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[personal profile] starlightmasque

I am really surprised at how long it took me to make this gown! In my head everything is so simple, yet the execution took 50 times longer than I ever expected.  Real life constantly interrupts me, and I need to find a way to deal with that effectively. .. and I can't really whine about it, as this is a problem every seamstress in the world shares!  If anyone has any tips-- clue me in!  I am already working on my next project, so this post will be rather prose sparse-- but, as I took photos along the way, I might as well show them!

Here is the fabric I had to work with-- my client sent it to me to use.  It is so pretty-- but all I could think was "HOW THE HELL CAN I MAKE A DRESS WITH THIS???  Velvet flowers and ruffles and stripes and embroidery and a crazy iridescent sheen that had to be dealt with.

You know I love a challenge!


Sideways it is a totally different color, so I had to cut wisely so the gown appeared all the same color from all the basic angles! This fabric had an electric magenta warp and an bright canary yellow weft. I KNOW!! Mostly it looked a nice pumpkin burgundy color to the naked eye, and how that was pulled off I have no idea.


I didn't take many photos of the making of the stomacher, but here's a few:





This is the bodice with the original furbelows halfway sewn on... and "original furbelows" means I ended up hating them and undid them all.


Starting the underskirt:





Ruffles and ruffles and more ruffles-- I love that ruffling foot, it has saved me loads of time and aggravation.



Sewing the ruffled bits down and adding some gold trim.


Adding more ruffled bits...


Gold trim along the bottom ruffle hem.


Marking off where the pinch puffs go, Do I like pearls there? I do! Of course I do!


Gathering up the sides of the skirt, this will become the pocket slit. This is of course after I added the petticoat net inside for extra fluffy support. No, not historically accurate, but have you met me? I'm a total faker!



Sewing down the binding over the waistband:


All done!




Getting started on the sleeves, cutting out the scallopped edges of the lace fabric my client sent me. It was actually a really cool platinum taupe color and I thought it looked really good with the pumkiny color of the gown.


I don't think I took any pics making the sleeves... oh well! Here they are!


Readying the front panels-- I actually tucked the fabric to make that double ruffle row angle out, and I used this as my base for the front furbelows.


Adding more ruffles on top of ruffles. I thought it would look cool! Well, it didn't. It looked flat and uninteresting, and from a distance it looked like nothing at all.  I had to pick them all out, and off the bodice, too. BOO! My client will be using this gown in a presentation, and everyone will be looking at her-- the furbelows needed to be better! More texture! It took me a few days to figure out what to do.


But, eventually I got it. I added the golden racing stripes inside the double ruffles, gladly using up nearly all of this gold trim I've had in my stash for way too long. Stash Buster Alert! Goodbye three spools of gold trim!


Marking out where the puff pleats will be...



And sewing them directly to the skirt panels.


Muuuuuch better, more texture, more to draw the eye.


But still needed more! I sliced up some leftover crinoline into to little bitty strips...


...and I added more gold-edged ruffly bits in a zig zag down the center...


...and stuffed them with a little bit of the shredded crinoline. I love how it slightly puffs them up without adding any weight!


Sewing down the edges so the shredded crinoline won't start leaking out.


But, it still needed more! I cut out the velvet flowers from the scraps leftover, fraychecked the edges and then cut them out by hand. I did this on the stomacher as well. I was just going to put a pearl at each zig zag junction, but that just looked BLAH. It needed a little more.


Edged them with more gold trim.



...and tacked them down with a cluster of  baroque style pearls.


NOW it looked right!


All that was left after that was hemming, which was a challenge because she is so petite that my dressform didn't lower enough-- I had to use a thick book as a guage! Anyway, The gown is now shipped off and arriving at its new home-- when she sends pictures I'll share them!

If you missed my previous post and would like to see the gown all done, you can go here:

LiveJournal Entry

or here:

Starlight Masquerade Portfolio

Date: 2014-03-10 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Dang! That is SO much work! I am super impressed. You have a real knack for trimming, and especially being able to layer pieces and components for a final look that's much more than the sum of its parts. I think a lot of costumers, particularly beginners, err on the side of too simple - it's refreshing to see you go "crazy" with this but end up with a final project that's so true to the period in effect. I need to take lessons! :p

Date: 2014-03-10 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! I really do like to pile it on... and then I'm jealous of the elegant simplicity of Aristocat! LOL!

Date: 2014-03-10 11:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ah, but that's more a reflection of her personal aesthetic! She often directly copies things, too. And even when the outfit itself is simple, she has a full array of exquisite accessories that complete the look.

Date: 2014-03-10 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*sigh* I looooove her!

Date: 2014-03-10 09:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I am really surprised at how long it took me to make this gown! In my head everything is so simple, yet the execution took 50 times longer than I ever expected."

*sigh* That's my entire sewing life. So easy and quick in the conception, and forever in the execution.

"Real life constantly interrupts me, and I need to find a way to deal with that effectively. .. and I can't really whine about it, as this is a problem every seamstress in the world shares!"
Not every seamstress: I suspect this is largely a first-world problem.

Y'know, back in the...eighties? Nineties?....there was a TV sitcom called "Grace Under Fire." At one point, Grace wants to resume a beloved hobby of hers, which is fine arts painting, but, as she explains to her neighbor Wayne, she "...can't because there are so many things distracting [her. She's] so impressed at how much [Wayne accomplishes 'here,' "here" being his garage pottery workshop.]
He tells her, "A distraction's only a distraction if you pay attention to it."
She realizes not every little bump or scrape her kids experience has to be tended to, kissed and made better immediately; that her kids are going to have to learn to get along a bit better and cooperate a bit more with each other, and if one of them hurts the other's feelings, they'll survive even if she doesn't step in immediately to referee.

I'm guilty of allowing life to interrupt me, too, but these things can be "damage controlled," you know: minimizing the frequency of occurrence, and the degree of impact when they can't be avoided.
So it seems to me that the real question is, "How much interruption can you prevent, or postpone?"
Two biggies: stay off the telephone, even avoid screening calls if you possibly can. Most "emergencies," aren't.
I'm pretty sure you're already staying off the computer while you're working. Even so, allow me to pass on professional organizer Julie Morganstern's advice for a more productive [office] workday: Never answer e-mail in the morning; you'll do it more efficiently when you're winding up your day. Avoid even looking at e-mail in the morning, because that's the thin edge of the wedge.

And one more point: if YOU don't respect your time and your efforts enough not to allow interruptions to interrupt or distract you, there's no reason in this life why the rest of the people who know you either personally or professionally should respect your time and your labors.
Set boundaries.
And love them, cherish and nurture and maintain them.

All that having been said, I need to conclude with this: I'm sure you know this stuff, but I figure it's worth a reminder.

And this latest gown---sumptuous!

Date: 2014-03-10 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much! I appreciate the notes on how to focus better on my sewing.

Date: 2014-03-10 11:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That is so very beautiful! You've captured the aesthetic perfectly. Wow.

Date: 2014-03-10 11:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I kind of just fell into it with the crazy fabric!


Date: 2014-03-11 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I cannot adequately convey to you how very beautiful I think this gown is... I know it was a bear but really, just stunning work.


Date: 2014-03-11 05:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, thank you so much! I wrestled that bear and won!

Date: 2014-03-11 01:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
What an amazing job! The way you tamed that unique fabric and did so much trimming is inspiring!

Date: 2014-03-11 05:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I just couldn't stop trimming, anything short of what I did just didn't look right at all!

Date: 2014-03-11 02:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love seeing the process you go through to make these gowns. You talk about how long it took and how much more difficult it ended up being than it seemed it would. However, the pictures make it look like you did it so easily! (I know, pictures can be deceiving, but it's cool anyway!)

Date: 2014-03-11 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Totally deceiving! I think there must be about 4500 steps missing from this write up, lol.

Thank you so much!

Date: 2014-03-11 03:12 am (UTC)
ext_41593: (Default)
From: [identity profile]
One word: OMFG.

Seriously. I bow to you.

Date: 2014-03-11 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, come on now, up you go, lets not get carried away. Now we can LOL at your turning OMFG into one word.

Date: 2014-03-11 08:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am in absolute awe of this masterpiece!!!!

Date: 2014-03-18 10:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is just so stunning! I can't wait to make somethng like this myself. You are a true inspiration!

Date: 2014-03-18 03:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, thank you! I can't wait to see what you would come up with-- you are pretty inspiring yourself!

Date: 2014-03-21 02:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
And thank you! I must admit that I can learn so much from you when it comes to trimming. I always seems to keep things way too simple. Which is odd, since I really love over the top trimmings. So for my next francaise I'm going to keep your design in mind!

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