Sunday, September 21, 2014

On the verge...

First, thank you all for your kind comments and wishes in response to my last post.  I have a photo that shows the back of my dress, which I will have to post.  Again, thank you SunnyGalStudio for pointing out the best starting point for my dress!

Now... what do I sew?  I've been making separates, but there is the possibility of another big project in my future.  My sister is getting married next summer, and can't quite put her finger on what she wants (it does not seem to exist.)  Perhaps when she figures out what it is, I might be able to help her with that.  I also am on the hunt for a good down jacket.  I have a Primaloft jacket from high school, which is enormous on me but I haven't gotten rid of it - instead, patching it as needed, all to the embarrassment of my Very Stylish Husband.  He has to be seen with me after all, and is merciless about this jacket.  I wore it to meet up with my parents for dinner last year and my mom asked me why I am wearing it still!  So I'll be honest, it's not just my husband who's on my case but pretty much anyone who has seen this jacket.  And I will admit, this jacket has lived out its useful life.  I need something that will fulfill many functions and this jacket can't do it.

I want a lightweight down jacket that I can wear under my hard shell for skiing, will keep me warm at the crag (I am entertaining the thought of ice climbing), and can be worn out and about as a stylish kind of thing.  This jacket has to live up to a lot!

And, as I've been trying on jackets - not naming names - I am finding that they are just too big if they are women's sized and too childish (what is with the colors for girls?) if from the girl's section.  I am in this weird land between L or XL girl and XS woman.  It's really the sleeves.  I think I could handle a boxy jacket torso if only the sleeves did not engulf my hands. 

So I am toying with the idea of making a down jacket.  I've gotten so used to having sleeves that fit (I now hate trying on ready made button down shirts) that I likely never buy another shirt or dress for as long as I can sew.  I've made coats.  Why not a down jacket? 

Just imagine cleaning this up.  This is what I imagine making a down jacket will do to my house.
Or should I suck it up and deal with the 2" extra length on said jacket?  Down jackets are pricy, but this seems like a worthwhile price to pay for something that I'm not really chomping at the bit to try to make myself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Wedding update and other catching up

Hi everyone!  Thank you all for your thoughts on whether to hang or fold my wedding dress.  I figured I've been away too long because I've started getting some rather spammy comments as well... most are deleted now as I've done a bit of housekeeping on the blog.  The wedding was everything I hoped it would be - a very small ceremony in Acadia, Maine.  It combined our favorite things, mountains and oceans.  We went climbing at Otter Cliffs, which has long been on my to-do list with amazing views of the ocean and awesome sand blasted granite.  We are so lucky to have so many loving people close to us.  My new brother in law took photos that make us look taller/thinner/smarter (the one I've posted here was taken with a large format camera), a dear old friend flew out from California to officiate, a friend baked our cake, and another made AMAZING meals for all to share.  Even our jeweler got in the on the action with a blog post singing our praises.

My wedding dress in silk crepe back satin.

In case you're wondering what I ended up wearing under there: Va bien backless plunge bra (it has shoulder straps) and Va bien control top shorts.  I ordered the shorts on a whim thinking they'd hide panty lines, and honestly didn't think they'd make a difference otherwise (not to brag but just a statement of fact - I don't really have much extra skin around the middle), but they did.  Seriously, wearing the right undergarment is all about letting the fabric skim your frame and not get cling on your skin or catch in strange ways.  It was the difference sleek and well, not so sleek.

I am still sewing, but I realize my life has changed since I started this blog and I can't keep up on all the blogs I like to read as well as keep track of my sewing projects.  It's unfortunate because I sometimes I'm about to sew something and wonder whether I've already made it in the past, or wonder what I altered the last time I sewed it or something similar.  Blogging and keeping records is helpful.

A note for Mairead: I'm sorry, I'm not selling my Burdas at the moment.  I've often had good luck looking on etsy and eBay for past issues, and I hope you will as well!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Hang or fold bias cut garments?

Hello.  It turns out I am going to sew two wedding dresses.  One for a civil ceremony at City Hall to be held in 3 weekends (!) and one for our ring ceremony in Maine.  The ring ceremony dress, the one that I've been blogging about off and on for the last few months is done.  Note, the dresses are the most fun thing about the planning.  With less than two months to go I'm realizing that I need to line up several essential services: caterer, rehearsal dinner venue, guest entertainment. 

Did I say that planning is my forte?  I lied.

Now I'm fretting about where and how to keep it until June.  Should I fold it (and then re-press it closer to the date), or hang it (I'm afraid of it getting growing longer and longer on the bias)?

And because I don't want to make this a completely pictureless post, here is the inspiration for the civil ceremony dress:

Drape Drape 1 No. 5

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ready for prime time

Hi guys, this happened a lot faster than I thought it would.  Your comments along the way have been most wonderful!

It took 10 muslins to get the top right, which I made up out of an old bedspread (I'll spare you photos) and then this version in poly crepe satin.  I've got swatches of red and gold crepe satin on their way from Mood to pick from.  I decided to choose colors that I would probably want to wear again.  Oh, and I need to figure out what to do about a low back b.ra and get a manicure before I handle real silk (too many calluses from climbing means fabric pulls!) But that should be pretty easy.
This is what I look like if you look down at me (photo taker is much taller than I am.)
From the front. 

Please forgive my hair.  What a mess.  Good thing we don't get to see ourselves from the back very often, eh?

And from the side.  I'm pretty happy with my decision to ditch the train.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Getting there

It took about 8 drafts but I think I've come very close to approximating the drape on the top.  Now I need to drop the waist; draft and mock up a corselette; draft and mock up the skirt.

The waist drop and skirt don't worry me as much as the prospect of making up a corselette.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Getting closer to the right drape

This Threads tutorial has been handy:

How to create a draped cowl neckline

It worked great for the front, not so much for the back.  I am very close to getting the back to resemble that of the inspiration dress, thanks to this photo.  Drafting a triangle rather than slashing and spreading (as suggested by the Threads article) wasn't intuitive until I saw this picture.  Thanks, internet.

Someone pinned this image... while I couldn't find it on the website in the watermark, looks like it is worth a visit.  It shows you how to knock just about anything off through pictures.  If you can read Portuguese, you'll get even more from it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pretty/sexy/sweet/edgy/tacky is all in the eye of the beholder

My long time blog friend, Gail, posted an interesting comment on a previous post about wedding dresses.  She commented that one of my dresses looked very sexy, raising the question of whether brides should be sexy.  Good question, Gail!  What is a sexy bridal gown?

Interestingly, when I search Google Images for "sexy bridal gowns," the top hits are a variety.  Withholding judgment (for now), here they are.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

Exhibit C.

Exhibit D.

Exhibit E.

Now, I'm not about to wear a dress like any of these for various reasons, but I imagine that most of you reading all have your opinions about these dresses.  For example, I don't think any of them are sexy.  I think dress C is rather sweet looking and a little bland (this appears to be a very common design for sale in the States right now), B is a yawn as well, E is arguably modes with its sleeves, and A and D are outright tacky.  I don't know why D is bothering with a veil, as her dress is split to her navel, has a front hemline that looks like it's shorter than the length of her arm (if she straightened it) and the bodice is see through.  But you know, there's no accounting for taste, eh?  Maybe she can get a second wear of it if she becomes a can-can dancer? 

All that trash talking aside, this opens questions about what is sexy, what is modest, what is classy, and what is tacky?  I guess part of this is cultural, and part of this is personal preference.  I have friends from Africa and Southeast Asia who are very modest about their upper arms and shoulders but have no issues baring their bellies or lower backs.  On the other hand, although I enjoy wearing sleeveless tops and dresses, you will never see my belly unless I am in athletic wear.  Or maybe it's more contextual than that.  I remember a few years ago I had the awkward conversation of "just because it's nice doesn't mean you can wear it to work," with an intern who showed up every day of her first week in club wear.  But I guess the thing about a wedding dress is it's all individual taste, right?

There are two sides to this argument.  One, if you can't wear what you want on your big day, well, when will you ever get to wear it?  Two, your "big" day is more than "your" day -- it belongs to all the people who helped you get there, whether it's your parents, friends, and your husband, so shouldn't they see you in something respectful?  Frankly I'm somewhere in between these two camps.  While you won't see me in a can-can dress with see-through bodice and navel exposure, that doesn't mean I'll knock you if you decide to wear it yourself.  Hell, props to you for having the nuts to wear that in front of your grandmother!

What are your thoughts?