Dress Project Photos, As Promised

John and I braved the frigid air this morning to get the photos I have promised to post here. The bleakness of the wintering vegetation around us was a perfect setting for the style I was going for with the dress and jacket. I hope you enjoy the photos. I hope my explanations come through clearly without confusing anyone. The first photo I’m posting was taken by Starshine, and as quickly as possible. I did the editing on the photo. By the time we took this picture, my face felt like it was freezing solid. I think I was only outside for a total of 10 or 15 minutes. Brrr!!!

Black Suede-cloth Jacket; Batik Cotton, Embellished Chiffon, and Glitter Satin dress; 3-strand necklace, 3-piece dangle earrings set, and brooch all made by me.

Black Suede-cloth Jacket; Batik Cotton, Embellished Chiffon, and Glitter Satin dress; 3-strand necklace, 3-piece dangle earrings set, and brooch all made by me.

This next photo is a close up of the collar of the jacket, showing a brooch I made . I used Simplicity pattern 2525 to create both the jacket and the dress. You’ll be able to see that I did modify the pattern somewhat. In the photo above, you can see that there are no ruffles on the ends of the jacket sleeves. I couldn’t make a decision about the material to use for them and time was running out. The black bits covering part of my hands are actually black fingerless gloves. I pulled out the black ribbons that came with them and re-laced them with teal, aqua and black with iridescent edged ribbons. You’ll be able to see those better in the photo John posted on his blog today. I’ll reblog that when I’m done here. The jacket collar, sleeves and front were edged with gothic rose trim and black gimp braid. I went ahead and trimmed around the entire edge of the jacket with the gimp braid to give it a bit more appeal. I don’t do buttons so I used rings instead. I added lots of ribbons to the rings. I didn’t want too much glitz for this dress. It’s meant to have a more Gothic feel to it. But it was for a ball, so it still needed something ball-ish and this translated to ribbons in my mind.

Jacket collar close-up taken by J.D. Kittles Photography and used with permission

Jacket collar close-up taken by J.D. Kittles Photography and used with permission

In this photo, you can also see the straps I ended up making for the dress. The pattern calls for ribbon to be used but the widest ribbon I had was the Gothic rose ribbon. The backing for the ribbon is a very fine net which was much too fragile to be used as a strap for a heavy dress. I built the straps using the cotton batik fabric I used for the bodice and added the rose trim on top of that. I also had to modify the length of the straps. Not a huge deal but I should’ve checked that first! I had to laugh at myself for being so excited about finishing the dress that I went ahead and cut the straps as per the pattern instructions. Trimming the top and bottom of the bodice was a bit of an adventure, as well, since the original pattern does not give instructions for adding any trim. Because there is an elastic casing in the top and bottom of the bodice, I had to be extremely careful not to sew into those casings.

This last picture is of the bottom hem. I had to modify the skirt quite a bit. The original skirt length ended about 4 inches above the knee, not exactly what I needed for the ball. I cut the glitter satin according to the pattern, simply following the line down to the length I measured for myself. I’m happy to say the skirt ended just above my toes…perfect! Then I had to cut the chiffon for the top skirt. If you’ve ever worked with satin or chiffon, you’ll know they are not the most friendly fabrics to work with. They have a tendency to slip when you are cutting or sewing, so lots of pins are required. I had to cut the satin twice. I was so glad I had a surplus of it! Instead of trying to cut the chiffon according to the pattern, I knew I wanted a bit more fullness so I cut large rectangles instead, gathering the top edge, and leaving one of the selvedge edges as the bottom. This went along superbly with my Gothic them, as it had a bit of fraying beyond the selvedge edge. There was, however, about a 2 inch gap which was devoid of the hologram dots that were scattered all over the chiffon. I had to cover that. I used 2 rows of cotton lace edging on either side of a row of the Gothic rose trim. I felt like the sewing would never end. It was almost as terrifying as cutting the skirt pieces! It came together pretty well, though, I think. I thought I’d run into a bit of a problem when I realized that the satin underskirt was about 2 or 3 inches shorter than the chiffon overskirt but since there was no time for un-sewing and re-sewing, platform boots saved the day.

Bottom edge of skirt, photo by J.D. Kittles Photography, used with permission.

Bottom edge of skirt, photo by J.D. Kittles Photography, used with permission.

Maybe I should’ve used black thread to sew the trim on but I’m still pleased with how it turned out, overall. I now have a fabulous formal that fits comfortably for both my personal style and my body type. All in all, I have to give myself an A- on this one. The dress took 12 hours to complete and the jacket took almost as much time. I do love it, though, and I’m so happy to have it!

I can’t tell you how many people have told me ridiculous things like: “I could never sew!” “How do you do all that?!” “You are so talented! I just don’t understand how all that works.”

The fact of the matter is that if I need something and I can’t afford to buy it already made, then I make it myself. Because I /want/ to. Because I /want/ that something and can’t buy it. I research. I ask questions. I use my imagination. I try to do things in ways that make sense to me. To this day, there is still one step in one of my cloak patterns (a /cloak/ pattern! o.O ) that simply boggles my mind. I’m a visual learner so I’ll need to ask someone to show me what those directions are telling me. I modified that pattern and made the cloak but I know it’s got a pretty awful flaw in it. That didn’t stop me from completing it. It doesn’t stop me from wearing it. If you like to do something, do it. If you want to learn something, learn it! But don’t say you can’t do something because you just don’t understand. Anyone can learn anything. You have to want it bad enough. Then you find the right teacher and the right learning method and the next thing you know, you’re doing something new!

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.”  ~Clay P. Bedford


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