Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hollyween Glamour

When you are the mother of male children, as I am, the Halloween costume requests are for superheroes , characters from video games, or  liquor brand mascots.  Sigh!  This year was delightfully different. DS#2 and his girlfriend N were invited to a Halloween murder mystery theme party. Each attendee was given a character with background and appropriate dress code.  DS was a successful, but arrogant and egotistical Hollywood movie directory and N was his glamorous, but insecure and jealous wife, who was planning on divorcing him.   They walked “the red carpet” to enter the party location and a local TV camera man filmed the proceedings ( his side job).  N was excited about the party.  DS was initially a big fuddy-duddy about the whole event, mumbling something about post high school drama club nerds. He did come around in the end and joined the role playing fun.

 N chose this dress from the inter web and I offered to make it. 

I was under a severe time crunch, with only a week of after work sewing time available.  So there are no in process photos.
For the dress I used the top of Vogue 1471, without the  sleeves and with a  self-drafted circle skirt.  I did use the pattern  dress lining pattern extended to floor length under the outer  chiffon skirt. 

 The dress was made of 8 yards of polyester chiffon from Walmart @ $2.85 per yard with a similar priced red poly knit underlining/ lining.  We used inexpensive fabric to try and keep the cost down. But I will say the amount of work in a garment is the same whether  it is made from cheap fabric or  high quality fabrics.
N is 21 years old, works out, and has a lovely figure, but it is very different from mine.   She is also very concerned with RTW sizes and measurements.  I chose to discretely determine her pattern size and her unique figure features by draping a fitted muslin sloper on her body using the Shingo Sato technique in this YouTube video.     Moulage-Draping by Shingo Sato-Alternative Moulage   Including using tape to hold the darts and seams, instead of pins, as shown in the video.  I made sure to prattle on about what I was doing the whole time to make her more comfortable, though my natural working mode is silent concentration with bitten lips and furrowed brow. It worked out well though I think she was a bit skeptical about the white muslin turning into her dream dress. Trying to relate this experience to something she was familiar with, I suggested she think of it as similar to  the first model fittings on  Project Runway. Quite often the  first  fittings are done with muslin mockups or bits and pieces of fabric that do not resemble the final garment.
I cut apart the muslin and transferred the shape and darts to paper.  I think this is called a sloper. I  compared that against the pattern pieces of the bodice, factoring in  ease,  to find that she was very close to a size 12 on top, tapering out to a size 14 in waist and hip.

The pattern is designed for a stretch knit. For the first muslin, I sewed the bodice out of the stable poly knit and we did a fitting of the bodice with bust pad inserts. The deep V on this dress is not bra friendly.  We also took a waist to floor measurement while she was wearing her party shoes, to determine the length of the skirt and where the slit would go.

The outer layer of the whole dress is chiffon. I underlined the chiffon of the bodice with the stable poly knit.  For the waist band the chiffon is cut on the bias and underlined with power mesh. I wanted to really be able to snug in the waist area.  A woven with a knit underlining is a bit odd and I wasn’t sure it would work, but for this dress it did.

I made my own circle skirt pattern using N’s waist measurement and the waist to floor measurements. She wanted the slit in the dress so I patterned the right front skirt (1/4th of the skirt) with the  slit as a cut edge.  I added 1.5 inch on both pieces at the slit edge,  so that they could be hemmed and then overlapped at the waist, a technique used by Daniela on this youTube video  How To Sew A Deep V-Neck Lace Tulle Gown

  I use the method shown for hemming floor length gowns in this youTube video.  How to Hem a Chiffon Evening Gown  And I used the rolled edge functionality on my serger for the first time to hem the bottom of the chiffon skirt. It worked beautifully.

When understitching the front neckline, I used a zigzag stitch and zigzagged over a length of elastic thread ( still laying on my sewing table from the previous project. And drew up the elastic just a little to let it hug the curves in the area of the body, but not look gathered.
 DS’s recommended attire was the stereotypical director caricature with beret, megaphone and clapper. We googled pictures of directors at recent award ceremonies and most were wearing black tuxedos.  DS had a tuxedo left over from his high school choral group, but I really wanted him to wear a thrift store treasure I had.  A custom tailored, shawl collar jacket, in a wool metallic pin stripe. It fit him perfectly.  He went along with it and I think he looked quite good. 

N was delighted with her dress, though there was a last minute catastrophe. When she was dressing for the party, the invisible zipper in the center back broke open with the zipper pull at the top.

   I remember reading long ago, a rant from some younger blogger about the quality of invisible zippers when something similar happened to her. I had never had issues with invisible zippers on tight fitting garments and the blogger didn’t have much sewing “cred” with me so I dismissed it.  It came back to me while I unsewed the  lining from the  tape of the broken zipper and  ripped the zipper out. The only red, non invisible zipper that I could find in my stash between the panic call for help and their arrival at the house was a separating zipper with gold teeth.  I inserted it as an exposed zipper,  reattached the lining to the center back seam, and in twenty minutes she was good to go.  The exposed zipper actually looked quite nice.

Walking the red carpet

Red Carpet interview

They had a lot of fun  at the party. Someone was "murdered". The perpetrator was revealed.  I learned a lot from  sewing for and fitting someone other than myself.   Next year I think I will make myself an amazing  costume and find  a party to attend.  It would be more fun than what I did this year on Halloween,  hanging  with these  guys and  handing out candy.