Couture Adventure Part Duex?

My birthday is next month. I will be 35. I’m not a huge fan of birthdays. That has nothing to do with my age and everything to do with the incredibly shitty ones I had as a kid. Though the bdays have improved drastically as a wife and mom, I am still somewhat reluctant to make an event out of them. For fear of…I don’t know what really. I think I still tend to restrain my emotions due to some long held fear of….something.

Well, I enjoyed my recent dressmaking experience so much (thanks for your kind words!! I will try to get better at replying to those much appreciated comments!) that I’ve been trying to think of another reason or occasion to indulge and completely disregarded my birthday as an option.
But, why?

The bug to bone (PUN!) has been reawakened (with a vengeance, please help me refrain from ordering that beading tool) by viewing some spectacular examples of couture artistry in motion via that most excellent medium, YouTube.
Look at all of this deliciousness and tell me you don’t want to spend weeks working on an outfit you’ll only wear a handful of times ;)


discovered via Pauline Alice



discovered via Frau Fleur


discovered browsing Dior

I’ve been collecting couture/high fashion-y inspiration in a pinboard, naturally.

OOOOOOH FASHION

Or from here, where I could work with a new and challenging material (like leather!!) rather than more traditional couture techniques.

RTW

I realized, somewhat belatedly, that I could create my own reason to wear finery. That I have friends willing to play dress up, just for the hell of it, and a husband who would take me anywhere I wanted to go to show off my hard work.

Do you need a reminder that any day can be a special occasion? Look at those videos and dream with me.

Adventures in Couture Dressmaking

There has been so much good, this summer. If you follow me on Instagram* , you probably already know that I’ve eaten a lot of good food, spent a lot of time with some really amazing friends, smooched my hubby, watched my children grow, play and be generally awesome, drooled over stunning couture and then started my very own adventure in couture dressmaking.

I was beyond excited about my cousin getting married and thus providing me with a reason to sew formal wear! After some time spent looking for the perfect fabric/pattern match, in my stash and beyond, I settled on this one:

An out of character animal print from Mood and Advance 9290.

The initial fit was mostly OK. I added inches to the bodice length, they’re always too short for me, and the side seams right off. That didn’t work. It was too big around the chest and upper back and tight around the gut. I went back to the original upper circumference, added a bit more to the bottom one and added another half inch or so to the length.

After a couple tries, I ended up with this:

Adventures in Couture Dressmaking

Not too bad!! Here’s a peak at the inside. The outermost seam line is the original princess seam line. Needed less boob room.

Adventures in Couture DressmakingI skipped making another muslin and resolved to make my seam allowance a bit larger to get rid of that teeny bit of extra room at the side.

I used the muslin to draft new pattern pieces and went straight to actual construction. I made up three bodice layers: powernet, organza and fashion fabric. I sandwiched the first two together and sewed in channels for boning, then attached the sandwiched layers together with the self fabric and facings.

Here is the finished bodice! I was so proud of it!

The dress ended up with so many special touches: the lining and powernet came from my grandma, the zipper was given to me by my sister, the boning was my late grandma’s and I used a needle from a packet inherited from her to do all the hand stitching (the lining to the bodice and the hem).

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 2.01.33 AMThe strapless bodice was the star, here. I added a simple, slightly pegged, pencil skirt and called her done. Here’s a close up of the finished dress.

IMG_0566 My weight fluctuated all through the making of this dress. And the fashion fabric had a bit of stretch that, well, stretched over time (this was taken at about 11pm when I got home). BUT! It worked out in the end and mostly held up well!

 I was having too much fun to get any great shots of me (alone) in the dress at the wedding. I might take some time to get all dressed in it again for some blog pics. You know what, maybe not.

How about some
Warhol-ed because-they-were-taken-late-at-night-and-are-therefore-super-dark
pics instead?

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 1.10.25 AM Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 2.08.08 AM   Now! Onward to new projects!

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 1.06.26 AM

*What Instagram can’t show you are all the times I was too busy enjoying myself to take photos or those too special and personal to diminish by pausing for social media documentation.

BONUS- Using the “Scraps”

This is a bonus project. You know, when that one cut of fabric yields more than one garment?

BONUS!

This skirt, which coordinates nicely with the houndstooth, was made with the same neon dream fabric as this top (there’s still some left). At about the same time, too. I just didn’t have a proper camera to capture it! I took those pictures at work ;)

Black : White : Houndstooth & Sexy

I could fill my wardrobe with tons more things:

Black and White and Neon and Bright.

A spring theme!

Black : White : Houndstooth & Sexy

Dudes and Dudettes, this sew along has been a bit of a struggle. My sewing mojo wanted to go in a different non-slip direction, a burst of fitness caused some body changes which poked at my confidence (who knew I was so attached to my larger hips??) and the incredibly crappy camera I was attempting to use certainly wasn’t helping matters.

BUT!! FRIENDS AND HUBBY TO THE RESCUE!!

I got a kick ass camera for my anniversary (which was March 25th, in case you’re wondering) which takes nice clear pics with ease! He even got me collapsible tripod!
WIN!
Then, in an email exchange with my sewing posse, Ms. Oona gave me permission to move on (rather, she TOLD me to “ditch that slip and sew the thing that  makes you feel sexy right now.”). Sometimes, you just need someone to TELL YOU that what you want to do is OK. Right after reading that, RIGHT AFTER, I grabbed this super awesome, crazy houndstooth knit from Mood (purchased while my girls Lisette, Lauren, Clare, Latrice, Lucinda, Aleksandra, et all were in NYC) and (inspired by another gem of a babe, Ginger)
MADE THIS!

Black : White : Houndstooth & Sexy

Self Drafted Skirt
(I use the term so super loosely)

Black : White : Houndstooth & SexyHummingbird-ish Top
(cut out using the top of this dress)

Scrunch

Double Houndstooth Knit, Strip of Black Ponte, Wide Elastic

Black : White : Houndstooth & Sexy

IMG_0062BOOM!

Black : White : Houndstooth & Sexy

Link Up Your Sexy Makes!!

 

Lupita Blue

Lupita Blue

Cation Design’s Dolman Sleeve shirt turned dress

+ Cake Patterns Hummingbird Neckline=

Lupita Dress!!

Lupita Blue

Lupita Blue

My slapdash frakenpatterning resulted in some post construction fit fudging that made this very easy make a little fiddly. I’m pretty pleased with the lower back, now as it pooled like crazy when I first tried it on.

Lupita Blue

This printed cotton knit loveliness is from Spandex House. I’m wearing my new slip underneath. I’m happy to report that it works!! Absolutely NO riding up!
Lupita Blue

I had a pretty awesome day that I topped off with a bit of Garment District shopping (more black ponte, some very cool double-faced, polka dot cotton and scads and scads of lingerie elastic) but, due to overbooking (or rather, underestimating how long things I agreed to do would take) I missed a scheduled conference call.

It’s so easy to derail a good day, isn’t? Too, easy.Lupita BlueI’m too happy with this dress to beat myself up for long. And, anyway, I’ve got kids to get to bed in a bit and some fiddly underthing sewing to keep me busy until bedtime.

In the meantime, I’ll put on the best can’t-stay-down song in the world and dance like no one is watching!

Sewing and Style with Seamstress Erin

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 10.05.50 AM

Go check it out!!! My Sewing & Style post over on Seamstress Erin‘s blog!
Continuing the discussion started here, the one all about style and sexiness and the expression of both!

I’m honored to be included in this series. Some really awesome folks preceded me.

Thank you for asking me, Erin!