12 December 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different

Well...sort of.  First of all, this is my December entry for the Monthly Sewing Challenge.  And while it's a mundane sewing project, it IS a sewing project - it didn't seem right next to furniture makeovers and decoupaged weirdness going on over at Pushing Furniture.  When this project is finished, I'll likely link back over there, though.

Maybe I'll photograph myself in it sitting in my backyard, and then we can get all three blogs into the act.


So, you may remember the navy blue, rayon, paisley, challis/satin that I ordered back in May.  This stuff:

I got it [because it was on clearance] thinking that it would make pretty court garb, but the pattern is far too modern to look even remotely right in a period style.  So it went in a box.

However, I've accepted an invitation to something really, really cool:  a friends' holiday dinner at a very fancy restaurant, at which we're all to dress in at least semi-formal attire.  WOOHOO!!!  I haven't gotten to dress *UP* in Mundania in SO LONG!!  So long, actually, that I didn't own anything to wear to a fancy-dress dinner party.

So I had to come up with something fast, and cheap.  I had an idea of what I wanted, actually, because I've been commenting on half the formal wear pins on my Pinterest boards that, "This is what I want, if I ever get to wear formal wear again."

This was the picture I ended up choosing for my main inspiration.  The pin doesn't go anywhere, sadly;  it's captioned as a 1930s evening gown, but with no other information.

After spending hours perusing patterns online, and narrowing it down to four or five that I thought could be made to work, I called a friend of mine, who OWNS ALL THE PATTERNS.   I picked out two patterns from her stock that I thought would work for what I wanted.

This was the first:  Simplciity 3503.  There's a high back and a halter back option for view A (the long beige one) that I could make look like the inspiration picture.

Sadly, since the pattern was too small, and I was going to have to do SO much work not just upsizing the pattern itself, but also adjusting for a MUCH larger bustline (DD) than the pattern allows for, that it basically makes it not worth my time to use this pattern . Which was my favorite.

The second option was Butterick B5710, which is very modern in shaping, so, in addition to re-sizing the pattern, and adjusting the bust, and removing the drape in the front....and adding a midriff piece...and a completely different back....wait...plus a shaped, flat front skirt piece?  On these hips?  Nope.

So, oh, crap...now I didn't have a pattern to work with. Again.  Mind you, this is after two hours of studying the pattern instructions for both of these gowns, pulling out and measuring and sketching and re-drafting some of the pieces, until I finally gave up on each one.

There was a pattern I'd had in mind in the beginning that I'd discarded, mentally, because I couldn't find it online or in Lorrie's stash.  If only I had that one.

BUT LO!!  When did I buy this?!  This was the one I had been thinking of, all this time, but I don't remember purchasing it!  Hallelujah!

The shaping on this one, on the finished piece, is similar to the Simplicity pattern above, but the inverted-V-shaped waistline is elasticized instead of being an actual midriff panel (which, to be honest, is fine with me).  Since this pattern was, miraculously, already the right size and shape for me (how the...?!), the pieces themselves took VERY little alteration, only stylistically.

The structural and stylistic changes I've made/am making to the pattern as printed are:
  • View:  sleeveless, deep-V option
  • Not using the triangular modesty insert in the bustline at the V-neck. Cleavage or GTFO. 
  • Length extended to evening length, so that the front hemline hits the vamp of my shoe (top of foot, opposite the arch) 
  • Split the back into two pieces (it was a single piece on a fold), flared he back opening and extended the center low point a bit so that when finished, the back opening would drape open like the top picture, just a little bit.  
  • Scrapped the pattern's neckline and front opening facings and created my own, both to face the new back opening, and to support the fabric at the front and back openings, since it's lightweight and drape-y (flutter in the back, lay-flat in the front). 
  • Using a ruffle-edged decorative elastic band on the outside at the waistline, instead of an elastic casing on the inside of that seam.  Is for pretty. 
  • Also for pretty: faced the inside of the neckline and back with a lightweight decorative gimp in the same color as the fabric, for a pretty, lacy edge.  

Finished pics soon!   :D