Saturday, 11 August 2012

Promaballoona - how it happened

Well in the end it was a very jazzglamorous evening!

We started out at the Fortune of War pub, for jazz courtesy of moi.

Last Sunday, not only were we celebrating Oona's birthday, but also the birthday of ol' Satchmo, with the 2nd annual "Oh Yeah Day".   We got plenty of "Oh Yeahs" and even a tear or 2 from an audience member when we performed "What a Wonderful World" with special guests Virginia and Daniel.   (I hope to have a video to share of some of the tunes soon.)

We met an ever-so-handsome and talented photographer, who kindly took these awesomesauce pics of Natalie, moi, Manisha, and Laurel.  And did our cups not runneth over with attention in town for how delish we all looked?

I had hoped to go to Stitch Bar after the show to start off our night, but it turns out they don't open Sunday evenings, bah.  Never mind, 4 is the perfect number to jump in a cab and wing it over to the Wine Library for a bit of indulgence.

So Oona, even though I'm the only sewist in this little group, we all subscribe to the "dressed up?  I always look this good!" philosophy, so that makes us Team Oona.  So we had a few drinks for you, a bit of a boogie afterwards elsewhere, and a good time was had by all.  

Serendipitously, the next morning as I was running around town for work, I ran into my old prom date Chris, and made plans to catch up for lunch or beers soon, celebrations all round!!!

Next up, my birthday, yay!  And maybe some sewing.   Actually I can say definitely some sewing.

Happy Birthday Oona!

Saturday, 4 August 2012


My poor, poor, neglected blog.  It's not that I haven't been sewing or having adventures, I truly have.  I keep meaning to post something, it's just such a trial uploading photos and thinking of something witty to say.  I really take my hat off to you gals who manage to do it so regularly.

Anyway, off with my hat and on with my curlers, for I am off to Promaballoona tomorrow night!!!  The Sydney sessions of Promaballoona, that is.  I sure hope there is room in the limo for moi!  If there are limo points for effort in posting, I might have a chance.  Having hunted for the very old photographs of my prom, I am getting no love from my scanner.  Undaunted, I've taken digital photos of the prints.  So, apologies, the pics are a bit lame, but all the better for not looking too hard at my dress.

I had not one, but two dates to my year 12 formal (Australian for Prom).  Diamando, and Chris.  Diamando is gorgeous in a dress made by her mum, Chris very handsome and ever so tall.  I'm happy to say that almost 20 years later, he is still a mate.

I really can't remember many of the details of the night, and not because I had too many wines either.  It's just too long ago for my poor old memory.  I don't think my group had a limo.  We may have caught a train.

But, I did make my dress.  I vaguely remember it was a vogue designer pattern, and I'd made a complete hack job  of it by the end, but it was blue and it stayed on for the night.  I recently unearthed the dress while decluttering, but when I tried to find it today to take pictures wearing it, (yes it still fits, albeit as poorly as it did then) but without completely turning my bedroom, sewing room and garage upside down, I don't like my chances of getting my hands on it today.

Unfortunately, I've been too low on sewing time to make a dress for Promaballoona, so I'm grateful for the permission to just wear something from my closet (it is also blue).  I'll be joined by the beautiful Laurel and the stunning TeaLou.  I wish my sewing pal, the wonderful Lucinda could join us as well but I think she's at another event interstate this weekend.  But I believe it's a dance, so it qualifies as joining in.

I will try try try to take loads of pics tomorrow evening and post them on Monday (which is still Sunday in LA, so I make the deadline!)

Saturday, 7 January 2012

UFO MkII - someone else's UFO

Inspired as I was by Marina's challenge, I also had another project that was fit to include.

My auntie, one of Australia's top embroiderers, had given up on this dress (I'm not sure why) and given the pieces to my mum, who then gave them to me.

My auntie is now in her eighties and maybe one or 2 sizes above me.  I don't know what the original project was to be - but it was a very loose fitting shift with french darts and simple lines.  The fabric falls beautifully, and feels like a soft linen, but a burn test indicated it's some kind of poly blend, (easy care!) and has an open weave.

The project included facings that were already made up.

But of course once I made up the dress the way I wanted it I had to change the shape of them, thus:

The pieces were all the fabric I had to work with.  I decided to attempt to copy another shift dress I own: a vintage crepe shift that my mum had in the early 1970s - simple and flattering.  I didn't do all that well with it, and because this fabric doesn't actually fall the same way as crepe, what ended up happening was I made up the dress, then altered the hell out of it.

It was kind of cool though, Auntie Pat had overcast all the seam allowances and where I could keep them I did.  I finished my own cut seam allowances with a line of stitching and pinking (with my brand new pinking shears!)

The facings were all interfaced.  When I made it up, the armhole facings were far too stiff for my liking, so I took them out, removed the interfacing, and put them back in again.  This was a pretty confident move, as I had already clipped & pinked those armhole seam allowances.  I was amazed that it worked out OK and thrilled that it had the desired effect of making a softer line.

I've styled it with a belt as it really needed it (unlike the dress I was intending to copy from).

Here's the back (the fit of which is not perfect, but will learn from it!):

It kind of has a Tiffany & Co colour to it, don't you think?

Actually, you can see here it's a couple of shades deeper than Tiffany blue, but close!  Lovely things come in Tiffany packages!

Overall, happy with this one as it's something I can definitely add to my office wardrobe!

UFO complete! The "Don't take shortcuts!" dress


And, as soon as I completed it, the weather got too warm to wear it - so I'll take the credit for that too.

Aaaaaaanyway.  Finished a bit over a week ago, but then I took out the zipper and reinserted it for the millionth time and I think that was worth it.  This dress is a cautionary tale about taking shortcuts in sewing.  The photos don't show up all the errors in a glaring way, but see if you can see them anyway.

I mentioned in the original post how the sizing of this dress was a bit generous.  As I was making it I thought if I took it in at the sides I'd have to first undo a lot of the insert, including the handsewing, so genius that I am I took it in at the back, hacking away at it.  As a result, I'm not happy with the dress.  It's a shame, because the pattern is great and it should be a really flattering outfit.  I'm tempted to purchase the same fabric again and re-make it again from scratch, before making it up in some more expensive fabric that I have earmarked for this project.  But then again, maybe it really is OK.  I am still learning after all.  And this was a great learning process. 

Here's the back view - see if you can see the worst errors:

All in all it is still a nice dress I think, and one I can wear to work.  If you're interested, it's V8409 using Sophia doubleknit fabric. 

I'm grateful to Marina for being the catalyst and inspiration for me finishing this dress after getting a bit despondent about it.  I'm also grateful to Gretchen for being the creative muse - I probably would never have discovered or tried this pattern if it weren't for having seen her version when she did it.