Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The dress of doom redeems itself

Now you may be thinking that it was a pretty short month - that I seemingly whipped this up in a fortnight. Actually, to borrow an expression from KBenco, this was "my dress of doom," and it has been sitting on a coat hanger mocking me for months.

I really liked the idea of a fitted sheath dress and when I saw the one in Ottobre magazine (5/11 #15)  I thought it might be quite good for me. I made a muslin in what I thought was crappy fabric but it turned out to be better quality and suddenly I was under pressure to make it work. The fabric was an unfortunate mix of wool and polyester that wouldn't press except under a lot of steam and then the polyester in it warped under the heat. I tried all kinds of tricks to hide the steam damage, including covering the worst of it with an exposed zipper.  When my husband commented that it looked like something you would wear to a funeral I realised I had created something that I would never wear.

And so there it hung on the coat hanger for several months while I thought about what to do with it. One day it just came to me. I sat down unpicked the whole thing, traced a new pattern from it, and threw it in the bin. No remorse or guilt. I had just learned what I needed to learn from it and now it was time to set it free from its wire prison.

And I'm in good company - to quote Karl Lagerfeld, "the most important piece of equipment in my design room is my rubbish bin, because that's where 95% of my stuff goes."

Using the new pattern, I made this dress over the last 2 weeks using some vintage cotton.  Once again I didn't have enough fabric so used a half sleeve, which I think is more flattering anyway. I made a few small alterations - used the v neck from view #17, and gathered the darts to the waist rather than fitting them.

The "v" is actually a nice modest affair, as you would expect from Ottobre, here made more modest by a woolen singlet underneath.

Ottobre 5/11 #15 "the old school teacher dress" 
To get the close fit though the bust I had to use 3 darts. In the interests of fit I am showing a close up although no doubt there's some tradesperson from Target having a good time right now.

the 3 dart FBA

I think I'll try this dress again, in wool as designed, and in a more subdued palate. However, it will have to go to the bottom of the cue, since I have recently won myself some patterns I am very excited about. I won, not one, but two giveaways this week (how lucky is that) from Karin and Suzy .

And while we are on the subject of winning, I am very humbled to have been nominated for 3 blog awards. Humbled because I don't get time to sew much, what I make can only appeal to the tastes of very few people, and this blog is not always a dress of roses. Thank you for nominating me, Elle C, Valerie  and Steph.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sanity has been restored in our household dear blog friends, by the little prince (how I refer to him in my head) settling into a new sleep routine that doesn't start at 4:30 am and involve intense activity thereafter.

And we are all the better for it.  Yes I am a slave to the kitchen with our very restricted diet (no gluten, dairy, cane sugar, additives and preservatives) but I am really enjoying it. I am enjoying how much better I am feeling (less lethargic at night) as well as no more tummy problems which have plagued me since birth.

And the little prince is progressing fabulously - it's a bit of a roller coaster but I am learning to be more objective and not overly identify with whether things or going well or badly.

Because I have to spend so much time cooking, my sewing time suffers, and what's more, in the spirit of "what you give attention to, flourishes" I have found myself taking cook books to bed and checking food blogs first thing in the morning (further evidence that I have gone over to the dark side.)

However, I still manage to get to the machine now and then, and this is what I managed to put together this month.

The fabric was the vintage crepe I purchased in Dunedin in March. I do love to have a quick turn around with fabric. For me, if it gets interred in stash I'll lose interest and it will be a long time before I get back to it.



Original pattern. You will see I had to improvise due to fabric constraints. I added a ribbed cuff and collar because I was about a half metre short to cut the whole thing as designed. I then added a zip and made it casual jacket style:

The lovely lining from Hawes and Freer - New Zealanders if you are not aware of this wonderful quality wholesaler visit their website now. They retail through the Internet and you can get some beautiful linings as well as quality tailoring materials. Also check out the $90 a metre cashmere. I dare somebody to buy some.

Now I would like some advice. What would pair this teal jacket with? The original pattern suggests plaid flares. I am a little unsure of this fashion direction. I was thinking some kind of boldly patterned dress with boots?

Hmm, well do chime in with your advice and I'll see you all again next month.