Monday, January 2, 2012

The calamity dress

Finishing this dress was a battle.  Not because it's a challenging pattern -- it's actually very straightforward.   But it seemed I just could not get into my sewing groove with this one, and kept making mistakes!   Maybe it was because I was fighting a cold, maybe it was because it was the first time I'd sewed in a month.  Maybe it was just bad luck.   By the end, I was just trying to get through it, and I figured I wouldn't want to look at this thing again once it was finished.  But surprise -- I like it a lot, mistakes and all!   It's easy to wear, and very much my style.

The pattern is Butterick 6075, from 1952.  I was planning to make the sleeved version, but that didn't pan out.  I got one sleeve in but found I could not move my arm, so it had to come out.  And unfortunately, scissors were involved in that process, as I had finished my seam with a stitch on my sewing machine that refused to be picked out.   When it comes to sleeves, think I have a fit issue I don't understand yet ... possibly I need a broad back adjustment?   The problem I often encounter in RTW is, in a garment that otherwise fits, binding across the front of my bicep if I try to raise my arms.  It's not a problem with the overall width of the sleeve (though that was an issue on this dress, too).   Aside from the sleeve drama, I also sewed stuff together wrong over and over again.  I left the skirt pieces sewed together wrong since I figured it didn't matter.  There are four pieces, and I swapped the side and center edges.  So the front sides are joined at the center, and the same for the back.  

There you can see it coming and going.  Not the best photos (the light was failing, and I have a wrinkle across my chest there ...) but I hope its awesomeness shines through!   I'm realizing that I really love pockets in a dress, and I'm glad I added some despite being unsure whether things were going to come together.    The bodice only has darts on the sides and not at the bottom.  I hadn't sewn one like that before, and was surprised that it seems to fit me better.   The bodice is a little loose, but in a comfortable sort of way. There is some gaping at the back neck, so I'll add small darts there in future versions.   I should have taken a better photo of the neckline, but I'll have another chance to show you: I'm already well into my second version of this dress!   The fabric's just quilting cotton from JoAnn's, and the lining is black poly-cotton batiste.  

I also wanted to share my big post-Christmas sale find -- a trenchcoat with a crinoline!  I spotted it when I was returning stuff at JCrew.   It's called the Encore Trench (or the Ethel Trench -- a coat so nice they named it twice?) and I paid a good bit less than half price for it.    The crinoline is attached with buttons, so you can remove it if you want a less poufy look.  I've never had (or wanted) a trenchcoat, though I had thought about looking for a longer winter coat to wear with dresses.   However, I suspect the trench is more useful in my semi-tropical climate. 

Today's my last day off before I return to work.  I had hoped to finish more sewing projects during my time off, but isn't it always that way?  


  1. The dress is gorgeous Andrea, I bet you're pleased that you hung in there with it!? And that trench coat is amazing...I've never wanted one until now ;o)

  2. I really like the dress, it looks like a great fit especially at the back. I also like the full skirt-ness of the coat - who knew a trenchcoat could be so ladylike?! The shape is fantastic.

  3. The dress looks beautiful!

    AND it's lined? Whew!

  4. Great dress! That trench looks awesome with it....very 50's 60's.

  5. Your dress looks lovely on you and the trench coat...what a find!

  6. hihi! just found your blog and i love it! you make so many awesome dresses. love the trenchcoat here as well!