Monday, February 09, 2009

Bluebird of Happiness - Final Thoughts

Thank you all for the extremely kind compliments! I appreciate them all and have read them several times, taking notes and thinking about the suggestions.

I do have and will be wearing the long over the elbow white gloves with the ensemble on the runway. Check out this very unflattering photo my son took, need I say more?

I have decided not to make a hat for this ensemble, as it is an after 5pm type of ensemble. The original pattern artwork did not show a hat as an accessory, so at least for this aspect, I'll stick to the original look.

Regarding the hem border, I tallied up the responses I got and most of you were not in favor of a blue hem border, with three times as many votes against it than for it. So, I got out my sample and pinned it onto the dress on the dress form:

It would definitely make the skirt look shorter! I'm not sure if I want that at all - I'm 5'2" (155cm) to begin with, and this look doesn't help, as Elizabeth pointed out. Maybe if I were taller it might work.

Now I am leaning towards not doing the border. I have some other ideas, but I am going to think about it a bit, and "decompress" as Jean S. said. Of course, you know I will be involved in something else (rabbit costumes) by the time I get this back from the Mid-Atlantic show and won't want take the 6 to 8 weeks to make the border!

I am glad that this ensemble is finished. For some reason, this one seemed really tough to complete for me. I think it is partly due to the length of time it took me to make it. I really underestimated how long it would take to make. There was the issue with the thread back at the beginning, I've also had issues with the sequins not liking heat and steam and had to replace some of those. I don't know if you noticed, but I ended up changing almost all the flowers on the coat because in the end I didn't like the gold pen detail. The pen left blobs at the beginning or end of a line some of the time and did not look good at all. There were some days when the bluebirds were not so happy, but I am glad I stuck with it and finished.

What did I learn from this ensemble?
  • to check with manufacturers to make sure there is enough product available for my project
  • to be patient when things are taking longer than I expected
  • to be objective and keep looking for solutions, even in unlikely places
  • to keep going, even though the task may seem long and boring, like sewing on the 6000th bead! (BTW, I've calculated that there are between 7,000 and 8,000 beads on BOH.)
What's next? As far as art garments, I was going to make Cherry Blossom, but for some reason that is just not appealing to me. I do have another ensemble in mind which really has captured my attention, so be looking for that in a month or so. I need a little down time. For regular apparel, there's the rabbit project, plus trousers for me (if I can get the hem in them tonight!), a shirt for my son (already cut out!), and a jacket for me, too. Next week, I get to start work on a real special treat - a red skirt suit! Be looking for those posts.

Parting Shot: Needs Help. It has been a little over a year since I've organized my fabric. I suppose it is time to get this done again. I am hoping to find some fabrics for parts of the rabbit costumes in there somewhere. Tonight I'll be working on this shelf of black, white and brown.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Bluebird of Happiness

Photo Shoot


Coat and Dress:

The tie:
Collar, bow and necklace close-up:

Special label inside the upper back of the coat:

The Dress:

My daughter's comment regarding the skirt, "Voluminous."

My daughter helped tie the bow on the dress. She made it look perfect:

A few more random shots. My son took the first two, and my daughter took the second two:



When I put the gloves on, my daughter said, "They look like cleaning gloves!". Alright, where's my toilet wand?

Now, I have a big question for you. I have pretty much decided to make a border and attach it to the skirt of the dress the same way as the coat borders. I feel the dress is sort of boring for an art garment. It wouldn't be for "real life", but this is a little over the top and fantasy we're talking about here. I did not have the time to make the border (will take 6 to 8 weeks) before this first upcoming show (I've got to ship this ensemble early next week!), but will have it ready for subsequent shows. Out of curiosity hat do you think?

Watch for a wrap up post and special announcement next week!

Parting Shot: Photographers. Today's photos are courtesy of my junior photography crew. These are not professional photos and some are a bit blurry or required a bit of cropping, but it is fun for all and a great memory.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Bluebird of Happiness - Accessories - Part II

Jewelry and a Shoe Issue


You know I'm really, really, really close to being done when I'm working on jewelry! I made this necklace today in between coaching speech for a competition and picking my children from school:

I was fortunate enough to find Swarovski crystals that were a pretty close match to the rhinestones in the vintage 50's earrings that I purchased last summer for this ensemble.


The shoes have an issue. It seems that there is a prong of some kind in the heel. You can't see it when you look in the shoe.

When you put it on, you can feel it and underneath the footbed liner, there is the prong:


I've got some other shoes for the photoshoot that are not vintage, but will work. I've got my eye on some different vintage shoes on eBay anyway.

Tomorrow: the photo shoot post.
Parting Shot: Bunny Suit. My children's school is putting on a few short musical plays this spring. My son's age group is doing one about Peter Rabbit. My son has been chosen for the role of Peter Rabbit. Guess who gets to make the rabbit costumes? Oh yes, that would be me. I get to do five rabbits total: Mother, Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail and Peter. Should be interesting.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Bluebird of Happiness - Coat - Part Too Many

No Really, Part XXXV


I'm still working on it.

Suffice it to say, that the photo shoot will be tomorrow evening and pictures posted Saturday.


Parting Shot: Swing Coat. I just got this pattern today. I think it will be part of a new project I am planning. I'll probably start some work on that in a month or so. I have some things I'd like to make for myself, and then I have another fun little project which I share with you later.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bluebird of Happiness - Dress - Part VIII

Inside Details


If you've been reading the posts regarding pattern tracing, please make sure you go back and read all the comments. There has been some great feedback, with a lot of tips from those who use these patterns frequently. Thank you all for contributing - there is a lot of good ideas out there to try!

As promised, more BOH! Today we'll take a look at some of the inside details of the dress. Most of these details are covered by the lining, so I took some of these photos quite some time ago, but have not had a post yet to show you them.

First, the dress has boning. The pattern only had boning on the side front seams. I added boning to the side back seams as well because the dress looked better with it. I did not add boning to the side seams because the dress has sleeves and a shoulder seam which helps to support it. The boning channels were stitched to the seam allowances only, one side and then the other.

I also stopped the boning channels about 1/8" (2mm) before the waist seam. If you stop exactly at the waist seam, when you press the waist seam towards the bodice it is very difficult with the added thickness of the boning channel. This helps to get a better pressed seam.

The inside of the dress also has a waist belt, which helps to keep the dress in place around the wearer's body. This one is made of grosgrain ribbon and is stitched to the boning channels. It is then passed through two large buttonholes in the lining near the back opening where it is fastened with hooks and eyes before the dress is zipped up.

The dress also gets dress hangers, helping to keep it on a hanger. These extend from the waist seam up the side seam and through two thread loops before going around the hanger. When wearing the dress, the ribbon gets pulled out of the loops and it hangs down inside the skirt rather than sticking out the armholes or neckline. Is that the worst when you see a beautiful woman in a beautiful dress and then you notice a dress hanger sticking out?!?

The dress also gets a special label, including a little bluebird:

Last, but not least, the dress gets a hem. I'll preface this by saying that I usually do these sorts of hems by machine because they are so large. This one is a bit different with an underlining and some really lovely silk fabric. I chose to finish the hem with single fold bias tape that is stitched to the edge, pressed to the inside and then stitched by hand to the underlining only. Very neat and clean, but time consuming to finish for such a large skirt!

Parting Shot: French! I bought a not so vintage (80's) Vogue pattern recently, and found that the instructions where in French only and printed on a yellow instruction sheet. See the contrast in the photo to an English version. I thought this was interesting as I had never see a French only version. This pattern came from Canada, so I'm not too surprised, as French is spoken in many parts of Canada.