April 29, 2015

On the fast track...

As of yesterday, I've dropped all other sewing projects I was thinking about or even working on. Some things take precedence. 
On Monday, we got a message from a friend asking whether or not we were coming to her wedding. We had never received the invitation. Thank you Dutch mail!

Obviously, we wanted to come to the wedding and luckily, E could arrange things at work. So, now I have to make sure I have something to wear on 8 May...
As I have mentioned before, the general dress sense here in the Netherlands is not very formal so I could probably get away with wearing some season-appropriate dress I already have. Especially if I take care to pick one which hasn't been worn around friends' parties. But what's the fun in that? If there is ever an occasion for something new and fabulous, it's a wedding, right? And this particular bride is a glamorous dresser in her own way.

I've been thinking about it for two days and I now have three options, with varying degrees of a eh... work intensity. 

The simplest option is this: 

Sort of late 50's early 60's in style. A skirt with box pleats supported by a petticoat and a simple, kimono sleeved top with a slight scoop or a V-neck. Skirt in bright pink raw silk, top in black or grey jersey.

The second option would require serious investment of sewing time. And of time otherwise dedicated to other things. On the other hand, it's something I've been thinking about for a while: A party dress in which I can combine skills and knowledge acquired in my normal sewing and pattern making, lingerie making and working in bridal stores. 

So far, it wasn't a single clear-cut design. I just know it would include a corset-type bodice, with separate cups, draping over that and a slim skirt with some kind of flounce. I also planned on making it lace up at the back and spent quite some time thinking about solutions to have that and still be able to put it on on my own (which means I would need an extra closure. Like the busk on a corset. I'm just not going heavy enough with the construction of this to have it support a busk and there are super-strong zippers but I don't have any).
 I have a very humble, boring grey fabric in my stash which would I always had in mind for this. Plain fabric makes a design stand out and I actually look quite good in grey.
And of course, if I end up making a strapless dress, it would need some kind of cover-up (most modern wedding gowns are strapless and not all brides cover up for ceremony and/or dinner, but the bride is the star of the show and perfectly allowed to do whatever she likes. A guest, on the other hand had better stick to some traditional rules).
And then, I started to doubt the idea of a basically strapless design for me. And went to have a look at my collection pictures from vintage magazines on Pinterest. 

This is pretty close to what I have in mind.

And I've always loved this one... just a little less asymmetric. 

Or something with a great collar, like this. Just as a dress.

This is a much simpler shape, but a great neckline.

And I actually really like this too. I'm just not so sure it's great for my fabric and I think that decorated cleavage might be both impractical and a bit too attention grabbing...

And then, I found this picture. 

Just for the record, although it looks white in the black-and-white picture, this is described as an evening gown. 
It doesn't look like a difficult shape. And I've seen a really nice lace at the market which has a slightly 'furry' texture. I've been eyeing up the grey version for while. It could be lovely for a design like this, but then at a shorter length and maybe with not quite such a full skirt. Grey lace with a pale pink slip...

Further considerations... Well, I could buy that lace this Friday which would be in time but it would be very nice to use fabric from my stash... And I've been thinking on-and-off about option 2 for about a year now... And somehow both dresses I have made to wear to friend's weddings before, and two of these options, are grey. Not all the same shade but still... 
Yesterday, that last consideration and the wish not to overwhelm myself, almost convinced me to go for option 1. 

Today, I was doodling not-strapless options for 2, which are nice but immediately because more normal and look like they would require a more interesting fabric.

And then, I decided to try the look. I stuffed one edge of the grey fabric into the top of a RTW corselette to see how such a shape worked on me. With and without covered shoulders.

Of course, these are horrible pictures. Bedroom mirror selfies... But they show something. I can wear a shape like this. 
Why not go for it? I think I'm going to try. I will start by building the bodice, and then drape the fabric over it. I'm still a bit in doubt over skirt options: a flounce at the side front, sarong style, or at center back, sort of like a bustle. I won't do the lacing. It complicates too many other things. And I think I will make a separate little bolero to go with it. 
I'm going to give it a go. I'll get started tomorrow! 


  1. Best of luck!! I certainly wobble between 'Go all out and do the design you've been dreaming of!' and 'Hold off on the dream project until you have time to do it justice'. And YES you certainly can wear a shape like that... gorgeously!
    Give us as much of a peek into your process as you can! Kimbersew

  2. Yes, good luck! Actually you had me at grey lace and pink lining... you can of course wear that silhouette ... can't wait to see what gets made.

  3. It's casual over here in the U.S., too, but I agree that it's fun to dress up! Particularly when you wear something that has a story to tell. Go for it!

  4. Wow, this is going to look totally bombshell---and I love the idea of a little cropped bolero/shrug to tone things down for wedding wear (but then I love a shrunken/cropped little topper in pretty much any situation.)

    Like Summer Flies, I swooned at the grey lace and pink... one of these days I'll manage to blog the grey and pink rayon dress I made earlier this spring... might be my new favourite colour combo.... :)