Thursday, July 21, 2016

House of Pinheiro Brasilia dress, version 2 in cotton sateen and some info on ribbon

To my great surprise a lot of you commented on my previous post - adding your voice in the debate between ruffle or trim. And the vote was fairly evenly split with perhaps a slight majority for ruffle. Which really surprised me - I didn't think anyone would like that at all.

Speaking of voting - it's a long way until November with only a brief interlude of the Olympics to distract us. Please distract us!!! Thank goodness for the Olympics, I love them. The hunky swimmers, the amazing gymnasts, the split second drama on the track and so many other great contests. The broadcast does have a lot to get through but I do wish they would show a bit more of some of the less well known sports. Like synchronized swimming. Weird but fascinating. What sport do you like to watch?

OK back to sewing. This is another item that I sewed in order to illustrate the topic for a Craftsy Sewing blog post. And a pattern repeat. When I first sewed this dress I did plan to come back to it and it has taken me 2 years but here it is.

This is the Brasilia dress by House of Pinheiro, also know as Rachel, if you read her blog. I made this in 2014 and did a lot of pattern fitting. Here is the link to my fitting post and then the finished dress post is here. It is only available in one size but it is not all that difficult to fit, plus it has that interesting seaming in the front.

ribbon dress on form front bodice

I used this slightly juvenile cotton sateen with 2% spandex. Which has been marinating in my stash for a while because I could only envision it as a children's dress. But one day I decided the flowers were hibiscus, which is tropical, which is just my style. Kind of a Tori Richard look (my favorite Hawaiian designer - their fabrics are so gorgeous). Plus I had the right color of ribbon in my ribbon box - purchased for something else but nice for this project. That is how my Craftsy blog posts go - either I am making something already and use that for a post or I want to do a post and then rummage around for the raw materials among stuff I already have.

Ribbon dress1

Here is the dress form pic so you can see the actual colors. I did make one change which was to lower the front neckline about 1/2 inch, since I felt the original was a bit high for my comfort, and then I decided to add the V neckline detail, which is super easy as there is the center front seam.

ribbon dress on form front

In case you can't tell - my post for Craftsy was about sewing with ribbon. I have a lot of ribbon which I always think I will use but so far not so much. The occasional ribbon sash or something like that but doing this post got me thinking about it and I have some ideas for incorporating a ribbon accent into a shirt.

craftsy photo ribbon post

I read a post by Nakisha recently and she was commenting on the type of ribbon found on a ready to wear skirt that she had. I am pretty sure it is petersham ribbon which is quite different from grosgrain in how it behaves. You can shape petersham ribbon with the iron as you can see in the photo above, you could not do it with grosgrain. It is kind of hard to find petersham in chain type fabric stores but I am lucky that Stone Mountain has lots, plus I think you can find it at various places on line. Be sure to get petersham if you want to do this treatment.

On the left, mint green is the petersham - see how the edge is not finished. The grosgrain (light blue) on the right has that distinctive ridge and you could not bend or shape that no matter how hard you try.

grosgrain and petersham

petersham ribbon  example

Other than adding the ribbon this was a very straightforward project - my pattern was all fitted and I just had to sew it up. I put an all-in-one neckline and armhole facing of white cotton which I sewed, pulled the dress through the shoulder seams to have a clean finish and then under stitched where possible. I am a big believer in under stitching, never skip that. I sewed the ribbon on the neck edge first and thought that would do it, thinking maybe some on the hemline. But once it all finished but the hem I thought it needed the ribbon around the armholes as well. So that is sewn through the facing. Not that it makes any difference. And no ribbon on the hemline - just didn't need it. I do a lot of evaluating as I sew - sometimes walk away from things or leave them on the dress form so I see them as I walk by and get ideas for changes in proportion or shaping that way. In any case - I rarely sew up a pattern as is so those ideas need a little time to percolate:)

Back view, it is a simple sheath dress with waist darts. I did tighten up the center back seam about an inch at the very top as the first version gaped a bit there.

ribbon dress on form back

This is such a perfect summer daytime dress for me - great for hot weather which we are supposed to have plenty of this weekend. I tried to make it a bit more fitted, sometimes I think I make things a bit too loose as I have a mania about stuff that is too tight, so like Goldilocks says - this one is just right.

dress with ribbon1

Just to prove that now and then I do like a ruffle, and that I am no stranger to wild tropical print cotton sateen, here is a link to a previous summer dress. Which I really like but every time I think of wearing it I feel that I will be dazzling people with the bright colors. So what, right?

Sports. Ribbon. Wild tropical fabrics. All over the map in this post. As I said I have more ideas for using ribbon - as embellishment and also to create a lattice detail. Not sure if I will get to them but it's good to have those ideas swirling around.

Happy Summer weekend - unless you are in the southern hemisphere, (talking to you Australia) where I have a sneaking suspicion that your winter is a lot like ours here in the bay area. In the sense that you can sew and wear a cute coat and get those gloves and scarves out, more for fashion than anything else but don't have to worry about frostbite or the polar express. Or maybe I have that all wrong. Anyway - we are heading in to the 100's ˚F so I plan to float in the pool and maybe catch up on some novels.



  1. That's a lovely, summery Brasilia - I like your addition of a V neck too, and will have to check out your Craftsy post.

    2 years goes fast doesn't it! I have a lot of garments in the 'repeat' queue, including the Brasilia dress - on my part it's probably wishful thinking though :(.

    Yes, winter in most of Australia is pretty mild. We complain about the cold in winter but it's certainly not 'properly' cold - we get no snow and very little frost. Today in Sydney was probably quite like a summer's day in northern Europe!

  2. I love everything about this dress including the ribbon . Thanks for the tips on petersham- I always thought it was grosgrain . I'm also a fan of the ruffle on the previous dress- I don't think it's too much ,it adds fun to the dress .

  3. Cute dress, but bring back that photographer friend of yours for better modeling shots

  4. That dress is so cute, Beth! Especially with the turquoise trim.

  5. What a FUN dress, love the print/color and THANKS for the info that petersham ribbon bends easily. I use grosgrain ribbon on key fobs, but would need petersham for clothing. You look so happy in this dress, not that you don't look happy in all you make, but I'm calling this "the HAPPY dress!"

  6. This may be my favorite of your dresses so far! I agree with Margene - it's the HAPPY dress! Thanks for the tip on ribbon types - I have a huge stash of ribbon, and I'm willing to bet it's all grosgrain! :-/

  7. It's a great dress. I really like the seaming and the ribbon trim. I have to order petersham online since no one carries it out here on Long Island. In NYC Pacific Trimmings carries all rayon petersham ribbon in lots of colors and widths. But their website doesn't carry it, or at least the last time I looked it didn't. I use Petersham to face my pants waistbands but I prefer the cotton rayon variety from a millinery site because it's a bit stiffer. There's also They sell it in a myriad of colors, more than any other place I've bought from, and in a variety of widths.

  8. Love this dress! It's so pretty and bright. Funny you mentioned making this a little slimmer fitting than your normal dresses...before I got to that point, I thought 'Wow! What a figure Beth has been hiding away.' Didn't occur to me you've been wearing your clothes loosely. :-p

  9. Beth, I think the dress is fun and colorful!
    And imagine the surprise I had when I read your Craftsy post about sewing with ribbon when I saw the picture of my daughter in her wedding gown and her veil which I made her using a ribbon edging. Boy was I surprised! And tickled! I made her veil after watching the Craftsy class on making heirloom veils. I have been so pleased with the Craftsy classes and it was through the Craftsy blog that I found out about your blog! I have been following your blog for awhile now and have loved reading about your makes. It has given me ideas for future projects. Thank you for taking the time to blog.

    1. Tina - thanks for the nice words - I appreciate it :) and your daughter looked beautiful, what a lovely veil. how great that you made it for her!

  10. Very cute dress! Australia is a big place. From tropics to quite cold (in winter). I'm from Melbourne (far from the tropics) and we do have some cold days. Today at 10am it is still 5 degrees. (41 f). But it is sunny so not complaining. Just need to find a coffee shop with the sun coming through the window. :) After a bit of gardening of course!

  11. This is so fun and bright! I don't think it's juvenile at all! And thanks for the heads up on the petersham (and wow to the shaping!). I have a JCrew jacket I want to knock off this fall and I would've been making myself crazy trying to use grosgrain.

    1. Oh and Britex has a decent assortment of colors and widths available on their site!

  12. Looks beautiful! That dress style really suits you, and I think the floral print is so nice and summery (and definitely not too young-looking!)

  13. Oh, this is just lovely too! I love seeing you in all these pretty colours, it makes a very nice change from your usual palette of blues. Beautiful, in every way!