Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bay Area Generosity

Last weekend I attended a Bay Area meet up hosted at Vanessa's lovely home. She doesn't have a blog, but if she did it would be a great one - she's SO creative and makes fabulous clothes and all sorts of other things. I had such a great time listening to everyone's updates and seeing some really fantastic creations. The variety, creativity, and skill in this group of women is staggering.

I hadn't been feeling very well and almost didn't go, but I had been having a lot of trouble deciding on what to do about that gown and I knew that just being around these women would be inspiring in itself, and they might also be able to give me some guidance and reassurance about picking a pattern and moving forward. I wasn't wrong! The consensus was that I should stick with the plan, which was to make Simplicity 2444, extending the skirt pieces to the floor. I've made this dress before, it turned out well, and it meets all my opera ball criteria (big skirt to hide comfy shoes, pockets, ability to wear normal undergarments). I'm so thankful for all of you, you really helped push me across a self-imposed, but real hurdle.

Image from Pattern Review

When I got home, I had a message from Vanessa asking if I was interested in a dress form she wasn't using anymore, as it might help with my gown-making. How sweet is that? So, now I have a dress form! I'm so excited! 

Well, after all that I'm not sticking to the plan. Part of it is actually the renewed self-confidence I got from the meet up and having a dress form to do some basic fitting on, but an even bigger part is that I'm just not excited about that dress. Despite the protestations of the group, I still worry that it's going to look homemade and young in a sea of designer gowns, and when I whined about this to my coworkers at lunch last week, one of them wrinkled her nose and told me flat-out to not do it. It hit me that she's right. Even if my worries are unfounded and the dress would look fine, I just don't feel good about it.

I decided to use the bodice of Vogue 1176, without the bow, and pair it with the skirt of Simplicity 2444, gathering the skirt instead of pleating it, and cutting it on the fold if possible. I feel good about this decision, and have the bodice pieces cut out and ready to start sewing. One of the most helpful pieces of advice from the meet up came from Beth, who said to just make the bodice first, and then worry about the skirt, which will come together in no time. It's simple advice, but it really helped me think of this project in a more manageable way. I'm just going to construct the bodice today, and if it fails I know I can whip up the Simplicity bodice in a couple hours.

Image from Pattern Review

So, a huge THANK YOU to the sewing bloggers of the Bay Area who helped make this gown project happen! You all are wonderful!

And one more thank you has to go out to Meg, another Bay Area sewing blogger, who hosted a giveaway for Thread Theory Jedediah Pants that I won! As soon as this gown project is over I'm going to start planning a pair of pants for Eric. We're both excited for this pattern!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Color Blocked

This dress has been finished for about a month, but for some reason I've been having trouble writing this post. Maybe it's because I'm just not all that excited about the dress.

I actually was excited when planning this project. I ordered some double knits from Fabric Mart during a 50% off sale, with the idea that I need a few basic work dresses that will withstand my bike commute. I didn't like the actual color of the blue or purple fabrics when they arrived, but seeing the three fabrics stacked together inspired me to combine them, using Simplicity 1665, a design I was very much drawn to.

Image from Pattern Review

I just don't think it's that flattering in real life. The yoke and straps don't look all that great, and there is absolutely no bust shaping. It's not a bad dress, but it was definitely disappointing.

It was so cold and windy! Brrr...
It is a very serviceable work dress, though, and I do like it more paired with a cardigan.

I do own more than one pair of shoes... these are just my favorites!
So, there you go. It's not a great dress, but it's not a fail either. Meh.

Thanks for all the encouraging comments on my Vogue dress! I'm itching to finish it, but today is my personal deadline for starting that gown. Just three weekends left!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Don't forget to hand baste...

...when constructing something like this:

to make a seam like this:

Instead of diligently working on that gown I need in less than a month, last weekend I started making Vogue 1350, which has these terrific corner seams in the front and back. It's my first designer pattern and I was nervous after reading reviews complaining about inadequate instructions for these tricky seams, but I shouldn't have worried, it's really not that bad if you baste it!

I'm actually having a blast with this dress. After that year when I hardly made anything, I felt pretty insecure about my skills and gravitated toward super simple patterns. This one really isn't all that complicated either, but it does require careful, precise sewing, and, you guys, I'm rocking it! I haven't had to unpick anything yet, and I feel so much more confident about my ability to construct garments. I can still sew!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Last Month

Everyone warned me that July in San Francisco can be gray and cold... and I must say that this particular July has been characterized by fog. Visitors and fog and opera camp.

plant is finally recovering | beige | morning flowers
bbq sauce! | crazy girl | glorious sun after weeks of fog
visitors | mums | an old friend

Happy August! I have a feeling that August will be a month of new beginnings. A new school year, the new music season, the beginning, and ending, hopefully, of my gown-making adventures...