Sunday, March 27, 2016

Smithson 2016: A Change of Direction

So about my gown ideas... Yeah, they got tossed out the window.
I really wasn't feeling any love for any of the ideas I had for this year's gown. So rather than force it, I decided to approach the problem from a different direction: fabric first. This meant a road trip with my daughter (and personal style guru) to A Fabric Place outside of Baltimore.
We spent an hour going through the various fabrics there, looking for inspiration. And we found it in a coral-inspired allover embroidered fabric.
I ended up buying just two yards of it because it was pretty expensive. Then we needed to figure out what to do with it. After much cogitation, we came up with the idea to have a bodice overlaid with the coral, and a solid skirt to pick up the orange-red of the embroidery.
The first idea was to have the coral go over an ocean blue, like in the first picture, but that really was a bit too cartoonish for my taste. We settled on an ivory, which looked very nice but wasn't perfect; it really was a compromise.
Then I had a meeting of my PatternMaster users group, and called on them to help brainstorm. As we were draping fabrics, I had an idea: I grabbed a piece of copper-colored charmeuse that I had received as a gift in a Reddit exchange. It was perfect!

To the Sewing Room!

I finally had time this weekend to hunker down and start sewing. I took inspiration for the skirt from all the wonderful comments on the swirly blue dress. This is the same pattern, but the godets are only quarter circles instead of half. This wasn't by choice; I went to two stores trying to find enough of the orange-red charmeuse to make six full godets but fell short. Ah well, so the skirt is only 1.5 circles instead of three!
So here's the first try-on. It's not pressed at all, nor hemmed, and the facings need to be tacked down, but I was too impatient to see how it looked.
Front view:

The top is a simple shoulder princess draft, with set in sleeves and a faced neckline. I'm not sure about the neckline; it looks so plain! Have to think whether I want to gussy it up at all. Oh, and there's no closure! It slips on over my head (but j-u-s-t barely)!
And really, it didn't dawn on me until I saw the pictures that I've got a real Halle Berry look going on... I didn't think the copper fabric was going to look so much like a skin tone!

Back view:

The facing really needs to be tacked down all around.

And it's so twirly!

So I still need to do the finishing touches (and decide what to do about the neckline, and jewelry, and hair), plus make the matching vest and tie for Bob. But heck; I've got another five days. Piece of cake!
It really does go to show that an evening gown can just be a regular dress pattern done up in fancy fabric.


  1. So glad you've posted again! I have enjoyed looking at your Smithsonian gowns through the years.

  2. The skirt has so much interest. Enjoy wearing it.


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