Saturday, November 21, 2009

Finished "Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress

I'm done! Yeah! I'm still alive (barely). After a week of tough work, I managed to finish my dress at 12:30 am. Now I am completely exhausted (and loosing my hair due to the flu, sleep deprivation and Stress), but I'm happy.

Of course, as with any projects, some things had to go wrong. Look at what happened to my old faithful Singer Stylist 522:

Get Well Soon, Singer Stylist 522

Dear old sewing machine: you were born in the 70's, you survived the fire at my aunts in the 90's and you held for most of this project. I love you very much and I hope I can get you repaired (Oh daddy...?!).

Thankfully, I own another sewing machine, one of those newer computer controlled ones (that goes beep-beep whenever it thinks it detects a problem - enough to drive a seamstress crazy!), so I managed to finish my dress. Can you imagine if I had had to finish it by hand? Yeah right, like that would have happened. I would have worn my old dress instead!

I know you're dying to see the dress, so without further ado, here it is:

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Front

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Side

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Back

So, what do you think (other than the cape needs pressing)? Be honest.

Well, not to sound rude, but I don't care what you think. I am extremely proud of my work. I can't wait for my fellow dancers to see it tonight to get their comments.

If you go back to my original drawing, you might notice a few little differences: I've added a diamond shaped quilted piece to the bodice design because I just thought it looked better, the cape is two-toned instead of just purple (I was suddenly inspired on night) and there is no crinoline. I couldn't find Organza in the right purple when I went shopping and there are so many details, it looks great without it. But I might add the crinoline one day, who knows?

Now for the fun of it, here are a few statistics about this dress:
  • There are 555 individual pieces that make up that dress. Than is counting every single piece of fabric, lining and fusing. For instance, each of the blue panels 14 quilted pieces, each of which has a layer fusing (that makes 28 pieces); then there is the blue velvet, the blue Glitterdot and five layers of fusing for a total of 35. Multiply that by nine and... You get the idea.
  • I used approximately 2.5 km of silver thread for the satin stitching. That's right, 2500 meters of thread. No wonder my poor old Singer decided it needed a break!
  • I used nine different fabrics, including lining fabrics. Half of them were leftovers I found while looking through my stash. The blue velvet was originally bought to make Arwen's Arch Dress, but after I changed my mind about using it for that project, I made myself a dress for Christmas a few years ago instead; I therefore consider it a leftover. The turquoise Liquid Lamé I bought at Walmart about five years ago to make Irish Dancing dresses; up to now, I have used it to make a Cyber Goth bustier (which is cut, but not assembled yet). The silver Glitterdot was also bought to make Irish Dance dresses, then I forgot about it and I found it in my Stash before leaving for the fabric store. The purple Turkish Satin is a leftover from an elvish dress made for my Halloween 2005 costume. The blue cotton used for lining the bodice is a leftover from an Italian Renaissance inspired dress I made for my role as Cendrillon in Les Héros de mon Enfance back when I was in CÉGEP (December 2000). The black tulle and skirt lining were leftovers from school projects. So basically, all I had to buy was the light blue, the royal blue Glitterdot, lots of thick non woven fusing and a zipper.
  • This was my first original design for an Irish Dance Dress and I am quite proud of it (© Gwenyver).

I would love to tell you exactly how much time I spent making this dress, but the truth is, I have no idea. One thing is for sure, if you would like to commission a dress that complicated from me, expect to pay at least 1500$ because that is what I believe it is worth. (I would be happy to take commissions, really!)

And now I'm off to get ready for the show, and tonight, once I come back from the party, I intend to SLEEP!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Irish Dance Solo Dress Progress: Finished panels and Puffball Skirt

Here it is: the final sprint! Yesterday I finished all of the panels. Want to see the result?

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Finished Royal Blue Skirt Panels (Front and Back)

I satin stitched the edges of the blue panels in silver thread. I had to go around twice and I found out it worked much better when I used tear-away stabilizer, but I as I hadn't originally planned to use it, I had to use many small scrap pieces to achieve my goal. But it looks and feels awesome (and so professionally made).

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Finished Silver Skirt Panels

When I cut my silver panel, I gave them a 1 cm seam allowance, planning to bag-line them and then satin stitch around the edges. But once I had lined them and turned them over, I decided they were fine the way they were. So no satin stitched edge for now, but if I ever change my mind, I can add it later. The important thing now is to finish the dress!

In the picture, I fanned my nine panels out to look like my original concept, a peacock's tail (but the colours definitely make it a "Water" dress).

Today this is what I have done so far:

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Turquoise Puffball Skirt

Puffball skirts are quite easy to make: simply gather a full circle skirt into a 3/3 circle lining. You should make your skirt longer than your desired finished length (in this case it is 8 cm longer) and your lining shorter by the same amount.

Also, for this particular puffball skirt, as Liquid Lamé fabrics don't have much hold, I have both used a soft fusing and a layer of tulle to make it puffier and hold it's shape.

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Bodice and Puffball Skirt

I wanted to get an idea of what the finished dress will look like. I can't wait to be done. Not only because I need sleep, but also because I've work really hard (I mean REALLY hard) and no I want to see the finished product.

Wish me luck! I'm not going to bed tonight until all that's left for me to do is hand finish the bodice's lining.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Irish Dance Solo Dress Progress: Bodice and Sleeves

As of this morning, I am more and more tired, but all of the quilting is done. That's right, all of the 199 quilted design pieces have been satin stitched in place. I still have some satin stitching to do, but now it's just edging the panels, which should be easier.

Here is what was done yesterday (and early this morning since I finished at 1:30 am):

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Sleeve

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Front Bodice

"Water" Irish Dance Solo Dress - Front Bodice and Sleeve

I do have two sleeves done, I was just too lazy to pin them both to my mannequin (or to change the thread colour on my machine to close the seam). I'm very proud of those pieces. They came out great and the design is not crooked (yeah!) which could have ruined the dress (I really need to use quilter's double sided fusing next time).

On to the finishing of the skirt panels and tomorrow I get to assemble it all. I will make it in time!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Erin the Goddess

What I really wish for today is to be done with my Solo dress. I am exhausted. And since my Daughter is sick, she barely naps and she won't fall asleep until very late. Seriously, the earliest I've been able to sit down at the sewing machine was 10:30 pm. And then I sew until 1, 1:30 am.

But let's see what I can pull from my wishlist to present today. Keeping with the Irish Dance theme, here is one costume from Lord of the Dance that I would love to make.

The character is Erin, the Goddess. She is played here by Anne Buckley. I love the beautiful green (I believe it is Velvet) dress and cloak she wears throughout the show. It's simple, yet dramatic, and of course, I love the way the cape drapes down on her body.

Anne Buckley as The Goddess Erin, Lord of the Dance (1997)

Here is another view of the dress, without the cape:

Anne Buckley as The Goddess Erin, Lord of the Dance (1997)

It would be quite easy to make, although it would require a lot of fabric. Maybe one day, for the Holidays or St. Patrick's Day, I'll splurge.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Irish Dance Solo Dress Progress: Skirt Panels Finished

More progress report on the dress that is taking my every personal moment (when I'm not taking care of my Daughter). I have finished quilting all of the 18 skirt panels. That's right, 18. Nine blue and nine silver. I pinned a few to my sewing dummy to get an idea of what it will look like once it's done:

Tomorrow I attack the bodice and the sleeves. I will be done in time for Saturday for my first show with my Dance School's Troupe.

Note: Technically, it's also the first show for the School's Troupe, but that's just because our School has branched out from the old School we were in. Yep, by the time I was ready to come back to dancing (after having stopped for over a year due to my new Baby), the girl who had been teaching in my class for years had passed her teacher's exam, so I choose to go with her (and when the website is up, I will shamelessly plug it often). I wasn't part of the Troupe in my old Dance School, but everyone else in the Troupe was. Thought I'd clarify the point.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Movie Monday: New Moon

Like, oh my Gods, like New Moon (2009) is like totally coming out like next Friday (November 20th)!!!

How did you like my impression of a crazed teen? I guess it's because I'm happily paired up with my Sweetheart and we have a beautiful Baby, but I no longer go for the impossible teenager / century old vampire love dramas. I was a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) as a teen (made my own stakes and all) and I was very much moved by the love story with Angel, but no more. Waaaa!!! I'm growing up! Nooooooo!

Costuming in the Twilight Saga up to now has mostly consisted of street clothes as the story is happening now. But there was a Prom at the end of the last movie, and although I wouldn't have been caught dead wearing what Bella wears at my own Prom, it is kind of cute; it's just not glamorous enough for my taste for a prom, but it would make a fine party dress (hmmm... Holidays are coming, I wonder if I might find the time to...).

Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan and Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, Twilight (2008)

And I mean, come on, it's blue. "Watery colours!"

From what I can gather from the New Moon trailer, Red Cloaks will be in order for next Halloween!

If you would like to find more information and pictures about the costumes in Twilight (2008) and New Moon (2009), visit The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes - Twilight (for the Blue prom dress mainly), or visit Natsuame's Blog for help on finding the costume pieces worn in the movies.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Irish Dance Solo Dress Progress: First Skirt Panel

Yeah! I'm done drawing and cutting and I'm finally starting to sew. Here is my first finished panel:

I think I'm going to have to rename this the "Water" dress (instead of "Peacock"). What was originally supposed to look like a stylized Peacock Feather now looks more like a a drop of water with flowing tail.

You can see from this picture that the fabrics I was missing and intended to buy were not in store. Instead of light blue glitterdot, I got light blue stretchy fabric with glitter drops in blue and teal (it was the only light blue glittery anything I found) and for the royal blue, I found glitterdot instead of lamé. Looks good anyways.

Now the pieces are a little crooked, which pisses me off. I really should have used double-sided quilting fusing instead of pins, but what is done is done. I'll try to fix the bottom blue pieces by adding some silver satin stitching to equalize them and hopefully, once everything is done, it won't be as noticeable.

Well I'd love to stay and chat, but I have eight more of these panels to quilt.