Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Charlotte Ballet--2016 Nutcracker Costume pics......FINALLY!!!

This is a cute pic. Just realized that both sets of costumes are in this one. More costume pics below

Here are the Charlotte Ballet Nutcracker costumes I made for last month's performance. What's odd is last month was December but it feels like it was so long ago. I was VERY proud to have this opportunity and honor. You may recall my first foray into ballet costume work occurred when I did the 2015 Kansas City Ballet Nutcracker--Party Girl dresses. So I was pretty happy to do ballet costume work for a 2nd year in a row.  I have TREMENDOUS gratitude for the talented Holly Hynes, the costume designer for the opportunity. She's wonderful to work with.
Here she is in this commercial detailing the inspiration for this year's ballet. I had the privileged of seeing the show when it came to Charleston, SC and the costumes were DIVINE!!!! I think I drooled all through the show LOL!!!

Here are the lovely drawings done by Holly Hynes. I anticipated having other big projects around that time so I picked the simpler kids costumes---one's I knew I could accommodate in my schedule.

The China corp girl's costume consisted of a boatneck top in crepe back orange satin (crepe side up) and a snake applique on the front that wrapped around over the shoulder to the back with a snakehead with ruby red eyes.

The Ukrainian Girls who performed the GoPak dance--- Their blouses were authentic and ordered from the Ukraine. I created the custom belt made out of pink satin and their circle skirts made from midweight green polyester. Later  it was decide for the skirts to be lengthened and I added a Ukrainian type 2" wide ribbon to the bottom.

You can see the Ukrainian Girl's costume in this commercial at 0:34-0:38s in

Here's backstage pics of both sets of costumes. The China Corp girls---sorry I don't have a pic of the back with the snake head and garnet eyes. I made 8 tops and 8 pants.

....and the Ukrainian Girls. I made the 4 skirts and 4 belts.

Here is the video detailing all of my work! If I sound crazy it's because I was sleep deprived! LOLLLLL

So if you rewind things a bit you may recall that I traveled to Charlotte, NC in October to do the initial fittings. I posted some of these on my Instagram acct back then. Here I am in the Charlotte Ballet work room! It's huge! The candy cane costumes are to the left. So much eye-candy!

Fitting the China corp girls. I made the top in muslin--various sizes close to their measurements. We then pin fit them. We also did the same for the pants. Except the pants were already cut out in the final fashion fabric. I had to take in a few to account for the fittings. 

We also fit the Ukrainian girl outfits too. We adjusted the skirt by dropping the hem. I then later added trim to it to create a longer skirt per the designers instructions. Also, notice the belt prototype is in muslin. Wanted the designer to approve the design before I made the real thing.

Here's the final belt up close. It has pleating detail in the middle and a faux knot/sash in the front. It was made out of a really pretty shiny slubbed pink satin.

Anyhow LOVED this project!!! And I loved the final results!!!!

 Last but not least I want to dedicate this post to my favorite gal Lucky who lost her battle to cancer (leg tumor) 2 weeks ago. She was originally my Dad's dog but since his passing and other circumstances I received her a year ago. At the ripe "young" age of 16 she brought our family so much joy. She was so quiet---rarely barked but just always such a sweet presence.  She was my "road dog" for sure---always hanging in my sewing studio for every project. She's witnessed the highs and lows and always snuggled near me for support and to keep my feet warm on the cold days. I miss her dearly...boy do I miss her! Love you forever Lucky! Enjoy hanging out in Heaven with Dad :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Custom Wedding Work: A Bridal Gown (2 Piece) and 3 Bridesmaids Dresses

 I'm proud to finally be able to post pics of the Custom sewn pieces I made for my Lovely Bride Mrs. HB's November 2016 wedding. FYI---I've had the pleasure of knowing this wonderful Lady for a number of year and for a short stint she was my professor in college. We both are marine biologists at heart! I made the bride a beautiful rhinestone encrusted 2 piece ensemble---V Neck, princess seam top with 3/4 sleeves and Fitted skirt and for her lovely Bridesmaids dresses I sewed up an Out of Print Vogue Draped Knit dress. I'll give some pics and details below. Due to time shortage I can't go into too many details but for those of you who follow me on Periscope (10,000 Hours of Sewing) or watch the Tailor and the Dressmaker show on Youtube---well you've heard and seen the scoop. BTW, I'm also on Instagram as VictoriaDBaylor. One final shameless plug is I expanded my business to doing Style Consulting so please swing by to check out my Dressedin10 Instagram too!  Ok, now on to the review...... For the record I NEVER post pattern picks or specific details about my client's custom wedding garments until usually after the wedding. IMP just poor taste to do so.  Anyhow deets below.....


 -The Bride wanted Indian inspired bridal wear. So for the 2 piece ensemble---I used McCall's 3436 for the skirt and Butterick's 5982 for the top. We skipped the Sari since the beaded fabric was so ornate.  I used Butterick 5982 before for THIS lovely client and knew it would work well and would all great contouring for a larger bust size and the princess seams were to the side of the bust instead of over it. We really didn't want the princess seams to be so obvious.
-This 2 piece had TONS of rhinestones! The pics don't do it justice!
-The fabric was a mesh with rhinestones attached that went from sparse on one end of the selvage to densely packed at the other end which meant it had a border print of crystals.
(photo courtesy from seller's website)

-I've sewn with stones---fabric having them or either sewing my own but this was my first time working with $200/yd fabric (yes that's $200/yd and I had 3 yards). It's the most expensive fabric I've ever worked with so as you can imagine I Had to take extra precautions!  I always think things through before I cut anything. 
-Since the rhinestone fabric was on sheer mesh I had to use another fabric underneath it as a foundation. I opted for a non-stretch ivory dull satin. I would've preferred a stretch satin--which makes it much easier to fit fitted garments but we couldn't find the one we wanted so we went with it.
-Long story short---I did client fitting in muslin to work out fit kinks. Afterwards I was ready to progress toward making both the top and skirt in the final fabric. I discovered the rhinestone mesh due to weight actually stretched vertically so I had to stabilize it. If I didn't stabilize it it would hang longer than the ivory satin skirt underneath. I'd only planned to attach the rhinestone overlay to the ivory foundation skirt at the waistline (basting it and attaching the waistband to it and the ivory skirt) and of course to the zipper section, since there was a center back zipper and to the split---since one was added to facilitate movement in such a fitted skirt. To stabilize the rhinestone mesh I decided to use tulle for it's translucence and stability and had to "invisibly" hand sew the tulle to the rhinestone mesh before I could use the rhinestone mesh/tulle combo to overlay the ivory dull satin---basting together before overlaying pattern and cutting out. I did a ton of hand sewing. I did rows and rows to make sure the mesh wouldn't stretch. And it worked.
-I cut out and sewed the ivory skirt together first. Then I worked on the rhinestone mesh/tulle combo.
-I positioned the dense rhinestone border at the bottom of the skirt and for the hem of the sleeves.  The skirt---for the record---the overlay was actually cut out as a rectangle while the base ivory satin shirt was cut out skirt pattern pieces. A friend advised it was better to keep the lines of the rhinestone  mesh overlay as simple as possible so no side seams were needed. I fit the skirt rhinestone skirt overlay only through sewing up the back seam and contoured the waste by adding a few darts. I actually had to trim the wedge of the dart so it wouldn't be as noticeable in the rhinestone mesh upper skirt. Worked like a charm.
-Of course I added a ivory lining and I forgot to mention that I had to remove rhinestones from all of the seam allowances so I could actually sew them and add some stones back on afterwards to fill in any gaps. As you can imagine this took a little time but wasn't too bad given I didn't have side seams for the mesh overlay! I only de-stoned in the waistband area, zipper area and near the slit.
-Forgot to mention----The lining hem was attached to the ivory skirt hem by machine before I added the rhinestone overly an then the zipper and waistbands were added. The rhinestone mesh hem was turned up and sewn in place by hand using invisible thread.

-The top had it's own challenge. The garment styles/silhouettes were EASY---just a crop top and a pencil skirt but once you factored in the rhinestone fabric overlay that's when a bit more thought, skill and engineering was required.
-For the top I cut the 4 pieces out in the same ivory satin and rhinestone mesh fabric separately. This time I didn't need to use the ivory tulle to stabilize the mesh pieces since they would not be hanging freely but would be attached directly to each bodice piece. I did my usual baste in the seam allowance to attach both the rhinestone mesh overlay fabric onto the ivory satin fabric underneath. After hand basting and attaching the two I had to remove all of the rhinestones in the seam allowance. I removed ALOT of stones. Fortunately they came off pretty easily and each was sorta sewn and tacked individually so releasing one rhinestone didn't make 40 fall off. Thank God!
-All pieces were sewn together, lining pieces all sewn together too and everything attached.
-A long zipper was added to the top back.
-As mentioned earlier the heavier stone border was used for the bottom of the sleeves which gave a cool affect. The rest of the top I used the part of the rhinestone mesh with fewer stones. The lovely bride wanted a gradual increase of stones from top to bottom.
For the record---the top and skirt are VERY heavy from all the stones. Was kinda cool though---reminded me of chain mail LOL!

3 Bridesmaids. Dress draping details a little hard to see from the pic

- 2 out of the 3 bridesmaids---I used OOP Vogue pattern 1341
-You can see the draping detail of the bodice that continues all over.

-I call these the origami dresses---the pattern consisted of oddly shaped 3 pieces that had tons of pleating and tucks. I didn't even look like a dress until the very last stitch.  This dress requires precise markings. My heat erase pens came in super handy. I color coded my markings (did a periscope video on that a few months back) to make it easier to see which pleat and tuck marks belonged to which.
-Not a difficult dress to sew just one you want to pay close attention to.
-There's no real place to do alterations since it didn't even have side seam. One of the most unusual dresses I've ever sewn but the results were stunning.
-I did sample dress and had bridesmaids try on. Then I made it in a beautiful creamy textured medium weight knit---I think it was a double knit. It had lots of stretch but the thickness helped carry the pleats and tucks well.
-With stretch factor was able to go down in size for each bridesmaid but I had to add 10" of length to the dress and slip---it was originally short. BTW, this dress comes with the slip pattern which is instrumental in order for the dress to take shape and helps form the front drape.
-I love the low asymmetrical cut neckline. This dress reminded me a bit of the Statue of Liberty's

All in All I'm delighted about how the Bride's and 3 Bridesmaids dresses turned out. The lovely Bride , Mrs. HB and her bridesmaids were such sweethearts! I was really honored to do the job! I learned tons in this project and added a few new tools and knowledge to my sewing tool kit. It's always great to be learning and growing and using the skills you've acquired. Ok, next up I'll show you the Charlotte Ballet costumes I made........


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