Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Lei From Laurie

Last weekend I helped to throw a baby shower for the lovely and talented Laurie. And as a gift she brought me a Lei from her trip to Hawaii. I have always wanted one of these. I have no idea why but it's kind of been on my list of cool gifts to receive. I am kind of full of fail in that I have never been to Hawaii even though two of my sisters have lived there for extended amounts of time. I keep meaning to plan a trip but work and kids and life just seem to go in different directions. Perhaps now that the husband is done with school and life is settling down a bit we can actually plan a real vacation.
I realized upon receiving the Lei that it wasn't exactly going to last. Which kind of made me sad. I thought about ways to dry it, but then realized that then it would be another fragile memento that would end up being kept out of reach of cats and kids. So I decided to take a few photos of it. The cool thing is it matches a linen I had bought the weekend before that I am thinking of making a dress out of. A modern dress... can't quite think of a way to pull off anything remotely historical out of the fabric.
So here is a beautiful Lei and some fun fabric for a future project.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A new life for a gown from my past

As my polonaise has been slowly taking shape one question has been at the back of my mind. What will I wear it with. Strangely the colors and texture are not as easy to find complimentary fabric as I would have thought. While wandering through the fabric store gazing at anything blue, yellow, or off white I was tickled by the memory of a gown from years ago that was light blue and navy blue. I had decided to trim in navy blue anyway so I pulled out the old gown when I got home.

This was a natural form gown made about 10 years ago using all Truly Victorian patterns.
If you look closely at the bodice you will notice that some of the buttons have been replaced with little flowers. This was an emergency fix after the dress was hit by a truck. Luckily no one was in it at the time.
You see years ago I ran a children's birthday party business. We planned and threw tea parties, princess parties, pirate parties, fairy parties, you get the idea. This was one of the tea gowns that my partner Wendy made for me.
Well it happened that we had a booth set up at a baby fair. And we had the gown on a dress form as part of our display. Upon leaving the gown went into a trunk with our money, candy, and paperwork. As we were driving away people kept honking at us. Then we hear a thunk as we pulled onto one of the busier intersections in Sacramento. To our horror we discovered that we had left the trunk on the top of her car and it was now sitting in the middle of the road and people were swerving to avoid it. We pulled over just in time to see a very large truck hit the trunk and my gown attach itself to the front of the truck and keep going.
We were able to salvage the bodice except for the buttons that had popped off at impact and the underskirt. The over skirt was found 4 miles down the road covered in grease.

So this gown was put in first a bag, then a box and kind of forgotten about. Until now.
 Close up you can see more of the grease on the over skirt.

Right now I only have a use for the underskirt, I have always loved this dress because it was my first attempt at making an actual historical gown. Not that we knew enough about fabrics and such but still it looked great and felt wonderful to wear.

But now I have a decent underskirt to go with the Polonaise that I have been working on. I don't think I can bring myself to tear the bodice apart. I may reuse the lace from the over skirt though.

I can not help but be in love with this plaid.

Things pinned together to get an idea of how it's going to look. The fabric has a nice life to it. I haven't even put ties in it to get the bustle to take shape, this is just over my bustle.
So this is where we are. The project is coming together nicely I am extremely happy with how it's looking.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Polonaise Progress and Stumbles

For the 4th of July I had a 3 day weekend, which is a wondrous thing and with my job almost never happens. This meant a ton of time for sewing. This realization hit me and I went into a sewing fever. I jumped right in to pinning the mock up for my polonaise... and something didn't seem right. Then it hit me, I hadn't bothered laying out the part of the pattern for the actual back of the skirt because it's not something that I would need to alter.
So I had just enough fabric without the back skirt and there was no way I would have enough with it. So I sat with my piece of fabric laid out on the living room floor turning pieces this way and that way trying to figure out a way to solve the puzzle.
I ended up deciding to shorten the entire thing by about 10 inches and I will have to be clever with the sleeves, but I managed to cut out the body of the polonaise.
Then I carefully cut the canvas to interline it with. Then sewed the back together.

Ta Daaaa
oops left my ginger beer in the background...
Just for the record I am not trying to match the plaids.
(I still have flashbacks from the stripes on my day bodice.)
Then it hit me... trim? Oh right, I forgot to get trim, you can't have anything Victorian without some form of frilly something...
So... Had to go to the fabric store. The fabric store is a very dangerous place for me to go, and because it was the 4th of July weekend, EVERYTHING was on sale.
I walked away with 3 new patterns, and four new fabrics. After staring at trims until they literally closed the store on me. I decided that I will do a thin maybe one inch thick navy blue rouching as my main trim. So I bought the fabric and made my way home.

Here's a closer shot of the bottom of the back, it's wrinkled because it's just pinned at this point to my dress form. I am hoping that the navy blue will pop just enough with the other colors.
So now I have a ton of rouching to make which effectively put the interesting parts of this project on hold temporarily. So I started and finished another fun project over the weekend. Another post coming soon.

In the meantime here are a couple of polonaise pictures that I am in love with.

I'm not exactly sure where I found this picture. I spent a lot of time online looking for ideas for my Polonaise and I just found this one pretty adorable.

This second one came from the FIDM Blog
On the blog there are some amazing detail shots of this one.