Saturday, May 30, 2009

Happy prom girl

I spent the after noon of my day off on the prom dress rescue. It was sewn by a friend of the family, who got in over her head. The dress is on the floor, because it didn't show much on a hanger. See the poof of sheer fabric to the side. The back skirt is cut too small at the top on that side. The zipper has a "nice" curve to it. The whole skirt torques like that. No more fabric was available in the right color.

I started with the bust, which was too tight. There was hardly any shaping. The girl is very small, but she does have curves. I let it out where I could and darted it in to fit the skirt seam. That part fit nicely.

See how short the zipper is! (14"). I couldn't match the color quite as well, but came close enough with a 22" zipper, of which I used 20".

The sheer overlay really looked funny. It's crystal organza, which is not the best fabric for a drape, but the girl loved the color. The dress fabric is lining fabric. There is a short skirt under the back for modesty. See the square edges on the train and the under layer of skirt. There are 1/2" seams to edge the organza and the "fashion fabric". UGLY!!!It is gathered into a bunch at the hem. The mother sent me a picture of the skirt they had wanted. There was such a difference!

I removed the skirt and completely took it apart. Most of the torque was in the sewing. I resewed the back and matched it up with the underskirt. The underskirt was wider, but I ignored the extra fabric in the seams, later trimmed and serged. It hung pretty straight on the dress form I used for draping.

Next up was the front. The split is actually in the center of the fabric. I removed all the wide edge stitching, and rounded the bottom edge. As you may be able to see, I used a baby hem. I cut the organza curve to match the lining hem curve. I put it on a dress form and pleated the top, lifting each pleat higher as I reached the edge, so it looked like a steep hill before trimming. There was a lot of organza to cut off the side at the hem. I had tilted the whole piece in the pleating and the seam had a lot of extra organza in a triangle tapering to nothing at the top seam. All the extra I found in the original hem was lifted out in the pleating. Sorry no picture, I was too busy sewing. It now looks nice and there is no fullness at the side. The half belt was in the original picture.

I put the back skirt on the top and put in the new zipper. Side seams were sewn and the front was placed as well as I could. The skirt front is off center because of the miscut of the back skirt. It still wraps to the back. The train looks nice, The side seams hang straight. I rounded the corners of the back and made a smooth transition into the train. I found a dress form that can be made small enough.

I like to leave a dress on the form as it shows to best advantage when the customer walks in. BTW when i got the dress, it had not been pressed, steamed, or anything like that. Delivered to the customer with the seams all wrinkled. I charged for steaming. They were going to take it to the cleaners for pressing, and I bought myself extra time. I'm glad I didn't need it. They got a dress ready to wear.

Prom girl came Friday after school and tried on the dress. It fit beautifully. It looked much like her dream. She couldn't stop crying, she was so happy. Her Dad took a stack of my business cards to give to friends. I could have done more and better with new fabric, but my husband still thinks I'm Wonder Woman. So does this family!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Oh No!!! Not another prom dress

I went to work this morning and found a message on my machine. There was a prom dress disaster. Could I help?
I had heard from the mother a couple of weeks ago. She was uncomfortable with the progress on her daughter's dress, being made by a family friend. She finally decided to let the friend finish the dress.

This really is a disaster! The skirt back is cut off grain and is too narrow. Everything is skewed and one "side" seam is where the back dart should be. The hips and bust are too tight. The dress was delivered unpressed and something funny is happening on the front skirt.

The store has no more fabric of the right color, so I have to work with what we have. I can fix the tight bust without affecting the under bust and waist. I lifted the skirt back until it hung almost straight. That may fix the tight hips. I'll take it apart tomorrow and make the lift permanent, adding a little to the hips. If they send me a picture of the front they wanted, I'll see what I can do. There's a crystal organza overlay that has some issues. I'll leave them if I don't get that picture. The prom is Saturday night. I'm supposed to be off tomorrow, but I'll be in the shop working on this dress.

And then there's the folk dancer who needs a number of skirts for a June 1 dress rehearsal. So far, I've altered one skirt and made a pair of Raggedy Ann type bloomers. She still wants 3 new skirts. I should be able to do 2 of them by late Monday. I hope she doesn't stop in before then, She's lonely, disorganized and a talker. Today, she brought in the fabric for the third skirt. I was sewing wedding veils onto combs, and kept on sewing while she talked. (Another customer sells veils and other wedding accessories). If I had stopped, I might not have time to finish her skirts. It was hand sewing and I explained it was another deadline.

Knitting continues, mostly on the green entrelac socks and the black shawl. I need more yarn for the shawl. I wonder when the yarn co owner will get it to me.

I'll take the camera to the shop tomorrow and get some pictures of the prom dress and dance stuff.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Prom dresses are finished, knitting can resume in earnest

First the prom dresses
First delivered was this purple one, designed by the prom girl and her sister. White piping on all the edges. Crochet cotton makes good filling for piping. It was a challenge to get all the pieces where the girls wanted them. I reinforced the "side seam" with twill tape. Thank goodness it will only get worn once. The back goes all the way down to a whisper train. They brought in a picture, which was modified as we worked. I don't have to like the dress!

Next up is a more modest dress. This was a combination of two RTW photos. I had to change the back a little to match the front she wanted. The dress is bias cut and the skirt is wider in back to give walking room. I'm much happier with this one. I ended up hand sewing the curves and them machine stitching over the hand sewing. In the background is the vest and tie for her date.

The third dress I made this year was made for a friend of the first two girls and had the same design input as the purple dress. We started with a cell phone image, which I insisted needed to be put on paper. The bra is connected in the front by crossed spaghetti ties. She originally wanted the skirt much shorter. No argument here, she just changed her mind when she put the dress on. The front hem is piped with dishcloth cotton inside. We had discussions about the train. I originally misunderstood what she had meant. This was a compromise. The train was too heavy to attach at the top of the skirt. No structure to hold the weight and that wasn't what she wanted anyway. The bow was a late addition. I hope she didn't get it tied too tightly. That distorts the upper skirt part. It is kind of cute as shown.

I've been working on the shawl. All that sewing cut into knitting time, but it's coming along. The pattern will be easy to write, only two main charts. I don't know what's hiding in the computer right now as far as the charts go. The main lace pattern I'm working from needs a little tweaking. I charted the border lace and the corners with pencil and graph paper. that actually will be three small charts.

My April socks, which should be finished by May 30 to be eligible for prizes, probably won't be. Knitting time has been almost non-existent. I've wanted to make this pattern for a while, but it isn't a fast knit. I actually have one sock finished and am past the toe on the second. They're toe up, so that means I still have most of a sock to knit. The pattern is from a German designer who i recently discovered.

My May socks are going to be a late birthday present for a son-in-law. This pattern is vintage. It's a faster knit, but lowest in priority.

Our family get together was on Sunday. A daughter hosted and a great time was had by all. Today is a lazy day. I'm still trying to recover from all the late hours put into those dresses. If I do it again next year. I'll start late nights once a week or se as soon as I get the order and deposit.

In case anyone cares, my phone problems resulted in a phone exchange. The new computer is working well, with a couple of problems still. Life is fairly good.