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Made by a Fabricista: Celebrating My Birthday In Style

 Hello everyone! I am absolutely thrilled to share with you what I sewed to celebrate my birthday.  


After social distancing the last few months in athleisure wear and old house clothes, I wanted to wear something much different for my birthday at the end of February.  I wanted a floaty drapey maxi dress!  When I came across V9168 by designer Kathryn Brenne in my pattern stash, I knew this was the look of my dream dress.  I could twirl around in the full circle skirt as if on air with no cares in the world and enjoy my special day.  And if I had the opportunity to join a Casino Night or Great Gatsby Party or Mardi Gras, all of which are usually held around my birthday, the slip can double as my party dress!  I love slip dresses.  They are so sexy and fun to dress up or down for the occasion. 


Fortunately Fabric Mart was running a sale on polyester georgettes, a fabric recommended by the pattern, and there was one in cobalt blue color. I love that color!  Because georgettes are sheer, I needed a dark colored fabric for the slip.  Lo and behold, the polyester crepe de chine, recommended by the pattern, was available in black.   These are the details of my fabric order:

Cobalt Blue 100% Polyester Georgette      SKU:  CCD9239           4.5 yards ($3.99/yard)

Matte Black 100% Polyester Crepe de Chine    SKU: WQC9229        3 yards ($3.99/yard)  

When the fabrics arrived, I was reminded how lightweight and luxurious they feel.  I had sewn them only one other time.  Together these fabrics were still see-through but the volume of the skirt would limit what can be seen underneath.  I then prewashed these in cold water in the washing machine and air dried them in the dryer but took them out while still a little damp. 

I first made a muslin of the bodice to check the pattern for fit. I used an old blue woven fabric.  From the picture Size 16 was clearly too big so I cut the pattern down to Size 14.  I tissue fitted on my dress form and proved that Size 14 was also good for the slip.  I did not make any adjustments to the Size 14 pattern.

I worked with the georgette dress fabric first. It immediately slid to the floor as soon as I laid it on the cutting table!  By placing an old cotton sheet underneath the georgette and weighing down the fabric with fabric weights, I was able to control the slipperiness.  I positioned the pattern pieces on top of the georgette with pattern weights and used pins only on the seam allowances, keeping in mind that all pieces need to be laid on the bias.  I cut all three layers together with my sewing scissors and held the layers mostly with clips afterwards.  For the slip, although the black crepe the chine was not as slippery as the georgette, I was not going to take any chance that it would move while I was cutting.  I placed the fabric on the old bedsheet, laid the pattern pieces on top, and cut all three layers together as well.

Sewing the georgette required special techniques. On my first set of stitches, although I changed my machine needle, it snagged the fabric, ripping away the fabric thread all the way across the piece.  I had to cut another bodice front.  Lesson learned:   practice the first few stitches on a fabric scrap to ensure the needle is sharp and stitches evenly.  I used a size 70/10 needle due to availability in our local area; I was happy with the results.  Also I placed a layer of tissue paper underneath the fabric to prevent the needle from pushing it into the throat plate as you can see from the picture.  The needle and the tissue paper resulted in the beautiful edgestitch on the front opening edges.  Because the fabric frayed easily, French seams on the side seams were better than plain straight stitching.  

I found the crepe de chine much easier to sew.  Though lightweight, it seemed to have a bit more body but I still held the fabric in front of the needle and behind the needle.  I did not require tissue paper underneath the fabric but I used it anyways for added measure.  Sew-in interfacing provided structure to the top of the bodice, which includes the neckline and the back, as well as the straps.  The straps are positioned so they are bra- friendly.   

A key detail of this dress is the belt. I love the elasticized waistline, making the dress so comfortable, but the self-belt elevated the look and accentuated the waist.  I used the cobalt blue georgette on the front with the black crepe de chine on the back.  The buckle came from my stash. The sew-in interfacing made the sheer fabrics less see-through and gave it structure.   

The finished dress exuded a very feminine vibe with the flowy skirt and flutter sleeves and sophisticated all at once.  This is the kind of dress I dreamed of and would be proud to wear to the performing arts theatre or to go out to fine dining events, which I usually do with my husband around my birthday.


As for the slip dress, I already know how I would wear it.  For day wear, I would wear it with a bolero (I used Butterick B4731, View B) paired with the cobalt- colored hat in my closet.  A pair of boots would give it a casual look and definitely appropriate for this winter weather we are having. For an evening affair, I would accessorize it with beaded necklaces, costume jewelry, and strappy sandals and dance the night away!

I had some leftover fabric and being a proponent for zero waste sewing, I sewed a loose casual top that I could wear with my black corduroy legging and black boots.  The sleeveless color block look from Butterick B6172, View A, was a treasure.  The lightweight fabrics and the asymmetrical hem were just right for a laid back attitude.  Perfect for my birthday!

By the end of this sewing journey, I produced a 5-piece birthday outfit that I could wear throughout my special day and to many other special moments in the future.  I have a collection that could carry me from casual to formal.  How cool is that?  I am very pleased with the look, fit, and feel of each piece; they made me feel so put together! My dress is to die for; I can’t stop twirling in it.  It took almost 4 weeks to finish but I had a blast creating and being creative.   

Until next time, 

MARY ANN  @anasewperfect


Unfortunately Fabric Mart Fabrics sell out quickly!
You can find similar fabrics by shopping the following categories...

GEORGETTE & CREPE DE CHINE

Comments

  1. Good to the last scrap!, Just beautiful, Happy belated Birthday many Happy Returns!!

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  2. Great pictures and explanation of your projects and techniques. I hope you have lots of fun when you wear them! They turned out great.

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  3. I enjoyed reading your blog and the photos you included. Through your explanation, it allowed me to visualize how you prepped, cut and sewed your beautiful creation. Definitely a lovely finished product and something really nice to wear to wonderful events. Looking forward to your future posts.

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  4. Thank you for posting about your process with the pattern, the fabric, and how you managed the initial cuts and construction. As a beginner, this is VERY nice to see and helps me understand how to troubleshoot.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're a brave soul for going sleeveless out in that snowy weather ! Beautiful dress and Happy Birthday !

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wonderful explanation on the fabrics, the sewing techniques and I loved seeing the pictures that went with each step. What a wonderful way to celebrate you! Stay creative and festive. Thank you for sharing your Birthday 🎂 with us!

    ReplyDelete
  7. WOW!! The dress, slip, everything looks gorgeous. And you look amazing in them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Simply gorgeous results! Thanks for walking us through the steps of these elegant garments. Great styling and photography too!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mary Ann--Your little wardrobe of blue and black is so wearable! I hope you have lots of good times in these pieces.--anne

    ReplyDelete

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