Category: dresses

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress

The Tunic Bible Embroidered Dress

The Tunic Bible recently went to #1 on Amazon, here’s how you can embroider your own tunic dress!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

 

I recently ordered a copy of The Tunic Bible by Sarah Gunn and Julie Starr of Goodbye Valentino. If you haven’t seen their sewing blog, it’s full of beautiful classic styles, perfect for us midlife ladies. The book recently exploded on Amazon with the trending Instagram hashtags #sewover50 and #sew50visible. The idea of this challenge is to make a pattern that has a woman over 50 on the cover. Silly me, I thought this was going to be easy, but there are very few of them in the 4 big pattern companies. This led me to the Tunic Bible, and I am hooked!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The book has a basic pattern and pages upon pages of ways you can customize your look. One of the styles I loved the most had an embroidered neckline, and I was thrilled to be able to try out my embroidery functions on my new “old” Huskavarna Viking sewing machine. After a bit of research I discovered that I needed embroidery files with HUS capability for my machine. Refer to your manual to find out what kind of file you need as it is different for each machine.

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This floral design was purchased from Urban Threads. It’s a one color design, but looks different with dark blue thread on my blue and white stripe fabric. Because embroidery is completely new to me, I wasn’t willing to spend a lot of money for this project. I used an old Ralph Lauren bed sheet from the thrift store! My purchase was $1.50, plus the embroidery file which was $4.99. Not bad for an entire dress!

The embroidery file was easy to download to my computer, transfer to a USB memory stick and plugin to my sewing machine. I traced the pattern of the bib design on the fabric with a heat soluble marking pen instead of cutting it out. I stabilized the fabric with embroidery stabilizer in the hoop before embroidering.

The design took about 15 minutes to stitch and I had a lot of fun watching it come together, it is rather mesmerizing!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The sleeves were even easier to embroider. Instead of purchasing a new design, I used two rows of heirloom vine stitches that came with my Huskavarna Designer SE sewing machine. Be sure to put a scrap of embroidery backing behind the rows of stitching for best result. After the embroidery was finished, it was time to assemble the pattern and finish the sleeve hem.

This design is very simple, but I love how it turned out!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

With a simple dress such as this, the embroidery takes center stage. It was very easy to make and fits wonderfully! This is the first pattern I haven’t had to do major alterations on in a long time. I’m so ready to wear it!

The Tunic Bible: Embroider Your Tunic Dress | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

I’ve got another tunic dress in the works that I will share with you soon! Meanwhile, head over to Amazon and purchase your copy of the Tunic Bible. Also, be sure to follow me on Instagram for more on the current hashtag challenges!

More Inspiration

If you loved this project, here are a few others you will also enjoy!

Wool Pleated Skirt : 7 Secrets to Sewing it Correctly

Neapolitan Quilt with Riley Blake

Self Draft a Simple Sequin Skirt

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Embroidered Tunic Bible Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Please follow and like us:
Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity

 

Every woman needs a LBD (little black dress) in her closet. My latest dress make is this Simplicity pattern that is perfect for a night out on the town!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

Every girl needs a LBD in their closet. Some of us even have several (Me!) to chose from for different occasions. Since it seems that I am always scrambling at the last minute to find something appropriate to wear, I have decided to make a bunch of dresses to have on hand. Black is always my go-to color. It’s elegant, dressy and I feel comfortable in it. Perhaps a bit too comfortable at times. Some of my comfort comes from being a plus size gal, I’m a ready to wear size 20. The dark black color is more flattering to my round figure, as are matte fabrics. I tend to avoid anything shiny because it emphasizes my bumps and rolls. In this Simplicity design, I used contrasting satin for the trim to dress things up and still keep it as flattering as possible.

This Simplicity pattern is not an easy sew. It has a lot of bad reviews on the sewing pattern review site, Pattern Review. However, I decided to try it because I really like the style and I am not intimidated by bad reviews. It’s always my mission to discover the problem with the pattern and let you know how to fix it!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Simplicity #8534 Pattern Review

1. The biggest problem with this pattern is the facings. There are TONS of them, even for the sleeve cuff! I dislike facings as I feel they never stay in place and are not used much in ready to wear. Facings are confusing for most sewers, especially beginners. Instead of the facings I used homemade bias binding in contrasting black satin. Bias binding is easy to make, if you add a bit of starch to the satin as you go along it becomes crisp and easy to sew. Problem solved!

2. Fitted styles like this one require lots of fitting! (That seems self-explanatory.) Since this dress is very fitted, I recommend you make a muslin first before cutting it out of your fashion fabric. My fabric came from the thrift store and was a bargain at only $.60 so I wasn’t worried about messing it up. I made my pattern adjustments, cut and fitted the dress on the form first. I then made more adjustments, and basted it together for a second and third fitting. This design is not typically suited to someone with a thick waist but I love it anyway and I think it turned out quite well despite all of the fitting work.

3. Many of the negative comments on Pattern Review had to do with the front jabot or ruffle. This piece is actually circular and cascades down the front in ruffles when it’s hung from the waist. My soft satin fabric worked well for this, but I can see if you had a more rigid material it might not sit the way you like. My advice is to cut it and play with it a bit, but don’t stress about this unique design feature. It’s not a perfect rigid type of thing, it will move and cascade as you wear the dress which is the beauty of this style.

4. The overlapping bodice can be tricky to fit. The bodice has bias edge that will stretch over the bust. I had to take mine in twice in this area. A stay stitch will help to control the bias, but you will need to take it in if it stretches too much.

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

5. Shoulder seams in this dress are very different, with yet more facings. I simplified the shoulders by removing the facings and using only bias binding to finish. This made the process so much easier and less confusing to overlap the seams! The satin binding adds a design detail to the matte fabric. I prefer a lower neckline as it is more flattering to my figure than a high neck like the original pattern design, so I angled the shoulder seam a bit at the top of the neck for a vintage look and dropped the front neck a few inches.

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

The back is easier to sew than the front of the dress. I keep forgetting to do an adjustment for a sway back, but this one came out better than my last attempt and I am happy with it.  Be sure to baste your zipper in place before you stitch, or use a bit of fusible seam tape to secure it before stitching. Long zippers are hard to work with so just do the best you can.

I wasn’t sure I would like the open back of this dress, but I think its nice. It’s not too low or revealing for someone like me (#sewover50) and I don’t own anything else with an open back. Unfortunately, the back neck has more facings to deal with, this time I left them in place. You really do need the facing here to support the button and buttonhole. I found a lovely rhinestone button to finish off the back of the dress with some simple bling!

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this pattern review, here are a few others you will love!

Sewing Pattern Hoarding: They Don’t Want You to Stop

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review

3 Step Easy T-Shirt Pattern Hack

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

How to Shorten Sewing Pattern Sleeves the Right Way

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

Make a Stylish Little Black Dress with Simplicity | Chambray Blues | www.chambrayblues.com

Please follow and like us:
How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

This Paper Butterfly Dress was part of a local fashion show to raise money for books for children. It was a lot of fun and an entirely new adventure in sewing!

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress

 

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

This post contains affiliate links. By making a purchase I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you. Thank you for your support!

Each year a local charity, Madison Reading Project, has a fashion show to raise money for books for underprivileged children. I decided to make a paper dress for the challenge, meet new people and step out of my comfort zone a bit. It was a lot of work, but a fun project!

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The first step in creating this look was a tulle underskirt. The skirt has 10 yards of gathered tulle that is gathered around a simple 2″ elastic waistband, then zig-zagged in place. The underskirt has a total of 3 layers of material and nearly reaches the floor. It’s easy to shorten this underskirt if needed, as it is not hemmed. (I had also considered using tissue paper for this portion of the dress but decided that the dress would have more structural integrity with a tulle underskirt.)

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The bodice of the dress is next. I used a roll of 24″ wide medical paper, and interfaced the pieces with Pellon mid-weight fusible interfacing to give it some structure. The bodice design is simple with just a waistline dart and a round neckline. The skirt is made with the same paper and interfacing, just gathered at the waist with a simple 1″ grosgrain ribbon for the waistband. Bodice and skirt are separate pieces to make it easier to put on.

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

The first fitting went surprisingly well! It was finally time to decorate the dress with the butterflies!

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Making the Butterflies

 

The paper butterflies were cut on the Cricut Maker. It cut 108 of them so quickly! Each easy butterfly reminded me yet again why I am in love with this handy tool.  You can find the butterfly design that I used here. I was tempted to leave the butterflies white, but I thought a bit of color might make them standout even more and add a whimsical feel to the finished product.

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

I spread 108 butterflies out on a piece of canvas in our attic for colorizing. Our attic is big, open and has plenty of room to work. Using the layout with an ombre coloration in mind, I began to spray the ink on the butterflies.

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

I created the ombre effect by working with light, medium and darker inks from left to right on the butterflies. After they were completely dry, I used a hot glue gun to attach them to the finished dress.

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

My paper dress turned out even better than I could’ve hoped! It’s always exhilarating when a vision for a project comes to life and the final result exceeds your expectations.

My friend Kathy and her daughter Abby helped me make this vision come to life on the runway.
They had a team of people doing hair and makeup for the fashion show.

Professional hair and makeup artists were on hand to make the models even more beautiful for the fashion show!

A very impressive catwalk set up made the show come to life!
The dress really came to life on Abby, runway ready!

 

The dress looked beautiful on Abby, posing on the runway! Photo credit jondercin.com photography
Photo credit jondercin.com photography

You can see the entire process, including the dress on the runway coming soon to video!

 

 

More Inspiration

If you enjoyed this project, here are a few others from the blog that you will love: 

3 Step Buffalo Check Cardigan

Top Nine Makes of 2018

Sew Along Dinner Date Dress

Sewing a Clutch with Cricut Maker

Easy Cut and Sew Sweater

 

 

Don’t forget to Pin this post for later!

How to Make a Paper Butterfly Dress|Chambray Blues|www.chambrayblues.com

Please follow and like us:
Sew Along Dinner Date Dress Reveal

Sew Along Dinner Date Dress Reveal

The sew along is over, and I have so much to share on this project! This pattern is just stunning and you need to make one for your wardrobe ASAP!

Red Dinner Date Dress Sew Along|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
The neckline of this dress is stunning!

 

Red Dinner Date Dress

The red dinner date dress is finally done! I have a bit of a love hate relationship with it. This is princess seam dress is Vogue #V1542. If you follow my Facebook page, you will know that we had a sew along during the month of December for this dress. The designer Vogue pattern has good sewing directions and is overall easy to sew. Don’t let the fancy neckline intimidate you, it’s actually quite simple. I think it’s the neckline that draws everyone to this particular style! It is so delicate and feminine looking, with the handmade details it almost looks like a couture dress. This style would be great for date night, Valentine’s Day, weddings, evening dinner parties or other evening events. Add a shawl and a pretty clutch bag to make a complete look!

Red Dinner Date Dress|Chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
The floral motif and draped cording is easy to make.

 

Red Dinner Dress Supplies Needed

• 4 yards 45″ wide red sueded polyester fabric (affiliate link)

• 3 static free polyester lining fabric, 45″ wide (affiliate link)

• 20″ invisible zipper

•Matching thread

•Sewing machine, pins, scissors

 

My choice for fabric for this project was a sueded polyester. If I made this dress again I think I would choose a crepe or a velvet instead. The polyester unraveled a lot and showed water spots from pressing. Polyester is not very forgiving, and was hard to shape and mold into the close fit that I wanted for this dress. The dress on the pattern envelope was made from Linen which would also be a good choice for this pattern.

 

Red dinner date dress reveal|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
My sloping shoulders make me feel like the straps won’t stay up on this dress.

Other than the fabric issue, I should have made a few more alterations before I started. I added 5″ to the body length of the dress as it was rather short for my tall 5’8″ frame. I prefer a longer, knee length dress.

Red Dinner dress|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com

 

Getting the Dress to Fit Proper

This photo is so embarrassing! I spent a lot of time fitting the front of my dress, however I neglected to fit the back. How could I not even think of that?? See all those wrinkles at the waist? Those shouldn’t be there! I need to make a sway back adjustment next time with this dress. Also, the armholes are a bit snug for me and I would make it about 1/2″ lower next time around. I have since purchased a full length mirror for my sewing room so I will not make the same mistake again!

The skirt is a bias ruffle, which has a lovely drape and adds to the flattery of the dress. However, it’s not an easy pattern piece to alter. For this reason, be sure to make any needed alterations to the body of the dress and not the ruffle part. I have decided that I will wear a shall with this dress to cover my mistakes in the back of it, if I decide to wear it at all. It’s not my best work and I just don’t feel that comfortable in it. Did I mention I also cut a small hole in the fabric when doing my zipper installation???? Yikes!

Vogue Fit Options

Vogue patterns have a fitting guide on them to help you decide which styles will look the best on your body type. According to the Vogue website, this dress is suitable for the following body types:

Inverted TriangeTHE INVERTED TRIANGLE: Large bust and/or broad shoulders with narrow hips.

TriangleTHE TRIANGLE: Small bust and/or narrow shoulders with full hips and/or thighs.

RectangleTHE RECTANGLE: Balanced on top and bottom, but boxy, with little or no waist definition.

HourglassTHE HOURGLASS: Equally balanced on top and bottom, with a trim waist.

Part of the reason I chose to make this dress was because I was confident that it would look on my apple or rectangular shaped figure. I am not so sure I agree with Vogue that this is a flattering cut for me. It may have been more flattering if I didn’t have large sloping shoulders. I feel like the dress is snug under the arms, and sliding down at the shoulders. I may need to add some elastic underneath the shoulders pieces to make it more secure. This suggestion came from someone on our Chambray Blues Facebook page. It’s a very good idea and I must say I would have never thought of it myself. I love the power of community, we are stronger together than we are on our own! Be sure to stop by and like our page, share a project or ask for advice!

Red Dinner Date Dress Reveal|chambraybluesblog|chambrayblues.com
Don’t forget to Pin this post!

The next dress we are sewing is a cut and sew sweater dress. Read this post to learn about cut and sew sweater knits, then find a pretty knit dress pattern and fabric to join along! I will post more updates on Facebook, you won’t want to miss it!

Don’t forget to pin this post!

Try some of these other posts for more inspiration!

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

Renaissance Costume Pattern Review and Construction Tips

Vintage Blouse Tutorial with Tulip Sleeves

Scrappy Denim Boho Necklace Tutorial

Sewing for the Renassiance Faire

Please follow and like us:
Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

Gertie Inspired Vintage Party Dress

I’ve had this Gertie inspired vintage style party dress one under wraps for a while, I am so excited to be able to show it to you! This is a classic silhouette you can wear for any occasion!

 

Vintage Style Party Dress|Chambray Blues Blog|Chambrayblues.com
This vintage style dress is made with cotton fabric from Michael Miller Fabrics.

Vintage Style Party Dress

I love vintage style patterns, and have a number of them in my pattern collection. This vintage party dress is made from Butterick #b6590, from Gertie’s Charming pattern collection. The pattern has dresses in two styles a straight skirt, and a full skirt. I had a hard time deciding between the two because I loved them both so much! I finally, went with the straight skirt to see how I would like the slimmer silhouette. It is a rather generous fit, but I love that it seems proportioned for “real size” women like myself. The sewing is pretty basic, there is a lapped zipper application and a rather unique front neckline. It’s not as complicated as you would think, and is easy to sew. I really like the tab with the rhinestone button, simple styles like this can work great for day or night occasions. In fact, I like it so much I have decided to make the full skirt version for the upcoming holiday season. Stay tuned!

Gertie Vintage Style Party Dress|Chambray Blues Blog|www.chambrayblues.com

The floral fabric is from Michael Miller Fabrics, also part of the Gertie collection that they recently released. I can’t say enough about this fabric collection! The colors are so vibrant, you would never know it’s a cotton quilting print. Full of pinks and reds, the black back ground really makes the colors pop! It really looks great in this beautiful garden setting! Shout out to my photographer Alyssa Eidsness Photography who did a great job with this photo shoot!

This post is sponsored by Michael Miller Fabrics. Any opinions given are completely my own.

Vintage Style Party Dress Pattern Review

For the straight version of this dress, you will need 3 yards of 45″ wide material. If you decide to make the version with the full skirt it will take about 5 yards. The larger skirt is very full! The straight skirt worked great with this cotton quilting fabric from Michael Miller Fabrics because of the narrow 45″ width. If I had gone with the full skirt I would have definitely needed more fabric. The cotton is such a nice quality, refreshing to sew because it’s so well made. At first, I had planned to make a little polka dot jacket to go over the dress, but decided against it in the long run. The floral fabric is too pretty to cover up, and the front neckline just doesn’t lend it’s self to being worn with a jacket. The good news is that the polka dot will be a separate project (also a Gertie print and pattern), coming soon!

The 1950’s style pattern was very simple for this dress, even the unique front facing was not hard to put together. Cutting the facing was interesting, there is a left front and a right front facing (completely different shapes) so be careful when you cut them out as they are cut from a single layer of fabric and the print has to be right side up in order for it to work accurately. I adore the rhinestone button detail and found the perfect style button at Hobby Lobby.

Gertie Vintage Style Party Dress|Chambray Blues Blog|www.chambrayblues.com
I love the dolman sleeves on this dress!

Alterations and Pattern Adjustments

There were a few adjustments that I made to the pattern, but I could have done without them. The pattern is well sized and runs rather generous. I added a bit of fabric extra fabric to the bust and waist since these are my problem fit areas, which could have been eliminated. For this summer wardrobe version I decided not to take the side seams in, as I prefer a looser fit for hot summer days. When I make the next dress for the holidays, I will make it more fitted and plan to wear some proper shape wear underneath. I don’t care to wear Spanks when it’s hot and humid outside! Since I am long in the torso, the only other alteration I did was lengthening the bodice and waist yoke. This adjustment worked well and it hits my waist exactly where it should, it is very comfortable around the middle for this reason.

The back of the dress has a 22″ lapped zipper that extends all the way down to the high hip area. The zipper was not hard to install, but I always baste my zippers in place to be sure they stay put as I stitch them. I  used a regular zipper for this dress since the large print hides the zipper so well you don’t even know it’s there. Had I used a solid or smaller print, I may have used an invisible zipper and stitched it by hand instead.

Gertie Inspired Vintage Style Party Dress|Chambray Blues Blog|www.chambrayblues.com
The neckline has a v-neck with an unusual tab closure and decorative button.

The local vintage corner garden was the perfect place to photograph this dress. Thank you Alyssa Eidness Photography! This is the first time I have ever hired a photographer for my business. For years I have taken all my own photographs for all of my projects. I am finding that sometimes it’s very difficult to get a good shot of myself wearing some thing new with only the aid of the self timer. It’s practically impossible to capture specific details when I am wearing the garment. My family isn’t around much to help me out, and It’s not something I would do every day, but I will definitely use a photographer again in the future for these really special posts. I am glad I did, I think Alyssa really captured the essence of this dress and I love how it all came together in the photos.

Gertie Inspired Party Dress|chambray blues blog|www.chambrayblues.com

Hope you enjoyed this post, thanks to Michael Miller Fabrics for sponsoring!

 

For more inspiration, try some of these other posts:

Mens Thrifted Shirt Upcycle Hack in 7 Steps

How to Read a Sewing Pattern Envelope

Easy to Make Scrappy Denim Skirt

How to Restyle a Boring Denim Jacket

Scrappy Denim Boho Necklace Tutorial

 

Please follow and like us: