Saturday, June 28, 2014

Gala Preparation

I have a Gala to attend in a ffew weeks on July 19th.  It's for my National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Professionals Chapter and it's for a pretty good cause, raising money for scholarships (hence the name STEM Scholarship Gala or SSG for short).  I've been collecting African Print fabric for a few years now and have only cut into a 2, no, make that 3, of the prints twice now for small things, a band on a dress, a small dress for a baby, and a mini skirt that I can't wear often because it's mini.  I haven't expanded my wardrobe the way that I've wanted with the fabric that I've been buying so I'm trying to force myself to cut into these and get over my fear of creating something unwearable.  Most of the clothing that I pin on Pinterest are styles where people use African Print that can be worn in every day settings.  I like being able to carry small physical homages to my heritage with me and I especially like when it's something that's freakin fashionable (and I feel sexy/beautiful doing it).  One of these days I'll catalog and show you the jewelry that I've collected on my travels or been gifted and document where each piece came from.  I've been sewing a lot more recently, so I'm going to challenge myself to create 3 pieces of clothing with African Print fabric as the focal point before I buy anymore fabric (even though I'm already on a fabric diet. Darn you Fabric Mart!).

So anyways, back to the Gala.  I made a few mock ups of options for a dress.  I'm going to use Simplicity S0571 (that also goes by 1418 on the website.  Not sure why the pattern numbers are different).  Here are the line drawings for the dress:
It's part of the Project Runway collection and I was drawn to the clean lines and the soft pleats on the full skirt.  I purchased the pattern originally thinking that I could do the last 'B' version for the front and the 3rd 'A' version for the back, but now I've realized that it may be a bit difficult.  I guess I can only get sexiness in one place, the shoulders or the back, but not both.  I'll accept it this time just because I don't want to futz with it too much, but I'll always be thinking about the one that got away....

I noticed something pretty cool in the directions.  The pattern actually for an elastic casing to be created.  I was confused as to where this would come into play but it seems to be a design piece for the off the shoulder version; it gets attached to the inside of the sleeve to help secure it in place.  I'm pretty grateful for that and I'm excited to see how effective it is.

Alright, so now to get to the mock ups that I created.  I actually posted it on Instagram too (follow me at AfroSoulJah) to get some opinions.  So far, people are gravitating to the Dark one with the black panels.
I won't argue with them (and it'll be easy to shoe match).  It helps to simplify the busy print and will be a nice touch of color blocking (not sure if that's still what's "in" or not). I'll probably work the black in with some broadcloth or possibly some pique that I have in my stash.  I'll need something that perfectly compliments the weight of the fabric.  I'll also have to modify the skirt pattern as it doesn't naturally have that blocking inherent to the pattern but it shouldn't be too much of stretch on my skills.

Thoughts and opinion?  I'm looking forward to this and I'll actually make a muslin for the bodice pretty soon!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Nettie Dress

Thanks to Heather and Wanett, I was able to get my hands on the Nettie pattern!  Thank my sewing life for bloggers, sewing meet-ups and an extremely giving and kind sewing community. I have a few things lined up for this pattern but this is the first one.  I whipped this up in a few hours, outside of taping and cutting the pattern out.  The most difficult part for me was attaching the neckline binding. I probably could have made it tighter in the shoulder area; it's a tad loose but it's still wearable. I used the binding lengths suggested by the pattern which Heather states is 90% of the length. Next time, with the low back, I'll probably reduce the percentage to 80-85%.

The main fabric is from Girl Charlee.  This was actually my first time having to deal with stripes and I think I did fairly well.  Even the arms match up!

The shelf bra works surprisingly well.  I had my doubts when I was inserting it, but I like it.  I used a swimwear lining fabric that I bought from Spandex House.  I'll be adding cups (or pockets for cups so I can switch 'em between this and future dresses) when I have time even though it's totally wearable now as long as it doesn't get too cold.  ;-)

I'm excited for this dress and I can't wait to wear it out in the wild!  Be on the lookout for the other variations!