Posts Tagged ‘Carolina Herrera’
Friday, February 22nd, 2013
And here endeth the outdoor shots for this particular post. IT IS FRIGID OUTSIDE, even for my snow foolery behind. And although there’s a lovely amount of wool in this Caroline Herrera yardage (similar here), it’s not the sort meant to keep you cozy.
Que moody shots! I had no idea we could get such extraterrestrial light in our bedroom in the middle of the day. Weird, man. The alien landscape must have affected me, think I could crack a smile? Inside I’m positively gleeful, I love this crazy dress tunic top thingamajig!
Let me start at the beginning. I was in the far left end of Mood by the windows, the back corner. It seems to be inhabited by many designer bolts, and by Denis, a much sought after, soft spoken breath of a gentleman. I was hugging this bolt of Caroline Herrera silk organza and wool cacophony when he caught my eye. Isn’t it beautiful? Two women behind him fluttered and tittered to each other like groupies, seeking his attention. Yeeessssss. How did they make that?? How would you work with it? I whispered. He nodded sagely. Many have walked away from this bolt.
I should have been one of the many, having tried my best to ruin the small amount of yardage I walked away with. My first thought was: maxi length skirt, which morphed into a circle skirt, which was poorly drafted (truly, y’all, circle skirts are my Achilles heel) and ended badly. Leave aside the fact that I underlined silk organza with two layers of polyester organza I had in my stash. I looked like a Holly Hobby paper doll trying desperately to play designer dress up.
The Herrera was amputated from the poly, bits and bobs and two fairly large bias portions in the shape of drunken skirt panels were all that was left behind. Sadly, I said to Ruggy I don’t think I can save this without a dress form. Lofty statement with no basis in reality. Let me remind you, I have only the very basic idea of how to drape. As in, I know my ABCs up to about D. But there were too many puzzle pieces in amoebic shapes to use for a pattern, and I thought if I could lay those pieces out on another (pinnable) body, I could save it.
Again, here’s where I ought to wish out loud for things more often, as a Craigslist form landed in my lap that very weekend (more on that to come). The two skirt panels were turned upside down, becoming the main bodice piece and collar, and the other remnants became the long triangular sections at the sides. Zip up the back.
Note to self: get a cami that doesn’t wrinkle. That’s the jersey cami fabric you see wrinkling like a pug puppy, not the sheer organza, she lays nice and flat.
I also used up all the remnants from my woeful wool novelty skirt! The edges don’t fray, not one little bit, so they were perfect for enclosing the silk organza seams.
HI CRAZYEYE! I don’t know what different eyes of different beholders will call it, but I’m in love with it. I think the aliens will like it too.
Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
When I first laid eyes on this brocade at Mood, I thought it was very striking but had no idea what to do with it. I didn’t want an entire dress made from it because that would be too fancy for my lifestyle. While perusing some design magazines on vacation, I ran across a dress with a bunch of folds around the neckline that I wanted to copy, but then couldn’t find the right pattern in my stash. Enter this Simplicity Cynthia Rowley pattern. It had the fitted bodice that I find most flattering on my small bust, and the cut up design I wanted to show off the metallic bits of the fabric.
I made a muslin of the bodice only as I planned to make the full skirt from the pattern and never muslin full skirts. I only had to make a few tweaks to the pattern to get a good fit. (This design is definitely for the small busted!) The pieces were carefully cut out from a single layer of fabric and I tried to balance the colors all the way around. I used a black wool crepe for the flat piping and skirt.
Sometimes I do not cut out all the fabric for a garment I’m working on in a single session. I do this because if the outer fabric turns into a wadder, at least I can save my lining. Also, cutting out is tiresome. For this dress, I cut the black wool in strips for the flat piping but did not cut it for the skirt right away. However, after I’d finished the bodice I found that I did not have enough black to do the full skirt that I wanted. Oh, did I mention I began this project in January? I set it aside in order to get more of the black with next month’s Mood money, and scrambled to make the lace dress previously posted.
When another yard of the black wool showed up on my doorstep this month, I quickly cut out the full skirt and stitched it up. Remember when I wrote I never muslin full skirts? Not such a good idea this time around. It’s unique but peculiar shape (see pattern picture below) looked lumpy and bumpy. SO, I ripped off that skirt, threw it in the trash, and cut a straight skirt from my TNT (that’s tried-and-true) straight skirt pattern, McCall’s 3830. For a little interest at the hemline I included small slits. This wool crepe is a little stretchy, so I added 1/2 inch to the center front and back of my skirt lining to maintain the slightly looser fit.
I just love all the piping on this design! It was time consuming to get it all the same width but definitely worth it. The neckline is also a beautiful feature that I really like. The line drawing on the pattern didn’t really register with me, so when it turned out to be a little plunging in the back I was pleasantly surprised.
This pattern directed a lining for the top portion, and I added the lining for the skirt. It is black Ambiance from my stash.
The neckline was finished with bias tape, as were the armhole seams.
I’ve taught myself mitered corners. You can see them at the bottom of the black wool. They are those diagonal seams coming off the slit corners. I have some RTW (ready-to-wear) skirts that utilize this technique and have always thought it very smart looking. The lining was slip-stitched down around the slits so it wouldn’t show while I’m wearing it.
These are the patterns I used:
This dress was A LOT of work but I’m thrilled with the outcome. I am not producing nearly as much as I had in previous years but rather am slowing down and really taking my time with things. I want to build a wardrobe of pieces I love and will cherish for years to come.
Monday, November 26th, 2012
Whew! You have no idea how excited I am to finally have this peplum “dress” completed. It’s taken me over a month from cutting the fabric, to prepping the fabric, to putting in the last hand stitches. Since the peplum and skirt are actually two separate pieces, construction took twice as long as I expected. But, I did my best to not skimp on any of the steps – except maybe that last press to get the garment into ideal photo shape. Why not cut a corner here or there? Because this garment is actually destined to end up in the hands of my good friend J (who just ran a 2:50 marathon – go J!).
This is my first peplum, and I have to say I’m quite taken with it. The pattern is BurdaStyle Peplum Top 08/2012 #113 with long sleeves and the coordinating pencil skirt #111, both of which I received from BurdaStyle. I have nothing but praise for both patterns. Not only do both fit and flatter, but both also come with multiple different variations. I can’t wait to make a cute short-sleeve peplum top, a fancy collared peplum top, a casual A-line dress, and a godet pencil skirt like Marina’s.
But, what’s a pattern without great fabric? For the exterior I chose an Italian Carolina Herrera turquoise silk and wool blend covered in the most delightful puckers from Mood, which I bought with my Mood Sewing Network allowance. I pretreated the fabric by sticking it in the dryer with a damp towel and then giving it a good press to even out all of the puckers. It proved to be a tricky one to press during sewing, but turning up the heat on the iron seemed to do the trick.
For the lining I used a beautiful silk crepe de chine print also from Mood featuring a bathing beauty on the Riviera Italia. It was pretreated by hand washing with gentle shampoo and then line drying. I misjudged the panel repeat, so I was only able to use the print for the lining on the front pieces of the top and skirt. For the rest I used some ivory silk crepe de chine (no longer online, but similar fabrics can be found here) from Mood that I had left over from a previous project. Though I would have liked to have had a bit of the print on the back, I was very happy that the ivory base of the two lining fabrics matched perfectly. Again, I used my MSN allowance toward the purchase of these fabrics.
The most difficult part of the top turned out to be the last step: the peplum hem. I wanted to line the peplum with self fabric since its high-low hemline meant the lining peeked out quite a bit on the sides. I tried machine stitching the lining and exterior together, sort of like I was stitching a facing on to the hem, but it bubbled quite a bit. I then added lace hem tape and stitched the hem with running stitches all the way through the lining, grabbing just a thread or two from the exterior fabric. I thought these stitches were invisible because of the puckers, but when I took photos (one is above on the top right, another is two above on the top left), I noticed just how much the fabric again pulled and puckered. As always seems to be the case, the third try was the charm. This time I used a catch stitch, again going all the way through the lining and grabbing a thread or two from the exterior fabric. Though the hem lace now doesn’t sit flush against the underside of the peplum, the hem is nearly invisible where it counts – the outside of the peplum.
In an attempt to try out a new technique, I also decided to add sleeve heads following instructions from Claire Schaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques book. These should hopefully help the sleeves keep their shape for many years to come. Following instructions on page 156-157, I cut two strips of silk organza roughly 8.5″ by 1.5″ (top left above). Then, I folded the two strips in half lengthwise, making sure one edge was 1/8″ wider than the other. After hand stitching them together, I rounded the free corners (top right above). I then made a mark along the fold 5″ from the end. Both were stitched into the armscye seamline, again by hand. I was careful to place the wider of the two sides against the fabric, and the mark at the shoulder seam with the longer section extending into the back of the sleeve (bottom left above). A good press later, and the shoulder looked just like a shoulder should (bottom right above).
The skirt was really straight-forward. I practiced pressing nice darts and got to line my first kick pleat. My favorite part of the skirt has to be the lady in her red swimming cap on the lining. It’s fun to know such a proper skirt has a secret playful side to it.
I hope J enjoys wearing this garment just as much as I enjoyed sewing it. I’m already on to my next project, so stay tuned!
Friday, October 5th, 2012
I sure have missed my blogging friends!
I have been so eager to post anything just to say hello while I was taking care of a patient, hosting a party at my home followed by entertaining out-of-town company immediately upon returning from our unforgettable vacation to the Mediterranean. The patient is fine, the party was fun, the company found its way to a football game in Florida, and I hit the sewing machine after a four-week break.
I imagined this beautiful brocade from Mood Fabrics as numerous garments:
My husband suggested I make a close-fitting special occasion dress which would be beautiful, but I wanted to make something I would wear throughout the fall. Determined to overcome my previous jacket debacle, I carefully examined the lines of this New Look pattern before buying it.
My only reservation lay in the collar, which was confirmed in the muslin. The circumference was enormous.
Ruffler to the rescue! After making a 2-inch ruffle, I raised the back neckline allowing the ruffle to fit around the neck rather than rest on my back .….and here it is….…. a perfect solution for transforming the drab black clothes in my closet for almost any occasion! The jacket may just hang it my car this fall so I can be ready to go at a moment’s notice! Changing the collar on this pattern was worth the effort.
Last year I focused on fitting issues. This year I’m paying more attention to details which led me to lining the jacket bodice and adding cuffs to the sleeves.
I am thrilled to have the jacket issue behind me, but even more so, I am just thrilled to be sewing and blogging again. Best wishes for a great weekend!
Monday, September 17th, 2012
Saturday night I officiated my friend’s wedding. It was beautiful! Her dress was amazing. Like, seriously, amazing.
Not only did I finish my dress on time, I had several people tell me how well the dress colors fit into her plum and grey wedding. Since there was a large NYC / PR / fashion contingency, I was asked a few times if I was a designer. Well, first they asked if I had a theater background and then when they found out I made my dress, they asked I was a designer. It’s so funny how it just doesn’t occur to people that you might sew for *fun*.
I went back to my celebrant dress (Burda 2-2009-124) last Friday night. I don’t know why I was so unhappy with it. I’m not sure if the style isn’t me or it just wasn’t what I wanted to be sewing, but the only thing I liked was the beautiful Carolina Herrera poly jacquard from Mood Fabrics (seemingly backordered / sold out since my August purchase) . I sewed a 40 on top grading to the largest size on the bottom. Fundamentally, I realize I just sewed a dress that was too big for me. I should have made a 38 grading to a 42.
After sleeping on it, I decided:
- to peg the hem and taper the bottom for a very narrow pencil, while adding a slit for walking ease
- to release one inch (total) on each side at my saddle bags to rid myself of drag lines across my thighs
- take in one inch from each side of the waist — hoping to eliminate some of the ‘block’ look I was getting.
- taper the shoulders by taking out two inches at the neckline and blending into the original seam line at the shoulder.
Sigh. Yeah. I’ve been slacking off in the gym and my mental state reflected this as I was sewing. I just thought the original was boxy on me and I looked like a shiny present. This though, this is better. My shoes were ordered from Zappos days before the wedding. I wanted silver to dress up the outfit, and I took some flats with me too. I cannot wear four-inch heels for six hours That being said, I bought them in a size 9 and by the end of the night they were a 9.5. I’m thinking of reselling them on eBay.
My friend Julia came as my date…
It’s so interesting to see the colors of the dress shifting depending on the lighting.
…and my mom flew in from Florida to watch me officiate.
And now, it’s all over! I’m so glad I stuck it out with the pattern and despite early reservations, the material was *perfect*. Gah. I’m so happy I got to pick it out in person at Mood when I was in NYC. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it.
The venue was the George Peabody Library here in Baltimore. My friend told me when she was my intern 12 years ago that she was getting married here. Over the years, I managed to stay on her running guest list. I never imagined I would be up front marrying her to the perfect man for her.
Here’s a photo of the library (image from Conde Nast Traveler)
I’m not in these, but here’s a Facebook sneak peak of the wedding photos from the very talented photographer. Does it sound dumb when I tell you I didn’t realize I’d be part of the posed photos? LOL! Seriously. It didn’t occur to me. The photographer even noticed my color coordination.
It was such an honor to be part of a gorgeous ceremony with two of my favorite people.