Friday, May 25, 2012

Prom 2012: Audrey and Mila

Two dresses this year! Not sure if I'm in any hurry to attempt that again, I definitely need to improve my time management if I do!

Miss L asked me to make her dress the day after Prom LAST YEAR! "Breakfast at Tiffany's", but in a different color: champagne pink. Amazingly enough, she never changed her mind, so that's what I made.

She also wanted it to have a "flowy" skirt and the matching necklace. Her mom found the brooch at a local antique shop, and I brought the pearls and clasp at the bead store.

The fabric all came from Joann's, since they have multiple fabrics in matching colors. Chiffon, Crepe, and Lining, and when it on sale, it's a bargain. I wish I could get a better quality set of fabrics in matching dye lots, so if you know of a source, please share! The patterns I used? A combination of 3, which I don't have handy at the moment, but can report back on later!

Miss T brought me a picture of the Mila Kunis 2011 Oscars dress, designed by Ellie Saab. She requested more coverage (less sheerness and less cleavage), no train, and a change of color.

I used Vogue 8358 for the foundation dress, which I made out of stretch satin from Joann's (matching dye lot issue, again).

This dress took a lot of thought and engineering to make a reality! I started with the neckline, and after a few failed attempts (and advice from friends), cut the chiffon on the bias, then pinned it down and stitched it over an underlayer of lace.

It also took some close studying to figure our the right sequence of the other chiffon drapes coming from different directions, but I think I did a decent job.

The skirt ruffles were more time consuming that I expected, also.
1. Cut a strip of lace 5" wide, 58" long.
2. Attach your gathering foot and run the lace through the machine.
3. Attach your normal stitching foot and attach the gathered lace to a 3" wide strip of chiffon. (I tried to do step 2 and 3 at the same time but it looked terrible.)
4. Attach your narrow hem foot (5mm), and finish the long edge of the chiffon.
5. Attach your normal foot again, and stitch a narrow pin tuck along the center length of the chiffon. (The Saab dress showed 2 of those tucks, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it.)
6. Cut a scalloped edge into the length of the lace.
7. Chalk a line on the skirt that is 45 degrees from center front and back for ruffle placement.
8. Stitch the ruffle along the chalkline, and again along the lace/chiffon seam (this helped keep the ruffles from flipping up when she walked and "calmed them down" a little.
9. Repeat 9 more times, until both right and left sides are filled.

To cover the gap at center front and back where the ruffles started and stopped, I used a 1/2 yard of chiffon, and attached it above, tacking it down along the way to keep it in place. That narrow hem foot and I are BFFs now! Everything from the waist up was hand-stitched in place, I went through nearly 2 full spools of thread making the whole dress!

The two dresses are so different from each other, but so beautiful in their own ways. I'm really happy with how they turned out, and the girls were equally thrilled!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

How did they do that?!?!

A simple little swath of chiffon is giving me fits of frustration!

Mine looks too clumpy, and after 3 tries, I had to walk away. I'm eating my breakfast, drinking my coffee, and Trying to plan my next move. I suspect that strip curving under the bust line is cut on the bias, and that's why it's able to turn and curve so nicely. What do you think? I pulled out my stitches, smoothed it out, and pulled tighter, with this result:

An improvement, but still... Also, my mannequin is also proving priceless, as I am doing all the hand stitching while it's on her, holding its shape. This is a true couture gown!

My 5mm rolled hem foot is also proving priceless with this particular dress. I'm ripping the chiffon into strips, then finishing the long edges and (at least that part is going well! I know exactly how to make the lace ruffles for the skirt, so if I can just finish the front of the bodice, I'll feel so much better! I'm working from left to right, since the draping goes over and under different pieces, that's why you can only see the left side now!

The Audrey dress is still in muslin, but I did find the perfect pearls for the necklace, and Miss L found the brooch of her choice on Etsy. The construction of that dress will be so much easier!