Monday, November 28, 2011

Sofie's Valedictory Dress

My baby Sofie graduated from high school recently and I made her a new dress for her Valedictory dinner.  I anticipated this event a while back and bought some silk chiffon from China on my last Hong Kong visit.  The fabric is an ombra that is black on both selvages and grading to white/cream in the middle.  Luckily she was happy with the fabric.

I used a mix of patterns - a bias cut night dress 12-2008-128B for the skirt and Butterick 5029 for the front bodice.  I then cut long ties - very long rectangles and attached them just under the bust.  To keep things simple I used elastic across the back to keep the dress close to the body as per the nightgown pattern - so no zip or other fastener needed!  I later went back and added elastic under the bust too to keep that area also closer to the body
You can see the bodice here and the rectangles hanging down. I also stitched the beads to the shoulders to keep them in place as Sofie wore the dress.
The ties wrap up over the bust, tie up at the back and hang down the back.  It was a bit of trial and error to see what looked good.  We ended up twisting around the bodice neck and tucking in around the bodice.

Of course the occasion required fake tan, hairdo, heavy makeup and false eyelashes!  The photos (except the dress form ones) were taken on a fancy smancy camera owned by Ellen's (dd1) boyfriend.  More can be seen here

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Another dress for Sofie

I am a very lazy blogger.  And a lazy sewer!  But not to worry. I have recently made another formal dress for Sofie.   We used the following dress from Net-A-Porter as inspiration:

 Notte by Marchesa.  Looking closely at the dress on Net-A-Porter it appears the dress is a white strapless dress with a thick black ribbon tied around and joined to the dress in strategic places.

That is how we approached making the dress.  We started with a muslin for a Burda mag sheath dress (can't recall what number and it doesn't really matter as we changed it) and shaped the top to be sleeveless.  We shortened it too! 

Muslin looked good so we proceeded.  I used a silk remnant I purchased in Hong Kong on one of my early trips.  The black duponi was from Spotlight.  We also used up a black crystal zipper purchased way back in Hong Kong too.   I am sure they did not cost more than $10 all up.  The black silk cost as much! 

We won't discuss here all the trouble I had with that zipper!  we won't mention that I shortened it and more than once managed to get the tab off of it.  I thought we were a goner!  Sofie to the rescue with her young eyes.  By the third time she wasn't so happy with me however....

As this dress would no doubt be like others and worn only once, I took some shortcuts.  I didn't do any boning.  We put on a strap and I hoped that would hold up the dress well enough.  Sofie's breasts had other ideas.  If she leaned forward all was showing and even standing up her left breast was escaping.  What to do!?  Here is our quick fix - see the black patch on her left side above the white?  We found a scrap and just sewed it in!  Works well to cover her up and tighten the dress a bit.  Not so pretty from the inside.

The right side was just a matter of arranging the "ribbon" into a pleasing shape and hand stitching in place.  This was harder than I thought it would be.  The proportions were hard to get right as I had made the black "ribbon" smaller as Sofie is much smaller than the model but I didn't take into account that her bust however is much larger than the model.

And the troublesome zipper -

We stitched the zip exposed on the outside.  The dress is also lined.

Overall it is not my best effort but I think she looked gorgeous and the dress lasted out the night.  It is still at the drycleaners as she managed to get a drink splilled on it and plenty of body makeup too.  And did you see those killer shoes I bought her?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sofie's bed head

Quite awhile ago, Sofie and I bought some quilting cottons in green and pink to decorate her room. First project was to make an upholstered headboard. After much research (thank God for the Internet) we decided to have a go.

First, Sofie decided on a design. Then we traced a curve on some Burda tracing paper. From there we traced onto the board. We recycled an old desk we had in our previous house but have no use for in the new one.
Next job was to cut out the shape with the jigsaw.

We took the paper template to Clarke Rubber and have them cut out some low density foam (about 4cm thick) to fit the bed head. They also sold wadding which saved us a trip to the fabric store.

The foam was glued to the board and the wadding wrapped around and stapled down. The fabric was then stapled being careful to make sure it was nice and lined up.

We used "hooks and eyes" to attached the head to the wall. More scary power tools! We put the eye pieces on the wall and put the hooks into the back of the head. Here you can see the back is not so pretty, but hopefully this side will never be seen.

Et voila!

All styled up. Next project will be a duvet cover and some matching pillow slips I think. We also plan to recover a stool and make a runner for her chest of drawers.

Unfortunately the fabric was not wide enough and I had to seam pieces on the sides. This was the most time consuming part of the whole project. To make sure that the pattern matched up I used Summerset's way of basting from the front before machine stitching from the back. Works like a charm - can't see the seam can you?

From this angle you can see the width of the head board. Also you can see that the messy back can't be seen.

Not bad, if I do say so myself!