I am very excited about a new upgrade from my current dress form to (basically) a foam version of myself.  I spent hours (and hours) fitting the cover to get as close to my own body shape as possible.  Then came the all-out-on-the-floor fight to get that cover on the rather large foam body.  It wasn't easy.  I hurt one knuckle and broke a fingernail.  

The new me is a little stockier than the actual me - about 2" thicker in the waist - but everything else is in balance.  Vertically, she looks pretty good.   I might get around to further adjustment at some point.  Like, when I feel like another wrestling match.  It actually might be less troublesome to just eat a lot of ice cream and cookies.
For the January dress I took up a challenge over at The Sew Weekly that involved brocade.  For a little while, I was front page news.  Scoop!  

Read all about it here, or go to the source.

"Go for Brocade" Dress.  An Adaptation.

A personal goal of mine is to try (I mean really try) to dive into my fabric stash and use what I’ve got.  Years ago someone sent me a rather large brown metallic brocade 1960s dress.  At some point I cut the dress down to a skirt, which I then never wore.  That skirt was then packed away with my collection of fabric. My adaption of the “Go For Brocade” Dress finally put that dress/skirt/fabric to use.  As the original dress had a straight skirt on it, there was nowhere near enough fabric to do the whole project in brocade.  I opted to do the bodice in the brocade and add a solid colored skirt.
Fabric:  Brocade (that used to be a too-big 1960′s dress) on top, Double Georgette for the skirt, and satin for the lining.

Pattern:  None.  I searched my collection of patterns (which I am also trying to put to good use) and couldn’t find a single one with princess seams on the bodice.  Not too surprising, though, as  I tend to have trouble fitting princess seams.  Rather than taking the time to draft something from scratch, I used the bodice of a dress I had recently taken apart (upcycle!) as a guide.  As expected, I had to make some modifications.  Surely I am not the only person whose chest has issues with this cut. Surely.

Year:  Bodice fabric – 1960′s/Style late 1950′s/”Pattern”- 1990′s

Notions:  Zipper and rust colored satin piping which was salvaged from the original dress.

Time to complete: About 10 hours (including picking apart the “original”) (oh and I was watching a movie while doing the hand stitching, so . . .).

First worn:  Today.  Just to snap some quick photos.

Wear again?  The next time I have a fancy event and the mood strikes me . . . yes.  Although, I can’t say I am completely sold on this dress.  Maybe it’s the color – too much brown? Maybe it’s the cut – is the skirt too full?  I’m on the fence with this one.

Total price: Double Georgette – $11.98/Satin – $9.98/Zipper – $1.26/Thread $2.65 for a grand total of $25.87.
I am such a sucker for fitted bodices matched with full skirts, but I am coming to terms with the fact that it is just time for a more grown-up (and slimming) go-to style.  More wiggle dresses in 2012!  Alas. A wiggle dress would not have worked for this project.  So, if I were to tweak this dress and still keep the silhouette and style of “Go for Brocade” I would probably have made the neckline just a tad deeper.  I also would have done something more interesting with the back.  You can’t see it, but it’s just real high and real snoozy.  (But effectively guards against drafts and sunburns.)  I do like the vintage brocade very much.  I will have to keep my eyes peeled for vintage dresses for the purpose of re-purposing.  I mean, after I use all the fabric in my stash, of course.
As some of you may have already seen, I am going to try something fun and new by contributing to one of my favorite blogs, The Sew Weekly, over the course of the coming year.  If you were wondering, I have absolutely no intention of making a dress a week as the blog encourages.  One a month is more than enough for me to handle.  Although I am tempted to plan on a little extra for 2012.  Maybe a baker's dozen of pretty dresses?  

You can check out the details from my first contributory post below, or go straight to the source.  The first theme was just to serve as an introduction and show off something made in the last year.  You'll remember my blue gingham A.K.A. August Dress.

The “Taffeta Gingham 
For Every Day Wear” Dress

Name & Location: Liz Cowin.  Portland, OR.

Blog: I just finished up a year long personal challenge with Dress of the Month Club.

How long have you been sewing: Sewing has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  My mother was at her machine for a good chunk of my childhood.  As soon as I was tall enough to reach the pedal she showed me the basics and it all grew from there.

Why did you want to commit to The Sew Weekly Challenge:  The Sew Weekly is a super fun read and I have to admit that there were a great many challenges I wish I had participated in last year.  Now I have my chance.

What do you love most about sewing garments: Being able to answer “Yes!” every time someone asks “Did you make that?”

What do you hate most about sewing garments: I don’t know why, but I can’t stand marking darts.  I love the darts, themselves, though.  Curious.

What do you want to accomplish this year with regard to the challenge: I am really working to stock my closet with classic, quality pieces that fit well and will stand the test of time.  All the better if I can make them (and show them off!).

Your biggest non-sewing goal of 2012: I guess I hope to pull off a really fun, stress-free wedding.  We just “decided” to get married about a week ago so . . . we’ll see.

What are your favorite sewing/fashion blogs:  Apart from this one, I enjoy A Beautiful Mess and Coletterie.  I really wish The Selfish Seamstress would make a prolific return.

Well, that's twelve of twelve for the year 2011.  December's dress is a really beautiful dark, dark blue wool.  I admittedly splurged.  

The deep squared neckline is something new for me, as are the long princess seams and 3/4 length sleeves.  I like the outcome -  not too dressy, but not casual either.

I added a cutesy leather bow belt because I like to accentuate waists.  The back is very high.  For the lining I used a bright plaid that used to be a dress.  The red shoes are a non-sequiteur.

Happy New Year everyone!  That's a wrap!