Peggy’s Red Dress

When I set out to cosplay Peggy Carter, I didn’t ever think I would make her red dress from Captain America. I had no occasion or place to wear such a dress to. But it’s Peggy and I love her, and I love her in red. Plus I figured just in case I do have an occasion I should have a dress ready.

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The dress is made of red polyester suiting with (of course) red stain for trim. The pattern is a modified Simplicity 2648 (this pattern is discontinued and I had to get it through Amazon).  The only changes that needed to be made were the sleeves and the pleats on the hips.

IMG_8742I followed the pattern pieces of an A cup and curvy. I added the sleeves from Simplicity 1687 and added satin trim to them. For the collar trim, I used leftover blue polyester lining to draft a pattern but cut out the pieces from satin. I wished I had made them a little more narrow but didn’t realize how wide they were until I started photographing the dress.

For the hip pleats, I took the side front skirt pattern piece, cut a diagonal into it, and then created a large curve in the space to the fabric needed to make the pleats. (I wish I had pictures to show, but I forget to document my process while I’m actually doing it.)

IMG_8744I like how the skirt and hip pleats came out. I have leftover red fabric and am contemplating making a skirt of it for work.

This dress took a little longer than I expected. I originally intended to add lining to the dress to give it a better finish and a smoother drape. But the added lining made it difficult for me to properly use my arms when fully zipped up. Also, I had first used a different sleeve pattern that I realized was better suited for slightly stretchier fabrics resulting in even more limited motion in my arms. I spent an entire morning ripping out the lining and top to make a new top with new sleeves that fit a lot better.

The shoes were acquired off eBay; they are a smidge brighter red but nothing too obvious. The belt was acquired off Amazon. I actually bought three skinny belts for this dress: one bright red, one metallic red, and one light burgundy. The bright red came first and did not match any of my fabrics or shoes. The metallic red is a beautiful belt but a touch too vibrant. The light burgundy ended up being the perfect choice; I figured it would but don’t mind having additional belts in my wardrobe.

I got a lot of help from adriuh via Instagram on this dress. She had already made her own version and was gracious enough to help me when I had questions. She showed me the pattern she used as a base, the draft on Pinterest of how she did the pleats, and even shared her setting pattern for Peggy’s curls and waves. Honestly, without her help I’m not even sure if making this dress would have ever occurred.

So my second Peggy Carter cosplay is done! I think next I’ll work on my blue and red dress from the tv series since it’s my favorite.

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Clara’s Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS Dress(es)

One of my best friends, Holley, has been asking me for years if I would sew cosplays for her.  I generally refuse commissions since I worry that what I make will not fit my client’s body or mental image.  Holley, however, is my height and general size; she has worn some of my cosplays in the past and they fit her fairly well.  So for her I made an exception, especially after she told me what she wanted me to make.

Like me, Holley is a Doctor Who fan. When she began watching season 7 of Doctor Who, Clara became an instant favorite for her – just like me.  She wanted all of Clara’s clothes, and I was happy to oblige as long as I could make a version for myself. We agreed to start with the Journey to the Centre of the TARDIS dress, which is one of my favorites and long sought after pieces.

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It was difficult finding appropriate fabric for the dress.  The original Vaudeville and Burlesque dress has such a unique design it was a struggle to find something even close in a fabric I liked.  That is until Spoonflower came to the rescue. Granted they are a bit expensive but the fabric is custom printed. In person it wasn’t as bright as expected but it was better once sewn together.

I started with my dress to see if the pattern pieces franksteined together were going to work.  I used Burda 7309 for the bodice, Burda 7739 for the sleeves and lining skirt, McCalls 5591 for the main skirt, and Simplicity 1727 for the collar. The dress is lined in red cotton batiste in the bodice and skirt. Like always, the collar bias, sleeve hems, and skirt hem are finished by hand.

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The sleeves are not as puffy and the skirt has larger and less pleats than the original, but I am fairly happy with it.  I wore my dress to work on my birthday; three non-Whovian coworkers thought it was cute. My mom thought it was a little retro. Either way, I like it. I made the skirt hem about 2 inches above my knee, higher than I normally wear skirts. I am hoping I will be less self conscious of it’s shortness once autumn comes and I can wear it with tights.

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Once I finished both dresses, there was enough fabric left over for a skirt. Since I have tons of fabric for other projects, I offered to sew Holley an extra skirt.  I used Burda 7049. It took every last inch of fabric to make the super pleated skirt.  It is very cute and I am almost sad to see it go but I have plenty of fabric to make my own version.

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It had been a while since I last used the buttonhole option on my machine but it came out well.  Unlike the dress, I ironed down the pleats to get them to set (I didn’t do so on the dress to make the skirt more poofy).

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I literally just finished the second dress and skirt about 15 minutes ago.  I have now been conned into another cosplay that is due to wear in a month and I have none of the materials.  I am going to take a break before tackling that one since I agreed to something that should really take me two months to complete. The things I do for friends.

 

Jess’ Red Dress

Normally I am a t-shirt and jeans girl. But lately I have been heavily influenced by the new autumn items at Modcloth, by Peneloping and her creativity, by Jess’s style in New Girl, and by Clara’s style in Doctor Who. I have been impatiently waiting for autumn and cool weather so I can wear skirts and dresses with tights and leggings (I do not like my legs bare so tend to wear a lot of hiking pants in summer since jeans are too hot).

Red is usually not a staple color in my wardrobe.  I’m rather drab with mostly blacks, grays, and darker tones.  But I have been gravitating towards bright colors to help with my mood (which has been somewhat down lately).  Jess’ red dress in New Girl is just what I need.

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I used practically the same patterns Peneloping did (Burda 7309 for the bodice, Burda 7739 for the sleeves, and Simplicity 1873 for the skirt).  I didn’t intend to; I was going to use just the Burda for the bodice but the pattern(s) I wanted to use for the skirt were not going to work out.  Also, using Burda 7739 for the sleeves made them puffier than I intended but I like the effect.

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Normally I wear my skirts a little below my knees because I have ugly knees.  But I hemmed this one to just above the knee since longer made it seem dowdy.

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Since I don’t wear a lot of bright colors (my complexion is more suited to muted, darker colors), I intend to wear this dress with accessories to tone it down.  I am already knitting a Marion cropped cardigan in a light gray wool and it’s going very quickly.

I already have an idea how to put together an outfit with this dress come next Valentine’s Day despite the fact that I am single and will be spending it at home with my cats.  At least I will look nice for work.  :3

April Rhodes Staple Dress

I bought some stretch fabric last week with the intent of making a floral shirt and two maxi skirts. The two stretch jersey fabrics for my maxi skirts ended up creating a mess on freshly swept floors and not cooperating with me at all; I ended up throwing all 4 yards of scraps into the trash.  I hadn’t touched my floral jersey and set it aside, still intending to make my shirt but not wanting to deal with jersey fabric.

For the record, I prefer woven fabrics.

I asked my mother her opinion on the fabric and whether or not it would make a good shirt or a skirt.  She immediately came back with “It could work for both…or a dress.”

A dress?  Why didn’t I think of that?

Immediately thought of April Rhodes’ Staple Dress which I had been drooling over for weeks.  I bought the pattern, printed and taped it together; I had the fabric and the serger.  The only thing I didn’t have was elastic thread but I have 1/4″ elastic which April says works as a substitute with zig-zag stitching.  It took about 3 hours on and off to finish.  Since I was working with stretch fabric, I didn’t make the bias tape but twice folded over the edges and zig-zag stitched.  I also opted for the high-low hem since that is my current obsession with skirts and dresses.

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After completing the dress, I highly recommend springing for elastic thread and doing shirring on the waist.  The elastic doesn’t make quite an impression gathered, and my zig-zag stitch kept catching the edges (I set it at the widest stitch and it still was smaller in width than the elastic).

I will definitely be making this dress again in a variety of fabrics.  It’s a very simple pattern and so versatile.

Forays in Sewing

I previously made a blog post on clothing pieces from movies/tv series I wanted to replicate as part of my New Year’s resolutions.  I expanded on that this weekend by completing a dress and knitted hat.

The dress is based off of the What a Ketch dress on Modcloth that is by designer Dear Creatures.  I first saw Peneloping make her own replica of the dress.  At first all I thought was “How cool is that?” but recently I had been thinking “Why can’t I make that?”  I used the same Simplicity pattern as Peneloping did, but I had to make some modifications.

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I used a cotton stretch sateen since I could not find a navy knit in the right color or weight (the sateen was just lying around from some project I can’t remember; I literally stumbled across it while rifling through my fabric storage).  The sateen gives it a more formal feel making it work appropriate (once the weather cooperates).  The front darts were not aligning with my body, so I redid the top with princess seams that fit better on me and match the original dress.  I also lowered the neckline to just about my collarbones, and lowered the hem to just below my knees. The armholes were widened a bit which makes them a little wonky, but I plan to always wear this dress with a cardigan or shrug (I’m really not one for completely baring my shoulders to the world).

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The design doesn’t line up exactly in the back despite my best efforts.  It’s also a little more narrower in the left shoulder than the right.  You’ll also have to excuse my dressform; it’s shorter in the torso than I am.  The dress fits very well on but it hasn’t been washed so I’m not modeling it.  But, overall, I love my new dress, but I think it looks far better on Peneloping than it does on me.  :/

The second project I completed this weekend was a knitted Doctor Who inspired slouch featuring the Tardis.  Pattern is on Ravelry by Shawna Synder.  My cat Kulin is my model this time.

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It took me 8-9 hours to complete while watching the Presidential inauguration, followed by a Law & Order marathon and the evening news.  I love this new hat and can’t wait to wear it.  My mom also likes it and would like one knitted for her even though she is not a Doctor Who fan (she finds the series rather odd).  I am also planning on knitting one as a belated birthday gift to one of my oldest and best friends, Shannon, who is a huge Doctor Who/British tv fan.

My next non-replica sewing project is a skirt.  I have tons of eggplant and sky blue sateen that I plan to turn into two skirts.  Once those are complete (or nearly so), I am going to attempt to finish my Hermione sweaters and get started on sewing her red dress.