Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pretty dress for someone else

I love making pretty dresses for other people. I like making pretty dresses, but there is very little call for a formal, strapless, ruched chiffon bodiced dress when dealing daily with two three year olds, so I don't make many for myself, funnily enough. (Not that I've ever worn a strapless dress myself anyway). Fortunately every so often I get a call from someone who was given my name by a friend for whom I made something once, and I get to make something pretty.

Note to self: Don't try to photograph flowy skirted dresses outside if there is even a breath of wind. It doesn't look blown about, but the skirt is wonky in this shot compared to the last one, and this was the best one!
I was going to document the construction a bit more thoroughly, but the teenager borrowed the camera batteries, the 11 year old had flattened the batteries first, and I just ran out of oomph on that idea, and much of it was sewn in the evenings when photography is difficult anyway so these two are all I have.

Bodice with ruched overlayer:
With empire band:
The dress has a separate boned corsolette with waist stay, and the dress itself is only joined at the top edge. I love this technique for strapless dresses - they STAY PUT and hang smoothly. This dress is the for teenage daughter of a teacher from Oliver's school (who was given my name by the secretary who was given it by one of the kids' teachers) for her school formal. She brought me a picture and I modified a Burda magazine pattern which is how I create almost all patterns for adults. So much easier than drafting from scratch!

Now back to the mischief of mice. (Apparently the collective nouns "horde" and "nest" are also applicable, but with a son like Nicholas "mischief" seems eminently more appropriate!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Getting a head start

So last year I made Nicholas and Isabella fabric activity books for Christmas. They were a great success, and I absolutely loved making them (and LOVE seeing the twins playing with them), so decided that I really should do more of this sort of thing. I was going to make an adorable mouse family and house for Isabella for her birthday, but, um, didn't get around to it. So right after their birthday I figured that it'd be great to make for Christmas, and if I start now I should get it all done with months to spare to make other presents. Good plan!

Here's prototype #1 for the mice. Cheap black acrylic craft felt, all hand blanket stitched. (Much easier with small fiddly pieces).

He (no idea why he's a he, but I'm certain that he is. Till I make "him" a dress) has his feet on the issue of Homespun from which part one (of two) the pattern is taken. (Issue #89, Vol 11.10, in case anyone wants to know). Designed by Rosalie Quinlan, the project has a family of four mice and their house as a carry case. This mouse, um, isn't one of them. The head comes from a Handmade magazine from at least ten years ago, and the body I think I drafted myself. I did use Rosalie's limbs. I seem to be incapable of using pretty much any pattern as the designer intended.

I expected this guy to be prototype #1 - ie, that more prototypes would follow before I splash out on nice wool felt to make the real ones, but I'm really really pleased with how he turned out, so he may end up being part of the family! I fancy shades of grey. (Georgia wants a purple one. Which I think I'll make her)

As before I'm not making any attempt to hide the making from the twins, and Nicholas has been fascinated by me making a mouse. This may well end up being a shared gift - the bane of twin childhood!