16 March 2008

They Call Me Mellow Yellow - Part 1

Thank you to everyone that has left such wonderful comments - I truly appreciate when people take time out of their day for me. I have had a bunch of comments asking when I would model my latest garments. I will definitely be posting pictures of me wearing my SWAP wardrobe, but I am going to wait until all the pieces are done and ready to be submitted to Julie of Timmel Fabrics (the SWAP sponsor). So, stay tuned, it won't be too long now! :)

Also, Marguerite writes, "Are the dress photos from the White House Years book or the Cassini book?"
The dress photos are from "Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years", although I also own "A Thousand Days of Magic". As an aside, for anyone that is a Jacqueline Kennedy fan, I cannot recommend both books highly enough. Each book contains amazing photographs and historical information about JK, her clothing and her personality. Great reads!

The next garment up in my SWAP 2008 was inspired by a yellow silk ziberline dress worn by Jacqueline Kennedy in Jaipur, India on March 19, 1962. This dress, as well as several other pieces taken on a tour of India and Pakistan, were designed by Gustave Tassell. Interestingly, JK wore this dress, as well as pumps and white gloves, to indulge in an elephant ride. One year earlier, the Queen rode the same elephant wearing a safari suit. I guess Jackie favoured fashion over practicality - that's my kind of gal!!

JK typically favoured slim or A-line skirts. Occasionally she went for the fuller skirted look as seen in this dress. Being a fan of fuller skirts myself, it was a no-brainer for me to knock off this particular garment. Originally, I had planned on making this dress in a mustard wool crepe. I tend to only wear wool crepe in the cooler months and since I really wanted to stay with the sleeveless design, I figured I would have to wear a sweater over the dress for warmth. However, I didn't want to ruin the lines of the dress by slapping a cardigan on over top of it. So, I decided to take a cue from the original and a hunt for yellow silk began. I looked high and low on the internet to find appropriate fabric (at a reasonable price) and basically came up empty. Then one day, while browsing in a local chain fabric store, I spotted the perfect shade of mustard yellow silk dupioni - sometimes what you want most is right under your nose! I snatched up 2 m and skipped merrily all the way home.

Since dupioni is a light weight fabric and in this case, fairly translucent, I underlined the bodice and the skirt with a very pale peach cotton batiste. Batiste is one of my favourite underlinings for crisp, thin silks. It adds body to the garment, it ensures modesty and all the facings and hem can be tacked to the underlining, leaving the front of the garment completely unmarred by stitches.

The pattern for this dress is based on Simplicity 7990 (which, incidentally I used unaltered for last year's SWAP as well). This pattern has the same basic silhouette that I desired and only needed a few tweaks to more closely resemble the inspiration garment. You can see a comparison of the old and new pattern pieces below.

To increase the fullness of the skirt, I slashed the front and back pieces in two places and added 1.25" to each opening. To create the front seam, I simply added a 5/8" seam allowance to the front where it was originally to be placed on a fold.

The midriff cummerbund band was perfect as is, so it was left alone, but the tie was discarded.

The front bodice required the most work. I traced out two front bodice pieces and taped them together, on top of a another piece of paper, in the crossed over manner displayed on the pattern cover. Then I drew in a wide, rounded neckline. I drew a vertical line from the centre of the neckline to the centre of the lower bodice. Finally, a 5/8" seam allowance was added to this newly drawn line. Lastly, a front facing was drafted for this new front bodice piece. See the photo on the left for a before and after comparison.

The back bodice required alteration as well, so that the back neckline would match the front. This, of course, necessitated the redrafting of the back neck facing. After checking that all the old and new pieces fit together properly, the tweaked pattern was ready to go. Next time, I will show you the completed garment.

Lastly, I am the proud owner of a new camera. I decided on a Canon Rebel XTi (which can be seen at left). It is winging its way to me as we speak. I can't wait to get my hands on this baby and give it a whirl. My husband (who is really into photography) has a much sexier version of this camera and the nifty part is that his lenses can be used with my new camera. I will now have the ability to get super crazy close-up shots, super duper far away shots and everything in between. Wahoo!!


sewcrazy said...

Congratulations on your new camera! I have the 20D and L-O-V-E it.

Your swap/wardrobe project is great - I love reading about your projects.

Lori in MN

Anonymous said...

Interesting choice for the pattern. I can't wait to see the finished dress.


Sigrid said...

This will be a fabulous wardrobe, which all those JK elements in it. Great choice for the pattern. And you'll have a great camera to give us all the pictures we're looking forward to.

Becky said...

Ooh, I'm jealous of the silk. I'm not sure if I've ever actually sewed on silk, actually-- definitely silky fabrics, but that's not the same thing. Is it a lot harder to sew on than other types of fabrics?

I hear mustard yellow is one of the "in" colors coming up for the next season or so. So your Jackie O dress will be right in style.

And congrats on the new camera! I will try not to be jealous. ;)

Rose said...

Well, I thought the brown dress was going to be my favorite of your SWAP items. Now, it may lose to the yellow dress. I love the design and look forward to seeing your interpretation. BTW, I finally made bound buttonholes. I used your method. They turned out great - especially for a first attempt. Thanks for sharing your wardrobe and techniques.

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

So did you have a good sewing week? Did you get a lot accomplished and are you further along with the SWAP pieces? I, of course, am one of those anxiously awaiting more unveilings! I knew I wouldn't get to see you wearing garments until the end...I am just greedy for more inspiration.

The new camera is kewl...glad you found one you like!

Unknown said...

I can't wait to the see this dress finished - even if it is on a hanger! I love how the 'pleasant surprise' dress turned out, too.

My hubby has that camera and the same model in a 35mm film version. I'm stealing the digital when we go on vacation next month! g

Anonymous said...

Shannon, Thanks for the answer about the books. I went right to EBay, bought one, and have a bid in on the other. Love the mustard yellow dress...one of my colors too. The midriff dress was very flattering on you last year, so this fuller skirt version will be beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Wow, these interpretations are just astonishing--and so inspiring. Can't wait to see this next one.

Berry said...

This dress promise to look fabulous. Great inspiration. And I must add I just looove Canon, you're going to have fun ;o)

Kitty Couture said...

I can't wait to see how your mellow-yellow dress turns out Shannon... You know what a sucker for full skirts I am, too!
This dress promises to be exquisite. Happy sewing!

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great! Thanks for leaving a comment so I could find you! Love all the JK inspired clothing, wish I could wear that style. The Rebel is a super camera. I have the older version, but it's still very good. Just found out how to use the slow exposure on a tripod, and that makes it real easy to take photos using natural light- a must to truly see exquisite fabric, something you obviously adore :-)