With most everything underway or done, what’s left in the last week of June, you ask? Only draping, patterning and making a submission for the ‘Passion for Fashion’ sewing competition, that needs to be postmarked July 1. No time like last minute.
‘Passion for Fashion’ is a Project Runway-esque sewing competition that is held for the first two days of the American Sewing Expo on the convention floor. You are in full view of the rest of the patrons for all of your allotted work time on Friday and Saturday, with the culmination of your efforts being a runway show Saturday night. You are then judged by industry professionals and the top three looks are rewarded with Baby Lock sewing machines. I know from being a patron last year of both the Expo and the runway show that representatives from Singer, Coats & Clark, the McCall’s Pattern Family, as well as many other sewing suppliers attend. This is an amazing opportunity that offers a ton of exposure. While I’d been eager and excited to do all the projects I’ve talked about for the month of June, this is the one that I felt the most pressure on.
The first dilemma, what do I make? The submission guidelines say it has to be an outfit that you made with in the last three years. I figured I could had any of my old projects that I have, but I wanted to make something that was completely my own – from design, pattern and construction. Okay, so what do I make? I had, for a time, considered making the Godzilla dress, but the materials I’d talked about before were more than I could afford, and all the materials would have to be shipped. Keeping in mind my time and monetary budget, I decided to go with an older design and chose one of the looks from my Amazonia line. The line is inspired by the race of my favorite character, Wonder Woman. For those of you unfamiliar with the comics, the Amazons are a race of reincarnated women who in their past life were either killed or deeply wronged by men. Athena allowed to have a second life on the island of Themyscira, which is invisible to ‘man’s world.’ The Amazons are basically immortal (in the same sense that Asgardians are) and most are trained to be superb warriors. Taking the idea of a strong warrior and Greco-Roman clothing, I created a seven look line. I’ve never put images of these looks out on public social media because I’ve been too nervous that someone might take the idea. (Fun fact: in America, you can’t copyright any of your fashion illustrations) I may post them on the blog soon though, since I’m going to be making one of the outfits anyway.
With the design chosen, I had another hurdle to consider. When I originally conceived Amazonia, the three fabrics I had wanted to use were bamboo jersey, leather and Habotai silk. Once again, time and money were not going to let me have leather and Habotai. I lucked out and found a decent pleather at JoAnn Fabrics, and decided to sub out the silk for the poly chiffon they had in stock. The original color palette that I had in mind was a bit boring as well, so I had to tweak that. Below is what I decided on:
With fabric decided on, I moved onto prepping my dress form for draping. Did I mention that the last time I draped a pattern was six years ago? Deep breath. I laid down twill tape for my design lines. So far, so good.
Then started with the yoke on the shirt.With front and back done, I moved on to draping the knit torso.
For as much as I’ve relied on flat patterning for the last few years, draping comes much easier to me. I can connect to and make more sense of the process as I’m adjusting fabric around a three-dimensional form. With the shirt draped, I moved on to the skirt. The skirt is two pieces – a pencil skirt with a bias draped high-low overskirt.
I drew in all the hard lines on the fabric pattern, and pinned it back on the form to check that all seam lines met up.
You’ll notice that I got a little creative with the waistband of the skirt. I wanted to do something more than just a static 1″ band. It’s a fitted band that’s wider on the sides, and narrower on center front and back.
Success! I took all the pieces off the form and got them ready to be transferred to paper. Skipping ahead a bit (you guys know what pattern pieces look like) to the final product. I’m sorry this isn’t up on the form. By the time I had finished the hand sewing, it was 1 a.m. on July 1. I took enough time to snap a quick photo on the living room floor, pack it up and run to post office. You know, to get about 4 hours of sleep before going to my day job. Oh, what we do for our passions. But here’s the final product:
I’m sure you’ve noticed the overskirt is a different color than the sketch. The reason for that is the only ‘gold’ color chiffon I could find was way too yellow to go with the olive jersey I chose. I think overall it worked out being a two color outfit. There are three different visual textures going on already. Don’t need to clutter it up with too many colors.
So the benefit of being a massive procrastinator is, in the case of these posts about submissions, I get to reveal some really great news instead of having to wait the two weeks of real-time. I got a call last week from the American Sewing Expo that I am one of eleven contestants for the ‘Passion for Fashion’!! I got in you guys!!! Words can’t express how incredibly geeked I am. I feel blessed and terrified and excited. It’s wonderful and tumultuous. This is all really fitting though. If you read my first post ever, you’ll remember that I cited going to last year’s Expo as the inciting event to get me to start this blog and start putting myself out there.
And I wouldn’t have gone last year if my fiancee hadn’t bought me tickets. Love you, hun.