THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

December 31, 2007

Evening wear, bustier and skirt

Filed under: Closures,couture sewing,Els,sewing — Els @ 4:06 pm

My last post for this year is about a bustier and 8 gore godet skirt I made 2 years ago, one of my nieces is the model so the patterns are drafted on her measurements. 

The fabric I used was stretch polyester satin and viscose embroidered tulle,  polyester habutai lining. Interfacing a lightweight woven stretch for the top, bustier interfacing and soft tie interfacing for the extra bust padding. Petersham ribbon for the skirt waistband,  Rigilene boning and spiral steel boning. Invisible zippers for the skirt and the bustier. Because there are no instructions or pattern to review I add pictures so you can see some details for those who are interested in some techniques I used for this outfit.
The skirt was easy to sew I used a 60 needle and alterfil thread which prevents puckering, due to the coating of the thread .

To read more about how to use the alterfil coated thread see AlterFil®S Sewing Thread for Pucker-free Seams

Pressed the seams open and used a 3 thread serger to finish them, just as the lining skirt.
The skirt and lining are sewn together at the waistline, pressed a fusible stay tape just above the stitch line for the waist and I used petersham ribbon for a facing at the waistline.
Since I only had brown petersham ribbon in my stash I covered the ribbon with a bias cut fabric after I pressed the petersham outer edge in shape.
The cover is pressed open by using the edge of a wooden paint spatula since this was narrow enough to get inside the fabric cover. I thread marked the waistband for corresponding seams and stitched the facing at the waistline of the skirt.


Turned the waist face band under and pressed in place. Attached the waistband to all the seams with invisible hand stitching.  

The bustier is supported by an inner bustier made of a special heavy bustier woven interfacing. The bust padding I used is to add some more “body”, but also can help as a support for a more voluminous bodytype.

 I used a soft tie interfacing for this padding and this is stitched onto the inner bustier interfacing, see diagram pattern.

The stitching line is a sewing foot away from the previous line. Start and finish the padding 3/8 inch( 1 cm) from the centerpart and side panel.The depth depends on the bust depht. 


To prevent stretching out I used strips of bias cut lining which I steam pressed first.This so called stay-tape is sewed at the upper and bottom edges of the inner bustier.I marked the measurings from each panel at the seam allowance.

The rigilene boning is stitched over the bust seam allowance till under the bust there I split the boning and removed the covering partly and cut off the center plastic tubes till I left 2 tubes at the left and right side.

Those tubes were sewed by using a zigzag stitch but only at the seam allowances (left and right side).

Piping filled with a tiny cord which is sewed at the bustier around the edges.

The excess wide of the lining stay tape is cut off later.


Tulle lay out using the already interfaced fabric parts as a guide. Hook and eye tape which I used but covered with lining fabric.

I did cut 2 additional panel parts to use as a tightening piece of strength, so the invisible zipper would not have to hold the body tight on its own with the risk that the zipper will separately itself.

The extra panels are cut from a sturdy cotton covered with lining and sewed at the inner bustier  panels.

 The invisible zipper is too long but needed to get dressed, to keep the extra length of the zipper inside I used a snap . The “male “part is sewed at the end of the zipper and the “female”part is sewed just besides the zipper start at the lining.


On the next picture you can see that when the zipper is closed and the hook & eye tape panels are not closed yet, they are smaller in wide about 3/8 inch (1cm)  because when this is closed they have to hold the body tight and not the zipper.


To keep the lining snug under the bust I sewed a small fish eye dart.

December 30, 2007

Covering zipper for furry fabrics

Filed under: Closures,Els,Notions,sewing,Tutorials — Els @ 8:16 pm

If you want to use a zipper with a faux or real fur fabric it can be difficult to open and close the zipper because of the hairy fabric.
You can prevent this by covering the zipper teeth with a piece of tape.
For the example I used a piece of satin bias tape, which was pre folded but I pressed it open and folded it again in half and sewed the covering tape with a loose tension so I can remove that stitching after I have sewed the zipper in the garment. I used a different colour because it is easier to see which tread has to be removed later.
This is not necessary, if you do not want to remove the first stitching use a matching colour thread and a normal tension. You can use any other piece of tape or a strip of folded lining fabric.
I sewed the tape that covers the teeth of the zipper with the zipper tape on top:


December 25, 2007

The Ghost of Christmas Past

My mother sent me these vintage needle booklets for Christmas – aren’t they wonderful?  She said in her note that she found them at a “second hand sale” and as soon as I opened them I felt an immediate and powerful connection to the sewist who used them.

My favorite tools are always the ones I make myself.  I made the needle book below a few years ago when I was going through a bit of OCD while trying to embroider a proper bullion rose.  

The “cover” is filled with two pieces of plastic canvas zigzagged round the edges, then trimmed.  I added flannel pages and stitched a center “binding” between the pieces of plastic canvas.   I have a collection of vintage needles I that like to use for embroidery and hand sewing, so I store them in this booklet.


I have this fantasy that the woman who made the vintage needle books was just as pleased as I was when she finished hers.  The fronts and back are two colors of wool felt, and the pages are white flannel.  The butterfly is missing one antenna, but the simple silk floss embellishment is still bright.  The flower basket is embellished with posies stitched from french knots and lazy daisy stitches for leaves.  The handle of the basket folds down to show the needles.  Based on the shapes and colors I’d say both date from the late 1930’s to mid 1940’s.  I love the imagery from this era because it reminds me of my grandmother and my great aunts.

I doubt I’ll take the needles out – I’d rather leave them just as they are, as they were, the last time the unkown maker touched them.   A sewing moment frozen in time; a tangible link to the past and a respite from modern life.

December 23, 2007

Alternative for real buttons, part 2

Filed under: Closures,Els,Embellishment,Fabric,sewing — Els @ 6:10 pm

I found some more pictures I took from the blouse flower “buttons”. The underside (bottom) is shaped into a small square about 1/2 inch wide.

The bottom is attached to the blouse center front at two spots, this way the loops stay put on them.

It makes sense that the loops although they are tiny are edge-stitched too so they will keep their shape by the weight of the flowers.

December 22, 2007

Alternative for Real Buttons – Make a Dior Rose

Filed under: Closures,Els,Embellishment,Inspirations,sewing — phyllisc @ 10:33 am

Els post on the Dior Rose reminded me of how much I love this as an embellishment.  Purchased trims are often more expensive than your fabric, and these can be made from scraps. These are easy to do and they can be made in just about any size.

You can use any fabric, but of course silk makes the showiest roses.   A drapey fabric like charmeuse makes a softer rose than a dupioni,  but really it’s up to you.  I’ve also seen them made from chiffon, wool crepe and even boucle, which is kinda cool.  Here’s how to make them:

Draw a long rectangle on paper.  This one is 2 inches wide by 10 inches long; a longer rectangle will make a rose with more “petals”.  Fold the rectangle in half and mark off a curved edge using a French Curve.  Mark a 45 degree angle as the grain line because you will cut this out on the bias. 

Cut out the rectangle and sew a scant seam along each curved edge; then turn the rectangle out. Do not press it  –  a soft edge makes a prettier rose (I used china silk for the sample below).  Finger press the stitching on the curved side seams (my scissors  above are just holding down the unpressed folded edge.)

Take a length of knotted thread and baste along the bottom cut edge.  Don’t cut the thread after basting ; just leave it in the needle.  Gently pull the basting to form a circle and then begin to roll the rose into shape from the inside to the outside, gently incorporating the gathers into a shape that pleases you.  Use the still-threaded needle to hand sew the rose together once you have it gathered into a shape that resembles the ones from Els’ post.

The trick in making these is to keep the shape flat like a button as opposed to a twisted cone shape.  If this is a challenge you can stitch the flower onto a backing such as ultra-suede, felt or buckram.  It’s also good to make a one or two extra so you can choose the best-looking ones for your project. 

One word of caution – if these roses are crushed or ironed they lose all of their appeal, so it’s never a bad idea to remove them from a garment before you clean it.  You could sew snaps onto them to make them easily removable, and if you’ve use a backing snaps are simple to add.

So that’s it!  This is a classic embellishment you can use on gowns, dresses, bags, hats or even as a brooch.

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