Saturday, June 14, 2008

Weekend Project: Sewing for Me!

Put even the plainest woman into a beautiful dress and unconsciously she will try to live up to it.

Lucie Duff-Gordon

First things first: I love this dress! There are several things wrong with it (which I will get to in a minute), but I still love it. It makes me feel pretty. It makes me want to sashay and swirl and pivot and twirl everywhere I go! :)

Okay, now for the dissection... My first mistake was selecting a print that has a distinct and obvious appropriate orientation. After this experience, it seems to me that full circle skirts in general are not well suited to this type of print - the print is oriented correctly at the front and back centers, but flipped 90 degrees at the side seams.

More significantly, the fabric was supposed to be cut on the bias for the bodice (in view B). I chose to ignore those directions and cut the bodice pieces along the grain line, so that the print would be oriented correctly. There is a small ripple effect along the neckline, and I think this is the price that I am paying for that decision.

Other issues arose. For one thing, I actually ran out of fabric! This has NEVER happened to me before (I usually buy more fabric than I need). I think that part of the problem was that I changed my mind about what view to make quite recently (and view B needed more fabric than view A).

Also contributing to the not enough fabric problem: the width of this particular piece of fabric was a couple inches shy of the number cited on the pattern envelope - one of those 42 inches versus 45 inches things. Normally this doesn't cause me any problems, but with a full circle skirt pattern... I needed those extra inches of width! My solution: I opened the fabric out completely and cut the front in two pieces and added a center seam. Not ideal...

Unfortunately, because the project had been sitting in my queue for so long, the store was out of that fabric. Thus, I made the sash out of a different fabric (solid pink). In the end, I like it just as much, if not better, that way.

Another issue - the size I cut turned out to be too big and I had to do some pretty significant modifications to get the bodice to fit. While I am getting better at this, the straps are still sitting a bit too far out on my shoulders and the v-neck takes QUITE a plunge! I should have done a quick muslin.

Two things worth noting about the pattern. First, it was the typical cheap-looking (in my opinion) sash pattern that only had you cut one layer of fabric for each side. I doubled it and stitched the 2 layers together so that no seams show on my sash. I also interfaced it, because I wanted my sash to have a bit of body. I wanted the bow to stand up and hold its shape, not just flop down. I think I was successful!

Second, for some odd reason, the instructions for view B did NOT have you use the bodice lining to hide the waist seam and two zipper side seams. Instead, the instructions had you stitch the bodice and bodice lining together along all open edges and then treat the two layers of fabric as one when attaching the skirt and zipper... But the instructions for view A were the standard instructions that have you hold the lining separate while attaching the skirt and inserting the zipper, and then fold the lining back inside to cover those raw edges. This really surprised me. Does anyone know - is there a good reason for the difference?

So, as you can see, there are any numbers of issues with this dress.

"But I still love it!", she declares, pivoting on one heel and sashaying out of the room, with her beautiful, full skirt flowing and swirling around her in graceful pink waves.


SunnyQ said...

BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Great job!! :-D

Vicki said...

Sounds like a success to me! Enjoy wearing it!!

Elaray said...

If this dress elevates your mood the way it obviously does - then it's perfect!

Summerset said...

Pretty - enjoy it!

Claire said...

oohhh Gwen the dress is so pretty. Pink and twirly AND has a bow. What more could a girl want? I think I recognize that pattern and added it to my stash not long ago. I like the contrasting sash. I wouldn't worry about the pattern at the sides. That's just something that happens with circle skirts and is expected.