This past week, I celebrated turning 44! Every year I have a themed birthday party to ring in another fabulous year, surrounded by good friends, all dressed up. I love it. Truly, it is the most fun way to age. To prepare, I ususally make myself something to wear (see 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015). For this year’s theme, I was inspired by Bollywood. The colors, the music, the fashion. I turned to Pinterest for some design inspiration, since I knew I didn’t want to make a sari (although it was tempting! Knowing me, it would untuck in the middle of the party, and the whole thing would fall to the ground, and NO ONE wants to see that.). The party would be more of a nod to the genre, and culture. This particluar pin caught my eye. So began my Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack.
I turned to a pattern I have used before in the book Sew Many Dresses (affiliate link). The bodice has princess seams, and made a good base. First, I started by taping the front and side panels of my paper pattern together, and then cutting the center piece out. This was done by holding it up where it would roughly sit on my chest, and drawing a line around the place I wanted it. The center panel was created by freehanding a sweatheart neckline, and marking where it would be, once it was connected to the (now cut) front and side panels.
I did muslin this first, and that was a very good thing. There was a bit of tweaking to be done, because the fit wasn’t quite right, and I ended up with a gap near the armscyes. Of course, I turned to the fabulous ladies over at the Capsule Wardrobe Sewalong FB group for help. And they did! They are some good peeps (I don’t really think I can pull off using that word, but I have made it my goal to work it into my daily vernacular, much to my family’s embarassment). I ended up adding a dart on the side panels near the armscyes and it fixed the problem.
That skirt was self-drafted. It was just as challenging as the bodice to figure out. I could not think of a way to get the side pieces to look good in the back, so I cut them into two seperate free-hanging panels, and let them cup my sides. I love the effect.
The outer fabric is brocade from Cali Fabrics, and the gold is silk from the huge rummage sale I attend every year. It is a bit stained, but you can barely see it because of the way I placed the fabric. I hand stamped the pattern on my shawl, with acrylic paint (which you can’t really see from these photos).
A realization hit me when I was about to tackle this project. About 75% of my creative process is in my head. I think about sewing something for weeks before I even touch a pattern. I go to sleep thinking about how to tackle any problems, and how I would alter existing patterns to fit my design. I think about it when doing household chores, while driving, and showering. Borderline obsession, really. Then one day, it has gestated enough to the point that it is time for labor, so to speak. I have no idea if this is unique to me, or if others work this way too, but find that if I have enough time to let it marinate (as my chef husband would say), the final result is closest to my vision.
photo credit for above photo: Dawn Weber
The party was a lot of fun, but seriously the strangest weather we have had so far.
It rained, then the sun came out, then it poured, then it stopped. All the guests were very good sports about the whole thing.
You may recognize this outfit from here.
My husband wins the year with this outfit, in my book. He is wearing our daughter’s (the Bee’s) pants!
Another notch in the old aging belt, done with style.
I would love to hear from you…what is YOUR creative process?