Wednesday, July 11, 2012

hello, my italian friend


someone once asked me if there was a fabric out there that scared even me.  at the time, the answer was a definite no.  but this stuff... this stuff gave me nightmares.


yes, i actually woke up panting like i was being chased by a full on serial killer with eight arms, no head, and a never ending banshee scream in my dreams.  ruggy opened his baby blues in that half asleep state you use when you know your loved one is okay, and just needs to be lulled back to dreamland, murmuring s'kay, babe, bbbrrbbb, mmm s'kay.  i slowed my near hyperventilation down to a dull roar, and cautiously recalled the dream:

I HAD FORGOTTEN TO THREAD TRACE ONE BACK BODICE PIECE.

seriously.  

i'm sorry, i need to pause there to reflect.




alrighty.  let me get back to the source of my fear.  the celestial fabric.  the fabric made of moon and stars and firecrackers.   she's more purple here, no?  she changes colors like i change my moods.  I LOVE THAT.

y'all know i've been desiring something more substantial to work with for some time... i don't know, maybe it's the tres chic hollywood air?  i first spied this italian brocade in mood's online shop, and surprisingly i knew what it should be.  i'm not like that, i buy fabric because it's cheap awesome, and eventually i figure out the plan.  but i knew right then this 'spenive stuff wanted the simple funky shape of burdastyle 108A.  

still, being a touchy feely sort of gal, i needed reassurance.  after a quick email to mood's LA locale, silvana happily pulled it for me in advance, and i headed down to lay hands on the goods.  i was flabbergasted when she led me down the aisle: nothing but black.  darkness everywhere.  this was not a kalkatroonaan lane!  excuses would most certainly need to be made!  but then, we started flipping those fabrics over... oh glory.  explosions of color! metallic flickering lights everywhere!  i was head over heels.  the unexpected pink pleather piping was the icing on the cake.


and then i stalled.  this italian brocade was certainly the most glorious stuff i've ever had on my table.  i'd walk past it daily, giving it a wide and respectful berth, occasionally allowing myself to carefully refold and pet it. practically deifying the precious.  my pattern choice wasn't helping my confidence.  because really, adjusting a burdastyle pattern is not fun... can i get a lengthen/shorten line?  and drat it all, i already had a perfectly adjusted copy waiting for me 3,000 miles away.  just about a year ago today, i made my first honest to god full muslin for this dress, and like a good sewist i adjusted the paper accordingly.  in my mind, it was the bee's knees.

why are they knees?  why not the bee's wings?  they are obviously a more important and actual part of a bee.


but when i looked back on that post, i saw that i was the victim of delusions of grandeur.  (i am often this victim, there ought to be a support group.)  gaping neck and back, droopy bust.  so i bit the bullet and printed out the whole shebang again.  

i graded from a size 18 to 19 through the bodice, and that seemed to easily fix the gaping.  the back neck was a little high, so i scooped it about 3 inches lower.  i left the shoulder seams as is, i love how narrow they are.  i also found the armsyce to be quite wide... so i pinched out a quarter inch, vertically, right where the side seam would be, on bodice and skirt pieces.  possibly not the right thing to do.

even though this is geared towards the petite lass, i still raised the bodice 1 inch, and went up another quarter inch for the final.   i just eyeballed my own shorten line, marking it at the same place on all bodice pieces. although the extra quarter inch was probably overkill, much happier am i with the perky bust fit!



but the back bodice.  perhaps my night terror was a premonition, because THAR SHE BLOWS.  she is too long. essentially, i haz given myself a wedge of fabric in order to produce a swayback.  this could also be due to the armhole balance, as beautifully summed up by madalynne earlier this week.  there's no side seam, but her description of the issue does seem to fit.   or maybe it's my eyeballed line?  the unconventional side seam pinch?

at any rate: insert much gnashing of teeth here.  i stood stock still staring in the mirror, deciding what to do.  at this point all seams were finished, after all, i'd MADE A MUSLIN so that i could insert my piping without a care in the world, why would i need to try the damn thing on... stomping away, i decided i could live with it, and if not, i could live with it until i was reunited with my ellie.


and i mean, look at what i would have had to take seam ripper to.  i think the insides look like a rock concert.  or a pinball game.  OH MY GOD IT'S THE WHO'S TOMMY, Y'ALL.  no way i was ripping that out, or covering that up with lining!  apparently 'spensive fabric makes me step up le guts game.  i pored over my claire schaeffer library, and decided on bias facing for the raw edges, which i HAND OVERLOCKED.  and i enjoyed every minute of it.  this fabric was delicioso to play with.  for pressing, i used a large piece of organza, and more of it to hong kong finish all my seams.  i stay stitched each piece at 1/4 inch and they held up fine until i was ready to do my hong kong finish.  

or, as ruggy immediately dubbed it, my Wrong Kong Finish.  for some reason i always tell him when i'm not doing something to the letter.  he exploits this information at every opportunity.  that ruggy.  he's a card.


laugh it up, fun boy.  but sleep with one eye open.  me and the italian brocade are friends now, and we rule the night, yo.

116 comments:

  1. UM.

    100% in love with the marriage of this fabric, pattern & piping. And the rock concert interior.

    And honestly - this is the lazy pos in me - but the back is, well, in the back, which means you don't have to look at it. So it's easier to ignore :) Plus, that fabric is shiny & colorful & textured and kind of makes everything look like an optical illusion amirite.

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    1. optical illusion-- yep. that's what i kept telling myself when the front waist looked wonky too :)

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  2. Okay I see absolutely nuthin' wrong with this stunning dress! You definitely tamed that brocade into submission and in the process created a beautiful dress!

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  3. Awwwwww, I thought this post was about me (because I'm not self-centered at all)!!!

    I'll forgive you just because this dress is ridiculously gorgeous, you did wonders with this fabric (inside and outside). Those bias binding finishes are the perfect touch! Oh, and who cares about the back, the front is gorgeous enough to hide a little imperfection!

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    1. oh HA paunnet!!!! you are my way more gorgeous italian friend!!! (just don't tell the dress, she's the jealous type.)

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    2. AHAHAHHA, I'll forgive you now! :D

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  4. Mind. Blown! You've outdone yourself, Dear. And I mean that in the best possible sense! I'm so very inspired by this. The fabric, the craftswomanship, the attention to detail, the everything!! YOWZA! I need to step up my game, Dude. You raised the bar. (...and the roof! har har har)

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    1. well thank you so much rochelle! come on over, bring miss lucille and your new hazel and we'll really raise the roof...

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  5. That fabric is STUNNING! And it's so perfect for that design! You are working it!

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    1. truly a compliment from the queen of working it :)))

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  6. Wow Oona. You look fantastic. Cali and that fabric obviously agree with you.

    Sometimes our greatest fears force us to reveal our best selves.

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    1. cali was confused by the technicolor pixie by the side of the road. taking pictures was almost more scary than the fabric!

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  7. What an amazing dress with great details. I love this pattern and I'm very impressed with how great it looks on the inside, as well.

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  8. wow wow wow!!! gorgeous creation Oona, and totally you! The back thing is so very minor, think nothing of it. I have a dress with an upside down waist band (curved band, it matters), and you know what, sometimes it's just not worth the effort to fix ;) hehe, damn straight I wear it anyway! Love your dress and all it's inner and outer guts.

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    1. ack, i once inserted a waistband the wrong way THREE TIMES on a dress. on the third go, i just left it as is. i want to see yours, linky linky?

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  9. Fabulous fabric! That colour is stunning on you, and I wouldn't worry about the back. Change it next time! :D

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    1. thanks lady! i am quite enamored of the color :)

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    2. and OH BY THE WAY all that organza is from YOU! got a post coming soon :))

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    3. Fabulous!! I'm glad you found something to use it on!

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  10. I am 100 percent in love with your finishing technique. Wow.

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  11. Oh geez, that is friggin' amazing! I was having my own fabric nightmares (sewing fabric with sequins the size of dimes) but I think yours takes the cake. And wins at everything. And is just all out awesome.

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    1. couldn't you just see skating in this?! excited to see your mammoth sequins...

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  12. Beautiful, Oona! Is there anything you cannot do? It's STUNNING!

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  13. Your dress is so gorgeous in every sense of the word. I love it!

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  14. Mmmm, shiny purple awesomeness! The pink is the icing on the cake- well played :D

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    1. that pink, i almost lined every edge with it and then decided i might look like a coloring book!

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  15. This is incredibly fabulous. The interior is the bee's stripes!!

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  16. This looks amaaaaaaaaaaaaazing! You and the fancy fabric seem to be getting along famously! Watch out, you-- I fear this is how one develops Champagne Taste!!

    Also... have you had your hair done? Either way it's looking fab!

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    1. i'll tell ya, alls i want now is caviar and foie gras. mmmmm... foie gras.....

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  17. Nice, nice, nice! Also bees knees because the back of the knee (technically the tibia but hey, the ancients weren't very bright so give 'em a break yea?) is where the pollen comb is- they brush off the pollen from their bodies and compact it into a little pollen basket on the leg. It's very cute. XD

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    1. see, this is fascinating, and SO much more fun to hear it from you than google it.

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  18. LOVE! All of it. Fabric, fit, piping, finishing = amazing.

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  19. What a sassy little dress on you! Lurv that fabric!

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    1. i feel sassy in it:) so long as i don't look over my shoulder!

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  20. ohmygod it's so pretty! I really like that pattern too, one of my favorite dresses is from it.

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    1. i remember, the first time i made this dress (a year ago) i combed your posts about it! love yours :)

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  21. OOOOOHHHHH OOOOOONNNNNAAAAA........... I can't stop gushing over this dress. You're going to be one dangerous woman in this Italian brocade!

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    1. ah thank you! i likes to be dangerous. maybe i need a wee hot pink knife stashed in a garter belt.

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  22. Oh wow. So pretty! I'm in awe of your fabulousness. Always.

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  23. Ya done our fabric proud. Textile mills in Italy are saluting you.

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    1. teehee, hopefully with some grappa! thank you :)

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  24. This dress is flippin' A fabulous...'nuff said. :-)

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  25. Wow that is some of the most amazing fabric I have ever laid eyes on! I definitely have to check out this fabric website (although part of me says thats a really dangerous idea)!
    I would live with back too, minor on top of the fact that all your stitching would of been a real bummer to rip out!

    If you ever don't want that dress let me know ha ha!!!

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    1. oh you gotta go see the brocades. just imagine them lit up like they're got their own light source in real life.

      (step away from the dress. watch it!)

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  26. OMG lady! That dress is GORGEOUS!!!

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  27. Oooh, la, look at you! Fabulous! I love her guts, too. Even with the itty bitty thing at the back, she's freakin' AWESOME! (And a better fit than my new vintage dress, and I still feel pretty Bomb in that!)

    There's something about really awesome fabric, isn't there? :)

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    1. yeah, and that something is dangerous...

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  28. I was sitting here, reading your post, and wondering "WTH? Why is she complaining? All I see in the back is the ferpectly matched piping and that AWESOME detail at the waistline (comes to a gently sloping V - nice unexpected design tweak!)..."

    I never saw the original pattern, so what would I know? I thought your dress was the BA-BOMB, especially considering that you didn't have your muslin here with you!

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    1. that "gently sloping V" as a design tweak is EXACTLY what i told myself as i stomped away. of course, burdastyle never shows you the backside of the model, so i don't know if i should blame them or me... i'm gonna go with THEM.

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  29. That is a stunning dress and the workmanship is superb. You should feel really proud of yourself, Oonaballoona! I'm with Meg - you've done that fabric proud.

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    1. thank you karen! i have to say i enjoyed working on the insides. WHO AM I.

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  30. Just Awesome!
    This is all I have to say :)

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  31. I love this dress! Love the fabric and piping too! Nice job... fear not the brocade.

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    1. the brocade, she is your friend.... and the insides are so soft!

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  32. Heheh. The insides are like TRON (1982 version). Wrong Kong Tron.

    Seriously DO NOT sweat the back. We sewists get so obsessed with getting rid of every tiny wrinkle. You look amazing as always :o)

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  33. Goodness that dress is fantastic. Have you seen the not-as-nice dress for a squillion dollars on net-a-porter? Yours is much nicer. That designer didn't think to include piping, and it's plainer and sadder for it. http://www.net-a-porter.com/product/316773

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    1. oh my god, that seriously looks like this exact fabric. and i had my hands on the gold at one point!

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  34. F*CK OFF THIS IS AWESOME. That brocade is to die for and something only a very small handful of people in the world can pull off. You, my love, are that handful. Love everything about this and was all oohy and aahy and then I SAW THE INSIDES. You make me want to be a better woman Oona. At least where my seam finishing is concerned. Hall of famer, right here.

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    1. YOU MADE ME SPIT TAKE. for realz.

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    2. Oona, did you watch the first ep of Proj Run yet? I think that wacky Japanese kid used the same fabric in a different colour.... is that possible?

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    3. i. STILL. haven't seen it!!!! gaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! it's entirely possible... mood has this in many shades and it was tough picking just one.

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  35. Freaking fantastic!! This whole dress is its own rock concert! I'm simply amazed by you and your taming of the glittery two-toned beautiful beast! Do you want to wear it inside out? I'd want to wear it inside out...

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  36. That dress is FIERCE! And it looks amazing on you. I didn't notice any mistakes at all, so it's only you who knows.

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    1. i am indeed my own worst critic. unfortunately i have a VERY big mouth.

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  37. That fabric is insanity. I love it! And pleather piping? You've got to be kidding me. This dress is definitely the bee's wings.

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    1. thanks girl! i giggled when i first saw the insanity in real life. that's a sure sign i'm sold.

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  38. OH MY GOLLY, this is the most amazing thing I've seen in....a long time! The fabric, piping, finish, everything! So the back is a teeny bit imperfect -- so what?? Do you know how many RTW dresses I've seen that fit way worse than that? Pfft, you and your dress are rock stars!

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    1. thank you!! i tried to console myself with RTW poor fits (and have you seen the burdastyle model shot for this? egads.)

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  39. I like it! I think it came out great.

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  40. Seriously- I'd be wearing it inside out and forcing people to touch my seams. That is amazing and lovely! You are like a sexy piped space gator!

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    1. aw hellz yeah i might rename this space gator.

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  41. Your dress is absolutely beautiful. The inside....Just as gorgeous as the outside.

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    1. thank you! i'm really trying to make it all pretty lately.

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  42. Wow is all I can say, the inside really is a rock concert! You are a commendable seamstress, you have serious skills girl!

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  43. Wowsers Oona, you are killing it, you're killing me. Love this too bits. Oona the awesome.

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    1. if i kill the awesome Kazz, i have done my job.

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  44. Rock concert interior for a rockstar lady who's...well, rocking it! I love this combination of colors, the pleather piping, and how it reminds me slightly of dinosaur skin in the best possible way. And like others have said, you don't need to see the back. Out of sight, out of mind!

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    1. teehee, thank you superhero cationess!

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  45. I know I always call you a rock star, but now the inside of your dress is totes ROCK CONCERT. LOVE everything about this, especially the colors - you are rocking the multi-color textured wonder of this dress and I applaud you 100%.

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    1. i thought you might like that rock concert bit :)))

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  46. Quite a fabric, that. Just the dress for it, too. Wrong Kong, ha! Do you bratty brag about your sewing around Ruggy, or is it just happening online?

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    1. oh my goodness YES. i holler about my sewing prowess CONSTANTLY to ruggy. maybe that's why i temper it by telling him what i do badly?

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  47. ok, i'm speechless this time.. i blow me away with this, lovely oona..

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    1. knocked off my chair by your maxi dress, so we are even steven....

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  48. Wow, is that snakeskin brocade? Amazing. You are a really beautiful lady. Have I said that before? Seriously. It's a wonderful dress, just wonderfully wonderful. You look really wild AND regal in this.

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    1. yeeeeeah, snakeskin! mood has it in Every. Color.

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  49. Damn, that is one fine dress! I've been eyeing this pattern at Burdastyle, trying to figure out if I could use some horizontal stripe fabric I bought from EmmaOneSock way back and play with with the direction of the stripes. Love love what you did with this! Piping still tends to make me swoon!

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    1. oooh, this would be so fun in stripe!

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  50. This is beautiful!!! Super striking on you. And le guts are so beautiful you could get away wearing this inside out (I think a dress should be designed to incorporate this finish on the outside!). Too bad a hong kong finish sounds like something dirty you get in chinatown...definitely wrong kong:)

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    1. why thankya miss fish.

      i spit my coffee out over the whole chinatown bit.

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  51. AMAZING! The inside looks as glorious as the outside. I am digging your choice of piping. The fabric is as beautiful as you describe and the pattern you choose for it is Perfect! I LOVE IT!

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  52. Oh my goodness. You and your dress are amazing - it looks fantastic!

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  53. this dress really looks great - outside and inside! soooo cool!

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i thankya truly for taking the time to comment, i love a good conversation-- and hope you know my thanks are always implied if not always written!