Wednesday, July 27, 2011

S2248: Inspired by Anthropologie Regatta Dress

In 2006 Anthropologie introduced the beautiful Regatta dress.  I just thought it was fabulous, but I just could not spend the money on it.  Over the past several years, I have throught about it and looked at it in my file of inspiration pics that I save on my computer. 

Awhile back I started to get serious about doing a knock-off of it, so I began to look for fabric.  I found plenty of red and white striped cotton fabric, but it was all very regular striped.  If you notice on the anthropologie dress, there are four red stripes and then a white space.  I finally quit looking, and one day when I was on Gorgeous Fabrics looking for something totally different, I spied this fabric. I linked to it, but as I am writing only 5 yards are left.  I believe it was on sale at the time I bought it.

This Regatta dress also came in a gorgeous black/white version and there is also a black/white version of this fabric at Gorgeous Fabrics.

    The fabric is not exactly like the anthropologie fabric, but it is closer than I thought I would ever get.  Before I found the fabric, I had already decided on the pattern:  Simplicity 2248.

I made the first view on the first row of the line drawings.  I did not extend the wraps around into a bow, but I just inserted the edges into the side seams instead.  I knew I wanted to be able to wear a cardigan with it when it gets cooler, and the bow would just get in the way.  Also, the straps were not long enough to tie into a nice bow once I got them made--(Make your straps about 1.5 feet longer if you go that route).  Also, since there is a definite right/wrong side to this fabric, I cut extra straps, sewed right sides together, and turned them inside out instead of making the narrow hems down the edges.  I avoid doing narrow hems when I can, although I will do them when necessary.
   I made a muslin of this dress and had to pinch out some in the yoke back.  I drew where it needed pinching out, cut it in the middle, and brought the lines together.  Then I taped it together and smooshed it as flat as I could.  Is "smooshed" a proper sewing term?  Anyway, here is a pictorial of the process.

Draw in dart representing area needing to be pinched out

Slice up the middle

Bring lines together, smoosh flat, tape, and smoosh flat some more.

I don't know if this is proper sewing technique, but it worked and it fits.  I also had to taper in from 5/8 inch to 7/8 inch out to the armhole where the yoke back attached to the back skirt to remove gaping at the back armhole.  I also had to taper in to 7/8 inch at the front neckline to eliminate front neck gaping.
Here is the finished product of the front and back.  Mine is not an exact replica of the Anthropologie Regatta dress, but I did not want a strapless dress.  Mine is more of an inspired version.
Blue velvet shoes:  Nine West
Necklace:  New York & Company


If you notice, the pleats on the back skirt are a little hiked up.  I promise they don't really look that way.  It is because I have raised my arms and shoulders a little to hold up my hair so you can see the open back at the neck.  If I had noticed this before taking off the dress, I would have retaken the pic. Happy Sewing!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vogue 1174: Cynthia Steffe dress (100th post)

I cannot believe this is my 100th post!!! When Vogue came out with this pattern several months ago, I thought it was so pretty.  I bought it when it went on sale at BMV and then added it to my to do list.  (Do you ever feel like your sewing to do list will never get all done?  It almost stresses me out sometimes, but then I remind myself sewing is for fun)  I waited for the perfect fabric to come along and it did.  I used the same fabric that I made this skirt from. 
   After shunning muslins for many years and, as a result, having many unplanned muslins (TEE HEE!!) , I have finally decided that, for me and my sanity, a muslin is the way to go--even if I only make one for the bodice.  It is a great feeling to know without any worry (to a reasonable degree--I always worry) that what you make is going to fit, particularly if it is especially lovely fabric or, especially expensive fabric.
    I read several pattern reviews on this dress before I made it and many of them commented on it being sized too large.  I cut my first muslin my usual size 12.  After sewing up the bodice, it was HUGE!!!  I pretty much knew I was going to have to go down two sizes, so I cut a size 8 and did a second muslin (a first for me).  Even then, I had to taper in about a half inch more at the top of the side seams.  My recommendation is that if you make this dress, you are probably going to have to make a size or two smaller.  Even if you have never made a muslin before, I highly recommend it for this dress. 
     I very much deviated from the instructions given for this pattern.  They use a couture technique of horsehair and foundation and all of that stuff I have never done.  After thinking about it for awhile, I decided to make this bodice like I did the bodice for my knockoff of the anthropologie Verite dress.  I cut the bodice pieces twice, interfaced the bodice, and used the second pieces as facing.
interfaced bodice

I added boning to just the side seams of the bodice facing.
facing with boning

The pattern called for making piping.  I have a serger foot that will make piping easily, but I was lazy (just being honest)  so I just bought some from a local Singer store in the town where I work.  I originally had thought about using a lavendar piping to pick up the lavendar in the dress, but I could not find just the right color.  At that point, I thought about actually making it, but then I could not find just the right color of fabric.  After holding up red piping to the material, I thought it would actually work best.  The pattern did not call for piping the top edge of the bodice, but I did it anyway because I thought it would give it a more finished look.
bodice upclose

I also added straps like a blogger did at Sew Tessuti by making them a little wider at the shoulder.   I loved the look of the straps with this dress.  Also, since I was going to wear it to church, I honestly would have felt a little exposed in a strapless dress , but that is just me.  I see people wear them all the time and I think they are lovely.  Maybe I will get up the nerve.
   I had never seen a skirt attached to a bodice like in this pattern, but it was different so I went with it.  I used red topstitching thread.  Also, I did not put in an invisible zipper.  This fabric was so thick by the time you got the facing and interfacing in that I just used a regular zipper.  It actually sort of disappears into the seam. Speaking of zippers, it is this dress that I took a break from to make my Ikat dress (previous post) while I waited for a store to open to buy a zipper.  I also lengthened the dress by a couple of inches.
    The lining for the dress is a basic polyester lavendar-ish pink lining that I bought at my local fabric shop.

shoes - red Target peeptoes
I originally had on a necklace with lavendar stones, but I had taken it off by the time I took this pic.

Please forgive this flat hair--I took this pic after walking through the rain to and from the car at church.  It is sooooooooo humid where I live in South Alabama.  I actually hot rolled my hair if you can believe it, but one trip through the humidity destroyed that. 


My final assessment of this project is that it is not hard if you have been sewing for awhile.  However, even though I did not use all the couture techniques described in the instructions, it was still very time consuming. 
I leave you with a pic of the nail polish I wore.  It perfectly matches the pinkish lavendar in the dress--I'm sorry but I couldn't help myself--I like for my nail polish to match my clothing if possible.
OPI "Windy City Pretty"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

M6069 - Ikat Dress

I have had this McCall's pattern in my stash for awhile but have never found just the right fabric for it.  During one of's recent sales, I spotted the perfect fabric--Ikat rayon jersey.

  This dress was truly one of the easiest garments I have ever sewn.  Now, it took me more than the 1hour that the pattern envelope advertises.  I don't even think I can cut out anthing in just 1 hour.  I sewed View A and added the back strap.  I went right by the instructions except that I omitted the pockets. 
   This dress came about while I was in the middle of another dress project (more on that in a later post).  Unfortunately, I realized I did not have a zipper for the dress and being that it was the 4th of July weekend, there was nowhere open to go buy a zipper.  Being this was the Saturday before the 4th, I knew I could not go without sewing all the way to Tuesday--I would go into withdrawals.  I decided it would be the perfect time to whip out the Ikat dress. 


Necklace:  JCPenney
Belt: Old Navy
Shoes:  JCPenney
Until next time---Happy Sewing!!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Vogue Patterns, you have outdone yourselves!!!

I don't usually do reviews of new patterns on my blog  because there are other bloggers who do that so well. I just don't see adding my voice since they do such a fabulous job with their reviews.  However, I can't help myself this time.   I just decided to pop over to and see if Vogue had added any new patterns. WELL, THEY HAVE!!!!  They are amazingly gorgeous.  Just think drape and more drape, knits and more knits.   I don't think I have ever been more exciited over a set of new patterns.  May I just share some of the beauties that caught my eye.
Vogue 1259
OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I think my favorite of the whole bunch.

Vogue 1258
Reminds me a little of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge's style --yes I am a Kate-a-holic.

Vogue 1256
Jaw dropping!!!

Vogue 1253
So elegant!!!

Vogue 1252
The lines of the pattern are not very visible, so here is a line drawing.

Vogue 1254
This reminds me of that Catherine Walker dress  Duchess Catherine wore while in Canada

Vogue 8742
Nice ruching.

All I can say about these patterns is, "Come to Mama."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

S3503: Polka Dot Halter Dress

I don't watch Glee, but I keep up with Emma Pillsbury's fashion via the wonderful blog, What Would Emma Pillsbury Wear?  One of my favorite outfits ever that Emma wore is pictured below:
Here is a better shot of the outfit with the red shoes.

Here is the full post on this outfit.
I  knew I was going to have to recreate this somehow.  First I needed a black polka dot dress.  Even though Emma's dress is not a halter, I wanted one so I bought some lightweight rayon blend black/white polka dot knit from (I think).  It may have come from, but I can't remember.  I chose to use Simplicity 3503, View D, the shorter length halter dress.
  I read a few reviews on and found out that to make the back elastic fit well I needed to cut it for the size smaller than I was making.  I did that, but I could probably have cut it a  little shorter for a tighter fit.  It stays up okay, though.  The pattern calls for a tricot lining.  I had never worked with tricot before making this dress so this was a first for me.  I bought some 40 Denier Tricot White  from It was pretty easy to work with as it behaves like most other knits.  However, it does tends to roll up on the edges. 
  Overall the dress was easy to make, except for one part of the instructions that made me a little confused.   The instructions have you run the elastic through the back piece on which you have made a casing and then sew it to the bodice front to which you have already attached the lining.  I had to look at the pictures to figure out what to do, but I just went with it and it worked out.


   Here is how I wore the outfit inspired by Emma Pillsbury.  I wore a necklace with lime green and pinkish/purple in it, so I chose eggplant patent Mary Jane heels instead of red ones like Emma wore.

Cardigan:  Old Navy
Yellow belt:  Walmart
Necklace:  Charlotte Russe (I think)
Shoes:  Parisian (before they became Belk)
Until next time, Happy Sewing!!