Grey flannel is dead, long live grey flannel!

I want to take a minute to apologise. Although this is supposed to be a sewing blog with no limitations (besides a slight vintage bent), it has been, so far, a grey flannel and/or shift dresses blog. There are several reasons for this:

1. I have a lot of charcoal grey flannel that needs done with.
2. I think charcoal grey looks good on me.
3. I am working on cake, and for me, shift dresses are cake (even when they are made out of floral linen).
4. My closet skews towards F/W and last S/S I was dying in the Carolina heat without the ability to give up and just wear denim cutoffs and band tees because I am, in fact, a young professional with a job. Shift dresses fill a Carolina shaped hole in my wardrobe when not made out of flannel.

but I also just realized that my favorite dress ever (EVER) is a charcoal grey flannel wool shift dress (found at the Lexington VA Goodwill for $4, like, the day before I needed a dress for a winter formal to which I had totally nothing to wear. I like it because it has short sleeves and a really short skirt.)  Seriously. Its bad. Charcoal grey shifts.

But hey! Here's another!

Grey shift

This was made using my hacked up and reassembled shift pattern Butterick 4386. This is the last of the grey flannel (omg) and it was actually made in six whole pieces; I cut the bodice and the skirt separately. I did some inside-out darts for coolth (1, 2) and finished it up with an exposed zip for ease and a black ribbon for lack of a black belt handy.

Grey shift
check that zip.
Grey shift
dem drag lines
If you can get past the puckers at the neck (more clipping!!), I have noticed that I think I need to start doing some swayback adjustments to shift dresses. I have less-than-perfect posture and what the sewing world calls a "prominent derriere" and you can see the same issue popping up in all my garments. You can see it on the back of the grey shift, and here it is from the side in my shift Mad Men-inspired toile.

2013.01.19 Green Shift
pool of fabric resting on my derriere
I'm adding a swayback adjustment to the pattern I used for the green shift (New Look 6145) after pinning it out on this version and seeing a big difference. I want each of these to be a tried and true pattern, so I think it will be worth it to take some time and figure it all out. I'm still going to wear these dresses, but my hope is to improve the fit each time I make it. Otherwise, what's the point of reusing a pattern?

In conclusion: I am done with the grey flannel. I am not done with New Look 6145 or Butterick 4386. Stay tuned for more repetitive blogging.

1. "usually facetious." p.s. you learned something today.
2. Currently re-reading and I love it so hard. 

Mad Men dress, duh.

2013.01.19 Green Shift

I started this dress when it was 75 degrees and sunny outside. I know what you're thinking... that I've been working on this dress for months. False. Last weekend, I cut everything out and pieced together the whole thing. I had really sort of planned on wearing it, since it was beautiful and sunny and warm out despite the fact that it is January. I didn't want to sew the armholes though. Armholes, boooo. Now that I've finished, it's cold, and Thursday it snowed. I may look warm in my Jack Rogers but I'm... not. I've just been workin that gradual tan lotion.

This dress is made using New Look 6145. I originally wanted to put some lace down the front Lilly Pulitzer style, but I already have a green Lilly dress with white lace. Instead I turned to my pinterest sewing board and and was inspired by the dress on the left, worn by Cynthia in Mad Men:

Full disclosure: I am terribly far behind in Mad men, and haven't watched this episode. I only know that the woman's name is Cynthia because I borrowed the photo from this amazing Mad Men costuming website which has her named as such. But look at the little notched hemline with a bow! I wanted to make the dress a little longer and thus more work-appropriate and so I added a faced notched hem instead of just facing the existing hem.

This is my second version of this dress. I made a quick wearable muslin which was too big in the bust and will be sent to my mom. The only alterations I made to the pattern were to take out an inch in the center front and back, and to line the dress instead of using facings. This fabric (Kona cotton) doesn't need it but I wanted the practice. The dress is pretty roomy, so I omitted the zipper and cut the back piece on the fold. I think I could take it in a little bit at the back darts if I add the zip back in, and I might do that to get a slightly more fitted silhouette.

2013.01.19 Green Shift
no zipper!
2013.01.19 Green Shift
side angle.

It's not the most flattering dress I've ever made, but it's not horribly unflattering, and I think it will get a lot of wear because its really comfortable, my favorite color, long enough for work, machine washable (well, we'll see), and plays nicely with cardigans. I hope to make several of these dresses for the summer in a couple different colors and with some fun embellishments: coral with navy lace? colorblocked? more exposed zips?!

2013.01.19 Green Shift

Fabric: Kona Cotton
Pattern: New Look 6145
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: none
Time to complete: not long.
Wear again? yes.
Make again? yes.
Cost: $20


I've been absent from this blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't been sewing! Sorry, reader(s).

Last year I was swept up in the cultural phenomenon that is Doctor Who. My boyfriend and I watched all of season five, fell in love with Amy Pond and Matt Smith, respectively, and went back to the beginning (of the new seasons, that is). I love the "classics," which isn't that surprising given my love of basically anything retro but especially campy 60s tv and movies, but the boy thinks they are too slow and fakey. That's not a problem for me as I spend a good deal of my time watching Dark Shadows, the fakest, campiest, cheesiest, interminably slow 1960s gothic soap. Classic Doctor Who is positively action packed and realistic in comparison.

All this to say: I have worked on two projects recently. One of which is retro (coming soon), and one of which is Doctor Who themed.

Like my intro?

Doctor Who pajama pants. My mom casually mentioned making these for us for Christmas last Christmas when I shared my love of the Doctor with my family, who took a liking to it as well. When I called her out on it this year, she was surprised that I remembered... How could I forget a promise casual comment like that?! My dad, brother, and boyfriend all got sci-fi pajamas. My mom made most of them but I helped!

2013.01.19 Green Shift

The fabric is from Spoonflower, which has a lot of Doctor Who themed fabrics. Our favorite was the Shepard Fairey-inspired Dalek print.

2013.01.19 Green Shift

The fabric on the left isn't Doctor Who themed necessarily, just time/space/geeky, with scattered 42s. On the right we have oxford cloth-esqe navy stripes with tiny tardises. Also featured: wool Filson inspired vests by my mom!

Merry Christmas a month late!


Back to Top