Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Circled In Stripes

Last year I was the chairperson for our annual fashion show that our sewing club here in Chicago hosts. We usually have two challenges during the year to inspire the members to sew and prepare for the show. The theme of last year's show was Le Tour De France. We "toured" France throughout the show. Our first challenge was a red challenge and the ladies kicked it out of the park with incredible garments. Out second challenge was a stripe challenge. Once again, the ladies did an over the top job with their garments. In fact Cennetta of http://themahoganystylist.blogspot.com/ won the Palmer/Pletsch Win A Workshop Contest with her incredible jacket. You can see her jacket as well as the other winners here.
This past weekend was the opening of the opera season here in Chicago. It's always such a lovely evening, beautiful clothes and wonderful opera. I decided to finish up my dress made from the stripe fabric for the opening night. The skirt is a half circle skirt and then just a princess line strapless bodice. The picture above was taken once we returned home. It was virtually impossible to take a picture at the opera house because it was so crowded.
I am especially happy with the bodice of the dress. Matching the stripes on the princess seam was a bit of a challenge. The photographer at the opera had asked me to sit down for a picture. Hopefully the picture he took was better than this one.
A back view of the dress.
 Close up detail of the trim. My stripes are just a bit off on the right hand side. Oh well.
This is how crazy I can be. In making this dress, I was determined to use what I have. I found the black and gold trim below and thought it was nice but not quite nice enough. Then I pulled out the rhinestone trim and thought, "if I twirl the rhinestones around the black and gold trim, that will give the dress just that little hint of shine that I'm looking for." So, I sat down and hand sewed the rhinestones to the black and gold trim and then sewed the combination to the dress.
The lining of my dress. I love putting something a little unexpected inside my clothes. It's like this lovely little secret that only I am my husband know about(and now you)!
I did do an inner corset. This makes all the difference in the world. Your gown will stay in place and you won't be tugging at your dress all night.
If you'll notice, my right hand is inside a pocket. I love putting a pocket in my gowns as long as they won't show. A little pocket makes for a lovely place to hide a tissue or even a tube of lipstick.  
I am planning to add a tulle underskirt to the dress. I decided to wait and not have it in the skirt for this event as I didn't want my skirt to intrude in my seat neighbor's space.
A circular skirt is such an easy garment to draft. I've posted a tutorial on circular skirts as one of the Fabulous Free Pattern Friday posts. You can see that post here.
A very simple dress, but it has such an elegant appeal, at least I think it does. I'm excited about adding the tulle underskirt and wearing it for dancing!! Fun, Fun, Fun! The circular skirt should twirl nicely.
If anyone would like, I would be happy to do a little tutorial on adding a side seam pocket as I did in this dress. Just let me know.
Have a wonderful day.


  1. I noticed the pocket too. What a great unexpected addition...like you say. Plus I wanted to add the trim is beautiful to glam it up. Im afraid I don't have anything that wonderful in my stash. :)

    I love stripes and your dress is a great inspiration for me.

  2. Just beautiful, Rhonda! Your matching skillz, esp on the princess seams are incredible! I love the beaded piping, the hidden pocket, and the fun lining. Amazing!

  3. Rhonda, your dress is beautiful inside and out, and you look gorgeous in the dress. Your stripe matching is pretty amazing. Perfect for the Opera!

  4. When I walked through thd doors of the Opera house on Saturday, that fabric was the first thing I saw! I knew it had to be a HCC member! You look stunning in thd dress! Great work.

  5. Lovely! the trim was just perfect, and you met the stripe challenge with style :-)
    Is this the Lyric Opera House in Chicago? My daughter's graduation from law school was held there...special memories...

  6. Gorgeous, so many wonderful details!

  7. Love your dress, especially the chevron - they are perfect!

  8. Beautiful dress.The matching of the stripes is particularly impressive.
    Sheila in Brussels who will update her poor little blog one day.

  9. Lovely, Rhonda! Sorry we missed seeing you Saturday night!

  10. This is a beautiful gown, love the pocket idea. I really like how you used the stripes.

  11. Elegant and beautiful, as I've come to expect from you!

  12. Gorgeous! I am in awe. The structure that you put in a formal dress does make all the difference in the world. Your work really paid off, you look stunning.

  13. Ah, Rhonda, this is beautiful! Such lovely work!

    And what's the sewing club in Chicago? Do you accept members from the suburbs??

    1. Please forgive me for not thinking to mention this to you. I'll gather info and email you with the details. We would LOVE to have you.

    2. Thanks, Rhonda! I'm in a general craft group out here, but I'd love to be involved with a group that focuses on sewing!

  14. Rhonda, you look breathtakingly GORGEOUS in your exquisitely stunning gown! Wow! Impressive work and craftsladyship. :-)

  15. I just read your instructions for the circular skirt. They were wonderful!

    I have been sewing about 10 years (learning mostly from library books) and your instructions were the best I'd seen ever.

    I would like to ask 2 favors if it's not inappropriate.

    How did you add the pocket?

    How can I adapt this skirt and add a bodice suitable for a child?

    Thank you for any suggestions you are able to provide.

  16. I will do a tutorial on how I did the pocket. It's really quite easy. I'll do the tutorial in a couple of weeks. As for the bodice, you should be able to use any pattern that has a waistline seam. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask. I'll do my best to answer. I'll do the tutorial the week of Novber 12th. Thanks so much for asking.

  17. Exquisite!
    I am surprised that no one has asked about the inner corset!
    This is such an interesting concept!
    Please do a tutorial on how to make and insert an inner corset.