Formals & More

Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category


First, thankyou to Selfish Seamstress for this pattern. I traced and cut it out of tracing fabric, then using the tracing fabric as a muslin, pinned it to myself to make necessary adjustments. With the origianl pattern being only a sz 32, I figured I would have to grade it up atleast a size or 2. Typically, I make a 10 to fit the bust, and between a 10 -12 for the hip area. I’m still not sure what went so horribly wrong. Everything about this dress was HUGE!!!! Not only was it atleast 2 sizes too big, but somehow, the fabric ( a textured black linen) either had a warped grain to it that I didn’t notice, or I really screwed up in my cutting. The front of the skirt – even though it looks straight and even, feels like it is twisting. And the side seams are twisted just very slightly. My husband said he couldn’t tell to look at it.  Anyway, I ended up taking it in an inch on each side of the skirt from the hips down; plus, because after taking it in at the sides it was still baggy through the front, I added 2 front/side seams to follow the princess lines of the bodice. Princess seams. AAARRGGGHHH!!! I have no problem doing them on others. But on myself? HA! Way too wide through the center front. Way too narrow at the side fronts. Back way too long. Gaping at the neck. Rolls of fabric at the back waist. Bust points all off! Why is it so easy to fit others and so difficult to fit myself? I ended up adding a back center seam (to narrow it up through the back), raising the waist (which was originally lower than the natural waist), adding the 2 front side seams, lowering the front neckline about 1/2 inch, and raising the hem about 3 inches. Oh, I also added a front – faux- self fabric belt with 2 black buttons that go perfectly with the fabric. What should have taken maybe 5 hours max, ended up taking about 15. I was sure I would hate it – but when I tried on the final product – I was fairly pleased. I can see the flaws, but I don’t think they are noticeable to anyone else. It is comfortable for the most part. And I did get quite a few compliments on it at the Bridal Show I wore it to today. So – what do you think?

Front view

Back view

I think I would like to try it again in a cotton sateen with a slighly raised waist and center front inverted pleating. Really do love the back though!


In past years, July has typically been one of the slower months of the year for me – as far as work goes. Spring and early summer weddings are done and gone, and fall weddings usually start to gear up for me by August. HA! Not this year! I swear – This July has been as busy if not busier, than June or even May! Partly because I seem to be getting more custom  orders (which is great!!!). But I really do seem to have more bridal alterations this July than ever before. Yesterday I was feeling more than overwhelmed. But today I feel much more caught up.

In the last week  this is what all I have done –

Finished all sewing on Pearls & Lace Gown,  Made flower girl dress (that was ordered back in April), alterations on 4 wedding gowns, 2 MOB’s, and 4 Bridesmaids. The next week will continue to be incredibly busy – by the end of July, this is what needs to be finished :  Drum major uniform (not my usual forte’, but I am happy to do it), 4 wedding gown alterations, finish construction on  1 MOB dress, and finish the draped beading on the Pearls & Lace gown. Not really a terribly lot to do. Easy peasy – right? Ha!! One of the wedding gown alterations is going to be the biggest challenge of my life. It is  a Matthew Christopher gown (I LOVE his gowns!!!) that came in about 2 sizes too big. Bad measuring. So – they are remaking the gown for the bride. So now the bride wants me to make this gown (that is too big) into a shorter version. It will be the challenge of my life. I will try to remember to take pics as I go, but it will be so intense working on it that I really can’t promise anything.

In the meantime – here is the flower girl dress I made over the weekend –

On a side note – the kittens are growing by leaps and bounds! Playing and jumping and stalking – but when I try  to feed them either canned cat food or moistened kitten chow – they only want to bury it. One will taste it  and eat a bit, but the other 3 want nothing to do with it. They are 5 1/2 weeks old now, and I thought that by this time they should be starting to eat a bit of solid food. Either way – they certainly are fat little babies!!

That’s all for now. Very late – time for bed.

I made good progress today on the dress. I worked on the sleeves; got them attached, but still need to complete the pleats and lace edges as well as the buttons. I got the skirt made and attached, as well as the lining and the tulle at the bottom. Here, however, is my dilemma. Note the difference in the following pictures. In the first set, there are 3 buttons spread out over the 5 pleats on the skirt.









Here I have the same 5 pleats with 5 buttons. I can’t decide which I like better. Opinions are appreciated!









A view of the back (please ignore the bra strap; it’s only there to give my flat-chested Ms Molly some much needed cleavage). Also, keep in mind that Ms Molly apparently has scholeosis, therefore most clothing seems to hang slightly crooked on her. I really must get her to a doctor.

 And the front view. I may need a little more tulle for fluff. Opinions?

Still have to put in the zipper, add the lace trim at the hem and sleeves, and I may do some beading at the waist to match the beading that will drape across the upper back.

All in all, it was a productive day!

Sweet Miss Beverly came to me through the Bridal shoppe that I work with doing alterations. She had been unable to find a dress to wear to her sons upcoming wedding in July, and was quite distraught. Everything she saw was for taller, thinner, prettier, more feminine, younger, healthier women. She knew exactly what she wanted, but was unable to find it. Instead of the traditional MOB dress, she actually wanted a blouse and skirt. It had to be fresh and pretty, but not too frilly. Loose and comfortable, but still cover her from neck to wrist. Miss Beverly had spent many years of her youth in the sun with no more on her poor skin but baby oil and iodine. Now her skin has taken on the patina of dry leather. As soft and yet as thick as  well-worn saddle. She has spots of varying sizes and color on her arms, legs, neck and torso. So she wanted a pretty dress that would cover up her ‘shame’ (as she put it) and make her feel beautiful and young again.

We spent several hours together, going over what she wanted, fabrics, designs, patterns, details, measurements, ect. Then I got to work. We had just one fitting of the muslin I made, and, finally, today, after 14 hours of sewing, 7 hours of embroidery and hand beading, and several hours of hand sewing all the details, we had our final fitting.

Sweet Miss Beverly

She cried when she saw it. Just stood there and cried.

Now, it’s not my style; I don’t particularly care for some parts of it. But on Sweet Miss Beverly, it is perfection. It is done in a Spring Green organza over 2 layers of poly lining in the same color. The sleeves were kept sheer with a small ruffle at the hem, to go with the large ruffled flower on her left shoulder (which you can’t really see). Also, at the left side of the bodice, is the beaded applique I made for her. I wish it showed up better, because this MAKES the outfit! It really is very pretty. The band at the bottom of the blouse also has embroidery all the way around but without the beading. It is pretty and youthful, and Miss Beverly cried. What more can I ask?

Is it a robot on hyper-drive? It is a woman on speed? No – look again! It must be a woman with a mission!

I don’t know how it happend, or why. Maybe it was the fact that I quit early yesterday, at 5 instead of 9 or 10 p.m, to spend my anniversary with my husband. Maybe it was that glass of wine I enjoyed mid-week instead of the weekend! Maybe it was the scent of my lilac candle inspiring me with a breath of springtime. Whatever ‘it’ was, I want it everyday! I was a whirl wind today! I started out the day by vacuuming my downstairs, then cleaned up the kitchen. From there, I swept my front deck, then got in the car and ran to the pool store. After lugging in all the pool chemicals, and getting the pool pump going, I gathered my glasses, my drink, my phone, and headed upstairs to start my work day. By this time it was 10 a.m. By 1 p.m., I had 3 dresses hemmed and taken in! Dress #1

Dress # 2

By 2 p.m., I had another one done! I started on another dress that needed a hem, and a lace up back put in. Finished by 4!

 By 5 I had the bustling done on a wedding gown.

By 5:30 I had my sewing room cleaned up (WHAT!! Cleaned up! When was the last time I had time for that!) and headed downstairs to make supper – and by the way – I have no hand sewing to do tonight! Yes, you heard me right – I am taking another night off! I’m not sure I will know what to do with myself! I my even read a magazine! Then again, I may just crash. Even Super Sewer has to sleep!~

32 years ago, tomorrow, I married my high school sweetheart! I was only 19, and he was a mere 20. But we were so in love, and nobody could tell us it wasn’t the forever kind. Well, some did try. But – and I love to say this with my nose in the air just a bit- here we are today; still together, still in love, still eachothers’ sweethearts.

I spent 9 months creating my wedding dress. I used different parts from 5 different patterns. The dress I had wanted was way out of my meager price range, and after spending several hours in the fabric store with my (future) mother in law, and a calculator (well,actually, it was a pencil and  a tablet) we figured out I could make it- only better – for only $150. I learned a lot of sewing lessons from the creation of this dress. And I learned a lot of patience. I also learned what a genius of a seamstress my mother in law was. I was living with my future in laws at the time while my sweetheart was in school elsewhere. She helped me through most of the project, but ultimately, it was my dress, created by me. Of all the dresses I have made since, none give me such pride as this one. It was a labor of love . . . and it still fits!  My wedding gown

I used 12 yards each of satin, and a satin faced organza. I purchased 45 yards of french lace that was cut into strips to make the layers of ruffled lace at the bottom of the dress and at the neckline and on the sleeves. I also made a wired hoop and tulled petticote to wear under it (although neither is shown in the picture). Unbelieveably, it isn’t lined! It has a 5 foot train, with 3 rows of the ruffled lace that goes all the way around. I hung it from a chandelier, over the round dining room table to pin the lace ruffles ( which were gathered by hand). The most difficult part of the whole dress was the invisible zipper! They continue to be the bane of my sewing experience, even to this day.

So, 32 years later, I plan to get my dress out again, maybe try it on again for memories sake, and spend some time with my wonderful loving husband.

I believe I forgot to post my new dresses after I  made them a while back! I made them to bring with to Roatan – which I did; but everything was so casual down there that I didn’t have an opportunity to wear them! So here they hang in my closet, waiting, like Cinderella for a special date. I love both of them, but as exciting as my life isn’t, I may never have a place to wear them 😦 

First, the yellow sunshiny chiffon, lined with an ivory bemburg.  I used V8381, size 10. Fit’s perfectly, with no alterations. I added a rusched waist panel with some little chiffon flowerettes scattered on it.

The little flowerettes each have a line of beading on them, which you can kind of see . . .

Next is my favorite, the pink butterfly chiffon. I used V2965 and shortened the length to just above the knee; again size 10 (perfect fit!!)

I love the lines of this dress; which you can’t really see in the photo. But what I really love – is the back!I love open and or low backs on dresses. They can be sexy without being revealing. Now, I may not be able to wear a bra with this. But – I did put in bra inserts, so I don’t have to!

This dress is made of a butterfly print georgette fabric, lined with a light pink batiste. Very lightweight and summery.

This week I am getting caught up on bridal alterations, making a cropped bolero for a prom dress, and starting on one of the wedding dresses I sold on Etsy. Finally got the fabric for the wedding dress in (ivory chiffon and ivory bemburg lining), as well as a pile of patterns I ordered. I will have to post about my new patterns tomorrow. I don’t know when I will get a chance to sew them , but I have them -and that’s what counts right? Who ever dies with the most patterns – wins!

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