Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dinner gown, Flying gown, Swim gown, "White wool" gown

I've been on a roll with the Dinner, but am to low on beads. Another layer is mostly finished The rest will be after it's attached to the dress and the exact length of the train is determined. The first part of beading a layer, after rolling the edges, is to bead it with the smallest faceted beads, but I don't have enough of those left to edge another layer. Another bead order will need to be replaced. This gown, by the way, is to be worn for New Year's Eve on the Las Vegas Strip this year!

I have the lapels and skirt decoration for the Flying gown and will get pictures of those tomorrow. It's simply too late tonight and the camera's batter needs to charge. I do not yet have the velvet fabric nor the lace for the jacket, so may go ahead and make the skirt this weekend or early next week.

Well, back to work on the Swim and WW gowns tomorrow or Saturday. The WW is so near to completion. The Swim has a little further to go, and photos ever step of the way on that one.

I'm so ahead of schedule right now that I may just take the weekend off. This has been a long week, just so much going on. Oh, probably not. Sewing is relaxing, but I like to give it my full attention. We shall see.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Girls' dresses finished

I will wait until they arrive at their destination to share pics though. They're very twirly! What little girl doesn't love twirly? :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Flower dresses, The Producers

The rose dress is nearly complete. The skirt needs hemming still, and some silk flowers, but it still needs something. I can't pinpoint it. I think my fiance hit the nail on the head when he said it need sparkle. This evening I will attach the bodice to the pansy skirt, in with the zipper, and down with the lining.

The theater I worked at last summer on The Pajama Game is doing The Producers this summer! I'm so excited I can't stand it. You bet I'll be right back there. I'm just counting down the days to June 8th so I can go sign on to lease my soul for a couple months to the theater. Theater work is very different from couture, but a wonderful experience, nonetheless. It's really a nice feeling to watch a production and know I had some small part in it. This time around there will be the added bonus of already being a huge fan of the production. I didn't actually see The Pajama Game until closing night last year! But I know The Producers inside and out. Really, the musical is better than the original movie. I can't wait to see what Janice has in mind for the girls in pearls and Ula's dress for "That Face."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pansy skirt, Take 2

Here it is with the darker:



It's still got the soft watercolor look!! Definitely the lighter lilac would have been too light.

Here is the rose skirt:



And both together:





Both will be done in the next couple days.

The pansy skirt - I'm stumped!

Well, not so much stumped as trying to decide which color to use. This has preoccupied me all day long.

I want the effect of the petals and leaves to be subtle. The skirt is a layer of a heavy bridal satin with four layers of white tulle with the petals and then the leaves (I do think having them on top solves the problem of them bunching between the full white layers). I want it to seem like a pale water color. Originally I used the lighter purple, then started to think maybe it was too subtle, so got some darker purple. The two colors:



Here is the skirt with the lighter petals (the back opening hasn't been cut yet):





And here are the darker ones:



And one of each side by side, lighter on the left, darker on the right:



Which looks better for a dress for a 2-year-old? I must direct her mother here for her input.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Flower Skirts cut out

Well, I got impatient and thought, "Why not?" So the skirts are cut out. Now to cut the petals and leaves, and to hand-bast everything at the waists. This is all I will do tonight. It's already after 9. Well, maybe more like "only a little after 9." I've always had an odd sleep pattern, awake most of the night, start to get tired around 4am. This is why I have always said I'm as likely to be reachable by phone at 3am as at 3pm.

Girls' skirts

I trekked down to he worst Joann's I think there is. The employees are absolutely inept. I shouldn't be telling the employee working the register how to process a tax-exempt sale, which I have as I have a resale license and am in their system. But this is what happens almost every time. It's frustrating.

Anyway, I got a new large cutting mat to help with cutting the skirts perfectly straight, though didn't even think about checking out the rotary cutters. I'm a big fan of Gingher brand, and highly recommend them to anyone who sews at all. My pairs have been worth every penny, and then some. So I did just take a minute to find a pair online, and they'll be in my possession within a week, and for less than at Joann's, so I'll deal with cutting the skirts with shears until them. The edges of the tulle layers will be pinked anyway (cut with scissors that cut a zig zag edge).

The petal tulle layers (for which I needed the colored tulle) will be between the white layers to give it a hint of flower in the skirt, a more subtle effect than just having the petals right on top. The silk flowers I was going to scatter on the skirt might be skipped. We'll see. It could be overkill, and I won't want that.

Tomorrow all the layers of the skirts will be cut and the tulle layers pinked, though hemming of the bottom-most layer will definitely be the very last thing to be done aside from detailing. I'll also connect them to the outer bodice. Depending on time, I may also attach the lining layers, which will be done by hand. From there, it will be zippers, interfaced hems, and the details.

Eowyn "white wool" dress

It's actually cream in the film, and the one I'm making is velvet rather than wool. So quotes are appropriate.

Well, the finish-date on this dress isn't until this fall, but I'm really just a few hours from completion on the embroidery (done by hand) and braid trim, then a couple hours on the separate under gown. It's unknown whether the under-sleeves are connected to the main gown at the shoulders or is a separate gown altogether, and so I'm choosing to make a separate gown. The belt will be similar, if not the same, design as the Guinevere belt. That thing took a surprising amount of time, several hours. Once I finish the girls' dresses (and I got the colored tulle this evening), then I think I will work straight through on the Eowyn dress and get it shipped out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The girls' dresses

The fun part about designing things as I go is the creativity that flows. I'd been wondering how to "floralize" the skirts a bit more, and today at the grocer store, the idea hit me. Naturally it couldn't hit when I was miles away actually close to the fabric store, oh no. That would have been too easy. This is the not-fun part - inspiration hitting when what I need isn't already in my stash. But pink and purple add green tulle just aren't things I've ever had need to keep around.

To I suppose today will be spent finishing cutting the satin and while tulle for the skirts and basting the waist together, and more of the Dinner beading, and I've also been working on some base patterns for girls' dresses, both high-waisted regency styles, complete with the dropped shoulder seams, and regular-seamed plain tops. The short, gathered sleeves, short, ungathered sleeves ad long sleeves for each size can both work with either the regency or plain tops. Later on I'll draft out different collar types. For now, the necklines are closer to the neck and rounded. It wouldn't be difficult to square them off. Whenever I've made little girl outfits, the part that took the largest chunk of time was drafting out the pattern, yet there is very little difference in sizing. It's not like one child's bust and waist may be 2" different while another's is 6", the way it is for an adult. So having these sets of base patterns to start out with will really save a lot of time, and adjustments can be made as needed. I'm making them all to standard pattern size measurements right now.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Dinner dress

I have not been feeling too well the past couple of days, which is why I factor in time for unforeseen circumstances when giving my estimates of how long something will take to deliver.

So last night and today, as I haven't felt up to sitting in front of the sewing machine hunched over making sure seams are just so, nor on the floor cutting fabric. Instead I've spent some time lounging on the couch beading some chiffon for the dinner dress.

Even when I've researched a film gown to the moon and back, I still will research it some more trying to find anything I may be doing wrong, finding examples by other seamstresses to see what they're doing that I don't do (and to find if they're right and I'm wrong), and seeing what they do wrong, so that I can make my gowns as close as possible without having access to the gown itself or someone who can take pictures for me of everything I ask. I did get pictures from someone who owned one of the original swim gowns, though those were lost in the Great Computer Crash of 2007.

I'm glad I do this. I noticed a detail I have only seen done on one other Dinner or Heaven gown (they're the same dress in different colors), and that is a gown by a Ms. J. Rouch - The sleeves are NOT sheer! The are not set-in sleeves as Ms. Rouch made hers, but the under-fabric of the gown, a peachy coral on the original and a lovely dark blue on mine, is the full length of the sleeves! So I will also do this. In addition I will be adding many more small beads to the bottom of each later under the bottom-most bead/sequin work. This will add time and expense, but it's on the original. My Heaven gowns were back before so many pictures of these details were available, even though more pictures, overall, were available.

So now to draft out a new rough pattern (on paper at least).

In the next couple days, I will finish cutting the girls' skirts, the undermost later of satin, and several layers of pinked-edged tulle, and begin the process of attaching them to the bodices. They will be nearly finished by that point, save for the zipper and floral details and hemming of the satin.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Flower dresses

I've once again restarted the little girls' dresses...for the last time. Children grow like weeds, and if I don't hurry, they will outgrow the dresses before they get them! I just had to figure out the best way to attach some sleeves before realizing that these dresses will look best without sleeves at all. I will have them done within the week.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Regency finished

The regency gown is finished, and oh how I love it. My internet is being painfully slow (iPhone on 3G is faster), which is really terrible considering this is Silicon Valley. The internet should be faster here but instead it's going at the sleep I remember dial-up being. Regardless, I'm updating my website offline, and will upload when the connection can handle it.

I am redoing the bodices for the girls' dresses to add angelic sleeves. There won't be a making-of feature for these dresses because I started with only a loose idea of how to make them, and I'd rather save the time taking photos and going back a few steps and taking new photos and use that time to instead actually make the dresses. The making-of features really do take a good deal of time, a lot of stopping at ever step to lay out what's been done and then taking everything back to the sewing machine.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Regency almost finished

One sleeve left, the buttonholes/buttons, and hemming, remains. Too bad I ran out of white thread. White and black thread are staples here. I can't believe I ran out. This dress looks so pretty and pure, so perfect to be worn on a beach somewhere. After the movie Titanic is over, I shall head down and buy some more.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Regency gown hold? Ha!

Well, putting it on hold lasted three days. I've already decided to make it and list on etsy. Today is miserably hot for me. It doesn't help that there is a big window above my sewing area that is too high up to cover with drapes (16 feet to the high point), and the sun is beating it. But I've been plowing away as fast as my over-heating body will let me. Not much is left to do, but my fastest right now is slow.

This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why I do most of my sewing at night. It's cooler then. Much cooler.

The next two things I will work on are the children's flower dresses. The bodices have been cut and assembled.

Pictures of the regency progress will be posted soon, as well as the re-dyed skirt for the swim dress. Once finished, the regency gown progress pictures, more than I'll show here, will be posted on the making-of page of my site. I won't post pictures of the flower dresses until they are finished and have arrived at their destination.

For now, since it's too warm for me to move around going from sewing machine to dress form to ironing board working much more on the regency, I'll be working a bit on beading the black silk chiffon for the Titanic Dinner dress.

Several projects at one? Why yes, thank you. I enjoy this. It's every so slightly stressful, and that keeps me on the ball and makes each finished garment that much more delightful for me.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Regency gown update and Titanic Swim gown

Updating this blog has slipped my mind!

Well, the regency gown is not going to work once I show a bump at all. So it's on hold until I decide whether to still make it for myself, or to put on eBay or etsy.

I re-dyed the skirt of the deluxe (but trainless) Titanic Swim dress. I decided the colors can be a little closer to the film. It's in the dryer right now while I figure out where I put the silk for the bodice. All my Swim gowns are 100% washable. As the silk is washed and dried twice before I do anything with it, all the shrinking is done. Yes, this costs little more in silk, as well as takes a few more hours. But it's worth it to deliver a quality product that won't leave the wearer panicking over a tiny spot of food. To my knowledge, I'm the only seamstress making these gowns so available who takes this step.

Since I simply don't have the space to bring out my embroidery machine right now, I will have to outsource the embroidery of the lapels and skirt detail for the Titanic Flying dress, and I really don't want to have to. However there isn't anything else I can do right now. Once those pieces come back (another month or so), then I will begin a making-of page for it. This one was specifically requested to not be silk for allergy reasons.

I'm working on a few ideas for a maternity version of the Titanic Breakfast gown as well right now to possibly make this summer.

I'm also working on some designs for a children's line while lacking the space to roll out the several yards of tulle I need to be able to make dresses for three very special little girls. I have to figure out a way to properly cut this tulle, to make it even and pretty, so that it looks right. In the next week or so I will assemble both bodices. I am quite angry at my state for still delaying tax refunds. This has hindered a much-anticipated trip to see these angels this month.

Another Guinevere belt will be made as well, to go with the Eowyn gown that's in progress, rather than a metal belt. That one I made already truly is gorgeous, and I have a very hard time sending it. I did buy more of the fabric used however, so I can make myself one at some point too.