Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I Won, I Won!!!!!!.....Downton Abbey, Here I Come!

I've always felt like a fish out of water, someone with eclectic tastes and unusual interests cultivated in a midwestern childhood and an adolescence basted in California liberalism.  It makes for strange bedfellows and friends, and leaves me alone a lot of the time.  As I get older, it doesn't bother me half as much as it used to.  I do a lot of reading, sewing and solitary television watching.  Most of the shows I watch are not of interest to a majority of those I encounter IRL (in real life) (lol).  Since I've begun blogging and become involved in the internet, my world has expanded to introduce me to more people like me.  Sites like Pinterest and Facebook help begin conversations with interesting people and connects me with organizations and groups who are no longer satisfied to sit alone at home and bay at the moon.  

I remain a lifelong supporter of the Public Broadcasting System, and for the past three years have become an avid fan of their Masterpiece Theatre show: Downton Abbey.  Are you?   Oh, I hope someone (maybe a few of you) out there is/are as fascinated by the clothes, decorum and storyline of this captivating saga as I am! I digress....

This January, the fourth season of this show begins, and all Downton fans are holding their breath and waiting to see what happens following the sudden death of one of the main characters at the end of last season.  I follow the show for 'behind the scenes' articles on the PBS website, and they recently sent me an email asking if I were interested in attending the local premiere preview of the first episode of the upcoming season.  This will occur just a few weeks ahead of the show's national premiere date!  Of course, I said I would LOVE to!   I quickly submitted my name as one of the group of thousands who must have responded, and lo and behold....about a week later I received an email advising me that I had been selected!  I think it was because I was a party of one....having no clue as to who I would ask to go with me, I submitted only myself as an interested party.

So off I'll go....alone into the Washington night.....wending my way through the dark streets of DC in early evening....carrying a shower gift for Lady Mary's baby (which will be donated to the National Center for Children and HOPE in Northern Virginia, Inc. on behalf of WETA-TV supporters).  Oh my!....What shall I take (or make) for the baby???....homemade or storebought????  OMG!!!! So second issue is...what should I wear!!??....what would you wear!!!!????  I've been sewing like mad, so I do have choices....just which one?  

I've decided it will be what I made from this Suzi Chin Butterick Pattern 4978.. The Washington Metro area is COLD right now....so I am delighted to own an appropriate heavy wool winter coat and have decided to walk from the self-park garage nearby to the hotel event ($34 valet parking they warned!) in a pair of black booties I ordered from Sole Society.   I will wear black hosiery and my earring choice remains open.  I'll toss my black Pashmina over my shoulders and carry my black kidskin gloves.  

I know....I wish I could wear anything Lady Sybill wore (before her untimely death), but this ensemble will have to do.
Full Length Dress
(Tea Length)
Dress Inside Lining

Dress Front with Bow at Waist

Dress Back at Zipper

Just to add....making the dress was not difficult, and was made with $2 per yard fabric from (FabricMart, I think).  LOTS of handwork and basting on the chiffon, but handwork is something I have never minded doing.  I was more delighted to find the lining in the perfect brown at my local JoAnn's.  That brown lining in straight grain and stretch is soooo hard to find!  It is my goal to gather my coins and purchase a bolt of each as soon as I can.  I was also proud of my regular zipper.  Zipper insertion is so important to a new sewist, when I began to sew I practiced and practiced until I could insert them perfectly (lapped, centered and hand-picked).  Now, this was waaay before invisible zippers were even invented, and I still strive to master invisible zipper insertion today.

The only real question I encountered on this dress was figuring out which way the finished side of the lining should face.....which way would you have done it?  Choice one is to have the finished side of the lining facing your body.....choice two is to have the finished side of the lining facing the underside of the chiffon.  Is there a rational choice?  Chime in.....which way would you have completed the garment?  After the event, I'll tell you which way I finished mine and tell you what I chose to take as a shower gift for Lady Mary's baby boy.  Will I meet any blogger friends or sewists there?  Let me know if you will be there, too!  I'm so excited!

'Til next time....
Keep sewing....one stitch at a time!...


  1. Congratulations!! What wonderful news. Be sure to take LOTS of pictures and share the experience with us. What a wonderful opportunity. I am so happy for you!

  2. Thanks for commenting, Rhonda! I do plan to take my camera and play photographer, so you will get to see me all dolled up and dressed in a me-made outfit! lol Happy Holidays!

  3. I love your dress, and I'm delighted that the fabric was only $2/yd. I make wearable muslins from inexpensive fabric, and rarely go beyond that. I'm often intimidated by the bloggers who are upping their game by spending more on fabrics because my income doesn't allow it. So when I see a gorgeous garment in less expensive fabric, I'm over the moon.

    Yours is beautifully sewn, and personally, I'd opt for right side to skin on the lining.

  4. Thank you, SunGold for your comment on my blog. Forgive me for not responding immediately, but I was completing my Xmas sewing and working, so I hope you understand. Your comment on the cost of fabric hit home because I am old enough to remember that my beginning sewing experience when the Big Four patterns cost between 25 to 50 cents each. 'Big-time' Vogue patters were 75 cents and up! I remember riding my bike to get fabric from our downtown store, and saving toward the cost if it was more than $1 per yard. Ah, those days....anyhoo...knowing these things makes me very frugal. I have, however, purchased more costly fabric when my project required it and my sewing experience level guaranteed I wouldn't mess it up. During the 70s and 80s layaway was a new phenomenon and I laid away cashmere/wool for a jacket I still own. I say this to admit I am a savvy shopper and am pretty good at recognizing a bargain, which is what the chiffon discussed above was. A long time ago I realized that I need not purchase only second-hand sheets or relegate myself to only plain cotton sewing projects (unless that is what I wanted).

    Your comment on how you would finish the inside of the dress was taken into consideration, too. It shows you read my blog and thought about my question! Thank you so much....and come back again. Tonite is my Downton Abbey experience....a follow-up post will follow soon!
    Sooooo excited!

  5. The perfect dress for the occasion. I hope you stay warm, have a lot of fun, and take lots of pictures to share with us on your blog.