Purple Lamour Dress 💜

Sewing a strapless dress has long been one of the biggest challenges for me. Just because I thought I wouldn’t be able to wear that anyway. But now I dared and sewed an absolute dream dress out of purple wild silk.

Lamour Dress mit Drape- Schulterfreies Kleid von Charm Patterns

Few sewing patterns fit as perfectly and are as beautiful as Charm Patterns’ Lamour Dress. The cut is based on the “Hawaii dresses” of the fifties and sixties, but can be implemented in so many different ways that anything can be created – from a beach outfit to an evening dress. 

My first Lamour Dress was actually a “Hawaii dress” – but not for me. I sewed it for the singer Betty Sue Miller in 2021 for her summer concerts.

I never thought I would sew myself a strapless dress, but I did. It is strapless, it fits perfectly and it doesn’t slip down a millimeter – even after a long, festive evening it still fits perfectly.

From the moment I sewed it I was amazed by the beauty, fit and quality of this pattern.

strapless? No thank you!

Betty Sue looks really great in her lamour dress. She has the perfect figure for a strapless dress. As for myself, I’ve actually always preferred tops with straps.

Strapless dresses or tops from the store just never really fit me. I’ve always looked like a sausage in the stretchy “tube tops” that were so fashionable in the 2000s. Also, they tend to slide down all the time. And since pregnancy at the latest, my connective tissue has required me to wear a well-fitting bra under every top. And strapless bras somehow always pull from the chest towards the waist, which becomes really uncomfortable after a few hours at the latest and doesn’t look very good either.

That’s why the strapless version of the Lamour Dress wasn’t for me. But I still couldn’t put the cut away in the closet that easily. And so I developed a variant of the top with straps and without the boning, which I sewed for my Playsuit 2021.

But somewhere in the back of my mind the idea of ​​sewing the first dress variant without straps and with the asymmetrical stole part for me was still slumbering.

The stuff of my dreams

It so happened that in January, by sheer coincidence, I discovered a fabric shop that I couldn’t drive past, of course. In that fabric store in Riedlingen, I discovered the fabric that made me recognize MY strapless Lamour Dress at first glance.

To be precise, it is polyester with a wild silk look. Not high quality, not expensive, but PURPLE and gorgeous! 💜💜💜

The Pattern – Gertie’s Lamour Dress

The Lamour Dress is from Charm Patterns , the label of Gertie, the most famous vintage seamstress and influencer in the world (I claim). You can buy the pattern directly there as a download pattern. However, I recommend the paper version, which can also be purchased here in Germany via PoppyRay Vintage. The paper cut comes in a very beautiful and high-quality designed folder with a great instruction and inspiration booklet. It is printed on tissue paper and can be perfectly traced from it.

The most ingenious thing about the cuts from Charm Patterns is, in addition to the high level of accuracy, the size system. The top is available in different cup sizes. The size is not determined by the usual chest circumference, but by the combination of waist, chest and overbust measurements. As a result, the range of sizes also covers body shapes beyond the standard and takes into account more unusual proportions in the dimensions. 

For me, I ALWAYS have to adjust normal patterns in the bust and waist area because the ratio between overbust, bust, waist and shoulders is quite different from the standard, this is perfect. I traced the pattern in size 6 with cup size DD. For the skirt tail I used size 8 and narrowed the waist a bit.

The material

In addition to my purple dream fabric, the lamour dress needs a lot of other materials.

  • Outer fabric, artificial silk about 3m
  • Lining for the top: I  used leftover purple taffeta here
  • Inner lining: Lining silk, approx. 1m
  • Ironing insert: Fabric insert, black, eg from Vlieseline
  • Zipper: 50cm
  • Steel spiral rods, 1cm
  • Tunnel band for the sticks
  • End caps or tape for the rods
  • Fixed elastic band, 2cm wide for the waist holder
  • 2 times hook and eye or hook eye tape for waist tie
  • Fringe border for the stole
  • 4 snaps

Sew an off-the-shoulder dress – my first time

The first is always the most exciting – at least when it comes to new patterns. First, however, I sewed a test piece to check the fit of the upper part and the length. I sewed the test piece in two layers, imitating the real dress and the corset boning with thick strips of cardboard. 

I had already shortened the skirt part by a good 20cm for the trial part because I didn’t like the calf-length original so much and I preferred knee length. 

Using the test piece, I then made the overbust measurement, i.e. the upper edge of the corset top and the waist at the front part, a little narrower. The top fitted well right away around the chest and back. I only added 2cm length to the whole thing.

Since I had already sewn the pattern once, the sewing went very quickly by hand. First I sewed the lining and then tried it on again to check the fit.

Then it was the turn of the tunnel strips for the rods. I used to use bias tape for the boning of corsets and corsages, but I’ve now gotten stuck with the finished, doubled tunnel tape. It is thin, but still very stable and also protects the fabric of the lining part from the metal of the tab.

I use steel spiral boning. I experimented with crinoline tape last year, but there’s simply nothing better and more durable for a corset top than steel boning. Cutting them requires some physical effort. I do this with a large wire cutter.

By the way, the outer fabric was terribly frayed and fluffy, which is why I trimmed all the edges with the pinking shears. Even if they are hidden inside the lining, they cannot fray. There was an absolute lint explosion in my sewing room due to the many small spikes, but it was worth it. 

After the bodice it was the turn of the skirt. Due to the cut, gathered ruffle, which is also completely folded over with a facing, the cut parts look huge at first. Sewn together and turned, then suddenly very short.

This is where my new linking machine came into play. In January I exchanged my old Singer overlock machine for a freshly restored, fully functional Viktoria linking machine from the seventies. I will write a hymn of praise for this machine in another post, that is beyond the scope of this story. 😉

Finally, the “Drape” was created, for which I simply cannot find a suitable translation. It’s actually just a long strip of fabric with fringes on one end and ruffles on the other. The drape attaches to the dress at the front with a few snaps.

It can be worn as a stole or as an asymmetrical “strap” that then hangs down the back like a sari. 

Why this dress stays in place

If anyone knows about perfectly fitting vintage dresses, it’s Gertie. That’s why this cut comes with the ultimate trick for strapless corsage dresses. In addition to the perfect fit of the top, the “waist stay” is also responsible for the perfect fit. Translated it is the “waist halter”. This is nothing more than a thick, solid band that is sewn into the dress on the inside of the waist and fastened with two hooks at the back. This prevents the top of the corset from sliding down over time when worn.

I’ve given this a small update by using a very firm rubber band instead of a grosgrain band as advertised. The width of the elastic band is about 1.5 cm less than the waist size of the dress and therefore sits very tight on my body. However, the elastic makes it comfortable and allows more freedom of movement than a solid cotton band.

Use of leftovers: hair flowers

What would a great outfit be without a matching headpiece? I may not be able to do beautiful hairstyles, but I can do great hair accessories. I made two large hair flowers from the leftover material from the lining and the purple silk fabric, which go perfectly with my pool of flower clips.

Purple Lamor Love

When I wore the dress to the opera in Berlin in March, a young student approached me and asked where I got this dress from. When I told him I sewed it myself, he asked me where I studied fashion design and what label I work for. That made me incredibly proud and happy. 

Otherwise, this dress just fits me so well and embodies what makes my style so perfect at the moment that I would like to wear it all the time. 

The dress can be worn in a very classic way, as shown in the photo, but is quite changeable. For the visit to the opera in Berlin I styled it with Doc Martens and a jeans blazer and simply wrapped the “drape” around my neck as a scarf. Unfortunately, I only have a badly exposed mirror selfie from the great visit to the opera, but it is a wonderful memory.

Lamour Dress Oper Berlin

I really like the look with the drape as a scarf. While the shoulder strap looks great, the “scarf” makes me feel a little less bare on top. 🙂

I wish you, dear reader, a wonderful start to May and many beautiful, inspiring and creative sewing moments.

Your Lasercat

Stripes and Flamingos

and it’s time to show my results for the #sewyourwardrobebasics challenge. I’m still inspired by the idea so sew at least one basic wardrobe piece for myself every month and I hope this sewing-flow will stay in my mind for a while. I’ve never been sewing so much like I do these days. So let’s get back to what I made this week.

#sewyourwardrobebasics is a challenge made by Sea of Teal, a sewing blog I love to read. There is a motto for every month and all the participants have the opportunity to sew at least one basic piece of fashion according to the motto. The february motto is stripes. Striped pieces are perfect for every kind of wardrobe. They go with black, with white, with jeans, they pair with gothic looks, the can look sporty, fancy or vintage. I’ve always been loving striped patterns but I already made a classic striped shirt last summer (View my post about the striped nursing shirt here), so I was looking for something more extraordinary this time.

When I found that striped flamingo fabric on Etsy I was in love instantly. Pink flamingos and stripes –> Perfect.

Pattern: „Gertie’s Sweetheart Top“

There are not many patterns I love so much that I could sew them again and again. But one of them is definetely the „Sweetheart Top“ from the book „Gertie sews vintage casual“. There are so many variants for this pattern (sleeves, necklines, …) that I can hardly get enough of it. I just love the waisted fit that is perfect for women with a hourglass body shape. For this shirt I chose the classic variant with the heart shaped neckline. The shape is made by three little pleats in the chest section. For the sleeves I took the longer sleeve pattern and shortend them to fit the middle section of my upper arms. I made the sleeves a little puffy on the shoulders, because I like that cute detail and the added shaping of the shoulders.

Summer vibes?!

This top reminds me of warm summer days and cocktails. Unfortunately I live in Germany, so it’s still winter. When I took that photos it was snowing outside… Therefore the pictures are not lighted very well and I think I will take some new ones as soon as the weather gets better again. Anyway, here are a few pictures to get into summer vibes already.

The striped bag in from Banned, I bought it at Vintage Vogue, one of my favourite online shops (No, I wasn’t paid for this advertisement, that’s just my recommendation). The skirt is a simple jersey circle skirt I made last summer. I will post a tutorial for this kind of skirt as soon as the skirt season starts again 🙂

Feeling inspired? Leave me a comment on my facebook site or browse mor pictures of that shirt on my instagram channel.

A guide on buying fabric online

Not only travel bloggers are affected by COVID-19. The quarantines and the bans of public events makes blogging difficult for all of us, who deal with non-digital products in our blogs. I may not have to go outside for sewing, but I can’t sew without fabrics and supplies. Buying fabrics online can be quite difficult. Need some help to figure out how to buy good fabric online?

Tutorial: How to sew a circleskirt with elastic fabric

Are you bored at home today? How about sewing something quick and easy?!
Here is an easy tutorial for a simple circle skirt. This little sewing project is perfect for beginners – it doesn’t even need a pattern. There a so many varieties of circle skirts you can make – This tutorial enables you to make circle skirts in every kind of size and length. It can be a circleskirt for kids or for adults. The skirt is made out of jersey fabric, one of the most easiest fabric to sew with.

The „housedress“: Wrapdress with collar

In January I bought a sewing book that changed my favourite hobby forever. I already owned „Gerties ultimate dressbook“ which contains a lot of nice patterns and sewing tipps for making gorgeous dresses. But since 2020 is the „year of the basics“ in my sewing life, I needed some advice for the more casual sewing projects. So I bought „Gertie sews vintage casual“, the best sewing book I ever owned. Not only the patterns in this book are awesome, it also contains a lot of tricks and hacks for better sewing that opened my eyes in many ways. There is so much that I have been doing wrong.