Saturday, 26 February 2011

Have you met my good friend Maria?

Today we tried The Dress - or the toile of it anyway - for size. Aside from a little length in the bodice, it was pretty damn good.

There's a moment in West Side Story - another of my favourite films - the first scene with Maria. She's in the shop with Anita, who is has made her a dress for her first dance in America.

Maria's not happy whatsoever that it's white and is trying her best to get the neckline lowered - "One little inch; uno poca poca..", to have it died red, anything. Then when the dress slips over her head, she suddenly realises that, in fact, it's the perfect dress for her.

MARIA I hate this dress!

ANITA Then don't wear it and don't
come to the dance.

MARIA [shocked] Don't come!
[Grabs the dress.] Could we not dye it red, at least?

ANITA No, we could not. [She starts to help Maria into
the dress.]

MARIA White is for babies. I will be the only one there
in a white-

ANITA Well???

MARIA Ahhhh-sí! It is a beautiful dress: I love you!

Anyway The Dress reminds me a little something of West Side Story. Not that I protested like Maria when I put it on - I loved it even when it was sitting on Diana still. But the white dress with the red sash, definitely has something of that style to it. 

As mum says, though, we hope to have a happier ending than Maria and Tony.

How did it feel? A little scary. Aside from a few small tweaks, it's just right. I think it was received well by the small audience of my mum, dad and future mother-in-law. Hopefully it will be on the day.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Mum's the word.

We've been away at another wedding (C's cousin actually - beautiful bride in an absolutely stunning dress, and nice times in a haunted mansion) so I've had my eye off the ball, dress speaking. Instead I was forging ahead with a coat for the wedding we were going to which has helped boost the confidence factor a little.

So on the issue of the bodice, I'd been working on putting it out of my mind. Mum then got in touch last week some point highly excited - she had been back to Mandors and found yet another pattern to try (yeah, it's getting a little ridiculous - but if it works, it works).
She then went ahead and made a new version of the old bodice to try in proper silk, and another of the new bodice and brought them up to the flat to show me.

This involved a bit of inventive dancing around in the bathroom as C was in the flat too - he was commanded several times to turn his back on us and under no circumstances to even think about turning round until we said so. I sneaked off to try them. And, lo and behold, the new pattern was the winner.

Although I don't have a pic now, allow me to describe - it's a scoop neck, rather than a v-neck, but still has a v-back. And it's very pretty. So much so that mum has been instructed to keep hold of the test one she made so I can make it into another dress afterwards (it's in a lovely turquoisey colour which will look just great with a little gathered skirt attached).

Now, despite me telling her she didn't have to as it's quite a lot of work (consider the massive length of that hem) mum has finished off the practice dress. So on Saturday I'll get to give it a try. This, hopefully, will be emotional in a good way. Gulp!

Friday, 11 February 2011

It's not as easy as it looks, is it?

Unfortunately things got a bit bleak at the weekend.

There we were, ploughing away, trying our wee practice dress. We cut it out of cotton, cut the lining, everything going swimmingly. Within merely an afternoon, we cut out the whole thing and put the entire bodice together, and the skirt too.

We were feeling pretty proud of ourselves in fact, in the way you only can when you feel like you're steaming ahead. And it seems to be only when you're feeling that way that you suddenly hit a brick wall.

So we had the top and the skirt section ready. The skirt was pretty much perfect for our purposes, and seeing it over the petticoat was quite exciting (even though, because we'd used such thin material for the practice, it meant the skirt turning a peculiar pink colour).

Then I tried to put the top on and we were somewhat deflated. It fits - but it doesn't fit the way it should, you see. There were weird sticky out bits on those beloved princess seams. There were elements puckering and pooking which were simply unacceptable. We were confused - especially given the practice top was exactly the same size as the lining-only practice we'd done.

So. What went wrong? Our theory is that pressing the cheaper cotton we got for the practice whacked it somewhat out of shape. It also seems that the facings of the dress don't quite fit in satisfactorily.

And what the hell are we going to do now? Well after bodice-gate (as it shall henceforth be known) we had a rather long, sometimes calm and sometimes panicked summit where many suggestions were thrown around. For my mum, this was not really helped by the fact that, still wearing the skirt, I was enjoying having a spin around to see it fly out rather than concentrating.

There's some stuff we're considering.

1. Back to the drawing board and look for another pattern
2. Make a practice bodice in the actual silk, to remove the doubt of the cheaper cotton
3. Get rid of the stupid facings (which will require moving the zip to the back of the dress. This would actually, having considered it, be a bonus in terms of easily getting in and out of it).
4. Er...

Anyway mum text me last night saying she had a solution. What it is, I don't yet know... but I'm sure we can work a way around this.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

The First Cut

So the time came, this weekend, to give it all a proper try. Yup, deep breath and plunge forth into the deep. The first cut.

Of course, we kinda chickened out of doing it properly. We also realised we neglected to buy any lining for the practice run dress - which was a bit of a silly oversight given we wanted to check out how to do all of it, and get it all perfect. Oopsie. So until the practice lining was brought in, we thought we would have a shot at cutting out the top, and the top of the skirt, in some leftover lining at mum's house and see how it looked - and, more
importantly, if it would fit.

We pinned it all down and had a go. It actually turned out quite well (despite a minor upset in accidentally cutting out a size 16 in the top of the skirt).

The top fit, happily, like a treat, even over my cotton dress - and the v-neck front, it seems, will
hit in exactly the right point (above what my mother would refer to as "too tarty" but below matron-esque standards). Even in weird, leftover black/navy lining, it looked elegant and almost kind of beautiful already. Check out Diana there. She's loving it.

We swiftly, therefore, got quite excited about the whole
thing and now are if not cavalier then certainly less timid about the real thing.

We'll still be doing the practice first though. Just in case.

Take it as Red...

Oooh yes, I agree, that is some bad punnage. I blame my colleagues.

Anyway, a very exciting delivery arrived at my mum's house last week. That's right, we've done a *wee* bit of cheating. In that, rather than create our own petticoat (although I do have a pattern and have knocked up a somewhat reasonable one before) we would cheekily just order one.

Well, to be honest, that pattern I had called for like six metres of netting-y type organza-y fabric and it was pretty much a pain in the ass. Also, there was an issue of keeping things as streamlined and smooth as possible under the dress - so we thought the best bet might be just to go for the order.

Anyway my mum, quite the internet-savvy lady, searched out Costume Cabin on my behalf. "Specialising in custom made petticoats and tutu's" (although not, sadly, apostrophes). It is pretty magnificent as petticoat-making sites go. First of all, they're made to your specification, so technically if you said "Hey Costume Cabin I want a floor length, lime green petticoat with an orange ribbon trim" they would set about it for you.

Ours was, happily, a less terrifying request. Isn't Red pretty? It's four layers, with a lining at the bottom (saves sitting on net all day) and red ribbon trim.

Apparently when Red arrived it was squishy squish squished into a little plastic bag (sensible for posting). It then, my mum reports, slowly grew, expanded and puffed itself back out again to its current glory. Naturally Diana is having a shot just now. I did try it on of course. "Do you like it?" was mum's question - quickly answered with a visual cue of me dancing about in front of the mirror, giggling. You can take that as a yes. I barely wanted to pry the thing off again. I am already thinking of other dresses I have which I may be able to squeeze it under.

Might not be appropriate work-wear though. Hmmmm.

Anyway, I must commend Costume Cabin for their service. It came oh so quickly, and it is - to the very last thread - exactly what I wanted.