Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Aaaaand I'm back... again...with a Cocktail Dress!

Hello my lovelies. I'm sitting here with a cup of tea in hand and kicking myself. I haven't posted to A Few Threads Loose since November! Bad Blogger, bad! Time really got away from me this winter. Between work (busier than ever) and the exhaustion that follows chronic pain like a big, wet, rain cloud, I've been hiding under a rock for months. To top it off, all of my friends moved away. All of them. Living at a military post can get rough and having all of your friends move away comes with the territory, but I've never quite gotten used to it. Being a military wife can be a lonely job, let me tell you.
But I'm back, out from under my rock, and trying. Trying to focus on what I love, which is this vintage/sewing/blogging/ pattern drafting world of mine, and not on the loneliness, pain, and exhaustion I've been stuck with these last few months. As my late mother's favorite and mortifying saying goes, "I'm putting my big girl panties on and getting over it.". Oy, still mortifying... some things never change.

I only worked on one sewing project while I was away. It was something that I told myself I didn't even need to blog about - it would be just for me, it wouldn't be work, it wouldn't be a sew-along or a tutorial and I didn't have to try. But it felt so good to get something so right that I just had to share. No tutorials, just a pretty, pretty dress.

The pattern is a massive adaptation of my #3015 French Cocktail Dress Pattern.

In fact, I re-drafted much of the back of the dress (for fit) and some of the front to get the look I was going for, so the only thing that's the same is all of the pleating and draping at the front! The dress was for our holiday party in December. My husband came home and gave me a month's advanced warning (bless him) instead of the usual week I get if I'm lucky to plan an outfit for these things. It was time to sew!

And please pardon my photos, thanks to El NiƱo, my studio is the darkest room in the land. But hey, I'm not complaining or anything. I love the rain!

The bodice has these great pleats that get stitched in place and then joined to a sleeve piece pleated to match. I pulled out all the stops, using every couture technique in the book to make this baby luxurious, and just as pretty on the inside.

The hip at one side features a really interesting pleat detail where the pleats are first made horizontally, a couple more are added vertically and then they are sewn together to simulate a side seam.

Now on Lusty Lulu the back zipper had a strange pucker at the top that I couldn't seem to sort out. But luckily, when I was wearing it went away and fit like a glove. Literally, like a glove, and I think I might have made it a bit too fitted in the hips because sitting was a tricky affair, even with the vent at the back hem.

The side that doesn't have pleat details instead has a v-shaped inset, which was cool enough in print but would look really neat in a contrasting solid on another dress.

The dress was completely interlined (meaning each pattern piece was lined and basted together to form one layer, changing the stiffness and drape of my original cotton).
I think from now on I might underline every dress I ever make again. It was a bit time consuming but hand-basting everything together was so relaxing, and having my pleats perfectly marked out on my lining pieces made the process so much easier than trying to find markings on all that print.
I also added a silk taffeta waist-stay which took some of the pressure off of the zipper and made for an even better fit.

Ultimately, I was absolutely thrilled with how it fit, no one at our holiday party was wearing anything like it and I felt like a million bucks in this dress! My husband was really amazing too. I worked for weeks on this dress, making 6 test muslins before I got the pattern perfect (ugh, so much muslin!) and to make sure that he "looked good enough to be seen next to a killer couture dress" (his exact words) he went out and bought a suit and had it tailored. I was next to 6 feet and 3 inches of James Bond in a black suit all night and was really touched by his gesture. He is NOT a suit man, and buying a suit was his way of saying "I love you."
Also, he's insanely gorgeous so that helps :)
He's shy so I don't usually blog about him much, but in case you're curious, he was sweet enough to model my flight cap pattern a few years ago... sigh... I'm crazy about that man.

But enough about me. What have you all been doing since we last chatted? Have you been sewing? Cooked anything good lately? I miss you guys!

Happy sewing,