Enjoying the chill in the air and dreaming up designs in velvet and wool.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Anatomy of an Inspiration

I have a dear friend who puts on an Oscars party every single year, even if it's only her and her husband - they dress in their best, make a feast, and watch and comment on the show. This year I happened to be visiting them on the right weekend to join in...so, of course, I needed a dress - and I needed it fast. Here's how it all went down.

Monday, 2/21 - What fabrics do I have? Um...mostly tapestries. Hmmm. What patterns do I have? Geesh. None of these seem right.

Tuesday, 2/22 - Oooh. What about that dress I wore to Catie's wedding last summer?

Yes, it was sky blue acetate, but it was vintage, and it fit really rather well. I've been planning on ripping it apart and using it as the basis for a pattern for a new dress. Now seems the time.

Wednesday, 2/23. I'd better get a move on. How about that tapestry left on that roll someone gave me? I think it was leftover from some couch cushions, but hey, I like the colors. Okay. Let's do it.

First we say goodbye to the ancient (well - sixty isn't young for a fabric) acetate-with-fused-on-lace. (This had to have originally been a bridesmaid dress. I lowered the neckline and shortened the sleeves when I wore it.) Then we start cutting it apart. Then we realize that this dress was made from a pattern which Simplicity has re-released as a retro 1960s reproduction, a pattern that I already own but never looked super-closely at...but why try to alter that one when I already have the dress half-dismantled, and know that it fits me perfectly? I'll continue as I began.

Ew. See the stains? I can't believe I wore this.

Then distribute the pieces on the suddenly very small piece (whose idea was it to make a dress out of a mere yard???) of tapestry fabric. Play around with it for a bit. Consider giving up before realizing you'll want the skirt a little less flared anyway. Remember in the nick of time that you need to make sure the one shoulder is on the same side front and back, and that it would really be nice if the pattern matched itself at the seams. Consider giving up again, say some choice words under your breath, and ease everything into place before FEARLESSLY, IRREVOCABLY CUTTING THE STUFF.

There! That wasn't so bad.

Zip it together (love a serger for the inside seams of unlined dresses! No way I was going to line this one on a time crunch - and with a fabric this thick, it didn't need it, anyway.) Panic a bit over how the diagonal cut neckline stretches - fix it by stay-stitching and very slightly gathering it before making facings out of some poly blend linen-look stuff - and, hey, that would make a nice big bow for the shoulder, too, wouldn't it?

Thursday, 2/24 - Take pictures in my cluttertastic sewing room.

The dress fastens under the right arm with an invisible zipper embedded in the side seam. I happened to have one on hand that matched the fabric. (Seamstresses! Are you afraid of invisible zippers? Don't be! They are ever so much easier to put in than other kinds of zippers, once you do a few of them. Contact me if you want some tips or step-by-step instructions. You DO need a good invisible zipper foot for your machine, but once you've got that - easy-peasy.)

Friday, 2/25 - Drive to Charlotte.

Saturday, 2/26 - Help out with a photoshoot of preemie twins (oh my word. Most precious beings. Hard to believe we all were that size at one point.)

Sunday, 2/27 - We had such a good time at the party!

All photos with people in them (except the one of me in the blue) are courtesy of Emily at Red Leaf Photography. Emily is the very cute lady who is great with child in that top photo in this post. The photo of me in the sky-blue acetate Dress of Ancient Magnificence was taken by Natalie at Photolodico, whom we missed greatly and wished were there with us to pile on the snark regarding Oscar fashions.


Larissa March 1, 2011 at 11:34 PM  

Ok creative genius, that's stunning!

(And did the Lady in Blue make her necklace?)

Faith March 2, 2011 at 4:52 AM  

Your dress, your hair, and you look stunning.

Bekah Tuggy March 2, 2011 at 5:04 AM  

Aw, thank you both! Larissa, no, I didn't make my necklace - it's three different strands I picked up at some two-dollar rack sale years and years ago. I use them for everything...they can be doubled or knotted in a huge range of combinations. If they ever break I will make new ones, for sure!

Cello82 May 3, 2011 at 12:01 PM  

you are SO pretty!

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