Saturday, April 9, 2011

And a Lovely Time was Had By All!

Last night's Smithson Gala was a fabulous affair; so much so that we didn't take nearly as many pictures as in previous years! We were just having too much fun talking with people. The food was amazing (as always), but we forgot to take pictures of it, or of the tables. Ah well!

The outfit turned out beautifully, and was incredibly comfortable.

(These pictures were taken when we got back home at about 11pm, so I'm looking a little bleary!)

Back view:
I really love this collar, and plan to use it again in the future!

The jacket lining matched the shell:

This was my first time attempting a lined jacket, and while I'm not afraid of them anymore, I still have a LOT to learn about constructing them -- most specifically, dealing with the hem and cuffs. But for a first try, it came out pretty well.

Now, on to the ball!

Overall observations:
  • Colors were muted. I didn't see any bright red; there was a fair amount of orange and salmon and a few greens. Many women wore black or black/white.
  • Almost all dresses were long and slim; no poufy gowns this year.
  • Out of all the men in attendance, I spotted only one deviation from the black tux/black tie format: one gentleman wore a white tux jacket over a black shirt and trousers.
  • There was only one real "why?" outfit: black sparkle skinny leggings under a short tunic top. I wish I'd gotten a picture.

I loved this black velvet dress, with its asymmetrical seam detail separating the two elements of the skirt.

Here you see the front of the dress that shows up in the last picture; the jacket over the dress forms a deep scoop in the back, which I thought was a great detail. (And, by the way, this is the only other person who makes her own Gala outfits, so every year we always seek each other out to see what the other has made!)

I loved the ombre in this gown. The only unfortunate part was that she did have to keep hiking the sides of the bodice up. But it looked lovely on her.

One of the staff members who helped run the whole event. I guessed (correctly) that this was an Infinity Dress. She had wrapped it perfectly! Unless you were familiar with the style of dress, you'd never know it wasn't a constructed bodice.

Every table at dinner has a Smithsonian staff member (we call them the "ringers"!); we were seated with Tuck Hines, director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. This is the facility where Diana will be interning this summer!

I loved this scarf!

This was one of the rare bright outfits of the evening, and, on the left, one of the rare pants suit outfits.

More monochromatic dressing. And I was in good company with my jacket-and-skirt combination; I saw quite a few of them.

This was probably the flashiest outfit I saw; it was far more glittery than the photo shows. But it looked gorgeous on her, and the color was great with her red hair.

So, that's it for this year's Smithson Gala! Thanks to everyone who helped with the decisions about the dress!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Tonight's the Night!

The annual Smithson Gala is this evening, starting at 7:00 p.m., at the National Air & Space Museum on the National Mall in Washington, DC. This is the tenth year we've been going to these events... How time flies!!

Everything is ready to go: My skirt, shell and jacket; Bob's matching vest and tie; and a clutch purse for me. I won't be posting pictures of the outfits until tomorrow morning, but I did want to share the clutch purse.

I had wanted to make a matching purse for this outfit, but realized that I had made this decision too late in the process or order the necessary parts (and yes, I tried to find them locally -- even G Street Fabrics no longer has its extensive selection). So I took one of my mother's favorite clutch purses and did a little creative tweaking.

It's actually pretty difficult to photograph the fabric; it's quite dark. The monogram is from the Zundt Embroidery Baroque Alphabet and is stitched in a thread color just barely lighter than the background fabric. I then used Sulky's KK2000 temporary adhesive spray to hold the fabric to the clutch, and hand-stitched the edges down.

The original clutch color is slightly more purple than the new fabric cover, but, frankly, no one is going to notice or care.

So, I'm off to do my nails and try not to worry about the fact that it's raining and cold outside. I'm determined to enjoy myself this evening, and will report back tomorrow with pictures!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

You Say It's Your Birthday... It's My Birthday Too, Yeah!

Yep, that's me, about 50 years ago! Nothing special planned for today; I have my monthly PMB meeting, and will be modeling the shell and skirt of the Smithson Gown for them. The jacket shell is constructed and I'm working on the lining; I hope to have it all finished early in the week. Pictures will be posted!