Sunday, 25 March 2018

The Biggest Sewing Improvisation Ever

The title says it all and I almost lost my sewing mojo on that.

I do not improvise much when sewing: I choose properly my pattern, I do my muslin, tweak the fit and only then cut into the fashion fabric. I learned from my past mistakes and I like the final result to be perfect, or close to perfect, outside, as well as inside. I sometimes hesitate on certain steps because I want to be sure which technique is the best. I prefer taking time and do the things properly.

So now on this dress: my inspiration was this dress from Burda 05/2017 (great issue, used many times already), however, in plus sizes (is it me or plus size models are the best in Burda?) and of course with a shorter skirt.

I am very very far away from any plus size, my closest size is Burda's 18 - equivalent of 36 in petites, so I knew I could not use their pattern. I already tried this once, early on in my sewing career and even after 3 muslins, the result was just bad :o)

But having the Burda issue enabled me to check on the pattern and use one I already have to get to the wished result:
The skirt is easy peasy, basically only a rectangle, and the top can be drawn from some basic block. Contrary to Burda, I only used the darts and not further volume adding. I muslined the top and at that point of time it looked ok.
The reason I was so much drawn to this dress, is that I immediately knew which fabric I would use for it. I had a remnant from a fabric bundle bought in Malaysia which consisted of 2 different fabrics and a 3rd piece from chiffon which was basically a combination of them and even though it is a very fine poly chiffon, I really like the colours so I wanted to make something from it and this model was what fitted just right for my fabric.
And yes, I was extremely carefully with the pattern and basically, this was the only possiblity how to cut the pattern out.

And this is where my issues started. The fabric was totally transparent so I needed some interfacing/lining. For the bodice part, I used a little brown remnant of a fine cotton-silk, my secret weapon. I have used the same technique on my pyjama set and actually it transformed the chiffon to a "normal fabric", much easier to sew. On the other side, it stiffens it, so while it was perfect for the bodice, it would not work on the skirt. Under hesitation, I started working on the bodice, thinking I would figure out the solution later on :o))

At the same time, the outside temperature fell to real winter ones and sewing a summer dress felt just as a very bad idea. All this meant I almost did not touch it for a few days, while I had a lot of time for sewing, so quite a new situation for me. I tried to motivate myself with another project, thinking I would just let it marinate and took it up again when the weather was better, but I completely lost any motivation. Good news: I went fabric shopping in the meantime and it seemed to help, I now have too many new projects in my head.

During the week-end, I just decided, I needed to finish it and then move on. I managed to finish the bodice - in the end, I had to take in almost 3 cm everywhere on the sides (probably an error on the cutting, the fabric was just moving too much when manipulated).
Also, when cutting it up, I forgot to cut the back bodice in two to allow for the zip, so I decided to go for the side zipper, ha ha. Since the bodice was originally too large, I almost though it could work without the zip, but it would have been too large, so I did the necessary adjustments and went for a side closing.

Once the bodice was okay for me, came the problem of my skirt. I attached the fashion fabric skirt and confirmed that when you can see your bellybutton, it cannot work without a lining. At that point of time, I was going through my stash and accidentally found a little piece of khaki silk which would just fit the bill. I only had 50 cm of it, barely enough for a top, but just what I needed for this dress-skirt. I did not want to add too much bulk on the place where the skirt is attached to the bodice and as said, at this point of time, the bodice was already almost ready, so no way I would redo it again. I attached the lining on the machine, and did the final covering touches by hand, so that there are no raw seams visible.

Installing the zip was actually the last step so the zip area could not be finished as nicely as I would have liked, but I can live with that.
In the end, I am quite happy, I pushed through and I finished it. It is a cute little summer dress, and the inside is satisfactory in the end. ALso, I did not create another UFO, so I can continue with other projects without being haunted by my UFO bin.

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