[NOTE: This project was made and photographed in March 2012]
Hullo, world! As always, much has happened in between posts and I just have to go and start it off with posting a project I made 2 years ago! Yes, the photos were always ready.. but knowing me and my concept of time which is that of another planet..meaning 2 years seems like 2 days and vice versa for people like me. Well, enough of this dallying and let us go on, shall we?
This dress was made for a friend when she joined the local pageant in our little barrio. Challenging myself to use only fabric I already had on hand, and to practic vintage silhouettes and pattern cutting methods, I found myself staring at the blankness of it all.
Most times I make a dress, I find myself incorporating different fabrics into the pattern, cutting out and filling it in with something else. At this point I am not sure if it is habit or creativity that leads me this direction. Or maybe I just enjoy it.
I had many options to throw in elements, but none of which I had materials for on-hand (like fabric paint or silkscreen). Thus, trusty Embroidery to the rescue! Never fails. Time-consuming, but always reliable. This dress was made in just a few days, I wished I could have covered it all in embroidery haha but maybe I'll save such a consuming task when my dressmaking skills have progressed to a point of worthiness. As you can see there is much still to be desired with my dressmaking skills at this point in my seamstress career lol. So much wonkiness going on! It kills me. But I must share with you all, because we all must strive for progress not perfection (I learned that in fitness frenzy).
But if we can just forgive my ever learning curve that I shamelessly show the real world all the time.. do keep scrolling down to see how it was done and where the wonderful free embroidery pattern came from!
First, I drafted and cut out all my patterns using a combination of many vintage books found online from the 1940's and 1950's.
The design of the dress itself is most likely a result of me wanting to try out a hundred things in one go but could only settle for three haha as the part I enjoy the most is figuring out the mathematics of it all in turning drawing to pattern.
Here are the patterns and the fabrics all cut out and ready to be sewn. When I do two or more layers of different fabrics on some pattern pieces, I make a little info card beforehand so I make sure I don't forget.
The first thing I did to prepare was to do an OVERCAST STITCH (check out this post by Miss Sews-it-All on creating a nice sampler of important stitches to know in my books, overcast is no. 4 on the list) on all the edges of the piece I was going to work on. We absolutely do not want them to unravel before we are done! (As a little trivia, I first learned to use this stitch the when I made dresses for my Blythes, there was no way I could zigzag such tiny dresses on my machine!)
Now once that is taken care of, we can continue to the fun part...Embroidering the motif! Since I did not have much time, I chose the middle bodice piece to work on, that way I can go for a balanced design even if that was all I had on there lol.
Waaaaiiitt! Before we embroider, we have to baste interfacing to the the bodice piece, to make it stronger and so the embroidery will not go wonky or mess up our not so thick fabric. (This year, 2 years after this, I learned to use interfacing always on my dresses, regardless of embroidery or no embroidery). Here I used a fusible interfacing, but basted it on since it did not really stick well (maybe co'z I have had it in my box for a couple years haha).
And ofcourse! Do not forget to have a pattern to transfer!
Where does one go to find free vintage embroidery patterns before Pinterest got big? Flickr!. This one is from Flickr user Mo, and was simply titled "vintage embroidery motif-swallows". I use transparent paper when I do my tracing with carbon, that way I can see the placement of the motif clearly.
I would also like to share with you my favorite Flickr group for vintage patterns, HOOP LOVE VINTAGE TRANSFERS. This is a wonderland of a collection. If you are like me, then this page is your big black hole. Everytime I look for a pattern I get lost and I want to sew them all, or tattoo them on my body, or color them like a coloring book, or wallpaper my house with them. Thank you to all the wonderful people in this group who share their finds with everyone else, thank you Internet truly.
In no time, our little miss sashayed down the disco-lighted stage and won some awards that night. She has the cutest smile and I was so greatful co'z she made the dress look good.. with her easy confidence and gracious, beauty-queen style.
Our little embroidered dress was so simple beside all the glittering, shining, shimmering, splendid gowns. Still, this seamstress gave it her all 2 years ago and truly, at the end of the day (or night), it is the person wearing the dress that makes everything about her beautiful. It will always be about your inner light.
And light she had! Our little miss sunshine!
Hope you all enjoyed this little throwback. I have more in storage. If I ever get around to it. I have sewed many more dresses since then as well, and I always plan on blogging about all the things made. I painstakingly take photos. I never just get to post them :-( Ahhh that parallel universe called real life is always holding me with arms tight.
Except tonight. Tonight I got to post something haha. Goodnight ya'll! Till next time. Whenever that may be!
Peace. Love. Dream. SMILE.