Heidi in the Mountains – Vintage Simplicity 7431

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Lay ee odl lay ee odl lay hee hoo here comes my Heidi dress! This dress is appropriately named Heidi because we photographed it in the beautiful, mountainous region of Bavaria, Germany, while on our holiday.

I found this stunning 70’s pattern while browsing through Etsy and couldn’t wait for it to arrive! It took about 5 weeks to reach me from Canada and the seller and I thought it had gone missing in the post. But when it did finally get here, I went hunting for the perfect fabric. The things that really grabbed me when I first saw this pattern were the colour white, the long dress, the big collar, the halterneck and the big pockets – a lot of 70s elements that I just adore! I love the cover dress in white, so white it had to be!

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White Waffle Pique FabricI was after a fabric with some texture to make it more interesting, preferably a natural fibre. Tessuti in Melbourne came to the rescue with it’s white waffle pique fabric in 100% cotton. I got some for the dress and realised that I had looked at the pattern for the short version of the dress and not the long one! So after playing around with the pattern pieces in every possible position, I managed to just, just squeeze out the maxi dress! After I was finished making it, I ordered some more of this gorgeous fabric for a top because of the beautiful quality. Lucky I did, because soon after it was sold out!

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The skirt has a front panel, two side panels and the back panel is split in two to accommodate the zip. So there are no side seams as in most typical dresses/skirts.

The bodice with it’s curvy pattern pieces is fully interfaced with the waffle pique and the pockets are cut on the bias, which is why you need so much fabric! I underlined the skirt part of the dress and the pockets in a white cotton voile, to give it a bit more shape and structure. This took more time and the skirt could have done without it because the fabric isn’t too thin, but I couldn’t help myself! I tend to underline almost everything these days! I somehow always want to get the runway look in my clothes. The designers seem to present their collections with their garments looking like they sway with the body and have a kind of soft “stiffness”, if you know what I mean. I read somewhere that some designers don’t always line their garments, but most do underline them.

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The sewing itself is pretty straight forward. There is quite a bit of top stitching to do and I was debating on whether I should do it or not due to the texture in the waffle pique fabric, but thought “what the heck” and went ahead with it. I do think it looks better with top stitching as it defines the bodice more than without it.

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I used a special top stitching thread in white that needed to be tested out first, as the tension on my machine was just not doing it for me. In the end, the top stitching is not flawless but I can live with it. I underlined the big 70s pockets (love big pockets!) as well and they too are topstitched around the edges and the top.

It was nice to see the bodice come together bit by bit and after I had done the top stitching on it, I felt it was a small work of art! It has a good shape, form and fit.

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The dress has a self-belt that I made but didn’t put on for the photos. I am not sure I will ever wear it just because I think it covers too much of the nice “V” shape in the front waist where there also happens to be a lot of top stitching. Not sure what the designers were thinking there when they designed it…

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I bought this pattern in size 10, which is a perfect fit for me without any alterations, except for the length, as I am not the tallest person at only 161cm! I admit I am pretty lazy when it comes to making too many changes and am lucky that most patterns fit me well enough not to have to alter too much about them.

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There is already some denim fabric in my stash waiting to be made up in the knee-length version of this dress at some point during this coming summer (hopefully). It will be more wearable than a long white dress  (I know, I know…) but I couldn’t resist when I saw the pattern photo. I have a real weakness for white clothing! I don’t always make clothes for practical reasons. A lot of the time I will make something with a real passion and fervor just because I love the look of it and the challenge of making it myself with my own spin on it here and there.

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I REALLY wanted to put in an invisible zip in the back of the dress, but that was near to impossible because of the thickness of the fabric with all the top stitching. I personally prefer the zip to be as invisible as possible but had to give in to a standard dress zip this time. I’m not entirely happy with the look of it, but it will have to do… :-(. The halterneck closes via two buttons at the nape of the neck.

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This is definitely a garden party style dress. Just have to wait for the garden party season to start! Melbourne weather is pretty up and down this spring…

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Fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria

 

Beautiful Bavaria!

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STYLING: sunglasses: Carlina square by Chloe, necklace: Magnolia silver jewellery, bracelet: Witchery, ring: Apart Fashion

LOCATION: Bad Hindelang, Bavaria, Germany

Roman Holiday

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I don’t wear much black. I used to wear black a lot in my late teenage years and early twenties, but these days I usually find black boring and prefer more colour and pattern in my fabrics and clothing. However, in making my Rome dress, I have rediscovered black for myself again. I have to admit that there is something special and timeless about a little black cocktail-style dress, that no other colour can compete with.

My Rome dress is one I have wanted to make for some time in memory of the 1950s Dior silhouette labelled as “The New Look” back in the day. When defining the design and pattern for this dress, there was not much room to move, because I had very fixed ideas of what it should look like. The first thing that I decided on was the colour – black. I just thought that something classic would have to represent the Eternal City. The second thing was the 1950s skirt shape. I love the skirt shape of “The New Look”. The third thing that was non-negotiable was the neckline. It had to be v-shaped, almost heart shaped, without revealing too much. My main inspiration was the picture below that I found and photographed from a fashion magazine. I love everything about it. The line of the dress, the model’s pose, the pleated and puffed skirt. It’s just beautiful altogether – sigh.

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So I was on a mission to find a pattern that resembled this dress and what I had in mind. That was not easy. I wanted to make the bodice just as in the photo above, in one piece. But after looking through my pattern collection, I didn’t have a pattern that matched exactly what I was planning to make.

I still haven’t uploaded all of my patterns on my blog, but I do have a good collection and didn’t really want to buy another one if I didn’t absolutely have to. So it was time to compromise. I found this one – Simplicity 4581 and thought it would do the job just fine. And also suit the fabric I had chosen from my stash. It turned out to be a good choice.

I only used the pattern for the bodice and decided to make my own designed skirt with pleats to replicate “The New Look” in some way.

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Now I think the fabric is a cotton silk blend, but I am not sure. That it is a jacquard is quite obvious. And a gorgeous one too! It’s quite thick and doesn’t crease easily. I bought it from a warehouse sale I went to last year with a sewing friend. I got about 3 metres of it for a dress and coat and after making this dress, there is still heaps left over for the coat I want to make and maybe even a small fitted jacket.

The bodice didn’t require too much fabric and I only used one width for the skirt because the fabric is just over 150cm wide. So like the Capri dress, it only has a seam in the back.

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When it came to the skirt, I was debating on whether to underline it or not because the fabric was quite thick. But then remembered one occasion where I was at David Jones (a department store in Melbourne) having a look at some of the high-end clothing construction and found a pleated skirt made by a designer that was underlined in netting. That was it! My dress needed the stiffness of the netting for more structure. That way that the skirt would retain a good shape without a second layer underneath and also stop it from creasing too easily.

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I played around with the pleats and for no particular reason, decided that three pleats in the front on each side and two at the back either side would look good.  The centre pleats at the back hide the invisible zip conveniently. Because the netting is very itchy and uncomfortable, I lined the skirt in a thin black lining fabric, to make it bearable to wear.

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The bodice of the dress is not underlined because the fabric is quite heavy and it would have made the seams too thick. The top of the bodice is interfaced and the midriff section is lined in a black stretch cotton to give the dress a clean finish on the inside.

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Oh, and I almost forgot – the fourth requisite for this dress was that it HAD to be photographed at the Trevi Fountain – AT SUNRISE. Luckily for me, my good friend and photographer Meg caught up with us in Rome for a few days and insisted we do a photo shoot of one of my garments. She was just as adventurous as I was in getting up at 5:30 in the morning to take some photos for me at the Trevi Fountain before the polizia or too many tourists were there.

I was adamant on getting into the fountain for the photos if there was no danger of getting arrested, but unfortunately the polizia were there at sunrise in their little Fiat supervising the tourists… Still we decided it couldn’t possibly be against the law to just sit on one of those rocks just inside the fountain for some harmless photos. So I got onto the rock just inside the barrier and Meg began taking photos. About 10 seconds later, the polizia started to whistle. I said to Meg “Do you think he means us?” But she just told me to sit still and kept taking photos. When he got louder and louder and started yelling, we decided it was time to move. Thankfully he didn’t come down to us and make Meg delete the photos or give us a fine!

After the photo shoot we went to a bar for a coffee and cornetto (Italian croissant) and had a good laugh about our eventful morning!

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In conclusion, I have to say that I love how this dress turned out. The black jacquard is gorgeous and a real treasure -find at $5.00 per metre! The dress fits me perfectly and using the net as underlining was exactly the right choice in getting the skirt to hold it’s shape and not crease (too much). The only thing that I need to fix is the right “boob”. I find that the gathering tends to make it “sag” a little. Otherwise, very happy with my Rome dress!

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P.S. My apologies to those of you who are getting this post the second time around. I accidentally pressed the “publish” button instead of the “preview” button when editing two days ago and off it went into the blogosphere…

STYLING: shoes Apart Fashion, necklace and bracelet – Zara, gloves – Myer, sunglasses – Margot by Tom Ford

LOCATION: Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

PHOTOGRAPHY: meggi-design