Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pleather Costume Dress & Garter Belt

All photos can be seen larger here.

I needed a costume for a party in August, and decided this homage to Emma Peel of the original Avengers would be fun.  I'm not sure Mrs. Peel ever wore anything exactly like this, but surely something very similar in spirit.  After all, it was the Mod 1960's.

This dress is made from Pleather from JoAnn's.
I used a Marfy sheath pattern (#1128) as my starting point, with some changes that are not really too drastic design-wise, although the look is quite different from the original here and here.
I've made this dress several times, and it's a very versatile pattern.  This iteration has been shortened, the neck scooped, the back neckline changed to a very deep Vee, and the side zipper exchanged for a below-the-waist CB separating sport zipper. 

You can see the back below.  For ease of fitting, etc., and since it's only a costume, I decided that leaving the Vee open to the top of the zipper and exposing the back strap of my bra would not be a problem.  It would be easy enough to put a modesty strip or panel across with snaps, and if I wear it again, I may do so.
The pleather was very easy to sew, but the fact that pins make permanent holes made it difficult to fit quickly.  Tape didn't hold well to try things, and I ended up using clothespins at times.  I did use some pins where I was going to be sewing anyway.  All edges except the hem are turned and stitched with either a straight stitch or a 3-step zigzag.  You can see both in the photo at left, which shows the ties on the front shoulder 'straps'.  They control excess fullness in the neckline.

The original design has a front jewel neckline with gathers in lieu of some of the dart shaping, and I should have rotated that fullness out before cutting.  This did the trick though, and is kind of cute anyway.

To the right is the back of the dress laid out on the ironing board.  You can see the zipper at CB.  The zipper zips up from the bottom.

You can see the bottom of the zipper below and the double row topstitched hem from both the inside and outside of the garment.  The hem was turned up and stitched along the zipper while the zipper was inserted.

I used a large-toothed sport zipper for this garment, and I think it fits well with the design and the fabric.

To the right you can see the CF waistline from the inside and outside of the dress.  I took a tuck at the waistline between the front vertical darts.  There is no give in pleather, and there was just too much fullness there.

I put elastic inside to gather it up across the grain a little as well.  This seemed to help the fit quite a bit, and it was all hidden by the sash belt.

On to the matching garter belt.  Every 1960's heroine needs a garter belt.  After all, it was before pantyhose made their appearance.  Here it is closed and open.

The pleather made it very quick and easy to sew.  Sturdiness, no raveling and no stretch meant no reinforcement or lining needed.  This sped up the process a lot.  I used purchased garters which came with the elastic attached, and put loops with 2 attachment points on the inside.

The seams were stitched, then each seam allowance was topstitched down.  This might have been overkill, but I wanted it to last, and to be very flat against the skin.  I used the triple zigzag on the edges, again to make sure the edges were very flat.  I had thought it would be fun to add some embroidery or some kind of embellishment to this, but I ran out of time. 

I will leave you with 2 last dress photos.  The side/back view, and the 'fun' shot.  Many of you know that my sister takes all my best photos, and we were getting silly at this point.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Two More Swimsuits

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I made these two suits in July. The Violet Geometric one is a success, the Pink Sequin one, not really. I did not put zippers in these suits, otherwise they are very similar to the ones I've  made previously. The violet fabric is from LA, as is the Fold Over Elastic (FOE) on both suits.

The reason the Pink Sequin suit is NOT a success is my own fault. The fabric is from Hancock Fabric, and although it's marketed as a swimsuit fabric, and seems to hold up well to chlorine (almost too well from my point of view) I did not take into account that the application of the sequins, which I think are laminated on, would affect the stretch qualities of the fabric. There is almost NO stretch in the lengthwise direction, and less than the normal amount on the crossgrain. I of course paid no attention to what I could plainly tell, and cut the pattern out as usual. Well, I can wear it, but it's pretty form-fitting. The worst thing though is that the 'sequins' are almost painful along turned edges with no FOE. I have been wearing this suit in the hot tub, which usually manages to stretch out and soften any suit very quickly, but naturally in this case, it's not doing it. I think if I would put FOE on the plain edges, I might be able to wear this pretty comfortably, so maybe I'll just do it. I love the way the print worked out on this, and I do like the look.

Here's the back of both suits.

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