Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

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rajani
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Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby rajani » Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:10 pm

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Hello all,

I just finished this dress and I am so excited about how it turned out! It is made from two kinds of red and black iridescent taffeta that I found in the home decor department of our local fabric store. One is a plain taffeta and the other is embroidered all over in a swirly-cue pattern in a brighter red thread. The dress pieces are from patterns TV 221 (underskirt), 324 (long overskirt), 422 (dinner bodice), and 361 (butterfly train), and the hat is made from pattern 550. It has taken me since March to make. I'm not that slow, but there was a lot of pleating and trim details that I had to work out, plus, the first bodice I did was kind of a fitting project. I can't wear lower cut necklines but I didn't want it all the way up to my neck, so I had to do a fair amount of adjusting to the neckline to get it to cover enough, plus I converted it to a false vest front style. Although the 3rd muslin fit absolutely perfectly, the fashion fabric version turned out to be about an inch too small once all the linings were put in and it was finished up - I would guess the muslin stretched. I could probably have gotten into it with a bit of squeezing but I like comfortable! I also made 2 of the long overskirts because the first one I did ended up being TOO long for my taste - it hid the two rows of pleating on the underskirt - and I thought it would take less time to cut and sew another one than to pick apart and redo the first one. I'll put these two "experimental" pieces together with a new skirt and sell it off, so it wasn't wasted effort. Plus, the notes I made should apply to future TV patterns so maybe I'll have less fitting issues on the next dress.

I finished in the nick of time, because I plan to wear this to the Utah State SASS shoot coming up in a week. I made a matching reticule and covered a parasol with the scraps and even had time to make a men's vest in matching fabric for my husband, so we'll be quite a pair.

Anyway... I thought these went together pretty well. Although I'm a creative person and good with my hands, I am NOT a seamstress. In fact, this is the first time I have ever made buttonholes, believe it or not. I figured out a way to mark them that got them to line up absolutely perfectly and they turned out wonderfully (I can't say enough about trying them out on scrap fabric first!).

Anyway.... I've already got ideas for my second dress and the problem is just picking out which pattern and fabric to use.... what a lot of fun this was.

I'd love your feedback!
Raji
diana
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby diana » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:53 pm

GREAT JOB!
Diana

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kellydofc
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby kellydofc » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:34 pm

Beautiful and the hat is super cute!
MaryGode
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby MaryGode » Fri Jul 08, 2011 5:47 pm

My. Goodness. Every minute you spent was totally worth it. Magnificent! We will of course want to see action shots with the lucky gentleman. 8)
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. ~MarkTwain
Andrea L
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby Andrea L » Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:49 pm

Absolutely beautiful! I think there's something very sohpisticated and sexy about dark red and black, and everything works together so nicely! I love it! *saves to inspiration pictures folder*
rajani
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby rajani » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:16 pm

Andrea: Thanks for the nice words. Help yourself to inspiration photos - I collect them too! I'm constantly saving pics I find of other's gowns.... because you never know where someone else's idea will take you. I agree with you... I loved the red and black. The pictures did not do it justice. The fabric in person is not nearly so bright... it's actually quite dark and mysterious and elegant. I also made the petticoat with detachable train, which you can't see in the picture, in black cotton. So, when I wear it at the shoot, the whole outfit will be my work, with the exception of the corset. That's a project for next year.

MaryGode: The best action picture was the one we already had - it happened when I ran down from the sewing room all excited screaming "Look at the buttonholes! Look at the buttonholes!" and waving my bodice in front of my hubby's face. (The poor thing had the same "deer in the headlights" look that I get when he starts rambling about car parts or something equally "manly".) Boy... was I pleased with those buttonholes. It was the thing that scared me most about making the dress (clipping them open, arghhh!), so it was a big relief when they turned out nicely. At that point I knew the dress was going to be all right :)

Raji
Andrea L
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby Andrea L » Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:46 pm

There are four things that I love about your dress. The color, obviously, the pleats (just spent a week myself making a double layer of pleats for my skirt!), the faux vest (I'm insanely falling in love with faux vests), and the trim (I was going to just leave my dress with pleats and a little lace, but I'm going to look into more trim after seeing this! It really makes the dress, the trim). In other words, I'm gonna steal your dress. Metaphorically. Someday. And on the close up pic, is that the tip of a parasol, or something else? If it is a parasol...why are there no pictures?!

There is something magical about making buttonholes and actually getting it to work. The first time I did it was on a muslin of a blouse for a costume that turned out to be so good that I decided to keep it, but it was after figuring out how my machine did buttonholes, then getting it so it started and stopped where I wanted it to, getting it to not jam up, etc. that I finally made a successful buttonhole and was confident enough to make one on the blouse And then you sew the button on and button it up and it's just...wow. It works! Only people who sew understand.

Man, I was considering using hook and eyes on the bodice of my current project, but now I want to make buttonholes...and I learned my lesson with not using vertical buttonholes on a bodice...
MaryGode
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby MaryGode » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:19 am

rajani wrote:..."Look at the buttonholes! Look at the buttonholes!" ...


Image What is it about buttonholes?? Good ones are like dressmaking crack.

It's heartening to know it's not just me. I like to do mine by hand, but the look on my husband's face when I make him look at them is the same as yours.

edit: posting before coffee
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. ~MarkTwain
Erin
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby Erin » Sat Jul 09, 2011 8:02 am

rajani wrote:Boy... was I pleased with those buttonholes. It was the thing that scared me most about making the dress (clipping them open, arghhh!), so it was a big relief when they turned out nicely. At that point I knew the dress was going to be all right :)


I hear ya on the buttonholes. My machine has a one-touch that does them perfectly, but they still make me nervous. Little trick I learned God-knows-where: to open a buttonhole, use a seam ripper. Slide a straight pin perpendicular to the buttonhole at the far end where you want the opening to end, poke your seam ripper into the near end where you want the opening to start, and rip til you get to your pin. It's mistake-proof and super fast and easy :)

Also, how did you do your pleats? Pleating is something I remain terrified of ;)

Congratulations on a gorgeous first gown - you two will be the envy of everyone at the shoot!
:fence:
Andrea L
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby Andrea L » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:14 am

I think I got a little to confident because my machine has a one step buttonhole maker, but it kept jamming when it made the turn on the last long side, so I have to tug the fabric just a little to help it along. Haven't made a buttonhole since then since I've been making a lot of non-bodice TV stuff, but I'm oddly excited to try them again. They ARE like crack!

I was going to say, well, if you don't have a seam ripper, I guess you can use small snips, fold the buttonhole in half and snip it open, but if you don't have a seam ripper and have never used one...well, I bow to you. Or you're like me and have broken a couple...but I do like the idea of placing a pin there. I was paranoid I'd keep on ripping through the buttonhole!
shpgr1977
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby shpgr1977 » Sat Jul 09, 2011 7:38 pm

Gorgeous! Other than that I am speechless.
rajani
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby rajani » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:39 am

Erin:

Yeah, I knew about the pin trick. I can't use a seam ripper for some reason. Every time I try it seems I end up ripping in the wrong direction. I find I do much better with a small pair of sharp scissors, and I cut in small snips until I hit the pins on both ends. This dress ended up needing around 30 buttonholes between the vest front and the detachable train on the petticoat, so I got a lot of practice! The good thing about all this is that I'm not afraid of the buttonholes any more! I know I can do them :D

I bought a couple of basic sewing books (Vogue Sewing, etc) when I started this project and they have been invaluable for learning the correct ways to do certain procedures, like buttonholes, etc. I learned about boning, seaming, and a whole host of other things. I french-seamed this entire dress where the seams were straight (I hate ravelly edges, and I didn't want to use zigzagging unless I couldn't figure out any other way to do it), and that was also something new for me. I learned to make welt pockets on the matching vest I did for my husband, and although they didn't come out as evenly as I would have liked (I'm kind of a perfectionist) they also weren't bad and now I know what to correct on the next vest I make for him. Pleating.... ahhh the pleating... well, after a false start or two I did learn how to make pleats pretty efficiently. I don't have one of those pleating boards so the 7" pleats were folded entirely by hand using a gridded mat with lines in 1" increments. I had an iron nearby and as each pleat was folded it was pressed and taped with Scotch magic tape. For the smaller pleats, like the ones on the front of the vest and the shorter 3" pleats on the train, etc., my husband made me a little gadget for this... a sort of fork made out of two small size aluminum knitting needles set into a wooden handle. You pleat while you are at the sewing machine, using the fork to fold the pleats and tacking each one down with the machine as you go. If you figure out a good consistent place to always line up the fork every time you fold, the pleats come out very even and it's hard to tell they weren't hand folded. Once I've tacked all the pleats, I tape the strip of pleats to my grid mat, line up the bottoms along the 1" increments, tape the bottoms in place, and set them with a steam iron.

My secret for cranking out lots of pleats without it seeming like a chore is to do all the pleating you plan for your dress in a few long sewing sessions and just make lots and lots of it so when you're in the middle of getting your dress assembled, you don't have to stop everything and make some pleats. They seem to turn out more evenly if I do them all at once because I get into a rhythm. And the other thing I do? I set up a computer with Netflix in the sewing room and watch my favorite TV show series one after the other while I'm working on those pleats... half watching, half listening. I named this dress my "Buffy" dress because in making it, I went through 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 5 seasons of Angel, 2 seasons of Dollhouse and all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica while I was making it! I love Netflix!
:D :D :D :D :D :D

For those who wanted to see the parasol, I'm attaching a pic of it and the reticule. The parasol was very easy to make a pattern for and cover... it took me one afternoon to finish it. There is 3" chainette fringe all the way around the edges... very cute and bouncy when opened. The bright red bows are the same color as the swirly pattern in the taffeta.

Raji
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MaryGode
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby MaryGode » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:40 pm

Cutie cute cute parasol! I'm having decor envy. Your floors are nice.

For a self-identified perfectionist, once you master welt pockets matching them over a patterned fabric is fun. Make your husband a brocade vest next and he'll get that look again ( :shock: ) as you make him appreciate fine buttonholes AND how the pattern is continuous across the welt. Image
Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. ~MarkTwain
Andrea L
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby Andrea L » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:50 pm

Ah, I love the parasol! And that's one thing I haven't done yet, a reticule. As if I need more things to do on this project...

Oh god, welt pockets. I've never done any, but a friend of mine spent WEEKS practicing them so she could do them well enough to finish up a pair of pants for her husband. I will never depreciate welt pockets again!
gretagretchen
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby gretagretchen » Mon Jul 11, 2011 12:11 am

You're not a seamstess? I couldn't tell! :D

Fabulous job!

I'd like a close up of the hat please.
Aka Wilhelmina Frame, Editrix de Mode, steampunkchronicle.com
rajani
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby rajani » Mon Jul 11, 2011 7:51 am

Andrea:

The reticule is really easy. All you do is cut 4 long (longer vertically than horizontally) diamond shapes of fashion fabric, and 4 of lining, in the approximate size you want your bag, then cut them off horizontally somewhere across the top, which then becomes the top opening. The less you cut off the top of the diamond, the deeper the bag will be and the smaller the opening. If you cut more, the bag will have a bigger opening and be more shallow.

Sew the 4 fashion fabric pieces together on the side seams, leaving the top edge unsewn, and also leaving unsewn two 1/2" areas of the side seam on 2 opposing seams near the top, which is to create the holes where your drawstring cord will come out. If you go an inch or two down from the top with the holes, you'll get a ruffly effect at the top like you can see on the bag I made. If you put the holes almost right at the top, the bag will close without a top ruffle. Sew the 4 lining pieces together in the same way as the fashion fabric, but don't leave cord holes, just a small hole on the bottom half in one seam for turning. At this point I attach the tassel through the seam joining at bottom point in the fashion fabric portion, because it is a lot easier and makes it neater looking since you don't also run it through the lining. You can pull the tassel cord through the seam joint with a small crochet hook and knot it to secure it, inside your bag.

Once the tassel is attached you put the fashion fabric and lining right sides together and sew the tops together. Turn the bag right side out, run some stitching horizontally along the top to line up with your cord holes, making a casing. Then all you have to do is hand stitch closed the turn opening in the lining, run a draw cord through the casing, and trim the bag how you like!

If you don't want the four points to the side of the bag that the diamond shaped pieces create, you can curve the points off on your pattern pieces so it's like a long teardrop shape, but the assembly is still the same. On another bag I made, I hung tassels off all four of the points as well as the bottom and it was really cute.

My daughter commented that because my bag is red with pointy Venice lace going all around the top, it looks just like a big strawberry :D

Raji
AmandaDC3
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby AmandaDC3 » Mon Jul 11, 2011 9:47 am

The whole ensemble is drop dead gorgeous!!!

Now, if you'll excuse me, there's this big puddle of drool I need to mop up...
kellydofc
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby kellydofc » Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:26 pm

I'm going to jump in and ask if you can put up a little lesson on how you did your parasol. And where did you get the frame and handle or did you pull apart and remake an old parasol?
rajani
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby rajani » Tue Jul 12, 2011 5:50 pm

The parasol... well, I had ordered a small parasol last winter thinking it was something else, but it would have cost more to send it back than it was almost worth, so it was something I already had lying around. Fortunately, it was covered in plain black material, so that seemed to me to be a good lining. It was pretty thin, so I thought I could get away with not taking the original fabric off... I didn't want to, it seemed as if doing so would create a whole host of other problems. After measuring the sides of one of the six triangular sections of the parasol, I simply made a muslin pattern to fit it exactly along the ribs and lower edge (you have to allow for some curve, but it's not hard), then added a seam allowance to all three sides of the triangle. I used this as a pattern and cut six pieces out of my fashion fabric, sewed them together (I left a tiny hole at the center, where the tip of the parasol was to poke through) and after figuring out how to get the tip off (it was hot glued, a gentle tug or two and some turning was all I needed) I poked the tip of the parasol through the hole of the fashion fabric, then tacked it all down on the outside of the parasol, stretching and adjusting so all the seams ended up each lying exactly along a rib. Then I just turned the edges under at the outer edge of the parasol, hand stitched it all down, and then hand sewed on the fringe and bows, and reattached the knob at the tip. It was totally easy! I have never ever done a parasol before and I figured it out in just a few hours :lol:

Now, the tragedy that happened last night is I had left it in the room where I took the photo, and forgot about it. Well, the cats got to the chainette fringe (wiggly things are crack for cats!) and they ended up knocking it over and laying on the handle so it broke!!!! :evil: :cry: :? OMG I was in tears because my shoot banquet is in 4 days and no time to make another one! But.... my engineer husband came to the rescue!... by the end of the evening he had glued all the splintered wood back together and devised a sleeve for the handle to strengthen it, sprayed it black and had it totally fixed and drying in a vise. All I'll have to do is wrap the handle in ribbon a little further up to disguise the mend and I should be good to go. Lesson learned, put everything away when you're done with it if you have little critters in the house :D

Raji
Erin
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Re: Natural Form gown and Butterfly Train.... done!

Postby Erin » Wed Jul 13, 2011 10:19 am

rajani wrote:My secret for cranking out lots of pleats without it seeming like a chore is to do all the pleating you plan for your dress in a few long sewing sessions and just make lots and lots of it so when you're in the middle of getting your dress assembled, you don't have to stop everything and make some pleats. They seem to turn out more evenly if I do them all at once because I get into a rhythm. And the other thing I do? I set up a computer with Netflix in the sewing room and watch my favorite TV show series one after the other while I'm working on those pleats... half watching, half listening. I named this dress my "Buffy" dress because in making it, I went through 7 seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 5 seasons of Angel, 2 seasons of Dollhouse and all four seasons of Battlestar Galactica while I was making it! I love Netflix!
:D :D :D :D :D :D


BWAHAHAHA! I now know how I'm going to progress on my UFO pile and catch up on True Blood! Why didn't I think of this? Love it!
:fence:

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