of what seems like curtain fabric and some heavy lining fabric. So I call it my Giselle skirt… Get it?

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The lining is cut in a nearly A-line shape, and I gathered the curtain to put it into the dress. As it’s a border print, I cut off some of the top and saved the bottom hem. I aimed the hem to be about an inch off the ground when in my ballroom heels, and it may be a smidge short, but it’s still plenty long.

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But when I realized that I still needed a closure, and to take in the waist, I decided to try a temporary closure, which I haven’t yet fixed. I’m using some hook and eyes to provide shaping, and I pull the maxi skirt over my head for “closure,” so that the skirt stays above my hips, but still falls nicely. It works especially well with bodysuits, so that’s been my pairing of choice.

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This is the first of a series of posts labeled: “Annabelle’s Last Chance to post 2016…” Be prepared for a small influx this week…

Got any clothes that you pair with a specific activity (beyond workout wear)?

Second Blue Skirt of the Summer

This skirt was produced in August, in the heat of my “Crap I’m not ready for DragonCon” frenzy, but in July I had raided the Hancock going out of business sale and gotten some blue seersucker…

It became a skirt, but really, it’s never going to be worn out of the house. Cute, mostly comfy, way too clingy.

This skirt unfortunately shares a bit of those adjectives, but not the right ones.

But first the background.

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The fabric is a rayon from Joann’s that’s pretty opaque, but can be a bit transparent in certain lights. The one thing I didn’t take into account is that it’s more of a shirt weight, and is too drapey to be flattering in a skirt this long.

I created a pattern based off of the fabric I had (just over 2 yards), and made it as circle skirt-like as I possibly could. I drafted side seam pockets that also inserted into the waistband, which was magnificent foresight, since the fabric definitely would not have held side seam pockets on its own. And it has a side seam zipper as well, to add to the confusion.

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Sewing it together was pretty quick, but the hem. I hemmed it by hand. which I think took 2.5 hours. I waited the requisite 2 ish days between sewing an hemming, but I still haven’t gotten it quite right…

Ankle length was what I was going for, because I wanted to show off my adorable heels, but I accidentally got it a little short, and now its a slightly awkward length…

The waistband is also a little too big, which currently is held together with a skirt hook and a safety pin, and the pockets ended up too low, in order to keep the skirt at a near ankle length…

So in short, it’s clingy, and comfy, but not terribly cute…

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It definitely worked for DragonCon, with the corset over it (as shown in all these pictures), but when I wear it with normal shirts and stuff, I have to be careful not to show my lower stomach bump. It’s one of the reasons I don’t wear tight around the hips skirts much, and it shows a lot in this skirt.

So, now that I’ve regaled you with all the info on this skirt… I should tell you that I’m going to make this into something else. I’m thinking a shirt. I don’t think I can squeeze out an Archer, but I’m going to try!

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I’m going to need to make another Ariel skirt, since I love this outfit in general, but I have to find a better fabric, and I’ll want to make as full a circle skirt as I can, for the floof factor.

Hope you all had a lovely Halloween/October!

TARDIS Console Skirt

Now we’ve made it to the real meat of the costume. Last week, or rather two weeks go now that I’ve checked, you saw the petticoat, and the bum pad before that. This week we’re onto the skirts.

This gold polyester taffeta has been sitting in my stash for two years now. And this week I learned that even if I sneeze in its general direction, it will collect water stains. Also, its super easy to accidentally melt.

TARDIS skirt side

But back to the costume. In order to model it off of the console, I wanted 6 sections of gold divided by sections of light aqua.

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Super scientifically I measured the base of the skirt (on the ground…with my flat tape) and divided it into six sections. Now, this ended up being too big, but we’ll get to that. I then decided I wanted the aqua sections to be about 3 inches wide, and divvied up the fabric.

TARDIS skirt back

When I saw how woodgie the aqua fabric was, I knew that I needed to not only back it with something, but back it with something solid, so I used the same taffeta for that as well. I cut the aqua 5 inches wide, and then gathered it every 10 inches or so, and basted it to the taffeta. I was using half inch seam allowances throughout, mostly so it would be easy to calculate the exact widths. I then realized that the skirt could use some extra texture, so I made wide pleats up three of the six panels, and centered one of them in the back.

TARDIS skirt front

Once the entire skirt was sewn up, it was a panel too wide, but I was determined to keep all six, so I left the back pleated one (which I had accidentally melted the bottom of anyway), and cut off 4 inches of each other panel.

It still ended up a bit wide, but it was easily handled by pleating, and the apron and bustle covered up most of the top of the skirt anyway!

TARDIS skirt zipped

I attached a waistband made out of the same taffeta (sense a theme?), and used a zipper to close it. It’s not a long zipper, so it’s still a smidge difficult to get on, but it works nicely. And it’s covered by the bustle anyways. If I knew it would be seen, I’d think of using a different closure, but it’s fine for this one!

Now, by this point I had spent nearly two days working on this skirt, when it was only supposed to take me one, and I hadn’t even touched the pleats on the bottom yet. I took a break to drape the apron and bustle and make the shirt. But it’s probably better that I did.

TARDIS skirt pleats

The break gave me time to buy some poster board, which I used to make a pleating board. It took nearly three hours to pleat enough to go all the way around the skirt. And I only almost melted the taffeta once.

There is always time to add extra trim, which is what I’ll be doing for the next month or so, since my daily life will be too busy to facilitate the extracurriculars. So tedious hand sewing could keep me on track! But that’s the skirt as it stood for the pictures that I’ve taken of the whole costume.

I’ll be back on Thursday to show you the bustle. Till then!

Touch the Sky

no glasses

So here’s what my Merida pieces look like together!

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To recap, I made a set of outfit pieces to subtly reference this outfit Merida wears at the end of Brave.

So I made the skirt first, and spent ages to embroider it.

Then I made the top, which I probably won’t wear much alone, but they do look nice together!

sideThey’re connected using a bunch of hook and eyes, so that the skirt doesn’t ride down and reveal the green lace peplum.

I got all gussied up and pincurled my hair, which ended up a little wilder than I expected. Perfect for a dressed up Merida!

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Have a happy Thursday!