Sew Much Fabric, Sew Little Time…

How often do we all make new year resolutions are never stick to them? Earlier in 2018, I shared some of my personal goals for 2018 which included taking more time for myself doing something I enjoy. Thankfully that new found commitment  encouraged me to finally sign up for Beginners Sewing Classes at a local shop. Of course I always have big ambitions, I decided my first project would be Gertie’s B6453 Swing Dress Pattern.

My first visit to the local fabric store was so much fun to say the least. I browsed every aisle looking for prints that might jump out to me….floral, fruits, novelty prints, border prints, etc. From the moment I spotted this darling bird print fabric with colourful autumn leaves and berries, I knew it was meant to be. Of course I happened to be smitten by a stunning border floral panel print fabric as well, so that also came home with me for a future project. Next up was picking out the coordinating sewing notions for the B6453 Swing Dress; 2 spools of thread, 14″ zipper, adjustable bra strap rings and a yard of interfacing.

At my first class, I immediately saw that the other ladies were starting off with much more basic projects like pillow cases, kids clothing, aprons, etc. since most had little to no sewing experience but I was absolutely determined to make this dress over the next 10 weeks. With the aid of my teacher, she showed me how to “read” my sewing pattern and the proper placement for cutting out the fabric. After class I did a little homework online and found Gertie’s Sew Along Tutorial for the B6453 Dress. That is when I quickly realized I had cut out the wrong size of my pattern (too big) because the envelope measurements were incorrect. Long story short, I bought another B6453 Pattern and decided to trace it out instead of cutting into the original. Gertie’s tutorial also recommended making a muslin bodice to ensure the fit is right before cutting into your good fabric.

For the next couple classes, I worked on the mock up muslin bodice and learned how to do princess seams, darting, serging, installing a zipper, etc. The moment of truth finally came when I tried on the muslin bodice and it fit perfectly. I was pretty amazed and excited to move onto making my actual dress. Over the next 5 weeks, I saw my creation come to life. Week after week, my teacher coached me through the various steps and gave me tricks to make the most complicated steps feel much less daunting to master. I also continued to reference Gertie’s tutorial as well, I found her tips very helpful when sewing at home with no teacher by my side. Once I reached making the gathered skirt, it was not too long before my dress was nearly complete.

Although this was my first sewing project, I was adamant to get each step perfect…my OCD would not accept anything less. With sewing, you must have A LOT of patience. If you don’t get it right the first time, or second or third, patience will pay off when you finally nail it. There are a few steps along the way that I had to undo my work more than once but I was so happy that I took the time to redo it to be just right. Let me tell you, sewing the zipper in took 4 very frustrating tries but each time I learned something quite valuable for the next attempt. Every session, my classmates were eager to see the progression of my dress and just waiting for the final reveal.

After 8 weeks, my dress was finally complete and it was pretty AMAZING!  I know that may seem like a long time but our 2 hour weekly classes always flew by and I unfortunately didn’t have much time at home to work on it. All in all, I am beyond proud of what I accomplished over those two months and have a beautiful new dress to show off. There are couple small adjustments I plan on doing to the waist for a snugger custom fit but it is very wearable as is. Since learning new stops, I decided to enroll in the next session of classes and cannot wait to see my next project come to life. Stay tuned…

Aurora’s Botanical Garden

Recently, Pin Up Persuasion made an open call to all independent vintage inspired designers in hopes to showcase some fresh new talent and to support small businesses. Many may assume that these entrepreneurs might not compare to the household brand names but you would be quite surprised as their attention to detail and creativity often outshines their larger counterparts. On the flip side of the coin, those larger brands started somewhere years ago and most often than not…it’s these passionate creative minds that followed their dreams. It was so exciting when the lovely Alixis from Ains & Elke StyleHaus reached out, as I had heard such incredible things about her creations from several fellow pinups and can truly foresee the day when we can all say, “we knew her when…”. Luckily for all of you, this is a special two part feature to showcase the variety of designs you can expect from Ains & Elke StyleHaus. First up is the magnificent Aurora Dress in Botanic Print.

IMG_5347 IMG_5357The wonderful thing about purchasing from a small independent shop like Ains & Elke StyleHaus is that most items are made to order therefore sizing can be customized to fit your measurements. In this case, I fell in love with the design of the Aurora Dress and was able to select from the wide array of fabrics that they had on hand. It was definitely like being a kid in a candy store being told you can pick whatever you want! The moment I laid eyes on the Botanic Print, I knew it was a match made in heaven. Since this was a complete custom order, I provided Alixis with my measurements (bust 36”, waist 27”, skirt length 27”) and patiently waited for my Aurora to come to life. Needless to say, when she posted a photo of my Aurora in Botanic Print…I was speechless and couldn’t wait for it to arrive. Without a shadow of a doubt, the Aurora Dress lived up to every expectation when I finally saw it in person. The fit was spot on from head to toe and I was pretty excited at the fact I could wear a normal bra with the perfect placement of the straps. The Aurora Dress features a darling sweetheart neckline with contrasting faux petal bust detail, a fully lined bodice accented by a nipped in waist with gathered full skirt, and back metal zipper. Since I prefer my skirts to fall a few inches below the knee, I opted for a longer length (27”) although I’m only 5’-4” tall in order to encompass as much of the print as possible.

IMG_5392 IMG_5369The Aurora Dress has a truly a classic elegance that flatters the body beautifully. The fabric is quality medium weight cotton with vibrant and rich botanic print capturing the most gorgeous lush floral print. As you can imagine, the correct placement of the print is essential in making this design; clearly done to perfection by Alixis’s keen eye to detail with the flow of the bodice print in combination to the skirt. I absolutely love how comfortable and lightweight this style is, easy to wear to every occasion. The quality in craftsmanship is superb; I would compare it to Heart of Haute and other small scale locally made garments. A little part of my wishes this dress was one of a kind for selfish reasons but I honestly couldn’t do that to all of you because it’s just too gorgeous not to share.

IMG_5367With all the rich colours in the mesmerizing botanical print, the options to embellish are limitless. I chose to contrast with white accessories (belt and wedges) in order to not take away from the beauty of the bold floral. The wonderful thing about a gathered skirt is that you can wear a petticoat for added volume or go without and still have the right amount of fullness. As I mentioned previously, this particular style and print is versatile for work, an afternoon BBQ, or even a summer wedding. When I wore the Aurora Dress to work recently, I simply added a cute white bolero for added coverage and to keep warm from the chilly air conditioning.

IMG_5375 IMG_5388The splendor of Aurora’s the classic style is truly reminiscent of its name. If floral print is not your particular cup of tea, there are a plethora prints and colours available from Ains & Elke StyleHaus and they also allow customers to provide their own fabric as well. This is definitely one of the great benefits of working with smaller independent designers, with superior customer service and many customization options available. Stay tuned for part two of the Ains & Elke StyleHaus feature…showcasing versatile separates that are sure to become instant wardrobe staples for every pinup.