Sunday, June 26, 2011

The mashup dress

Heeeey!  I took the skirt I've been making over and over, and attached it to the bodice of the dress I've been making over and over. How original.  (And yet I own over a thousand sewing patterns.  Go figure.)

Haircut. Soon, I swear.

You'd think, given that this is the fourth time I've used this bodice pattern, that I'd have worked out all the kinks.  But no.   Sadder still, there are some I've noticed and just done nothing about.  With this version, it's really clear that there's too much fabric between the bust and waist.  Bodice patterns typically get narrower from bust line to waist line.  My smallest point is somewhere in between my bust and waist, as I've mentioned before.  I typically straighten out the sides of a bodice pattern, but it seems I should actually shoot for a concave edge, or change the shape of my dart.  The alternative would be to bring the waistline up to my smallest part:  I know this works well for some people, but on me I hate it.

There are a number of stupid sewing mistakes on this one.  I had to let out the side seams at the waist (did that last time too).  There was barely enough allowance at the waist to put the zipper in properly.  The zipper installation's no work of art, but with the narrow margin I was working with, I was thrilled that the damn thing even zipped up and down.  The button placket has an increasing overlap as it moves from waist to bust.  Fortunately it looks pretty straight, but  it happened before too, and  I could have fixed it on the pattern pretty easily!  The button placket also opens on the wrong side, but whateva.  I knew I'd make that mistake sooner or later, and I don't really care.   The bust points are a little high, but it doesn't actually look bad so I may not tangle with that one.

I thought I was making the skirt with enough extra length to account for the lack of waistband, but I didn't measure or anything all scientific like that.  And guess what, I was wrong.   So it was bias binding hem to the rescue (again!)  It's still maybe an inch shorter that I planned, but it's okay.   I intended to fully line this, as usual, but decided that the waist would be too bulky if I had a gathered lining up under my gathered skirt, so I skipped the skirt lining.  This material is not even a little bit see-through, so the lining would just have been there to make me feel better or something.

Despite the fact that this dress is totally gooftastic, I like it quite a bit.  Big, big hearts for this Tactel twill fabric.  Must get more Tactel twill fabric.   It's fluid, but has a nice weight.  It's easy to work with, but doesn't wrinkle.   If it had a Facebook page, I would totally hit that Like button, and I hardly ever even log onto my Facebook account because I am a social networking moron.

I like the buttons I used too, but I'm not sure whether I love them with this dress.  I got them at Sew Crafty before it went away, and my best guess (based on the button card, which sorry, I should have photographed) is that they're from the 1960s.   But if they don't go with a plain navy dress, what the heck would they go with?  Maybe I'll keep an eye out for a better match and swap 'em out.  Or maybe these will grow on me.  Or maybe inertia will carry the day, and these'll stay on the dress because they got there first.  (That last one seems most likely.)

I used this button spacer thingy that I got in a lot of sewing junk on eBay, and this I definitely love.   You just accordion it into whatever position you want, and mark.  Brilliant.  I imagine you can buy these new somewhere, but I've never seen one.

Finally, a parting question for y'all -- what do you think about the belt I made for the dress?  I made it to hide how my side seams don't line up even a little, but it seems a little fussy when I've already got pockets and buttons in the vicinity.  Thoughts?


  1. Very cute dress. I frankenstein patterns together like that all the time. Once you find a bodice you like, why not turn it into a different style dress.

  2. This bodice has such a neat design, and the whole dress is great. I like the tie.

  3. I think the dress looks great - you are SO tough on yourself! I like the belt by the way, I think it makes a good finishing touch.

  4. Your dress is gorgeous Andrea, really, really gorgeous and I see no flaws at all! I also think your buttons are perfect - no need to replace them - and the belt looks great, not too fussy at all.

    I seriously want a button spacer now though...what a cool tool!

  5. Thanks y'all! I'll try wearing it with the tie whenever it makes it off the dress form!

    BTW RE: flaws -- I don't see it as me being hard on myself, but rather assessing where I want to go next. When I first started sewing, I took comfort in knowing that more accomplished sewists made mistakes, and it didn't keep them from enjoying what they made. I think it's valuable to be honest about mistakes exactly because often they don't matter. I know I could always rip out a seam and sew it better -- I just don't think I need to! I care more about fit issues, because I think getting fit right is the true power of sewing. To improve, you have to be able to diagnose the problem. Often I find I can't do that until I see photos of myself in the garment.