I remember reading Julia Bobbin's Mad men challenge last year and absolutely loving the idea. SO much work and thought went into each and every dress and I wished I had been organized enough to enter.
This year I was on it....immediately....I knew exactly what dress I would re-create. Basically the only one that was not too retro. As much as I love the look, the style does not suit me..
My inspiration came from the episode Souvenir, there is a beautiful scene in Rome where Betty sits waiting for Don, dressed in a classic LBD.
I had ordered Marfy 2826 as it reminded me of this. Original post here
I had genuinely thought I would replicate her dress with the neckline details and 20's finish but after making a muslin I was surpirsed by how thoroughly bored I was by the whole thing.
I guess it was more about how she looked in the dress than the dress itself...so I spent a day or so thinking about it. I knew I still wanted to make it but would have to use the dress as inspiration instead.
Of course at that point I could do whatever I wanted and after lusting after all the leather and lace coming down the runway how could I not have a go?!
I had never used either material before, and the whole purpose of this blog is to really push my sewing skills and take me firmly out of my comfort zone...and I can honestly say it did all of that!
I also got to make my daughter very happy...she has a lot of sweet sixteens coming up and is the only one of my four kids with my aesthetic.
Lila watched every inch of the construction, willingly became my fit model and offered advice on changes..bless :-( She's slightly taller but has a shorter torso so the fit was already close enough but knowing she would get more use out of it than me , I did do some small alterations, removing a couple of panels in the skirt as she wanted it a little less full, adding pockets big enough to hold a cell and making a extra long belt for a big front bow.
We were trying to get her to relax and smile, it took a while!
and back to me, who finds it almost impossible to relax and smile when a camera points my way regardless of how many silly faces are being pulled!
Some construction close ups...
The inner corselette which has a white zipper that disappears when closed and red waist stay.
The back bodice. I spent a lot of time handsewing lace all over the bodice to give it more of a 3D effect and while it needed a full zipper I thought it would be nice detail to hide some of it. The lace that overlaps is heavy and just stays there behaving when closed.
The front bodice. I encased all the lace with leather strips to help strengthen it , and also added small pieces of lace to random areas again for added interest.
This pattern turned out to be a real winner. The fit was excellent, the construction straighforward and it was easy to change a few things without affecting or redrafting the whole pattern.
Instead of gathering the skirt I had to use inverted pleats because of the leather, I shortened it six inches and added three inches of lace attached to the outside with a machine stitch. I also omitted the overskirt. The seams were folded back on the inside and then I topstitched from the outside for a more finished look.
The lace was so lovely to sew, espeically as it has no stretch. I will be using it a lot more in the future.
Working with leather was not as hard as I had imagined but I would stress that you have to be incredibly prepared before you start. A muslin is a must...every seam must be perfectly matched and over marked with chalk before you sew. You cannot unpick a stitch as the hole shows so I triple checked everything and checked again.
It was frustrating at times as there was no way of holding the bodice and skirt together or other larger areas to check they matched before sewing...pins mark the fabric, clamps distorted it and tape was not strong enough. The leatherI used had a surprising amount of stretch so I sewed very slowly stopping to check it all lined up after every two or three inches.
I will definitely use it again because my biggest sewing screw ups come from rushing and this really reinforced slower more methodical sewing, I have to say I like it!
Audio book this week...David Sedaris's various audibles over and over again. He started his book tour a couple of towns over on Tuesday night, I bought my tickets months ago and was so incredibly thrilled to hear him read some stories from his new book. That man is so funny, and smart. He talked for a hour and a half and then did a Q&A for thirty minutes...it was a fabulous night. I'm considering stalking him :0
Music - Mumford and Sons, David Bowie, Ed Sheeran....kind of stuck in a rut....need to find some new stuff.
Still reading In Between Days By Andrew Porter. I don't remember the last time a book took me so long to finish, and its a GREAT story. Just had such a busy few weeks.
I am still working on the French jackets, I have been playing with proportions. Melanie from Seamstress: Poppykettle made my day by sending me info on a addtional picure of the Chanel Jacket. I can't decide if its exactly the same or if they changed it in some way from the still shots?
My front is way off from this picture, its the first time I have seen it face on... I think I will get more use from a more classic look but will decide in the next few days.
I did go into NYC last week and spent a lot of time in bead and trim shops. The red boucle is going to be so hard to match, its got a lot of orange in it but look what I found in M&J Trimming, its a really nice base to then embroider over and around. Its layed on a double bias satin strip here and will certainly save some time. I might get one jacket done this year after all!
and because I need to be sewing as well to stop the beading boredom, I am going to start the muslin on Marfy 3171 which is probably my favorite look from the new catalog. I can find places to go in this!
Wishing everyone a lovely week....back Monday!