Join me in my adventures as I write romance novels and sew vintage and contemporary fashion.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Back from Conference

At the Harlequin book signing event.
The Writing
I've just returned from the Romance Writers of American National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, energized and ready to write. I think the most valuable thing I took from this conference--other than a warm glow from meeting up with friends and professionals in the writing industry that I see once a year, and attending the awesome Harlequin party--was the feeling that I'm ready to stretch my wings a little. I'm going to try some free writing with no particular audience in mind and see where it takes me. And I'm also going to work on the book due in September because time is slipping away. As I see it, I have at least three weeks of solid writing before I have to think about getting ready for the school year, and I plan on those weeks being productive.

The Sewing
I only took one dress that I made to conference. I had mighty plans to bring several, but due to many circumstances, most of which had to do with me
messing up, I only had one dress and jacket that felt conference worthy.

I made New Look 6514 out of an Italian cotton remnant I brought at Britex in San Francisco and lined it in poly cotton. The cotton was wonderful to work with, but it did tend to wrinkle easily, so I packed a can of spray sizing for the trip. Problem solved, even if the can added quite a bit of weight to an already heavy suitcase.

The construction of this dress was very straight forward. I cut the bodice pieces out separately so that I could match the design across the front and back. I'm especially pleased with the back--there's a zipper in there!
The zipper installation is different that any I've done before. The center back seam is not basted shut. The right hand side of the dress is pressed under 1/2 inch and the zipper is sewn to the fold.
The left side is done is two steps--one below the waist and one above.
Here's the below the waist area. I used tape to mark the stitch line and top stitched on the outside.

Then I did the same for the bodice.
I just love cellophane tape.

Instead of facings I fully lined the dress. I didn't want to make facings on top of the lining, due to bulk, so I cut facings out of fusible interfacing and fused them to the bodice lining:

I accidentally got the perfect amount of stability using this method. Yay! 

And now the reveal! Here I am in my natural habitat, where I wouldn't normally wear a white cotton dress:

And guess what? I'm going all matchy-matchy. Yes. I'm carrying a patent purse with patent shoes because I've decided that I like matching.

This is the red jacket I made out of the fabric I'd bought to make a different jacket.
 I didn't wear the jacket at Nationals. It will be the subject of a future blog--The Tale of Two Red Jackets.

I'd like to mention that my skirt is suitably poofy due to the layer cake crinoline I made using Gertie's excellent instructions which you can find here.
It really does a nice job of giving the skirt some body. I did discover, though, that if one uses poly organdy, one should wear another slip under it. Poly organdy is not skin friendly.

And here I am at conference in my dress. I wish my camera would have cooperated, but it didn't. You probably get the idea, though.

An lastly, this has nothing to do with this post, but this is the cute and fearless little night hawk that sleeps on my husband's folded lawn chair during the day. I just love him.


  1. Hi Jeannie, wow, you are full of surprises and talent! Beautiful!

    If I had your figure I think I'd try a vintage dress pattern. I did buy a 1963 vintage pattern book for knit and crochet gloves. I hope I can figure it out. And I restored a vintage travel trailer, that's how I get my vintage fix.

  2. Christy--I've long wanted to restore a vintage trailer. It looks like so much fun and I applaud you for doing it. Vintage anything is fun, don't you agree?

  3. Nice floral cut and also have a great conference for you.
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