Flora-Truffle Dress

Kathy from the Nerdy Seamstress and an extra BHL Flora dress pattern online so I jumped on that right away. As so many other sewists say, other sewists are the nicest people ever. Kathy was sweet enough to stuff a surprise of fabric in the envelope, which I of course love. She has has amazing taste in fabric, and if you never seen her beautiful dresses you really should. I actually didn’t realize you could mesh two different patterns together until I read on her blog that she was doing it all the time. So it’s only suitable that with her fabric and pattern that I mesh it up with another pattern.

 

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Actually I had a perfect amount of the cotton blue and navy dot fabric for the bodice and lining. I did make a muslin, and during the process I finally came to the realization and acceptance that I need to start making FBA’s for most patterns. I registered for another Craftsty course ‘Adjust the bust‘ which de-mystified how and why to chop up your patterns. I had no idea how to and I did not understand how make bust adjustments until I did this course. This is such a great website !

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So, I lowered the bust darts and made just under 1/2 FBA (1 full inch) and shortened the dart. I am planning on making the full pattern and next time I will redraw the dart to the original length. The darts up close have too room in that area, if that makes sense. Based on what other sewists have said about the gaping in the front I ran 1/8″ elastic in the seam allowance between the shell and the lining. I should have only pulled the elastic by an extra inch, but  I went for 2 inches for no reason and now you can see rippling. Next time – just an inch.

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Thanks to Kathy for the super cute fabric!

I wanted a more A-line bottom so I could wear this dress to work and be a bit more conservative. I used the skirt from Colette Patterns Truffle dress in a regular black cotton and lined it with bemberg rayon, of course! The only issue with using the different skirt is that the two patterns have slightly different fits – the Flora is very fitted and the Truffle is meant for a bit more ease. When I joined the bodice to the skirt there was about an extra inch on both sides on the skirt, so I trimmed it as sparingly as possible, but the waste line is SNUG. I am not sure how it will be sitting at my desk for most of the day at work. We will see! Maybe if I only eat a salad at lunch…..

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The lining is a medium grey and the binding is a light silvery grey.

I used hem binding for the first time which makes for a more professional finish. Well worth the extra time and money.

The only thing with this dress is that I am self conscious about the tummy area. The skirt is not tight over the tummy but I feel that by removing so much ease in the skirt that the shape may have been altered a bit which draws my attention to that area, and gives a roundness/thickness if that makes sense.  I haven’t worn the dress yet, maybe it will loosen out a bit, however bemberg usually stops cotton from stretching.

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This dress feels a bit heavy, which is actually what I was going for. I wanted a transitional piece that can be layered with tights and a cardigan  or wear with neither, and be able to be comfortable with too much air conditioning in the summer. I am really happy with how it turned out, and will definitely make it again – both patterns!

 

See me blog hop

Have you heard about blog hopping? It’s where you answer 4 questions about yourself and ask 2 other bloggers to do the same and post it on your blog. The lovely Lara from Dreaming of Avonlea asked me to participate, so this response will be on her blog September 8th. For anyone who is not familiar with her blog, you are missing out. She sews gorgeous dresses in fabrics that are to die for, and she can refashion dresses to perfection. I want her wardrobe! She also sells her gorgeous creations.

Ok on to the questions:

Why do I write?

I didn’t really start my blog for the art of writing, it was more for a catalogue of my sewing adventures. I started sewing a couple of years ago and have been teaching myself as I go. I found that googling patterns I was interested in brought me into the world of blogging sewists that are generous enough to share their experiences (the good, the bad, the ill-fitting and the ugly) which was very helpful. By ugly I mean the pattern dysfunctions and issues to look out for when making garments, and lets face it we have all come across those issues. Also, I learned about the existence of indie patterns which has opened up a world of well made patterns beyond the Big 4.

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Anyway, back to why I blog. Although I am still learning about sewing, I thought that by posting my projects I could add to this community. Hopefully my projects will help others decide on their projects. I love looking at other sewists’ finished projects. Just seeing how dresses or shirts drape, fit, look in busy prints or blue chambray is so inspiring and really helps the creativity process.

Also it’s pretty addictive. You cyber meet others like you and develop penpal-like friendships (remember those?) over a common interest. It’s amazing the support and advice that you can get from being in the community.

What am I working on?

I am currently working on 2 versions of the Flora dress from By Hand London. Actually one is of course a mishmash with another pattern, which is something I have been a lot of recently. This is due to the lack of fabrics that are 60″ wide that I like. I had a mishap with the first version because of a slippery rayon fabric and an embarrassing cutting job. The full version I hope to have done for a wedding in October, I better get on it !

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How does it differ from other’s of its genre?

Mediocre photography could be what sets my blog apart from others! I use my iphone and add lightening filters in order to see the fabric details when needed.

I am not really sure that it does differ in content. It’s a sewing noob’s journey to a substantially handmade wardrobe while learning new techniques on the way. There are lots of similar blogs out there, and I try to follow all of them. The one thing that makes it different is that my blog is the only one starring “moi”!! Lol.

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How does my writing process work?

Once I sew something to completion I try to take pictures as soon as possible so that I can get it up on my blog so that I don’t procrastinate on it. Once I have some pics that show the important details of the pattern, then I post them and start writing my experiences with the sewing process. I have started taking notes on my projects even if I have made permanent flat pattern adjustments I find it helpful to keep track of all of the minor alterations as I go. I am also starting to jot down design ideas for future projects with my fabric stash in mind.

I have nominated Inge from her blog IngeMaakt.com to participate in the blog hop. Her sewing is fantastic, plus she is a redhead so naturally I feel a connection. Inge has designed her own dress pattern before and her fabric choices are bold and colourful (love!).

I also nominated Kathy from the Nerdy Seamstress. Kathy has been on a bit of a hiatus from the blog, but hopefully she will see my invite and participate. She sews mostly dress and has an amazing eye for fabrics.

These two sewists are blogs that should be checked out!

 

 

 

Colette Myrtle – getting my sew-jo back

Hello Myrtle.

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Soooo…after a couple of sewing fails I finally got my sew-jo back with the Colette Myrtle pattern. I had a disaster with a BHL Flora dress – I used a billowy rayon fabric that was horrible to cut, so much so that none of my pieces were the same and one of the back bodice pieces was 2 inches narrower than it should have been. That experiment will go down in my history as the worst cutting job ever. Seriously it looked like lined up the tequila shots and blind folded myself before cutting. Fortunately I happened to be parousing through Tilly’s Love at First Stitch, and her advice is to drop projects you are not happy with. Great advice!

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Smiley came in while I was taking pics.

I also made a McCall’s knit dress pattern that was supposed to be casual and simple, instead it’s frumpy and trampy because of lack of shape and it being oddly incredibly low cut. I also broke my only jersey twin needle as well which topped that experience. Anyway I have been in a bit of a sewing funk because of two sad sewing experiences. Thankfully this dress came together well.

 

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There are some changes I will make the next time I make it, but it was easy peasy breezy to make and I am back on the wagon. Everything came together nicely, this is  a well made pattern. I used my serger for any of the construction that was possible which just looks so much neater. I made the size small based on my measurements but I think the top is too big. Next time I will take out some width in the back neckline as it gapes slightly, this should help also bring the shoulders in as they are a bit wide. The cowell is also very low so the front shoulders will be need to be shortened.

You can see the gaping in the arm circle - the bodice is a bit wide

You can see the gaping in the arm circle – the bodice is a bit wide

The only change that I made was to use a single needle when using my sewing machine my only double knit needle was in needle heaven. And seeing as I was sewing this dress on a Monday of course the only store that stocks these is closed on Mondays (and also closes at 5:30 on weekdays wtf). Seriously someone needs to open a fabric and notion store that has hours for those of us with 9-5 jobs……

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This dress is seriously comfy and cute and I think it will work in the fall with tights and a cardy. It reminds me of a ancient Greek-styled dress but with pockets! Every girl needs pockets in her dresses.

Anyway, the next Myrtle I am thinking of making with a silk woven that I purchased on my last trip to Paris. The Coletterie has a series of posts on which changes to make when using a woven for the Myrtle pattern which will be helpful.

 

Amazing new pattern! No wait, it’s another Anna!

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I know what you are all thinking, does this woman own any other patterns?? Yes I do, this is just the perfect summer dress and it fits me like it’s custom made (because it is!). I was recently on a work/pleasure trip to the UK and of course bought fabric on my days off and it only seemed fitting (ha! punny, right?) to use this fabric for a By Hand London dress. It’s a super soft lightweight cotton that is really nice to wear. It’s a summer dress so there was no need to line it. I used French seams everywhere except the bodice side and shoulder seams.

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I love the print – it’s mini parasols and reminds me of a birds eye view of a packed beach. You can see here that my facings are off by 1 cm, oh well it’s on the inside so really who cares? I also love the Anna dress pattern. I feel like it’s kind of 40’s/70’s era vibe to it and I love the 1970’s style.

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The only change from my last alterations to this pattern that I made this time were opting for the V neck version and a regular zipper instead of the invisible zipper. I find them hard to get out of with higher back necklines and they are flimsy. This fabric is so colourful it was hard to match a zipper to, but it also makes it easier to hide the zipper. Dressew (Vancouver’s notion emporium) sadly and surprisingly did not have a cream coloured regular zipper, so I matched it to the turquoise in the fabric.

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Regular zipper – easier to get out of!

This is a TNT pattern, and so easy to make, everything matches up nicely it’s really a dream pattern. I am sure this will not be the last Anna, I am already thinking of making another version with a different skirt….

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Fabrics from Goldhawk Road and Shepard’s Bush Market

These are the fabrics I picked up in Shepard’s Bush Market and along Goldhawk Road in London. So many fabrics to choose from, so little time!  And money – you have to think of the pound as the same as the dollar, otherwise your vacation becomes sad. I didn’t pay too much attention to how much these fabrics were, except the one on the top in this pic – 1.5 meters for under 9 pounds for a wool cotton blend which was not expensive and not easy to find over here in the colonies. The market itself had lots of fabric stalls as well as a large amount of ugly shapeless women’s clothing made from pretty fabrics. The market has an entrance/exit along Goldhawk Road which has fabric shops lined up next door to each other.

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Shepards Bush Market

The Lilou Dress becomes a TNT

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Despite a minor fitting issue in the back this pattern is going into the TNT pile, I love it. Ok, I haven’t used the actual pattern skirt yet but I will when I get fabric that is wide enough.

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I found this pretty floral lightweight cotton at a discount wholesale fabric store, not only is the print gorgeous it was also only $5.98/metre. I lined the bodice and the skirt with bemberg rayon, and it’s still a very lightweight dress. I decided to leave the serged hem on the lining to try something new. I think I like it. On this dress anyway.

Just hiding my bra strap !

Just hiding my bra strap !

I used the same altered pattern pieces for the bodice as last time, and took the side seams in a bit around the bust line. I lowered the neckline by 3/4 inch as my original alterations did not take into account that I got rid of 2 inches in the shoulder seams. The armpit circle is a tad on the tight. I should open it a bit more for next time (yes, meaning I will be making more).  For the skirt I added the mini half circle skirt from the circle skirt calculator on the By Hand London website. My fabric was just wide enough for the half circle skirt, perhaps another indicator that I need to look for wider fabric when making dresses.

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Ever get caught changing poses and everything looks great except one body part forgot to move? I call this the flamingo.

I had a few issues with the invisible zipper – it got caught up a few times in the fabric when I was sewing the bodice lining and also in the skirt. I haven’t quite mastered the invisible part either as the zipper pops through a bit, but I don’t know how much I really like them anyway. They are flimsy and I broke the one for my Delphine skirt (not yet blogged) which was a pain in the arse since it was yellow and I only bought one. I recently read on Paunnet’s blog that she (Ana) also dislikes them which is affirming if a pro like her rarely uses them.

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What do you think of the raw serged lining?

What do you think of the raw serged lining?

Anyway, I love this pattern it is so straight forward and easy, and of course cute! If you haven’t tried this pattern yet, or haven’t purchased Tilly’s book, then I really don’t know what’s wrong with you!!

 

 

Lireau Dress

Enter Lireau, the love child of the Lilou and Sureau (Deer and Doe) dress patterns.

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Have you gotten your hands on Tilly Walnes’ new sewing book Love at First Stitch? It’ beautiful. Oh, and the reason I bought the book was because of the yellow Delphine skirt on the cover. So why did I start with the Lilou? I don’t know, I just did!

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Ok so here are my thoughts on the book – it comes with 5 patterns of which I like all of them. This is rare! I paid $30 Canadian including shipping which makes for an incredible deal. I have to admit I have not read much of the book as I am more interested in the patterns. The instructions are fantastic and this book would have been great for when I started sewing. Oh well no matter, this is a great reference book too.

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The only negative part of this book is that you have to trace the pattern pieces. That’s ok, I seem to be needing to make a lot of bodice adjustments for my clothes anyway which involves tracing. This also means that I can lend the patterns to my friends. Too bad most of them don’t sew.

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Ok so on to Lilou.  Based on the finished measurements, I cut the 4 bust an shoulders and graded to a 3 for the waist and hips. This was not necessary I should have just cut the 3 all the way through. Again I made a muslin (What?? again you say! I know…..) and had to take the side seams in by an inch on each side, tapering down to 1/2 an inch where the size changed to a 3. I also had to take 2 inches out of the shoulder seams which then made the arm openings a bit tight, so I opened the armpit (is there a sewing word for this? ) by 1/4 inch. For the usual upper back and shoulder gaping fitting issue I seem to have I added and closed a 3 inch long and 1.5 inch wide dart 3.5 inches out from the seam allowance on the back seam line.

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There is a bit of wrinkling in the mid back that I didn’t notice with the muslin. Could be from the type of fabric, we will see with the next one.

The love making of these two patterns was not intentional…. you know how it is….things just happen sometimes.  The cotton I used for this dress is quilting cotton which is not wide enough for the Lilou skirt. Instead of adding the gathered skirt alternative Tilly suggests, I went for the Sureau dress’s skirt for more subtle gathers. And boom! What a beautiful baby these patterns made together.

I also lined the bodice with the quilting cotton. These photos make it hard to make out the black and white gingham pattern on the fabric it looks grey from s distance.

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The construction was easy peasy for the whole dress. I will be making more of these, whether it be Lireaus of Lilous. It was nice to have no hiccups or issues getting out of this dress like the last one I made!

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The Saltspring look-a-like

 

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I have already made this pattern before, it’s Vogue 8870. I love the pattern but I wanted to change it up a bit. I wanted a maxi version with the blousing of Sewaholic’s Saltspring dress, without having to buy another pattern. I am trying to keep to a monthly sewing budget and I have lots of patterns I have not made yet so I decided to wing it with the Vogue pattern.

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Look at that fabric!

I bought this lightweight cotton print (maybe voile, not sure) with the intention to make this dress. I love the print on this fabric and thought it would be perfect for a Saltspring-like dress. There is a slight sheen to it that stayed even after I washed the fabric.

 

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I lengthened the skirt pattern pieces and removed the high-low hem. I found out during construction the front piece was longer ooops. From what other bloggers have written, I followed their description of the Saltspring’s bodice construction. I cut the lining to be the same as the original pattern and added an inch in length to the actual bodice pieces. Everything was going smoothly until I realized there was an inch long tear in the middle of the front bodice …..grrr! I knew when I bought it there was a tear and the fabric store had added a free 1/2 meter because of it. I was careful to mark the tear so I could avoid it, but apparently there was another surprise tear I didn’t see….So I hummed and hawed over what to do because of course I didn’t have enough fabric left for another bodice piece. I could have cut a piece on the bias but the pattern is directional so that would just look like a giant mistake. I tried machine embroidery over the tear, and it looked stupid and out of place. Then I thought about applique then realized I would need special glue for it which I didn’t have. I was tempted to go buy more fabric, but then I smartened up and decided to add a seam allowance the bodice centre and cut two half bodice pieces and used French seams to join them.

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Problem averted. Time to keep sewing. I couldn’t figure out why the side seems were not matching up, and unpicked the seams a few times until I realized I hadn’t added the bust darts…….Back to sewing. But then the brain freeze kicked in again with the lining and I was unsure how to attach the lining at the neck line and keep it as a lining and not underlining….well lets just say it’s a combo. The dress is not the prettiest on the inside. Oh well, shit happens.

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The waist elastic the first time I tried it on was too loose so I tightened it. It was still too loose, so I tightened it again. Before I tried it on again, I thought it would be a good idea to tighten the elastic even more to save time because surely it would be too loose again. I swear I was not drinking I have no idea where that brilliant idea came from. The elastic was so tight it barely got over my shoulders and got stuck when I took it off. If you live alone and have gotten stuck taking clothes off then you know the panic that comes over you when your dress is over your head and your arms are stuck in the air with no way out. I was actually so stuck I was thinking of what friend I could call to come over and help me out of it. Finally I got it off, but then had no more elastic left…

Apparently I also published this post accidentally before I finished writing it! Haha.

This dress had sewing issues, but really it’s just part of learning. Fortunately I am also learning that if I am getting frustrated while sewing, just take a break and come back to it later. Have a drink and relax, or whatever. For all the issues I had I am still super happy with my maxi!

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I think Smiley likes my dress.

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Or maybe not!

Again, Chardon

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I wasn’t joking when I said I ran out to get more fabric for another Deer and Doe Chardon Skirt! Here is the second one. The fabric is a black and white cotton with supposedly a touch of spandex in it but doesn’t seem any stretchier than quilting cotton. I would have had it finished sooner but I added a new table (Ikea Norden gateleg if you need to know) to my sewing room and I had to rearrange the whole room. Because this was a no fun task, I procrastinated for a day or two. Ok two.

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I trimmed the skirt front and back pattern pieces by 2.5 inches and somehow it’s a lot shorter than my last one. Oh well, maybe not such a good length for work although a stranger complimented me on this outfit today. Good thing is was pouring with rain today so I could justify pairing the skirt with tights, which somehow makes the absence of length for this skirt less of a big deal to me. This would be a great date skirt. Now to find a date!

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This time I did not make any changes to the waist and it fits perfectly, nice and snug and breathable at the same time. This is great except when sitting down all day the belt loops pop outwards from the waist band being scrunched a bit. No biggy, I am happy with the skirt. Yes, I know the skirt is wrinkled but it was the end of the day…..so…..you know.

I am on a roll with skirts! Can you have too many?

Chardon Skirt

Welcome the Chardon skirt from Deer and Doe patterns to my collection.

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This is a full skirt with reversed box pleats, I opted for the longer belt loop option. This is the first time I have made box pleats and the process is satisfying when you realize what is really happening ! For such a fast and simple technique the effect is beautiful and defined and looks more complicated that it really is. I love the pleats and the belt loops make me want to go buy multiple colourful belts.

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Because there is a 2 inch difference in the waist measurements between the sizes I loosened the seam allowances on the waist to 3/8″ as I am just on the edge of one size. I really did not want to be stuck with a skirt that is too tight on the waist. In the end I did not to make this adjustment, there is actually a bit too much ease in the waist now. The other alteration I made was removing 2.75 inches from the hem line. The hem was originally too matronly for me. Going even shorter would have been super cute, but I want to be able to wear this to work without feeling self conscious, or worried that the goods might get flashed if I am not careful.

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I chose a Kaufman cotton that looks like a heavier weight chambray. I wanted a grey version of this fabric, however I could not find one when I was getting my pattern fix on last week after a long day at work. That’s ok, just more fabric shopping to look for the perfect grey fabric for the next skirt! Sometimes I just get it in my mind that I need a certain pattern NOW and need to make it NOW.

I had my first serging accident with this skirt. Just above the left pocket I lost focus and sliced passed the seam allowance. Well, this was bound to happen at some point I guess. To cover the slice up and keep going with the skirt I zigzag stitch it back together with a small piece of fabric behind it. It’s not very noticeable however I might use one of my embroider stitches on my sewing machine over it if it frays when I wash it.

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I am really starting to love fuller skirts, they are so feminine and pretty.

Another Anna – this time I made a muslin !

A muslin??! Yes you read it right, I made a muslin. And omg it worked! I have had a phobia of alterations, until I registered for a fitting course on Craftsy. This course was fantastic, I finally understand how altering patterns works. Now I can actually transfer alterations to the pattern, and it’s not as hard as I thought.  The result: an Anna with no gaping at the neck and I omitted the back darts by making the alteration to the pattern.

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Another first for me was using quilting cotton instead of fashion/apparel fabric thanks to the blogosphere. There are so many seamstresses that use this type of fabric and I now see why. So many fabrics to choose from and it is easy to sew. Plus, it’s all cotton so it is comfortable to wear all day.

This time I made the boat neck version of the dress and lined the whole dress with bemberg. The downside to lining the dress completely is that this pattern has so many panels in the skirt that it was time consuming to make the lining. Using French seams (for the lining only) also added to the the amount of time it took, but it’s worth it. I think I will change the skirt next time.

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No gaping at the back neckline ! Woohoo!!

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The zipper is a regular zipper, my invisible foot still has not come in (WTF??) I am actually getting really annoyed with the store that supposedly ordered it along with another foot for me 2 months ago. Grrrrr….fortunately it’s not very noticeable that I used a regular zip. There is no way I am going to use that ridiculous plastic universal concealed zipper foot again, the only thing it does well is accentuate the zipper. Ok, rant over.

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I am pretty pleased with my dress, if I do say so myself. The fit is great and the fabric is fantastic! It’s Michael Miller’s Waterfront Park Flight design in black and white.

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Proof I really did make a muslin.