Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's My Turn Now

Last year, my biggest accomplishment was sewing a wedding dress for my best friend Elaine. To do so, I used Simplicity 5006, a lingerie pattern that included a corset and a petticoat. It was a long process and I learned a lot, and out of it came a beautiful outfit. I must confess, though, that at the end of it I wished ever so slightly that I had put all that work into something for me. Now before you get all up in arms and call me selfish, let me say that I don't begrudge a single bit of the time I spent on her wedding dress -- after all, it's my favorite make of 2013 -- but I did wish I had an excuse to make an equally elaborate thing for myself. Well, now I have that chance!

One of my classes this semester at Canada College is Bustier Construction with Lynda Maynard, and the pattern we base our garment off of is...Simplicity 5006! So now I have the excuse I need to make myself a piece of gorgeous formalwear: oh, it's for class. That pricey coutil? Oh, it's for class. All the time spent perfecting the fit? Oh, it's for class. All the trips to Lacis in Berkeley? Oh, it's for class. You guys, I'm super excited to have this opportunity! And like the pants-making class last semester, I'm already learning tons. For example, the final garment has four layers of fabric: each piece of coutil is underlined with an actual lining fabric, and each fashion fabric piece is underlined in flannel; the pieces are then sewn together to make two "complete" garments, then sewn right sides together and flipped.

This is my lining+coutil piece. You can kind of see where Lynda drew in boning channel markings. 
It's a little wrinkly without any boning. I also need to take it in more in the chestal area. Of course. I really do like the sweetheart neckline though!
I extended the height of the back by a couple of inches to prevent the hideous back muffin top. 

Class has been in session for a few weeks now, so we've made muslins, fit them, made second muslins, corrected our patterns, and now we've made up the inner lining+coutil part of the garment. In the spirit of stashbusting, I've chosen to line my bustier with this adorable cat-print quilting cotton that I got two summers ago in an exchange with Handmade Jane. It was a scant half meter of fabric, so I'd been saving it for a small but special project...I think this counts! Even so, I didn't have quite enough fabric so the last panel is cut from another small quilting cotton remnant that I actually inherited from another friend's stash. Although I'm posting this in February, I did sew it up while it was still January, so that totally counts for the Itty Bits theme, right?

Tiny polka dots and cats! Does it get any better than that?

I'm pretty sure that I'll end up choosing a black fashion fabric for the outside shell. I thought about making something more fancy or elaborate, but in the end decided that black would be the most versatile. Besides, then I can use it for the Ursula and Maleficent cosplays that I'd like to do eventually. Any suggestions for an actual fabric type though? I don't want it to be super-shiny, but I want it to still be dressy. Help!