Getting Back into the Groove

Having a machine again is so nice!  I’ve been so happy sewing and making things again, and it’s even better because I have time now that school is out.

I’ve decided for this month I’ll just get my groove back and make as much as I can.  Starting next month though I want to focus on technique and improving my skills.  I’ll practice seam finishing in July, and in August I’ll tackle hand sewing.  Since hand sewing is so integral to fashion and costume making I figured it’d be best to start doing it more so that my pieces are better made and therefore last longer.  It will be hard but so worth the time.

My cat likes to 'help' me work.

My cat likes to ‘help’ me work.

I’ve already been quite busy this first week with my machine though!  I’ve made a dress for myself, started a costume, and made my mother a couple of kimono cardigans. The dress is made of the loveliest floral fabric, with roses and chrysanthemums on a teal background. I don’t usually go for teal but this fabric is so gorgeous I couldn’t say no.  I even have enough left for another skirt or shirt, so I’ll be getting on that soon.

This fabric is just a dream to look at, slightly difficult to work with.

This fabric is just a dream to look at, slightly difficult to work with.

I learned a lot from this dress, and working with the neckband was interesting.  My fabric was so delicate and sheer I had to underline it (or flatline it, I’m still not sure what the difference is). Either way, I took another type of fabric, sewed them together, and then continued as if it was one piece of fabric.  It’s a slightly different process than just lining it, and worked out better because the darts needed for shaping the dress would have been too bulky with regular lining.  I used tailor tacks for the first time and man were they amazing! they kept everything in place and so it’s a technique I’ll use much more often.  The end result is just worth the time.

The tailor tacks were really helpful.

The tailor tacks were really helpful.

The costume dress is part of a series I want to work on involving mythical creatures.  I want to bring them to life and give them a fashionable look. My first creature is the Loch Ness Monster.  For whatever reason I’ve decided that Nessie is a woman, and so her costume will be ‘Lady Loch.’  She actually has 2 looks; one is more elegant and the other is more of a party dress.  Though even the party dress will be fashionable and meant for a gala rather than house party.  I’m working on the party dress now, because the other one is much more complicated and will take me a while to finish.  The party dress is more simple, a basic princess seam bodice with circle skirt (skater dress) made of this gorgeous green taffeta. The fun part will be the cape (I’m obsessed with capes currently) and the extra details.

This is the basic silhouette of the dress.

This is the basic silhouette of the dress.

Finally, I’ve been practicing my sketching…which is terrible.  It’s so much fun though and such a different type of challenge.  Thankfully I don’t have to be an expert, and I’m more concerned with technical garment drawing and fashion illustration that people…so I don’t have to worry about my croquis (the ‘blank’ person used for fashion illustration) looking all that great. Here are some of the ones I have so far…and it’s ok if you laugh, because they make me laugh too!

I can't seem to make them look human! Or proportional...haha

I can’t seem to make them look human! Or proportional…haha

This is the basic plan for my Lady Loch dress, and it terrifies me! The pattern looks really tough so starting it is making me nervous.

This is the basic plan for my Lady Loch dress, and it terrifies me! The pattern looks really tough so starting it is making me nervous.

I also got some new fabric…I see dresses coming into my future perfect for summer.  I’m thinking of playing with the fabric so that there are some extra structural details to make things more interesting, and to test my skills even further.

Well that’s all for now…until next time!

—Bethany Out

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