Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Project!

Happy New Year! I disappeared from blogging there at the end, didn't I? Sorry about that, but life got a bit hectic, and 2013 decided to fill December with enough frustration to make a big exit! I won't worry or depress you with the details (ice storm = 5 days without power during Christmas), just know that I'm fine and moving forward. So, there! On to happier adventures... like birthdays!

This month (in 16 days, to be exact), I'll be celebrating the big FOUR-OH. Whoa. I know that everyone approaches this landmark date in different ways, but I'm actually pretty excited about it. I'm quite pleased with how I've maneuvered and journeyed through life since 1974, and I'm feeling very blessed. I have no big plans to mark the day, but I'm sure we'll celebrate with a night out... so, a new dress is definitely in order, right?!?!

I don't remember when I first spotted this dress, if it was in a magazine, on Pinterest, or on TV. There a few different versions of it, but most notably, it's been done by both Michael Kors and Valentino.
Michael Kors, $1025

Valentino, $2490

I love the stark contrast of the ivory with the black trim, along with the combination of leather belt and lace. There is simply something about this dress that says "I am confident, I am sexy, I am stylish, I am smart, and I have timeless beauty." What more could I hope for at 40?  Carolyn of "Diary of a Sewing Fanatic" hears me. She made her own killer knock-off in red and black! Great minds, Carolyn... great minds!!!

I already had 2 yards of perfect ivory tropical wool in my stash, so I just needed lining and trim. I searched online for the perfect black trim, but ended up purchasing 2 yards of beautiful venice lace and faux leather from Joann fabrics. I couldn't find the right width double-scalloped lace, but realized that when I place 2 strips side by side... it's exactly what I wanted!

As for lining, I grabbed that at Joann's too. Since the ivory is so light in color, it's semi-sheer. Sometimes light-colored linings don't help fix that issue, so I went with a nude color instead. Likewise, I decided that it may be better for me to underline with the nude, instead of line, like I normally would. Again, that light-colored ivory would show my seam allowances, so underlining will fix that problem, too. I'll just use my serger to finish the seams, and that's ok with me.  To hide the nude lining at the neckline edge, I traced neckline from the pattern, and created facings to make from the ivory. Since I can hand stitch them down to the underlining, they'll be completely hidden and won't flip out (which is my usual complaint of neckline facings).
I had some hesitation with going sleeveless like the inspiration dresses, but in reality... it's January and it's Michigan. So, a 3/4 sleeve it will be. I'm using Vogue 8766, and the sleeve cap has 3 darts (instead of a smooth rounded cap). Different, yes?
I also decided to stick with the scoop neckline in the pattern (rather than the boatneck of the inspiration dresses) because Santa brought me a couple of stunning silver necklaces that I'd love to showcase!
So, I've made good friends with my "walking foot" and stitched all the underlining to the ivory. I traced the darts onto the lining (not the ivory), and stitched along the dart lines, too. This way, there's no worry about the double layer of fabric not matching properly when I go to sew those darts in!
I haven't started actual construction yet, but I think that it will go quickly since... 1. It's already lined, and 2. It's a sheath dress. I'll post again later this week, hopefully it will be done by Sunday (when this vacation ends, sadly)!


Pam said...

I absolutely love this dress! Congratulations on picking a fabulous project to start the new year. Now, if I can just finish my UFO's from last year:)

Shannon said...

This looks like it's off to a great start. Can't wait to see it finished!

L said...

Happy new year!

I have bonded with my walking foot, too. In fact, I only take it off when I need to put in a zipper or buttonhole. Janome actually has a walking foot that has a zipper foot attachment. *drool*

I'm sorry to hear that you were one of the families without power last week. I hope you were able to enjoy the holiday given what you had to endure.

One of these days, you and I are going to share a meal in the same room!

L said...


I can't wait to see your dress. I'm liking the idea already.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I'm glad you used the 3/4 sleeves because the design should work for you. I love, love, love how you've made the lace and faux leather work. It's going to be gorgeous...but you've definitely made me miss having a waist! *LOL* A belt would have been a nice detail to add to my dress. I get compliments when I wear my dress so I'm sure you will too...can't wait to see your finished version!!!

Lori said...

This will look amazing on you. I like the idea of using the lace for your project and the 3/4 sleeves are a must, plus I think you will wear the dress more. Happy early 4-0 birthday, you don't look even close to that.

Carole said...

I love that look and can't wait to see it on you! I hope you have a happy birthday and an amazing new decade.

twotoast said...

Oooh! Sounds good so far - I look forward to seeing your finished dress. I hit the big 5-0 this year (not until October though) and love the idea of a special dress . . . . now you have me thinking!!

Erica Bunker said...

Kerry Washington wore this Michael Kors on "Scandal". I love this dress too! I can't wait to see your finished version.

Erica Bunker said...
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Anonymous said...

This project looks like fun and I can't wait to see the finished dress. Your cobalt & leather dress turned out AMAZING. Do all the teachers dress this well in Michigan? I agree with your student who thought you bought it at BCBG!