Friday, March 17, 2017

Sequins & Stars: Planning the Project and Collecting Materials


Do you ever feel like diving into a super time consuming and possibly even ridiculous project? Well, I recently decided that may be just what I needed to finally kick my sewing-block (like writer's block?), a problem that has been hanging over my work thus far this year. So what have I decided to make? An embroidered and beaded wanna-be-couture tulle circle skirt! (What about that Victorian bustle gown you say? It is totally still happening! I recently found the white fabric I want to use and everything <3 )

Perks of tulle as a material: 1) the edges don't fray so I don't have to "hem" the skirt, which is very good as I plan on having several layers of tulle, 2) tulle fabric is super inexpensive!

So with tulle, just because I am planning a time intensive project, it won't have to be an expensive project. Another plus is that tulle comes in wider widths so I may end up being able to cut the body of the skirt out in one piece so that there will be no side seams.

But I am getting a bit ahead of myself, would you like to see my little inspiration board for this project? (too bad I'm showing you anyway)

From left to right, in rows: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 above here 
I have been dreaming about Valentino's recent space/star related gowns for years, but obviously I'm never going to be purchasing any Valentino, so DIY is the way forward. I have found several examples of 1950's tulle skirts in both plain and embellished varieties, so I feel confident this skirt will still be in keeping with my vintage style. The modern way to style such skirts seems to be to dress them down with chambray button down shirts or other casual pairings, but I love the more 50's idea of velvet bodice type tops for evening or perhaps a lace blouse. As for more casual but still vintage appropriate options I think a black sweater will look nice too. I plan on using both gold and silver sequins so both metallics will "match" with the skirt in the end for open options when styling.

Concerning sequins, I have to simply have to share my source with you all. The website I order sequins from, which is like a tempting candy shop filled with every color sweet possible, is called Cartwright's Sequins. Who knew just how many colors and types of sequins there were available in the world! Metallic sequins, square sequins, tiny itty bitty sequins, matte sequins, cat sequins! (yes really) They have sequins in the traditional finish, or in holographic prismatic finish, cupped shape or completely flat. They have beads to match. They have printed sequins, sequins with tiny printed designs on them (like galaxy print!)...OMG! It is so easy to get really carried away on their website, I am always tempted to add tons of whatever looks beautiful to my cart , but in reality I would never end up using many of the colors. This is one source which requires a lot of self control! One day when I learn how to bead my own 1920's dresses (#thedream) I will finally allow myself to go nuts and order some of everything, but until that day, I try and keep the motifs and colors that I want for a particular project in mind.

I ordered some great shooting star shaped sequins in silver and gold, also some of the aforementioned galaxy print sequins, and of course lots of other fun options in metallics and  black. I will be using some sequins from previous orders too, like some fun dark red metallic tiny sequins and steel looking gunmetal flat sequins. (This may be a good time to mention this isn't a sponsored post, I just fricken love this sequin shop!)


The idea of a big project with a lot of free rein as a jump-starter too reigniting my creative sewing mojo seems to have already worked even before my sequins have arrived in the mail, as I already got too anxious to start and began another project in between! This smaller project began as a way to test my new kimono sleeve bolero pattern and then blossomed into a Schiaparelli inspired embellished bolero using left over Gertie/Joanns brocade and lots of black and blue sequins. I have been working on it all week and have sunk many hours into beading this little jacket and I AM LOVING IT! The process of allowing myself to turn on a great podcast and then just go mad with the sequins, arranging them however strikes my fancy in the moment, has seemed to have done the trick and awakened my fire to create. I guess I forgot just how much I love to embellish? Well I have remembered, dear reader, and I can't wait to start the skirt next!

Sneak peak of the bolero, I am hoping to wear it soon :)
The point is, sometimes you don't need a break from the thing-- sometimes you need to jump off the high dive into the very deep end. I had to remember why I love to swim, ahem, I mean sew. Now my list of projects and every looming stash of fabrics look like a hoard of fun possibilities again, and I am so excited to get to work on new things for the upcoming spring season!

How have you clawed out of creative ruts before? Are you pro sequin or embellishment adverse? Tell me in the comments below ;)


14 comments:

  1. Ooh, that looks pretty. I'm easily distracted, so I'm constantly switching between projects. The best motivation for me seems to be getting (or finding in the stash) a new pattern or new fabric. I picked up some fabric today for a swirl-style house dress made from a pattern I inherited from my grandmother. I'm excited enough to not mind having to grade the pattern up. (I've had kids since the last time I used the pattern, and it is too small now!)

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    1. I know just what you mean, I try and finish one project before starting another but it's no easy task! Some of the first retro dresses I ever made were swirl dresses way back in high school, I don't have them anymore as they certainly wouldn't fit me any longer!

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  2. This is going to be fantastic! I love the idea of a tulle circle skirt with sequins and stars, and the mood board is just perfect!
    I want to do some beading myself on tulle, for an extremely ambitious project that I mention a lot but become cowed just thinking about it - a reproduction of Glinda the Good Witch's dress from The Wizard of Oz. Perhaps your project will give me some confidence to attempt it sometime. :) I always thought that beading looked hard, with all the tiny, fiddly little beads and sequins, especially seeing as I'm clumsy with fine motor skills.

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    1. Thank you Ellie! Glinda's gown would be quite the project! But so fun too :) I think with fiddly projects it's good to set yourself a realistic time line and do a little at a time so you don't get frustrated, that's my method at least!

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  3. This looks like a very exciting project!
    I wanted a tulle skirted gown for my high school grad, (inspired by the ads for Elizabeth Arden's 'Pretty') but I ended up going with something completely different. However, I have never gotten that dress out of my head. I really should make it, even though I have no occasion to wear it to!
    I am excited to see how your project turns out- it sounds like it is going to be just lovely.
    The Artyologist

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    1. Thanks Nicole! I have a lot of dresses I have no occasions for, but swanning around the house is always enough for me ;) Or planning a fancy night out just for the dress!

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  4. Love Cartwrights. I got most of the sequins for my repro Cleopatra cape from them. Thanks for the post. Its giving me some grand ideas on how to use up all the leftovers.

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    1. They really are such a fun source! A Cleopatra cape sounds most wonderful!

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  5. One of my students and I have the motto to "embellish our problems away" because a slightly wonky seam or a slight wrinkle in fit isn't visible next to a gorgeously beaded or embroidered object ;)


    Much fun with the sequins! I can't wait to see it!

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    1. Yes that is a very good solution! Distract them with sparkle ;)

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  6. I will always choose sequin! If I could, I'd embellish every single scrap of fabric I own. Can't wait to see your skirt.

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    1. Thanks Anastasia! I don't sequin enough, something I must remedy!

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  7. Great projects! The bolero looks very intriguing! :)

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    1. Thank you! Hopefully I can finish it this week :)

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