Posts Tagged ‘Bonnie

06
Nov
08

The return of Aunt Bonnie!

This post is long, long overdue. I started the draft weeks ago and much has transpired since then, but since I haven’t yet taken photos of my progress I’ll start at the beginning.

Aunt Bonnie asked me to make her another dress. You all remember Aunt Bonnie, right? My stunning, talented, and delightful aunt who sings for Tampa Bay’s Horn Band, Late Night Brass? She asked me to make her a gown for their performance at the Christmas party of one of the large law firms here in Tampa. It’s one of the most formal gigs they’ll perform this year. The men will all wear tuxes with gold bow ties. And Bonnie as the lone gal on stage thought a gold gown was in order.

We started talking about her gold dress back in May, contemplating what pattern might workand what detail work would make the gown really POP. We settled on Vogue 3830, and, with the great advance planning, Bonnie was able to snag the pattern on sale back in June(?). We bought our fabric in July. And now it’s November and things are nearing completion (though I haven’t spent all of the past 3 1/2 months working on this dress; much of that time was spent sewing bras and other fun stuff).

Here’s the pattern envelope for Vogue 3830. For a change, we’re actually making the dress as the pattern intended (for the most part anyway), in View B. The empire waist is a great look for Bonnie, and the cut of this dress over all is very much her style. The back (below) cuts away except for a narrow band, so it’s a bit showier than the other dresses we’ve made, which is very much in keeping with the formal nature of this event.

Now the big busted seamstress in me looks at a stunning but narrow-strapped gown like this and thinks “we need to add some support.” And since I was merrily sewing up bra after bra while we were planning this, and since that band across the back even looks reminiscent of a bra, I suggested we sew a bra right into the dress, custom sized to fit the dress dimensions, custom dyed to match, and far more supportive than the dress on its own would be.

Bonnie agreed, and I got to put my bra-cloning skills to work again, making a draft bra (the stunning purple shown below) cloned from one of her well-fitting favorites. I wanted to be sure I had the fit of the bra right before making the gold bra, because, unlike several bras I’ve posted here before with contrasting black elastics and trims, the gold bra would have custom dyed-to-match gold elastics. And I didn’t want to dye twice. So here’s the original and test bras:

And that brings you up to speed with my progress as of about a month ago.

In the time since then, Bonnie has learned that Late Night Brass will play two formal charity balls this November, which pushed our time frame up from the first week of December to this coming Saturday. And also in that time, I have learned how very, very, very time consuming beadwork is. The endless sewing has kept me busy and I blame my enthusiasm as a seamstress for my slacking as a blogger. But photos, descriptions of my process, and many more posts will follow soon!

I hope. 🙂

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04
Aug
08

It’s a hit!

My Aunt Bonnie sent me an email to let me know, she finally had the opportunity to wear her white dress to a gig with Late Night Brass at the Gulfport Casino Ballroom, and she got a great reaction! When she first arrived, someone literally said “wow!” And she received several more compliments through the evening. I’m so delighted to know it worked well for her!

25
May
08

Coming soon…

Now that Bonnie’s white dress is finished, I have a whole assortment of “next” projects in mind.  (Oh, and yes, she came over yesterday to pick up the dress and to let us take some better photos, which are coming soon, but not right this second).

I’ve just started a few reusable grocery store bags, as a worthwhile use for some fabric I bought two years ago and have never used.  I have also promised to go ahead and finish the shirt my husband asked for a loooooong time ago (there are *several* reasons why I’ve procrastinated on this project, but I admit it’s time to bite the bullet and reward my sweetie for all the evenings he lets me all but ignore him in favor of my Singer).  And I’m going to make myself a few new garments for work.  It’s hot out and I want cooler, more comfortable garments.  I’m thinking of possibly starting with this:

image of B5173

I’ll post details and photos and all the rest as these projects move along.  And better photos of the white dress, too.

23
May
08

Note to self: don’t bleed on the dress

My aunt Bonnie came over this afternoon to try on the white dress – hooray!  Shortly before she came, Eva just begged to go pick blackberries in the back yard.  I always get scratched up to no end from the tiny hook shaped thorns on the blackberry bramble.  So despite a thorough handwashing, I didn’t notice that one finger was still bleeding slightly until I saw the BRIGHT red drops on Bonnie’s dress as I was attaching the hooks and eyes.

Thankfully, prompt application of hydrogen peroxide removed the stain *completely*.  We determined where the hooks and eyes should go on the neck strap, confirmed that one spot on the hem in the back needed to be straightened, and addressed the corset which was bunching slightly in the front.  All three minor issues have since been resolved and the dress is finished!

We took a few pictures when Bonnie was here this afternoon.  I hope to take better photos (with better lighting, where you can see the difference between white chiffon and white satin) soon but for the moment I will go ahead and post what I have.  Looking good, Grantie!  Looking good!

22
May
08

Ta-da!

I have been sewing all day (when I wasn’t running errands, which was also all day it feels) and Bonnie’s beautiful white dress is 99% complete – just a quick fitting and a few hooks and eyes to go.  Here are photos for you to admire!

And just in case she should get cold in the balmy Florida heat, there’s a cute little scarf to accompany it!

I’m off to bed.  More tomorrow!

18
May
08

Under Dress

I’ve been in an absolute frenzy the past few days but making so much wonderful progress!  I now am far enough along on my Aunt Bonnie’s white dress to have something worth showing.  🙂

The photos below show the foundation for the corset and bodice, as well as one of the three skirt layers.  I debated sewing all three layers directly to the outer dress.  Instead, the two layers of chiffon will be attached to the outer dress and the lining is attached here.  This way the seams can face towards each other and a finished surface is what will face towards the body, which I imagine will be more comfortable.

In the outer dress the distinction between the corset and bust will be a bit more pronounced, as they’ll be made of different fabrics.  For the under dress, different fabric wasn’t necessary and the boning runs the full length to provide the best support.  Still I think you can really begin to see the shape this dress is taking!

17
May
08

Progress Report

Bonnie came over Thursday afternoon to try on the test corset.  It looks like a pretty much perfect fit!  I also showed her the skirt muslin and we talked about the design a little bit more; and I have a green light to continue as planned, no further modifications needed.  Hooray!

This has taken less time and tweaking than the first dress, which makes sense since it’s the second time I’ve sewn for my aunt Bonnie, and a bit more aware of the details to fitting for her.  It’s very nice to spend less time on the pattern and get to move on to the dress!

So, Thursday afternoon and Friday morning (my days off, by the way) I got to work on the actual fabric.  All that had arrived so far was the chiffon and the fabric lining.  I didn’t even have my nice quality thread to sew with.  I cut every single piece of lining and chiffon I would need, and pinned them all together, and had them waiting in a pile.

Finally, Friday afternoon a box with all my remaining items from JoAnn’s arrived (hooray!) and I was off in a frenzy sewing and serging and ironing.  I’ve made splendid progress.  All three layers of the skirt are sewn together, and the lining for the corset and bodice is all sewn.  I’ve also cut and pinned the first of 2 layers of satin for the corset and bodice, and will hopefully have time to sew that together this evening.

No photos yet… nothing was really to a point where I could put it up on the dress form.  But I’ll take some in the next day or two I’m sure.




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