Saturday, August 14, 2010

Cheap & Chic - Tutorial #5 - Rachael In Red



Man, it's been a pretty crazy week, I can't believe it's already mid-August! I've finally gotten around to editing these pictures from a June shoot with Rachael! We also shot pictures for another tutorial there the same day. It was so hot and humid, especially for June! I think it was in the mod to high 90s. We drove a few blocks down Telfair to this building that is some kind of old school. I think it's an office building Monday through Friday. As soon as we finished taking pictures it rained, then went back to sunny skies. Crazy Georgia.

The dress Rachael wears is the dress that my mannequin came dressed in when I bought her at an antique store in Holland, Michigan about two years ago. It's red cotton, and has beautiful embroidery cutouts, plus a matching belt! I figured I originally thought I'd use it for the fabric, line a purse of something with it. But when I found it again a few months ago, I decided it would be a great dress on Rachael. The dress was way too big, probably a size 18, too long, and needed to be more fitted. 

This dress is very specific to Rachael, but these instructions can be used for all kinds of fittings. It is often hard to pin yourself, so if the clothing is for you, it's best to have someone else, who knows how to pin properly, pin it for you. Once it's pinned it's all work at your sewing machine.

Start with the shoulders, then sides and bust, and back. I took this dress in evenly all around so that the lines along the bust are specific to Rachael's body. Pin the belt.

Now for the length! I pinned this about 4" above her knees. Be sure that when you are pinning the length that the person in the dress is looking straight ahead, not down! I don't know how many times, while fitting something to myself, I leaned over and pinned at my knees, didn't think twice, cut the dress and it ended up being quite a few inches above the knee! And once you cut that fabric you can't put it back. Double check the length!

Take the dress to your sewing machine. I always measure the pinning, and write down how much will be taken in and at what seams. If the a few needles fall out I won't get lost. I usually draw a little diagram of the dress and write all this down. With all the chaos and clutter in my head, I have to organize my brain with funny little things like this. It keeps me focused.

I sewed all the vertical seams, along the sides, bust and back, then lowered the arm holes, sewed the belt, and finally the hem. The end result was perfect on Rachael!

She's spoiled having a seamstress for a sister that can fit all of her clothing. Just like we were spoiled having our mother make all of our clothes when we were little girls! We had so many amazing costumes and dress up clothes she's cut down from old dresses.

Having a Marilyn Monroe moment on Telfair
This one is my favorite
Getting irritated with the heat and her thick hair. She's so pretty!
The shoes she's wearing belonged to my grandmother's best friend Evie. When Evie passed away a few years ago, my grandma gave me these shoes. Rachael, Evie, and I all wear a size 9. Pretty big compared to most women. She also gave me some amazing fur coats!

Having such huge feet makes it especially difficult to find vintage shoes in decent condition. Notice how vintage clothing stores have so many smaller items, nothing in larger sizes and generally no shoes above a 7 1/2. It's not that people were smaller back then, but the smaller clothes last longer! Thinner people, and women with few curves don't have such wear and tear on their clothing over the years as heavier people do; it's harder on the seams. I could be completely wrong about this, but from what I know about clothing and how fabric behaves, this makes perfect sense. Therefore, maybe one could infer bigger shoes = taller, sometimes heavier people, and shoes that don't stand the test of time like all the little size 6s. All you women with little feet be thankful your shoe size is common! 

Questions about the alterations done to this dress? Feel free to comment! 

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1 comment:

  1. This is fantastic! I would never know that started out as an oversized bargin dress. Your clothing transformations really do amaze me. :)

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