Monday, November 10, 2008

Frankendress Blues

This one was tough. I had SO many problems.

I used this pattern (View C) for the top

and this tried and true pattern for the skirt.

I had a very small piece of the blue broadcloth leftover from this dress. I shouldn’t have had any difficulty cutting the top out of it, but I got excited. The pattern instructions said to cut the bodice out twice, once for the outside and once for the facing. I stupidly cut out one of the bodice fronts and all of the back pieces first. That meant I didn’t have enough fabric left to cut out the second bodice front section in one piece. I had to cut the straps out separately and then match it up. Luckily, the fabric has no “good side” so I was able to use the icky version as the facing.

The construction should have been easy, but I found that the pattern diagrams and instructions for the top were vague and not very helpful. Also, there were no seam lines on the pattern itself and very few markings. Even though it seemed like it would be pretty simple, I had to cross my fingers and wing it several times. It would have been nice if I’d had a little more help from the instructions/markings.

I thought that this was going to work out okay despite all the frustration I had trying to decipher the instructions. However, it turns out that I really need to re-measure myself and adjust my dress form. It seemed like I had the fit right when everything was pinned together on the form. The skirt matched up with the bodice perfectly and it was easy to stitch everything together.

But, after it was all sewn up and I tried it on, the dress was a hot mess. The bodice gapped horribly under the arms. The single darts in the center gave my (giant) boobs nowhere to go. The tips of the darts hovered crookedly and unevenly without giving the bustline any definition. The ribcage area looked lumpy and the center of the neckline didn’t want to lie flat. The waistline was too low and wide and crooked. I’d made myself a totally hideous dress.

Ordinarily, this might have just gone into the back of the closet never to be seen again, but since I really do love the Robert Kauffman print of the skirt, I figured I should at least try to fix it.

See? Look at how pretty the print is.

It took me a couple of days to get up the courage, but I finally ripped the zipper out and started again. I took in the sides of the bodice about half an inch at the widest point by sewing from the waist to the armpit on the diagonal. I took up the waistline about an inch and then re-inserted the zipper.

Here’s what I ended up with.

The only thing that is really different is that it fits better under the arms so the center line lies flat. The lumpiness is still there, concentrated in the rib cage area.

It’s a little better with a wide belt

and a little more interesting with a crinoline.

But it’s still kind of un-flattering and more Hot August Nights than Viva Las Vegas.

So, I’m not digging it. I have to wear it at least once before it goes to the island of misfit dresses (back of the closet). The husband really likes it so maybe I can wear it out to dinner or something?

Though it’s pretty unlikely at this point, if I was to make this again, I’d only face the top half of the front bodice (w/straps) so that it wouldn’t be so bulky. All that extra fabric in the front just adds extra lumpiness unless, I suppose, it is pulled tight across the ribs. I’d also maybe go one size down on the bodice and maybe try to figure out how to add second darts on the sides at the bust line in order to define the boob area.

From now on I will measure every bodice pattern flat BEFORE I cut it out to make sure that it is the right size. And I will re-take my measurements and double check the dress form too. I need to get used to the idea that for successful sewing I need to measure at least a GAZILLION times before I cut something out.

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