In the battle between a formidable adversary of a pattern and me, who was the victor? That would be ME!
(Whoops! Sorry you’ll see the tripod in the mirror in some of these! The stars didn’t align to take photos outside)
But let’s backup a bit! Because I’m not quite here today to tell you all about this dress exactly. Don’t worry, you’ll get that soon though!
Here’s the story. I’ve been wanting to sew up the above pattern for awhile. It’s Butterick B6019, one of their Patterns by Gertie (Gretchen Hirsch). It’s a retro pattern inspired by vintage Alfred Shaheen dresses. I’ve been contemplating sewing it all summer, and then, I was contacted by a company called WAWAK Sewing Supplies.
Now you may or may not have heard of WAWAK, but they’re an online sewing supply store that’s been in the business over 100 years. I believe I first found them when searching for good prices on Maxi-Lock serger thread when I bought my serger 3 years ago. They’ve since become one of my go-to places to buy all sorts of sewing notions, especially when I discovered I could get 4 times the amount of Gutermann thread for the same price as the big box sewing stores like JoAnn’s charge for 1/4 of the amount of Coats & Clark thread. I mean seriously! And sure you can often get a 40% or 50% off coupon at the big stores, but even then it’s less thread and not as nice quality. So suffice it to say, WAWAK’s prices are awesome.
Anyway, they knew I was a customer already and contacted me to see if maybe we could collaborate on something. I don’t really do advertising on my blog per se… I’ve taken one or two ads over the years, but it’s not really my thing. I’d rather do something more personal if I’m going to work together with a company. So I cooked up an idea. What if WAWAK helped me out with providing the supplies for an upcoming sewing project, I’d introduce you all to them, and we all get a win-win! (Hint: there’s even a little coupon code at the end of this post!)
Honestly though, it was an easy decision to say yes to working with a company I already shopped with, and I got to learn a little more about them in the process. They’ve been around since 1907 and while they’ve had more of a professional focus over the years in the sewing and tailoring industries, they’re trying to reach out to us home sewists more now, too. In fact they’ve recently redesigned their web site and it made things a whole lot easier to find! Although I must say, I still really like receiving their paper catalog. It’s one of the few catalogs I actually want! (What, you don’t like pouring through sewing supplies? Well if you do, you can sign up to get their catalog, too. And no they didn’t ask me to promote their catalog, I just really like it. Ha ha!)
So when I was thinking over what would be a special project to bust out for this collaboration, my thoughts (crazy or not) turned to that Shaheen-inspired Butterick pattern! I know you want to see more of that dress now after all that chatter, right??
I actually have a ton to show and tell you about it, but I’m going to save that for my next post. Don’t worry, you’ll get waaaay more details and an inside look (literally) early next week. 😉
I’d already bought the fabric before chatting with the folks at WAWAK although I’d been hemming and hawing about it, which is one of the reasons I had the project on my mind. Once I committed to it, WAWAK kindly supplied me with Gutermann thread (by the way if you’ve used their site in the past, it’s now waaaay easier to find a thread color even if you don’t have a shade card!), a YKK zipper, and then all of the other things that should have maybe sent up a red flag that I was in for a bit of a doozy of a project.
Things like elastic thread, and elastic… and hooks and eyes… and covered boning… I mean, boning! I’ve never had to use boning in anything before. Oh and I needed batting for the bust, too. But since they only sold batting in really long rolls for quilters, I popped over to my friend Elisa’s house who kindly donated some batting for my dress. Because basically I just needed two boobs worth.
This dress felt like it had it all. Shirred side panels, boned and lined bodice (front and back), batting in the lining of the bust, elastic casing over the shirring… not exactly my everyday dress components, especially not all together like this!
Some frustrations during the sewing process and a few minor fitting quibbles aside, it all came together pretty marvelously in the end.
As you can see, I left the dress strapless, which wasn’t my initial intention. The pattern has you add buttoned-in halter straps at the end if you don’t leave it strapless, so they can be removed and converted to strapless. My plan was to add straps that buttoned at the back and front, with probably no intention of ever taking them out. In part because I can’t think of a single strapless in my closet. But once I had everything else finished I tried it on and… well, I kind of loved it strapless!
Surprisingly, it was fitted enough that the boning was able to keep everything mostly in place without being indecent (still a bit of pulling up on occasion as it or my bra slips down a bit). But I figured, let’s go for strapless for a change, because it looks pretty awesome like that! If I find myself never wearing it down the road, I can always add straps as I have plenty of fabric leftover.
And for a bit of extra modesty or just for fun, I sewed up a matching bolero from a vintage pattern. (Oooh, which makes it another Vintage Pledge item technically!)
Can’t you just see me sipping a tiki drink in this ensemble? I think one of the vintage bamboo glasses behind my elbow would do just nicely for that. 😉
So that’s the first glance at my new favorite and very hard-fought dress! I’m so thankful the kind folks at WAWAK supplied most of the bones (including the boning, ha ha!) for this dress, and I’m so glad I picked this for our collaboration. It really motivated me to push my skills and my comfort zone. All the things that made my eyes cross while sewing were worth it… but fear not, soon I’ll regale you with those stories, too!
One last thing though: here’s a little coupon for you! For the next month (good through September 15th), you can get 10% off an order of $40 or more at WAWAK, just use the coupon code WR1015 at checkout. If you’re stocking up on thread for future projects or buying multiple cones of serger thread like I sometimes do, that’s an easy number to hit. 😛
So, new Alfred Shaheen-inspired sarong dress for me, and a little WAWAK introduction and love for you!
Full tales and more photos of this dress next week! 😉
Emileigh Rogers says
THIS IS AMAZING! You did such a wonderful job on what looks to be a tricky dress, and I can’t wait to hear more about it! I’ve never put boning into anything either, but I’ve been itching to try it. Actually… I haven’t done any shirring or elastic thread sewing either… So I’m impressed!
I need to buy some sewing supplies soon, and I was going to consult WAWAK. Now that I have a coupon… It’s guaranteed I’ll be shopping there for them.
love this. great fabric and fabulous dress – much better strapless.
Fantastic dress and fantastic fabric. It both fits and suits you perfectly.
That dress is absolutely fabulous, Tasha!! And thanks for introducing us to WAWAK. I’d never heard of them, but I’ll definitely be getting thread, etc from them from now on!
Absolutely stunning, you should be very proud indeed of that wonderful creation and can I say I am loving the red hair again!
This looks awesome! I tried making this pattern last summer for a trip to Hawaii, but I just couldn’t get a good fit in the cups. Someday I’ll have to try again….maybe with some of the fabric I brought back from Hawaii!
Gorgeous! Love the fabric and the straplessness of the dress:) I love that you have a ‘star halo’ from your clock in these shots too. A real star!
Lisa Sharp says
Wow, what a beautiful piece. I also love your shoes.
What a beautiful dress! Looks just perfect on you! You look like a star.
You’ve gone red again. Looks very good. Also, wonderful buffet cabinet behind you.
Shazam!!! That dress is the bomb and I love that fabric. You look great; Good Job and I can’t wait to hear the ‘making of…’ story.
Wow! what a stunner!
Deborah Garretty says
Absolutely fabulous! You are one talented lady. You look stunning and should be very pleased with your dress. Wish we had a supplier like that in the UK.
Dress is awesome and looks wonderful on you.
Cannot wait to read the construction details for this, I love learning more about tricky sewing things. And I love the bolero with it, even more versatile now
Well done you! It looks amaze balls… (and yay that WAWAK ship internationally too)
Jessica Cangiano says
Completely and entirely stunning!!!!!!!
whoa! Hope Mel takes you out somewhere special! She’ll get all the envious glances with you on her arm! ??. amazing work!
Lauren of Rosie Wednesday says
This is gorgeous! Your sewing is brilliant, and the finished look on you is smashing. Well done!
Unbelievably fantastic! A big well done!
Wow! What an amazing dress. All those extra construction details make it really stunning. Love the combination of fabric and pattern here. Great choice to keep it strapless, it really suits the style.
Mai T says
Very colorful dress, I love your shining smile, too. Perfect match together! 🙂
You look fabulous! I love the way it came out.
And thanks for the store recommendation 🙂 The coupon was actually for $10 off instead of 10% so yay for bargains!
This is so SO stunning! What a triumph of a dress! I’ve had my eye on this pattern since it’s realise but it seems like such a massive project to undertake I’ve been putting it off…but now I want to make one immediately!!
Tasha, thanks for the introduction to WAWAK, and for the coupon as well!
I love the combination of the fabric print and your tattoos. You look spectacular!
I got so excited about a catalog that I didn’t even finish the post before I was signing up. The dress looks stunning on you. I have the same reservations about strapless but it works on you. Thanks for the introduction of WAWAK and a coupon and I await with bated breath for a peek at the inside of that dress.