Monday, November 20, 2006

American Beauty - Dress - Part IV

Let the beading begin!

I've got the center front beaded strap seam done! They're not that hard and surprisingly not terribly time consuming. The deal is finding time to actually work on it. "Life" isn't cooperating, so I'm just stealing a little time here and there to work on it. I think if I squeeze in doing one to two seams a week, I'll be able to finish the dress right after Christmas.

Here's what I've been up to, starting with the beading process itself. This is the same thing I did with the seam on the coat between the quilted portions and the crushed velvet portions - sewed bias strips to the seam allowances, turn them to the back and catch stitched, then basted the seams together, added the beads, and attached a strip underneath with running stitches. Ann also described this technique in a post this fall on the Diva's Blog, look for the post "Slotted Seams: Skirting the Issue".

Close up of the handstitching, still working on the beading and before the basting came out.

Here's the set up, seems like that water bottle sneaks into a lot of my pictures, doesn't it?


Just another close up, but the basting has been removed:


For the moment that's it. I'm just going to keep slogging along on the appliques and strap seams. There probably won't be an update for another few weeks or when some real progress has been made, such as getting past these points and into more real construction.

Tomorrow I will be posting the latest version of the Marfy pants. I think I've solved the fitting issues. I am very pleased with the fit so far. I'm hopeful that I'll still be very pleased after I get the real results from my photograpy crew!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

American Beauty - Dress - Part III

I think I've cut this dress out before . . . .

at least that's how I felt after cutting it out four times. The dress only has 4 pieces, but I had to cut 4 layers - the sheer rose overlay, the white dupioni, the white organza underlining, and the white china silk lining. I still need to cut out and fit the corselette, but I'll worry about that once I get the strap seams done. Just another white layer.

The fabric that started it all, partially unrolled from the bolt:

Cutting out the dress - you can see the muslin/pattern piece and where I've added more fabric into the skirt piece to get the circle skirt I wanted. I stole some circle skirt pattern pieces from another pattern and used them to get the correct width and tapered up to the waistline.

Last, but not least, all the bias strips. For the strap seams, I need 3 strips for each seam. With 8 seams, let's see, that's 24 bias strips. Being a little short on fabric, quite a few of them are pieced. Here's the cutting chaos:

What I ended up doing to make sure I had the correct length and number strips for each seam was to put the correct strips with a label into a plastic baggie, and then put them away. That way, in the next few weeks when I get around to working on the strap seams, I'll know which ones go to which seams. I've got all 24 ready now, so I just need to get with the program. As usual.

Friday, November 10, 2006

American Beauty - Coat - Part XIV

Quick update!

I've got one corner done!

Ruler included for scale freaks. It's an 18" ruler. From a little closer:

One more corner and then the big center back medallion. After that, it's quilt all the lining, do the button/buttonhole and get the lining in the coat, and if I have time, I'll do some extra embroidery on the appliques!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

American Beauty - Dress - Part II

Nip, Tuck.

This is my usual mode of taking a pattern that is close to what I want and making it what I want. I make up a muslin and start cutting and re-seaming until I'm satisfied. This approach works for me and I end up with pattern pieces that work after I take my Frankendress apart.

After trying the muslin on and altering every seam except for the princess seams, I think I have a fit I'm happy with. With the beaded strap seams there is no place for alterations. It's either right or not. This dress doesn't have to fit skin tight, but it's pretty fitted in the bust/waist. I have a list on a piece of paper of all the changes, including but not limited to, changing the strap size and neckline, putting in the front insert, moving the zip from the side to the back (not sure if that will stay there), and making the skirt a full circle skirt.

Compare the old dress with the new dress:


When I cut it out, the only change I forgot was to fold out 1" for my short waist. I'm not sure whether I'm going to go back and fix that. I may not always be the one to model this dress. Unless the model is pretty small anyway, they won't be able to wear it, but on the off chance that it's a normal to tall skinny model, I don't think the dress would look good with the waist up under their bust.

I am almost, but not quite finished with a corner medallion (one more piece!) and will post an update and picture soon. I also went back and reworked the sleeve medallions. I wasn't happy with the rose centers, but that's not a surprise, now is it?