Sunday, June 21, 2009

Flying dress lace and Swim gown bodice

Well, the lace for the Flying dress finally got here. But the chiffon for the over-bodice still is on back order.

I was going to take pictures every single step of the way for both, but just sailed through a few steps of the lace part of the Swim bodice without a single picture. I needed the distraction. One of my kittens died this afternoon, after my very old cat died four weeks ago as of tomorrow (he would have been 24 in a couple more months). This has been hard.

A Titanic Elevator gown might be added to the agenda. That could be fun. I made one years and years back, before there were as many pictures on the internet, so all there as to go on was that brief second shot in the movie. It was requested in satin, as that's what it looked like at the time, though the final effect was a bit costumey. Now there's a picture of the real gown available, and it's not satin at all. In fact, it's not even one piece! It will depend on finding fabric (cotton) that will be suitable.

Soon I will stop taking orders that aren't for immediate making, due by October, or due April or later of next year. I don't want to have many orders due around the time my baby is due, or soon after, as I don't know yet how I'll feel, and I'd rather not commit to an order due date if I don't feel 100% confident about my ability to keep it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Website update, Dinner dress beading

I went ahead and updated my website with pictures of the flower dresses.

The edge beading is finished on the second layer. Now to finish the third layer up. Pictures here. I ordered another 4,800 of the 3mm black beads and another 4,800 of the 4mm beads, and 200 of the 6mm beads. I'm burning right through these things, especially with the edging.

Some of the jewelry components weren't in stock, even though the website said they were. Since the supplier doesn't back order, this means paying for shipping again. I'm not happy in the slightest.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Jewelry line!

Well, I suppose it counts as a break, staying up all night until 9:30am ordering the components to make the (all Titanic) Boarding earrings, two versions of the Flying necklace, and the Heaven necklace, earrings, and a matching bracelet. Next up will be components to make the (I'll make this a list more or less for my reference):

Elevator earrings (no photos actually exist though, so my design)
Tea necklace and earrings
Jump earrings
Deck necklace and earrings
Breakfast earrings
Flying earrings
Swim earrings

Now...I am not going to touch a bead today, I am not going to touch a bead today, I am going to touch a - shoot. I will. I'm aching to work, and am still waiting for the chiffon for the Swim dress to get off back order (I refuse to buy the pre-dying chiffon, must be natural so I can dye it just so) as well as the antique lace for the Flying gown. The Flying skirt is finished but for the waist band (making-of photos will me on my site soon), and I don't want to do too much more on the tunic without the bodice made to go under it first. My pattern instructions will start with the skirt, then the bodice, and then the tunic, so I'd like to more or less make it in the order I will suggest it.

So I will bead more on the layer I started the edging on yesterday. It's not a day I expect to make much progress, but when it comes to something heavily beaded and sequined, even a few inches at a time really all add up.

Still beading the Dinner Dress, and starting beadwork on the Peacock corset

I just don't take a break, so I? I've finished the thicker edge beading on the bottom layer, as can be seen here.

I am almost ready to not look at another bead for a year, but instead have started the beading on the peacock corset. If I am diligent, I could probably finish that thing by Monday, but I seriously haven't taken a day off from bead work in a while and am feeling a bit of burnout.

Within the next few days I need to get to Lacis in Berkeley, an amazing corset supply store with an even more amazing museum. I need boning not only for the peacock corset, but also for the corsets of the Don Juan outfit in the film version of Phantom of the Opera. My corset supplies are running on E right now.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Dinner dress, Swim gown, Flying dress pattern

My poor fiancé has learned more about the details of these gowns than he ever cared to know. Ask him a trivia question about one of them, and he'll be able to answer. He knows the approximate widths and lengths of things in relation to the overall size, fabrics, colors... He's been bribed to give input and to try to find the most minor difference between what I'm working on and photos of the original, and being bribed to sit there looking for differences in gowns made by others and the originals so I can prevent making the same mistakes. He's been such a good sport, and I'm grateful for him.

Four solid days of beading this layer of the Dinner dress is enough. I am ready for a break! There's a reason why this gown isn't cheap with me. My bead and sequin work is much MUCH denser than I've seen anyone else do (and believe me, I have a huge folder of images I've saves for every single version of this dress I've found on the internet, from gowns made by other professional seamstresses to hobbyists to people just trying to make something work for a night, even pictures of gowns started by never finished, gowns that are beaded on chiffon, gowns that are all lace with no bead work...), and yet I don't feel that even mine is dense enough. To achieve the density that would truly please me would require use of 3mm flat sequins, and the cost would be much more than it is now due to the time easily doubling. As it is, I priced my Dinner and Heaven gown on the use of 6mm sequins and 6mm large beads. That felt like too much filler to me, so I left the price the same, but decided to use 5mm sequins (I haven't found 4mm flat sequins, only cupped) and 4mm large beads. An occasional 6mm is used if the spot on the chiffon is too small to use 4mm in a pretty way, but too large to leave open.

Before much more can be done with these layers, I'll need to get black silk for the gown's lining, and possibly navy silk organza rather than the dupioni I have now.

Also, this gown might now have removable sleeves so it can have spaghetti straps and be worn with a bolero. This custom detail is currently in discussion.

I'm trying to be patient waiting for the silk chiffon I need for the Swim gown. Before I can proceed further, I need more chiffon for the bodice. Dying it the lilac I need won't take too long. But I can proceed no further at all without it.

And Flying dress...pattern? You read that right. Only I'm not using a pattern. I'm drafting a pattern for this gown to sell. Yes, Simplicity came out with a pattern a decade ago, which is long out of print. But it is extremely expensive when it's found, and some of the pattern's directions I just don't like. An elastic waist? No thank you. The bodice being just an inset rather than a separate bodice? Not interested. I own the pattern in the 18-20-22 size, and have read the directions, and I don't like them. I don't like the cut of some of the pattern pieces. I don't like how the peplum isn't cut in such a way to allow the same drape as in the film. So I am drafting my own multi-sized pattern with a fitted waist band and separate bodice, making it closer to the film and period-correct (no zippers or elastic!). Options will be given for an elastic waist band, though I believe even a beginner should have no problem with a skirt that has no zipper or buttonholes.

I'm about half way through drafting the first size, and from there will manually scale to other sizes. Pattern programs spread the size difference over the entire pattern. Plus-sized women aren't necessarily linebackers, and thinner people aren't necessarily petite. Once I have the additional sizes scaled, I'll need volunteers to make each size to double check not only fit, but ease of instructions. From there, it will be printed as well as in PDF format for e-patterns that can be printed at home and taped together for a lower cost.

I don't expect to be inundated with orders right away. I expect it will take some promoting. But it could be a good way to still make money during the post-partum period when I expect to simply be too tired to take many, if any, orders.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Flower dresses, Dinner dress

Flower dresses are in the mail. I miss them and can't wait until I have my own daughter to make pretty dresses for.

So far the only progress I've made on the next layer for the Dinner dress is to have it cut out, hemmed, and the edges beaded. I use my old Kenmore for edging. I've done so insanely many yard of silk chiffon on that machine that hemming this fabric on my Brother machine just feels unusual. So out of the case with the Kenmore. It's 3:30 in the morning right now, and I can't sleep for wanting to bead, yet am tired enough to know I'd probably have to undo a good bit of it in the morning. What a quandary.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Flying dress, Dinner dress, Flower dresses

All right, I've got the velvet for the Flying dress tunic. I absolutely love the feel of a folded length of velvet. I haven't yet found a lace I feel is rich enough for the white bodice. But that can come later.

I've got the next layer of the Dinner dress cut out, and it's awaiting the edges being rolled and beaded. Tomorrow those beads arrive, and the little Flower dresses go in the mail.

I can't wait until the girls get them. The bodices are simple to keep the focus on the skirts. The skirts are very twirly!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Flower dresses, Flying dress, Dinner dress, Swim dress

The flower dresses are finished and awaiting shipping, which is likely to happen Wednesday. I can't wait for them to arrive. Pictures after the girls get to see them. They get first looks. :)

Here is the promised picture of the Flying lapels and skirt panels. I couldn't find the dock for my camera until late last night. It was in plain site. Ugh.

I will probably go ahead and make the skirt tomorrow, pictures pictures. But I have yet to get the velvet. So the tunic will need to wait. The bodice is an inset in every version I've seen. This one will be a separate bodice.

More beads have been ordered for the Dinner gown. I never order enough, even though I always feel like I've ordered too many. This gown does have a date - with the Las Vegas Strip come New Year's Eve! I was there a few years ago. It was amazing, and that's an underestimation! It's not for the feint of heart though. And make sure to either get a room on the strip or get there several hours early to park. Getting cabs out of there is like wishing for snow in Death Valley during the hottest day of the summer.

The Swim gown will be finished by the end of the week after next. I hope to also have the Flying gown finished as well.

So I am aiming to have two completed within the next two and a half weeks while simultaneously working on a heavily-beaded gown and a gown with embroidery. I need to write up a daily to-do list to break it down a bit.