It is such a relief after a long dull winter of grey, black and purple to see bright turquoise and sherbet orange in the stores again. The colours this spring are BRIGHT! Brilliant jewel tones are being shown in colour blocks of turquoise and chartreuse, emerald green with rich oranges in a variety of soft flowing fabrics. For those women who have dark hair and strong colouring this is your year! The colours being shown this spring are going to look fabulous on those of Asian or African descent as well as Snow White look-alikes. What about those of us with softer skin tones and pale hair? Can we wear the bright tones? Certainly, you just have to choose wisely. Make sure the colour compliments your skin tone and you feel good in it. Hold it up to your face and if the colour of your eyes “pop” then you’ve chosen well.
If you are a little shy about wearing the truly bright colours try mixing them with your favourite neutral. The magazines might be showing that hot pink jacket with a sunshine yellow dress, but you might be more comfortable wearing it with a soft white or cream. Or, if the blocks of colours don’t appeal to you, try the fabulous patterns that are being shown. Bright butterflies on white or black, brilliant flower patterns and some truly retro patterns reminiscent of the ‘60s are being shown. So, go ahead, buy something a little daring and have some fun this spring. Mix up the patterns but match the colour tones. Some patterned fabrics have the same print on a variety of background colours giving you options for spicing up a simple top with a contrasting collar or even make a skirt or pants in the contrast. Check out some of the fabrics at www.voguefabrics.com
Whatever you choose this spring make sure it makes you smile when you wear it. When you smile you look fabulous.
There are many forms of dance and the costumes for each one have specific requirements. We are all familiar with the ballet tutu and most of us recognise the flamenco dancer’s many layered skirts, but what about ballroom? Dancing with the Stars has given us a glimpse of the fabulous gowns and sexy little cha-cha costumes. How does the amateur dancer choose the right costume?
Let’s start with the basics – the style of the dance. Smooth dances such as waltz and fox trot require gowns that fit snugly to the upper body and allow the arms to be raised to shoulder height without disturbing the line of the dress. The skirts are full and heavy so they swing out with the turns and drop back in place as soon as the movement changes. Embellishments can enhance the dancer and the dress. Feather boas at the hem were popular in the ‘90s, crystals on the bodice, and floating scarf-like pieces continue to be popular.
Latin dances on the other hand; cha-cha, rumba, salsa, etc. call for short and sassy costumes. You want to emphasize the hip movement and have the costume move with every beat of the music. It must fit snugly from shoulder to hip and can expose as much skin as the dancer is comfortable with. The pros often wear a costume that looks like a bikini with ruffles, but most amateurs feel too exposed in that style and want a bit more coverage. Fringe and crystals are popular embellishments.
Tango is in a class of its own requiring slinky dresses that expose the leg but looks like a smooth/standard gown. The skirts are not as full as those for smooth dances; in fact a straight skirt is often preferred with split up the hip to show off the leg movement. Irregular hems and minimal embellishments define these gowns.
Watch this site for more information on how to choose a costume that suits your body and style. You can see some samples on my Facebook site.
Neutral has many meanings depending on your point of view. It could refer to the background colour of your home, the interior of your car or the basic colour in your wardrobe. For our purposes we are going to consider the best neutral for your wardrobe.
For many years the standard wardrobe neutral has been black –“the little black dress”, “everyone needs a pair of black shoes”, “the power suit”, “the winter coat”, “you can’t go wrong with black”. Oddly, very few people actually look good in black; it can pull all the colour out of your face and make you look drained. To choose black as the base colour to build your wardrobe around can send you into colour choices that really don’t look good on you. Your skin tone and natural hair colour should be the factors determining your choice of neutral. And that choice will change as you age and the pigment in your skin and hair become cooler.
Consider matching your natural hair colour with your basic shoes and handbag. Auburns should consider a warm dark brown, if your hair has turned gray look at shades of charcoal or pewter, blondes can wear shades of tan or taupe. Of course, if your shoes and handbag match your outfit that is even better.
In future blogs we will discuss choosing colours for your entire wardrobe, for your dancing and for your special event as well as fashions trends and how to make them work for you.
Bottom weight, Suit weight, Light weight etc. What do they all mean? I found it easiest to understand by going to The Bay and handling the garments in their boutique sections to get a “feel” for the weights used in their garments. For example, a good pair of pants will be made of a heavier material than a dress. The pants need the weight to hang properly. They are made of a “bottom weight” fabric. When making pants you want the fabric to stand up to being sat in all day, it needs to hold a crease, it needs to be heavy enough that our bumps and wrinkles are not evident and strong enough to hold in our tummies. Denim is a good example of Bottom Weight.
Suit weight has strength in the weave and some body to hold its shape. Perfect for skirts, tailored dresses and blazers, it also used for lined pants. Suit weight fabrics are a little finer than the typical “bottom weight” as the expectation is that the finished garment will be lined giving it extra strength. Gabardine and wool crepe are typical suit weights.
Light weight covers a wide range of uses. A light weight cotton will perform very differently than a light weight silk. Generally, you will want this weight for tops and summer dresses. It will drape softly, and be picked up by the wind.
Before choosing your fabric, read the back of the pattern envelope for the designer’s suggestions. A quality clothing store may have a garment in a similar style and you can check out the feel of that fabric to help you choose the right one for your project. And as always, ask the staff at your local fabric store. My website has a list of some of my favourite stores in the Greater Vancouver Area http://www.dianarose.ca/links.html. I’d love to hear your comments.
Choosing the right fabric is the first step in creating a great sewing project. I have been asked many times “how do know which fabric will work?” There are many answers and sometimes it simply comes down to experience. I have made some great mistakes in my early sewing career and the biggest one was using cheap fabric. The result was a garment I didn’t want to wear and to put that much work into something that hangs “like a dish rag” as my grandmother put it, was frustrating in the extreme. Shop around by all means, but choose carefully and be sure the fabric suits the project. Here are some tips to consider when shopping:
1- Read the pattern envelope for suggestions.
2- Go to a reputable fabric store and ask knowledgeable sales staff
3- Avoid on-line shopping until you really know fabrics, their names, weights and descriptions
4- Unroll the bolt of fabric to see how it drapes over your body or hangs from your arm
5- Touch the fabric; rub it between your fingers to get the feel of it. This is called the “Hand”. If your skin is sensitive like mine gently pull the fabric across the inside of your wrist to see if it is “scratchy”.
6- Squeeze a corner tightly in your hand to see how it creases and take into consideration how much you like ironing before buying. For example, sewing with linen is a dream, taking care of it can be a pain.
7- Make sure the care of the fabric matches the use of your project; you don’t want to make an apron out of a “dry clean only” fabric!
Good luck with your project! Watch for more blogs on this topic on this site.
We make our clients feel fabulous by creating garments that fit and flatter your figure. DianaRose Custom Apparel is your source for custom made clothing in the Fraser Valley in beautiful British Columbia. With over 40 years experience as a dressmaker, Diana’s attention to detail is exceptional. For that special event, or an evening out, a hand-made garment that looks great and fits perfectly will boost your self confidence and make the event wonderfully memorable. Our goal is to bring a smile to our customers as they see themselves in the mirror because they feel fabulous about the way they look.
Follow this blog for hints and tips on all facets of dressmaking from fabric choice to finishing touches. We hope to take some of the mystery out of the art of dressmaking and inspire you to have your design ideas made into reality. You can contact us at www.dianarose.ca