Tackling the UF-pros – a 1930′s evening skirt

As part of my whole “doing the mending, cleaning the house” binge, I have tackled my pile of UF-pros (un-finished projects).

On the top of the pile was the 1930s dress I made as a trial run for my wedding dress (yeah, I’m blogging about that next week – don’t worry!).

The dress had two problems:

  1. It was blush pink georgette, lined in beige.  Not a good idea for someone who is already basically blush pink and beige.
  2. The bodice never fit properly.

Unfortunately, there are no images of the original dress for me to show you what it looked like, or what I looked like in it.  But it needed help.

So, after a go at re-lining the whole dress in a maroon-fuchsia (I just can’t describe the colour right now!) satin, which did improve the whole blush pink and beige problem a bit, but made the bodice fit even worse than it had previously, I chopped off the whole bodice.

Bye-bye bad bodice

Then, I did the worse job ever of stay-stitching along the top of the skirt to keep the bias fabric of the bodice front from warping while I attached a waistband.

Is that pitiful or what?

And then I attached a simple calico (muslin) waistband to the skirt.

It is a nice skirt - but doesn't go with beige!

I indulged myself and did some fancy stitching on the waistband.

Even if no one ever sees them, pretty, quirky details are always a good thing!

To add a bit more colour, I took some leftover satin lining fabric, and fashioned a simple ruched cummerbund to hide the waistband.

Simple ruching

It adds just the right ‘pop’ to the skirt.

Blush and fuchsia look lovely together.

I love the lines of the skirt.

The skirt and sash/cummerbund are finished for now, but I still need to make a 30′s style evening blouse.  I’m thinking of something along the lines of this:


Or this:

Not so pretty, but hey, it's still a great top!

I have a bit of white silk from a kimono lining that will be perfect for the base fabric, and I’m planning to embellish it with big flowers made of the lining satin and the scraps of georgette from the skirt.  They are both synthetic, so will do beautiful ‘melt’ flowers.

Announcements + Grab yourself a Gravatar

First, I’m being all self reliant and naughty and beating my web designer to updating the Costume Portfolio page.  So bear with me while it gets all prettified.

Second, (and this one is the BIG announcement), I’m giving the Pompeii to Paris talk again – this time as part of the Massey University Blow Creative Arts Festival.  So check out the details on the Events page, and book your tickets to Wellington!

Oh, and this time, its free!

Last, I have finally figured out how to use Gravatar, which means I now have an image to represent me whenever I respond to your comments, and to travel with me to lots of other sites!

It’s super easy.  Just go to Gravatar.com, click on “Get your Gravatar Today”, sign up (it’s two tiny steps) and upload an image for your computer, or put in the html address for a (non-copyright protected) image you like off the internet.  Then crop it to the size you like, and whenever you use the e-mail you have chosen to leave a comment on a website, your avatar will come up!

How easy is that?

And then, whenever you comment on this site, everyone will be able to see “you”.

Here is some avatar worthy inspiration images:

Textiles: where technology meets “you’ve got to be kidding me”

Due to the courses I teach, I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on technologically innovative textiles.

A lot of it is really neat, but also somewhat expected: making textiles lighter, stronger, or better at keeping you warm or cool.

Some of it is just neat, like invisibility cloaks, and knitted heart valves.

And then there is the stuff that is just…weird.

Like the Ebbra – an ‘emergency bra’ that doubles as a face mask in the event that you get caught in a sandstorm, develop an infectious cough in a matter of minutes, find yourself surrounded by people with infectious coughs, or forget to leave your building when the exterminator tents it.

And the best part is, you have a second half to give to a friend.

The bra in action

It goes from this...

...to this - in a matter of minutes!

Then there is the Hug Shirt – a wired shirt that uses electronic impulses to give the sensation of a ‘hug’ whenever a friend with a bluetooth or an iphone uses their ‘Hug Shirt’ app to send you one.

The best/worst part?  It was voted one of the “Best Inventions of 2006″ by Time Magazine.  Seriously?  The best thing anyone managed to invent in 2006 was another way to communicate without actually touching?!?

All this technology makes me feel like I need to retreat into my Luddite cave and do some hand sewing.

Meet the Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

Come sew with us!