Tuesday, 25 April 2017

THE Prom Dress

There was something I wanted to sew for a long, long time: a party gown, something fancy, something lacy, something shiny. But how often do I get the occasion to be invited to events which call for a party dress. Not very often, and in all honesty, I don’t thing I will wear such a dress anyway. So when Juliette asked me to make her prom dress, I kept a straight face as much as I could, but I was all jumping and somersaulting inside.

We picked the fabric in the Fashion district when we were in LA. Juliette had a very precise idea of what she wanted: lace corset and flirty skirt all in very light dusty pink, thanks Pinterest for all the ideas. Our fabric was a bit darker, and heavier, and the lace has large clusters of flowers.

Pattern-wise, I used the Esplanade pattern from Orange Studio for the top, fulfilling my dream to tip my toes in lingerie making. For the skirt I finally got to use my book Sew many Dresses, choosing the bias long skirt.

I made a couple of muslins of the bra part. The first seemed a bit small, but I should have put the wires in. Instead I went a size up, and the cups ended up a bit big (hello bra padding!). Once I decided on the cups size, I removed 1/2 from the bridge width, lengthen the body parts by 2 1/2 inches and finally added 2 1/2 inches on the with of the band to account for the fact I was not going to use a hook band. Also, I made some straps to comply with the School rules and regulation on girls attire (don’t start me on this, we don’t have enough time…). The straps have elastic inside to make sure that they don’t drop of the shoulders. Once all the pieces were cut into the main fabric, I placed them on the lace choosing where the pattern will fall. The lace goes slightly over the upper cut to add a bit of detail.


The pattern instructions are very well details and lots of drawings which make for a very smooth construction. Because all the pieces are cut in the bias, I pinned a L O T, took my time and everything got into places like a perfect jigsaw. I found attaching the underwire casing difficult, at some point there were probably 10 layers of fabric/lace/foam. My seam, where the cups meet the bodice parts, could be better, but I don’t expect anybody to look there too closely, right! I covered the inside seams with bias, so no scratching my princess’ skin.

As you imagine, bra making requires special trimmings. I got my special foam, elastics, wires, casing from Taylor Made. I can only recommend Taylor Made, Ying sent everything very fast and was very encouraging.


Now the skirt: a while ago I got this book Sew Many Dresses. I like the dresses, I like the concept of having different bodices, skirts, sleeves… but I never got to sew anything out of it. I might have been a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities. The pattern need to be traced, assembled and that was not my preferred step, but the fit is great (on Juliette anyway). I did reduce the train thought as it was probably not very practical for a young person about to dance at a prom. Apart from that, there’s not much to be said about it, only three seams.


Finally, I attached the bodice to the skirt, I have been very lucky as they went perfectly together. I had to remove almost 2 inches from the bodice so the waist of the skirt would stay spot on for Juliette.

I think she liked it. And gosh, she looked good in the dress (OK, I’ve said that before, but she would look good in anything anyway).

Conclusions: 

  • I LOVED making this dress.
  • Bra making is not as scary as it seems.
  • I still can get over the fact that I made it. It is probably my best sewing project so far.
  • I am having prom-dress-making withdrawals symptoms, any other project I think about sound dull.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Paddleboard - Season 2

Last year, after a few SUP lessons with the Paddleboard Orlando, we decided to buy our own paddle boards. We felt confident enough to manoeuvre the board (honestly it’s not very challenging), we were reassured by our instructor that we had nothing to fear from the aligators (as long as we stay active). Since then we have a new Sunday morning ritual: after a late breakfast and after the New York Times has been read though and through, we put the board on the car and go for a long stroll on the lakes.


We like looking at (and commenting) all the front-lake properties. But the best things are the encounters with the wildlife on the lakes: there’s a couple of pelicans flying very low above the water, there are several hawks nests with chicks, a few white herons. It is very pleasant and calming… until late morning when the boats and jet skis start appearing, making big waves, and then it’s more challenging to stand up paddle board, and it’s time to go home!


Enough of my travel posts? I promise my next post will be about something crafty :)

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Destination Denver

Since we moved to the States, we made a point of tackling all the hipster destinations. So far, we went to Portland, Seatle, Austin, Nashville… With Juliette on Spring breack and Alice in revisions’ mode, we decided to escape for a long week-end to a part of the country we haven’t visited yet: Denver.

Honestly, we could move there easily. We had such a great time. OK, we were there for the beginning of Spring and we might have a different opinion in the mist of gloomy winter. Oh well!

Our first day was spent in Boulder, hiking around the Flatiron. There was still some snow, actually I think it snowed earlier in the week. We were a bit surprise to get out of breath fast, and then realised that we were way up sea level.


Next day, I had one goal, visiting Fancy Tiger Crafts store. What a beautiful shop! It has everything I could dream off: a beautiful range of yarn, large collection of C&S and Nina Iro fabric, a big table for knitting meetings, two class rooms… I’m moving there!


A bit more hiking in the afternoon: the Garden of Gods.


Monday, we went for another walk (when you’re at a location where the weather is nice, you just want to be outside) around Bufalo Bill’s grave. And a quick visit to the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum which has an temporary exhibition of Art Quilt, and a few antiques too.


One last stop in Denver at the Tattered Cover Book Store: you don’t want me to start on what a proper book store is, you just want to visit this store and then be very sad that you only have B&N close by.