Archive for May, 2009

31
May
09

Hand beaded fingertip length mantilla bridal veil

Following our photo shoot yesterday, I was able to get the bridal gown and veils added to my Etsy shop! You can view them there and I’ll also be showing off our beautiful photos and descriptions here as well. 🙂

This first veil was a lot of fun to make. It took HOURS to string the hundreds of beads all around the edge, but that’s the kind of simple work I can do while watching a movie with my hubby on the couch. And the end result is just lovely (a great compliment to the gown too!)

This veil is for sale now in my shop. I’m also taking orders for custom designed veils!

LonaMantilla1 LonaMantilla2 LonaMantilla4 LonaMantilla5 LonaMantilla3

30
May
09

Photo shoot!

My BEAUTIFUL friend came over this afternoon and modeled the bridal gown and veils I made for a photo shoot. Check my etsy shop soon to see these items for sale! In the meantime, here’s her favorite shot:

Beer Bride

30
May
09

The best part

I’ve heard people say that the best part of their designer garment was the label. To be completely honest, I’d never really understood that perspective (personally caring a lot more about the fabric, color, and fit than who made the garment).

But I think I’m starting to get it.

Have a great day everyone!

Label

28
May
09

A more colorful post!

After all the plain white fabric in my recent post, it seems worthwhile to show you a bit of color today:

Lycra Before

Granted, the photo above is fairly stark. This is our “Before” picture. Yesterday, I dyed. Dying is always a little exciting for me. Plain white turns to brilliant colors, and sooo many details can impact how well the end product turns out. I’ve been playing with dyes for quite a while now and I’m still learning new things I can do.

Stove top dying is my usual MO. It’s relatively convenient to set up and clean up, and you can get a nice hot heat on the stove which helps the dye set brilliantly. I’ve learned though that it’s a poor choice for larger projects because even in a 2 gallon stock pot, a couple yards of fabric get crowded quickly – and then you end up with an uneven dye job (not good). Yesterday I wanted to avoid the hassle of dying in the washing machine, but I didn’t want to risk blotchy fabric. So in a moment of inspiration I decided to cut my fabric pieces out first and dye them pre-cut, just a few at a time! (Since the nylon Lycra blend I was working with was a knit fabric, I didn’t have to worry about it fraying after I cut it). It worked superbly.

First a shot of my practice swatches as I perfected the color mix in my pot. Attempts 1 through 3 are laid out from left to right, with the farthest right swatch being the purple chiffon fabric I wanted to match. (Actually, I wanted the Lycra to be just slightly darker than the chiffon).

Dye Attempts

Once the dye mix met my satisfaction, I took the plunge and dyed the pre-cut pieces of fabric for my project, separated into two halves so I wouldn’t overcrowd the pot, and pre-soaked in water so the fabric would drink up the dye nice and evenly. Beautiful. I cleaned up my workspace and then I hand washed the dyed fabric bits with just a bit of detergent and rinsed them thoroughly several times so that any bleeding they were going to do happened before they were sewn to other fabrics. I hung them to drip dry, and waited. Here’s the “After” pic:

Lycra After

With the fabric dyed, washed, and dried I was ready to get started on a new Latin style ballroom dance costume! Now two days ago I had taken the time before hand to cut, serge, and iron a small mountain of little purple chiffon triangles, which were to be used in the Latin dress’ skirt. Here they are, waiting patiently while I dyed:

Ready Triangles

And with those components – the hand dyed Lycra and ready chiffon triangles, I was ready to put together a beautiful dress. The built-in body suit went together with no problems whatsoever: front to back, elastic through the legs, bra cups sewn in place. Then the outer dress – front to back, serge the raw edges, leaving a slit up each side which had to be hemmed. I was making great time! Thought I might even finish the dress before bedtime. On to the hem at the bottom. Fold, press, stitch, right?

Wrong.

*Shakes head.* If I had taken the time to set up my professional quality iron this wouldn’t have happened. I have a beautiful gravity feed iron with a Teflon shoe that doesn’t melt fabrics. But, setting this up requires me to drill a hook in the wall from which to hand the bottle of water that feeds the iron. Putting the hook in the wall with any ease requires knowing where our power screwdriver is. I think it’s in one of the boxes in the garage. Probably. And in the meantime I’m using the regular, run of the mill, daily use iron that we’ve had for years. And it MELTED a tiny little spot on the skirt.

Scortched Hem

If you sew, you’ll sympathize. Heck if you do any long, time consuming type of project that can be ruined in an instant, you’ll sympathize. At this point I’d been working on the dress all day. Pattern drafting, cutting, soaking, dying, washing, drying, sewing, serging… melting. I called my husband and asked for his painfully honest opinion. No, I couldn’t cut the hem even shorter (it was super short already). No I couldn’t leave the melted spot there and just pretend it hadn’t happened (not that I really would have considered that option). Yes, I really did need to redo the outer dress. Yes, that really did mean cutting, soaking, dying, washing, drying, sewing, and serging all over again.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!

It was one of those gut wrenching, tear jerking, frustrating moments that are just kind of sickening. Acknowledging that a two second error, just that tiniest moment of leaving the iron in one spot too long, was going to cost me HOURS to repair. I balked. I whined. I contemplated crying. And then I took a deep breath and put the stock pot back on the stove. More water. More salt. More dye. More heat. More test swatches. More precut fabric. More rinses. More washing. More drying. More sewing. More serging. And somehow a few hours later I’d caught back up. I was tired but optomistic once again. I could look at the *new* outer dress, smile at my success, and even admit to myself that the dye turned out better the second time. And I got to move forward.

The dozens and dozens of chiffon triangles made their way, one at a time, to the skirt before I went to bed. This morning the outer dress and bodysuit went together, I finished the raw edges all around, and took the very important step off sewing in my beautiful “Goff Couture” label. 🙂

Here she is, all finished and just waiting for some bling. (I’ll be gluing around 15 gross of Swarovski rhinestones all over the place once the stones arrive).

Purple Latin Front Purple Latin Back

25
May
09

Just thought I’d share

A random picture of my dinner:

Pizza

I love being a SAHM! The pizza shown above was made with homemade from scratch tomato sauce, and homemade from scratch pizza dough (another blogger was good enough to link to a recipe she’d found – the texture was good, but the dough was a little bland so I think if I make it again I’ll up the salt slightly and add a teaspoon of sugar to have a bit more flavor). It was then LOADED with fresh Mozzarella, pepperoni, and black olives.

Yum!!!

25
May
09

Practice Makes

In the next week or so I have FOUR custom formal pieces coming due, so for the past week I’ve been working on muslin after muslin to be sure that my pattern drafting meets the needs of my various clients. It’s a really worthwhile step for long-distance custom clothing. It’s also just far less pretty than the finished pieces. But, since I have SO MANY muslin pics, and no new garment pics, you get to see a whole lot of white cotton today!

Don’t you feel lucky?

This one is going to be a 1920’s flapper inspired dress in the end, but with a much lower, more dramatic backline. The finished dress with have a fringe hem and some other goodies too (check back in about a week to hopefully see the finished piece!)

Ireland Muslin BackIreland Muslin Front

I actually had to do 2 versions of the muslin for this dress. My client is a smaller size than my dress form and just to be sure that the initial pattern modifications worked as I expect them to, I put together a second draft. Hopefully I’ll get a green light to move forward with the beautiful satin charmeuse fabric we selected for the actual dress. (It’s soooo gorgeous and supple I can scarcely wait to work with it!)

Our next muslin is for a 1940’s inspired sort of Hollywood glam style dress. I’ll give more details when I blog about the finished dress of course, but I’m really excited about this one! I had to do lots of draping on the dress form to work out the right shape for the pattern pieces at the bust and sleeves and it fell into place for me beautifully. That kind of thing can be slow frustrating work, but the dress form and fabric were both kind enough to cooperate with me this time.

Jamelah Muslin FrontJamelah Muslin Back

I did a muslin for a third client that I failed to photograph. But this is probably enough white cotton to have you satisfied for the day, right?

Coming soon: pics of the latest ballroom dance creation (still awaiting rhinestones that are on order now) as well as the updates for the garments mentioned above.

Have a great day everyone!

22
May
09

Fairy Tale Bride

shawnadress4Once upon a time, in a land not so very far away, a beautiful young maiden was preparing for her upcoming wedding day. The maiden had sent word to a tailor requesting a stunning non traditional gown, and paid her gold to him for the gown. When a time came only a fortnight before her wedding day and the tailor had neither sent her gown nor responded to the many messangers she’d sent to him, the maiden grew worried. With so little time remaining, what should she do? Would some hero come to her rescue?

The maiden posted a notice throughout the land of Etsy, beseeching any talented dressmakers to come to her aide! Fortune was with her indeed, for the brave knight Sarah of the Goff clan saw the notice. It was said that Sarah could thread her needle in the dark, could balance a thimble on the tip of her finger, and could, with a stitch in time, save ten! Sarah sent word to the sent word to the maiden offering her aide, and rushed thenceforth to the marketplace to purchase fine cloth from the weavers.shawnadress5Through the days and nights Sarah worked, cutting, shaping, stitching, draping. The maiden traveled many hours, and Sarah did as well, so the two could meet at an inn and test the gown to the maiden’s form, to be sure that Sarah’s pattern was good and true.

Assured of the task at hand, Sarah resumed her sewing, pinning and repinning the drapes of fabric in the layered skirts, carefully placing adornments and gemstones over the bodice of the gown until at last the fairy tale bridal gown was complete! Then she rushed the gown to the maiden with a trusted messenger on his fastest horse, so that it might arrive well in advance of the wedding day. What happy news indeed and a happy ending for our bride who, I sincerely hope, lived happily every after!

shawnadress3




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