Monday, November 19, 2012

Simplicity 3635 Chemise

Finally! A finished project to share. Certainly not the most exciting ever made, but one of those pieces that really should be worn.

Simplicity 3635: Chemise
The fabric was ironed, I swear.
TIME: This was a four hour project. This time included ironing, cutting and all sewing. I did not put the neck ruffle on which did change my total time. This time also doesn't include washing and drying.
ALTERATION: I didn't add the neck ruffle. I had previously made this chemise with the ruffle, and it turns out that is visible outside of a dress. Luckily it looked cute with what I was wearing, but sometimes you might not want the ruffle. Also, the cording I cut was no where near as long as what the directions said.  
EASE OF INSTRUCTIONS: I found the directions pretty easy to follow. Some of the steps seem like they should have been broken down into two separate directions. This is the second time I have made this chemise, and I still didn't quite get what a few steps were telling me to do. However, I think anyone with basic sewing skills can complete this project.
Remember this fabric? My swatch arrived, and it was no good. The fabric was way too thick.
A friend suggested I test sew a pleat to see how well it folded.
It didn't fold well. At all. This would not look all nice a drape-y down my back. Again I poked some friends brains for advice.
Here's what they said that made sense to me:
  • If you can puff it out like a bed sheet, it's good. Most velvets would be too heavy as well as most woven designs (rather than printed or embroidered).   If the fabric won't "ripple" when you pop it in the air like a bed sheet, it's most likely too thick.
  • A good modern fabric is a silk taffeta. Its also good gauge to work from. Other good silks are shantung or dupioni (if you can find one without slubs
So, back on the hunt. I'm sad the gold and red didn't work out. But I would be even more sad if I made a dress that ended up looking terrible.

Monday, November 5, 2012


it's the American Duchess shoe giveway!

quite frankly, these shoes are stylish and comfortable for regular wear in addition to dress. I absolutely love my Devonshires (and long for the day when I MAKE something to wear with them).

Saturday, November 3, 2012

busy adult responsibilities ruin my fun time

I feel like I have accomplished very little since my last post. I know I've barely gotten anything directly sewing related done. I do feel guilty about that. But there's only so much time in the day, and I am only one person. One lazy, lazy sewing person.

However, I have used some of my time to contribute to the costuming universe. Last year began what I hope is to become an annual event, the Francaise Dinner Party. The event was put together by a friend, and while I had hoped to sew something in time, I didn't, and ended up wearing a robe a l'anglaise made by Fan Plus Friend. As far as a pre-made item goes, that dress was ideal. The price was more than budget friendly, it was far better than any Halloween shop item, and with the right hairstyle and accessories it worked (well enough). It was a passable attempt, but I feel like this year I need to do better.  Not only because all the ladies there are insanely talented and I don't want to insult them with my lackluster outfit, but because this year I am co-hosting the event.

The friend who had organized the dinner is rather busy this year with non-costuming related priorities, and these things take up huge chunks of time. I, along with another friend, stepped up to take over the dinner. Joining forces, we are putting together an event so incredible it may very well change how all who attend perceive the universe. Right now we're in the planning stage, so as things are finalized I'll be able to share more.  At this point there was a tour of our new dinner location, and lots of emails back and forth with the Inne to work out the details of the evening. Time spent not sewing for the event.

It didn't stop me completely from "working" on my gown for the evening. I went on the hunt for fabric. Which really means I ran around in circles, constantly change my mind about what color I wanted, grew frustrated and made several pouty faces in Jomar's, leaving empty handed. Finally I poked the brains of some of the bested dressed costumers I know.

Here's some of the advice I found most useful:
(1) walk around and feel stuff (difficult when ordering online, but a lot of sites offer swatches)
(2) avoid satin: it looks fake (thank the gods someone told me, because I am drawn to shiny like a bee to flowers. Also, somewhere in my mind I think of satin as a guaranteed evening fabric. Maybe because most evening dress now are made of it?)
(3) think about what you're wearing the outfit to - INVALUABLE advice which completely blew my mind.
(4) pick colors that you wear normally and look good on you - this is tricky for me, because I wear mostly black. I have a fear of color in my every day wardrobe, and I don't want it to spill over into my costumes. Which is has.

Armed with this advice, I went searching. And I found this:

I don't have the fabric in my hands, yet. It was described as "medium weight" cotton, and I have no idea what that means. It might mean something the weight of broadcloth, and if so I can probably use it. I have to be careful not be get anything too heavy, or it won't fold/drape properly, bunch and look plain terrible. SO! A swatch was ordered. But then a hurricane hit, I lost power for several days, and no mail service for a bit.

I have worn red in the past and have been assured it looks very good on me, but I would feel better about seeing it in person before I order oodles of yardage.

In the meantime, Halloween happened. I went to an event in NYC, which I have been wanting to attend for some time. All I can say is I'm glad I check it out, but I probably won't go back. AND I SEWED. It was a very quick costume for my niece, who was born in September. Her newborn costume was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too big, so I quickly whipped up a pumpkin bunting(?) for her. I could not suffer the shame of allowing my only niece to go uncostumed for Halloween.