Friday, January 25, 2013

Haltertop Hussy


Inspired by the movie "Rear Window", a little something discreetly racy brought to you by SavageCoco Patterns to satisfy your inner Hussy.  Finished sample photos at the end of this post.

The Movie, the Plot & the Dress:  Oh, the things that go on behind closed doors!  Our Heroine intends to seduce her captive beau.  She enters the scene as demure and cool as the ice white of her pearls only to begin a slow bit of strip tease.  Off with her gloves and hat, then her jacket in one casual move.  Oh, swoosh!  Instantly, her creamy shoulders and back are bare for the enjoyment of her captive audience of one.  All the more sexy to lure in her prey.  This woman has a plan.  Our heroine has chosen a belted haltertop dress with a white front wrap bodice and an attached skirt of Nile Green.  Oh, you thought it was a separate blouse and skirt?  No, our girl will be out of her attire with no more than a quick zip down the back. She's a fast worker, this one is.

So plan your next amorous attack and make like this Hussy in a Haltertop and get your man. He'll never know what hit him.  

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A note about the designer and our Heroine:  A certain someone with a few Oscar statues lounging about her altier felt our Heroine didn't possess much up front.  As such, many of the garments in our Heroine's closet from this film were ruched, gathered, folded and/or otherwise manipulated to give the impression of a fuller bustline.  Our Heroine wasn't much impressed.  Additionally, the director, who may or may not have had an unhealthy obsession for tall, cool blonds in too tight to breath Nile Green suits with naughty thoughts on their minds, insisted on just that.  You will note during the scene of which this pattern was inspired by, our Heroine never sits.  Oh, she carefully - very carefully - momentarily lays across her beau's bed, but she never actually sits. She probably couldn't.  Additionally, if you watch the clothes and not the movie, you will note how this dress moves, or rather, does not.  And that it, in fact, was a dress, not a blouse and skirt as often believed.  You could not have tucked anything into that skirt and not have seen the outline of it, as well as the zipper is a continuous line down the back of the garment.
Perhaps if you're not built like our Heroine, one of these shrouds of lycra should bring things into alignment . . .
Pattern Notes & Skill Level:  This pattern is a size Medium on a 5’4” model, 36” bust, 30" waist, 37" hip.  Skill level assumes intermediate sewing construction knowledge, a centered back seam invisible zipper with machine inserted lining cut from the same pattern.  Pattern layout is not included but grainlines are marked on the pattern.  Additionally, this garment is cut with very little wearing ease and should be taken into account.
Special pattern/design alterations:  This pattern was drafted for the wearing of a halter or strapless bra.  The back neck is sewn closed - you step into the dress, pull the neck over your head and pull up the zipper.  The skirt has been cut to fall at knee length for wearing ease and a more contemporary look.  You will need to add length if desired.  Instructions for lining a kick pleat are not included but a link to a YouTube video is.  The skirt includes both front and back darts. Our model didn't require front darts as she eats pasta, so they are not shown in this tutorial. Darts for the skirt front are included on the pattern if needed.
If you wish to make the blouse portion only of the dress, a cutting line at the hip of the skirt portion has been included on the pattern, however, you will still need to step into the blouse due to the back zipper and closed neck construction.
Suggested fabrics:  Blouse:  Silk Habotai or other lightweight fabrics; Skirt: polys, silks or other lightweight wovens, stretch wovens.
Yardage needed:  Blouse and skirt, each:  44”-45”: 1 2/3 yrds;  52”-54”: 1 yrd, 1 1/4 yrd. lining for skirt and blouse back, organza underlining if desired.
Notions:  One 12"-14" invisible zipper, 1 yrd. Grosgrain or Petersham ribbon, 2 hook and eyes, one belt kit, lightweight interfacing plus several lengths of 1/4" wide fusible interfacing or fusible bias tape such as Design Plus - Nancy's Notions has it., 2 yards 1/2" bias from lining, Washable Wonder Tape.
Assembly Instructions

All seams are 5/8” unless otherwise indicated on the pattern.  All seam allowances are included in the pattern, you do not need to add them.
1.  Print, assemble and cut out all pattern pieces.  This pattern has 5 pattern pieces and uses 22 sheets of 8.5” x 11” paper to print. 
2.  Layout all pattern pieces, cut fashion fabric, underling if using and lining.  Transfer all markings. Note:  the "collar" armscye/neckband pieces, once cut, are shape shifters. Keeping the pieces pinned to the pattern until ready to sew is highly recommended.

3.  Apply any underlining if using.  This tutorial underlined the skirt portion only in the Flatline method.  Also known as the All-In-One Lining/Hong Kong finish. The tutorial skirt was both underlined and lined as the poly fashion fabric was a bit lightweight after being laundered. It isn't always necessary to do both. If your fashion fabric has enough body, perhaps one or the other will be enough.  Assembly instructions below include lining the dress. 

4.  Immediately after cutting the bodice front and back, stabilize both the neckline,  armscye/bodice back top selvages with 1/4" fusible or fusible bias tape, to prevent stretching during handling and construction.  Stitch a basting line at 1/4" to aid in rolling if desired.

5.  Roll neckline selvages 1/4" twice and blind hem or hem of choice.   Washable Wonder Tape aids in pinless rolling.  This seam allowance is 5/8ths to allow for roll of the cloth. 

Top Tip:  Use invisible thread when hemming for a true "blind" hem.
Make 1/4" pleats in neck where marked by folding where marked.  Pleats fold towards neck and away from shoulder. Baste down.

6.  Construct neck/armscye bands with 1/4" seam allowance, stitching long edge and back edges only.  Clip copiously between notches, turn, press and baste wrong side to wrong side to hold.  Washable Wonder Tape works wonders here and negates the need for pins or thread basting. 
Top Tip:  For perfect points, try this little trick from Pam at  Scroll down her page for the "Perfect Collar Points...A Shirtmaker's "Secret" Technique." It's pretty fab. 

Perfect Points!

7. Sew darts in bodice back, both fashion fabric and lining. Butterfly darts by pressing fashion fabric darts towards the center back seam and lining darts towards side seams. On the bodice lining only, baste a 5/8ths stitching line on side seams.
8. Sew darts in skirt back, both fashion fabric and lining. Butterfly darts by pressing fashion fabric darts towards the center back seam and lining darts towards side seams.
9. Sew fashion fabric bodice back to skirt back at waistline from center back seam to back darts only. Repeat for lining. Insert invisible zipper in fashion fabric center back seam. On the lining, baste off 3/8" down each center back seam of the lining the length of zipper tape.  Set lining aside.

10. Sew fashion fabric bodice fronts to back at side seams.  Grade seams and press towards back.

11.  Baste armscye/neckbands to bodice, underside of band to right side of bodice.  Baste bias tape over same from neck to 1" beyond side seam and stitch through all layers in a 1/4" seam.  Press, clip and turn bias tape to inside. 

12.  Sew lining center back seam to zipper tape.  Sherry's tutorial Facing an Invisible Zipper over at PatternScissorsCloth is excellent.  For our purposes, the bodice back lining is treated as if it were a facing.  Once you have sewn the lining along the length of the zipper tape, you will then roll it, as in the tutorial, and finish sewing the bodice back lining to the fashion fabric back bodice, with the armscye band sandwiched between the two, from the zipper to the side seams, keeping the basted lining side seam selvage free.  Photo below left.  Press, turn, understitch, then stitch down the bias tape from side seams to neck edge. The armscye bands will roll to the front, covering the stitching.   You will hand finish the bodice back lining side seams at a later step after the skirt and skirt lining are constructed and sewn to the bodice.  A photo below right shows this finished.

13.  Stop and have a cocktail.  You've earned it. 

14.  Place bodice fronts your right over your left, matching center front and side-front markings. Baste pleats through both layers on dotted lines only.  Stitch pleats through both layers by folding along baste lines, matching markings.  Press towards side seams. 

15.  Sew skirt front to backs at side seams, make darts if using.   Repeat for lining.  Be sure to butterfly any darts - fashion fabric towards the side seams, lining towards the front.

16.  Sew fashion fabric skirt to bodice at waistline from back dart to back dart. 

17.  Repeat for skirt lining, right sides together, sandwiching the fashion fabric in between between, (flip the skirt lining "up") stitch at waistline through all thicknesses.  Flip the skirt lining down, grade seams and press.

18.  Blind stitch back bodice lining at bodice side seams.
19. For the neck closing, open up armscye/neckbands at neck and sew wrong side to wrong side in a 5/8" seam. Note - there is a slight curve to the seam at the folds portion - shorten your stitch to make the curve. 
Trim seam allowance to 1/4", press open, fold under the top corner of the seam allowance then fold the collar onto itself, wrong side to wrong side. 
Top Tip:  A tad of Washable Wondertape pressed on with tweezers helps hold this down instead of using pins.

Finish by stitching in the ditch and blind stitch over the exposed seam allowances - about 1/2".

20. Hem skirt and lining. A handy video tutorial for lining a kick pleat can be found on You Tube at Fashion Sewing Blog TV. There are no photos of the tutorial garment's kick pleat due to an unfortunate incident involving new scissors.

Top Tip: Catchstitching the hem to the underlining only provides no-show stitching on the right side of the skirt.

The skirt lining was machine hemmed 1" shorter than the skirt hem.
 A Few Finishing Touches
 French tack the lining to the skirt at the side seams.

Top Tip:  Make a waiststay from Grosgrain (acceptable) or Petersham (better) to both take the pressure off the zipper at the waistline when zipping up your dress and help keep things in place, eliminating the Tug of Shame when one wears something strapless.  Wouldn't want to induce Lt. Blackslashacrosstheeyes of the U.F.P. (Universal Fashion Police) to issue any citations.  She's everywhere, so let's not take any chances and add that waiststay.
Top Tip:  And see those little "bumps" inside the hooks?  That's where you slide your pin through to hold them in place while sewing.  Slip a pin through the fabric, run through the opening of the bump and pick up bit more fabric, slip through the bump of the second hook and pick up a bit more fabric.  Your hooks will stay aligned during hand sewing.  You're welcome.

You may wish to add hanger straps at the waistline side seams to aid in hanging the dress, however, if your skirt is figure-hugging, the outline may show through as they did on the tutorial sample.  So they were removed and the dress is folded over a hanger in the same manner as a pair of trousers.
Make the belt.   Here's some pics of the tutorials belt making.  The kit was vintage and very old but the Tutorialist only paid a dime for it at the '12 ASG Summer Stash Sale.  There was marginal success with the stickyback template due to the age of kit.
Tool List:  A little block of scrap wood, a small hammer, an awl and/or a nail set, measuring tool, disappearing ink marker, eyelets and eyelet crimping tool.  This is the Dritz eyelet/snap combo model that comes with assorted color eyelets.

Mark eyelet holes with the disappearing ink marker - a pink Singer water soluable pen was used - place the awl or nailset on the marking and give it a good whack with the hammer.  Go ahead - whack it again.  Wrench it free.

Place the eyelet, smooth side down on the awl/nailset, then fabric and push the eyelet up until the serrated edge shows through on the other side.

Place smooth side of eyelet on the crimping tool. Top Tip:  put a bit of cloth between the smooth side of the eyelet and the crimping tool to reduce abrasion on the face of the eyelet.  you'll need to make a hole in the scrap fabric to slip over the pin of the crimping tool.

Give it a squeeze . . .
Practice a bit first

The finished Hussy belt



Complete the Look:   To carry out one's seduction, captive or otherwise, you're going to need some supplies.  Portage of same in style is essential.  A Mark Cross Ladies' Case foots the bill nicely.  A choker of pearls, of course.  That lovely bit of wrist whimsy known as the Charm Bracelet.  And a little secret potion of your choice to grease the gears of your charms. . .
So make this dress and be your own Haltertop Hussy

SavageCoco Patterns©

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Divine Dinner Dress

Divine Dinner dress made from a sheer poly mesh and lined with white tricot for opacity.
 The Washable Wonder Tape Tutorial is at the end of the assembly instructions below.

Line Drawing

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A Divine Dinner dress inspired by Andre Courreges' designs for Romy Schnieder in the movie "LaPiscine."

The Film, the Plot and the Dress:  A young couple, vacationing in the South of France, mostly by the pool in the sun.  They are visited by our heroine's former lover and his young daughter.  While her current Mr. Wonderful is off gallivanting at the beach with the daughter (that cad), our heroine is cooking up dinner in style.  She is chic and cool in an open back maxi-dress that simply floats with elegance.  Featuring an all-in-one self neck/armhole band, the dress falls straight from the neckline to a fluid hem. An excellent choice to show Mr. Had It And Lost It precisely what he let get away.

Pattern Notes & Skill Level:  This pattern is a size Medium on 5'4" model, 36" bust. You will need to draft your size up or down.  Skill level assumes intermediate and above sewing knowledge.  Hook & eye closure at back neck, open back with facing, unlined.  Pattern layout is not included but both dress front and back are cut on the straight grain fold.  This pattern has been drafted to allow for either braless/wearing of a bra, depending on how low you decide to open the back facing.

Suggested Fabrics:  Fluid silks, polys, lightweight knits.

Yardage Needed:  44"-45" W:  4-1/2" yrds; 52"-54"W: 4 yrds.

Notions:  2 hook & eyes, Featherweight interfacing, 8 - 1" squares of organza; 1/4" Washable Wonder Tape, thread.

Assembly Instructions:

Seams on the all-in-one neckband are 1/4", except where noted on side seams.  Dress body side seams are 5/8" French seams.  This patterns allows for a 1/4" + 1/4" rolled hem on a 5' 4" frame.  All seam and hem allowances are included in the pattern, you do not need to add them. 

Print, assemble and cut out all .pdf pattern pieces.  This pattern has 5 pieces and uses 46 sheets of 8" x 11 1/2" of paper to print.  When assembled after printing it will look like this:  

A pattern layout is not provided however, pattern pieces are cut the on straight grain fold of fabric.  Cut fabric and interfacing, transfer any markings.

Interface one set of Front/Back armscye/neck bands.  This will be the inside band.  Sew Front (#3) to Back (#4) at shoulder seams only.  Repeat for outside band. 

Butterfly the shoulder seams by pressing shoulder seams of inside band towards the Front and outside band towards the Back, as pictured below.

Baste a 1/4" seam allowance on the bottom selvage of the inside band only.  Interfacing has been left off of the Tutorial pics of the bands. The photo below is the Tutorial's inside band - CF is on the right top of the pic and CB on the top left, shoulder seam in the middle, creating the neckline U on top and armscye upsidedown U on the bottom. 

Sew a 1" square of organza to each inside corner of both bands. Trim and clip to but not through small pivot points.

Sew both bands together at neckline only, right side to right side.  Clip curves, press and turn, wrong side to wrong side, press again.  Lay out flat with one set of armscyes up and away from you and one set facing you.

Utilizing the All-in-One Facing technique, beginning at the bottom set of armscyes, roll the bands up towards the top armscyes, stopping at the top shoulder seam, as pictured below.

Take the top armscye and bring it down towards you, over the rolled bands,

then under the rolled bands and up to meet its match, right side to right side, encasing the rolled fabric. 

Sew armscye from side seam to side seam, being careful not to stitch through any fabric encased in the tube.  Clip curves, press seam then pull rolled fabric through tube.  Press.

Repeat the procedure for the other side.  Your will now have a machine finished neckline and armscyes.  

Open out armscyes and sew side seams at 5/"8.

Apply interfacing to back facing placket (#5).  This Tutorial utilized blue organza.  Press facing (if using organza, press separate ) in half lengthwise,

and baste a line down the middle (stitch in the ditch) from top to bottom. 
Press flat. Baste raw edges at 1/4" 

and choose an edge finish.  This tutorial utilized a rolled hem (to marginal success). 

On wrong side of facing placket, draw a horizontal line at 1/2" up from the desired back waist length opening dot (bra band or open to waist) and at 1/8" to each side of the middle basting line, then draw a line from this marking to the dot, creating a stitching guide.

On back dress (#2), again press on fold line from neck edge to corresponding dot and baste a line from neck edge to dot, stitching in the ditch.  Press flat.  Place facing placket on dress back, right side to right side, and sew together 1/8" of either side of middle basting stitched to dot, decreasing stitch length at the 1/2" mark from dot.  At dot, pivot, stitch 1-2 stitches across dot, pivot up to 1/2" mark, increase stitch length again and continue up to neck edge at 1/8" of other side of the middle basting stitch.  

Cut facing open along middle basting line stitching, from neck edge just to but not through dot.  Press seam towards facing and turn to inside.  Understitch facing if desired.  Understitching the facing is recommended on this dress to hold the facing to the inside.  Baste facing to dress along neck edge.

The sample Divine Dinner dress was made from a sheer poly mesh (Hancock Fabrics) so required a lining. A white tricot purchased from Britex in San Francisco was used. The tricot lining altered the back opening facing construction only. Instead of a separate facing, a 1" stip of bias organza was laid along the back opening seam lines only instead of an interfaced facing. The stitching of the center basting lines, 1/8" of either side of same, the bottom point, turning right-side out and understitching remained the same as above
Sew dress front (# 1) to dress back (# 2) at side seams with a French seam (wrong side to wrong side at 1/4", press, turn right side to right side and sew again at 3/8").  Press.

Sew all-in-one outside neckband to dress beginning at back neck edge, pivoting at point(s).  Clip where necessary, turn and press all seam allowances up into neckband.  Press under raw edges of inside band along baste stitching. Wash Away 1/4" Wonder Tape or Steam-A-Seam aids in this step.  There is a short Wonder Tape tutorial below. Stitch inside band down enclosing all raw edges.   If desired, edgestitch all-in-one neck band at neckline, around armscyes and bodice seam(s).  Attach hook & eye closure at neckline.  Hem at desired length.

Complete the Look:
Invite a few friends and an old flame or two to dinner and don this captivating caftan.  To complete her look, our heroine has chosen ivory espadrilles and swung her hair into a French twist (all the more to stay cool under increasingly hot circumstances) and a gold wrist bangle.  Oh, and some more peach lip gloss - just in case Mr. Had It And Lost It requires a kiss-off.  So make this dress and create your own dramatic and Divine Dinner dress.

Heels or Esparilles?
Dine out or stay in?
Style or comfort?
One bangle or three?
Silver or Gold?
Make TWO Divine Dinner Dresses. 
One short, one long.
Now, wasn't that easy? 

1/4" Washable Wonder Tape
The single most fantastic sewing notion. Ever.

The sample Divine Dinner dress was made from a sheer poly mesh (Hancock Fabrics) so required a lining. A white tricot purchased from Britex in San Francisco was used. The tricot lining altered the back opening facing construction only.  Instead of a separate facing, a 1" stip of bias organza was laid along the back opening seam lines only instead of an interfaced facing.  The stitching of the center basting lines, 1/8" of either side of same, the bottom point, turning right-side out and understitching remained the same as above. 

Once the back opening was completed, the side seams sewn and turned right-side out, the two layers were treated as one and the garment was completed as the instructions above.  However, the mesh and tricot being quite lightweight, some seam stabilization was needed to aid in constuction both running the fabric through the machine and to keep selvages from stretching out of shape. 

First, Sullivan's Fabric Stabilizer was sprayed along all the selveges - twice - letting coats dry in between application.

Second, Washable Wonder Tape was used to baste the neckline and armsyces selvages together instead of a traditional basting stitching.  You will see it used below in photos of the dress neckline, armscyes and neckband.
Working on a flat surface, finger press the tape onto the fabric then run your nail along the first inch or so to help separate the tape from its white base. 
Peel off the white base
For the neckband inside edge, roll over at the basting stitch and finger-press down.  For the fashion fabric and lining, finger-press together wrong side to wrong side along neckline and armscyes.  The dress pieces are now stabilized and ready to be sewn as one layer into the neckband.

A note on stitching the mesh:  On the conventional machine, a size 9 ball point needle was used,  alternating a 1.0 zig-zag width, 2.5 length for stitch runs beween the neck band corner pivot points; then a 2.5 straight stitch when both re-inforcing and stitching the pivot points.  Side seams were serged but the above zig-zag would work too.  Mesh does not ravel.

Savage Coco Patterns©