Friday, May 30, 2014

Prom Pretty #2: Coral Chiffon

This dress started out in my student's mind as something totally different, and evolved into a gorgeous gown with beaded accents.
Inspiration #1: Zooey Deschanel wearing Tommy Hilfiger at the Met Gala

My student originally wanted a black & white striped version, but when I showed her exactly what "Seersucker" fabric is, we changed direction and went with something more formal. She picked out this beautiful coral chiffon and coordinating satin (3 1/2 yds each) at Haberman Fabrics, so also supplied us with the beautiful gold beaded trim for the waistband and shoulder accent (1 1/2 yd). After our shopping expedition, she sent me this prom dress picture, so I had a clear idea of what she wanted.

Pattern: I used the top of a Burda dress pattern (11/2009 #106) and the bottom of McCalls 6893.
 I eliminated the top band from the Burda bodice, attaching the McCall's skirt at the waistline.

My only hurdle was the ruching of the chiffon over the bodice. No pattern pieces for this job, so I draped the chiffon on the bias and just kept pinning over the satin underbodice. I basted the chiffon in place along the edges, and then hand-stitched the pleats in place.

There were actually 2 gold beaded trims purchased, a wide one and a narrow one. The sales associate at Haberman's had a fantastic idea to border the wide trim with the narrow one, making it look more finished as  belt. For the shoulder, I stitched a few rows of the narrow trim together.
We were both extremely pleased with the outcome, and she looked gorgeous at Prom!

Another successful Prom season in the books... these two are my 9th and 10th formal dresses since 2008. Nothing makes me smile quite like making pretty formal dresses does!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Prom, Vogue 8150

Inspiration dress: Sarah Hyland's Marchesa gown worn to the 2012 Emmy Awards

Pattern used: Vogue 8150, view B. I only made 2 modification... I eliminated the armhole bands and simply used the lace trim for the shoulder straps. I reinforced it with a strip of clear elastic tacking underneath it. Also, the bodice top layer of chiffon hangs a little loosely,  but we wanted a tighter look. So I pulled the chiffon a little tighter across the bodice, and hand tacked the pleats in place.  It was a wonderful pattern to work with, the sizing was spot on (I used the finished garment measurements on the paper to choose the right size to cut), and the instructions were easy to follow.

Fabric used: Lavender chiffon and sparkle charmeuse from Cali Fabrics. This is my 2nd wonderfully successful purchase from Ron at Cali (aka "Fabric Warehouse" in San Francisco). Excellent prices, fantastic customer service (I tweeted if they had what I was looking for, and was immediately contacted!) 4 yards of charmeuse and 5 yards of chiffon, with a yard of sparkly silver lace trim from Haberman Fabrics.

Lightbulb Moment: After altering a few RTW bridesmaids dresses and seeing how they are constructed, I fused some interfacing to the back of the charmeuse bodice pieces to add some structure and stabilize. It helped enormously, since the charmeuse was so slinky and drapey.
I am extremely happy with the way this dress progressed. It was a great marriage of fabric and pattern, and has such a romantic and elegant look to it. My student was very happy, as you can see, and I'm thrilled.  In a day or two, I'll post details of the second prom dress, a gorgeous coral assymetric gown!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Five Months Later...

Hello, sewing friends! Did you think I gave up the hobby and walked away forever? Sorry to disappoint, but that's not the case!
This was a grueling winter, as I'm sure many of you experienced. In the fall, we switched our home heating source from propane to natural gas, which in turn meant that my sewing space went from having a fireplace to a space heater. It was seriously, so damn cold down there (finished basement)!!! I'd go down there, look around, play like I was productive, and then I'd race back upstairs to regain feeling in my fingers! Ok, so I might be exaggerating a little... but, that is one reason why my production dropped, and thereby my blogging.

I really haven't made much of anything new since January, aside from muslins. 2 muslins to be exact, for prom dresses requested by two of my students. I didn't think you'd be much interested in seeing muslins, so I'll post those pretties later this week, as Prom is this Tuesday. Here is a sneak peek of one...

I also was busy with a wedding dress that called for a number of alterations. I posted about that back in the late fall, so not much new to share except for the final product. Here is a "before and after".  I created more of a sweetheart, cut the top black accent down, created more "pick-ups" in the skirt and added 11 rhinestone appliques, and changed the back from a zipper to a corset.

Lastly, today I brought home a new friend to the sewing room. Her name is "Jane" and she is from Baby Lock land. I really needed a more powerful machine to work with denim and leather garments, and even the bridal gown bogged down my Viking, making me search the internet for a replacement. Jane is strictly a straight stitch machine, but her speed and power will make my work so much better. She is comparable to the Brother 1500, with an automatic needle threader, thread cutter, and knee control presser foot. She came highly recommended from my most trusted sewing machine dealer, so my Viking has been slid aside to make room for this new "friend".

She's calling my name right now, so I've got to go play with her!  I'll be back in a few days with Prom dress pictures!