Wednesday 27 October 2010

The Cocktail Dress - Finally...

I finally finished hemming the lining on my dress yesterday, never my favourite part of making anything hence the tardiness.

I hope I'm not going to disappoint you, but after all that build up I decided, much like Peter over at MPB, to leave this garment bling free. I feel it already has enough blinginess about it especially with my accessories.

Besides, I want everyone to notice my shoes which I will probably only be able to wear for approximately two hours before my feet drop off!

Construction wise I did a lot of hand sewing on this dress. I finished the armholes with strips of bias fabric which were understitched, turned and slipstitched to the interlining, and I did the same thing with the neckline except with straight grain fabric strips to act as a stay and keep the neckline from stretching out (thanks to Nancy for reminding me about that). The lining was then assembled by machine and handstitched to the facing strips so there is no chance of it showing on the outside. I also added a deep facing to the dress hem.

I'm now in a bit of a flap about what else I am going to wear while I am in the UK and need to dig out my winter clothes and see what gaps need to be filled. I know the Brits won't agree with me that it is officially winter over there yet, but it's all relative!

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Cocktail dress update

As usual I am sewing at a snails pace so here is a little progress report on my anniversary party dress. It is a combination of the Hot Patterns Bollywood Dress (bodice) and a Patrones Lacroix pattern (skirt), you can see the patterns in my earlier post here. (Wow, that was a month ago and now the party is only 3 weeks away, better get my skates on.)

I'm fine tuning the fit at the moment which is a bit of a pain with a side zipper - lots of basting, trying on and rebasting going on here. Boring, but unavoidable.

Inside skirt pleat detail, the whole dress is interlined with silk organza.

You can't see the colour very well here, it is more turquoise than royal blue.

I'm still thinking about whether to add any hem detail or other embellishment, at the moment it feels like a lot of dress and I am trying to avoid the bridesmaid / prom look so I may leave it as it is.

I did find this crystal trim and individual stones which match perfectly (in real life if not in photos) and I thought instead of stitching it permanently to the dress I would make some detatchable motifs to get a look similar to the Lacroix dress if I feel like it. I have a black tie function shortly after I get back from the UK so I can wear this dress again for that and add the bling!

Finally, Amanda asked about washing silks - apart from this type of special occasion formal dress, I bung all my silks other than dupion in my washing machine! If I can't wash the finished dress in the machine I'd rather know upfront otherwise it just isn't going to get worn. I know this may seem a bit reckless but so far I haven't had any problems. Silk is much tougher than we give it credit for. BUT I don't want lots of irate readers blaming me for ruining their favourite pieces of fabric so please do test a sample first. I admit I have ruined numerous wool sweaters this way, but my silk dresses and tops have all been fine.

Saturday 9 October 2010

Ruffles at Raffles

Actually this dress did not turn out ruffly but I could not resist the title - I made it for a weekend visit to Singapore which included a dinner at Raffles Hotel, a lovely old colonial relic and the backdrop for these photos.

Simple silk dresses have served me well this summer so I decided to make one last one before switching to fall sewing. This dress began life as McCalls 5977, a top pattern which I extended to dress length. I didn't have enough fabric for the sleeve ruffles on view D (the green one below) so I drafted my own and made a tie belt.

I know the shoes don't go at all, but I was travelling light!

The fabric is a piece of silk with some stretch that I picked up at Metro Textiles in New York. When I prewashed it the black in the print ran a bit so this gave me the courage to experiment patternwise, however I washed it again when it was finished and it came out perfect.

Dinner was fantastic, both the food and the service - they even gave me this miniature chair to put my handbag on!