Friday, August 12, 2016

Formal Sewing~Zara First

T'was years in the planning...
Formal sewing Peoples!
The year 11&12 joint formal is held biennially and it is a combined schools event hosted by a different school, each time.

Zara and Elsa have been chatting about ideas since Hugo's.

Young adults in the country have limited chances to attend functions so this is very special occasion. For some girls it is a massive deal with spray tans, professional make up hair and several dresses purchased and discarded.

For the young men, hiring fancy cars (group share) to take them to the venue can be their treat.

Jed and I were very happy to purchase the tickets and pay for the dresses but as the Twins are very talented with their own hair and makeup we advised them to save their money.
They agreed, somewhat begrudgingly, however I think they did a gorgeous job and saved them selves several hundred dollars.

As a reward, Jed and I shouted them the tickets to the Open Access formal in Adelaide, the night before.

Two very late nights but I think it was well worth it.

Zara had very definite ideas on her dress. Backless, long and sparkly.
Originally she had a vintage Vogue pattern chosen but then she found this one that had a wrap over look that she liked.
Lekala #5896
Slight problem, this pattern is made for a stretch fabric and it meant to be a fitted swim suit cover up sort of thing.
Time to muslin!
The first one fit Tildy.... (yes Matilda).
I ended up adding two foot to the centre back fold line and three to the length.
Much better.
The dress is basically a large rectangle with shaped arm holes, each end and thin straps you pop your arms through and wrap around your body.
The fabric was a very lucky find in Spotlight at Horsham.
It was marked at $25/m (very reasonable for all the detail) but was on special with a bonus one day sale thrown in at $4.50/m!
I purchased a tricot lining at the same time (again on sale) for around $3/m.
The worst part of sewing was removing the sequins from the seam allowances. The tiny sequins cut my fingers to pieces.
We had a couple of attempts at pleating out the excess fabric over her derriere.
Zara decided she liked one large pleat at either side of her waist.
We were both a little concerned she may bop the shoulder straps off whilst dancing so I added a back strap (attached with a large sew in popper).
I think it was a very sophisticated and elegant choice.  Zara looked gorgeous and she was comfortable and confident in her outfit.
As we dropped the Twins at the Adelaide Continental for formal-#1 I quickly scanned the other beautiful young women in their beautiful gowns.
I may be biased but I don't think my girls looks home made at all!.
~Zara's Verdict~
I absolutely loved my dress. It was absolutely beautiful. I felt like a real stunner. Mum did an amazing job. I was really happy with the shoes and jewellery that I bought. As well as being really grateful to a friend for lending me her MIMCO purse. 


Zara was a pleasure to sew for. She was very patient with my constant fittings and draping exercises as well as giving me lots of support and praise through out a rather stressful sewing experience.

Next... Elsa's dress.

xx N

33 comments:

  1. Amazing Nicole and how great that the dresses got two nights of enjoyment already! Great teamwork to you and Zara on this.

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  2. Thank you Jane.
    I was way, way out of my depth here and really considered letting the girls buy their dresses but when we went to try them on, none fit properly. They were way to big at the top of indecent at the bum.
    Zara was great and did lots of foot rubs as I unpicked sequins. (I am still finding the buggers all over the house)
    xx N

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  4. I know what you mean about out of your depth because that was exactly how I felt but I started in plenty of time so just breathed deeply and begun. My daughter has a rather sporty and not at all girly shape so finding a dress would have proved impossible anyway.

    The dress you have made is lovely and certainly unique. Not one girl in that room would have had anything like it, unlike an off the peg dress. Well done!

    My sons year 13 formal was last weekend. After attending his year 12 formal he wasn't at all interested in attending the year 13. I didn't push him though. It is a pity because he looked so grown up in his suit and I would have liked the opportunity to make him a waistcoat to go with it. Oh well there is always child number 3 coming along!

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    1. Thank you!
      Zara and Elsa have a different body shape then what it is in the shops (don't we all)? I thought it was quite a sophisticated dress (I love the back) but she carried it well.
      Hugo did not enjoy his formal, it was not that well supervised and there was some pretty feral behaviour.
      He escorted Elsa to this one, though and had a ball, which is nice.
      I made his shirt but his suit was purchased.
      Is number 3 a girl or boy?
      xx N

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  5. Gorgeous dress for a a gorgeous girly! Well chosen, Zara, and well sewn Nicole!

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    1. Thank you Justine.
      I think I may encourage them to buy their wedding dresses...
      xx N

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  6. Zara, you look beautiful! Absolutely gorgeous dress - the cut and fit are perfect and the fabric is TDF. You are a stunner!

    Nicole, you continue to be one of my biggest sewing heroines. My goodness. What an achievement!

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    1. Thank you Inder.
      You are so kind, most of the time I have no idea what the heck I am doing. I just take it in steps and go and have a cup of tea when it all gets too hard.
      I can't tell you how many times I double and triple check before I cut seam allowance off (and then panic that it was too much/wrong spot)

      Thank you xxx
      N

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  7. Wow! You never cease to surprise me. This dress is stunning! They are so lucky to have a mama like you.

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    1. Thank you!
      I think they may have preferred to have unlimited budgets but they didn't admit that to me...
      I think Zara looked amazing and we definitely saw nothing even remotely similar in the shops and we were looking at dresses up to $1000.
      xx N

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  8. Wow! What a stunning dress. This is so beautifully elegant, Nicole, well done xx

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    1. Thank you Jillian.
      Sewing certainly keeps my brain sharp.
      xx N

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  9. Such a stunning dress; absolutely sophisticated and elegant ... and professionally crafted too.

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    1. Thank you Deb, did you make your girls?
      xx N

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  10. Wow wee Zara looks stunning. It is an amazing dress and all credit to you for making her dreams come to life!

    The "homemade" label is something I really struggle with. The clothes many of us home sewers make are hardly what you would call simple or made badly. Most of us take enormous amounts of care choosing the right pattern for the occasion, fabric choice and then spend many hours diligently fitting and sewing with great amounts of care. This can hardly be said for many off the rack choices. And yet we often lack the recognition and get landed with the "homemade" label. Yet if you get a custom made outfit made by a professional then this hikes the status of the outfit up many notches and yet is it any better than many of us could do? That line between homemade and custom made is so blurred.

    Well done on the dress - it's simply stunning.

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    1. What a beautifully written comment Aynsley. I think I may print that and put it up on my notice board.
      Thank you!

      You are right, when I first sewed for my children I wanted people to know I did, now I have teens I see it as a "win" if no one does realise...

      The dress will get at least one more wear. The senior girls are determined to incorporate them into Presentation Night at the end of the year. I suggested they could re-enact the Founders Day dance from Vampire Diary?
      Thank you again for you lovely comment, it made my day!
      xx N

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  11. Absolutely gorgeous, fabulous fabric, love what you did with the pleats at the back and the hold em in strap, and the accessories are perfect too ;o) Good Mummy!

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  12. Thank you Colette. I am so happy she is happy.
    xx N

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  13. Wow Nicole! Seriously lady, you have some serious skills sewing that fabric... I would not be brave enough to even attempt it! It's gorgeous and she looks amazing... such lucky girls... I agree with the earlier comment... this is custom made... nothing "homemade" about it... the pleating is awesome... very smooth and flattering finish xx

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    1. Thank you V.
      I am not sure if I am just tired and don't think about it too much or it is the girls' encouragement.
      I think she looked gorgeous but I was happy to post the leftover fabric off to a new home.
      xx N

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  14. This is so excellent Nicole. Stunning, in fact!
    ....SUCH a tough gig to be presenting your teenage girls at their school formala in your own sewing! ....It's the ultimate environment for teenage girl comparisons & self conscious awareness of self! I hope you'll remember this spectacular success when you need a pick-me up. :D
    Lovely to see more pics of the dress. I wondered how it pulled so snugly around Z's waist. Makes sense now.
    Well done on glamour, style & a job well done!
    Zara, you looked gorgeous.

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    1. Thank you so much.
      I was so nervous, so many girls with big BIG budgets. I am proud of my girls for pulling off their home made gowns.

      Zara's dress is pure doing what worked, no proper couture sewing their but as she will probably never wear it again, it doesn't matter. ;)

      xx N

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  15. The ultimate praise is that she said she felt amazing! Well done!
    I'm totally on board with your sewing philosophy, although I may sometimes substitute red wine for tea!
    I think my vacuum cleaner bag is as sparkly on the inside as yours, so you have my sequin sympathy.
    Stunning, stunning dress and it's almost laughable to have made it so cheaply. I hope you got your hourly rates worth of foot rubs. The labour is priceless

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    1. Thank you!

      Sometimes I think it is better NOT to think about the project too much, or I will never start them.
      And, as you say, it was so cheap!

      I am nervously contemplating Liddy's winter coat for next year. $150 worth of Alpaca wool eeek!

      xx N

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  16. Who needs rtw? This is gorgeous and absolutely perfect for your girl! You would never have found anything better in rtw. And what's more I think it's extra special to have a one of a kind gown. And from the sound of it with all those foot rubs Zara was very apreciative of your hard work. Hope your fingers have recovered Nicole!

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words.
      xx N

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  17. Hello! new reader :-) I think this is beautiful! Having spent some time reading back through your posts, I'm really inspired to keep sewing for my kids, even though the oldest is now 14. Your attention to detail and the way you make items look so professional is amazing! And the bonus: items they really want that actually fit properly!! I'm definitely a fan :-)

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    1. Hello Sheree, thank you for reading!

      I am so glad you want to keep sewing. I find making less things but taking my time seems to keep the teens happy (so far).

      Thank you for your lovely lovely words, it means such a lot to me.
      xx N

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  18. Oh, that is gorgeous, Nicole! That fabric is beautiful, but looks very tricky to work with. I made a formal dress for DD1 quite a while ago that was a similar color ... an odd fabric, covered with small, shiny copper-colored plates. Luckily, the dress was short and simple in design. You are always SO inspiring! And I love how Zara accessorized!!

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  19. Thank you Hilary.
    This pattern was very simple, time consuming but very very easy (thank goodness)
    Do you have pictures of your DD's dress,I would love to see it.
    PS Zara says 'thank you'!
    xx N

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  20. I adore this dress, the fabric and style go together perfectly. Zara looked beautiful!

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