Monday, July 18, 2011

I Bet You Thought I Was Gone Forever!!!

My last true post was done on May 17th. So, so bad. So yes I've been gone, but hopefully not forgotten.
The last few months have been quite a whirlwind, and I do have so many wonderful classes and adventures to share with you. In May I took an incredible class with Shingo Sato. Probably the BEST seminar I have ever attended. I had an opportunity to go to San Francisco and attend the Balenciaga exhibit and that was followed by two days of draping Balenciaga with Sandra Ericson. Such a wonderful experience. Susan Khalje was in Chicago and I took her week long Couture Sewing class and made a French Jacket (I am in love with my jacket!! I also love Susan.). And then, I had to get my gown finished for the Lincoln Park Zoo Benefit.

 The party was spectacular. The evening was sponsored by BMW and Guggenheim. My husband just couldn't resist getting a picture alongside one of the BMW's that was on display.

 Before you think I am far more talented than I am, I have to let you know that the fabric of my dress came this way. It is absolutely spectacular though. Back in February when we went to Germany for the wedding of one of our exchange students, we spent a few days in Innsbruck Austria visiting with three of our Italian exchange students. During a walk through the city, I found a fabric store (what a surprise). I bought four pieces of fabric. The store didn't have a lot of fabric, but what they had was so beautiful. They had this particular piece in two color schemes, one piece had the colors of a sunrise and this piece I thought looked like the colors of the sunset. It also reminds me of a Van Gogh painting. There are hundreds of strips of silk cut on the bias and swirled to create the fabric.

Since the fabric speaks for itself, I decided to keep the design very simple, but then again, I had to do something a little unexpected. The fabric you see in the lacing is an incredible piece of fabric. It's French (no, I didn't go to France, wish I had though), I found it at the fabric store in Houston, High Fashion Fabrics. It's an iridescent silk chiffon. I didn't want a slit in the dress so I have a small back flounce. At the end of the post I have instructions on how I did the flounce.

I was in a bit of a panic about my shoes. Lucky me, I found these on the internet. Sadly, the color isn't represented very well in the picture. They are actually a hot pink satin. Payless ladies!!! When I saw them on the internet, I thought that the color was what I was looking for so I took a chance and got lucky. Actually, I knew that if they weren't right I could always return them, but my real issue was time. Just to let you know, if you do order something from Payless, they will ship the order to your nearest store for free. When you pick up your order, if you don't like them for any reason, you can get your money back on the spot and they don't charge a restocking fee. Pretty good deal.

 As I'm sure you all know by now, I am a huge fan of John Koch. He makes the loveliest hats. You can check out his website at www.montrosestudio.com. I had wanted him to create something for me, but he pushed me to do it myself. He told me that if I really needed him, he would help, but he knew I could do it. Actually, what happened is I got found out. I went in to visit John one day and he said, "I didn't know you do illustrations." I was rather bewildered and wondered what he was talking about. He pulled out a book, "HATS, Design and Construction." He had an intern working with him that had brought in the book. He told me that as he was admiring the cover he looked and was surprised to see my name. The story about this is that I had designed the hat on the cover and won first place in a contest. The author of the book was working on a second addition, saw my hat, liked it. When she approached me, I had no idea who she was. Long story a little shorter, she asked me to do the cover illustration for her new book. So in telling the story to John, he found out that I know very well how to make hats. Busted. By the way, if you are interested in making hats, this is really a great book. You can order it from Amazon here.
I bought almost everything for my headpiece from Joann's. They had some great pieces in their floral department that I was able to take apart and refashion.
The silk ribbon came from Soutache along with some yardage of feathers that are a little too difficult to see in the pictures. It was fun to put it together, but even more fun to wear it.


 Last summer I went to Nashville and took Susan Khalje's class. What I learned was invaluable. I had always used this plastic boning because the true steel boning is just too uncomfortable. Susan  enlightened me to a steel boning that moves with the body. Wonderful. The pictures below are a look at the inner corset that I attached to the dress. There is boning galore in this piece. The best part about it is that once it's on, it's not going anywhere (unless you want it to!!).

 I lined the dress in hot pink silk charmeuse. It matches my shoes.

A quick little tutorial on  the back flounce of my dress.
Begin with your pattern piece. Draw a grainline from top to bottom.
I'm so sorry that all the pictures are on their side. This computer has driven me out of my mind. For some reason I can't get the pictures turned.

Decide where you would like to cut the pattern apart. For a dress like this, the line should be above the knee as we are wanting to create ease of movement.

Divide this section into equal parts and number them. The amount of sections is up to you and also depends on the amount of fabric you have. Cut off the sectioned piece from the main portion of the pattern. Cut the sections to the cutting line but not through it. The reason you don't want to cut through the line is a matter of making it easier on yourself. But if by chance you do cut through the line, your pieces are numbered so you know where they go.
Spread the pieces apart equally.

Draw a line to connect the sectioned pieces and create your pattern piece. Be sure to add seam allowance to both pieces or your back will no longer match the front.

This is how I added the swing to the San Diego Jacket that I made in the spring. I will do another post to show you exactly how that was done and it won't be two months from now. To tell the truth, I did try to post a tutorial on the San Diego Jacket. We had just purchased the computer and nothing was working as it should. The night I tried to do the post, I got so mad I could spit! The computer has been back to the store more times than I would like to count and things are still not as they should be.
Hope you enjoy this post and it is good to be back.
Hope you all are having a wonderful summer!!

Share this PostPin ThisShare on TumblrShare on Google PlusEmail This


  1. What a stupendous summer you are having! I applaud your dress and hat.

  2. That dress is fabulous! Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. Just stunning, Rhonda! I absolutely see Starry Night--and you are the star!