Friday, May 18, 2012

The Big 4

This month and next it's all about the big four....I'm not talking about the pattern companies we all know and love but about the four big projects I've set out for myself in May and June.  I'm not sure if I've officially gone crazy or what.  Perhaps you can talk some sense into me.  You see, I've been very busy with work this month and in addition to my full-time job, I've picked up a consulting project on the side.  I've also mentioned that we will be celebrating a big event in June--David's graduation!!  We are both super excited.  There's the graduation event, the graduation ball and a garden party!!  So here's the big four plan:

1. The Gilda Gown
You may remember me already talking about this one.  Originally I was planning on using the bombshell dress as the basis for the gown, however given everyone's reviews (especially in terms of how long it takes) I'm wondering if I might be better off with a pattern like this one (thanks to lsaspacey for pointing this out as the perfect Gilda gown):

The only problem with this is the reviews on pattern review suggest this is difficult to piece together and a troublesome pattern...

Or this one:

This one has had really good reviews and people have said it was "easy" to put together. 

Here's the inspiration gown again:

Thoughts?  Other patterns I should explore?

2. The Bonnie Prince Charlie Jacket
This is the traditional jacket to be worn with a kilt (isn't it the best name for a jacket?).  Here's a photo of David and I with him wearing his current Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket:

His graduation is white tie--meaning a black Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket.  I found the perfect pattern from Folkwear (you can make your own kilt and the pattern even comes with instructions for knitting your own argyle socks...don't worry that's not on the agenda for the next two

Folkwear Pattern 152:

3.  Traditional Waistcoat/Vest
You have to wear a vest under the Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket (also included in the Folkwear pattern).  This version will be made in white.  Have I mentioned that I've never done welt pockets before?

4. A Garden Party Dress
Part of the graduation includes a garden party event (yipppeee).  I asked David to pick his choice of pattern for me to wear and he choose the 1933 Katherine Hepburn Butterick 5156 frock from EvaDress:

I've made this pattern before and it sews up very nicely:

I LOVE this pattern.  And for those of you who may be thinking...'Won't this outfit be too warm for a garden party in June?'  I can assure it, it won't be that warm in June.  It was only 43 degrees today.  Sigh.  So it's not exactly the floral chiffon frock type of garden party--but hey, I can live with that if it means I get to play with lightweight wool!

We've already been swapping ideas for fabrics and let's just say there will be tartan and bright colours involved.  The only hitch?  I seem to have missplaced my pattern (grrrrr...I HATE it when I do that).  I distinctly remember that the pattern did not fit back in it's envelope and so I put it in with another pattern (but now I can't remember which one).  So, I'm going to look for it this weekend (wish me luck!)

Now, here is the part where I ask you if I have gone mad.  Is this doable?  Should I try?  I forgot to mention that David has agreed to tackle all the hand sewing on the jacket and vest (yippeee) and do some guest posts for my blog in June to help us accomplish our goals. 

So what do you think?  Brilliantly ambitious OR looney bin overload (i.e. not humanly possible)?


  1. Christine NewtonMay 18, 2012 9:14 PM

    Yay! I love that you're working on a Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket and the waistcoat! Good luck and I can't wait to see the other gorgeous outfits as well.  Totally doable - if anyone could do it, it would be you!

  2. Can we vote 2 parts brilliantly ambitious, 1 part looney bin overload? ;) However knowing you, you'll absolutely master the challenge! And I love that David's going to help work on his Bonnie Price Charlie jacket and vest.

    I think if you're concerned about time-frame as it is, and one of the gown patterns seems concerning, you might be better off going with the second one. They really look quite similar, unless for some reason you're particularly drawn to the one with a bad track record. Good luck with your ambitious plans, and can't wait to see the results of your Big 4!

  3. even if it is both, it will be worth trying, so i say go for it!  :-)

  4. Ambitious, but I think you can do it! I love the name Bonnie Prince Charlie, too!

  5. Well, I think you're loony but in a good way :) You can do it! I cannot wait to lurk your progress!

  6. If anyone can handle it, it's you! Go for it and give it your best shot!! I can't wait to see the finished products. Which one is up first?

  7. It's doable.  Just depends on how much of your life you want to devote to it.  I spent the entire summer last, literally, getting ready for Queen Mary art deco fest.  Didn't do much of anything else.  But this is certainly a grand occasion, and I think you're up to the task. Good luck!

  8. Hiya, new to your blog and love it- so inspiring! I say go for it with the easier gown. I really love what you are wearing in the picture with David in his BPC jacket- did you make it and if so which pattern is it from? Making one of these would take me a very long time. Looking toward to seeing your work!! Steph

  9. It's so important to settle on a pattern you can deal with easily and not have to fight it. You being the Wonder Woman of Scotland can handle these projects if anyone can. I just can't wait to see the fabric you choose I know I will love it as I love all you come up with! Good luck!

  10. Jennifer PatienceMay 19, 2012 1:20 AM

    Not at all^  The Hepburn frock is just gorgeous and I can imagine it working in different fabrics - true?  

  11. Well, I for one, know that you're looney as a jaybird.  Nobody sane would've accepted my proposal.  Hee hee.

    I know you'll do it.   I chose the Hepburn outfit because a) it is one of my top 3 outfits that you've made and I think you look absolutely stunning in it, b) you've done it before so you know the challenging parts and the ways around it, and c) it's a smashing gown with a sensible wool jacket, which if this week is any indication, will be just right for graduation week.

    I'm happy to help with the hand-sewn details, and also am looking forward to you showing me a thing or two, so I can take on the easier parts and leave you free to tackle the more advanced work.  It'll be a fun project, and although it's mad (mad, I tell you!), we're both used to that by now.

    Thanks, everyone for the encouragement!

  12. karen slatteryMay 19, 2012 2:42 AM

    I love the second dress you are considering. The red one - make it with a wrap too. It looks so sophisticated. When I saw the first, it reminded me a little of the vintage dress in the April 2012 Burda magazine. It isn't strapless but it is elegant.

  13. You might be totally loony - but I say go for it!! Its sounds like a great challenge (and I LOVE the projects) and I have total faith in you.

    As for the Gilda gowns - well the first one is certainly more glamorous - but the second one, frankly, looks more like the gown Rita's wearing. I think with a bit of neckline shaping - maybe subtly sweetheart it - and some strategic boning and padding you can turn it into a screen goddess gem!

    Also, David is so sweet to take on the hand sewing and guests posts - sigh...what a man!

  14. Beata LaurensonMay 19, 2012 4:12 AM

    I don't know if you have heard of the book "Sew Iconic," but it has a pattern for the Gilda gown. I have the book, but haven't yet tried any of the patterns, and there aren't many reviews around at the moment, so not sure how good the pattern is!

  15. Janene SpencerMay 19, 2012 7:55 AM

    Oh wow. What plans! Go for it girlie! I'm blown away with all those styles.... not least of all that you made David's Bonnie Prince Charlie Jacket too!! I would normally take the easy way out but knowing how talented and skillful you are I would go for the one that you really really want. I can already picture you in either of those dresses. You will look the Belle of the Ball! Also looking forward to David's post. Mr Ooobop! will be very inspired by that. He's been itching to get involved!

  16. Yes, you are quite clearly mad, but I don't doubt for a second that you can do it, Debi! You have met many a crazy sewing deadline before. I find it soooo lovely that you and David are working towards this sewing challenge together, just as you are looking forward to his graduation together. Adorable :) xx

  17. Crazy? Yes. An insurmountable challenge? No. Good luck!

  18. HOLY WOW.  I love David's entire outfit, from that gorgeous Prince Charlie down to the ghillie brogues. I am so excited about you making the Prince Charlie because Rob only has a navy one but is longing for a black one as well.  I personally would love love love any tips you have for making one as you go through that process!!  PS - what tartan is David wearing? Rob wears Thomas of Wales - it's red and green like David's!  The sporan is stunning as well, and I love that you are rocking Ness tartan to coordinate with him - you two are so fantastic.

    I am very very excited about your Gilda dress!  You are going to be smashing :)

  19. Ségolène- LyonMay 19, 2012 8:42 PM

    bonsoir je tombe par hasard sur ton blog! j'adore! surtout ton haut marron pour the party!
    désolée je ne parle pas anglais j'ai pu lire quelques mots mais les images parlent d'elles même...

  20. Oh Debi you are crazy!  But knowing the speed at which you knock up these incredible beautiful creations you'll be absolutely fine!

  21. Wow Debbie, some ambitious goals there!  I know you can do it, but I would simplify if I were you.  I would choose the easy Gilda dress and buy the best fabric you can afford - maybe a silk - that will look amazing!  And I think that it's simpler look over the bust would be really flattering on your fiture.  I would not bother with the welt pockets on the waist coat - they are so difficult - who will notice?  Or maybe you could do some sort of fake welt pocket!  The garden party dress is amazing and would look amazing in a tartan - I hope you find the patterns.

  22. You have definitely set yourself a challenge, but isn't that a huge part of the fun (and source of eventual satisfaction)?
    In terms of the patterns for the Gilda dress, I made my bridesmaids dresses from the red one. It is a great pattern: fits well, goes together easily and universally flattering. It has an internal corselette which is nice. The first option is gorgeous too, but if you like them equally well why not do yourself the favour of using the easier one.
    Garden party dress (what fun!): You've made this before so you know the quirks and tricky bits. That will come together more easily.
    The waistcoat is small, with pockets being the hardest step. If you make a practice pocket you'll be fine.
    Which leaves the jacket. I'm not going to lie, this will be labour intensive. But sounds like you have a willing and able buddy in David; which is both wonderful and sweet.
    I would rank the items in order of necessity and then get creating. That way you'll give it your best shot, but if it doesn't quite work out, you've done the most important.
    Gosh, this has become a novela, sorry! I'll leave you with what one of the nuns at my school used to tell us: "shoot for the moon, for if you miss you'll land in the stars". You can do it Debi!

  23. Oooooh Debi!!!  I'm so excited to see your plans and know that you'll be up and sewing !  :)  :)  Of course you should try.  Pick the one you want done the most, start there, then keep going.  It's even better that David is getting in on it, you two can totally do it.  (I have an idea we'd be couple-friends if we lived down the street from each other...;))

     For a welt, I can not recommend Kenneth King's Ribbon Interfaced Welt highly enough :  This is far and away the best and sturdiest and longest-lasting welt I have ever made.  Don't worry about them too much, you'll be over the moon when you make it and see how pretty it is.  :)

  24. Debi, are you familiar with Vogue 9162 (from 1984)?  It has a more interesting envelope-like wrap to the drape (or so it seems) and if you boned an inner bodice, you could do it without straps.  Just a thought...

  25. Debi, you and David perpetually live in looney bin overload and you always handle it brilliantly.  I know you're going to tackle all 4 of these and they're going to look amazing.  (I also anticipate a lot of hand stitching overnight the night before the event...maybe even on the way to the event...but everything will work out perfectly in the end.  It always does.)  :-)

  26. Eep!  I want to see all of these things!  So yes, make them all!  OK, I think you should try them, but don't feel any pressure to finish everything if you're starting to feel cuckoo clock crazy!  

  27. What a fantastic challenge you have here! I'm sure you'll do great. I look forward to seeing your progress.


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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