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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Pretty Girls Rock "DRESSES" Challenge!

This is a challenge that I saw on Facebook that I decided to participate in. I'll be recording my progress here! You can also participate if you like. It's really easy and will inspire great Spring/Summer dress sewing!

Here are the rules:

Challenge will start
Tuesday, March 1, 2011.

1. We will rock dresses and heels like our mothers & grandmothers at least THREE (3) times a week.
2. We will reject the impulse to throw on jeans, jogging suits (even the cute kind), & dress slacks.
3. Exchange our revelations and thoughts throughout this challenge.
4. Invite a Friend(s), Take Pics, & HAVE FUN.
5. Everyone is WELCOMED to participate.
6. Exceptions: Flattering Dress Suits with nice accessories are allowed.
7. If you have a blog share it with your followers.

Let's bring back:

*GLAMOUR. *GRACE. *CHARM. *FEMININTY. *PRISSYness (is that a word?) and most of all BEAUTY.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Styling "Beautiful People"!

I've been so busy this past week, but it's that good kind of busy! I've decided it's time to branch out and try something new... something -- different.
I've been doing the wardrobe styling on a short independent film -- "When Beautiful People Do Ugly Things" (Directed by Monica Mingo; Executive Producer - Terrell Suggs. A Team Sizzle Film). If you're on Facebook, feel free to "LIKE" us!
If you've been a long-time reader of this blog, it's no secret that I LOVE fashion just as much as I love sewing. I think fashion was probably my first love and sewing was simply a way to manifest it in my life. For as much as I love sewing, it brings me too much joy to sew for individuals for profit. But incorporating it into something such as costume design is something I could definitely see myself doing in the future.

Being on a movie set... being part of the crew and interacting with the cast was definitely a positive experience. It was fun, hectic, entertaining, exhausting and educational all at the same time! There are so many aspects to take into consideration. The movie is still in production, so I can't give away too much. But here is a sample of the fashions:
Life is about growth and evolution. I'm still going to ALWAYS sew, but I'm just adding new things to my repertoire!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Vogue 8706 - Little Red Dress!

Project Details:Add Image

Pattern: Vogue 8706

Pattern Sizing: 6-20. I cut the size 16.
Description: Close-fitting, above mid-knee length, bias pullover dress has gathers, mock wrap front with asymmetrical seaming, piping at armholes and stitched hem.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing it? I think it looks exactly like the envelope cover.
Fabric: Red Ponteroma from Hancock Fabrics (72% Polyester/24% Rayon/4% Spandex)

Were the instructions easy to follow? This pattern is rated "EASY". And since it is a Vogue Pattern, you still have to *think* about what you're doing (finishing techiques, etc...). It's not an "easy" pattern for someone that requires "handholding".

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love this pattern! It was extremely quick to cut out and sew up! Made this dress while I watched 2 Lifetime movies! I love that this dress is a modern wiggle dress. I thought that pipped armhole was an interesting technique. I love the ruching and the topstitched seam.
The back is bias cut and notice that the front piece is cut "cross-grain".
If you don't understand the point of that, here's a great article from Threads, #131 -- "Go Against the Grain".
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made? I lengthen this pattern by 3 inches.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would not sew this again, but I highly recommend this dress.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

McCall's 6283 - Mikaela's V'day Dance Dress!

Project Details:

Pattern: McCall's 6283

Description: Empire waist, lined dresses have princess seamed bodice, side zipper closure and boning; including overskirt and pinched skirt.

Pattern Sizing: 6 - 20, I cut the 6. Can you believe within a year, she's gone from a girls' 14 to a size 6?!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It does!

Fabric: Black and White Taffeta.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were alright. But since I'd never done a pinch/pickup skirt before, they didn't make sense. I'm a visual learner so I needed more assistance. I found THIS tutorial on the Burda Style site.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love that his pattern offered many versions and you could really make it your own.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: The only alterations need were a few nip/tucks in the bodice area.
Note: Depending on how full you want the skirt, you may want to lengthen. The longer the skirt, the more pinches/pickups you can do.
Conclusion: I made this dress for Mikaela's Valentine's Day dance and she loved it! Anytime she has the opportunity to get all glammed up, she's elated! And it's unbelievable how much she's grown in a year. Last year, she was in girls' and now she's moved on up and grew about 4-5 inches in height! The same with the shoe... she wore a size 7 last year and now it's an 8 1/2! Talk about a growth spurt!

Vogue 2924 - Donna Karan Cape With Some Meditation

My Inspiration:

Donna Karan Collection - F/W2005

Project Details:

Pattern: Vogue 2924 - Donna Karan Collection (OOP)

Pattern Sizing: 6 - 20, I cut the 16
Description: Unlined, hip length cape has collar, flaps and pockets, front princess seams with openings for belt and purchased trim.

Did it look like the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? It does.

Fabric: Black Wool Felt from Hancock Fabrics and it was a bit of a bear to work with. I didn't want to over press it (which a did a little on the pocket flaps). I had to beat it into submission with my clapper.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were pretty well-written.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I've had this pattern since it was released and I'm just now getting around to making it. I love that even though it's considered a "trend", this is a classic pattern that I know I'll be pulling out for years to come.

I didn't care for the way the instructions suggested applying the grosgrain trim. I remembered I'd just seen something similar in the book I'd just reviewed called the "Petersham 'Peek' Seam" and I used that method instead.

You would *THINK* that an unlined cape would be pretty simple. Not this one. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't difficult... just tedious. If you notice that it does have a Hong Kong finish. In my opinion, it's quicker to just line it. Also the appliques were a bit time consuming as well. Luckily sewing can often be like meditation when I get into a great project!

Notice the hem is finished with a pinked edge.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: I didn't have to make any!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I wouldn't sew this again. It's pretty unique, so one in my wardrobe is enough. I do recommend this.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Fashion on TV!

February 9th is the start of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week's Fall/Winter shows. For those of us that can't attend, we have to get our fashion fixes where we can! The Sundance Channel's Full Frontal Fashion helps us get in where we fit in:

Somebody Told Me About Carla Bruni

All FOUR parts of Signe Chanel

Kate! The Making of an Icon
Kate Moss is examined as both style trendsetter and high-profile fashion brand)

And the one I really, really want to see: Love/Lust & Little Black Dress!

Profile of fashion and celebrity photographer David Bailey: Four Beats to the Bar and No Cheating

And another I'm eagerly awaiting is Haute Couturier Monsieur Hubert de Givenchy

Friday, February 04, 2011

Book Review: "The Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques"

They had me at "COUTURE"!

"Fashion designer and expert sewist Lynda Maynard tackles each professional technique with clear instructions in simple step-by-step stages. Once these skills are understood, sewists will embrace their dressmaking projects with more confidence and the ability to create chic, refined looks. The Dressmaker’s Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques unlocks the door to stunning results with better shaping, simpler construction methods, and professional finishing touches. Lynda also explains several seemingly difficult “secrets,” from making bindings and finishing for hems, armholes, and necklines to underpinnings and structuring techniques. Plus, she teaches how to master finishing touches from textured stitches to couching and appliqué. A complete guide to the fabrics suited to each technique and inspirational fashion photography are also included."
It's no secret that I'm an absolute couture and couture sewing techniques lover! So when I discovered this new book, I had to have it! This is an absolutely beautiful, hardback, spiral bound book. The book has beautiful illustrations and also gorgeous photos from up to date runway shows from the likes of Armani Prive', Christian Dior and Kevan Hall just to name a few.

There were several techniques that I have not tried that I would be willing to... such as the author's "couture waistband" and "spaced tucks".
In the very back of the book is the section called "Essential Couture Techniques". Color me perplexed, but I thought that's what the ENTIRE book is *supposed* to be about!

Even though there are a few things that I found interesting and may give a try, I found this book to be somewhat of a let down. I feel that the term "couture" may have been liberally used. At the most, this book is "couture-ish" and will produce nice ready-to-wear results. I was looking for more hand sewing techniques and the author even lists a serger as part of "The Couturier's Kit". I always thought that was a no-no?!
I would call this book "Couture-ish Sewing Techniques - 101" and definitely recommend this book for less advanced sewers that are looking to step up their sewing game. And for the more "seasoned seamstress", this is a good supplement for the other couture sewing books in your library!