Sunday, October 13, 2013
Pass-A-Grille Beach, Tampa Bay, Florida
My friends, I bought my wedding dress. From David’s Bridal. Yes. Davids. Bridal.
I had a specific style of dress in mind to make. — if I was going to make a dress. I wanted to go with a 1960s silhouette. I’d pinned a bunch of dresses and patterns
and general inspiration around this era well before I was officially engaged.
I’d also gone to David’s Bridal with a friend to get a sense of the sillouette I wanted. I like this dress. I thought it was slimming, but I was going to make my own dress.
Well, two days after official engagement, my mother, the Colonel, my best friend, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. That’s why I was in Florida before China. I found out on Monday evening and flew to Florida on Tuesday morning. The prognosis is… really really terrible. And, it’s why I have had very little to say the last month.
So, Jordan and I decided to get married sooner rather than later. We originally were thinking August / October 2014. But, I just can’t get married without my mom there. So, I ordered the dress online and it arrived two days later. I will never, ever make fun of David’s Bridal again.
In the meantime, I am accepting and encouraging all prayers aimed at my mom. Because, at this point, it will take a miracle.
First big adjustment: I had to move all my fabric out of the basement (10 32 gallon bins) and into my guest room and study.
Why? Because 1.) Apparently, I have to live with my intended once we get married. So, I have ceded my back basement fabric storage to a squat rack, weights and work out equipment. ::tears:: Also, I’m converting from oil to gas and needed to get my fabric out of the work area.
My front basement will no longer be my sewing room either. For some reason, it’s important that we have a clear and organized space to have company over and watch TV with friends.
My guestroom (Above) will become the sewing room. And, hopefully, I can get some fabric back in the back basement now that there is no longer and oil tank and 20 year old fridge taking up space.
The central air installation will make it all worth it! Yes. That’s right. After ten years, I am putting in central air. The fiance has bad allergies and asthma so my moldy window units weren’t going to cut it. Also, I figured this was a good way to keep peace in the summer.
I do not love living in a construction zone. What do people do with bigger projects like kitchens and baths??
I started some wedding stuff! I made my veil over the weekend. Lace edged, single layer, finger tip length. Three dollar investment. The one I wanted was $300 in the store! Ba-nanas.
This weekend we went to a wedding in upstate New York (Westchester County). I’d never been to a wedding with a full mass before so that was really interesting. I’m wearing my officiant dress from last October. I love this dress!! It was such a pleasant surprise to pull it out and see how good it looked! I haven’t worn it since the wedding last year.
The wedding was on the grounds of a camp site. It was just like Dirty Dancing. Minus the ethnic and class tension.
We stayed in these cool yurts. And, I’ve never been so glad for my two sleeping bags in my life. First time I’ve used them in ten years!
So, that’s my round up. I still have an unblogged dress from a month ago to post. But, I can’t even find my tripod in the mess that is my home
First, thank you for all the congratulations on my recent engagement!!! We ended up taking a las minute trip over the Labor Day holiday weekend to see my parents in Florida.
Sitting on the lanai, (thank you Debbie Cooke, I had no idea what that thing was called) by the pool, we read every single comment out loud. There was a lot of squealing of delight on my part It was so fun to hear from long time internet friends, real life friends and from those of you who delurked. I am sincerely overwhelmed and touched by your outpouring of congratulations. Jordan, for sure, knows there is a whole community rooting for us!
Two weeks week ago (the Tuesday after Labor Day), I left for a two-week business trip to Shanghai and Xiamen in China. My colleagues and I were incredibly busy with work meetings and work meals.
But, I had to get back to the South Bund Spinning Market while in Shanghai.
Long time readers may remember that the market is mostly for buying custom made clothing.
For instance, this dress is a knock off of a dress worn by Kate Middleton. Their price, pre-bargining, custom fit, $100.
This Burberry copy was $80
But, I was focused on buying laces. My plan was to buy fabric in Shanghai and have it sewn in Xiamen. Prior experience told me construction prices would be half.
These guipere laces are stunning at stall no 398. They are similar to Prada and Versace. And, after bargaining, $15 a yard. I may have overpaid. But, you lose perspective!
They’ve been turned into three lace dresses (cream, red, and purple), one of which I will wear for my rehearsal dinner.
Here is the cream lace mid construction
If I lived in China, I would have everything custom made. Period.
I also bought several meters of each of these laces to make my wedding veil. For 20 yards I spent about $20. I want a finger tip, one layer veil edged in lace. I saw them going for $300 US. That, is bananas. I’ll use the savings for my shoes. The first and last are my top contenders. I will use the second and third to practice.
I am now back home after 40 hours of travel from Xiamen to Shanghai, Shanghai to Detroit and Detroit to Baltimore and, incredibly jet lagged (hence my 4:00 a.m. posting)
I’ll get the four shirts, two suits and three dresses I had made on the dressform and post some about that process and the food I ate. Oh, China has changed since I went three years ago and I’ll bore you with my thoughts on that too!
Saturday night I went to dinner at Baltimore’s Prime Rib. We were celebrating our one-year dativersary. I actually made a dress to wear for this date. But, it’s kind of ‘fallish’ (maple leaves/dark purple) and I never get to wear this dress I had made in China. I’ll have to post my new dress later this week.
I had some sea bass that was so delicious I just about licked my plate. I wanted to take the little potato skins, curl up into a ball and make one a little hammock for me.
And, somehow, between the wine and before dessert, this happened. Better yet, the band was playing one of my favorite sounds, What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong!
Somehow, I’ve beat the stats as a late 30s, college-educated black woman (otherwise known as the group “least likely to marry”) and have found the love of my life. I don’t know how this happened but I’m thankful
We told our parents that night and tried to text and call close friends the next morning. I did a terrible job of that. Umm, also, my *hand* hurts from stretching out my fingers and staring at my ring. I had to take ibuprofen and use a heat pad last night.
Ohhh!! My secret/private Pinterest board is about to be SUPER public!!
And, in true modern social media fashion, we are Facebook official. Which, of course, makes it totally real.
Just thought I’d post a short report on the warehouse sale of Fashions Unlimited. They’ve downsized quite a bit from my visit two years ago. There were fewer things like zippers by the time we got there Tuesday. But, I still stocked on on just what I needed. LACE!!
I bought five yards each of four wider laces in cream (reads pink above), white and black for $1 a yard. The black and one of the whites is almost 10 inches wide and non stretch. I’ll likely use these the stretch for Fehrtrade’s lacey thong and the non stretch for bras and slips.
I also bought a narrow trim similar to this for 50 cents a yard. I’m going to start dying my own kits for bras. So, these will be great for years to come.
I also went totally out of character and got this gold lame stretch. They had several swimsuit and athletic knits. And, lots of swimsuits and bras for sale. This lame would be a terrific little string bikini. But, I am not a gold lame string bikini type. But, that’s not what I’ll be making with it. Probably trim for running gear. Or a turban. I really don’t know. It was just so shiny!
Not pictured, some red, water resistant fabric. I need a dog-walking cape. When it rains, I’d rather have something easy with a hood to walk Linus in. Also, I can’t promise he won’t get a matching jacket too.
Finally, here’s a look at what my blind hemmer can do. Especially now that I’m getting the hang of it.
This makes me so happy! The hem of a dress I’d handstitched two years ago came out. So, I used rayon seam binding and my blind hemmer to stitch it back up. It looks lovely inside and out. You can barely see the thread I used (regular Coats and Clark. Not blind hemmer thread too!). Seriously. Worth every penny.
So, I didn’t post photos of myself in the black eyelet dress before because, well. I cannot find my tripod. For real. I have no idea where it is. I also could not tell you the last time I’ve used it since I’ve been low sewing and employing the photography skills of my friend and BF. So, when I was ready to do a photo shoot last week, it was nowhere to be found. At anyrate, I wore the dress this previous weekend while back in Brooklyn and my cousin took a few shots on my point and shoot.
I apologize for my wrinkles. This was after sitting for three hours. I have to say, I REALLY like this dress. It’s flattering and sophisticated. It hit just the right notes and I’ll be able to wear it for ages to come.
One of my sleeves is a little off grain. They fall a bit differently. The eyelet is a nice way to elevate the dress too.
I have this Danielle Nicole bag in two colors. I love it. Vegan and less than $100 dollars. Below, I borrowed my aunt’s pearls which set off nicely against the black.
In other news, I got to see my cousins again plus some. One flew in from Australia and another from Florida. And, thanks to you, my readers, I got to be all knowledgeable and explain first cousins and first cousins once removed. I also figured out another ‘relative’ that was always around is in fact my third cousin!! In the photo below I’m wearing Burda 5-2009-122 made in Feb. 2012.
I will also point out that there are about five first cousins and two first cousins once removed missing here…
A few years ago I was invited to Thanksgiving dinner at a friend’s home. It was her immediate family of mom, dad, brother, a few aunts and uncles and their kids. We all fit at ONE table!! I was wondering where all the cousins were, lol. I mean, doesn’t everyone have 20+ cousins? No? Ok. Just checking.
I needed a dark / black dress that I hadn’t just been seen in. I really don’t have a lot of dark clothing. Since I had minimal time to sew, I chose something I’d already traced and worked out my fit issues, Burda 9-2012-109. I made it first in a blue sweater knit. This time, I sewed it up in a woven black cotton eyelet from my stash.
Since the dress was going to be SO BORING in solid black, I decided I wanted sleeves with an impact. I stole these awesome flutter sleeves out of the December 2011 Burda.
These sleeves give both me and the dress life! I actually wish I could have made the dress this came on (below).
But, I was 3/4 of a yard short in the only other black fabric I have. Actually, I had to cut two inches off the length of this dress to eek all the parts out of this dress.
The fit was pretty loose and I ended up taking in the waist by a total of three inches. I’d already worked out my French dart FBA from my knit version. I also added binding to the neck, like the knit version.
The dress is lined in a rayon lining (breathable for summer). The hemline is done with Snug Hug seam tape and my blind hem. The lining is sewn with my coverstitch using the hemmer/ feller foot from Brother.
I love it when a plan comes together (and I get to use every single machine in my arsenal). Of course, since this was practically made overnight, now my mom thinks I can make a dress at the drop of a hat! But, this was already worked out and just three pattern pieces and made interesting with the sleeves.
I’m going to see if I have enough of my pink and cream seersucker to make another.
Hi! Fashions Unlimited is having another factory sale. I remember telling you that I would
let you know when we were having another sale! It will be August 12- 16th from 8 am- 2:30 PM. Fabric, Lace, Zippers, Elastic, Samples, etc. Nylon/Lycras, Polartec Fleeces,etc. $0.25 Zippers, $1 Fabrics, All very discounted. Please come back if you are interested- We’d love to have people from the surrounding areas.
Should we also all ask them about making buttonholes for us? Maybe if they think there’s enough business, they’ll do it for homesewers. Just saying
If anyone is interested, I am planning on going Tuesday over my lunch break. If you’d like to meet there, just let me know in the comments or send me an email at missceliespants at gmail dot com.
I have two dresses to post. One I made practically overnight for my grandmother’s funeral. I’ll be posting at least one by the weekend I hope. Thank you for the kind words on her passing. I really appreciate it. My mom and a few aunts read my blog and I know it means a great deal to them too.
A few months ago I gave up on my five year old Kenmore sewing machine. The tension was always wonky and I couldn’t reliably get a nice stitch from it. I’ve been sewing on my vintage green 3/4 Kenmore (Kenny) for the last three months or so. In that time, I bought a new (to me) serger, new (to me) blind hemmer and now a brand new coverstitch. Why?
I realized after conversations with two sewing friends that I have perfectly serviceable and reliable mostly metal sewing machines (this Kenmore 1040, my Singer Featherweight and my pink Morse). Those machines deserve to be sewn on. I realized I wanted to up my sewing game and have my clothes look as Ready-to-Wear as possible. I believe in having one machine that does one thing well. Rather than a machine that does a couple of things ‘fine’. I was ready to spend $$$ on one new machine. But, decided it was better spent filling out my machine arsenal.
Enter, the Pacesetter, the Brother 2340CV. I despise the twin needle sewing on a machine for hemming. I hate the tunneling. I hate finding two spools of matching thread. I find on elastic, the stitches still pop out. And, I’m just about hardly ever satisfied with how it looks. The coverstitch allows me to do a nice, sturdy, RTW looking hem in minutes. When my CS came in, I finished the hems of three dresses. I fixed two tops where the stitching had popped. Minutes it took!
So, yes. I am exploding with machines. But, this is the beauty of living by yourself and not really needing a dining room table. I have the space I now have three vintage sewing machines, a serger, blind hem and now a coverstitch. I thought about the BabyLock coverstitch since I kind of want to marry my BL serger. But, I couldn’t plunk down the $1300 they were asking for an ancillary machine. For less than half that, I got the Brother will all the offered attachments.
I decided to make my boyfriend some new boxer shorts from a Jalie pattern so I could play with my serger and the coverstitch. These sew up so fast! And, are always appreciated.
I remember being in Montreal and the founders of Jalie told me I *needed* a CS. I barely knew what one did at the time! Previously on these boxers, I had to sew three rows of zig zag at the waistband. With my Pacesetter, I just went around once and have three rows of stitches with a nicely finished inside. My leg hems are ALMOST perfect. But, of course I didn’t take a photo of that.
For the leg, I removed one needle, changed the thread colors to grey and stuck with white for the looper (easy peasy).
And, in more awesome news. I think all these industrial binders I bought in China (FOR TWO DOLLARS EACH) three years ago will work just fine with the coverstitch and some putty. I’m going to get hemmers (I hope!!) when I go back to China this September.
Yes. I’ll be back in Shanghai and Xiamen next month. Anyone in Shanghai the first two weeks of September? My plan is to save photos of the hemmers on my phone and show them around in the Xiamen garment district.
And, on a sad note. Thank you for your prayers and good wishes for granny. That’s her with my mom and uncle as a child back in Carriacou, Grenada. My grandmother passed away on Wednesday night– two weeks after her 90th birthday. I’m so so happy we were able to celebrate her as a family while she was still alive. I’m really sad for my mom, aunts and uncles. Granny was my last living grandparent and the one I knew best. I’m happy to know she and I will always have sewing in common and that part of our family history lives on in me.