new look 6001: work in process or flying saucer?

posted in the spirit of the new frabjous couture UFO celebration, i give you (one of my many) WIP/UFO projects, NL6001.

i think you can best understand the challenge of this seemingly easy dress when i show you what the panel of fabric looked like before i cut into it…but i don’t have one.  you’ll have to take my word for it.

there’s a great story with how i acquired this absurdly expensive, unbelievably gorgeous piece of etro digitally-printed silk charmeuse from mood.  my parents were visiting the city and i was sitting with them, watching the end of a law & order rerun with my mom.  my dad, who for reasons passing understanding does not understand the soothing rhythm of a good L&O episode, was sitting tensely beside us, waiting for it to be over so he could change the channel in time for jeopardy!  he got so agitated and kept asking us when it would be over so often that i finally told him every time he did that he would have to buy me a yard of fabric the next morning at mood.  fortunately (for him) i made this offer at 6:58 pm, so by 7pm he only owed me two yards.

i wish i had a photo to share of my dad at mood, because it would be worth sharing.  we got there at 10:01 am, literally about 60 seconds after eric (the owner) had walked in with a dozen donuts for the staff.  so there is my dad, sitting at the round table near the store entrance, having half a donut and chatting with eric.  and yeah, he nearly fainted when he saw what his impatience had cost him!

moving on to the project.  i considered many options for this dress.  my top choice for a while was inspired by a great feature in a summer issue of vogue patterns magazine–i think it was called editor’s choice–that discussed altering patterns to suit your taste.  there was a stunning example of one of their wedding dress patterns, cut shorter and made in a bright color.   it looked modern and fresh.

i bought the pattern, did some work to shorten it, got some poly charmeuse from jo-ann for a muslin, and spread out my panel of etro fabric to see what layout options were available to me.  and i couldn’t make it work.  by, like, two or 3 inches i just couldn’t get every piece on the right grain and in a place that made sense to the integrity of the panel design.

so i went back to jo-ann, pulled all the pattern books toward me, and set about finding a new idea.  after working with the wedding dress idea i decided i wanted something more wearable.  i’m not a “special occasion” kind of girl.  every day is a dress-up day for me, and none of them are.  i’m a big fan of dressing up by dressing down and using “special” pieces with every day accessories to make every garment an option, every day.  so i knew i wanted a more basic, utilitarian pattern as a starting point.

also:  butterfly fabric.  flutter sleeves.  end of story.

this was almost 6 months ago. two weeks ago, i, um, actually started working on it.

i’ll save the construction details for my FO post…if i ever get there….but there’s a lot of hand basting happening on this one, which i know marina would approve of.  the waist pieces and neck pieces are all underlined, and half of them are interfaced, and all of that was hand-sewn.

also, the back of the dress?  yeah, there’s a seam in there.  hand-stitching FTW.

not actually a superhero cape. :-)

so with all of that momentum, you may ask, how did this end up in area 51?  well…i may have (may have, mind you) forgotten to cut a back neck band piece.  and been out of etro fabric scraps with which to make one.  there is a chance (just a chance!) that i had to wait two weeks to run out to paron’s and bring swatches of different pieces of the etro fabric to find a charmeuse that would make the solid color leading in to the front neck band.  and then maybe (only maybe) may have been too tired all week to cut out the neck band six times in organza, interfacing and charmeuse.

but that’s just a hypothetical.  today, sunday, is etro dress day.  and as for not starting until almost 3pm, i have no excuse for that without incriminating myself.

(but manohla dargis says it was ok)

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2 Responses to new look 6001: work in process or flying saucer?

  1. Marina says:

    Oh, wow! I am sooo impressed by handstitching!!! You have to finish this dress – it looks so gorgeous already! Thanks for linking

    • puu2 says:

      i actually thought to myself while i was doing it: “marina would be so proud of me for doing it the right way!” and susan, of course! :-) reminds me of this great post by oona, thinking about her “invisible friends” in the online sewing community.

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