Monday, July 29, 2013

Remind me to buy batteries

My cameras has been out of commission for a week due to dead batteries (silly things aren't rechargeable...  must needs remedy this situation) so I can't show you the glories of the new fabric I purchased or the two dresses I have in progress. However, I can show you the latest fixations that have taken hold of my fevered brain.

Phone Booth Belle dress, from ModCloth

I was cruising ModCloth for ideas, as one does, found this (I particularly liked the collar), saved it in my inspiration folder and continued on my merry way.    A few hours later, I went to see what was new with Colette, and found the Hawthorn.   With some slight modification to the collar and sleeves, it seems to be a perfect match.

The other dress I've been entranced by is the Anna, from By Hand London, which I first saw made up by Karen of Did You Make That.  I've been on a full-length dress kick lately, and this would be glorious.  

However, it's also pretty simple - and as I am actually trying to work through my pattern stash, I think I could pull of something pretty similar using a modified (slimmed down and lengthened) B5603 and the bodice of Twinkle Sews - Next Big Thing dress - both of which I already have. 

To get the same effect, I'd remove the cut outs and put in a V-neck instead - but would keep the sleeves.  However, I might do one with the cut-outs as well - it could look pretty nifty.  (Or, I'll break down and pay for international shipping - I would find both of these just days after I told myself I needed to stop buying patterns until I found something unlike all the dresses already in my stash....)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Converting my grandfather's shirt

Raw materials and goal
  A few months ago, my grandfather died, and as a part of cleaning everything out, I was given a handful of his shirts to play with.    The two polos (there is also a navy blue) were a nice, thick, springy jersey and I knew they needed to become something good.   Conveniently enough, I had a RTW shirt I'd been wanting to copy for ages.   I loved the general lines, but it was from my freshman year of college - back when the style was for cropped shirts and I didn't mind if bra straps showed out of the top.

tracing the sleeves was a pain in the ass, but worth it.
 When tracing off my pattern, I added about 4 inches of length and widened the cuff (is it a cuff if its that close of my shoulder?) by about an inch, for comfort.

pretty close, no?

I also decided to bring the neckline in a bit at the shoulders, so rather than using an even binding all the way around I added lozenge shaped sections for the shoulders.  When folded in half they made wedges which sit nicely, hold the shirt in place and make a decent attempt at keeping my bra inside my shirt.  (always a plus).    If you compare the image below to the later pictures, you'll see the center back binding was replaced with ribbing.   It kept gaping, and I had original collar of the polo version of the shirt left over....   so, I stretched it out, sewed in it in place, and no more gape!  (a bit of wrinkly pull.... but c'est la vie.  I like that the collar is still the collar. 

neckline binding

  Side note: it is insanely hot here.  Current temperature is 101 - heat index at 111 (Fahrenheit, obviously, otherwise I would be burned to a crisp)  I was outside for maybe 10 minutes taking pictures and nearly sweat through my clothes -- in the shade.  However! I found a plant!     Anyhow - check out those shoulder lozenges doing their thing.  Also the extra 4 inches of length bringing the shirt into the current decade.

And of course the reason for the increased sleeve width:  my insanely huge biceps.  However, when you can tear your eyes away, check out the non-gaping back neckline.   Also, the sun decimating all things in its path over to my left.  Here's hoping for a thunderstorm (we had a solid two weeks of rain, followed by a heat wave.  I vote such things be properly interspersed.) 

All in all, I am most pleased with this shirt and plan to make more of them.   I'm also getting a kick out of it being from Chiefy's polo - I think he would have been entertained by it too.  He would pat me on the head (literally), cross his arms and laugh.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dior Couture Robe du Soir Courte , 1955

I'm in love.

Decorated only with silk covered buttons which have been applied to accent the implied wrap-fronted styling of the bodice.  The skirt's fullness is achieved through wide and spaced pleats, with multiple layers of internal stiffened tulle & horsehair petticoats.  As one would expect from Dior, the interior is an array of magnificent couture workmanship.  Having a heavily boned and shaped internal corset with beautiful silk linings.     source

behold the neckline!

and underpinnings!

In my fevered imagination, I am making myself a copy of this dress (for the endless series of formal events and high society cocktail parties that fill my every waking hour, obviously) - but I'm not quite sure whats going on with the corslette.   It looks like there is some sort of this shoulder strap attached to the underpinnings, but looking at the neckline, there is clearly nothing on the shoulders of the wearer.   Looking again, it could be that the back of the dress is connected to the corslette with this strap, helping to support it, as the wrap around bit is clearly only connected at the front.  Between the boned back and that strap, it would certainly keep everything in place....    There also seems to be a rouge zipper in the bottom center of the picture. Haven't figure that one out yet --- any thoughts?

the side and underskirt aren't quite as visually stunning, but I figured I would include  them anyway.   This dress really is just that glorious.   Also, someone should invite me somewhere terribly chic, so I have an excuse to wear a dress like this.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Victory over Simplicity 1801

prior to alterations
post alterations

(equally crappy pictures, for fair comparisons - scroll down for nice ones taken in actual sunlight...)

Dearest Hive-Mind,

Thank you for your help!  As you can see, I redid the bodice and am now infinity happier with the fit.

                                             All my love,

This was a bit insane, as I had to take the dress almost completely apart - I got to be *amazing* at pulling out serging.  However, at long last, victory was mine!    I ended up taking in the shoulders by about a centimeter, elongating and shaping the midriff, and this last one hurt, taking out the pockets.    I love me some pockets, but with material this drapy it just wasn't working.  I mourn the pockets.

alterations to midriff

As in the nature of things, this picture is properly rotated in file and 90 degrees off on the blog.   I have no idea...   Anyhow.  I lengthened the the midriff about two inches and added a shaping section to the center front, so it would better sit over my hips.  (the back was expanded in the same way, slice and add!)  This allowed the gathers to sit *below* my natural waist, which I think is far more flattering in general.   In terms of other changes to the pattern, I moved the zipper from the side to the center back and removed the gathering from the small of the back on the bodice. I also raised the neckline about an inch (and its still a bit lower than intended....)

All in all, I'm rather pleased with this dress.   The rayon was a pain in the ass to work with, but lovely to wear.   (It grows... not only on the bias, but everywhere... I'm also pretty sure the bodice expanded while I was wearing it.   gremlin-fabric....  but awesome-summer-wear gremlin-fabric, so I'll give it a  pass)

I felt terribly elegant.  Despite having removed a good 8 inches of width from the original pattern version of the skirt, I still found I had plenty of room to walk.  The skirt itself is a bit wider than my natural stride, and I hike it up a bit if I want to run.

Somehow I neglected to get a proper picture of the back.... so this will have to do.   I call this one, watching-people-walk-by-trying-to-figure-out-if-I-know-them.

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