Monday, June 13, 2016

Gowns for the Gawds!


I have to say, this has been a great adventure.  It was fun creating the various looks for the challenges. It was mind numbing trying to figure out what was best and anticipate what great work the other ladies would submit.  I really wrestled with my submission.  In the end, while I loved what I did and think it was perfectly fine, I thought just before the submission that I should have submitted something different.  Something bolder.  And bold did indeed win.  The winner make a beautifully big gown that was eye catching.  I came in second place but I had a ball.  I started with McCalls 7047 and made a few adjustments.  I altered the neckline and added a split (cause my daughter told me to do it! LOL).  The lace along the bustline and on the train is hand-sewn (as in I sat on the floor all night long and sewed it by hand!!)

The lovely young lady in the middle had the winning gown.  But all the ladies (there were 10 when we started) did a phenonmenal job with each submission!

The submissions of the final three contestants

Unconventional Challenge Done!

Well, I settled on two options for the unconventional challenge.  I decided I would make a dress out of bubble wrap and one from CD's.  I loved them both! I could not decide which one to submit and so I sent photos to friends and asked them to help me select.  Half my friends chose the bubble wrap and half selected the CD's.
When we were told the next challenge was unconventional, I was totally uninspired and wanted to tell them that I was resigning.  I have never done anything like this and didn't think it make any sense.  Why make something that you could nto wear?  But I love a challenge so once the ideas came, I was completely invested.
I learned a lot in the process.  Here is what I learned:  CD's don't break! In my mind, I was going to wrap them in a towel and release my frustrations with a hamnmer.  Didn't work.  So, then I had to figure out how to get them into workable pieces. Cutting them was the answer.  So, I spent a good bit of  time cutting CD's into various pieces.  Then I went to work on my jigsaw puzzle dress!  This was REALLY fun when we went out to take photos.  Two iconic Memphis landmarks, Stax and Sun Studios were my choices.  The tourists at both places marveled at the dress when they realized what it was.  This was great fun!

But because I am a tactile person and this idea was in my head and needed to be realized, I made two garments for this challenge.  The other garmet was a bubble wrap dress.  I had seen dresses made from bubble wrap, but I had not ever seen one painted and definitely not given an ombre effect.  So, that's exactly what I did.  Painting the dress was super easy and fun.  Putting the dress together so that I could actually wear it was DEFINITELY not easy and made me want to cry a few times.  So, in my mind, I decided on the style -tea length party dress. I figured I could sew the pieces together.  Well, that didn't work because the plastic wouldn't feed through the machine.  Now, after the fact, I realized that I had in fact purchased a presser foot that would have worked, but I completely forget about it because I have never used it (I purchaed it because I was planning to make a leather purse!) So, the wheels are still turning in my head and then I decide that if I used shipping tape to join pieces that would work. It did, but the tape just wasn't staying together.  So, I said, well, maybe after putting the tape on the seams, I could sew the seams for added stability.  Whalah!! That seemed to work.  Except....the tape was sticky and the gumminess gummed my needle which then prevented the thread from feeding through!  FRUSTRATED!!!! But undeterred, I just kept replacing needles until I got it to a point that I could wear it and it didn't fall apart.

Then, it was time to paint.  I knew I wanted it to be purple because I had these fabulous purple pumps that were perfect accessories in my opinion.  I painted it the same day of the photoshoot because I was leaving for New York to see my daughter the next day and would be in NYC at the time the photos were to be submitted.

Because nothing can be simple for me, once the dress dried, we were headed to our chosen shoot location; the fountain at Tiger Lane.  Here is when I realized another problem.  The paint (white) flicked off like snowflakes every time you touched the dress!!  OMG, So, as I put the dress on at the location, paint was all over my arms, back and neck.  We tried to wipe it off as best we could, but close ups show me looking like a glitterball!!!

But, in the end, it was all worth it.  I LOVED how great these photos turned out and I thought the dress was really cute.  I used silver electrical tape for the belt.  And did you catch the suble reference - BUBBLE wrap and bubbles of water cascading behind me?  LOL.  I am silly, yes it's true!

And I did make it to the FINALE!  The final category was Ball Gowns! Stay tuned!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Unconventional Indeed

Besides being so thrilled to have won, I'm so pleased because the competitors did a great job and I appreciate the support of friends and family in voting for me!  The other great thing about this one was the fact that, once again, there were so many last minute things going on.  Just getting the lace was an effort.  Selecting shoes (ok, so don't tell anyone, but I LOVE shoes and will use any excuse to buy a new pair), deciding at that last minute that I needed this "Gone with the Wind" overskirt.  But then there were so many things that were right - like the weather here.  This is the season of crappy weather, so for the past two challenges it was raining cats and dogs at the start of the day, but surprisingly cleared up just in time for me to snap photos.  So, again, I love basking in the joy of winning - for the entire hot minute that I have been able to do so.

Because now, it's on to the next challenge. An "Unconventional Challenge".  It seems that we can make whatever we want - as long as we do not use fabric to make it!  Ohhhhh great!!!

Welp, what can I say?  I can't quit.  It's not in my nature.  Friends have offered suggestions, and I have, what I hope will be a great idea. But we shall see.  Now where is that hot glue gun?  
But, oh, let's be clear, my life can NEVA be this simple.  

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Red Haute Evening

Well, the next challenge is essentially over! We have submitted our interpretations for the challenge.  This week the challenge was to use New Look 6261.  We  were to use lace in our work.  Well, as always, I can never take the easy road.  The first issue I face was finding the right kind of lace.  I wanted the scalloped edge and I wanted something other than black.  Red is my favorite color, so I wanted a vibrant red lace. And since Hancocks has abandoned sewers, the options were few and far between.  But I was lucky, had a wonderful stretch lace, so I ordered it and patiently waited (after paying extra to have it shipped sooner!) 

This actually came together really easily.  The challenge was getting the fabric and committing to a look.  At the last minute, I decided I wanted the overskirt and wanted it in chiffon.  I decided this at a point where I could not have ordered it online and recieved it in time. But, fortunately, I was able to find some fabric at JoAnn's and it was a good match.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE how this looked when I was done.  The competitors are really good and I can only hope I make it to the next round.  The next challenge will be as interesting as any we have had so far.

Now I can only hope I find a date and a great event to wear this frock and flit about all night long!

I knew I wanted the overskirt detachable so I could wear it with out without with ease.  I decided that creating a belt and attaching the overskirt to the belt would work.

 About this belt - I purchased the buckle at Hancock's and it was the only one they had.  When I decided I was going to wear gold accessories, what was I going to do with this buckle.  As I was on my way to work, I thought I can paint it.  But I didn't want to go through the whole, buy paint, lay out paper, blah blah blah.  So, I decided I could get some nail polish and that would do the trick.  And wahlah!  It worked.  I think it was a great compliment to the red.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Africa is the New Black

Sew, I won the last challenge in the Pretty Girls Sew Challenge! And after basking in the glow of that, how-in-the-world-did-I-win revelry, it was time to get to work on the next challenge.  And a challenge it was. But at the start it seemed simple enough, make whatever you want (Great! Wrap Dress it will be!), as long as you use Ankara aka African Print fabric. Whelp, there goes that plan since Ankara is usually a waxed print cotton fabric. So, what do I do know!

So, a shopping I go.  First, I ordered this beautiful yellow and blue fabric online. I loved it.

 But, my self doubt kicked in and I thought I needed something more dramatic.  So, I found a local African products store.  There I purchased this beautiful blue and gold fabric.  I decided I would make this jacket and dress combo.  After almost finishing the jacket and only needing to throw together the sheath dress, I sent this photo to my daughter who also sews (and is supposed to be a contributor to this blog!) Her comment, "It's cute, but it looks like a karate jacket. Maybe it will look better when you put it on."I was distraught because when I stepped back, I kinda saw karate jacket too!



Well, that wouldn't do.  But this was the Wednesday before the Thursday deadline.  BUT I have never let the reality that there is not time left be a deterrent for me.  I pulled this fabric from the stash, used  Mccall's 7052 for this top.  I modified it a bit.  I altered the neckline, but otherwise kept it basically the same. I LOVED how it turned out and of course, just in the nick of time.
 While I didn't win that round, I didn't get kicked out either, so I will take that as a win!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I've Lost My Freakin' Mind...So, What's New?

So, the next challenge was titled - Office Memo - Black & White! This Vogue Pattern (9172) was the required pattern.  We could use whatever top we wanted to complete the ensemble.  Originally, I found this beautiful black and white fabric that I was planning to use.  As I thought about it (which means I trolled Pinterst late every night),I decided that black and white stripes would be the way to go. But after a quick search, I knew I would not find the fabric I wanted in the store.  SOOO, I got the bright idea to take black and white fabric, cut it into strips, sew them together and then cut the pattern from that.  This really wasn't difficult, but it wouldn't be me if there weren't mistakes. So, in looking at the inspiration piece, I liked that the stripes were at an angle.  Sew, I wanted that design feature as well.  Because I'm not that smart, it didn't occur to me that cutting my strips at an angle was NOT the way to go because when I then sewed them together, my fold of the fabric was all mishapen.  I was barely able to get all the pieces out of the "created" fabric! 
 What an idiot!! But, undaunted, I got it all cut out. I LOVED the final result. I knew before I started that I wanted a pop of color for the shoes.  I ordered a pair of yellow pumps from Zappos.  But when they arrived, they felt heavy and clunkly on my feet. I decided to try my local Dillards and to my delight these pumps were happily waiting for me.  I loved the color, less banana yellow, more chartreuse. It's funny that I picked this book to use as my photo prop.  It just happens to be the current criminal law handbook that I use in my practice! Wasn't that fortuitious?

I was also very lucky that my darling daughter was in town this weekend to hang out with me and attend a fashion show my sorority hosted.  She was the photographer and since she is a model AND sews, she was the perfect choice to stage these photos.  I chose the outside location sorta accidentally.  I wanted to take some shots in front of a local mural, but the one I wanted said MEMPHIS and was all black and white.  But, I drove to this one by mistake.  By the time we got there, there wasn't going to be much daylight and of course this was the day the submission was due (because I am ALWAYS last minute lucy!) so I decided we would make it work.  It was actually perfect.  Not only do I LOVE what the mural says, but the pops of color were a perfect backdrop to my black and white.  So, all these unplanned elements came together quite nicely.

And to top it all off, I WON the 3rd challenge round in the Pretty Girls Sew ( competition.

 I also made the top using this wonderfully simple Burda pattern. Burda 6838.  The fabric was way thinner than I wanted and yes, had I the time (I didn't because I made this Thursday morning around 3:00 am, I could have doubled it.  But it worked out ok in the end I think.  LOL..

So, now it's on to the 4th and I think final challenge. RippinAintEasy Sewing competition  4th Challenge ALL THINGS ANKARA Thehellip
We have a "freestyle" challenge now.  We can make whatever we want as long as we use Ankara (African/Wax Print) fabric in the piece.  I'm excited! I used to make things all the time when my children were young using African print.  The options and choices are SO much better now than they were back then.  So, stay tuned!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Militarily Inspired Mayhem!

I'm still standing!! Whew! Its so funny how these things take on a life of their own.  Really talented women doing some amazingly creative things with patterns.  I'm so impressed with all of them.  I feel lucky to still be in the running.

Well, it's done and submitted!  WHEW!! This one was really a test.  McCalls 7330 was the second required submission in the Rippin Ain't Easy Sewing Challenge.

This pattern was a challenge for me in unexpected and expected ways.  First, I do love jumpsuits, but honestly structured ones aren't my favorites. My body (in its currently questionable state) isn't really designed for a structured pattern like this one.  But, since I didn't have access to my favorite model (my daughter) I had no choice but to make it for myself.  What was difficult about this one was that I knew my waist measurements were not where they should be based upon the pattern.  I tried to compensate for that in my cutting.  The problem was there was no real way to adjust the pieces until you put the pants to the bodice.  That's when I realized just how warped my mind is about my current size. At any rate, I spent the next three days trying to get the size right.  I rarely create something that I'm not thrilled with.  I was not thrilled with this one.  But I finished it in enough time to submit it for the contest.  I just hope enough folks will still vote for me to keep me in the contest.  The next two items are really cute and I would love to create my versions of them both. But, if not, my motivation to get back to what I love has been rekindled.  I made this dress Thursday morning before going to work, so I feel ok about it in the end.

McCall's 9175.

This was incredibly quick.  I woke at about 5:00. Started this at 6:00 and was in it and at work at 8:00! I got this fabric at Fine Fabrics in Atlanta and I knew I wanted a dress with cuffs from it. This was totally fun and I love the way the neckline came out.