Nyssa Jayne Makes It! on shoesandblues.com

On a Boat!

Last night was Johnny Rock’s now-annual Halloween on a Boat! party.  In the hours before we docked, Johnny announced the gig had actually sold out, which deserves a round of applausein itself.  Expectations were suitably high, and absolutely smashed.

There was DJ’s on the first floor, and bands on the upper-deck, which made for plenty of variety and room to groove, despite hitting the 300 person capacity.  The DJ’s played party classics (apparently ending the night with Lonely Island’s ‘I’m on a Boat!‘), the bands were very rock ‘n’ roll, and oh my, the Massive Weiners were so tasty.  Combined with a fully stocked bar with enough bartenders to man it, and it was a night that, at least from the punters perspective, ran smoothly and without fault nor excessive lineup, booze shortages, and other problems that often plague original ideas.  However, Johnny’s organisation was faultless, which contributed hugely to the success of the evening.  Johnny’s words this morning summed up the enthusiasm, “The birth of my first born child will pale in comparison to how awesome this night was.”

As it was a Halloween party, I have to mention the costumes.  No expense was spared, if you weren’t dressed up, you were well and truly in the minority.  Neil was dressed as Bond, James Bond (yes, that’s beer in his plastic martini glass).  I went dressed as Dorothy from ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

I love dressing up, but it can be costly, whether you rent or buy, so I try to DIY where I can.  Many of my previous costumes have been sourced from my own wardrobe, which is handy, but I like to source op-shops as well for pieces to use as well.  I went a bit further with my Dorothy costume and made the dress from scratch, after being inspired by The Insider’s post on The Warped and The Weft.  His description of the pattern, Simplicity 4136, said it was “the perfect frock to last from Halloween party season right through into breezy summer days.”  I figured if I could wear the dress again, it would justify the time and the cost I would be putting into the costume.

When I got the pattern home and started to pick out pieces to make the toile with, I realised that the blouse is attached to the dress, and that the dress is actually more like a pinafore, with the very top of it hitting me at a really awkward point just under my bust line.  The whole thing required a bit of a rethink.

Front and back.

I decided to use the blouse piece, rather than the pinafore piece, on the front.  I cut across the top where I was comfortable the dress starting, then removed the excess fabric the blouse has by creating princess seams.  I shaped the side fronts the best I could based on the underwear I would be wearing with it.  The was the alteration that I feel would be better solved by using a different pattern, however I am glad that I took on the challenge.

The front alterations affected the band that goes along the top of the dress, and I ended up redoing the band once the dress was complete, because it affected the shape of the front sides.  As the band is cut on the bias, it does follow the slightly round shapes of the front sides quite nicely.  Phew.

I made the back of the dress with the back pinafore piece of the pattern.  The only alteration I made was a swayback adjustment, my first successful one too, and holy moly, it made so much difference.  The zipper no longer ripples down my back.

Speaking of, the zipper is a hand-picked lapped zipper, mostly because I’m not very good at installing zippers with a sewing machine.  Zippers used to frustrate me no end, but after reading Gertie’s tutorial, I’ve come to embrace taking the extra time.  I even like handsewing now.

One of my favourite parts of the dress is the embroidery on the inside that attaches the top band to the dress.  I know you can’t see it when it’s worn, but I know it’s there.

Secret embroidery

The other major alteration I made to the dress was ditching the full skirt that the pattern included.  I love a full skirt, but I figured it would keep the dress firmly in costume territory, so I decided to be a little more subtle.  The skirt is instead from The Coletterie’s Truffle dress, with the darts converted to pleats.

Jane posted this picture to Instagram last night of Kathryn, The Queen of Hearts, and I in costume.

The Queen of Hearts and Dorothy

All up, a happy Halloween!

November 3rd, 2012
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