Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Silk Purse from a Sow's Ear

At least that's what I'm hoping for. Fingers crossed, everyone!

Tonight the costumer dropped off the fabrics for my friend's costume for the upcoming play. Her design is at right. The only change she decided on was a fuller skirt, so it would make nice swishy noises while onstage. Okay. And I liked the nice vivid blue, though she said the final version might be a bit lighter. A bit.

At left are the supplies she dropped off. I was trepidatious even before I opened the bag, since the bag was from JoAnn's. I know they can have nice stuff, but the nice stuff is not in the budget for a local theater company. Their budget is polyester all the way. And she didn't disappoint.

When I first saw the pattern, I flinched. McCalls 5382 looks nothing like the sketch above, and not much like what I feel like making. I looked it up on Patternreview, though, and it got overall good reviews, and there were some cute dresses, so I'm not feeling too negative.

My problem: the costumer saw my expression when she showed me the pattern. I said that it was pretty, but I really preferred the original design. She said she did, too, but you work with what's out there. "Unless," she said, "you feel like making it your way."

Do I feel like making it my way? I've got 2.5 yards of ice blue cheapy satin, 2 yards of blue lining (also cheapy), a yard (a yard!!) of boning, some crinoline net and about 1.5 yards of very faux organza. Which is actually the prettiest fabric in the bunch.

Should I do it? Should I wing it and try to make something that looks like the original design, which all of us - designer, actress and seamstress - all like better? It's the straplessness and the fit that are the issues, really, not either of the designs. If I can get a good fit on a strapless bodice on Jen, the rest will do itself.

I looked through the BWOF archive, and came up with a basic strapless bodice on a wedding gown. I could still use the McCalls skirt, which is the fullness that the designer wants. I traced off the bodice onto Swedish tracing paper, pinned it together and pressed the seams.

Then I called my frien dand told her that when she comes over for Project Runway after rehearsal tomorrow, to make sure that she's wearing her strapless bra because we're going to spend the commercials building a bodice on her. If I can get the tracing paper bodice to fit her, I'll use it as the interfacing which the costumer failed to get.

Oh, and did I mention, they need it next week. Let's see, office happy hour tomorrow, Project Runway tomorrow night post-happy hour, family wedding on Saturday, meeting with my aunt's realtor on Sunday . . . yeah, I can knock out a strapless dress by next Wednesday or Thursday.

A strapless dress out of soft poly satin, with no interfacing at all and only one yard of boning? When pigs fly.

13 comments:

Becky said...

And my sad comment to add is that ice bule will fade to no color at all under the lights. I'd take it back and get the cheap stuff (I understand community theatre budgets only too well) in peacock or royal blue.

neighbourhood.gal said...

Oh man. That's lousy.

Meem said...

I've seen what you can do, and I know you can do this - it's easy to see that you love a challenge! I can't wait to hear the rest of this story. :)

SherryV

AllisonC said...

Eek, good luck! I think with that kind of deadline I would stick with the pattern, but you're right the work is in fitting the strapless bodice.

Connie Bontje said...

When pigs fly huh! Sounds like a common blog theme this week! Sounds like you need a few extra hours in the week, but knowing you, it will get done.

Rose said...

May the sewing goddess gift you with magic!

laura said...

That would just ruin my weekend! But if anyone can pull it off, it's you! I'm looking forward to the results.

Lindsay T said...

I feel your pain! I thought making a strapless dress out of good stuff was hard!

Kathleen C. said...

Well... given that the fabric is icky, the supplies not sufficient and the timing lousy...
I have to admit that as a costume designer myself I would be so incredibly grateful for someone with the skill and ability to make my dream design come to life.
But sometimes an impossibility is an impossibility.
Is there a compromise possible? Use the pattern for the skirt and bodice but make a pleated over panel to lay on top for the visual effect? That way you can get the dress done and then, if there's time, make the apearance better...

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Eeek, I think a sow would toss up her nose at that poly fabric. I made that McCall and loved it, but the bodice is not structured enough to be strapless, imo. Good luck!

Jane M said...

You do like a challenge, don't you?! I'm voting with Kathleen to make the bodice and skirt fit but make a cool pouf overlay to follow the design lines. I'll enjoy watching this one from afar.

Lisette M said...

We have all seen you work your magic. I'm confident this will be stunning even if the raw materials are not.

Michelle said...

Yikes! Good luck on the dress, I am sure you will make something amazing...in spite of the fabric!