Have you every made a hat or fascinator to wear with a dress or outfit that you made? I’ve made a few hats on my sewing machine but not for any particular garments. I just made them because I liked the hat pattern. This year, for the first time, I actually made a fascinator to go with a dress. In April I participated in the Spring for Cotton sewalong hosted by Rochelle of Lucky Lucille. Besides making a cotton dress from a vintage pattern, I also made a fascinator and fabric belt to go with the dress.
I bought this interesting little feathered headpiece from All Things Vintage in Oakland. This gem of a shop has lovely vintage clothes and hats. Nearly every time I go, I buy another vintage hat (or two). I guess you could say that I’m a hat addict. I can’t stop buying them. And I’m especially fond of vintage hats. This feathered piece wasn’t attached to anything. The ladies at All Things Vintage suggested putting it on top of a pill box, which seemed like an intriguing idea.
I actually started to make a pillbox – I bought a buckram pillbox frame from Lacis and some solid blue fabric from Britex Fabrics but I didn’t have enough time to finish it. There’s a lot of hand sewing involved and I got a late start on the dress, which needed to be photographed by April 30. I didn’t start sewing the dress with my fashion fabric until the last week of April.
But I had a backup plan – attach the feather piece to a headband, which I also got at Lacis. But before I did that I decided to cover the somewhat faded center circle of feathers with the eyelet fabric leftover from my dress. I sewed it directly on top of the feathered circle.
Then I covered a plastic hair band with black Petersham ribbon and attached it to the hairband. I dabbed a small bit of fabric glue on the end of the headband and then wound it around the headband until I reached the other end and put a little fabric glue on that end, waited for it to dry and trimmed off the excess ribbon. Here’s a detail of the ends of the headband.
Some people call Petersham grosgrain. Petersham is the ribbon that has tiny ridges on both sides. Grosgrain has straight edges. Petersham has a bit more give to it and will curve more easily than grosgrain. That’s why it’s used in millinery – to trim a hat and to go on the inside of hats as a sweat band. Grosgrain will curve a little with some heat as long as it’s not 100 percent synthetic.
I didn’t want to attach the feathered piece directly to the Petersham ribbon so I sewed a piece of black double-sided fleece to the Petersham. Then I sewed the feather piece to the fleece.
And here’s the finished fascinator!
I positioned it a bit off-center. I like to wear hats slightly cocked to the side so I thought I’d do something similar with the fascinator.
Do you make accessories for your sewing projects? The most I’ve done is make a couple of belts – one ribbon belt with a fabric covered buckle for my Bluegingerdoll Winifred Dress and two fabric belts to match the dresses from vintage patterns. My latest fabric belt is the contrasting hot pink belt I made to go with the dress I made for the Spring for Cotton sewalong organized by Lucky Lucille. And this time I took accessories one step further and put together a fascinator by attaching a feathered headpiece to a hair band, which I’ll blog about later.
Because I didn’t actually start sewing the dress until the last week of the sewalong (I made a muslin first), I didn’t have much time to make the belt. I had to sew it after I got home from work so I could photograph the ensemble the following day. The deadline for photos was April 30. Because I the time crunch, I decided to take my chances and improvise a short cut to make the belt.
I used the same fabric as the underlining of my dress – this hot pink cotton from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics. Here’s a detail of two fabrics. I love how the pink pops through the eyelet fabric.
For the belt backing, I used 3/4″ (1.9 cm) buckram ban-roll that I got at Britex Fabrics. I work a few blocks from Britex so I can easily pop over there during my lunch break or after work. I told Natalie, the notions floor manager, that I was going to make a fabric-covered belt and I needed some belt backing. She suggested using ban-roll. I decided to give it a try. It’s wasn’t very thick but is stiff yet flexible.
My short cut was using double-sided fusible tape (see photo below) – to avoid basting. It has a paper backing. You iron it on your fabric, then peel off the paper, place the other piece of fabric on top of the fusible and iron those pieces together.
I cut the end of the ban-roll so it would have a triangular shape on the end. I cut two pieces of fabric – the first one would go partially around the ban-roll and the second would be ironed so it would be exactly the same width as the first layer. The second piece goes directly on top of the first and then they are top stitched together.
In this photo, I’ve placed the fusible on top of the ban-roll. Then I ironed the fusible to the ban-roll.
Then I peeled off the paper from the fusible tape, folded the fabric over the ban-roll and ironed it to the fusible.
Next I ironed another piece of fusible to the wrong side of the belt….
… removed the paper…
… and ironed the second layer to the first one. They sort of stuck together but not so much at the point because of the folds there.
I moved my needle over to the left and used my blind hem foot to top stitch the belt together. I sewed slowly because I could tell that my fabric layers were shifting slightly – uh, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to skip the basting. I used my fingers to make sure the fabric didn’t get out of alignment. If I make a fabric-covered belt again, I think I’ll use the fusible for the first layer but baste the second layer to the first – less shifting that way.
Then you stick it to buckle, trimming around curves where needed…
…and you’re done! I didn’t bother with belt tong or making holes for my belt because it didn’t need it. The belt seemed to stay in place. Maybe if I were using a slippery fabric instead of quilt-weight, I would have made some holes and added rivets. I like the ban-roll. It was a good weight for this belt.
Well, actually, I thought I was done but I realized later that I forgot to make the belt carrier – a loop of fabric to prevent the end of the belt from flapping around. Oops. Too bad I didn’t notice that before I did the photo shoot for the dress. But I did make one just before I went to work the next day because it was going to be my day into night ensemble. I was going to a jazz concert that evening.
Here’s the completed ensemble!
If had another day, I might have made a clutch purse. I have some leftover fabric because I was going to make a matching jacket. But it was really boxy and I didn’t like how the muslin looked on me so I skipped the cropped jacket. Maybe I’ll make the purse this summer.
I hope you’re enjoying some spring sewing! Have you sewed any eyelet fabric? If you have any tips, please pass them on. This was my first experience sewing with it.
A few days ago, I finished the dress I made for Lucky Lucille’s Spring for Cotton sewalong. The challenge was to make something from a vintage or vintage-inspired pattern using 100 percent cotton fabric. I went through my small stash of vintage patterns decided to make a sleeveless dress. This pattern was for a 36 bust, 28 waist, and 38 hips. I added a lining to my version.
My waist and hips are bigger than the pattern (especially because I’ve gained about ten pounds since last year – the result of a busy job and not making time to exercise). My waist is about 30.5 inches (77.5 cm) and my hips 41 inches (104 cm). I made most of my adjustments before I cut my muslin, which you can read about in my post WIP: a Vintage Dress Pattern and Japanese Top. Here’s my brief summary of the flat pattern adjustments before I made my muslin:
1/4″ small bust adjustment,
dropped armhole 1 inch,
added 1/2 inch (1.3 cm) to side seams of front and back bodice (total of 2 inches),
added 1/2 inch to skirt waist
added 3/4 inch to hip area.
Here’s what my muslin looked like (pardon the bad bathroom lighting). I decided to leave off the pocket detail because I didn’t really like it on me. They were decorative anyway, not actual pockets.
At first glance it looked like it fit quite well and I thought, great, now I can cut my fashion fabric. But when I turned around and looked at the back, I could see that there was a little gaping of the back neckline, which is a bit of a scoop neck that’s lower than the front neckline. Hmmmm. I had not encountered this issue before. But I hadn’t made a dress with a scoop back neckline either.
So I went online to see what pattern adjustment to make – and stumbled across Ginger Makes post: By Hand London Anna Dress: Back Neckline Adjustment. I don’t have narrow shoulders so this was the first-time pattern adjustment for me. Before I did anything to my pattern, I took off my muslin, pinched in where I thought most of the gaping occurred, then pinned it in pace with safety pins. I guess that 1/4-inch (slightly less than 1 cm) would do the trick.
Back bodice – pinned.
I tried it on again and it looked good (sorry I didn’t take a photo of that), so I decided to skip making another muslin. I made a 1/4″ flat pattern adjustment, following Ginger Makes’ clear instructions. It was easy – just draw a line from the armhole to the area that gapes the most, cut along that line and overlap 1/4″. The point turner is where I sliced the pattern and overlapped it 1/4 inch. to see a larger version of this photo, click on it once and it will open another window, then click on the photo again, you’ll see a large version.
Then I did a bit of a reality check, tried on the muslin one last time and realized that the waist needed a little more ease. So I added another 1/4-inch (.6 cm) to the waist of the bodice and skirt, crossed my fingers, and began cutting my fashion fabric.
Meanwhile, I also did a muslin of the jacket but decided I didn’t like the boxy shape. So I didn’t make it.
The challenge of making this dress is that I was using eyelet fabric for the first time and lining the entire dress with a contrast fabric. Here’s an image I posted on Instagram when I was shopping for my fabric at Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics for this dress.
I chose the hot pink fabric for the color – more like a fuchsia – rather than its weight, which was quilt weight. I didn’t think it would make the dress layers too thick because the eyelet fabric was lightweight and had a bit of drape to it. So I thought they would balance each other out. As a general rule though, it’s better to match the drape/weight of the fabrics you’re sewing together. In retrospect, it would have been better to choose a lining fabric that was lighter weight as you’ll see below. But the challenge of this sewalong was to use 100 percent cotton and I liked this color so I went with it.
3 1/2 yards eyelet fabric [amount for dress and jacket, which I didn’t make]
3 yards of lining fabric
1 1/4 yards of 3/4-inch ban-rol waistband interfacing
As I began sewing this dress, I realized I needed to figure out if I would sew my hot pink lining fabric as lining or underlining. (For a good explanation of underlining, see Seamstress Erin’s post When to Underline your Sewing.) I decided that it would depend on the effect on the eyelet – and how thick the fabric would be. So the bodice was sewn as lining and parts of the skirt were sewn as lining and underlining.
I decided that the darts could all be sewn separately, rather than sewing the lining fabric together with the fashion fabric. so I sewed the all the darts first. Four in the front bodice…
two in the back bodice…
and four in the skirt back. This is one side of the skirt back, which has a center seam and kick pleat.
I also got a nice tip via Instagram from @sewbrooke, who blogs at Custom Style. She told me if the fabric seemed thick, I could press the darts one way for the lining and another way for the fashion fabric to take care of any bulk. I took her advice.
The directions called for cutting the darts and pressing them open, which I had not seen before. I posted that photo on my IG feed (@csews) and asked if I needed to do this. Brooke said that this is often done in menswear and more necessary with a suiting or wool fabric. So I just pressed my darts.
However, the pleats in the front needed to be sewn with both fabrics sandwiched together. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see any of the pink through the eyelet.
As you can see here, the darts are slim enough that you don’t really notice that there isn’t any pink behind them. The pleats are a bit thick – something I hadn’t thought about when I bought my lining fabric. (I forgot to make a loop to hold down the end of the belt but I did make one the next day so I had it on when I wore the dress to work on Friday. It doesn’t stick out anymore.)
I sewed my bodice pieces, following the instructions in How to Line a Sleeveless Dress from Blithe Stitches, a tutorial I used when I made a dress a couple of years ago. This dress has a side zipper. I left open the area just below the left armhole.
The skirt got a little tricky. I had to figure out how to sew the kick pleat in the back with the lining. The instructions direct you to first sew the two back skirt pieces together with 5/8″ seam allowance, and then sew the center back seam, which is about three inches in from the other seam. You then fold over this three-inch bit of fabric to one side and sew it together when you attach the bodice to the skirt. This center back seam runs about 2/3 of the skirt length. The area below the center back seam forms the kick pleat. I improvised as I figured out how to sew the kick pleat with the eyelet and lining fabrics. (I cut my eyelet fabric perpendicular to the grain so I could use the scalloped edge of the selvage as my hem. The dress hem is a straight edge, not a curved one, which makes it possible to do this.)
I skipped the first seam with the 5/8″ seam allowance and just sewed the center back seam, leaving the area below the pattern mark open.
Then I sewed the center back seam of the eyelet fabric and pinned it to the waist of the lining fabric. Clearly, the dress would be too thick around the waist – six layers of fabric (kick pleat adds another two layers) – so I cut the fashion fabric above the pleat with my pinking scissors, close to the seam line. I didn’t trim the lining fabric.
Then I placed the lining fabric on top of the eyelet fabric and sewed the 5/8″ seam. Here’s a detail of the kick pleat before sewing the 5/8″ seam.
After I finished sewing the kick pleat, I was ready to sew the skirt side seams. I sewed the lining and the eyelet fabric together at the side seams. It was hard to line up the eyelet across the seam. I began at the bottom so I would be sure that the eyelet lined up at that scalloped edge. I pinned and eased as much as possible but it was all slightly off on the side seams. I decided to let that go and not get stressed out about it. I’m not sure what made it tricky – maybe because I cut the fabric against the grain or that the embroidery of the eyelet distorts the fabric slightly so things are slightly off? I didn’t use any stabilizer so maybe that would have helped.
Here’s what it looks like completed. The seam in the center is that 5/8″ seam I mentioned above.
But you really don’t see that seam in the back pleat. Without the pleat, I’m sure I wouldn’t be able to walk in this dress.
I attached the bodice to the skirt (note the zipper tape on the right). The waist seam is really thick – four layers of fabric and even more where the front pleats are. If I had to do this again, I would have picked a much lighter weight lining fabric. And I would add more ease in the hips. It’s not that it’s tight there but when I sit down, there’s small pool of fabric in my lap, which doesn’t look very good.
And here’s another photo of the finished dress!
I really love the colors! I think I’ll do another post on accessories for this dress – the belt and fascinator. I was going to include info on making the belt and fascinator but it’s getting really long so I’ll save that for another day! Thanks for visiting and happy sewing!
I finally finished my Spring for Cotton dress! And just under the wire, too. Today, April 30, is the deadline day to post photos. I couldn’t take photos until I got home from work today. Yep – rushed home, changed into the dress, traipsed a couple blocks to my location, set up my tripod and took these photos. This dress is made out of 100 percent cotton – lining and fashion fabric.
As you can see, the sun is a bit harsh around 6 pm in California – thus the major shadows. I really didn’t have time to edit the photos so what you see below is just what I selected in a hurry. I’ll go back over my photos over the weekend and either add more or replace some of these with other versions.
And here’s the back view – as you can see, the back neckline scoops lower than the front. Luckily I noticed on my muslin that I had a bit of a gaping issue but I fixed it. I’ll post construction details later! [Update (3 May 2015): I replaced the earlier photo. This is a better view of the back.]
UPDATE (3 May 2015): Here’s another photo of the dress. This photos shows how well the bodice fits. Unfortunately, the belt is sticking out a bit. I forgot to make the fabric loop to keep it in place. I finished the belt the night before I took the photos. But I made a loop the day after my photo shoot – just in time to wear it to work and then to a jazz concert that evening – Esperanza Spaulding at the San Francisco Jazz Center.
A few construction notes: Top is lined, skirt front is underlined because of the pleats in front, back skirt is lined. I thought the combination of the eyelet fabric and the lining would be too thick to sew the darts together so I did them separately. There are four darts in the back of the skirt, two darts in the back bodice and four darts in the front bodice (two side and two front darts). And there are six pleats in front!
I made the belt last night using the same fabric as my lining.
I’ll post construction photos in a separate post. Thanks for visiting!
Hi, are you doing any spring sewing this month? I’m attempting to make at least two very different garments: A dress from a vintage dress pattern – Simplicity 2439 – for Lucky Lucille’s Spring for Cotton Sewing Challenge and a top from She Wears the Pants, a the new English translation of a Japanese sewing book by Yuko Takada, to be released by Tuttle Publishing in May. This is a bit ambitious for me because I don’t usually make more than one thing a month, really. I’m not the speediest at sewing because I can only work on things after work or on the weekends. Last week in my Spring Sewing post, I decided that I was going to make this dress and something from this book. I did that post entirely on my phone and only looked at it on a computer today – there were some major image size problems, which I just fixed. Oops.
Last weekend I finally got around to tracing this uncut Simplicity pattern …
As you can see the pieces were not on big sheets of tissue paper. Instead, each pattern piece was separate but needed to be cut – or in this case traced. I didn’t want to cut the pattern because I know I’ll be making a small bust adjustment and adding more ease to the waist and hips. This pattern has a 36 inch bust, 28 inch waist, and 38 inch hips. I taped down the pattern pieces to my work table and then traced them. Before I used the tape I made it slightly less tacky by placing the tape on my pants and also on my hand. Then it would be less likely to tear the tissue when I removed the tape.
Here are the front and back bodice pieces.
After I traced this bodice, I compared it to my Emery Dress bodice for which I made a 1/4″ small bust adjustment (SBA).
Clearly, I need to drop the armscye (armhole) of the bodice. That’s a mighty high armsceye! I decided to make a few flat pattern adjustments before I make my muslin – and hopefully avoid having to make more than one muslin of this dress. I dropped the armscye about an inch, made a 1/4″ SBA, added 1/2″ to the front and back side seams of the bodice and skirt pattern pieces for a total of 2 inches, and I added 3/4″ to the hips of the skirt for a total of 3 inches. I’m aiming to fit a 30-inch waist and 41-inch hips. (The bodice and skirt pieces are cut on the fold – so just multiply by 4.)
Last week I bought this bright blue eyelet fabric for this dress and jacket. I’ve been contemplating these three fabrics to underline as a contrasting fabric: Lime green, turquoise blue, and a fuchsia/hot pink.
If you follow me on Instagram (@csews), you may have already seen these photos. Many people liked the turquoise but fans of bright colors really liked the lime green. A couple of days later I posted the fuchsia image. I like fuchsia the best. I think I’ll be making another trip to Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics to get my contrast fabric – that’s where I got the eyelet fabric as well.
All those pieces are traced and so is the pattern No. 4, Top with Epaulettes, from She Wears the Pants. It’s the striped knit top on the cover. But I’ll be leaving off the epaulettes – not my thing really. I have broad shoulders so why draw more attention to them with that detail?
I made a flat pattern adjustment to this pattern as well – a total of two inches of ease to the hips.
I’m planning on making the top using this striped knit from my stash. The stripes aren’t very wide though – slightly less than 1 cm – so I hope it doesn’t drive me crazy trying to get them to match. I have a couple of yards of it in my stash. I made a striped Cake Patterns Hummingbird peplum top from this fabric a couple of years ago.
I guess you could say that my style is eclectic. 😉 What can I say? I like vintage patterns and I like Japanese sewing books. Next weekend, I need to cut my fabric and hopefully get sewing!
I’m thinking of making the vintage dress and jacket in cotton pique. My goal is to wear it to a magazine awards event on May 1. The trade magazine I work for is a finalist for nine (!) awards. The awards event is in Los Angeles and it will be warm down there!
I like the striped top on the cover of She Wears the Pants, and a few other tops in this book. A couple of the mini dresses would work as tunics, such as this one. I wouldn’t wear anything this short but I would wear it with pants. (Photo taken with phone so excuse the quality. In fact this entire post was done on my phone!)
After I review this book, I’ll be holding a giveaway for a copy of it – so stay tuned!
Please feel free to share your spring sewing plans – and happy sewing!