This is the hackiest, hacky frankenpattern dress. It was pretty touch and go there for a while, but in the end, this dress is composed of:
-self drafted back bodice
–Marfy 3367 front bodice (the one from this dress)
–Colette Clovers waist band
–Vogue 8648 pencil skirt.
I’ll spare you the gory, gory details on construction and problems. Instead, here is a list of lessons learned.
1. Pattern making is for the pros. In the course of this project, I scrapped both my self-drafted front bodice and waist band. This is the hubris of my sewing youth biting me in the ass, but i did not expect it to be easier to adjust the slope and length of existing curvy lines than it was to create my own. It was.
2. Your body is more circle than square. Duh, you say, but I have always thought of myself as relatively straight. But these trapezoid-shaped waist bands I drafted begged to differ. (my first attempt on the bottom).
After the horrendous first attempt at zipper installation, I went back and used the waist from the Colette Clovers (redrawn, with seam allowances adjusted), with its nice slope. A curve is a much more natural shape, and the extra width of the bottom edge is distributed around the entire band, rather than just at the edges, just as it is on your body. Think circle skirt versus A-line skirt.
3. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Again, duh. But after being mystified at the disaster that was my center back seam post-zipper installation, it took me quite a while (and two weeks of mulling while traveling) to figure out my problem(s).
One of them was created by how I addressed some extra overhand I had on the waist band. I thought I could just sew down in a straight line from the bodice, over the waist band, and to the skirt as I installed my zipper. But the bias cut waist band stretched as I sewed over it, spreading the waist band and lengthening that waist band I was sewing. Which leads me to:
4. Respect the bias. Par example: if you know hanging stretches a garment cut on the bias, don’t hang a piece of fabric that has been cut on the bias on the back of a chair for two weeks while you dick around doing side projects and think, ‘It will be fiiiiiiine.’ It might be fine, but it will also be stretched out. See #3 about overhang.
5. Sew down one side of the zipper, and then up the other. Do not sew down both sizes of the zipper.
6. If you do this fakey Hong Kong-look seam, you need two lines of stitching. It happened on my navy Colette Clovers, and it happened here: with very little wear, a seam just bursts open. This is a hot seam finish in the sense that the frayed edges are concealed but not in the sense of reducing stress on the seam. A line broke before I was even done with assembling, though perhaps the strength of the (hot pink!) silk organza and wool crepe are a little too much for this method. I’ve just stitched directly over my first sewing line at each seam which has so far remedied the problem.
…I wore it last Thursday, as part of Me Made May. Which I DID sign up for. But I only pledged one garment per week, because my handmade wardrobe is still pretty small. You can see some of the shots on my instagram, including unblogged mint Clovers.
Here’s a peak at the wedding dress project, with the lining currently under construction. I’m going to do real French seams instead of fake Hong Kong seams. Anyone know what’s with the geographic naming?