Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Flowery Frankendress

I love this fabric. Love love it. Its a relatively modern sheet from the thrift store, but the flower pattern just looks so vintage.

After my success with the fish dress, I decided to do something a little similar. My plan was to use the sleeves and skirt from this pattern.

and the bodice from this pattern.

Cutting was a little tricky, because I wanted to be able to conserve enough fabric to get a blouse out of it as well. (More on that in another post.) I cut out an extra skirt panel as I really wanted the skirt to be extra full. It was a bit of a geometry problem, but I managed it.

Look at how long the skirt panels are when stitched together!

It stretches from the door of the sewing room all the way to the closet. And to think I had to gather that down to fit my waist!

Construction was straightforward and simple as I've used both patterns before. I only had two major problems. First of all, the lining I used was horrid! Its a gorgeous lavender that is so pretty but it just frays and frays and frays. I attempted to finish one of my seams with the rolled hem foot but that just created weird bulk. The worst is around the waist. There were big floaty clouds of frayed polyester all around the I Fray Check-ed the whole thing. (Fray Check should come in an aerosol. Really it should.) Guess what happens when Fray Check dries? It gets scratchy! Good times. I am reluctant to put seam binding over the waist seam, as its already super thick, but I'm not sure what else to do.

The other error I made was, uh, well, I forgot to cut out the damned sleeves. I'm not sure what happened. I didn't even realize that they weren't cut until I was mostly done with the dress. I was certain I'd made sure that there was enough fabric left over for the sleeves...but then there just wasn't. I had to dig through the pile of scraps to come up with enough fabric to make sleeve facings and even then one of them ended up being cut on the bias. I hope it doesn't end up doing something weird to the way the sleeve hole pulls around my arm.

Also, I noticed very late in the process that the sheet is made of 100% is the lining. I think this will be a very warm dress and I will be sure to avoid heat and flame while wearing it.

The zipper went in beautifully, for a change, but the hem is a bit of a mess. This is probably the worst blind hem I've ever done. I just couldn't get the fabric to feed in evenly so the picks aren't consistent at all. From the outside you can see a few places where the picks just stop and then start up again a few inches later. That's because I ended up just catching the just the lining instead of both layers. It causes the hem to bubble slightly. At some point I think I will go back and hand pick the hem, but I'm just too exhausted by this dress to do it now.

It does this funny thing on one side where the waistline flips under when I move. I'm not sure why that is. I've never had this happen before. I don't know if its because of the bias cut armhole facing, or the bulk of all that gathered fabric, or something else, but its really annoying.

Still, I think its a very pretty dress


  1. Hi there. I think some pictures are missing from you blog post, which is a shame as I'm dying to see your finished dress...what gorgeous fabric!!!

  2. Thanks for your patience Marie! Yesterday before work, I finally had time to re-take the photos of the dress. Enjoy!

  3. Well you are right, it is a gorgeous dress...I can only imagine the diaster underneath, but it is hard to believe looking at it!

  4. you looked absolutely stunning in that dress!!!

    fabulous, darling!

  5. Ahhh! the "Frankenpost" for the "Frankendress"! Which, of course, is the wrong name for it -- even though it may be patchy underneath, it is stunning. And I love how resourceful you are!

    And OMG, Fray Check. I have not thought of Fray Check in years -- at my old job I used it almost every day and haven't since. You are so right about how stiff it gets!


  6. That is a lovely dress! Funny how when you wear it, you can think of all these things wrong with it, but someone else who would see it would just notice how amazing it looks. Homemade dresses definitely have personality! Keep up the good work!

  7. Oh that dress is amazing. I love the fullness of the skirt.
    Gabriella, I have just nominated you for a stylish blogger award:
    Please share 7 things we didn't know about you yet. Thank you.

  8. @ Cathy - Thanks so much. The worst of it is around the waistline although the Fray Check has stopped most of it. Now its just stiff and really really scratchy!

    @ Janel - Thanks honee! I had such a lovely time with you and yer hubby! You saved me the next day! Dunno what I would have done without your generous loan of a hairbrush and pony holder!! :)

    @ Sparkleneely: Fray Check is a miracle, right? But its oh so stiff once it dries. If I wasn't wearing a waist nipper under the dress, I'd have been rubbed raw.

    @ uyglybeat: It's so true: Things we make ourselves we mentally pick apart, things made by others are appreciated for what they are. Just popped by your blog for a look - ROOSTERS IN HATS!!! Genius!!

    @ Bea W: Thanks so much for the compliments and the award!! Hugs to you!

  9. Well for something that caused you so much grief it sure looks good! You have a lot of patience I'm sure I would have quit with all that went wrong!

  10. I love love love this dress! You look so pretty....I wish I had your sewing skills!

  11. You did a wonderful job!!

    Mrs. White
    The Legacy of Home

  12. Lovely dress--that print is so very vintage!

  13. I'm so inspired to sew...I need to have a sewing machine and fabrics.hahahaha