Design and Re-design

Sometimes just when you think it is going to be another week of pants hemming a little gold nugget walks in the front door. You may remember the organza princess skirt re-make of last season so you will expect another vintage look from this client. She has another charity event to attend and this time she found a little black dress from a charity shop that was selling “all you can cram into a bag” for $5.

Imagine my delight when I looked inside the dress to find this label:

OK, hands up those of you who remember the 80’s and Nancy Reagan and the Capital Hill babes. Yes, back then Arnold Scaasi couldn’t makes dresses fast enough for this crowd and also the West Palm Beach mavens just had to wear his creations to important soirees.

He dressed most of the famous and infamous women in the news. He even wrote a  book about these women.

Nowadays he is acquiring a new crowd of 30 year old women who can’t get enough of this retro style. Even the wardrobe staff of Mad Men is featuring his clothes on television episodes.

Click on these photos and you can see what alterations I have to make to get this dress to fit her small frame. The dress is a perfect princess line sheath in black cotton pique with invisible zipper down the back. The zipper will have to be removed, fabric taken out and then re-attached along with the lining and third layer for the internal foundation bodice. The top has an attached bias cut cowl collar type band. This also will have to be shortened once the bodice is narrowed.

Then as we move to the back things go a little crazy. Someone must have thought in the design studio that by adding a gathered tube of extra fabric complete with 2 layers of poofy netting would be nice to create a rooster butt. But wait….not just any old rooster butt….let’s add some huge bows…one for each cheek! This will be a challenge but worth it in the end.

Good news this week though as the black fur cape has been finished!You remember what is started like? Now it fits, is lined and has a note inside attached to the skin that says the woman’s name and date and where she lived for the next time this puppy is opened up and re-styled into something else .

Another project that has been re-styled needed some length added to it.This skirt was bought without trying it on and the client needed about 2-3 inches added to the hem to cover her knees. Since the hem was only 5/8 inch deep I suggested that I made a new yoke in black. Since the patterned fabric was silk and could not be duplicated I  thought it would be easier to find black silk crepe de chine on the internet. The entire skirt is stitched down pleats so some had to be let out to fit the new yoke which of course had a wider circumference than the old yoke of 1 inch depth.

Fingers crossed no more furs enter my sewing room and I get better at telling potential clients that I am too busy to take on new work this week.

Before I go, I have to share a phone call from a lady who said she had a pair of shorts that she wanted copied. I asked if these were particularly wonderful to want to pay to have a pattern made and then to have them constructed. She said she had waited 20 years to have them re-created and they were simple to make. Really? When I told her clients who want clothes copied must really have to love the garment to pay labor costs, she said “Please, please, please you really have to make them for me”.

That’s when the “tough love”/common sense kicked in and I said I could not accommodate her request. Every store in this country sells shorts and eventually she will find something that works for her.

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2 Responses to Design and Re-design

  1. John Yingling says:

    Nice work on that fur vest! Did you use a 1/2″ seam allowance all over instead of a no seam allowance furriers use when constructing fur garments? And did you use cold tape to reinforce the seams?

  2. mrsmole says:

    All seams were sewn with whip stitching by hand with 1/8 inch wide seams. I do use cold tape where needed for frequent use in wearing.

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