Sunday, 30 September 2012

Finished Project & Pattern Review: Lisette Women's Bow Belt (free pattern!) & Frankenpattern Dress.

My first belt pattern review!
Pattern can be downloaded from here.

Hello beautiful people hope you are having a wonderful weekend. My weekend was fantastic, apart from Swans beating my team Hawks in the AFL Grand Final...  :( Don't worry Buddy Franklin, still love you! Isn't this the most beautiful man??!

After finishing my Minnie Mouse dress last week, which also served as a muslin, I got working on my dress for the work function that's coming up in less than two weeks. Yikes! 

All week I have been jotting down notes on what style bodice I wanted. The Brownlow and Emmy Awards were on last week which gave me a little inspiration... I toyed with the idea of making the bodice like Rebecca Twigley's dress - zipper up to hip/waist and fasten it with a button or tie at the neck. In the end I settled on a simple scooped back with full circle skirt. I like to wear a bra when I go out.

I already had fabric for the dress from last week's shopping trip at GJ Fabrics, all I needed was lining and a zipper. Friday afternoon I remembered I had red sunsilky lining, purchased during Spotlight's 30% off sale. Color blocking, yay! Midnight blue and red would be hot! 

I went home, scoffed down dinner (at 5pm... early bird!!) and started.

Initially I was going to use the New Look 6723 bodice, but because the muslin (Minnie Mouse dress) was View D and the bodice I wanted for this dress was View B, I thought it was too risky to not make another muslin since the NL size 8 is still big and the high neck bodice would probably cave in too much. Didn't have time for a muslin though so I used the V8511 bodice (which must be OOP cos I can't find it on BMV). I've used it twice and haven't had any issues with the fit, and I get compliments every time I wear the floral version.

I wanted to make a belt to go with the dress. I was thinking something easy and quick to make like a long satin tie or something like that, that could be tied up as a big bow (inspired by Cindy - Cation Designs 'Put a bow on it' post). I'm always on Twitter so of course I tweeted this thought and I got a response from Rachel of House of Pinheiro blog. This is why I love Twitter. 

Follow me on Twitter ;)

The belt pattern pattern that Rachel so kindly hooked me up with is a free pattern from Lisette, described as a little bow belt that could be used to dress up any outfit.

I checked out the PDF and it looked easy enough to tackle over the weekend, but first I needed the dress!

Finished sewing bodice shell & lining, bagged the bodice on Friday night. About 5 hours work.
Stayed up till 3am watching Homeland then woke up at 6:30am Saturday morning and cut out the full circle skirt.
Tested a store-bought belt on the dress - perfect! Red and blue = gorgeous.

I learnt how to cut a full circle skirt from Andrea Tung's blog 'Making Things' which says to measure your waist - in my case I measured the waist of the finished bodice - then divide by 3.14 then divide by 2 = radius.

FORMULA: 67cm / 3.14 / 2 = 10.66cm.

Every time I cut the skirt out with the radius given in the above calculation, the skirt waist is too big for the bodice. Is it me? Am I that shit at maths I can't even work it out on iPhone calculator??

Anyway, this time I cut it with a smaller radius - 9.5cm - just a guess, if it was too small I could always make it wider... and guess what, it fit PERFECTLY.

The length of the skirt is about 45cm.

Time to play with the belt pattern!

Looked at PDF on my iPhone, cbf hooking up the printer so I recreated the pattern.
The lines on the cutting mat are so useful!
Ta-da! Made the bow much bigger than the original pattern.
Big bow will be the 'hero' of my dress
(too much Masterchef).
Bias... omg 2 metres of fabric for a BOW?!

Left the dress to hang on my mannequin then went back GJ's to get satin for the bow. I decided on the same midnight blue as my dress and red.

If you think my dining table is messy, you should have seen my lounge room floor!
Shit everywhere! 
Hand sewing snap fasteners on to my bow belt.
Was so happy when I tried it on and it was exactly what I imagined!

  • 1m midnight blue satin (bow)
  • 1m red satin (bow and belt)
Notions: Metal snap fasteners, 1m interfacing
Time: about 4 hours (drafting pattern and constructing bow and belt)
Cost: Fabric $14; Snap fasteners $1.65, interface from stash, pattern free. Total: $16.
Techniques used: 
    • Bias cut fabric
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
    • Made the bow much bigger than the original pattern but still same style bow.

Very pleased with how easy and quick this bow belt was to create. Thanks Lisette and thanks Rachel for sharing!
Added one extra (female?) fastener to make belt tighter/looser :P

Still finding my feet with hand sewing things like this to fabric.

I apologise for this very text and photo heavy post! Just so much to fit in!!

Ok so now on to the dress! 

V8511 bodice with mods to back bodice piece to create scooped back.
Self drafted dull circle skirt.
Bow at the back vs bow at the front.
I think bow at the back wins... just by a little!

Red sunsilky lining and a navy grosgrain ribbon waist stay.
Pattern Review: Frankenpattern dress.

Pattern:  Vogue 8511 bodice with modification to back, self drafted full circle skirt
Size: Size 6
  • 2m midnight blue satin from GJ's
  • 1.5m red sunsilky lining
Notions: Invisible zipper 14" (dark navy), 80cm grosgrain ribbon (navy), 1 bikini hook, Gutermann thread (000, 156)
Time: about 8 hours
Cost: Fabric $14; Lining $15; Zipper $2; Grosgrain Ribbon $1.65, Bikini Hook & Pattern from stash.
Techniques used: 
·         Narrow hem on the sewing machine
·         Princess seams
·         Bagging technique to line bodice
Pattern Modification/Adjustments: 
·         Graded out to 1cm seam allowance at the waist on the side seams
·         2cm SA on back bodice when inserting zipper
·         Replaced skirt with self drafted full circle skirt 
·          Modified the back bodice to create a scoop, see pic below.

Back bodice piece from V8511.

If you have made it this far, thanks for reading!! This has to be the longest post I have done!

Next up on my sewing table is a dress for another awards night in November, a dress for my company Xmas party in December and possibly a Halloween costume, as well as finishing off projects from dressmaking class (ahem M5850 and Burda nightmare).

I have always been a 'never wear same dress twice to an event' girl, once a dress has been worn to one event, it's never touched again. I fear I am becoming that way with my handmade dresses too!!

Update: Photos of me wearing this dress at the function are blogged here.


  1. Love this dress. What a fantastic job. Love the bow on the back of the dress BTW. Grand Final game was fantastic. One of the best I have seen for years. I ended up putting money on Swans to win (although I tipped Hawks originally) but it was too close to call!!

    1. I was watching the first quarter then turned off during the second quarter when Swans got ahead. I have this paranoia that when I watch them play, they lose :( then they lost anyway, WAH!! :(

  2. So cute! I can't decide if I like the dress more with the bow belt or without, both look so good!

    1. I've now changed my mind, I am going to wear the bow at the front, I think I like it better at the front :D

  3. Everything you sew is gorgeous and this one is no exception.

    1. Aww thanks babe, I'm really pleased with how the dress turned out.

  4. Ahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! What a perfect dress! I love it!! But GIRL, you HAVE to wear this again! It would be so sad if it just hung in your closet unworn!

    1. I guess I will wear it again, it is a waste if I don't recycle the outfit hey. Maybe to a wedding or something. Now someone invite me to a wedding.

  5. Another cute dress!! :) I like the bow at the back and also it looks great without :) Circle skirts really suit you too :)

    1. Thanks Jo! I am really in love with circle skirts!!!!

  6. I love the bow- such a cute as a button feature on this dress :D

    1. I can't believe I made the bow! It's amazing how easy it was... :D

  7. Love the dress and the bow colour combination! Maybe a silly question, but why do you have to cut the bow on the bias? It doesn't need to stretch, does it?

    1. Hi Roxanne, I think the reason it needs to be cut on the bias is so it can drape/hang downwards? Bowties and ties are also cut on the bias.
      I realise now that if I was to cut it on the straight grain (??) I would also need 1 meter haha and I don't think I could have cut it the "other" way... might try one days and see what the difference is!

  8. Replies
    1. I love the red and blue, I've always been a fan of color blocking :)
      Just got told the dress code for the event is "black tie" - i was under the impression it was cocktail/lounge :( Hope this is ok to wear... other wise I have to whip up a floor length gown this week!

  9. Cute cute cute! I, too, am a fan of the bow in the back. And thank you for cluing me in to that free bow belt pattern -- I love the cascading look so much, especially the way it looks with that two-tone thing going on. Your hand-sewn snaps look just fine to should see mine :\

    1. Hahahaha hand sewing is my downfall!!!! I stopped trying to sew hooko and eyes cos they just looked hideous!!!!

  10. Neeno, that is really, really cute! You definitely have a Zooey Daschanel look going on... Too cute!

  11. Hello!

    I need help! I have this dress and it is really ugly, here's the link:, it is the black and red one. I really really really love and I mean LOVE how you made this bow (AND THE DRESS :)) and I was wondering if you could help me through making it exactly like yours. I had a look at the pattern but it was very small, could you help me make a big bow to fix up that dress??? What colours do you think should I make the band (red or black)???

    Please get back to me on the link above at that post

  12. Hi! Thank you for the comment but I needed help with making the bow, not the zipper. I don't want to trouble you though. I would like to make one to put on the dress like to you to make the dress look more nicer.


    1. Hey hun, I'll have to refer you to the pattern instructions becos this was my first time using the pattern and I don't know it well enough to interpret the instructions in my own way :)
      The instructions are very straight forward though. I recommend printing out the pattern so you are familiar with the pieces, then you can enlarge it to the size you want :)

  13. Do I enlarger it by adding some cm's onto all the edges???

    1. Correct. If you have a cutting matt with the squares on them, that will help.
      See this pic:

      I'm not sure how big the original patter is, but my one is 16" wide at the widest end of the pattern. I gradually graded it down.

    2. Oh okay, I don't have a cutting mat but I will figure it out :) Thanks for the help :)


    3. Hi Sofia, hope I have been able to help out! Here is another tuturial you may find helpful:

  14. Ahh, that was a great grand final! Hawthorn is my second team (if I had to choose) so I was going for them, but Sydney were well-deserved winners :)

    Love the colour of the bow dress - looking amazing on you!

  15. The fashion statement of any woman depends upon body frame, skin tone, comfort level and personal attitude EROX


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