Sweet Betty Blue Kimono – Part 2

Good morning!! Well, okay, maybe it’s not morning. But that’s not the point.

The Betty Blue Kimono

I actually did it! I made progress on the kimono! I’m so proud of myself. As I suspected, the body of the kimono went together very quickly. However, as you can see from what I’m trying to make vs. a kimono I happen to have on hand, there are some differences in the construction. The main one is that the red kimono has open sleeves, that do not close up under the arm.

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The kimono… okay, from now on I’m going to call it a negligee, since that’s what it’s referred to in the book, and since I really strayed away from a traditional kimono pattern to get it the way I wanted it… the negligee doesn’t have open sleeves.

Drafting out new sleeve shape

Drafting out new sleeve shape

So I directed myself to my trusty pattern drafting book, and looked up how to make “western kimono sleeves”, and continued on from there.

So nice and warm.

So nice and warm.

 

Oh. Am I in your way? I thought I was just holding the fabric for you!

Oh. Am I in your way? I thought I was just holding the fabric for you!

 

Let me move out of your way and be as cute a possible!

Let me move out of your way and be as cute a possible!

Pickles helped me with the drafting process, making sure my fabric didn’t move

Look what I made for you!

Look what I made for you!

And then she inspected it once I had cut. She thinks she did all the work- I was just in the way!!

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Before the front was cut open. It's finally taking shape!

Before the front was cut open. It’s finally taking shape!

The front opening of the negligee follows the same style as the kimono, where the fabric is slashed open, and then the raw edges are either turned under in the lining (I haven’t gotten there yet, but I have some nice light blue satin that I think will do just fine), or in the collar band (which I also haven’t done, since I’m having trouble deciding if I want to keep the red from the image, or make the robe all light blue.

What do you think? Keep the red, or ditch it?

Pin-up sew along project pt 1

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The holiday season is now drawing to a close, and with it my vacation. To fill in the gaps of free time I have, I have finally started working on the pin up sew along project!!!

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I have drafted out the pattern pieces for the bombshell bra to my size and am currently working on my second muslin sample/toile.

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I’m going to make both bra designs from left-over pink satin I found in my fabric hoard, with pretty antique lace overlay with lace from my huge barrel-o-lace!!

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So far there is much fun being had in my little workroom 🙂

Learn more about the sew along by Anna: A Few Threads Loose
And Sarah: OhhhLuLu blog

Pattern available at this link as a sew along package: The Pin Up Sew Along Kit on Etsy

Or separately: French Bra Pattern by MrsDepew on Etsy

Over the Top (But it’s OK) Pt. 1

You are going on a date. it’s a date with a new gent. Maybe you have butterflies, maybe you are nervous. Maybe it doesn’t even phase you. But there is one thing that I bet every woman does: they try to figure out the “perfect out fit”.

I never really had that problem. I always ended up dating people that I had know for a little while. I got to skip all of the nervousness of a “first date”, and I always considered that a blessing.

Until today.

I met a very nice man online (please hold the snickers, snarky comments, and eye rolling), and after two months of emailing and texting back and forth, we decided to go on a date (the exact day is still up in the air because of our schedules)

But now, I find myself in the exact place that I used to make fun of my friends for. Now, I’m nervous. Now, I’m trying to figure out the perfect outfit, the perfect jewelry, the perfect hair style, the perfect shoes, and the perfect make up.

I feel so freaking girly!!!

And that’s not even the worst part! The worst part is that I don’t have anything to wear!!! Sure, I have some gorgeous vintage gowns (waaaaaaaay to fancy for a first date). I have some frocks that I wear at work (waaaaaayyy to casual), and of course tons of sundresses, and frilly frocks. But nothing was what I wanted. Some dresses that I thought would work, I couldn’t even get zipped up! (It doesn’t help that my wardrobe and my body are going through this really awkward transitional phase…).

I was almost ready to just throw in the towel and say “FUX it. I’m not freaking going!!!” And then I had an epiphany! I’m a costume designer! I know how to sew! And I’ve got TONS of fabric laying around the house!

SO, being the genius that I am, I decided to make the dress.

The black yoke will be a bronze satin

So I settled on this dress, which I have a hoarded pattern for! Isn’t it GORGEOUS!!!? Of course, the pattern is only a size 10, and my big tush barely squeezes into a size 18… so there will be a sample made first. And I want to wear a girdle with it so I have a pretty little waist, which means some more pattern alterations. …

But it will look gorgeous when it’s done, and, more important, I will look FABULOUS in it!! 🙂

So the next question becomes, what accessories should I wear?

 

A Stitch in Time Keeps the Doctor Away

Ah, my sporadic blog. How I love it.

I recently relocated funds (very paltry funds, used in conjunction with an army of coupons), to buy most of the materials to begin work on the constantly mentioned, but never seen (okay, well, now you can see it- isn’t it gorgeous?)

Antoinette Dress (Acheron Violet)

Original design for Antoinette dress set, by Mack McKamey August 29, 2012. For KSSD’s Vices&Virtues.

And while I was working on the actual sample, I decided to do something incredible stupid. I decided to make TWO dresses to go together as a set.  So I got the materials for the under-dress, and drafted out the pattern for that.

Antoinette Underdress

Original design for Antoinette under dress, by Mack McKamey, August 29 2012. For KSSD’s Vices&Virtues

 

So 5 yards of muslin later, I figure out the pattern. I redrafted the pattern on to paper and painstakingly marked every single seam allowance, every single notch, ever reinforced stitching line. I marked EVERYTHING.

With a slightly pounding hear, I traced out the pattern on the fabric, a dusty rose shantung that is currently worth more than my life, as far as I’m concerned. I got it cut out with out any incident. I transferred all of the pattern markings to the fabric with meticulous care. And then I sewed the stupid thing together wrong.

It’s true. The upper bodice, where I was supposed to gather it? I didn’t make the basting stitches go far enough, so when I gathered it, the bust would only really have fit a boy who had glued two apples to his chest. And to add insult to injury, I’d clipped the seam allowances BEFORE checking it on the mannequin. Stupid me. So now I have to re-cut the upper bodice (THANK GOBLINS that I thought to buy a little more fabric than I needed!!!!).

The moral of this story is that regardless of how carefully you plan, it is the actual execution that matters. t doesn’t matter if you spend a month perfecting a pattern and marking it. If you don’t put the same amount of attention and care into the garment you are sewing, you ill end up feeling the same way I did- stupid. Don’t be stupid. Take your time. Because it’s not how you get there, that counts. It’s what you have when you are done!

The Glitzy, the Glamorous, and the Mundane

When people think of fashion, They probably think the same thing I thought. They think of Alexander McQueen gowns, and the glamor of fashion shows. They think of perfectly tailored Armani suits, homes in the Hampton’s, Italian villas and French chateaus. They think of cameras, and flashing lights and dresses on red carpets.

And sure, some of them will think of the way fashion rapes the earths plants and animals (let’s not get started on Vicuna, shall we?); How many little critters have to die for a mink coat, no matter how luxuriously soft it feels? And how about the way cotton was manufactured by slaves for a while? or children in sweat shops in Indonesia?

We each choose which side of fashion we fixate on. Probably because trying to fixate on the gritty and the glamorous would lead us all to nudist colonies.

However, very few people, even those going into fashion as a career, are prepared for the mind numbing boredom that is sewing a sample. What is a sample (you innocently ask)? A sample is a test garment made of cheap fabric, usually some type of muslin, which is used to check the fit of the garment, the viability of a pattern,  the style lines, see what needs tweaking. Essentially, it’s the rough draft of your product, used so you can find and fix every single flaw there is, AND so that you absolutely, positively, 100% KNOW how to sew that baby together without messing it up. Because, let’s face it, Seam rippers and Duoponni silk? Not good bed fellows.

Now, in the perfect world, us aspiring designers would be able to draft a pattern that is a perfect fit, and would be such stunning savants that a sample would be superfluous. Unfortunately, this is NOT a perfect world. And so sample sewing is what I have just spent the past week and a half on. Not on multiple samples, mind you. Just on one. One sample dress in cheap muslin. And I haven’t even gotten it on a model yet!

The bright side of the tedium is that i really HAVE found every single flaw- The waist line was a little long (so I’ll have to bring that up about an inch…) and the seam allowances on the sleeve were wonky (MEMO- seam allowances are a good thing). Then of course the neckline was off, and the skirt hem is all sorts of wrong. but the important thing is that I can FIX it! I may have drunk every last ounce of caffeine in my county, and have blood shot eyes that make me look like a victim of Ebola, and, okay, so I’ve got a tick in my left eye and I’m a little bit twitchy…

But the important thing is, The sample is going on the model tomorrow!!

The moral of this little story, is this-  In the glamorous world of fashion, for the small designer, there will be hours upon days upon weeks doing the most boring job in the world- sewing a sample. My suggestion is to use the sample as a chance to really bone up on your sewing skills. Make that sample like it’s going to be embroidered with diamonds and given to the Queen of England. Sure, it’s absolutely demented and delusional… but it will get you through it to the final product!

Les Mechandes Des Modes: Introduction and Concept

in the 1700’s, fashion was a door to door sales job. Girls, who were not particularly wealthy, would dress in the height of fashion, and go to the homes of the wealthy, sort of like an Avon sales rep, and show of the latest and greatest of the fashions. It may be assumed, the wealthy would then decide they wished to dress like that too, and contact their tailors and dressmakers, and corsetiers, and cobblers and milliners… and, well, the list of talents required to replicate the look goes on.

So it got me thinking. About the title these girls so proudly bore, and the ideas and feelings it conveyed. And it hit me- Gothic Civil War era, aristocratic, circus side-show Lolita! ::please don’t roll your eyes yet, you haven’t even seen the drawings!::

Sounds like a hodge podge, but I think it works! So, over the next few months, I’m going to be busting my behind (and hopefully updating regularly) with the drawings, the samples, and, finally the unveiling of each amazing dress! I’m planning for 6 dresses (so it’s a miniature collection), and have already got four of six dresses drawn out, and one is an almost finished sample!!!

So, check back to find out how the Les Mechandes des Modes project is going!!! 🙂

Trust the Tutorial

Yesterday I finally downloaded my PatternMaker software I cracked my knuckles, rubbed my hands together, and got ready to draft the most amazing dress the world has ever seen. I had my models measurements. I had a sketch of what I wanted the dress to be when I was done. I was ready to go!

Unfortunately, when I opened the program up, what I got was like the Geometrist’s Paint Program. Circles, Rectangles, Lines, POLYGONS??? What was I supposed to do with this? I tried to draw a line, and it didn’t work. I got the rectangle, after 10 failed attempts, but then couldn’t erase it. I begged my computer. I implored, I wheedled, and then after 4 hours of FAILURE, I cursed my computer and started yelling. It was time to go the the Help Topics and surrender my pride.

But even the Help Topics didn’t tell me what I was doing wrong. All the pages just kept telling me to do the Tutorials. And where the heck were they?! Another hour of cursing ensued before I found the tutorials on the website.

In two hours I ran through the first 5 tutorials and had a fully functioning back sloper. Piece of cake.

Today I booted up my computer and, with a fresh cup of coffee and some sleep, decided to explore the files in the PatternMaker. I found the Tutorials, on my hard drive, conveniently labeled “Tutorial” (had I bother to check yesterday? No. I’d just gotten really inventive with my insults directed to my computer).

This morning I cracked my knuckles, rubbed my hands together, and, like a much more logical person, I opened up the tutorials and settled down to learn more about the program. My computer and I have since made up and are back on speaking terms.

The moral of this story is that, regardless of how sure you are that you KNOW what you’re doing, running through 12 short tutorials really won’t hurt you. And it may save you HOURS of frustration. Food for thought.

I’m now off to try and scale a pattern. With more coffee, of course!