Sunday, March 27, 2011

Simplicity 3503 - The silk jersey gown

Note to self - jersey dresses are totally the way to go for formal events with short sewing deadlines. The fitting is easier, the dresses are more comfortable (at least for me) and if you make it in something as luxe as silk jersey, the drape and movement is just beautiful. Needless to say, I was quite pleased with this gown. :)

After attaching the skirt to the muslin bodice, I realized I had actually mis-judged my size and needed to jump down one. Thankfully, re-tracing the pieces was quick and then it was a breeze to cut out the dress pieces from that beautiful silk jersey and sew it up. I did a self-lining for the upper bodice portion and then used a thick beefy rayon jersey to line the midriff band and the skirt. This made the dress feel nice and stable and provided an extra layer of warmth against the legs - especially nice since we had a real cold spell this weekend in Los Angeles. Aside from lining the skirt, I sewed the dress exactly per the pattern instructions. Such a wonderfully drafted pattern and one that I'm sure to revisit this summer.


My friend Rachael, that owns Charmed Beauty came up and did my hair and make-up. After putting in the time on a great dress, it was well worth it to splurge for professional hair and make-up to boot. She did a fabulous job and I felt so pretty and chic.

The event itself was lovely. The food was delicious, the decor delightful and the whole vibe of the event happy and uplifting. Shaun Robinson from Access Hollywood hosted the auction portion of the event and she was great. I always knew she was pretty, but in person, she is tiny and drop dead gorgeous. Wow.

The California Science Center does some amazing work for our community. The science outreach they do to kids of all ages, but especially minority and lower income students is really fantastic and much needed. As a science nerd myself, anything that fosters a love of science in children gets a huge kudos from me.

Here is one last picture from the night with my cutie pie husband Jim. Such a fun evening!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The downside to sewing

So hi! I'm still here. Hope folks are still reading. Heh. I swear I'm in a post-holiday fit of lazy because unless it's working, hitting the gym or playing in the sewing room, I'm not doing too much. I have cute things to show from the sewing room, but my photographer (aka Jim) has been slammed at work and photoshoots have taken a back burner. Ah well, I'm sure I'll catch up eventually.

Anyways, back to the point of this post. We were fortunate enough to be invited to the California Science Center's Discovery Ball again this year. While I love the dress I made for last year's event, I wanted something new - both because that dress is now a little too big and with food being a huge focus this year, I really want a jersey gown so that I'm comfy from cocktail hour through dessert. ;)

While I've been toying around the sewing room here and there, I was kind of hoping that I could just cop out actually making a dress and just buy one. I had a little extra time before the gym one day and ran next door to Macys, one with a huge dress department. I found dresses that fell into one (or more) of the following categories:
a) OMG, that is ugly as sin!
b) Wait, they want HOW MUCH for that?!
c) Well, that'll only $200 of alterations, but I'm sure it will look fine afterwards

Le sigh. Needless to say, I left realizing I should really just suck it up and make something. Sure, it wouldn't be inexpensive, per se, but it would still be less money than a RTW dress, it would be simple, something that fit me well and that I would feel good in. And that is when I came to the conclusion that as many upsides as the world of sewing has, it pretty much completely removes ones ability to dash into a store and settle on any old garment. Because, unlike most shoppers, sewists actually have options and the make-it-yourself one is most often much better than the RTW one.

The next week I drove my still slightly frustrated self down to Mood and happily found my favorite gal working. She helped me select the fabrics for last year's silk number and has been great fun to work with on other more mundane shopping trips, as well. She listened to my initial thoughts, pretty much confirmed that I was on the right track and 30 minutes later, I marched out with a bag of lining fabric and interfacing and an order for 4 yards of a beautiful navy silk jersey. It's a nice alternative to black, but should look great with my bronze heels and bronze-gold jewelry.


This past weekend, since the fabric is still in route, I made a wearable muslin of the selected pattern - Simplicity 3503, view E.

Save for nipping it in a bit on the sides of the bodice, it fits beautifully right out of the envelope. Love that!! I just have to finish up the skirt on the wearable muslin and then I will have a dress I can wear to work and that will easily transition to spring with a change of shoes and accessories. This design is so well drafted and since it's fully lined, it just feels really good to wear. I am guessing I will be making several more of these this summer.

Now, I just need to get the real fabric, get it cut out and sewn up. Hopefully, by the end of the weekend, I'll have a finished dress and will be all ready for the ball. And yes, pictures of the final look are forthcoming. I'll actually have my photographer at the event, so it should make it easier to convince him to snap a pic. ;)