Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tiffany Gown - Finished!

Officially , it was finished yestereday. Late. But when I went to take photos of it this morning, I realized that I had forgotten the back trim! So, after finishing the alterations I had already planned to get done today, I finished the trim at the back and took the photos.
From the front

From the back

Detail beading at the drape

Back detail

I absolutely love this gown. Ofcourse, I usually end up falling in love with most, if not all of the gowns I make.
I am anxious to debute it at the May 1 Bridal Fashion Show at the new Morrow Event Center Facility in Morrow,Ga. I will also be debuting the 'Almost Contest" dress! I guess I really need to come up with a better name for it!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 5 - Tiffany Gown

Despite the day starting out with a series of minor catastrophes, the work went pretty well today.

It started with my getting up way too late! I am usually up and going by 7 or 7:30 at the latest. It must have been the thunderstorms, but I slept in til 9:00 a.m. this morning! Then my husband had a minor emergency when his truck died. While we were in the middle of that crisis, I got a call from a client, whose appointment I had forgotten! After all was said and done, I didn't get started on Tiffany til about 1:00 p.m.

I began today's work with attaching the lining and the foundation to the gown. Not difficult, but with all the little extras I add when doing this step, it took longer than it probably should have.

 I also added the zipper and finished the hem edge to prepare it for the hemming tomorrow.

Doesn't sound like I did much, does it? In my defense, I also had 4 appointments today.

All in all I was fairly satisfied with the days work. Tomorrow I will do the hem, as well as add some crinoline to the lining. I will also finish the shoulder wrap and add a little embellishment.
Then - TA-DA!! Finished!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 4 - Tiffany Gown

OMG!!! Can I just say that I am in love with this gown! I don't know if it is the fabric, which is a dream to sew with, the pattern/style of the dress, or the simple fact that it is going together so well. But this gown is just so pretty! There will be one tiny style change from the original sketch, but it has been approved my the designer ( my daugher, Brittany), so I will move forward with it.

Today I put together the dress pieces, the neck drape, and the lining. WOuld have gotten a bit more done, but my sweet husband dragged me away for a bit to go see the new Sams Warehouse. Spent a deliteful couple of hours with my sweetie. Not exactly a date, but fun just the same. 
Tomorrow I will put all the layers together, the zipper, the hem, and add a tiny bit of embellishment. I may also have to finish the inside seams of the skirt with some hem lace. I'm not comfortable with how much the silk is ravelling. Even with the underlining - it's making me nervous. I rarely see wedding gowns with the seams finished, but in this case, I would just be a bit more at peace, I think.  Have you been waiting for photo's? Well, I only have a few, and they have been cropped so you can't see the whole dress - that's for later!

First, the original design for the back detail:
And here, the change:
And a little peek of the front:

It has been asked, several times, by several people, in tones of disbelief, "how can you possibly make a wedding gown in just a few days?! Well, Dear Readers, you must understand, this is ALL I DO! I do not have a life. I get up, I feed the animals, get dressed and throw on make-up (yes, I am one of those people who wears make-up at home; you just never know when I may get called out to an appointment, or a client will show up here), and check email, then it's upstairs to the sewing studio. I do not come down again unless I have to. During my busy months/ weeks, I live on diet coke and crackers. I will sew sometimes from 8:30 a.m. till 9 or 10:00 p.m. or later. I usually come down to throw some dinner together for my husband. Then it's back upstairs. I do have to leave for appointments some days, but for the most part, I am upstairs. It is all I do. It's a good thing I love what I do. I can't imagine doing anything else. So, if you wonder how I can possibly complete an entire wedding gown in just a few days, this is part of it. The other part is that this is a very easy dress. No complicated pieces. And I have done enough wedding gowns to not have to stop and think about or read instructions.
Now, will I actually have it done in a few days? Tomorrow will be my fifth day. I have given myself till Wednesday to finish. If it continues to go as well as it has so far, yes, I will have it done!
(Famous last words, right?)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Gown named "Tiffany"

I'm crazy. I'm insane. These exhausting, busy, challenging and sometimes never-ending days of spring don't give me much time for anything but sewing. Between bridal alterations, prom alterations, and several dress construction projects, it's a wonder I have time to sleep. And yet, somehow, in between all this insanity, I have been working on organizing and putting together a Bridal Fashion Show for the Southern Charm Wedding and Event Professionals Bridal Show on May 1. But that's not all, dear readers. At this event, vendors are given the opportunity to showcase their product on 'Fantasy Tables', which we can decorate how ever we choose. So, ofcourse, I had to do one. Only because, as we,  the show coordinators group, were discussing it, the most creative fun idea came to me! Wouldn't it be fun to do a table dedicated to the movie, "Breakfast at Tiffany's"!

I won't share all my ideas with you at this time ( you will just have to stay tuned), but I will tell you what I have been up to! 

I have been working my tush off to get to a point with my alterations work that I can afford to take some time 'off' to work on a dress for this table. I really didn't have a design in mind, so I asked my youngest daughter, a designer in progress, to think about one for me. She and her sister are both avid fans of the movie, and I figured if anyone could come up with something, it would be her. She didn't disappoint. Not 24 hours later, I had a sketch in hand. Now I just had to come up with the time to make it! 

After a couple weeks, I thought, this just isn't going to happen. But, as I said, I worked my tush off, and lo-and behold, by this past Thursday, I found myself with 5 extra days. Well, that may be pushing it, but, I will make it work.

DAY 1:
 Pattern development, and muslin

Day 2:
Fabric Shopping and cutting  out pattern.
Between appointments I went to Gail K's in Atlanta and found a cream colored silk twill with a cotton backing. The dress also calls for a piece of Tiffany blue charmuese. Thus the name 'Tiffany".

Day 3:
Applying the underlining to all the pieces. By hand.

I had to do this between appointments again, but it really went relatively quickly. I underlined the silk twill for the gown and the foundation with cotton batiste,

Bodice pieces

Foundation pieces

Skirt pieces
And the Tiffany Blue charmuese piece with silk organza.

This evening after dinner, I went back upstairs and put the foundation together.

Ofcourse, none of this would be possible without my trusted assistant. As you can see, she has exhausted herself, and fallen asleep on the job (again).

Tomorrow I will put the dress and lining together. Monday will be finishing. Will I have it done Tuesday? We shall see . . ..

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Artfully Romantic Gown

Back in February, I mentioned I was creating a gown for  a contest sponsored by Brides Magazine. It was to be done under the theme of  'Artfully Romantic'. Unfortunately, my gown didn't make the cut.

I gave you glimpses of the gown before it was finished, but now it is finished, and though it won't be entering any contest, I am still quite proud of it. I still believe it embodies all things romantic,and it also shows some creativity in the use of the 'felted silk' on the embellishments.
The dress is a strapless/one-shoulder gown of ivory satin and pink and ivory beaded lace, over-layed with ivory silk oragnaza. There is asymetrical pleating at the right side of the bodice, as well as pleating at the shoulder. A pretty 'fall' of lace at the shoulder sets a frame for the embellished flower. A pale pink ribbon shows off the waistline and an additional embellished flower. The skirt is slim fitting through the hips, flaring into a trumpet skirt, with one lace godet at the right front.
The lace is layed asymetrically across the front and back hip for a flattering line.

The lace gives an antique look to the gown.

The flowers are what I am really happy with! They started out as an experiment. My very good friend, Jill, does a lot of felting. I was curious about how silk would do with felting, so we started a bit of playing with different types of silk and different needles. We got some very interesting textured silk - which I used to create the flowers seen here on the shoulder and at the waist. They include tulle, and some small pieces of the beaded lace as well.

When I think of romantic, I think of lace, pink, feminine details, flowers. All the attributes that I put into this gown. I don't know why it wasn't choosen to be in the contest, but I am at peace with it. I love this gown, and hope you do as well!  It will be shown in the May 1 bridal fashion show I am coordinating, and you will see it soon in my Etsy shop as well!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Save the Dresses First!

It is spring time in Georgia! Everything all around us is in bloom and it is so beautiful! Lovely flowers, blooming trees and shrubs! And the smell of the flowers is a true gift to the senses.

Yesterday, I smelled a different kind of smell - though not offensive - it wasn't a smell I associate with spring. Our neighbors were burning leaves. Not entirely surprising - as we, too, usually wait til spring to burn leaves. Seems like the trees all around our property wait til winter is over before completely shedding their leaves, so why bother to rake them up if you are just going to have to do it again, right?

So, when I got a whiff of the burning leaves yesterday, I simply enjoyed it. Who doesn't enjoy the smell of burning leaves? Then, this morning, I again got a whiff of the same scent. After a few hours, I kind of half-heartedly noticed that the smoke was getting thicker, the smell stronger. A short while later, the dogs started barking as though they were upset. I yelled at them to be quite and went about my sewing. A few minutes later I heard sirens, and thought, "Hmmmm .... hope it's not my neighbors leaves going out of control."

And before I knew it, I was surrounded by firetrucks!
In front of the house;
Around the side of the house;
The other side of the house;
Our neighbors driveway;
The road going by our house;
And yet one more came to park at the side of the  house.

This is not including the ones in yards and driveways of other neighbors, which I didn't get pic's of!
 They had fortunately arrived in the nick of time, as apparently, while I was busy enjoying the scent of 'leaves burning', those burning leaves were getting closer and closer to our property.
By this time, I was outside on the deck, camera in hand, clicking away, all the while thinking, "Put the damn thing out already!!" Ofcourse, I was also concerned about any people who may have been injured, and I knew they have a dog, who I was very concerned about as well.

But as the flames grew bigger and closer -
I began to wonder if I should start to quickly evacuate! But soon, they seemed to have things under control, flames subdued, leaving nothing but ashes and smoke.

The firemen - and women! - kept very close watch on it for a couple hours atleast. I spoke with one of the fire chiefs, and learned that it had indeed started as a leaf fire, but quickly got out of control with the brisk breeze we had, and had ignited an illegal home 'dump site', which had fueled the fire to spread.

I was so very thankful to these hard working firefighters for taking over my yard and using it for a 'base station' against the fire which could have been devasting for many.

 Fortunately, nobody was hurt. The family dog was fine as well.

I did learn a couple lessons today.
Listen to danger signs: Too much smoke, incessant barking, sirens coming closer . . . .

Interesting what goes through your head when evacuation seems eminent. My first thoughts were, "SAVE THE DRESSES!!"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Like Running A Race

Sometimes it's best if I don't think about the finish line.

Every few days I make myself a new 'TO DO' list. This generally includes all the dresses I have due during a given time period, in the order of exactly when they are due, by date; as well as what needs to be done to each dress. As I finish them, they are crossed off, so I can see my progress and keep track of how I am doing. Record keeping, right?

Here is my TO DO List for this month -  

As you can see, I've got most of them crossed off - YEAH!!!

The goal is to have them all crossed off in 2 days; so I will have time to make a wedding gown for a Bridal fashion show I am working on for May 1. More on that later . . .

I often imagine I am running a race. The finish line looms ahead, with any number of dresses in the running. I usually place myself in the lead, but there are times, such as last week, when the sheer overwhelming number of dresses and gowns hanging in my storage/bathroom waiting to be worked on, seems to be running miles ahead of me!

A running commentary might run something like this:

"And the race begins with Seamstress running far ahead of dresses! Ah - but wait! Today we have several more Dresses added to the que - can she keep up the pace? Here come 2 more! Seamstress seems to be lagging behind. Oh Dear! She is getting farther and farther behind! How will she ever catch up! And here come several more dresses! But Wait! She has been pushing for that prize at the end! Here she comes! She seems to have gotten an extra burst of steam; yes, yes! It looks like she's going to do it! And here she is crossing the finish line! Running a close second are all those Dresses who entered this race, thinking they would be the one to finally win against the quick fingered Seamstress!"

Well, tomorrow I will have 'caught up' with about 5 days to spare! Next item due is not going to be until April 2, and of course, after that, it will come fast and heavy again. But, I figure I have several days that I can 'play'. Playtime for me will mean working on a dress for the Bridal Fashion Show I mentioned. It is May 1, which gives me preciuos little time. I already have the design layed out on paper, just have to put it together. Wish me luck - I need it with my time constraints!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Not Lost - Just Insanely Busy!!

March has, for the last couple years anyway - been my busiest month for Bridal alterations. This year seems to be no exception. Only this year, it actually started in February. Between the alterations, the garment constructions (of which I am working on 3 right now) and my son's return from Afghanistan (which included 5 days of visiting from in-laws) - posting on this blog is not real high on the priorty list.

But I am here now - if only for a short post - to tell you loyal followers that I am still here!

I thought I would give you a look at the dress I made for the Artfully Romantic Wedding gown contest - which I didn't make it into :( 
It still isn't quite finished; in that it still needs the felted silk flower embellishments on the right shoulder, at the top of the skirt godet, and probably a small one at the waist sash. I need to have it ready for a Bridal/Fashion Show on May 1, though.

Now, these photo's were taken befoer the dress was actually done. It still shows pins in the lace, unfinished edges, ect . . .

It is not hemmed in these photos, either. But atleast you get the general idea, right?
I will post more current photos soon.

Right now I am relaxing in a hotel room near the Gwinnett Center in Georgia; attending the annual Sewing Expo. I attend each year; and although the last 2 years I have been somewhat disappointed, I find myself continuing to return, hoping for something new and exciting each year.
While I haven't found anything this year that truely fits the category of "new and exciting", I have found it to be atleast a bit more interesting than the last couple years.
This time around I am taking several classes on embellishment and construction design. I'm always looking for different ways to embellish and/or design details that will make my dresses stand out. If nothing else, I am inspired by the many artists and their work that I see here.
Now to find the time to actually put what I have learned into practice . . .