Thought for a lifetime

Einstein made the very important observation that " Imagination is more important than knowledge ".

Sunday, April 27, 2014

1940's Dress in 48 Hours for Mela Hoyt-Heydon Tea

I am now an official member of the Costume Guild West. 
And on April 26th was a Tea Party for member Mela Hoyt-Heydon. 
Mela is a professional costumer AND amazing milliner so I had to go.
BUT, this was the costume guild and I realized I would need a "costume".

First stop was my hat collection and I settled on this wool cloche I made a few years ago.

Luckily I had also previously purchased this
1940's dress pattern by Decades of Style from Nancy's Sewing Basket in Seattle
( fabulous store, see link on right under Great Stores in the NorthWest ).

Not so lucky all these ideas came together just days before the Tea Party.

Tuesday April 22, I purchased the fabric at Joannes before my night class. 
Of course I needed 3 yards and there was only 2 1/4  yards left of the ideal fabric.
I decided to risk it.

Wednesday April 23 I stayed after class to use the extra large cutting tables. 
Wasn't sure if I'd have enough fabric for  my design idea to have 
some stripes vertical and some horizontal.
( hint- draw on pattern pieces desired direction of stripes )
I managed to squeeze the necessary pieces out of less than required fabric.
 As I was cutting I decided to add length to the bodice ( because I am 5' 11" )
 and add a little to the side seams at the waist and hips
even though my measurements were exactly what the pattern listed for size B.

Thursday April 24 I finally started sewing. 
As the bodice came together I was really glad 
I mixed the direction of the stripes to create subtle visual interest.

There was a lot of finishing edge stitching on the bodice and here's a tip my students love.
Instead of backstitching to secure the stitch leave a long thread tail.

Thread the thread tail through a needle, bring it to the wrong side and hand tie it off in a knot.
No visual hiccup of thick back stitching on the garment front.

This garment required an invisible zipper in the left side seam.
Invisible zippers are my sewing Achilles heel; they're never invisible!
I took the time to try an experiment. 
First I basted a seam and then sewed in the invisible zipper like a centered zipper. 
Complete and utter failure.
Had to just do my best with the traditional invisible zipper installation method.

I kept sewing and overlocking late into the evening on Thursday 
because on Friday I was in LA for the entire day.

Got the dress assembled and realized my great idea of 
cutting pattern a little bigger on each piece added up to the entire garment being way too big.
The clock was ticking but I had to fix it.

The morning of Friday April 25  I removed the skirt and took out the invisible zipper.
Then I could shorten the bodice length and take in the side seams.
Later Friday evening ( after field trip to LA )
 I re-sewed the invisible zipper in the left side seam,
 made the side seams tighter,
re-attached the skirt,
 created the sleeves,
and sewed everything together.
Miraculously it all fit wonderfully!

Saturday morning, April 26th, 
I stepped outside of my comfort zone and put on my first "costume" ever    
( besides Halloween )

The Tea Party in Fullerton was indescribably delicious and
the guests were incredibly warm and welcoming...

and dressed in fabulous outfits from all different periods.

These women are not lunatics; they are lawyers, teachers, engineers, etc.
that find dressing up great fun!

The guest of honor was Mela Hoyt-Heydon who is the department chair at 
Fullerton Community College in Theater 
AND an amazing milliner.
I wish I could be a Mela when I grow up!

There were also dozens of hats by Mela on sale.
 Each one more spectacular!
She easily sold at least 30 hats.

At the end of the long day I literally let my hair down...
And wished I had just worn it long.

The Costume Guild West is a really fun group of people 
and I am now very excited about attending my first 
Costume College this August.

And just maybe my 48 hour 1940's dress is
just the beginning of my own "costume" collection :)