Monday, January 31, 2011

A Hint of Sweet, and a Bit of Nasty!

I have spent the last week or so working on the dress I am entering in the Operation Dream Dress contest. Lots of lace. Lots of hand sewing. But it is finally starting to look like my vision!
Here is the finished sleeve. I really wasn't even sure I was going to have it there, but everyone who saw my initial sketch idea, commented on how much they like it. Now that I have the lace finished, the rest of the dress should go fairly quickly.
As the theme to the contest is 'Artfully Romantic', I felt I needed to have some kind of creative/artsy application to the dress. It will be presented in some silk flowers I plan to put at the shoulder, the lace godet at the skrt, and on the sash. What makes them special, is that they will be made from some silk that I have needle felted. I have a friend who does felting with actual felt, but I had read about fleting on silk. So we started playing with her felting tools and my silk. Here is what we came up with -
Such an unusual texture! I plan to fashion flowers from this felted silk and organza, then embellish with some beading.
So much for the sweet. Now for the nasty.

Last fall, my husband had gone to China for the first time. As would be expected, he bought several things to bring home. Some beautiful scarves, pearls for myself and our girls, he bought himelf an airplane model of a chinese fighter, and, well, something I really can't figure out. You have to understand that he is not a drinker - maybe a glass or 2 of wine once in a while. Thats it. And yet, he brought back an entire case (12 bottles!) of Chinese wine! And not just any wine. It is called vinegar wine. It looks like a dark beer. Smells like sour molasses, and tastes like, well, shit. Excuse my french. I could harly get a swallow down. I hate to hurt his feelings, but I really don't know how he can drink this nasty stuff. But he will have to, because I am not touching it! And there are now 12 bottles sitting in the pantry closet!

Monday, January 24, 2011

How About Another Peek?

I've made a little progress on the contest dress and thought I would share, here. You still don't get to see much more than a peek here or there - but isn't anticipation half the fun?!

The dress has a single skirt godet of cream and pink beaded lace -

There will also be a lace bodice, with some pleating -
After draping the lace onto the bodice, and pinning and tacking the pleats, the lace came back off, so I can attach a layer of netting to the back of it for added strength and stability -
 Using a long running stitch in a random zig-zag pattern, all across the entire piece, I hand sewed the netting to the back of the lace. This will help the lace to keep it's intended shape,and will also add strength the beaded lace.
Here you can see the pleats that have been tacked down. As this is the wrong side of the lace, the beading is not visible.
            Yes, I know,this is a very strange shape! It isn't really representative of the shape of the bodice. It was draped on to the dress, and because of the beading and having to tack everything to the netting before attaching it to the bodice, some of the lace around the edge will be trimmed and cut as I sew it onto the bodice. Each bead left with in 1" of the edge will have to be re-enforced, so as to prevent a horrible disaster of bead droppings!

Friday, January 21, 2011

How About a Little Tease?

I recently found out about a contest!
It is sponsored by Brides Magazine. It is called Operation Dream Dress.

They are looking for new wedding gown designers to submit their original designs. I will be a bit pressed for time, but I am excited about it. My original idea feel apart when I remembered I had some beautiful lace packed away just waiting for the right dress. So I unpacked it and started playing. It only took a few minutes before I came up with my dress idea. Sketches must be submitted by the end of January. 25 finalists will be chosen to make their gowns and submit them by March 7. Then the gowns will be voted on by readers! As I said, I will be pressed for time. Because I am leaving for a trip out of town on Feb 12 and will not return until Feb 21. Which would only give me a week or so to make the gown. So, in anticipation of atleast becoming a finalist (!) I am getting a head start on the gown now!
I won't show you the sketch, but I will give you a little tease of what it looked like as I was 'playing' with the fabric and lace!
The theme of the gowns is "Artfully Romantic", so your submission needs to be relative to the theme.
You can't really tell in the photo's, but the lace has a light pink threading in it. I have used the lace before in another gown. It has pretty pearl and glass beading in it. This lace was the last of a bolt I got from Gail K's several years ago. I got the whole rest of the bolt. Couldn't resist!
The prize you ask? Well, here's the thing. I'm not thrilled with the fine print. Winner gets a check for $10,000. Sounds really great right? Except, number 1 - Big Daddy gets about 40% right off the top.
You have to give up all rights to your design. You get no residual $$ for any sold dresses. You cannot make or sell the dress yourself for profit. The dress design will not have your name on it at all. I mean - you give up ALL rights to this design you spent hours and hours creating. I'm not jazzed about that. But, then, I don't have a desire to do any mass producing anyway.
My joy comes in the creating, and though I really wish my name would stay on it, perhaps the recognition of just being in the contest would be enough. The money doesn't hurt either.
I will keep you posted with further details!! Wish me luck!!

Monday, January 17, 2011

So, I Went A Little Bit Crazy . . .

I am blaming it on the "Winter Storm of 2011". Seriously. 
That's when it all started. The weather started comng in Sunday night, when I sat down to warm up in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine and the internet. 
Did you know that Elliot Berman is now one of the merchants at PatternReveiw? Oh yeah . . .  

My first purchase of the evening was this large print viscose knit. The print is bigger than I expected, but I think it will look great in a maxi dress!
2nd purchase from Elliot B,. 4 yards of pretty pink cotton stretch sateen. I've been wanting to make myself a vintagy dress with a full skirt.
This one I am disappointed in. It did not look like camo in the picture! And it supposed to be a wool jersey. But you can see through it. Very thin, very scratchy. Very ugly. Maybe I can make something for my son with it. He is the only person I know with a full appreciation of anything camoflauge!

After that fateful evening of late night internet shopping, I was homebound for 5 days, weathering the storm. I did get a ton of work done, so I won't complain. However. By Saturday, cabin fever had had it's way with me. The roads were finally clear (for the most part), and JoAnnes was having a sale. Now, I don't usually buy a lot at JoAnnes anymore, just because I can usually find such great stuff online, or I go up to Gail K's. But there was no way I was venturing into the still snow laden streets of Atlanta. And did I mention, JoAnnes was having a sale? And did I mention I went a little bit crazy?
This piece I found in the bargain bin for $4 a yard. It's a printed chiffon that will make a very pretty summery top.

Here is a gorgeous slinky fabric that I couldn't resist! A fitted wiggle dress with little cap sleeve, maybe a boatneck - line.
A lovely blue color on this stable jersey cotton knit. Bought a new pattern for this one!
So, remember a few blogs ago when I showed you the dotted swiss I had been searching for? I settled for that one. THIS is the one I had been looking for!!!
I also got a light weight crepe satin and some lining to go with it.
I needed just a few notions . . .
and a few patterens on sale . . .

and a few more . . .

and a few more.

So, I went a little crazy. Blame it on the storm.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Comes to Georgia

The past 3 or 4 days have been spent in preparation of the coming winter 'storm'. Those of you in northern states laugh at our seemingly silly preparations and the joy we seem to take in them. I was once one of you! We moved here in November of 1982 (a century ago, surely), and that winter I experienced my first Georgia winter storm. I, too, laughed to see people rushing to the grocery store to stock up; buying sand bags, salt, large sheets of plastic, extra water, gas, bread, milk, oreo's and ofcourse, beer. Being from Minnesota, I found it truly unbelievable to see this near mass hysteria. Little did I  know . . .
There are no snow plows in Georgia. Because, you see, Georgia rarely, if ever, gets snow. Even during the big threat of a winter storm. The real threat is ice. It comes down in needles of sleet, to cover everything it touches. Tree's will become so heavy with ice that entire tree's will topple over. Not to mention power lines. If it is outside, it will be covered in a sheet of ice. Roads become skating rinks. Outdoor furniture will resemble ice sculptures. If there is snow, it becomes a thick crust of white. It's really quite beautiful. Hard to believe it can also be so deadly.

So, when the threat looked like it may be real, this time, I began to make my own preparations. It became even more real, when I found out my DH would be gone! He tutored me  Saturday, on starting and running the generator. Yes, I was one of those crazy people who ran to the grocery store for milk. And wine, ofcourse! I picked up heavy plastic to cover the big patio window (for insulation), a big new flashlight (since mine has disappeared, once again to my husbands shop), batteries, a lighter for candles, salt to melt ice on the stairs, and extra drinking water. I filled the bathtub full of water for my dogs and cats to drink, or for heating for washing. I was ready.

My husband left (Nashville, for a class he couldn't reschedule), and I settled in. The sleet began last night around 7:00. Shortly it turned to huge flakes of snow, then back to sleet. It was time to go get the generator ready - just in case. I also covered my big window with the plastic. I had made a big pot of Turkey sausage chili that I could warm in the crock pot if I had to use the generator. And I waited. Our electricity goes out at the drop of a hat. Always has, probably always will. Except, this time - it hasn't!

I woke to a slow cold drizzle of sleet and freezing rain, which covered the 1-2 inches of snow on the ground with a glaze of ice. Knowing I wouldn't be going anywhere and that nobody was coming to see me, I did the unthinkable. I stayed in my pajama's all day! I sewed in my Pajama's!! I have never done that before. It was so liberating! 

I knew I had to get as much machine sewing done as possible, because the power could go at any time. I've got plenty of hand sewing to work on, should the power go out, but work that has to be done on the machine must get done first.
First, I put a lace - up back into a wedding gown -

Then I started major work on a lace gown.  First, I removed 3 strips of lace and the zipper, to take it in almost 4 inches at the back -
I still need to hand sew the lace back down the center back; take it up at the shoulders -
Take it in at the bodice sides -

                                          In at the skirt sides -
                                                  the hem -

and the bustling. Probably 2 more days. Provided I have electricity!

At 5:30 I put down my pin cushion, unplugged the iron, called for my sewing assistant, and headed back downstairs.
I was so grateful to still have power. Funny how much we depend on electricity in out lives.  We take it so much for granted. Today I am very thankful for it.
I warmed up some of my chili, poured myself a glass of wine, and gave a silent toast to myself, for a good days work.

Yes, I like cheese on my chili.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

We Have a Winner!

Congratulations to IowaHoodlum! You guessed 240 dresses, and you were only 8 dresses off. The actual number of dresses I worked on was 248! You will be recieving your gift in the mail, just as soon as I get your address! To all of you who chose not to participate, you have just lost out on an opportunity to win a $25.00 Visa Gift certificate to use wherever you choose!
I do think I made the hint a little too easy though! Next time it will be a little harder!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Contest hint!

I had planned to post this first hint yesterday, but it quickly became one of those days where 6:30 PM arrived and I realized I hadn't eaten all day and only had timeto grab a very quick sandwich at Panera on my way to another appointment. Didn't get to finish the sandwich till after 9:00!!
So, here is your hint for today - a little math is involved, so put your thinking caps on!

Almost 15% of the dresses I worked on were dresses or gowns I constructed. 1/3 of the dresses I constructed were wedding gowns. I made 4 MOB dresses, 6 BM dresses, 6 Special occasion dresses,  2 Flower girl dresses and 13 garments other than for weddings.

Wedding gowns I made this year:

Pearls &Lace Gown

Custom Classic Ivory Gown for Etsy Client

Tea Length Chiffon


Ivory Chiffon for Megan

Feather Fantasy Gown




Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Contest for the New Year!!!

Happy New Year to everyone!! 2010 proved to be a very productive year for me. It was actually a bit of a suprise. I truly expected my business to be down a bit, because of (and I hate this phrase) 'the economy'. But my business was fine, as a matter of fact, I was busier than ever.
So - we are going to have a little contest here, to celebrate the blessings that the good Lord has bestowed upon me through my business!
The prize, you ask? Why, something wonderful of course! Something everyone can use, male or female, young or old! I promise, you won't be disappointed! But I don't want to giveit away just yet - you have to play along to find out!
Ok - here goes -
The person who can answer this question, getting the closest without going over, wins! The contest will run for one week. Today is Jan. 1, 2011, so on Jan. 7, 2011, a winner will be announced!
Here is the question -

How many dresses have I worked on this past year? This includes wedding gowns, Mother of the Brides, Bridesmaids, flowergirl, prom, everything.

I will be sending out clues during the week, maybe every other day or so, so be watching! Just come back here and post your answers in comments - make sure you leave your email or contact info !

Also, some ideas I'm working on for the coming year -
What do you think? #1, #2, or #3??