Monday, September 11, 2017

My Custom Prusa Dress - Fabric and Fittings

Fabric Scouting - 4-10-17
Chloe and I meet up at Chintz & Co. after work today – Chintz (as the locals call it) is one of those stores where you just want to live in it. Filled with home décor, furniture, accessories…it is amazing. So much colour, texture, and all so very very expensive. I’m a bit early so I head upstairs to the fabric section and browse the blues. I’m going with blue. Did I mention that before? Blue.
Walking down to Chintz & Co. after work, through Chinatown - that's the Gate of Harmonious Interest

We chat about the weight, the texture, and I think we found it! It’s very plain, just a solid true blue. It’s a polyester, so could spot wash it without ruining it (says the woman who spills things constantly). It will be a great base colour on me for different shoes, jewelry, all of that. And it’s on sale!
My designer, Chloe Prusa, inside Chintz
I would like this bed made of metal branches, please. Also the bubble light fixture. 

A fabulous fabric department. Chintz is in an old vintage building.

That's my blue, the bright one above the blue/white loopy fabric

From there, we drive over to Fabricland – the materials just look so cheap after seeing all these wonderful fabrics, but it’s a good comparison. We poke around in the buttons and notions. At this point, I’m ready to hand over control. I’m not going to pick out buttons. I trust Chloe to make this work. We don’t stay out for very long, and we’re both feeling very solid about the blue fabric from Chintz.

Next step, she starts drafting the pattern, and figuring out the mechanics. It’ll be about two weeks, and then she’ll start working on the muslin (sort of like a test dress to see how it’s going to work, hang, etc.). 

Measurements – 4-11-17
Oops! We were so caught up in the fabric, Chloe forgot to do my measurements, so there I was in her apartment after work, in my half-slip and cami, getting all the parts of my torso, arms and hips measured. It’s been at least 25 years since I was measured for anything (Janet’s wedding, my maid of honour dress).  It feels weird. I didn’t look at the measurements.

First Fitting – the Muslin – 4-26-17
Popped by Chloe’s after work to do the test run of the muslin (the “make it first, and figure out all the issues” dress, traditionally made of…muslin). Chloe had emailed me a while ago, saying that the fabric we were doing the dress in was cheaper than buying actual muslin, so she bought more and was making the muslin out of the fabric that the dress would be in.
Jess, Chloe's roommate (also a good friend of ours from Floyd's Diner), and Maud, the ancient Chihuahua

First thing I saw (other than Maud, who was quivering with excitement to see me) was the dress on the mannequin. It didn’t hugely look like much, some sewing, some things going on at the shoulders (buttons and loops! Love it!), and a ginormous peplum skirt on top of it. Big bell sleeves (one bigger than the other – yes, I liked the big one better), and oh, that wonderful blue colour!
The first look at it on the mannequin

The fabulous Chloe - "Yes, I made this."

I stripped down to my slip (I wore an outfit I could change out of easily, with foundations that would work under the fabric), and Chloe pinned it on me. Wow, what a great fit! The sleeves were a bit too wide, so she pinned one narrower. We messed around and took some pictures (bad selfies!), then pinned the hem. The peplum is also going shorter so that the proportion will be right. And she’s putting pockets in the peplum! Woo! You know how I feel about pockets.
Maud helps

First try-on!

Mirror shot!

A goofy selfie! Good lord, I have a lot of teeth.

With shoes on, the hem pinned and the peplum on

Hooray for sleeves! Excited!

Chloe trimmed the neckline down as well, and we looked at the button mechanism for the sleeves - very cool – but not black buttons. I prefer them to be in same colour as the dress for versatility. I put my bronze shoes on so that we could get an idea of how it would look. Discussions about linings (yes, to the body of the dress, the inside of the bell of the sleeve and the underside of the peplum), and how the peplum works (a wrap-around piece). Magnifique! I’m so excited!
"I like this lady's stuff."

Maud settled in on top of my coat and bag while all this was going on. And obviously I'm enough of a regular in the building that the fat cat who lives on the same floor came to visit me as I was leaving. He was very cute, rolling around on the floor like a little fluffy ball.

Hello, fat cat.

Second Fitting – the Muslin – 5-16-17
Update: the fat cat is Coco and she is a she. Sorry, Coco.
"Coco forgives the nice lady."

Another quick drop-in to see how things around fitting. It’s weird seeing the dress on the mannequin because although the measurements are mine, the mannequin isn’t shaped like me. “Am I that big?” I wonder, but then when I put the dress on (pinned up the back), it looks like me and phew, now I look like I usually look, like me. Adjustments to the neckline, armholes (not too high or I will pit them!), and then the peplum. It looks a little too long, and I feel like we’re losing the shape of the dress – higher in front? Sure! Will the waistband have a pass-through so that it lays flat? Sure! We can do that.

Chloe has a whiteboard on the wall of Jess’ bedroom (roommate, friend and fellow Floyd’s Diner worker, seen above). Jess is doing a summer co-op term in Vancouver while she studies to be a biochemist. The whiteboard is covered with notes about the dress (in blue ink, of course).

The sleeves have been narrowed, but will still be lined, and the bell cuff is lovely – no ragged edge, though, as Vizzini will lick it to death if he spots a thread. It’s a challenge to him, I think.

Time to go for another road trip – to Bead World! We need to look at buttons, beads, gewgaws, possibly some trim for the edges of the bell sleeves, and also lining options. Next week!

* * *
The next post will be up in a couple of days - stay tuned for the final fittings!


  1. So cute! I love this feminine style. (And you have no more teeth than the rest of us.)

  2. Oh wow how exciting ! and... that was quick!
    It would have taken me forever to pick out a fabric in that place.
    The dress... omg if it looks like this in the first stages I cannot imagine what it will look like at the end. It Sheeeeebulous.

  3. I love the structure of the dress!!!!! So amazing.

  4. The sleeves!!! Adorableness!!! Too excited to see what else is going to happen to this beautiful creation!

  5. This is such a treat to get to see. Thanks for sharing! Can't wait for the next post.

  6. The dress is looking fabulous! The design is really elegant and the colour is beautiful and beautiful on you. How exciting this all is...

  7. Wow! It's looking fab, Sheila! Can't wait for the next post! I miss you! XXX

    1. Aw, thanks, Sasha! I'm back, and will be back posting soon.


Comments are so incredibly special, and I love them and hug them and treasure them forever. Please feel free to tell me what you think!

I'm not currently able to respond to comments, but I will make every effort to answer questions. I do read every single one, and appreciate your comments.

Please note that comments containing affiliate links spam-y sites, spam comments and anything I deem inappropriate will be deleted.