Friday, December 28, 2012

Fabric Chosen

Well I have chosen my fabric for my dress. I ordered the light background with the blue flowers. I am going to do the waistband white as well as a hem band and a neck band. I think it will be wonderful.
Now I have to get the second bodice made for the muslin and tweak on that so I am ready for the underlining and fashion fabric.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Well, I have chosen my fabric for the couture dress I am making.  I will be using the white background, with the blue circles for the skirt, bodice, and sleeves.  Now, for the waistband I will use the white silk twill.  Also, I am going to create a small facing around the neckline out of the white for modesty and a white hem 3" band or so to complete the white accents.  I am so excited!  Susan suggested to me to use cotton batiste for the underlining to make sure that you couldn't see through the white, and my local Mary Jo's Fabric store had it.  Not cheap, but it is dreamy nice and I think it will go well with the silk twill.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's a polyester world! Ugh.

Well, in my search for some nice fabric for my wonerful dress, I have come to accept the very sad fact that my husband's grandmother was right when she told me, the quality of fabrics available now are terrible.  Now, if you want to sew with polyester, then you are fine. I have sewn with a lot of polyester, but when sewing for my daughters, that is the best choice ultimately for the ease in caring for the fabric.  As they slobber nutella all down the dress right before going to church, it wipes clean, then can be thrown in the washer and dryer after church with great results.  Anyway, back to my point...everything is polyester just about.  It is very difficult to find nice quality fabrics, unless you are in NYC or San Francisco, etc.  Luckily there are some great stores in NYC that have reasonable websites and swatches easily available.  But going into Joanne's and Hancock's (the main chain stores) you are surrounded with fleece and polyester.  It really is sad.  People are giving up on doing any real sewing, and I think that is why fleece is so predominate anymore.  Hancock's is a huge store, but over half of the inventory is FLEECE ??!!?  Stores stock what sells, right? The sales clerk at Hancock didn't even know silk organza existed when I asked her about it.  There is a huge, independent fabric store not far from me, but it too has a very small selection of silks.  It has a pretty good selection for wedding laces, and that will be super fun when my daughters get older, but for just nice,  high end dresses, not very much.  They too, have a lot of polyester, and a ton of cotton quilting fabric.  Oh well, back to the online stores and getting swatches.

Above are the swatches that I ordered from Mood Fabric in NYC. I was originally thinking more of a traditional floral, but can't quite find anything I love, so I am settling in on loving this blue cirlce pattern.  All the swatches are silk twill, and are lovely to hold in your hand.  The silk charmeuse swatch had less body, still nice though, than I wanted.  I want to do the waistband, a band around the hem, and a neckline facing from a solid color, while the rest of the dress is the patterned fabric.  I think I like the lighter pattern, the one with the white background, but I am worried about shadows, etc, showing through the white background.  Also I would use white to line it and white for the accent pieces mentioned above, waistband, etc.  But I want them to appear solid white, not with any kind of shadow.  I am underlining the dress with white silk organza.  I have posted a question to Susan on my sewing class to see what she says about making sure the white stands out, so we will see.  I hope she answers my question tomorrow.

First Fitting

Well, with the help from a dear friend, Marie, I have gotten my first fitting done.  My husband did what he could, but he is a manufacturing engineer of metal, not fabric.  After having Marie pin in the excess and trying out different things, we came to the conclusion to make another bodice from mulin in two sizes smaller.  Much of the problems with the bodice originally made was that it was to large, and too full.  The sleeve may have some other continuing problems, but all fitting instruction I have seen says that you should figure out the bodice first then the sleeves after that. Also, some extra fabric in the armsyce will be taken up with the sleeve.  I am a seamstress by passion, but a CPA by trade. I actually did this fitting a month ago, but with 3 tax law seminars and Thanksgiving, I haven't yet sewing together the new bodice, but hope to soon.  I am also well on my way to choosing my fashion fabric.

I just felt better after getting it pinned better.  It is frustrating because the Vogue envelope stated I would fit a 16 (12 in the real world) but  now the new bodice I am working on is a 14 in the pattern.  So, we will see what works out better.

We took in 3" in the back seam allowance

Once the back seam allowance was taken in, then the waistline was much closer to level, whereas before it was not, it sloped backward.

Fitting much nicer now with all the extra pinned up.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Mr Postman, bring me a dream.....

Look what showed up in the mail today! Yeah! I had been very reluctant to buy the fitting book Susan recommended but only because it is $91. However, I just gave in and got it. I will let you know how I like it when I find some time to flip through it.
Also from eBay I got my silk Belding Corticelli silk thread, yeah, that was really expensive too.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First fitting

Well the first fitting has left me with a lot of questions with no answers. So I am researching my fitting books to cone up with sone possible solutions to the issues I am encountering.

Muslin cut out

Well I got my muslin cut out. I am grateful for Susan's advice to pin it all down before cutting it out otherwise I would have run out of muslin. I thought I had plenty and expected to have extra, but that was not the case.
The sleeve was a little tricky. I combined the two sleeve pieces as Susan showed but to get the stitching lines to match the grain lines were not parallel on the two pieces. So I made sure the grain lines were parallel and did the best I could to get the stitching lines to match. I will see how it turns out when I see it together. I will also consider an elbow dart and sew the dart at the top of the shoulder.

Monday, November 12, 2012

My body double and the beginning

Well with the help of a friend I now have a duct tape dress form -my body double. I would love to be making this couture dress for my BFF but since she lives 2100 miles away I am making this for myself. It poses some challenges to fit yourself but a dress form will greatly help with that. I would like a Uniquely You form but the duct tape version was $170 less expensive. I would rather buy really nice fabric for my dress at this point.
The fabric store had a 50% off sale on notions so I also got tonight two more Olfa mats that perfectly fit my cutting table. As Susan Khalje would say that was a "gift from the sewing gods". I agree.
So now that I have my table ready and my body double with all my measurements I am ready to start to work with my pattern! I am making view F, but may make it long sleeve and do a complete lace overlay. I am sure the lace will be a huge challenge but I know Susan will help me along the way!

There is a fabric SALE!

Well, I suppose the retail industry likes to celebrate our vetrans by getting consumers to spend money.  Kind of sad, really, but it is society as we know it.  Remember please to thank those vetrans in your life today.

A chain fabric store is having a sale and so this evening I will be going and getting a couple more items needed to begin my couture sewing class.  I have watched all the lessons through, hours of information! Now I am nearly ready to begin.  With the help of a friend I made a duct tape dress form last weekend, tonight at the sale I am going to pick up some more muslin and get started.  I also started to shop for fabric for the dress.  Susan Khalje, my instructor, told me to cut off the scalloped edge of the lace overlay then re-attach it when I figure out the hem line.  It took my breath away! How could you do that?
So through more instruction from her, and a lot of online research on Threads Magazine, I see that it is indeed possible.  I am excited to see a beautiful garmet turned out from this process.


Picture by
Couture is such a loosely used word.  I looked it up on Pinterest, and one picture showed a muscled older man without his shirt on?!  That is NOT couture.  Couture is a method of fine sewing - beautiful fabrics, construction, details, proper fit, etc...  Couture should not be screen printed on the side leg of a pair of sweatpants available at a store in the mall.  Couture should be respected and studied, for it is a form of art. 
Through this online class given my a master couture dress maker, Susan Khalje, I have come to honor and respect this form of sewing.  I aspire to make my garments with more care and detail just as she does.  I hope to be able to finish a fine dress with the class and next year take her one week class in Baltimore to learn even more.  All of my sewing for years is geared toward sewing wedding dresses for my 3 daughters someday, I hope to live up to the couture art form of dress making.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

That's what a sewing room should look like

So I have been happily sewing in my wonderful new sewing room all day and my husband came home from work and said, "now that's what a sewing room is supposed to look like, right?" I couldn't agree more. I have included a preliminary picture of my daughters mermaid costume. I have to still sew down the lining and embellish it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

So, when I get my cricut up and running, I will put vinyl lettering on the wall, saying "Every day should be a party dress day"

The beginning

So, this is the beginning of a new blog, that I hope to keep up with, but we'll see.  Not for anyone in particular to follow, just for me to gather my sewing room activities in.  I want to remember all of the fun times, when times get tough.

My perfect birthday lunch

So I went to lunch with my best friend and it was a perfect lunch. Listening to Frank Sinatra music, eating an amazing gluten free meal at a nice restaurant, talking with my best friend.