Leslie Caron wannabe

almond rock american in paris burda dress

I love a good musical, especially a Gene Kelly musical. An American In Paris is completely fabulous.

When I saw Burda’s Viva La Diva spread in issue 11/2014 I fell hard for the AIP inspired dress. This collection featured iconic gowns from favourite films. The Eva Green Casino Royale gown and Marilyn Monroe Gentlemen Prefer Blondes halter dress are also gorgeous but the Leslie Caron dress had me hooked. Deliciously vintage looking and the perfect next #vintagepledge dress.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

almond rock american in paris burda dress

I haven’t bought Burda since a terrible incident with a dress in 2012. Those pattern sheets are HORRIBLE. But I’m a different sewist now… and apparently I can handle Burda magazines again! As luck would have it, this back issue was in the office so I borrowed it to get started on this dress.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

I wanted to use this polka dot satin from B&M Fabrics in Leeds with its scattered spots that dissolve into almost solid red. The border actually runs across both selvedges but I bought 3m to account for that. I knew I’d use the border print along the skirt hem.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

The bodice has an outer layer, an interlining which I interfaced and a lining. The drape is made by gathering three edges. The drapes look terrible when the dress is hung up but then when worn they sit really well on the body. The rouleaux straps and side zipper are the only support so I decided to add boding to the back bodice seams.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

I didn’t use the skirt frills as I though that would be overkill and just used the gathered skirt underneath. I finished the hem with an overlocked rolled hem.

almond rock burda dress american in paris

There’s actually a really nice version of the dress with a full back bodice that extends into sleeves. I might make this too at some point.

almond rock american in paris burda dress almond rock american in paris burda dress

Overall I’m really happy with the dress. I wore it to a longtime friend’s wedding where I gave a reading about the cosmos (“we are all made of star stuff”) while I stood under a huge oak tree. It was a lovely day and the dress is now a lasting reminder of that. Maybe I’ll wear it to a showing of the live stage version of American In Paris one day! Or just out for dinner in Paris?! A girl can dream.

Here’s a little bonus cat pic since it went down quite well last time heeehee.

almond rock american in paris burda dress

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Birmingham Rag Market (aka how to spend your pay packet in one day)

I’ve already told a fib. My pay packet didn’t just disappear at the famous rag market in Birmingham but also at the Bull Ring shopping centre across the road.

Now I wouldn’t say I live particularly close to Birmingham. The first time I ever went was for Marie and Kat‘s wonderful blogger meet up at the end of last year. Another meet up is organised for June 15th!

Last time I caught the megabus and arrived in three hours. This time I had the pleasure of being chauffeur driven by Mr AR and it took half the time!

The bull ring lured me into buying new shoes, make up and jewelry. I’m not doing the seamless pledge officially but it makes me happy to only buy things I cannot make myself.

I then tottered over the road to the outdoor market. The outdoor fabric stalls weren’t as good as I remembered but I think I was rushing. The sun was out and markets were extremely busy so I decided to pop inside and return later.

My favourite stall inside is the one run by two women; one is older the other a lot younger. They’re in roughly the centre of the indoor market and their stand is a treasure trove. One downside is everything is stacked on top of each other and I always fall in love with the bottom rolls. (That is an amazing way to finish a sentence I have to say!)

Success!! A houndstooth georgette, a rust coloured lace and a lilac crepe with purple Morse code spots.

Then to top it off when I ventured back outside I found some lovely multicoloured spot “German viscose” (not sure what difference German manufacturing makes) plus some black corduroy and navy crepe (not pictured).

I definitely recommend the rag market for sewists on the hunt for a bargain. And if you’d like some company exploring get yourself along to the June 15th Rag Market meet up mentioned above!

I’ll be there for sure. Just don’t let me buy anything!

PS. Check out the Rag Market’s awesome new website! It’s still in development but much more friendly than the previous version.

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Truffle Progress

After the death of my plaid top I wanted to bounce back into action and work on my Colette Truffle dress.

Super exciting as it’ll be my Xmas party dress yaaay!!

I’m using a gorgeous black and white polka dot satin I got at the Birmingham meet up.

The dots are so cute and large and the satin feels great.

After 3 muslins I got the darts in the right place and think the sizing is “spot on” for the bodice.

So I’ve cut it out:

And with some kick ass purple lining:

But all my skirt muslins were atrocious. I can’t make the hip curve fit, or the darts work or match up with the bodice darts!!!

Bah humbug*

(*hey we’re almost at Christmas).

So I’ve been debating leaving the Truffle unconquered for now. Well at least the bottom half.

If I add another style of skirt on the bottom I don’t think I can call it a Truffle can I?

I’m thinking possibly a TNT gathered skirt as I have them on most my dresses. Probably from my V8723 as it’s a good length.

Or something new and exciting like a half circle skirt. Though my maths skills are a little rusty.

Neeno used this tutorial for some of her half circle skirts.

Hmmm if I’m going to change the skirt up and lose that wonderful talking-point flounce, maybe I should add some other feature?

There’s even a tutorial  from the Selfish Seamstress to help me on my way.

Though I’d have to re-cut the back bodice and move the zip to the size. Oh my gosh this is getting complicated.

Any other suggestions to jazz up the dress without crazily redesigning everything?

Maybe just lowering the back into a nice v would be enough excitement.

Eeeeep!! I’m so excited to get this dress together but know I need to make some decisions.

I’ve got until Dec 7th to sew it up but not a lot of free time before then.

Best do some long hard thinking about this!!

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Got to be sewing something….

In sewing related news, I have yet to  finish my red polka dot skirt. I had to try finishing by carrying the machine through to the bedroom with a little table to work on while Jimi had his friend’s round for boy’s night but failed.

Beryl loves it!

I have also figured out why my Ikea scribbly dot print dress just doesn’t seem right.

1) The neckline was way too high… hitting my throat high! I’m lowering it with crafty tactics to what you see on the mannequin. Much more flattering!

2) I need a haircut. Can’t look nice in a prim dress if you have scraggly ratty hair.

3) I have a stinking cold. Trying the dress on highlights how pasty and tired I am which is never going to help me like the dress.

So there you have it! THREE legitimate reasons to leave the dress alone in order to like it more.

By the way I’ve got a new addiction… in addition to sewing, I am also now addicted to singing songs where I change the lyrics to be about sewing. I may be turning a little deranged.

Terrible, I know, but super fun! You should try it. Adam and Joe call it “A-pop-riation” (instead of Appropriation) on their radio show, where you sing the menial tasks of the day.

You may remember I posted about changing the Prince song to “Little Red Lace Dress”. Lately I’ve been altering Michael Jackson’s “Got to be starting something” to “Got to be sewing something” as that pretty much is my default state lately.

I’ve also been shouting in the style of Basement Jaxx when things are missing “WHERE’S MY PIN’S AT, AT, AT….”  which is more fun than saying “Where’s your head at”.

And finally singing “Hold me closer tiny serger” when using my baby Singer overlocker. Sure Elton wouldn’t mind.

Oh and I’ve nicknamed the overlocker “Sergei”… Let’s not worry too much about that.

That means my mannequin has a name: Beryl, Sergei the Singer is taken care of, but my machine is yet to be named! Sure I’ll come up with something.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time day dreaming/planning…

She sells sea shells by the sea shore….
Fake lace georgette! Love it
Simple and sweet
Stars in their eyes… Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be B4443!
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