Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Time is Here!

Inspirations are so easy to come by with a designer brain.  Deciding which inspirations to run with and which you should put aside is the hard part.  I didn't think it would be possible to finish all the things we had to finish for the costume my dear Mom was putting together and a new skirt as well, so I told myself, "another time".  Then as the week before the SDCG Christmas Dinner @ Harbor House was upon us, I started the final steps to finish off Mom's hard work & creativity.

There was a box pleated skirt edging, the gusset panel down the front with all 42 buttons & button holes to complete.  I started with the pleating and couldn't believe how quickly everything started coming together.  I cut and sewed the tubes randomly from the two curtain panels of shiny gold fabric, that I found at the local Amvets months ago.  We had decided on 8" long pleats, so I cut 17" wide sections and sewed them into a tube, attaching the ends together to create the circle.  Then pleat, pleat, pleat, 1" to the top, 1" to the bottom, over and over.  The darned thing, I thought, "there's no way it will come around perfectly.  Why had I sewed it into a circle prematurely?"  Then what do you know, the very last pleat came around and met up in the right direction with the first, in the perfect 1" size.  I couldn't believe my eyes and ran in to tell Mom, "you'll never believe" and "there's no way I could do that again if I tried, or measured."

Then it was time to press...omg, the pressing....

They came together so well I decided to reward myself by starting my green skirt.  Without hope that I would finish it in time, I just took the break from the pleats with warm welcome and set to cutting, sewing and creating.  There was no pattern, just an inspiration photo (as seen up top).  It came together in 2 hours, minus the finishing steps (button closure, pressing the pleats, hemming the edges, whip stitching the waist band down to the inside).  I was stunned that my skills have improved so much in just one year.  I wouldn't have been able to do this project in such a short time 6 months ago, and I wouldn't have had the ability to wing the whole thing a year ago.

I enjoyed the pleasure of a project well managed and set back to finish the pleats.  The next step was to attach them to the bottom of the skirt.  Pin, pin, pin to the outside at the right height, accounting for the bustled butt height difference in the back.  Then I drew a line to mark where to sew them and unpinned, flipped it over and sewed them on....I thought again that there would be no way the circle would be the right size, I hadn't even measured the skirt.  Then the improbable became reality.  It was perfect!!!!  We added a last minute red pleated trim to match the pleated trim on the sleeves and it tied in in wonderfully!

Mom finished up her front panel & all the buttons and I finished the last steps on my green skirt.  I drove to the thrift store again the day before and purchased the purple blouse to bring out the purple in the coat I intended to wear.  It cost a wopping $1.95.  The fabric for my skirt was a $3.95 curtain panel.  So the total cost of my outfit was $5.90.

The coat was special.  A good friend of mine, the gentleman who helped me solder my giant metal dragonfly, Fredrick, together earlier for Gaslight Gathering, had lent it to me for an event in September that hadn't come together.  The Japanese Garden Tea event in Balboa Park that was postponed for a year was to have an oriental theme and he thought the material in this coat would be perfect.  I had held on to it hoping for another chance to use it and when I was able to put the green skirt together for my 1950's evening attire, I pulled it out and matched the purple blouse to it so that I could wear it all together.  The coat was a hit!  More-so that I ever imagined.  I didn't think it would be such a big deal and almost wasn't able to comfortably wear such a strongly structured garment.  I'm so glad I did.  Thank you everyone for your compliments and questions and for helping me honor my good friend's Mom.  It belonged to his Mother, as part of her wardrobe, in the 1950's.  The unique design and amazing fabric helped make for a perfect finishing touch on my 1950's tribute attire.

With that I bid you farewell and wish you a very Merry Christmas!


  1. My mother is still talking about the jacket! You looked so beautiful! Your mother's dress was so pretty, I loved it :)

  2. Such a great photo of the two of you! You both should be very proud of your finished ensembles!

  3. Absolutely 'm dear! You and your Mom looked fabulous! The jacket was so interesting, never seen it's design before....thank you for sharing/wearing it and thank you to your friend for letting it out of the box to see a wonderful evening event again like it was designed for in the 50's.....