I am still in a little shock about the fact that I made this dress. I ended up with 16 days to get this made and most of my evenings and weekends were booked up with TAFE classes, social events and even a derby bout. Craziness. And let me be honest- whilst Gertie's dress was my inspiration this is more a hat tip to it rather than an actual bombshell. In fact the tiki dress is an amalgamation of three commercial patterns and a self drafted section. Yup. Things got crazy to get this done.
I watched all of the bombshell classes and even got the muslin of the bodice made up. But when it became apparent that the ole bosoms weren't going to fit without SIGNIFICANT adjustments I had to look elsewhere. Enter Vogue 8849. Princess seamed, custom fit cup sizes and boned? That's a tick in every box. So after ponying up $23.50 for the freaking pattern (I know, I know - it was desperate times) I slapped a toile together like a boss. And then again. And a third time. Fourth time proved to be a charm and I was ready to cut into my shell fabric. Because Gertie's teachings were still fresh in the noggin I even underlined like a boss. Brace yourself- you're about to see pieces hand basted together with silk thread. I know, right? Who would have thought I had it in me?
The skirt proved to be a bit of a hot mess trial by fire as well. I tried the Burda pattern that came with the Gertie course and it failed miserably. In the end I went with three patterns for the skirt: I used the four piece panelling in the back from the Burda pattern and shaped the panels to fit my epic Simplicity 2154 pencil skirt pattern pieces (kind of like a block, I guess?). And the third pattern? Well, that would be me slashing and spreading the bejeesus out of S2154 to turn the front panel into a sarong skirt. Yup- I drafted my own sarong skirt front using a slash and spread method suggested by a bunch of rad twitter ladies (thanks, Rach!) I also added a killer kick pleat to the back so I could
ninja kick assassins if required walk like a lady.
Now this bodice top is zero ease. Nada. And I have to admit as I made up my toiles I found the lack of ease really terrifying. What if I laughed too hard at something and my bodice tore all Incredible Hulk style (minus the purple and green)? A legitimate fear, I think we must all agree. But once the boning was added (I chickened out and went with some locally purchased plastic boning for this version) to the princess and side seams that worry went away. Those little plastic strips gave the bodice structure and even held shape when the dress wasn't being worn.
Tragedy struck two nights before I was due to fly to Melbourne. For some dense reason I added a YKK invisible zip. And it jammed. And stupidly I reset it twice before a dim lightbulb went off over my head and was all "zero ease + invisible zip = facepalm. Get thee to a dress zip STAT". Of course I had no black dress zips so a trip to the fabric store was on the cards for the next afternoon. So the night before I flew out not only was a freaking out about
flying death tubes planes but I was doing my second ever lapped zipper, catch stitching the bodice close and blind hemming the skirt. Nothing like a bit of pressure to get you going! Needless to say it was 11pm by the time I was finished which made my 6am wake up not look fun. Aloha morning!
Whilst six hours of sleep may not have been the best way to start my weekend it didn't dampen the awesomeness ahead. Poor Longrain didn't know what hit them when a stitch of sewists in fabulous frocks descended on them. It was a night of amazing conversation, fabulous food and plentiful beverages. Here a few photos from the night thanks to Mel and Rachel:
|The fabric triplets- Kat, Liz and I. |
Fabric shopping with these ladies was uncanny- but bodes well for stash swapping!
|A quartet of Melbourne awesomeness- Belle, Rachel, Mel, Kat. |
Some serious style (and loveliness) happening at right here.
|The always effervescent Lizzy. |
I think it was easy to pick the natural posers in the group... BWAH HA HA!
What I loved about this
- I freaking made it! It will take a while for this thrill to wear off, let me tell you. Bwah ha ha!
- The special finishing- hand basted pieces, kick pleat, tidy insides. I am so proud with how well this turned out.
- Hand picked zip. And it held. With zero ease. Consider my mind officially blown.
What I would change for next time:
- I really want to try the bombshell bodice. I think to do this successfully I'm going to need a dress form. Pinning to a tight shirt did not work so well... Hmm... It may be time to go a shopping!
- Do I dare go a crazier tiki fabric? I'm thinking serious tiki heads. Sure, I could go refined with a silk or somesuch but let's face it TIKI BEATS EVERYTHING!
- Spiral steel boning- I'm ready for this!
Overall, I love my tiki dress HARD. The journey of making it was awesome, the learning of new skills rocked my world and I got to kick it with some fab ladies whilst wearing it. But most importantly it passed the greatest test: ability to do the robot.