Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Little Grey Dress

This post should also known as 'hunt for the perfect picture location in the little bungalow that is the family home.'

So I've sewn a new dress. How exciting. Finally had something of a break in the job application process to get down to getting through my stash and making some of the hundreds of ideas that have been floating around in my head for years. I made this out of a grey fabric that I bought as a remnant. As usual I have no idea what the fabric is. It is very light and drapey, possibly a lining material, but it's not particularly smooth? Anyway I made a dress with it and then went on a hunt to find a good place to take a picture of it rather than my usual location squashed between the sofa and the dinning table. I started off outside but my camera wouldn't stand up on the table, it was freezing and my heels sank into the mud so then I went...

... in front of the french doors in the living room with the curtains closed but the flash made the material look much shinier than it does in real life. So then you get...

... a crappy mirror picture.

I finally settled on between my bed and the door to my bedroom. No easy feat. I had to push my bedside table out of the way and then vacum the carpet becuase it was a state underneath it and now I see that the photos have come out pretty dark. Back between the sofa and the table next time. Anyway you get the gist. It's a grey dress with a fitted bodice and straight gathered skirt.

Successes and Failures

This was my first time adapting a pattern in any way. I used the bodice of the coffee date dress (available free from burdastyle here) and then created the skirt my gathering rectangles one and a half times my waist size onto the bodice. I'm really pleased with the way it turned out though I ended up with slight more gathering at the back than the front. I should have waited until I had cut the bodice pieces and then cut the skirt rectangles one and a half times their length. I think the skirt suits this material much better than the original and adds interest given that I omitted the ruffle on the bodice.

Secondly I finally figured out how to finish the seam over an invisible zipper with the aid of a sewing guide bought for me by a friend for Christmas. No gaps or zipper ends sticking out of the seam this time. However I still think I need an invisible zipper foot so that I can sew closer to the zipper edge. Close up of my attempt below. As you can see in some places more zipper shows than in others.

And finally... I didn't skip any steps! This baby has stay stitching, understitching, the lot! I used a whole reel of thread!

I ended up with some pretty odd side seams as Huberta models below.

I can only guess that something went wrong in the construction. I think that the front bodice piece ended up bigger than the back piece and I had to take the waist in a lot which resulted in a very wonky seam. Perhaps I should have stuck to the intial construction instructions where the bodice was made first then attached to the skirt and finally the zipper sewn in. This was the method I followed when I first made this dress for my halloween costume, seen here, and my side seams were perfect although the skirt front ended up with a couple of tiny tucks where it was slightly bigger than the bodice. I guess that wouldn't have been a problem here as the skirt is gathered. To construct this dress I sewed the skirt front to the bodice front, the skirt back pieces to the bodice back pieces then inserted the zipper before finishing with the side seams. I think if I made it again I would go back to the original method. It doesn't look so bad when it is on me as you can see below. Evidence that Hurberta and I are not exactly the same.

Biggest failure is that it gapes at the back. Sorry for another rubbish mirror picture but it seemed to be the only way I could get a picture showing the problem. This is another problem that didn't occur with the halloween dress. So much for making a toile. I'm going to have a fiddle with the facing but I'm guessing that the only way to solve the problem is to re-fit the zipper. I'm a bit sick of this dress for now so I'll wait until I get an invisible zipper foot and then do it at some point in the future.

The good news is that with the help of one of my sewing guides I figured out how you are meant to finish the shoulders when you have got an all in one facing, something I completely failed to do on the only other dress I've ever made with facings. Bad news is that I hadn't left myself enough seam allowance to be able to do it. So see those black ribbons on the shoulers? Not a design feature but covering my total bodge job on the shoulder seams.


Barbara A said...

Hello! I just got here from BurdaStyle. I really *heart* your attempts: I'm exactly the same.
My mam taught me how to sew, but I want to make so many clothes I usually cut corners and get great looking clothes that ALWAYS have some detail odd about them. In a way, I'm a lazy seamstress too: if it takes too point making it, right?

Plus...I was wondering: have you experiences "sewnorexia" too? And by sewnorexia I mean this horrible feeling that you can't get clothes or sewing out of your head. You want to run home to make more clothes, buy more fabric and plan your next's becoming addicting!

Catherine said...

Hi Barbara
Thanks for your comment. I'm self taught so every new thing is a bit of an experiment for me. Nothing turns out perfect just yet but as they say practice makes perfect.

I definitely have a version of sewnorexia, as you call it, I barely get the time to make something more than twice a month and my statsh is overflowing yet I can't help buying more fabric, more clothes from charity shops to be refashioned, more patterns and scribbling down ideas. For me the trouble is getting the motivation to actually turn my ideas into clothes.

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