05 November 2008

Yes We Can Skirt and Yes I Can [Finish] Dress

These last two days, during the nail-biting on Tuesday and The Day After, I've been very sewing-productive. Well, I've been productive overall, but recent non-Halloween sewing accomplishments include:

The Yes We Can Skirt
To keep myself from fritting and fretting too much on Election Day, having early voted two weeks before, I kept my hands and most of my mind busy with this skirt for a couple of hours. The pattern is Butterick 4924, and the fabric is a sturdy brocade, probably 100% poly, and very possibly a home dec fabric at some point in its life. This skirt is so winter to me (might go well with my gold shoes) and the temps in Austin have been getting to the mid-80's very consistently. I'd hoped to wear it today, but it will have to wait for a cooler day.

This is my first invisible zipper application that I have been satisfied with, and I used the instructions that came with the zipper (I usually get YKK zippers, which come with just a hanging tag, and this zipper happened to be a Coats & Clark, which came with pretty decent instructions).

Anyway, it fits well and I think I will enjoy wearing it. I'll have to snap a photo when I get to wear it for the first time!

The Yes I Can [Finish] Dress
This is the BurdaStyle Danielle dress, sleeveless -- free download. I started this in FEBRUARY!  Yes, people have gotten pregnant and had babies in the time it's taken me to finish this dress.  I sewed it in three sittings, but many months elapsed between each sitting.

If you've never downloaded and sewn up a BurdaStyle pattern, it's kind of trippy: You print the pattern on your home printer, tape a million pieces of paper together (well, probably just 20-30 for this dress), cut out your pattern pieces, and go.  Some folks download the "print on big paper" PDF's and email them to a local print store.  That's just one extra step that might delay the process, so I go for the print at home option.

One extra-trippy thing... a seasoned BurdaStyle sewist from Japan (Miho555) has almost my exact same measurements, and she noted that she will print BurdaStyle patterns in size 34 at 96% of its original size to achieve a size 32.  Given that the smallest size for this Danielle pattern is a 34, I decided to try that.

I think my first procrastination came after sewing the bust darts -- so pointy!  I'm not in love with them but I can live with them for a muslin.  Took me a few more months to pick it up again, at which point I realized that I cut the midriff band too short.  I was frustrated and put the dress down again, for a few more months!  I finally tackled it today and put in a centered zipper (would have preferred invisible but I didn't have one at home, and darned if I would put the dress down to run to the fabric store for a new zipper!  Might not have finished the dress till 2009 if I held out for the invisible zip!), tried it on, and it pretty much fits like a dream.

There's always a snag.  Well, not literally a snag in the fabric, but a hitch: I made this dress entirely out of heavy muslin scraps and remnants -- yay for not being wasteful! -- but I did not pre-wash any of the muslin.  So there's a strong chance the dress will shrink and I don't think I have much breathing room to lose.  Plus, as it's unbleached natural muslin, I thought I would dye the fabric, which may very well shrink it beyond wearability.  Maybe I'll just hold my breath while I'm wearing it.

Color suggestions?  I'm leaning toward yellow, as I constantly complain about the lack of yellow in my life.  Would love to hear what you think.  :)


  1. Oh, I love the pleats in your dress. I hope it fits after you dye it!

  2. What beautiful work on your "Yes We Can Skirt," Antoinette. And, gold shoes? How wonderful!

    I seem to remember, and I could be 100% wrong, that the new Jacquard iDye doesn't take as hot of water as most other fabric dyes--I believe it's supposed to dissolve very rapidly. So that may help with shrinkage, if that's the case.


  3. I like the shiny skirt! And I'm kind of laughing at the muslin Danielle (not because of the look of it, but because I just posted something on Wardrobe Refashion earlier today asking about using muslin remnants! I'm making a muslin for a pantsuit. Don't think I'll be able to quite steal this idea, though, as the muslin is a bit on the see-through side.)

    Nice work on both counts!

  4. ok both of these are WAY CUTE!!!!! As for yellow, what about trying some kind of natural dye (sorry, no ideas here on any actual brands or anything...) I would think that a natural vegetable dye might not require hot water. Or something. Anyway, both articles are so incredibly cute, and I of course am wildly jealous of your zipper abilities. zippers....the bane of my existence.

  5. You have been productive! I love the skirt--I am skirt obsessed!

    And the dress would be great in any and every color! The pleats are beautiful!! Glad you can wear your muslin.

  6. That skirt is gorgeous! And I think it would pair perfectly with the gold shoes. I really like the dress too and didn't realize that it's a muslin til you actually mentioned it.

  7. Your skirt is really gorgeous ! I really love the fabric you chose and it will go perfectly with your golden shoes .
    And this muslin dress is lovely , and will be more lovely in a colour you like !

  8. Yes I can comment this post :) I read you blog for few weeks, and I've never posted a comment.. today I feel that I can ;)
    The skirt is really cute, I love the pattern... the color...

    Your Danielle dress is gorgeous !!
    I haven't realized that the pattern was so nice while I've visited burdastyle website.
    I'll reconsider my position!

  9. Cute cute!! Love them both! Yellow would be pretty color to dye the dress. Hope it doesn't shrink too much during the process of washing/drying and dying.

  10. gorgeous work as usual. how about painting your dress, a la Project Runway? well, really Balenciaga. that could be fun... or a tea stain might not shrink it as much as a dye bath.

  11. I love that dress! I would have never thought it was that beautiful in the Burda style pictures! What a great idea to do it in muslin - I may have to attempt to do the same as I question my abilities to sew more than a simple skirt (in the clothing department). I have the luck to work at a place that has a large format printer. . . so I end up printing full size Burda Style patterns for free at work. Hehe. :)

    As far as color? I would go for a rich dark purple but I think because that's the color that I'm drawn to recently that is completely absent from my wardrobe!

  12. That skirt is to die for! I really want to see it on you (hope that's not too creepy. . .I just want to see the skirt in action). I have already seen & commented on your beautiful new dress. You rock!


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