Sunday, February 1, 2015

Green means go!

After the move, my sewing room (and home office) is mostly in order. There are still a few more things to fiddle with (oh, how I love craigslist) but I've decided to start sewing and see what changes I want to make after spending some time actually working. Time to start, enough preparations.

The household move had me re-arrange my equipment/stash, but it also made me go through all my unfinished garments and experiments!

I found one bodice that I'd made after my butterfly dress, using that pattern is a basis for extending the side seams into shoulder straps (the original pattern has separate strap pieces) and creating a sweetheart neckline (months before the Kim dress was introduced!).

The fabric is a beautiful vlisco java print, purchased during some discount event when I decided that I didn't have enough green in my life.

Last fall, I traced the pattern, re-drafted, cut fabric, and fitted it with more redrafts, stitched in a short crappy zipper. Finally, the bodice was moderately successful and then I lost interest and set it aside. Too much more work, the zipper needed unpicking, etc. I had fun making it up to the point of fitting, but a full dress requires much more time and discipline.  

When I took it up again this year, I lined it with another gorgeous vlisco java print... I thought about making a fully reversible dress, (with a ridiculously full skirt)- there must be a special zipper for that... if I ever find one, I'll reconsider, for now, just the bodice is lined.

After a final fitting and lining (and pressing!), I encountered a problem with the bodice, there are many puckers/wrinkles along the princess seams. For some reason, all my previous princess seams avoided this. Googling revealed that the problem may be because I notched it AFTER stitching it, whereas I should do it BEFORE?  I don't think it's the sizing, it fits comfortably. It could be the nature of the java wax cotton, it is a bit stiffer than a voile, or lawn. Anyways, it's way too late emotionally to take it apart again, so I'm going to steam press it again and then just wear it with the little wrinkles that are left. I hope no one with sewing OCD sees me and gets upset. 

I did attempt to pattern match the bodice pieces and the front skirt/bodice seam. All others are done by random because the craziness of the circular print looks good no matter what. That's the magic of Vlisco, no matter nuts the print looks, it's still freaking gorgeous and looks amazing cut into a garment.

Wrinkled after a day of wear.

The skirt is the paneled circle skirt from the V8787 pattern (that I used for the bodice in another dress), extended by 3 inches. 

I'm now at the point with sewing where I got to with cooking - I use recipes/patterns as suggestions... This can be a dangerous place! I'm still learning techniques and finishing, but I understand construction well enough to get cocky. I'm planning to make the Kim dress with vlisco java wax so I'll be sure to notch the princess seams before I sew them to see if that works.

Any other suggestions? 

More pressing!


  1. Lovely green dress, the fabric is gorgeous and I just can't get enough of the skirt part of V8787, I've made six dresses with it already. I love princess seams but they are a bother to get exactly right, Jenny from Cashmerette also had problems with wrinkles and if you go through the comment section, you might find some useful tips for the next time around? - here is the link:

    1. Thanks! There's lots of advice there in the comments... I'll try some of those things on my next princess seams (sewing from the bottom up? OK!)
      It is a great skirt pattern! That was my first time using it- I hunted in my stash for something full that would match the princess seams with 6 panels. It's nice that it can be cut from less than 60" wide fabric. I'll definitely use it again.

  2. Regardless of your problems with the seam puckering, I do still love it -- especially that skirt. The fabric is so awesome inside and out. My thoughts are that the puckering may be due to the stiffer fabric. I always notch after stitching and haven't had this problem -- but I' also haven't used a thicker fabric than lawn/voile/batiste or charmeuse/satin/crepe for princess seams. I hope that your next version comes out exactly like you want it to! PS You can never have too much green in your life!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I am going to wash it and try steam blasting it again... Vlisco java wax fabrics do arrive with a waxy sheen to them, many buyers want that stiffness and volume but I usually wash it out. I hope that will help! It's so fun to wear a full skirted dress!

  3. Hi Alicia,
    I too love Vlisco prints and have a 6 yard in my stash I'd like to sew. I am a bit intrigued though. In numerous pictures of dresses using Vlisco fabric, pattern is not always cut on the direction parallel to the selvedge. Sometimes, pattern is cut perpendicular to the selvedge. Have you done this before? If yes, how does it affect the drape of the dress?

    Thank you.
    (also a fan of Leiden :D)

    1. Hello Katz! I have cut the fabric both ways and noticed little difference (I cut it both ways in one dress! Usually, I wash out as much wax as possible, but the fabric is still slightly stiffer than a cotton lawn, so the drape is a bit structured no matter what. It's possible that I'm not very sensitive about these things, but I really haven't noticed any difference.

    2. Alicia,
      now, that makes sense! The stiffer state of the fabric doesn't really affect the drape. I tend to forget about how stiff it is.

      How many time do you usually wash your vlisco fabric before you cut it?

      I LLLLLLooove that empire waist dress! The color and pattern is stunning, and I love the way you put the geometric pattern into play.

      Now that the US dollar is almost 1 to 1 with Euro, vlisco is a little bit more affordable than it used to.

      Thank you for your tip, Alicia.
      Would you consider a post about working with vlisco fabric? (washing, pattern cutting direction, maximizing the design quirkiness into pattern etc). I'd love to learn more....

      Hartelijke groeten,