Week 1: Done!

I was seriously worried I’d majorly fail in this first week. I mean, I sew, sure—but I don’t work at anything close to a professional level of tailoring. Luckily I am a person who, as a kid and to this day, reads sewing books for fun. I collect vintage examples of the damn things (and housekeeping books). My theory is that I must have absorbed the how-tos over time. So this first entry is not bad at all, even though I’ve never lined a skirt or made pleats.

Week 1: Front

Week 1: Back

Although I love crazy shoulder treatments and wanted to reference that in this look, I didn’t want it to be—frankly and slangly—too ‘label-y’ for “who I am as a designer”. So I went with starched epaulettes whose weight was balanced by the gauzy fabric, brought together with soft pleats.

The skirt back is something I’ve wanted to do for over a decade, since I saw it in a sewing book from 1952 that I grew up with and have read about a million times. I under-estimated seam allowance, meaning I couldn’t go about the buttons the normal way. However, my choice to do tabbed buttonholes works, I think, in bringing the look together by reflecting shape of the epaulettes.

It was a bit of a choice to expose the camisole straps, because it is commonly considered tacky. This look is supposed to show who I am, and I think it works. Anyway, they help the lines, echoing the straight skirt. Here’s a snap of the fabrics I used.

Week 1: Fabric

Problems with this look:

  1. Should have ironed the skirt again. Dumb.
  2. Should have added skirt weights (or some rigged semblance thereof) to the back corners of the skirt, so it would hang better.
  3. The camisole is crappily made, particularly around the top.

Time to make, from prelim drafting to finished pieces—8:20.

So! First challenge down. Previews for tomorrow’s episode indicate that contestants will be working with burlap/potato sacks. The only burlap I have on hand is from a small bag of Basmati rice, so I’ll be running to Joanns to grab a couple yards in time for the blog roundups Saturday morning.

4 Thoughts to “Week 1: Done!”

  1. Sithel

    This is amazing! I love the skirt so much- I think the tabbed buttonholes actually make it look even more unique/interesting. I think it’s the lighter looking/gauzier (from the photo) white fabric peeking out of the the heavier fabric of the skirt is what makes my heart flutter. As someone who would like to classify herself as a pear-shaped individual, I feel like this is something that would be flattering on me, which makes me like it more.

    I somehow missed you were planning on doing this. Am tuned in now and very excited! (I have watched several seasons of PR and am a fan of all that I’ve seen)


  2. BZedan

    Awww, yay! The fabric in the skirt is the same that’s the top, only two layers of it. The thing with high-waisted skirts is that they do work on a lot of body types, maybe because they make it look like there is more leg? (unlike high waisted pants, which just make more crotch) That can balance a lot of things. I am a fan of things that can work on multiple body types, while still being the same pattern.

    I’ve only ever followed PR on blogs! I cannot sit still for entire episodes of TV shows for some reason.

  3. Amanda

    Brenna, this is gorgeous.

    I looked at your flickr picture, from the 1952 book…I think your version of the skirt (happy accident or not) is a wonderful, updated way to emulate a really fun concept. Love the contrast in fabric weights, the neckline, the beautiful pleats. The shoulders definitely speak to your “space-girl” style–but softened and toned down to be wearable for just about anyone.

    It’s so romantic…maybe it’s the skirt-over-sheath dress effect. I’m with Sithel–that back view really is stunning! As an “hourglass”, this is something I would LOVE to wear. I agree that you did great in creating something that will fit any body.

    And, those pumps you finally found are a perfect match!

    The only critical comments I would have, you’ve already addressed–iron again, and make sure the heavy fabric of the skirt hangs well in the back.

    Beautiful job! Keep us posted!

  4. BZedan

    Eee! So glad to hear it.

    My sketchbook months ago was filled with the idea of combining my metal love of hard shapes and lines with drapery, so I’m glad that’s kind of coming through here.

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