22 December 2013

Christmas dress

Christmas at our household is relatively simple. We've sort of combined Czech traditions from my family, with those of my husband's. This means Christmas Eve has more emphasis on celebration, where gifts are opened in the evening after a fancy dinner (I usually make a wild rice stuffed seitan roast, wrapped in puff-pastry and served in a bing cherry/pepper sauce...along with stuffing and garlic-smashed potatoes). Christmas Eve also means we get to finally enjoy all of those cookies I spent hours laboring over a few weeks ago (these Czech sweets are usually made in advance and aged). We prefer to have a more quiet holiday and thus only The Pups, myself, and my better half are present.


Christmas day means fondue (a tradition from my husband's side of the family). Each year I make a different one, but it's usually beer based and with homemade or store bought vegan cheese. My omnivorous friends can never tell the difference between this and its dairy counterpart...neither can we! I usually serve it with homebaked bread, apples, and some sort of homemade seitan/grain sausage. This year we are spending the day hiking (have to work off the calories from Christmas eve dinner...naturally) out in the mountains in the snow, so the fondue after will be much appreciated.

Now, on to the sewing. Every year I make a dress for the holiday and this year I chose green velvet with cream lace accenting. I am so in love with it...I don't know where to begin! The waistline is princess cut and the drape in the skirt makes it fun to twirl in. I found some off-white lace to use for the vestee and made matching green velvet buttons. I used Simplicity 3152 for the pattern, which is the same one as my Snow White costume...but this was much easier to complete!
The Progress:







Photographing velvet is excruciating, to say the least. Anyone who has tried, understands how annoying (and rather futile) it is to attempt capturing an accurate colour...but the dress is a beautiful hunter green. I didn't have any difficulty in assembling the pattern pieces or sewing with them. I used a lower-cotton setting on my iron with lots of steam, pressing down on a fluffy towel on the wrong side of the fabric to flatten out seams. Because of this technique, I didn't get any unwanted creases or folds on the right side of the velvet. I also used a blind hem and cut away bulky seams before sewing together.
The finished product:




The last couple of pictures are from the first outing in my new dress. We went to see the Nutcracker...this year we scored some pretty sweet seats thanks to a promotion the Pacific Northwest Ballet was running. Going to be difficult to go back to our usual budget seats...Anyway, I ended up shortening the dress 2.5 inches and adding a tie at the waist. The pattern recommended a belt, but I'm rather obsessed with bows and so I took the opportunity to add one.


My next project is my New Year's dress...I've already cut out the fabric pieces and look forward to working with them. In case you missed my update on that, it's a peach charmeuse fabric and my first attempt at shirring.

Have a lovely and Merry Christmas everyone!

22 comments:

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    1. Thanks! As do I, definitely going to wear it as often as possible this winter!

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  2. What a timelessly beautiful, wonderfully lovely dress. So true about the trickiness of successfully photographing velvet - it's almost funny how "camera shy" this luxurious, classic fabric is.

    Big hugs & the very merriest of Christmas week wishes!
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Yes, I wish it weren't so camera shy...it's one of my favourite fabrics. Especially for cold winter days! Thank you for your lovely comment and warm holiday wishes, Merry Christmas to you and your family as well!

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  3. Wow, what a beautiful dress! It's perfect for christmas :) Love the yoke with the contrasting color! The dress is so flattering! Well done!

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    1. Thank you!! I wanted something simple but contrasting to the sea of green, the lace worked out well, I'm very pleased with it :)

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  4. Very pretty, I love the dark green color! It's funny how you hear one person say that they didn't have any problems with velvet and another that they will never ever sew with velvet again.

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    1. Thank you for your comment :) I think it depends on the type of velvet used. There are a lot of cheaper fabrics out there which stretch a lot when you work with them. I was fortunate enough to purchase this "premier velvet" when it was 60% off. It is a dream to work with and doesn't cause any problems. As long as you cut away bulky seams and are very gentle with the iron (using more steam than heat). I wish I could afford making everything I own in velvet!

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  5. The dress turned out really nice, I love the styling. Great job.

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    1. Thank you, the styling I thought was perfect for this sort of material, especially the darts at the bodice and shoulder. Going to be difficult to put this one away at the end of the season!

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  6. I am confused to select my Christmas dress early. Now I got idea to wear look like this dress.My husband also like this dress. Now I am planned to contact my sister to make the dress look like this. Thanks you Thank you son much.

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    1. Awe, well thank you! I am glad you found inspiration for your Holiday dress...sometimes it can be difficult deciding on what you want to go for, I completely understand!

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  7. Congratulations, what a beautiful, beautiful dress! It reminds me very much of a 50s dress (also made of velvet but without a collar) that I saw in Paris but couldn't buy because it was just too expensive. I am still dreaming of it... maybe I should take a leaf of your book and sew one for myself :-) Merry christmas!

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    1. Yes, that is a great idea! I often see vintage clothing I could never afford...so I just make it myself. Usually it ends up having my own twist to it, but then you don't have to worry about having something someone else does. Thank you for your compliments :)

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  8. Velvet is one of my favourite materials, but quite expensive to get around here. You made gorgeous dress! After seeing this, I think I have to tackle my dream and make 40's style velvet dress for myself. I already have couple velvet dresses in my wardrobe, but they are nothing like this.

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    1. It can get very expensive, that's true. I was lucky to get mine on sale, I wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise! Hence, I only have two velvet dresses. But, we are all entitled to a fancy dress or two, I say go for it! I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

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  9. Wow I love the velvet! Its so great to see winter dresses also being Christmas dresses. Here in Australia we cant get away with such a thing - so there is almost no reason to have a green velvet dress in my wardrobe - its such a Christmassy garment. Maybe I should just make one anyway - for when it does get cold.
    Its also super encouraging to hear that the velvet was not so difficult to sew with. Great tips with the use of the towel to iron too. It seems velvet is one of those fabrics where you really *must* spend more and get quality stuff. Otherwise you will regret it. I couldnt think of anything worse than nasty polyester velvet that would be impossible to crease. I am guessing yours is made out of silk or rayon?

    And I do LOVE those shoes - would you care to tell me what brand they are? Theyre just perfect :-D

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    1. Yes! This dress is getting worn all through winter, it's very warm and cozy. I think green velvet just looks like cold weather attire and as long as you don't pair it with red you should definitely pull it off. I have brown Victorian-style boots I pair it with, looks wonderful!
      The velvet is a rayon blend, like you mentioned...hence the hefty price! Glad it was clearance or I could never afford it. It's also true that you really do need to work slowly with this fabric. Crushed velvet in parts looks a bit silly! The towel did wonders, I also made sure to only iron on the wrong side of fabric. Also, lots of steam! The seams practically fall open under steaming.

      The shoes I purchased off Modcloth. The brand is "Qupid", I think on their webpage it is listed as "Dynamic Debut". They are surprisingly comfortable!

      I hope that helps!

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  10. Wow, this dress is unbelievable! I've just stumbled upon your blog and I think you're my new favourite.. Love your style!

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    1. Awe, thank you for the compliment! And thanks for visiting my blog :)

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