Laurel, The Gatsby-Hacked Version

It took way longer than it should have, but I finally finished my version of Laurel. I finished reading The Great Gatsby on my commute the other week, and I wanted something that would capture the decadent, opulent, lush feel of the novel.

Btw, I didn’t realize how sheer this dress was. I’m lucky there’s a brown fence behind most of me.

Edit: Thanks for reminding me guys, I am entering this in the Colette Patterns contest.

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Pattern Description: Loosely fitted basic sheath dress or top.

Pattern Sizing: 0-18. I cut a 4 on top and tapered to a 6 on the bottom.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, sort of.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I have on idea, I didn’t read the directions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like how versatile and simple this pattern is.

Fabric Used: Sheer crushed velvet.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I changed this pattern a lot. I dropped the neckline, took out the front and back darts, and raised the hem. I wanted a 60s-inspired does 20s-inspired version. I serged the side seams and hem and used seam binding to finish the neckline and armholes. I removed the darts since I didn’t think the crushed velvet could handle it, and I wanted to keep it simple.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. I’d really like to sew this so it would actually look like Laurel version, and not severely modified.

Conclusion: I’d definitely make this again.

Simplicity 4043: The Mermaid Tail

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The Facts

Fabric: Green lamé, 2 yards, $5/yd
Pattern: Simplicity 4043, tail only
Year: 2012
Notions: Green invisible zipper
Time to complete: 3-4 days, evenings only
First worn: Over Halloween weekend
Wear again? Maybe for Mermaid Parade this summer.
Total price: $10

And the arms of the ocean are carrying me
And all this devotion was rushing over me
And the questions I have for a sinner like me
But the arms of the ocean deliver me

I’ve been listening to a lot of Florence and the Machine during the past few weeks, so this costume was obviously inspired by sirens, mermaids, and vaguely inspired by Florence and the Machine and the decadence of the late 20s.

I’ve been a mermaid already once in Halloweens past, but I’ve never had a proper tail, fins and all, until now. I followed the instructions for the tail but greatly simplified it. I didn’t put any sequins on it, I didn’t stuff the tail, and I only interfaced one side of it. The green lamé frayed very easily so I serged the inside seams, and my iron at one point got too hot and melted the inside waistband piece, so I left that out.

The bulk of this costume is in the embellishments. The sequin tank top I’ve had in my wardrobe for years, the gold netting I bought with the green lam&eacute and tied over the skirt, and the gold mesh belt I found in Michael’s while I was buying ivy for a different costume. I bought loads and loads of pearls and seashell necklaces and just piled the on, since I’m guessing mermaids love to hoard jewelry. The trident was from my former mermaid costume.

All in all it’s pretty successful, and I’ll probably wear it again this summer for the Mermaid Parade.

( cross-posted at Sew Weekly )

McCall’s 5414: Finished Project, Halloween 2010

This was supposed to be a gory, beheaded (or almost beheaded) French revolution countess costume, but I couldn’t bear the thought of spilling fake blood on something I’ve worked on for three weeks.

This picture is of terrible quality and is nearly a month old, but this is the best representation of the costume being worn as of now. This was also taken on Halloween night inside my kitchen. I did finish McCall’s 5414, and it turned out better than I thought it would. I’ll probably have to reshoot these since I don’t think the pictures do the costume any justice.

This is the second time I’ve gone as something not gory or bloody or generally scary. I think I’m losing my touch.

Brief pattern review: The bodice turned out well enough, with a few waist adjustments. The skirt was very voluminous and this entire outfit required 5 yards of 60′ fabric. I ended up using all of it, mostly in the skirt part. Gathering the side skirt parts was a pain. The gathering thread broke and I had to pleat the sides of the skirt together. I used an invisible zipper on the center back. I sewed the first zipper in perfectly, then realized the zipper was too short since it wouldn’t zip over my hips or waist. I ripped out the first zipper and inserted another invisible zipper. Brocade frays very easily and is hard to work with. Not as bad as silk, but the metallic threads were difficult to sew through. I couldn’t be bothered with hemming my entire skirt since I’d probably only wear this once (and possibly to a future Rennfaire), so I serged the ends instead. I finished the middle of the dress with facing, and sewed gold-trimmed lace to the bodice and sleeves. I omitted the ribbons going down the bodice of the dress since it just seemed like too much. I accessorized the costume with a pearl headband and a wool cape from my closet.

Beta test results: I ended up walking about 20 blocks that day in the cold, and it was actually very comfortable and warm. I did almost trip on my skirts while going up the subway steps, and learned to walk around holding parts of my skirt so it wouldn’t drag on NYC streets.

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Halloween-2010aPresiding over the kitchen like a princess.

McCall’s 5414: Muslin

Here’s the muslin of the bodice from McCall’s 5414. It fits pretty well but needs adjusting at the waist. I’m making it out of medium weight brocade (home decorating?) fabric. I think I’ll leave out the lining and just use facings since it’s pretty stable as it is.

m5414-j