Monday, December 15, 2014

Sew What?! The "Happy Holiday" Frock

People often ask me where I go shopping for the fabrics that I use to create Mary's wardrobe.  The answer is simple - everywhere.  Wherever there is fabric being sold at discounted rates, one will likely find this oversized cheapskate knee-deep in broadcloth, seersucker, tartan plaids, and even metallic upholstery yardage.  It is, in fact, six-and-a-half yards of lamé, ribbed upholstery fabric in crimson and gold, bought at a deep discount at a hole-in-the-wall fabric store, that became Mary's Christmas frock this year.

As usual, my design process meant allowing the fabric to dictate the silhouette.
Surely there are myriad directions one might take with this light-as-a-feather, shimmering,
fantasy fabric, but in my mind, Christmas always calls for an extremely-full skirt!

Adapting the pattern I drafted for Mary's Halloween costume, I made a drop-waisted, boned bodice with princess seam lines.  When Mary wore the dress to a Christmas party last weekend, I was flattered when a new friend complimented my decision to vary the direction of the stripes (vertical on the bodice, horizontal on the skirt).  As much credit as I wanted to take for the clever design choice, I had to come clean that it was merely a byproduct of laziness.  Vertical stripes on the bodice meant I didn't have to worry about matching stripes; horizontal stripes on the skirt meant I could use the full length of the yardage with only one seam at the back.  The real question is, why is it so hard for me to just accept a simple compliment?

If you follow Mr. Tiny on Instagram, you might remember this picture, a
sneaky peek-y of  the dress in progress.  When a fabric I love comes in
multiple colorways, I will almost always buy them all.  Having bought
this material in purple (project pending), red, and acid green, I thought
I could use the latter colors to add a whimsical hip corsage in the form
of holly and berries; when it came time to apply it to the dress, I just
couldn't make myself do it.  Even the king of wacky tacky found the
size and scale of this appliqué a little too whimsical.  Occasionally,
I am forced to admit that in some cases, simplicity really is best. 

While a very-talented friend, and photographer, has graciously offered to take proper pictures of Mary in her new dress, I couldn't resist sharing a couple of photos of the Happy Holiday Frock in action before the big photo shoot.  I figure that it is best to share a couple of "low-budge" images and give you a very honest sense of how regularly unprepared we are to take glamorous photos (the following were taken at two-thirty in the morning on the streets of Los Angeles using an iPhone) and how much we preferred enjoying the scintillating company of the amazing party to pretending we know what to do with a camera.  The lighting and the resolution may both be low but the dress still sparkles!

It is hard to convey the scale of the corsage but I would estimate
that it was roughly the size of her face.  Don't you think I was right
to leave it off?  Even thought the belt was part of my original design,
I sort of hemmed-and-hawed over that decision as well.  In the end, I
think it defines the waist well and breaks up Mary's already-long torso.

Mary was a trooper; it was crazy-cold by Southern
California standards and the only she thing she had to
protect her from the cold night air was the matching wrap...
and the six-and-a-half yards of skirt.  Nary a crinoline nor a
petticoat was needed;the fabric was so airy and voluminous
that the skirt's fullness supported itself!  

What will you be wearing this season?  Do you have a favorite holiday ensemble?  Be you clad in fancy frock or ugly Christmas sweater, we wish you a very Happy Holiday!!!

"Happy Holiday" - Bing Crosby with The Music Maids (1942)


Mr. Tiny


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you! I think Mary felt good wearing it!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, pal!!! I hope you guys are having a ball in Paris!!!

  3. Just fabulous! And I love the photos - they have a 50's cinema feel.

    1. Thank you! I pressed the button, but all credit for the photos goes to Mary - her idea, her phone, her face! Hahaha!!!

  4. I am obsessed with this and wish you were my brother because I would insist you upholster my couch is the same fabric so I could lounge on it. I LOVE IT!

    1. Thanks, Kimmie! I, too, am obsessed with this material; that's why I bought all of it in every color they had! I just wish I had a cool sofa in need of upholstery. If I did, this dress would have been a couch instead!

  5. Mary looks lovely! I stumbled across your blog and really enjoy your projects.

    1. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment!!!