Starling Dress & Shirt

Archive for Starling Dress & Shirt

18 Mar 2013

High Fashion Flounce

1 Comment Starling Dress & Shirt

Recently on the runway scene there have been a slew of wonderful pieces that incorporate a flounce.  I thought they provided great inspiration for working with our unique Starling Dress flounce pattern piece.  Here are some ideas to use both on the Starling Dress and other patterns you may have in your collection.

Wouldn’t it be great to apply the Starling Flounce pattern piece to the armhole of a basic shift dress and let it drape down? (from Gucci)

I adore how this flounce application wraps gracefully around the shoulders (from Gucci):

And again, accenting the shoulders (from Gucci):

How about some asymmetry from Chloe Spring 2013 Ready to Wear?

Or this wide flounce from a center placket, not dissimilar from our original Starling Dress design (also from Chloe, Fall 2013 Ready to Wear.)

Does this get you inspired to rework your Starling Flounce?  We’d love to see your frothy concoctions posted to our flickr group!


13 Feb 2013

A Valentine’s Post, Part 2

4 Comments Starling Dress & Shirt

Last week we showed you the first of two Valentine’s looks — here are some of the details of our second outfit. 

Starling Dress for Valentines - Clever Charlotte 2

This Starling Dress is made of a cream-colored fine wale corduroy with a ruffle in a quilter’s cotton coordinating with the prints our first V-Day look.

Starlling Dress for Valentines - Clever Charlotte 1

Finally, I added this hand embroidered and lace embellishment to really drive home the message–

Starling Dress for Valentines - Clever Charlotte 3

Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

 Happy Sewing!


24 Nov 2011

A Heartfelt Thank You & Giveaway

6 Comments Chickadee Blouse & Skirt, Eider Tunic, Kestrel Coat, Of Note, Raven Hoodie & Pants, Starling Dress & Shirt, Wren Dress

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Carla and I have many things to be thankful about this year, Charlotte being one of them.  So we thought a special shout-out to you, our readers, followers, customers and fellow sewing enthusiasts, is particularly in order today.

We also wanted to highlight some of your wonderful fall Charlotte creations from around the www.  To see even more, head on over to our Flickr group.

Skirt As Top + Pattern Giveaway!

Kristin of skirtastop is graciously hosting a pattern giveaway to accompany her first Clever Charlotte project–the Kestrel Coat.  She even gives us a mini-tutorial on how to modify (i.e. simplify) the sleeves from 2 pieces to 1.  While you’re there, be sure to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment on her blog by this Sunday. Gobble gobble!

Charming Charm Stitch

A great eye for fabrics is just one of Laura’s many sewing talents.  She seems to produce new looks on her blog in her sleep.  So far, she’s sewn up 2 Chickadee skirts and 2 Raven Hoodies!  See them all on her blog and make sure you check out her great online fabric store for a lovely selection of Japanese imports and other designer fabrics.  [PS She's got a 10% off sale going on right now.]

Madame Mother of 5

Nicole of Down Under has sewn up every one of our spring/summer patterns at least once for her (count them 4!) daughters and has many well-photographed tutorials to go with each look.   She just finished up 2 posts detailing different ways  to line our Starling Dress and she’s already scheming her look for the Kestrel Coat.  So stay tuned and visit her site often!

Queen of the Flies

Melanie from Queen of the Flies tries her hand at the Eider Tunic.  She does tiny prints so well, the Eider was a perfect choice for her.  Seems Melanie has also learned the critical photography skill of candy bribes for photo shoots!

Thank you all for a great inaugural year and have a great Thanksgiving!

Happy Sewing!
Erin, Carla and Charlotte

20 Sep 2011

A Fall Starling – Version 3

2 Comments Inspiration, Starling Dress & Shirt
Welcome Back! In our next installment of Fall variations of our Starling Dress, I took a cue from Charlotte to use another perennial autumn classic–plaid.

I originally intended to purchase some plaid fabric, but was thoroughly let down, again, by our local fabric store (a national chain who shall remain nameless).  So I returned home and rummaged through my collection.

If necessity is the mother of invention, then I am pleased to report that desperation is similarly advantaged.  In the corner of my workroom I spied a plaid skirt cut on the bias that I picked up at a thrift store on a whim some time ago.  Not only did this size 18 skirt yield sufficient yardage to cut out the dress, I salvaged the invisible side zipper to use as well. Total investment: $2.50.

The design inspirations for my Refashioned Starling are (1) the Coffee Date Dress by the Selfish Seamstress–which has a wide zigzag ruffle cascading from the neckline, and (2) this dress from Bonpoint, which looks so cozy with the turtleneck underneath:
To construct this version of the Starling Dress, I eliminated the vertical front placket and side ruffles and added the zigzag ruffle at the top of the yoke.  The adult version of the Coffee Date Dress calls for a 6″x36″ strip of fabric folded in half lengthwise.  For this pint-size version, I narrowed the ruffled strip to 4″ wide and cut it to 24″ in length.  After ruffling the strip using a basting stitch, I sewed it into the seam joining the yoke to the lining yoke.  Next I followed the same basic pattern of the Coffee Date Dress to arrange the next two layers of the ruffle. After machine stitching these layers in place, I tacked down the ruffles to the front of the dress with a few hand stitches to make sure they didn’t flip up during wear.

Ruffle up close:

[By the way, the complete pattern & instructions for the Coffee Date Dress, including the ruffle, can be found here].

So, here’s a shot of the original skirt before:

In progress:

All done:

Molasses cookie bribe for cooperation with photography:

Happy Sewing!

02 Sep 2011

A Fall Starling – Version 2

2 Comments Design Updates, Starling Dress & Shirt

Welcome back to the second installment of our variations of the Starling Dress pattern for Fall. This one I’ve dubbed the Butterscotch Dress. (To see our first version, the September Showers Dress, click here.)

What fall line up would be complete without something that is menswear-inspired, a seemingly perennial theme for autumn fashion?

For this version of the Starling, I used a lightweight wool/poly suiting fabric in charcoal gray. It was easy enough to sew, though I had to set the iron to a pretty heavy steam setting to get any creases to hold. To modernize the overall look, I chose these buttery yellow buttons that look like–you guessed it–3 Werthers butterscotch candies down the front/delish. (The larger buttons, by the way, came from the Button Lady in Ann Arbor–but that’s another story.)

So I’ve been kicking around this version in my head for some time now, ever since I picked up this beautiful collar from a local antique store. The edging is hand crocheted in a tiny violet pattern, and I can only imagine how long it took someone to finish this intricate design using such fine thread. I often wonder what happens to vintage pieces like this. Perhaps a child’s dress is not the best use, but surely it is preferable to sitting around unused in the top drawer of someone’s dresser?

And lest you think I would just throw the whole thing into the washing machine, I have only lightly tacked on the collar, with the intent that it be removed prior to laundering. I am thinking of picking up some sew-on snaps that would hold the collar onto the dress when worn, but would allow for easy removal for washing or when spaghetti and meatballs are on the menu. (The snaps themselves could be clipped off later without harming the collar.)

Now, I should probably admit here that in all likelihood the collar is meant to be worn Peter Pan style–that is, with the bow and opening in the front. However, since the dress has a center back zipper, I didn’t see much utility in closing it up with the crocheted collar. This also gives the back of the dress something interesting to look at.

The only variations I made to the pattern itself were to extend the sleeves to 3/4 length and add a petite cuff with a continuous lap sleeve placket (I lightly gathered the sleeve too to add a bit of fullness to the look). I kept the yoke even though it is largely hidden from view–I thought this would be better in the event that I choose to remove the collar later. I also kept the front placket to add some dimension to the front of the garment.

DIY Peter Pan Collars from Mollie Makes

Oh, and if you’re interested in coming up with your own detachable collar, the first volume of Mollie Makes had this DIY article from The Savvy Crafter, though I can’t tell from these pictures how they are fashioned. Do any of you have that magazine at home?? I am intrigued…

Have a great weekend everyone!

Happy sewing,
~ Erin

{Mom: Sorry there aren’t any shots of Nora wearing the dress. It has turned steamy again here in Northern Ohio and I just didn’t have the heart to ask her to put on the dress when she got home from school, what with her sweaty bangs all plastered to her forehead from playing on the playground.}


26 Aug 2011

A Fall Starling – Version 1

2 Comments In the Workroom, Starling Dress & Shirt, Tutorials

I know you are all anxiously awaiting our new fall/winter designs, but to fill in the gap until those are ready for public consumption, we have been thinking of all sorts of ways to work our Starling Dress into your back to school closets. The Starling is such a versatile dress, as you will hopefully see from all these new variations.

First up is one I call the September Showers dress, taken from the pocket detail, which some of you may recognize as an embroidery pattern from the lovely Sarah Jane Studios (pattern for sale here)–more on that below.  This version of the Starling is, perhaps, a little more casual look overall and is also great one to keep in mind if you find yourself itching to sew but no have zippers on hand.

The body of the dress is made up in the cotton poplin in taupe from our shop.  I left off the flat yoke piece at the neckline, which resulted in the perfect wide opening to add the elasticized neckband, which is a popular look these days in blogland.  (One thing I didn’t factor in, but will next time around, is that the dress is slightly shorter without the yoke.)

To encase the 1/4″ elastic at the neckline, I made up some single folded bias tape (from 1.5″ wide strips) in a contrasting fabric to sew to the right side of the garment, leaving a gap at the back of the neck in which to insert the elastic. (I hand sewed the gap closed once I had adjusted the length of the elastic.)  After the bias strip was sewn on, it was easy to turn the seam allowances to the inside of the dress and press the strip flat.  Thus far, there haven’t been any instances of the band flipping over to the front, perhaps due to the elastic, and the neckline stretches sufficiently to easily pull over even the biggest of noggins.

Because cooler days are just around the corner, I opted for longer sleeves, which required a simple pattern modification.  I extended the sides of the pattern sleeve to the length of my daughter’s arm + 1/2 inch to accommodate sewing on the same bias strip at the wrist as used for the neckline.  Again, I used 1/4″ elastic.

The crocheted lace edging at the bottom of the dress is old pillowcase trim that I picked up at an antique store in Ann Arbor, Michigan a few weeks ago. Can you believe I paid just $5 for the trim from both pillowcases? Seemed quite the bargain to me!

So, for the pocket–I have been itching to try some hand embroidery, which is everywhere right now. This is my first real attempt and I thought it was a nice portable project (I completed this panel at the beach).  I used to be a cross-stitcher years ago (like 20 years ago, how is that possible??), and luckily still have all my carefully organized embroidery thread.

My one real hesitation with hand embroidery is that I never quite know what to do with the end product, however lovely it may be.  I am not the type of person to have embroidered tea towels or fancy linens lying about and, if ever I had a small hankering to hang something like this framed on the wall, my husband would have none of it. So incorporating it into sewn garments seems to be the perfect solution.

I ironed on Heat-N-Bond to the reverse side of the embroidery hoping that may stabilize the stitches, but of course, hand washing will probably be required (starting with, it turns out, right after the photo shoot which morphed into playtime in the dirt…)

Happy Sewing!