Monday, October 16, 2017

Golden and black cocktail dress and jacket for PR sewing bee final round

After all the crazy I finally am here. Done with the final round assignment. This last one was to sew an outfit for a class reunion that will impress my former classmates. Doesn't that sounds so easy... and nice... but somehow felt really hard - maybe because all the stress and tiredness already built in.
   I was quite sure I will use some TNTs as it was the safe route. But what is the fun of doing something I already done before... I have got this far I needed to use this opportunity to get over some of my fears. The challenge was announce Sunday evening for me. It was family time. I had no immediate idea.  The next day I was really busy at work as I was trying to do as much as possible hoping for some time off later in the week. So still no idea. Monday evening my mother in law come for a visit and I got 2 hours of unexpected free time. I simply could not let such treasure go to waste and I pulled out my uncut patterns box. At first nothing clicked but then I come across Vogue 1316 and though. This looks like a scary pattern I would never sew in a sane state of mind. I will do that. And decided right there I will do that and immediately got the patterns out and started working on figuring out the needed sizes and cutting paper pieces.
  The next 2 evenings everyone left me completely alone to work in my room. That was also totally unexpected. I guess I was clear enough on them how important this is to me and they managed to get by without bothering me unless it was absolutely necessary. Si after 2 evenings I was ready for the 1st pin and try on:
 I initially put all the contrast fabrics as pattern suggested. That ended up having one big ugly band in the front. While it was not looking all the horrible in reality as in pictures - as the subtle change in shade and texture was obvious - I decided I really needed to change that. Also the upper part looked quite unfinished and not very well fitted.
  After this there were 2 very long and agonizing days cutting and re cutting the upper part trying to create a more coherent design and a better fit. While I managed to figure out the front without getting crazy the back was a different story. The customizing size dress form was nearly useless and it never draped me as on it. I am moving making a bootstrap dress form high on my list after this experience. I need to see if that can help me with fitting issues. I stopped taking pictures at this point .
  I didn't quite liked their design for shoulder pieces. It just looks weird to me... so that was one thing I tried to change. I first wanted to replace that with a raglan lace sleeve. But no fabric I had seemed to work with the many others and I didn't liked the look ( also my mom was counting the fabrics I used every chance she had ...). The most natural to me seemed to continue the front bands up over my shoulders into the back. The lines and design looks a lot more fluid to me like this.
   I added a black band under the arms from front to back so the whole dress would have a contour definition in dark color. I really liked the added line.
   I also ended up eliminating most of the side seams when they were on the same color and was really needed for shaping.
    I added in seam pockets in the front. I can't take credit for this. I have seen it on lots of previous reviewers and I absolutely love them.
   I finished all the edge bands with facings and then hand sewn the lining on it with some distance from the edge.
With this modified design it is possible to put one black band with a golden ruffle attached to it over the shoulder and create a cold shoulder dress. It looks really cute like that and I might end up wearing it like that.
It is not perfect and I would have loved to have the time to do a few more iterations on it. But the dress feels really good on me and I am damn proud of it:
I knew the competition will be hard so I really needed to add a jacket to my outfit as well. As I worked out my dress from the stash - both fabrics and pattern I wanted that to be a thing for this round and do a jacket from my stash as well. That offered me quite little ( if no ) choice. It had to be Vogue 1435 flared jacket:
I choose the same velvety fabric as the dress :
It was quite unraveling so I had to serge every piece right after cutting. At first I thought to line it so I will not have to worry about finishing but I that didn't felt right. The fabric looks exactly the same on both sides and that make it perfect for an unlined jacket with wrong side showing.  But doing straight line flat felled seams after the Koos jacket seams rather easy. Time consuming but definitely not as difficult.
    I choose a trim to finish the edge and hide the turned serge edge. I was a bit afraid that might affect the drape in the and but I was lucky and it all seemed fine and I love the embellished hem. I also used the same trim to finish the sleeves.
    I thought the whole jacket will take me 3 hours. Well I spent 3 hours on collar alone on Saturday morning. I didn't liked the pointy edges so I made them round. I carefully clipped it all. added laced band over it and quilted all the layers together after I attached it. I absolutely love its stiffness and shape, and texture.... And the corners look so nice on the inside as well...
I also added an infinite sign on the back of my jacket. I really wanted to add a math sign somewhere on my outfit as I was the class math geek  and that looked like the best way to do it. I love the infinite symbol - it can have so many powerful meanings - and it also looks a bit like wings on my back ( I often feel I got my wings in high school - and by that I mean my self confidence and courage).
I changed the closing from button and loop to applique cord twisting closing for a most festive look.
And because after all those long days of stress and intense sewing and fitting I desperately needed some fun and relaxed sewing and because it also fit into my story line - I did coordinated outfit for my kids. It might not be on the judges taste but I feel that had somehow become my signature and I could not pass the opportunity to use it. I used TNTs for this - the jumpsuit for Eva  - Ottobre 3/2015 #14 -  and vest for Andrei - Ottobre 1/2016 #13 Pinstripe Vest:
For Eva I first created a nine block patch and then cut it in 4 and rotated the pieces. For Andrei I went for a straight forward pattern still took the time to make a nice inside even if I had to piece the facings:
   Eva bodice is lined with the same fabric as mine and as Andrei vest. And it closes with an invisible zipper. Talking about getting over personal fears - 2 invisible zippers in one week and my dress's one is really best zipper ever. I might have tried that dress over 50 times already and it never jammed once ( it doesn't get over any seams so that might be the reason... not my pro skills but still ).
 Eva's zipper is indeed very dark blue but even in outside light is not showing as in this overexposed photo. I was not going out for another zipper with the deadline I had...
   The black fabric is really soft to the touch so I hope it will be OK for Eva to wear sometime and I added enough ease to compensate for the lack of stretch. I really start to like Andrei in vests as well. I wanted him to put his shirt in his pants but he insisted on this look so I let him have his way:
Taking the kids to "my photo session" might not have been the best idea. There were very few photos with me in it in the end.... Also It seems my back is badly ironed ( or actually not ironed at all after I top stitched those long back seams) ... I never do that... but this time I totally forgot. I guess I was really tired so you will have to forgive me this time...
A very special thanks goes to my mom who stayed with us during this round and picked out a lot of my slack even if she did not approved putting sewing before family on many occasions.
 I haven't bought any new fabric ( I will not count lining that got cut and used right away ) and sewn 4 new pieces so sewing debt is going down to 175.