Still Not Dead

Wow… July.  My last post was July.  How many months ago is that, even?  I’m not sure I want to know.

The good news is that I’ve still been sewing in that time, to the point where I’ve actually finished a few things, including ripping an op-shop dress apart and turning it into a miniskirt that any Sailor senshi would be proud to fight evil in, and finally finding something to do with that chartreuse silk satin seersucker (try saying that three times fast), which was make that sucker (ha) into a cool-as-a-cucumber summer cami pretending to be that elusive beast the going-out-top.  Not that I get out much in summer.  I’m just fooling myself into thinking I need something in case I did, and then wearing it around in non-going-out contexts with sneakers because I’m desperate to look like I don’t take myself seriously.  Seriously.

I haven’t managed photos in either of them because I’m lazy, and because I got sidetracked with other creative interests.  Insert shameless plug for new Tumblr!  Check out my geek art!

So I wouldn’t have anything to report, but then I joined the Melbourne Opera chorus on a whim, and they did a thing on Saturday involving the O Fortuna from Carmina Burana, which is fun, and I enjoyed breaking out the misheard lyrics video on Youtube and having a merry chortle.  The dress code was gowns for ladies.  As usual.  The forecast was cold and rainy.  Most of my gowns are backless.  Bad combo?  Wrong.  Excellent combo.  Why?  Excuse to make new gown.  With sleeves.  And maybe even a back.  But perhaps not a front.

The inspiration was mostly Gucci…

Gucci

With a dash of Ralph Lauren…

Ralph Lauren

…And a whole heap of dressing gown.

First step, I ripped apart the Green Soprano Gown, salvaging roughly 5m of relatively undamaged silk satin.  Then I had a play:

DSC_0682

I liked this idea a lot.  So then I had a think.  I wanted a really relaxed, draped look, so my normal method of mathsing out a pattern and then testing with a billion toiles wasn’t going to really work.  I’d enjoyed draping on the form so much that I thought I’d give moulage a go.

DSC_0684First I made a fitted back lining, then started draping the other parts onto it.  Kind of in a robe a l’anglaise-y sort of way… shh.

DSC_0686

DSC_0692

I backstitched the back panel on over the gathered front, then turned in the neckline and point a rabbatre-d it.  Then came a long debate over what to do with the side skirt seams, which was resolved by putting it on, pinning them where they looked right and sewing them down.  It was liberating after having been pretty strict with myself about sticking to patterns for the past couple of years.

The only sad thing was cutting the back hem.  I loved the look of a big long train, but past experiences of people stepping on them have taught me they’re not a good thing.  Cue anecdote about having the back of the Atonement dress stepped on just before the bows at a Mozart Requiem in 2012. All the snaps at the back came undone and I had to hold it together to preserve the innocence of the first violins.  Not good.  (That link will also show you the gown that I ripped apart to get the fabric for this one)

DSC_0697

It was still sad to cut away that swathe of silk though.  So very sad.

The sleeves I wasn’t game to drape, so I just patterned them like usual.  They’re a straight-up French sleeve, with tucks on the inner elbow for bendage. Finishing involved three rolled hems, a twill waist tape, one hook and eye and a discreet tack to keep the split in the skirt from flapping too far open.  I still need to make a proper sash for it, but for all intents and purposes it’s pretty much done.  It goes on like a dressing gown.  Funnily enough.  It sure looks like one.  So I struck some vaguely film noir poses and had a little fun:

DSC_0705

You can’t think little old me responsible for that grisly murder, can you?

DSC_0708

Dammit, Johnny, fix me a scotch already.

 It’s got me addicted to moulage now (seriously, the whole process was so organic and fun, and a helluva lot quicker then draft, toile, redraft, toile).  I’m thinking of doing more while I have the time, and filling in some of the gaps in my audition/day-performance wardrobe… Stay tuned.  But not too tuned.  In case I don’t post for another six months again, you know?

If I Find That Goddamn Bloody Murphy I’ll Kill the Bastard.

Referring to the Murphy of the proverbial Murphy’s Law, of course.  I don’t think I know any actual Murphies, but if you are one, please don’t run around in fear of your life.  Unless you are THAT Murphy.  In which case, hide.  It’ll make it more interesting when I come after you with a chainsaw.

But I digress…

Remember the little black lace rib-hiding crop that I spent ages lovingly hand-sewing stubborn polyester ribbon on like bias binding?  Remember how it was designed specifically to go with a dress that I was so absolutely certain that I knew exactly where it was that I would have merrily staked the lives of thousands of fluffy kittens on it?  Turns out, on the morning of the Gala, that it was not where I thought it was, in fact, it wasn’t anywhere at all and in a hypothetical universe lots of hypothetical little kittens may have lost their lives because of my memory-hubris, may they hypothetically rest in peace.  The only explanations I can think of are: 1), I accidentally bagged it up and sent it to Savers in the massive wardrobe purge I did earlier this year; or 2) the House Key Snatching Poltergeist has expanded his operations beyond just house keys.

After much hyperventilating and general panic, my mum, who was down for the Gala, came to the rescue by suggesting that we (gasp!) BUY A NEW DRESS.  I was horrified.  I am someone who Does Not Buy Dresses.  Unless they pass the studentine frugality test, the construction test, the fabric test and the style test (picky?  Who, me?).  Mum had spent the morning indulging herself down at Peter Sheppard, so she was all warmed up to the idea of spending the equivalent of almost two months worth of my rent on what she saw as An Entirely Necessary and Not Outrageous Because Aren’t We Lucky To Find Something In Your Size Long Black Dress by Bianca Spender.  It’s lovely.  I’m tremendously grateful.  But then I spent 3 hours cutting and doing a rolled hem on the damn thing because I have stunted legs (I swear one day they’ll do my autopsy and find Harris lines in all my long bones.  Self-inflicted, of course, because when I was a kid I wasn’t picky about clothes, but I was damn picky about food), and, it being made of some very stubborn very floaty silk georgette, my hands didn’t stop twitching for about half an hour afterwards.

Then the end bit fell off the heel on my favourite performance shoes.  Then I ran two minutes late to chorus warm-up, and had to do the Scamper of Shame to the end of the row and suffer Accusing Scrutiny.  Lucky that having a memory for music like a bear trap meant that I had everything off the book just because that’s how my brain works, and I could then weather the Accusing Scrutiny with the Smugness of Having Been Able to Pick Up Where They Were From Outside the Room and Continue on Without Having to Either Ferret in My Bag for My Score Or Read off the Person Next to Me.

To change topics, my most recent adventure in Sewing Land!

The other year I got a black lace skirt from Savers, with a mind to (what else?) bolstering my collection of performance blacks.  It was Jigsaw, but it was a bit too big, and it was a frumpy mid-calf length that made me feel about 40 whenever I put it on.

???????????????????????????????

And here it is, complete with pins to mark how much I’m taking off the top.

For some reason I hung onto it.  Boy am I glad I did, because not so long ago I excavated it from the roof cavity and noticed that the lace was quite nice.  Sort of like a slightly lighter version of last year’s Collette Dinnigan dresses.  Then I got inspired by a skirt from Lover A/W ’13; a black lace skirt lined in white to really show the detail of the lace.  Inspired, I had a gander to see what my skirt might look like if I were to say, re-line it in white:

 ???????????????????????????????

… Not bad at all…

So with the aid of some cheap unknown content synthetic that I had in my stash, I shortened the skirt to non-frumpy length from the top to retain the nice bottom edge of the lace, and re-lined it in the white synthetic, which wasn’t too bad to work with, it just needed the darts flat-felled because it didn’t iron super-crisply.  Unfortunately I had a little screw-up on the zip side that makes the top edges a bit un-matchy, but hey, it’s a good effort for me!  The lining is entirely flat-felled so that no little synthetic fray-beasties have the slightest chance to escape, and the lace looks a treat now that you can really see the detail.

… Which you’re going to have to wait until I find my camera again to see.  The Key Snatching Poltergeist has snatched my camera.  Sorry.