Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Catching Up: Part 2 - Wedding Blues

Just before our Hallowe'en party, my lovely friend Liz sent a desperate plea for help in the Wedding Guest Dress department.

We've all been there ... what the FREAKING HELL do you wear to somebody's wedding in unfamiliar territory -- especially when that wedding is miles away? (btw, in Liz's case, it was my hometown of Cape Town *sob*) She had raided every shop she could think of to no avail, a universally bad sign as, trust me, this girl has shopping mojo. And a 20% M&S discount, but that's another story.

So. Of COURSE I agreed to help her! Yay!!!!!! :)

(disregard the fact that this was my 2nd gig sewing for someone else, and therefore the only the 2nd time I would actually be expected to both finish the garment and not finish it poorly).

We went through my Burda & Knipmode collection & settled on Burda 10/2009-115, which was meant to be made up in heavy winter fabric, with a lining. The clever girl had narrowed our choice of styles by helpfully bringing a reference garment with her; also v useful for for comparative fit ... thank god. See below.

Seeing as the reference garment was a lovely floral summer dress and she was going to Cape Town for the wedding (!) we collectively pooh-poohed the heavy winter fabrics and Liz went off to buy a cotton/elastane blend, an invisible zip & thread. Like I said, the girl got skillz: two shops & one slightly frazzled phone call ('what kind of zip was it?') later, she had herself the ingredients to a dress.

Short version? I waited 'til the Monday after the party to start cutting, but all-in-all the dress took 3 nights: one night of construction, one night of fitting and one night of alterations ... plus one VERY frantic morning to finish off. The pattern is, honestly, not the easiest to interpret - Burda's instructions were sparse (as always) and by omitting the lining I created loads of problems for myself. HOWEVER. All of those problems were solved by liberal application of lovely lace trim. Huzzah!

What is with Burda patterns?
I hacked off nearly half a foot on the side seams during the fitting.

Ohohoh. And. Please, let's not forget one CRITICAL resource: Colette Patterns' invisible zipper insertion tutorial. I would have totally died without that info.
(Note to the lady with the big opinions about ironing the zipper teeth in the comments section of that tute: ironing them works. Not ironing them doesn't. Nuff said. :P)

Liberal application of lace. 
 Liz wore the dress a few days ago, and I'm most relieved that she looked very happy in it. Idiot that I am, I was so swept up in applying lace trim that I completely forgot to make the accompanying self-fabric belt ... it's on my list of things to do this weekend, I swear!

Looking at the pictures now, I can see the mistakes that another fitting session and a few more days' sewing would have fixed, BUT I'm really chuffed with the results. Considering this is only garment number 9. Shh,  don't tell Liz. 

Look at the happy smiles and ignore the mistakes. IGNORE THEM. 
And why is this post called 'Wedding Blues'? Well, apart from lovely Liz being in my lovely hometown while I had to be in stinky work doing stinky routine things, I mistakenly convinced myself that Liz had chosen not to wear the dress after all ... this is what comes from looking at people's Facebook pictures while in a bad mood. Dumbass that I am, I didn't remember that the wedding hadn't even taken place yet and that the pictures I was looking at were of a completely different wedding.
So, I proceeded to stomp around for several hours while poor Rob tried to placate me. When Liz sent a message several days later saying that she was wearing the dress, well ... I felt like a total twonk.

Lessons learned: BurdaStyle patterns come out BIG, Facebook-stalking never leads to anything good, and invisible zippers should be ironed prior to insertion. :)

Catching up Part 1 - Hallowe'en!

Hello lovelies,

This post might sound like the crazed ramblings of a madwoman, and um ... that's probably completely accurate because right now I'm feeling so COMPLETELY inspired & motivated and and and ... WOW.

Had to take my friend Rose to the airport this morning at the crack of sparrow's fart (intentionally mixed metaphor: crack of dawn & sparrow's fart, but ruder! hee hee) so got hom by 7:30 & decided to catch up on bloggy blogs. I have a self-imposed rule that I only read The Sew Weekly on a desktop computer, otherwise I miss out on so many of the lovely images via my RSS Reader. ANYWAY.

Oona took on my innocent challenge to produce Oona-fied work wear suitable to my OH SO boring work environment. Oona! Dudes. The number of girl crushes I have on sewing bloggers is phenomenal, but Oona is high up on the list :)

SO! Also inspired by a lovely comment from Zoe a few weeks back, here are some images of several projects I've been working on since my last installment...

The main focus of October was Hallowe'en. We LOVE Hallowe'en, and fancy dress is a big feature in our world for pretty much any occasion - so, let's face it, Hallowe'en is going to be a pretty big occasion. Because Rob has a beard now (and it looks so good on him :)), he tries to come up with costumes which enable le beard - hence Osama Bin Laden for his birthday in July.

Blessed are the meek.  

This time, he went for something a little more controversial: Zombie Jesus.

The very picture of zombified grace.
After my initial 'eek' moment, I though, 'Eh, well' and went ahead with modifying my self-drafted Osama tunic & troos-pattern into a Jesus-robe-thing pattern.  The robe was then made from two Ikea curtain offcuts from the charity shop, the toga-wrap-thing from a Primark sheet (it was impossible to find enough red fabric that wasn't new. Grrrr) and the trim was from a VERY lucky c/shop find - a bag full of upholstery trim for £1. Hello dumb-ass, wanna sell me some really expensive stuff for nothing? GREAT!!!

My favourite part was embroidering the sacred heart: I've always loved these images and this was so fun to do. Took AGES, but it killed lots of time commuting to/from Europe for work.

when the sun was still out at 6pm. *sniff sniff*

I'd decided to go with a Ghostbuster costume on the premise that it would be quick & easy: pair of cheap overalls & a vaccum cleaner strapped to my back, TA-DAAAA!

Yeah, right. When did 'quick & easy' EVER work in our house? So, instead it became this:

Embroidered Ghostbuster Badge for Pocket

Tracing Simplicity 5151 ... on pegboard????
I bought Simplicity 5151 on eBay while looking for a jumpsuit/overall pattern, which was scarce as hen's teeth then and as is to be found in abundance at ANY other time ... what's with that??? I was so excited when the pattern arrived that I didn't notice until the photo above was taken that the instructions in the envelope were for another pattern altogether. So, I winged it.

FYI: excluding the 3 garments I made in primary school needlework classes, this garment would represent my 8th (complete) garment. Eight. As in onetwothreefourfivesixsevenEIGHT. And no freaking instructions??? 

Thank god I read blogs. Honestly, this pattern was the bomb and gave me no grief whatsoever, it really was very straightforward. In the end, I only omitted the button placket because there wasn't time to sew it on over the centre front zip and make the pretty button holes. More on that in a sec. 

I finished the dress at approx 11:00 on the morning of the party, due to start at dusk. My dramatically-minded husband put that vague description on the invitation, so we really had no idea what time people would start turning up, and the house still needed to be decorated, AND I still had no proton pack. 

Enter chaos.

Proton Pack in Progress ... recognise any sewing items, folks?

MANY glue sticks later, the pack is ready to be sprayed black. 

We took this sucker outside and sprayed the heck out of it with - wait for it - Poundland-variety black matt car spray paint (seriously, £1! kicks ass).  Rob sacrificed an old backpack so that their straps could be glued onto the front of this tea tray-rubbish-glue gun confection, and that was it. The most fun EVER. 

Fast forward several bored guests (who arrived early, looking amazing only to find their hosts running around like lunatics trying to get Zombie Jesus' contact lenses stop moving around) to later in the evening and here are the proud results of the whole shebang: 

With 50p LED light and everything!!! 

The goggles only last an hour or so as they were way too flimsy ... but still cool :)

Who you gonna call? 

Last point to mention: we ran out of time to make an appropriate gun-handheld-thing to be attached to the proton pack ... so I got an old vacuum hose from some junk in the garage and wielded it at people incessantly for the rest of the evening. They weren't annoyed at all.