Sunday, October 23, 2011

Frocked up

Ok it's not a frock, but it IS frocked up.  This is a sneak peak at the bottom half of my ball outfit.  It is made from beautiful embroidered taffeta silk that I bought on-line for $15 a metre. I bought it on a whim with no particular expectation or project in mind. I remember the elation I felt on opening the package - it was so much more beautiful than the e-shop picture.

When I started thinking about my ball outfit my thoughts went immediately to Allesandra Rich and her beautiful, structured lace and silk dresses. But looking on net-a-porter, I saw a beautiful $1000 + fishtail skirt and I knew immediately that this was a practical solution.  I haven't been to a ball since I was 25 and I'm not likely to go to many more, so investing in good lace was not very sensible.

I used Burda 12/2008 125 as my base pattern.  This is a double fronted evening skirt with a fishtail hem.  To redraft as a plain skirt, all I needed to do was to make the centre-front line a centre-fold on both the skirt and the waist band and voila!  You'll have to wait until after November 12 for wearing photos, but it is a very good fit.  The next photo shows the embroidery in more detail and the degree of pattern matching I was able to achieve. No mean feat with only 2 metres of fabric.  I'm yet to complete the hem - still deciding if I need horsehair stiffening or just stiff interfacing to accentuate the fishtail.

The last photo shows you where I'm going with the top half.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Beware of Ottobre Magazine

In Australia, the notion of a 'standing subscription' would be considered a dodgy business practice at best.  Not so in Finland.

I purchased two copies of Ottobre magazine having seen some great back issues.  The issues duly arrived and personally I thought the designs were really dated and uninspired.  So I did not bother to renew my subscription. Lo and behold I received the next issue - worse than ever in terms of patterns and styles - and an invoice for 15.9 euros.  I wrote to Ottobre in protest but was told to read the fine print.

Given my overall lack of satisfaction with my Finnish friends, I am posting this as a warning to all current and potential subscribers.  If you don't want future issues you need to send then notification in writing.  Otherwise you'll receive lots of threatening notices to pay.  But perhaps you'd do better not to subscribe in first place.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Frocktober No 2

I'm loving 'Frocktober'.  Frock No.2 is my Tracy Reece dress Vogue 1224.  The fabric was bought for $6 from a charity store.  Originally intended a cheap test fabric, it was only when I started sewing I realised what I gem I had.  1970s silky woven jersey, very reminiscent of early Dianne Von Furstenberg.  It behaved like a dream under the needles.

Tracy Reece's design is very flattering when you get it right.  I don't know what it is about Vogue's young designers - the designs are beautiful and clever, but their drafting skills are a little under par.  I am only 5 foot 2 inches and added more than two inches to the top half and another two inches to the hemline.  Without the adjustment it would have gathered under the bust and come up very short.

 Overall I'm happy as I have a dress that I can wear to the office under a jacket or more casually with sandals.

Next up I'm making my outfit for the ball in November.  It was to be a frock but I'm opting for the practicality of long embroidered duponi silk skirt and a silk cowl neck and back blouse.  At least I know that I will wear the blouse again.  So watch this space.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Frocktober off to a good start

October is a month of dress-making for me - literally making dresses.  I've started the spring season with my version of the Vena Cava dress Vogue 1258.  I've used a very soft, drapey knit jersey - a rare quality find from Spotlight. A little too drapey on reflection as the weight of the front ties drags the neckline to dangerous depths.

There are a few things to remember if you are making this dress.
1) read the instructions
2) read the instructions and
3) read the instructions!

Seriously, this pattern is a pleasure to sew and cleverly crafted, but it is not an 'intuitive' pattern.  You need to follow the map or you will veer off the road very quickly.  The other thing to remember is that the neckline from the pattern is very very low. It isn't too much of a problem to adjust.  On advice from Alison who made the dress before me I took the neck up about two inches. 

If I were to make this pattern again (maybe... but with sleeves for winter) I would also take a little of the taper from the hip to knee.  As Erica Bunker warned Alison, the results are very "body conscious".  I certainly don't want the answer to the proverbial "does my bum look big in this?" question.

Frocktober no. 2 is the Tracy Reece dress Vogue 1224 in black and white jersey.  It is coming along nicely.  I can see that I need to seriously work on my blog photos.  My daughter takes them and the attitude is no care, no responsibility.  DD 1 who is away at university was much more accommodating.