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…

The Betty Draper Showstopper

All of us are quite familiar with the major vintage reproduction brands like Pinup Girl Clothing, Collectif, Heartbreaker, Stop Staring and so on. But do you ever seek out independent designers for a one of a kind design custom tailored to your body? Does the word “custom” automatically make you think “expensive”? Well, you are not alone in assuming this but we couldn’t be more wrong. While perusing Etsy for a vintage inspired wedding dress, I stumbled upon a particular piece that screamed “Betty Draper” aka from Mad Men. Initially I thought to myself, it’s probably made overseas and cheap quality so I simply passed it by. As time went on, I kept seeing the Betty dress come up in my searches so I decided to look into the seller Show Belles to find out more about them. To my surprise, they were located in the USA and created their designs using genuine vintage patterns. My curiosity was peaked so I decided to send the designer a message and fast forward until today…

BettyThe designer of Show Belles is a lovely lady by the name of Rhonda who is a one women operation with a love of creating vintage and period clothing. She could not be more kind and we quickly realized that we share a mutual passion. Rhonda loves to create custom pieces for her clients and amazingly offers them at affordable prices. I was quite ecstatic when she kindly offered to send me the “Betty” dress sample to review for my readers. There was no doubt in my mind it was going to be spectacular and I was so eager to share this with all of you.

Available in a variety of prints & colours ~ MSRP $98.99USD

Betty2I am delighted to say the Betty dress not only lived up to my expectations…it far exceeded them! As I mentioned earlier, Rhonda creates her designs using vintage patterns with high quality fabrics appropriate to the era. The construction is flawless and the details couldn’t be more exquisite. When it comes to fit, Rhonda will custom tailor the pattern to your exact measurements so you can ensure it will be picture-perfect. The white rick rack trim is genuinely from the 1950’s and finishes the dress flawlessly. The fitted bodice is fully lined with cotton muslin with a beautiful scooped neckline.  The Betty dress comes with a matching belt and features a tea-length full circle skirt. What initially caught my eye when I first saw this dress on Etsy was the beautiful soft floral fabric and how is screamed classic 50’s housewife. From the moment I showed my husband, we nicknamed it the Betty Draper dress as it’s truly the epitome of her character. The timeless design is figure flattering for a variety of silhouettes.

Betty3The Betty Dress will make a statement where ever you go. Whether you wear it to an afternoon gathering or a more formal evening, you won’t go unnoticed. Pair it with you favorite set of pearls and some lovely Mary-Janes to complete the ensemble. Less is more with such a classic timeless design. Adding a soft cropped cardigan will transform it into a quite versatile outfit perfect for any occasion.

Betty4

il_fullxfull.429230759_3m6zI cannot tell you how many ideas I have for Rhonda to create and beyond excited to feature her creations for all of you to discover. The possibilities are endless and it is such a pleasure to support an independent business like Show Belles. Make sure to check out the Show Belles Etsy shop in the coming weeks for the new fall/winter collection and do not hesitate to contact Rhonda about creating your own custom vintage dress!

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~ Have you fallen head over heels for the Betty Dress? Well I have a surprise for all of you…Rhonda has generously donated the sample dress for a Blog Giveaway!!! ~

All are welcome to enter but please keep in mind this is a sample therefore the measurements are as follows: Bust 38”, Waist 28”, Hips Open.

The Show Belles Dress Giveaway will commence on Tuesday, Aug. 27!

P.S. Maybe you have someone special that you can gift it to?