Thursday, June 21, 2012

All American Chemise

Some of the sources from which I derive sewing inspiration include fashion magazines, sewing pattern catalogs, blogs of other sewing enthusiasts that I follow, as well as celebrities and characters who I think possess interesting senses of style.  One of my favorites is Fran Fine.  You know...The Nanny.

I was not an avid viewer of this program when it aired in prime-time on CBS.  In fact, the one episode I remember watching was in May 1998 while I was in the hospital recovering from childbirth.  It was the season finale in which Fran fell overboard during her honeymoon cruise with "Mr. Sheffield".  In spite of my being on morphine and in too much pain to actually laugh, I did find it was funny, but for some reason I just did not continue watching program.

Fast forward 14 years later, I recently began watching The Nanny reruns on TV Land, became hooked on the program and set my DVR to record each episode.  In addition to its laugh-out-loud humor, one of the show's appeals for me was Fran's brash, whimsical and extremely colorful sense of style.  There were so many outfits she wore during the run of the show that caught my eye and got me thinking about how to integrate some of the design details into my sewing.  Because I found it increasingly difficult to remember all the designs, I began snapping pictures of "my favorites" - mind you, strictly as an effort to remember them for personal sewing inspiration. 

One such outfit is pictured below, which I have dubbed "All American Girl".  (Please forgive the picture quality.  This episode aired on an analog TV set so there's a degree of graininess that's unavoidable.)  While watching, my thought was how cute and interesting this dress would be in observance of our various patriotic holidays.

The Nanny:  The Heather Biblow Story

The Nanny:  The Heather Biblow Story

The Nanny:  The Heather Biblow Story

What better time to make my version than the upcoming 4th of July holiday?  So, I scanned through my patterns and found one...

...that, with slight design modifications, could easily be used to replicate "All American Girl".

Design changes include changing the extended shoulders
and shortening the hem...but not as short as Fran's, of course.

I cut out the pattern pieces last week, making the necessary figure adjustments and design changes, and constructed a muslin test of the dress to note of any fitting adjustments.

I used pieces from another pattern to shape the armhole opening.

I lowered the front neckline 1.5 inches.

Here are the dress front and back I drafted.

I added reminder notes and design cutting lines to the front pattern
to remind me of what to cut and how.

The next task was to find fabric that could be used to replicate this design, but would still be comfortable to wear - especially on a hot July day.  I went back and forth about which fabric to use and where to purchase it.  I did find this print design on which I thought could work for the stars and field of blue...

Timeless Treasures Patriotic Textured Stars Blue

...but I was so on-the-fence about whether I wanted to purchase the fabric online without having the benefit of feeling its texture first.  Yesterday, while making a run to JoAnn Fabrics to get more 4mm pearls for Corin's bridal veil, I stopped by the quilting area to see what type of patriotic-themed fabrics they had and bought the cotton fabrics pictured below.

While the star-fabric is not an exact match in color or scale, I thought I could make it work.  But, of course - in typical indecisive-Aisha fashion - I rethought that plan and am now considering using some type of applique technique to make the large white stars/field of blue fabric.  There are 7 red stripes and 6 white stripes in an actual U.S. flag, and I would like to maintain this design integrity by distributing the 13 stripes around the circumference of the dress, but we will see how this works out.  For all intents and purposes, this too may change, and I may just go basic color-block.  Anyway, I'll keep you posted.

Be blessed!



  1. Thank you for the nice comments on my blog! I'm really excited about seeing the results on this on, please let us see the completed project! I really like it so far and am inspired!

    1. Thank you, Myra...I so appreciate the encouragement...I'll make certain to post updates.