Ginger Made: Belladone, v.3 (Or, the “I Call the Big One Bitey” Dress of Maximum Happiness)

Duuuuuuuuuuuuudes! I like this dress very much. Very, VERY much. IT HAS PIRANHAS ON IT. I felt completely and totally exuberant the moment I put it on!  Can you tell?

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

But let’s back up for a minute. So, if you’ve been involved with the sewing community for a while, you probably know that people who sew are some of the kindest, best, most generous people around. True story! I’ve made so many wonderful friends through this here blog that have come to mean so much to me, and even though I know sew-y types are amazing, I’m STILL continually surprised by their kindness. Just one recent example: I commented on Mary‘s Sweden-inspired dress post that I had a trip to Stockholm planned, and the lovely and sweet Naomi Molly emailed me a gazillion tips about her town. Man Friend and I have enjoyed SO much good food, window shopping, and delicious coffee this week thanks to her expert recommendations. Take it from me- people that sew are amazing!

Deer & Doe Belladone Dress | Ginger Makes

In that vein, this AMAZING fabric was a gift from Jennifer. I skipped the #NYLon2014 trip because of the aforementioned trip to Sweden, but Jenny saw this fabric in London, thought it was my style, (should I be worried about this, readers? Heeheehee!) and grabbed some for me as a surprise. How awesome is that?! I can’t even tell you how much I love this fabric, dudes! But I especially treasure it since it was a gift from a friend.

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

Here’s the thing: I know that it’s easier for me than most to get to know other people who sew since there are quite a few who live here in the city, and even more who trek here for visits from all over the world (it’s a perk of living here that I remind myself of every time NYC gets me down). But, I’m guessing no matter where you live (OK, except for maybe you, Em!), there’s SOMEONE in your area who sews (and if not, internet friends are awesome, too!). I think I’m one of only a few major extroverts in the sewing community, but even if it’s a struggle for you to make the first move, I really encourage you to reach out and get to know someone who shares your passion. It’s really worth it! It’s just so energizing to spend time with other creative people. So, if you’re feeling too shy, nervous, or busy to connect with other people, but deep down you’d like to get to know someone, I really encourage you to take a small step today. Tweet about your next project! Email someone to tell them how much you like something they made! Offer to walk a friend through an easy sewing project! You can do it!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

OK, I’m done cheerleading. FOR NOW. Let’s talk dress! When Jenny gave me the fabric, I wasn’t sure what to make, but I knew it needed to be good! Oona suggested I make the Belladone dress since I really love the pattern, and I loved the idea! So this is my third Belladone (here’s #1 and here’s #2)! I just love this pattern. It’s so cute and wearable!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t really do anything differently than I did on round 2. I stabilized the bias edges of the back cut-out with Hug Snug (I bought two rolls from ZipperStop ages ago and it lasts FOREVER) to keep them from stretching out like I did last time, and I just serged all the seams (no lining this time around). I love how easy it is to sew a garment from a pattern you’ve made before!

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

I didn’t bother matching the print since it’s so random, but I did place the pattern pieces on the fabric carefully to feature my favorite dudes. I also lined up the waistband pieces so the waistband would be a row of ferocious teeth, which is fun, but probably not too noticeable. I made yards and yards of matching bias tape- not my favorite thing to do, but I like how it looks.

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes

So yeah. That’s the story of this dress! It’s a fun, fun, fun dress, and it will always be extra special to me. Thank you, Jenny, and thanks to all the rest of you for being so supportive, kind, and generous. Now, tell me! Have you made any friends since you began sewing? If so, was it easy for you to reach out and make friends? What tips would you give to someone who’s looking to make friends? Have you ever received an awesome sewing-related gift?

Deer & Doe Belladone dress | Ginger Makes


Ginger Made: Jungle-icious Plantain T-Shirt!

Hey, there, preening pumas!  Hope you are all well!  After finishing my coat project, I was in the mood for a simple sew, and I also wanted to get in on the Jungle January fun.  I’ve been LOVING all the fun animal-print projects populating my blogroll these days– keep up the good work, duders!

Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt by Ginger MakesThis leopard-print sweater knit has been hanging out in my stash for a while, and I knew as soon as Jungle January 2 was announced that I wanted to bring it fabric to life!  I bought it at Fabrics for Less for some crazy low price, but this is reallllly similar, if you fancy a gaudy garment as well.  The pattern was an obvious choice, too.  It’s the new (and FREE!) Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt— go and download it, if you haven’t already!

Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt by Ginger Makes

Now I know what you’re thinking.  “Ginger, this is pretty deplorably tacky, but, somehow, I expected you to bring it a little harder during Jungle January”.  I’m sorry, guys, but I decided to exercise a little restraint and keep things classy.

Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt by Ginger Makes

JUST KIDDING, I DOUBLED DOWN ON THE HOT PINK ANIMAL PRINT.  Look at these truckerlovin’ elbow patches!!!!!  Hot pink tiger!!!!!!!  This fabric came from Girl Charlee (here’s a similar fabric, although I’m sure the one I ordered two years ago is long gone) and was part of a failed garment a while back (tried to make up a woven pattern in a slouchy knit, ended up with Sharpie all over the fabric, tears were shed, etc.).  When the inspiration struck to work this into the top, I tried to calm myself and use basic black for the elbow patches, but I thought to myself, “What would Anne and Heather do?” and then I forged ahead with my unholy animal-print union.

Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt by Ginger Makes

Just casually scratching my head and not at all showing off my ELBOW PATCH OF JOY!

Let’s talk about the pattern for a second.  It’s basically the quickest thing in the world to sew, everything matches up nicely, and, again, it’s FREE!  It’s a departure from my usual style (not sure I’ve ever worn anything with a scoop-neck), so I don’t need a whole closet full of these or anything, but it looks like something my mom and sister would wear all the time, so I’m planning several versions for them.

Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt by Ginger Makes

Luckily I overcame my fear of twin-needling when I was making the Romy Anorak, so it was a breeze to hem.  The only difference was that I needed to lower my tension allllll the way down to avoid tunneling between the stitch lines when I sewed on this sweater knit.  That’s it!  I used my walking foot and a ballpoint needle for the bulk of construction, which worked well.

Deer & Doe Plantain T-shirt by Ginger Makes

Obligatory wild kitty face!

I get really happy whenever I look at these silly elbow patches and I feel like a sort of human nacho dip when I have this on– I’M BRINGING THE PARTY, PEOPLE!  Also, my hubsy-wubsy HATES this, so it will be fun to wear in a sort of gleefully antagonistic way.  Anyway, thanks again to Anne for unleashing the Jungle January beasts, and to Eléonore for the pattern!  Now, what are you guys sewing?  Have you made this pattern?  Are you playing along with Jungle January 2?

Ginger Made: Ma Deuxième Belladone!

Oooh la la!  Une autre Deer & Doe Belladone!  I’m really, really excited about this dress– I’ve only worn it once, and I can already tell that it’s going to be one of my favorites!

I bought this cotton ikat last May at B & J Fabrics and hoarded it like a miser, waiting for the perfect pattern.  It was quite expensive, so I knew I really needed to use it wisely.  I was so nervous to cut into it!  After I made my first Belladone dress, I realized that my precious ikat would work really well with the pattern!  They’re basically besties for life.

I really like this fabric.  I thought that it would be scratchy, but it’s actually really soft.  It’s a nice medium weight, so it’s got a little heft, but it’s also drapey.  I would sew with this all day every day if I could!

Like the last time I made this dress, I was really careful when I handled the back bodice pieces to make sure that I didn’t stretch out the bias-cut edges.  I stabilized the edges with rayon seam binding before I topstitched them down.

I originally planned to do a full lining, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around that with the unusual back construction.  The dress was pretty heavy without the lining, and since it’s more of a summer dress, I decided to skip it and just line the skirt with rayon bemberg.  I wanted to keep things as tidy as possible, so I added a bemberg waistband to hide the seams at the waist.  I also hand stitched seam binding onto the zipper tape and over the raw edges of the center back seam to enclose them.

I was really careful to match up the the seams in the back.  It’s not hard to do, but it takes a little time.  Tasia has a great tutorial for a foolproof way to match patterns here.

I really love this pattern.  It’s so flattering and so fun!  The back cutout is super-duper cute, and I just love the shape of the skirt.  It’s the perfect everyday dress– you could wear it shopping, to the movies, to work, to church, to brunch, for drinks after work, really, just about anywhere.  I’m pretty light on versatile dresses like that in my wardrobe, so this is a welcome addition.

Now you tell me– what’s YOUR ideal everyday dress?  Something that works from day into night?  Long?  Short?  Spill the beans!

Deer & Doe Reglisse Dress (or, the Summer Seaside Dress)

Hi, everyone!  It’s finally summer here in NYC, so for my June Mood Sewing Network project, I wanted to make a dress fit for a vacation (even though I don’t have any trips planned, boo).  I feel like I’m ready to sail away on a yacht in this dress!  Well, maybe a dinghy… not sure if I’m quite posh enough for a yacht…

I used the Deer & Doe Reglisse dress pattern that I coveted the minute I saw.  It’s easy to put together, but I took my time with it since I’d never worked with fabric cut on the bias before.  I put out a call on Twitter for your favorite tips for sewing on the bias, and your advice was invaluable!  I used a longer stitch length (3mm) and placed strips of paper under the seams while I stitched.  The longer stitches keep your seams from popping when the bias flexes and relaxes, and the paper kept things from getting messy under the presser foot.  Then I let the dress hang on my dress form for 24 hours to let the bias sections of the skirt stretch out before trimming the hem even.

Please excuse my rumpled look– these photos were taken at the end of the day!

I picked out a lovely cotton voile from Mood Fabrics to keep the dress light and floaty on sticky days.  Originally, I wanted a lighter color, but when I laid eyes on this blue, I was hooked!  It has a lovely sheen, and I like the classic pairing of navy and cream.  I chose a shirting cotton for the contrasting collar and sleeves.  It’s a bit crisper and more opaque than the voile, which is just what I wanted.  I really loved working with voile– it’s easy to sew and press, and just feels so breathable and lovely.

The bodice is self-lined, and the skirt is lined with bemberg rayon.  I used a narrow rolled hem, which worked well, but man, does that take forever!  I felt like the hem was a mile long!  I’ve never worn or made a skirt this full before… well, not since elementary school, at least!  It’s really a change of pace for me, but I like it.  But girls– do you get used to feeling, um, insecure, on a breezy day?  It was just a little breezy when I wore this the first time, and I felt like I was seconds from a Marilyn moment the whole time!

Overall, I really like this dress, although it verges on the twee (if I haven’t crossed that line completely).  If I could change anything, though, it would be to find a way to make this without an elasticized waist.  The dress pulls over your head, so it’s really easy-wearing, but I hate how elastic waists look and feel so I’ll always wear this with a belt on top.  I definitely recommend the pattern!  If you’re thinking of making it, check out Ami’s cute version and tips for enclosing the seams (helpful if you don’t want to line it like I did).  Also, you should know that the dress is pretty short as-is.  I’m 5’6″, and the hem lands a few inches above my knee– doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but I know lots of you guys prefer things to hit at the knee.

Ahoy, mateys!

Alright, I’m off on my imaginary seaside vacation!  Just give me one quick minute to load up on Dramamine and we’ll heave anchor!

Ginger Made: Lace Belladone Dress

Hi, all!  I’m back– after only one day!  What?! What’s next?  Regular scrubbing ‘o’ the shower?!  Well, maybe I shouldn’t get ahead of myself…

So, have you guys been enjoying the lace projects over at the Mood Sewing Network this month?  I sure have!  It’s fun to see everyone’s take on the same theme.  🙂  Now, it’s probably pretty apparent to most people that I’m not much of a lace girl, so my goal with this challenge was to make a garment that I would actually wear and love.  I decided to avoid anything overtly floral or feminine, and with this in mind dug through a gazillion bolts of fancy lace (inadvertently missing an entire section of what I guess is “not fancy” lace, whoops!).  I settled on this gold mesh-like poly lace:

Pretty sweet, right?  I decided to pair it with a black cotton sateen.  Dude.  There is TONS of black cotton sateen at Mood, so I was having a hard time deciding which to choose when Michael pulled out the perfect bolt.  I had no idea that humble, inexpensive cotton sateen could feel so luxe!  It’s medium-weight and has an amazing sheen and body… I could hardly bring myself to cover it with the lace!  But I did.. and here’s how it turned out!

I used the Belladone pattern from Deer & Doe (which I’m now MADLY in love with).  The pattern suggests using a soft, drapey fabric, but I thought it would be fun to see the pleats in a more structured fabric.  I think it worked out pretty well!

This pattern is my new favorite– I absolutely love it!  It’s very straightforward to put together.  I made a size 38 with no alterations whatsoever, and it fits really well.  My advice for anyone making this pattern is to reinforce the diagonal lines of the upper back bodice pieces and to handle them as little as possible.  The pattern instructions suggest reinforcing light fabric with bias tape, but rayon seam binding might be a good choice, too.  If your pieces stretch out at all, you’re going to end up with some gross gaping at mid-back… never a good look.  Also, just to be clear, the pocket yoke pieces need to be cut out of fashion fabric rather than lining because they form part of your skirt (this may be common knowledge to you guys, but I’ve never made anything with diagonal pockets before so it took me by surprise).  One last thing… there’s no closure at the neck (you just pull the dress over your head).  It’s a pretty snug neckline, so I can just slip it on comfortably, but if you’re coming from the salon with a fresh new beehive, you may have to do some real wiggling to get this on over your head without harming the ‘hive.  🙂


Let’s see… what else can I tell you about the construction?  Since the lace is pretty stretchy, I basted each piece to the sateen underlining by hand and pulled the lace just the teensiest bit taut as I stitched it.  I basted the layers together up the middle of each dart (like I always do when I underline fabric).  The lace was tough to press without melting, so it’s a little baggy in places and I really had to work to get the darts to lay flat.  I decided not to line it A) because the dress was already pretty heavy and B) because I’m in love with the sateen and wanted to feel it against my skin.  I just serged the seams, which worked really well… until I caught a wee bit of the bodice in the serger and cut a hole right at the, um, apex, of the bust… sigh…  I had to tons of hand stitching to repair that screw-up.  It’s not invisible now, but it’s not immediately apparent.  Don’t worry– it wouldn’t be a Ginger project if I didn’t have some sort of massive, complicating issue on an otherwise straightforward project.  I also managed to slice my left index finger with my shears– be careful with those things!  I didn’t realize they could snip through a dadgum FINGER!  Luckily I figured out how to PhotoShop the bandage out of the photos!

The neckline and armscyes are finished with handmade bias binding.  Cotton sateen is pretty heavy for bias tape, so if you want to use something like that (I didn’t have anything else), you have to really grade the seam allowances to reduce as much bulk as possible.  I made the waistband out of just the sateen to emphasize my virtually non-existent waist.

The only thing I’m unhappy with is the hem.  I stitched a machine hem, thinking that it would make the dress a bit more casual, but I don’t think the stretchy lace played well with the feed dogs so there’s some twisting and such around the hem.  I’ll probably rip it out and do a blind hem by hand.

Overall I’m pleased!  The color is a bit more drab than what I usually wear, so I was nervous as I was constructing the dress that I was going to hate it.  But luckily I really like it!  I can’t rave enough about the magical sateen– it just makes the dress feel so fancy and fun!  I love the way the skirt hangs in a full-bodied fabric– I felt like a Parisian princess when I slipped the dress on (and not like someone who’d spent the better part of the afternoon cleaning up after a sick dog!).  Maybe I cheated a little by not choosing a really lacy lace, but I’m still going to count this as a successful lace project.  🙂  And the pattern is just so fun– I love where the shoulder seams fall, the length is perfect, the pleat looks super cute, and the cutout is an awesome surprise when you turn around.

Alright, so I’m pretty sure this marks the beginning of a serious love affair with Deer & Doe.  I’m already planning out three more versions of this dress, and I’m trying my hardest to ignore their new patterns, but… you know how good I am at not buying patterns.

What’s next for all of y’all?  Any fun spring dresses on the docket?  And how do you feel about lace?  Love it?  Hate it?  Are back cutouts heading out of style anytime soon (I hope not!)?

Odds & Ends + Pattern Geek-Out: Deer & Doe Spring-Summer ’13!

Hi, guys! I’ve been a bad, bad blogger. I’ve been crazy busy and feeling really overwhelmed by the thought of sitting down to post. But things are returning to normal and I’m excited to get back to more regular posting! Here are some quick bullet points to catch you up on what’s been going on chez Ginger:

There’s an “M” on his forehead (“m” for “mine, all mine”!). I will definitely be abducting him in the near future.  Sorry, Devra!

  • I did some top-secret pattern testing (another reason for silence on the blog)!  You guys.  You’re going to love this pattern.  I’m just sayin’.  GET EXCITED.
  • I broke down and ordered a walking foot last week.  I’m suuuuuuuper excited to make a plaid Archer shirt, and if that minimizes the cursing, sweating, and crying that I’ll probably be doing as I try to match plaids, that’s gotta be a good thing, right?  Anxiously waiting for its arrival as we speak!
  • On that note, I’m way stoked for the Archer shirt sewalong!  My new office job gives me normal-ish hours, so I *should* actually have the time in the evenings to keep up with this sewalong [sobs of joy]!
  •  And today my mug is over on True Bias as part of her new series, Tried and True!  You guys know Kelli, right?  If not, hop over there RIGHT NOW.  GO.  What are you waiting for?!

But now, let’s get down to our real business– a big, fat, sloppy pattern geek-out!  I didn’t even know this was coming, but I just happened to mosey over to Deer & Doe’s blog today and what did I see but NEW SPRING AND SUMMER PATTERNS!!!


Oh my gah, how cute is this?!  The Datura blouse, a swingy (but not TOO swingy) woven top with neckline cutouts and buttons in the back (but NOT at the top of the back so my hair won’t get caught on the buttons… GENIUS).  And the sample is made in a gorgeous mint green– I can’t even deal with this.  Folks.  There’s a Peter Pan collar option.  I’m in danger of raving.


Look at this!  The Reglisse dress, a summery little dress that I’m DYING to get my grubby mitts on!  I usually hate elastic waists (c’mon, I’m not a toddler, people!), but I love the neckline, sleeves, and easy fit so much that I just want this pattern so badly!  I wanna swan around in a little sailor dress all summer long!


Finally, the Chardon skirt!  I rarely wear skirts (it’s just too complicated to put together an outfit, as opposed to just pulling a dress over my head), so I’m not as tempted by this one, but I’m sure that this is making many other hearts go pitter-patter all across the blogosphere.  Plus there’s a cute ribbon bow at the back!  Sheesh, Eléonore, don’t you know I’m trying not to buy more patterns?!  Give a girl a break!

Man.  These are all just too amazing.  I have serious Paris envy, people (look it up, it’s a psychological disorder)!  Why am I all sweaty?

What about you guys?  What’s going on with you?  These patterns (or any other new ones) got you all hot ‘n’ bothered?  Do tell!