This dress was the fabric’s fault

I made this dress to wear to a friend’s wedding in March.

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The red & navy silk brocade was a new purchase, but everything else was made with scraps & remnants already in my stash. The side drape is made with a rayon wool blend that I used for another dress, the silk edging is left over lining from the same dress, the corset was made with left over red & navy silk (which was interfaced, prior to sewing) & the dress lining was also made with left over fabric. So turns out it was worth keeping all those random remnants & fabric scraps.

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As well as using up a lot of old remnants, this dress was also a bit of a franken pattern creation. The main bodice is from Simplicity 2639, the skirt is from Vogue V1174 & it’s all held in place with an internal corset made using Simplicity 5006. All three patterns have had a pretty good workout over the past 3-4 years & well & have well & truly cemented themselves in my ‘go-to’ collection.

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The construction process was a little adhoc. I started with the corset. The corset was made as per the pattern & I added spiral steel boning.

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Next was the bodice & dress lining, I modified the neckline of bodice pattern (Simplicity 2639) to match the neckline of the corset pattern (Simplicty 5006), because it’s a softer sweetheart neckline & I prefer it. I cut out the dress bodice & I put the bodice pieces together & attached it to the corset & lining.

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The next step was to add the silk ribbon that runs around the top of the bodice. Rather than drafting up a pattern, I put the bodice on a dummy, arranged the navy silk ribbon the way I wanted it, pinned it in place & then slip stitched it in place.

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Last of all was the skirt. I made up the skirt from V1174. The only alteration I made was to eliminate the pockets. The skirt was stitched in place on the bodice and then I hand stitched the drape in place. The drape is just a rectangle of fabric gathered at the side.

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All in all, the dress came together relatively easily & without any major dramas, which is kind of surprising since I didn’t really do a good job of planning it out.

 

P.S. In case you’re still wondering why this dress was the fabric’s fault, read yesterday’s post.

A Fabric Obsession

Have you ever walked past a fabric store & seen the most amazing fabric OF ALL TIME?

Have you walked in to take a closer look, spent a good 5 mins looking at it, before walking around the store pretending to look at other things while really all your thinking is, ‘I don’t need that fabric, I have heaps at home, but it’s really nice, AND it would make the most beautiful dress, but I don’t need it & I shouldn’t buy things I don’t need….’

Then you leave the store.

Without the fabric.

Then you spend the next month thinking of nothing but that fabric, how beautiful it is, how if you had it you could make the most beautiful dress in the world, you should have bought it, you’re a fool for not buying it, I bet if you go back the store now, you’ll kick yourself because someone else would have bought it all because it’s so nice.

Then you’re walking past the fabric store again, 6 weeks later & you see that the fabric you’ve been obsessing over is still there! So you buy it without even thinking.

No? That hasn’t happened to you? Are you sure?

Well, this happened to me at the beginning of the year, with this stunning navy & red silk brocade.

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I saw it in Clegs at the beginning of the year & I think I spent about 6 weeks obsessing about it, before I actually went back & bought it. I was so glad it was still there!

I have since made this into a dress that I absolutely adore… but more on that tomorrow. 😉

Side Projects

When working on a labour intensive dress, I often end up completing quite a few smaller side projects at the same time.

This is just because sometimes I want to sew something that can be finished quickly & isn’t too much of a challenge. Some times it works out quite well, for a relatively small amount of effort I finish something & that gives me enough motivation & energy to get back to the larger long term project. Other times it’s a disaster & I get totally distracted & end up with not just one long term nightmare, but two.

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This dress started off it’s life as a simple side project that I could finish quickly & then get back onto my main project. It was going to be a simple dress with a long flared skirt. I wanted something that I could ‘relax with a martini’ in. Something I could dress up with heels & go out to cocktails in or dress down. I’d bought the printed chiffon fabric ages ago from Gorgeous Fabrics & recently bought some silk crepe underlining at The Fabric Store while out shopping with some other Melbourne sewing bloggers. I started sewing. The bodice came together quite nicely – I just used a basic block bodice pattern with a new neckline. But then it came time to make the skirt & it soon turned into one disaster (mistake) after another that resulted in one band aid after another until I somehow managed to end up with a somewhat wearable dress.

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The first problem (and really the source of all my woe) was that I was too lazy to actually draft a skirt pattern. In fact it wasn’t just that I was too lazy to draft the pattern, I actually like the drafting bit. But I didn’t have any thin paper pieces big enough so I would have had to tape them together & that just seemed like way too much fuss & bother so I just decided to cut out the pieces of fabric for the skirt without a pattern. I just used a ruler to roughly measure out what I wanted. But when I went to mark out the cut lines with my chalk pen I found that it didn’t work properly on the chiffon, because it kept moving around & I couldn’t be bothered going to the store to buy fabric stabiliser because last time I was there they didn’t have any & the staff were non-existent & when you did find someone they didn’t even know what I was talking about. Anyway these are all my lame excuses for why I then proceeded to just cut out skirt pattern pieces freehand.

I think you now know how this story is going to end…

It wasn’t long before I discovered that the skirt panels weren’t wide enough at the waist. And not just by a little – it was a lot. Then I discovered that I didn’t have enough fabric to cut out an extra panel to ‘plug’ the gap I had around my waist. Thankfully I’d given the skirt panels a fairly generous length (my shoes that I wanted to wear with the dress hadn’t arrived in the mail yet so I wasn’t too sure of length when I cut the fabric). In the end I managed to move the waist lower down in the panels, reduce the seam allowances between skirt panels & change the the lower hem to a teeny tiny hem. Even then it was a bit of a tight fit so I still had to try & squeeze an extra panel out of the scraps of fabric I had left. Eventually I found a way to make it work.

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So in summary, the source of all my problems with this dress was that I was too lazy to tape a couple of pieces of paper together & then draw out a basic skirt pattern. Seriously.

For all my moping I should say that I’m actually quite happy with this dress. My one big complaint is the location of the seam lines at the waistline at the front of the skirt, they’re just too close together & I wish I could have widened that panel a little at the top. Other than that, it really worked out quite well.