Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Prom dress

I can't believe it took me so long to post about this. I made this for my senion prom in 2001. That is me and my date, who was my best friend and went to grad school in Chicago, so now we get to hang out again. If I get ambitious, maybe I'll go scan in some other pictures from prom too. As you'll see when you scroll down, there are three tiers and a hoop skirt.

This is a Butterick "making history" pattern, and I think it is supposed to be an antebellum-style southern belle dress. Of course, it is not at all what a dress from that time would actually look like because women no longer wear corsets, and I didn't use any boning or anything. I would probably not have chosen this now because of issues with romanticizing that time period, but at the time I was kind of into "Gone with the Wind," and of course I thought the big billows of fabric were beautiful and elegant. It was a big challenge, which appealed to me. I think I made it during winter break that year, and it was a lot of fun. It is a heavy red satin. I still have the pattern envelope, and I don't remember whether this was 45" or 60" fabric, but it took somewhere between 7 1/2 and 10 yards of fabric and 15 3/4 yards of ivory lace. The bodice is fully self-lined, which is nice because the low neckline doesn't allow much in the way of undergarments.

The dress is so heavy that it does have a problem with kind of slipping down a little. I think if I were to make it again, I might investigate a waist stay, and I might make it tighter around the waist so it wouldn't have any room to start inching its way down. There was never any danger of a wardrobe malfunction, but I did have to adjust the bodice occasionally, and I don't enjoy fussing with my clothes.
This is me modeling it in 2009, when I was going through a closet at my parents' house and decided to see if it still fit. I thought for sure it would be far too small, but I think it looks even better now. I know it's silly, but I am a bit proud that I am still able to fit in my prom dress and that it looks so good on me, if I do say so myself. Maybe I'm just more confident in my body than I was in high school. That's a good thing, for sure!

I was invited to a costume party for German Carnivale (Fasching?), and I decided to haul it out again. For some reason it had never occurred to me as a Halloween costume. I still had the gloves I wore at prom, so I added those and did my hair in a complicated braid, which might not be historically accurate but seemed old-fashioned and easier than doing a bunch of curls. If I ever get pictures from the hostess, I will add them to this post. The ones on my camera don't really capture the look. It was fun, but wearing a hoop skirt is a bit cumbersome, especially if you want to move around and talk to different people or go get yourself a beer or anything. I was definitely glad to get home and put on normal clothes again.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Reversible tote bag

OK, it's probably dumb to keep doing posts of various tote bags I make, but that's what I've been doing. This one is for my sister, and I hope it's already arrived or arriving soon. She is a grad student in harp performance at Texas Tech, so I made her this bag with treble clefs on one side and a Texas Tech theme on the other. It's a little hard to see the music pattern in the pictures of the bag, so here it is.
I don't think my sister is really into school spirit, so if she doesn't like it, I'm giving it to a friend who went to Tech for undergrad and is an elementary school music teacher. If my sister does like it, maybe I'll pick up these fabrics again when I'm in Texas and make one for my friend.
The other bags I've made using this pattern have a big old seam sticking into the inside, giving it a very clear outside and inside, but this time I constructed it to be fully reversible, and I'm pleased with how it turned out. To do that, I sewed the bottom seams of each fabric separately before sewing the sides and straps. I was going to turn through a strap, but after about two inches of trying that, I knew it would make me crazy, so I opened up part of the seam under one of the straps (kind of in the "armpit" of the bag) and turned through there, then tried to disguise it later. It worked pretty well. I was pleased with being able to make it reversible. It seems a lot cooler.
This was going to be a Christmas present for my sister, but then thesis defense stuff got in the way, so it was going to be a birthday present. Her birthday is in mid-March, but her second master's recital is tomorrow. Since I got it finished last weekend, I thought it would be a good recital present, so I just sent it on. I went to her first master's recital in November, but I couldn't make it out this time.