Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sewing a 1924 party dress

I am sewing a 1924 party dress for New Years, as I have been invited to a "Grand Gatsby" party. Now, the thing is, I happen to dislike the new Great Gatsby movie. I think F. Scott Fitzgerald is rolling in his grave. There was very little if any semblance to the music and social aspects of the era, not to mention the cars (Gatsby's jalopy would not be seen until 1931) and the lack of historically accurate costuming. The 1920s was not all fringe an sequins. It was mostly rhinestones in fact. I asked my Great Grandmother a while back about what people really wore in the 20s. She said her mother and older sisters always wore simple, neat dresses with little ties and fancy collars, and evening dresses with pearls and skirts with sheer, floaty petals. They wore real silk stockings and shoes made up in silk brocade. Their makeup was light and peachy, with green eye shadow to bring out their eyes. They wore pink on their fingertips and lips, and their hair was done in marcel waves that they styled at home with water and flaxseed setting lotion. They lived a simple, regular life. 
So where in the new rendition of Great Gatsby was
Madeleine Vionnet's handkerchief dress? Jean Patou? Any of the Art Deco saque type beaded masterpieces? Nowhere to be found. Only jangly, dangly horrors and poorly depicted costuming. I swear that the movie industry 1) tried vainly to steal a suspension of disbelief factor from Moulin Rouge 2) incorrectly depicted costuming so that teenage fan girls could go crazy over "Gatsby Clothes" that the fashion industry was ready to cheaply manufacture. What a disappointment. So enough ranting. Here is my preliminary sketch:

This is very historically accurate. I may add godets to the skirt as well. 

Step 1: sew wrong sides together for front panel 
Size up the seams and pin the other side, see and trim straight. 

Pink the edges. 
Then move onto the skirt lining. Do a flat fell seam. Make sure the shiny side is counted as the wrong side. 
Iron, trim seam to 1/8", and press with raw edge on inside. Sew 1/2" seam. Turn right way round and stitch other side down. 
Assemble front panel with left and right bodice front. Sew shoulder seams of front to back. 

Attach skirt to bodice. 

Make drapery pleats with iron. Stitch onto side swag belt. 
Tack front and back onto waistline with small catch stitches. Tie swags in double knots at each side. Carefully pink an catch stitch all edges. 
Hem skirt with catch stitch. 
Sew sleeve seams and set in sleeves. 

All done!

And lastly, a photo with my Husband. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Bridal Embroidery

Bridal Embroidery 

I decided to embroider a panel to place on the front of my bridal gown. After sewing the gown, I saw a need for a bit more front and center pizzaz. 
I chose a mirrored frame Art Nouveau design, which I resized and traced. I decided to place very fine size 11 glass beads around the design for some subtle shine. I played with tambour and the chain stitch, using only one thread on the hopes that it would be delicate. It was bad and I was about to give up and take the dang thing to a machine embroidery shop. It would have cost me $80 to get this little design done. So of course I ponied up and did the damn thing myself! I finally woke the hell up and used 4 threads instead of 1. I was not about to buy embroidery thread that I would have to sit and tangle by trying to separate the threads. So I saved money and used a big cone of white serger thread. Sure, it is my first ever embroidery project and it is by no means perfect in any way. But I tried. 
Here is what I have been working on.

-Embroidery hoop large enough to hold your design
-Fine net Tulle (the finer the better!)
-Water soluble stabilizer tissue
-Fine straight hand needle or quilting sharp
-Tracing pencil (water soluble is best)
-White sewing thread (I used serger thread)
-Needle threader

The setup is quite simple. Create a design with the program of your choice and print or draw out your design on micrograph paper. Make sure that the design size is the same as the area of the garment where you plan to place it. Next, take a piece of water soluble backing stabilizer or red dot Swiss patternmaking tissue (never use fusible interfacing!) and cut it to fit into the embroidery hoop. Place the transparent tissue stabilizer over the drawing, pin down, and trace. Use a pencil or sharpie to do so. Next, cut a piece of tulle the same size as the stabilizer. Place the tulle over the stabilizer and place both over the bottom hoop. Secure in place with the top hoop, pulling the fabrics taut but being careful not to rip them. Place your needle on a needle threader. Pull a length of regular white sewing thread and fold in half. Place the first two inches of thread into the needle threader and pull the needle onto the thread. Tie the 4 ends of thread together with an overhand knot and snip off the tails as close to the knot as possible. 
Outline any continuous lines with a running stitch. Then go over the running stitch with satin stitch, which is just covering up the stitches so that any mistakes will be hidden!
If you see any black marks remaining, don't worry. You will rip away the stabilizer (carefully) after ALL embroidery has been finished. 
The satin stitch is very useful for stitching little five petal cherry blossom flowers. Just make sure that you leave a net diamond clear of the stitching in the center of each flower on the first petal so that you can go through the middle multiple times without getting stuck. 

After completing each flower separately, tuck the thread through the stitches on the wrong side of the work and snip the thread. Retie and start a new section. 

I recommend stitching all the flowers or repeating shapes first, and then doing the line work. You will feel much more accomplished if you do this. Have fun!
If there are any mistakes, cover them up with tiny beads! It will look so pretty and hopefully you will impress.