Monday, 28 November 2011

Frabous Couture's UFO party

Oh man.

Ok well the reason this one-armed beauty is a UFO is because I made so many rookie errors with this one, then while I was musing on how best to solve it, the weather started getting too warm to wear it so I thought I'd just leave it till the fall.

And then last week it turned cold again, so I thought it might be nice to participate in Marina's party.

This is Vogue 8409.  I should have realised when Gretchen said it was a bit roomy in the bodice, but I'm a bit busty so I didn't want to take any risks.  By the time the inset had gone in, I didn't want to unpick as much as I would have to to take in at the side seam, so yeah, I tried to take in at the back seam.  Oh what a hot mess.

Also I tried to do a lapped zipper on this project.  Blame my inexperience.  Sophia doubleknit fabric is NOT the stuff to do a lapped zipper with.  

Solution 1:  Unpick and go back.
Solution 2: Buy replacement fabric and re-do the back panels.
Solution 3: Junk it, buy full amount of replacement fabric and re-do, adjusting heavily for what I'm realising is my narrow back.
Solution 4: Complete it as is (re-doing the zipper for a plain insert).

I'm going with 4, although the zipper has been chopped to waist-depth so I could lay the back seam flat - the zipper was all over the place.

OK, we're going to try it!  It actually doesn't look too bad on, and even though the zipper doesn't extend down to the hipline, it still goes on ok.   Will post back shortly!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Vivian at the Polo

Lady at polo match:  Edward is our most eligible bachelor, everyone is trying to land him.  
Vivian:  Oh, I'm not trying to land him, I'm just using him for sex.

Not long after Pretty Woman came out in 1990, I was working in a chain store and they did a knockoff of that dress Vivian wore to the polo match.  I bought one and I think I loved it to death.  It wasn't even a very true copy - it was red and in maxi length.  But I think I wore it until it fell apart.

And I've wanted another for ages.  So a couple of months ago I scoured for patterns and found one that I thought would make a good version of it.  Jewel neckline, cutaway armholes, slightly blousy in the bodice, not too much flare in the skirt.  Then I hunted for fabric - more difficult than you'd think to find brown with polka dots.  It's a little heavier than I would have wanted (I think the real one is like a silk crepe de chine maybe?) but it works ok.

I am so proud of this outfit.  I had to go hunting for the belt too - not an exact copy but good enough.  I don't have the bag!  I got very lucky with the gloves.  I was headed to my local vintage store, but decided to go to the markets nearby and hit the jackpot bigtime.  Just a basic hat that I trimmed.

I wore this dress on Melbourne Cup day.  Lots of people commented "Oh, that's the Pretty Woman dress!"  and I just love that it's recognisable like that.

I think it's a flattering and classy dress in its own right, even though it's got its story.  What do you think about wearing iconic dresses like this one?  What famous/iconic dress is on your wishlist?

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Grand Maternity Dress

This week has been a busy one.  I had lots of good intentions for sewing projects (including getting things more organised) but work has been busy and I've been immersed in an amazing book that I can't seem to put down (Shantaram), so I didn't make as much progress as I intended to.

I did a lot of planning!  This week happens to be National Recycling Week so I wanted to do some mending, altering and upcycling.  Saturday rolled around, and I went to week 2 of my overlocker course, then I was all in the mood for an evening of sewing.

In my sister's stash (which I have) were some pieces of this cute yellow polka dot crepe.  I remember when I was a little child that fabric was in my mum's stash.  Of course, as it's recently become mine, it stood out to me in its cuteness and on inspection, I realised that it wasn't just a bit of fabric, it was unpicked pattern pieces.  No, it was an unpicked dress.  Obviously someone (I think my mum) wanted to reuse it and never got around to it.

I had started thinking about what I could possibly make with it - maybe a cute skirt, when last week my sister asked me if I could dig it out for her.  I was like, actually it's already dug out.  She's like "oh good, it was Mum's maternity dress, can you put it back together? I want to wear it". 

Of course it was a maternity dress!  That wide empire line with the pleats.  And of course, there's a good reason my sister wants a maternity dress.  How can I refuse this favour for her when she's busy making me a new niece of nephew?  Awwwwwww!

So I put together all the seams.  Thank god no one had unpicked the zipper.  Then there was the sleeves and neckline.   Hmmmm.  Long flared sleeves.  Very cute and late 1960s, but not really my sister's style, or appropriate for a Sydney summer (I think the fabric is poly).    So I had to shorten them, but there's no return from that.  I took out the pins and folded them up to try out a couple of lengths.  There was another scrap of fabric - a remnant and evidence that the original dress was handmade probably by our Mum. No facing pieces for the neckline.

I was mulling over the issue of sleeve length, texting photos to my sister.  She wanted short, not sleeveless (that was my first choice).

Then, last week Gertie posted the solution:  band sleeves!  Cute as a button.  Last night I set about making the band sleeves out of the extra piece of fabric (so the cute winter flared sleeves can still be used if we change our mind).

And here's the result:

I cured the lack of neck facing by using white bias binding, fixed up the hem and voila.  I hope she likes it!

I love that this is a "restoration" of a dress that both my sister and I have "worn" before, in a way, even before we both drew breath.  

Friday, 4 November 2011

Stash surprises

I resumed sewing around the same time as my sister decided to start decluttering.  I've inherited her stash to do what I want with and store what I don't want for her for later.

I start an overlocker (serger) course this weekend (watch this space) and needed to collect the required supplies for the class - various knits & other fabric samples.  Rather than purchasing new bits or cutting into fabric earmarked for garments, I hit my stash, and went down to the garage where a lot of the stored stuff is.  I found everything I needed... and much more.

I even found a spacebag that was my own stash from years and years ago, that I didn't realise I still had.

Amongst my own stuff and my sisters was:

 - awesome border prints;
 - some great linen including some fantastic stretchy black linen-y stuff;
 - a good sized piece of W Bill fabric that I think will make an AWESOME coat or jacket;
 - stacks of lace;
 - a glue gun!  (I'll be stunning with my love glue gunning!)
 - a couple of pieces of jewelry belonging to my sister, in her bead box, that I'm sure she'll be delighted to have back.  I got out my Tiffany polish creme and spruced up her bracelet - can't wait to give it to her;
 - heaps of cool stuff.

So I sorted out my workshop and got everything a little bit more organised.

Maybe now it's time to do some sewing.