September 29, 2011

If I had $1000000, I'd buy you a green dress...

"....but not a real green dress, that's cruel..."

Yeah, I had that song stuck in my head quite a bit while working on this project! Which, in typical fashion for me when sewing anything that might get worn to a wedding, ended up being much more difficult than I'd anticipated. I've spent hours and hours working on it this week, and it's definitely got its issues. But the one and only dress I'd listed for the Fall Essentials Sew-Along is now done.

Last weekend, I was originally supposed to go camping with the friend I made the Anthropologie-esque aprons with. But we had to make a last-minute change of plans due to nasty weather forecasts--neither of us felt like camping in the rain and mud. So instead, she came here for a sewing day. The funny thing was, without planning it, we both ended up using the exact same fabric for our projects! We'd actually each bought some yardage of the same knit a couple of years ago when shopping at a Joann's together, and neither of us had figured out what to do with it until now. So she copied a dress she'd borrowed from a friend, and I worked on this. It's probably a good thing, too, because there's no way I would have finished the dress before this Saturday's wedding otherwise. I'm going to go ahead and do a full pattern review for this one, in hopes that it might help someone else down the line. (Especially since, as of when I wrote this review, this was the first one for this pattern on PR.)

Pattern Description: From the envelope: Lined, close-fitting dress has side front inseam pockets and attached petticoat with ruffles.

Pattern Sizing: 6-18. I (stupidly) made the 14.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Mostly.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were very well laid-out. The only confusion I had was finishing off the end of the zipper.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I like the style, and the clear directions. I did not like the sizing--the whole thing seemed to run very large, and it caused me quite a few issues.

Fabric Used: I used a 2-way stretch knit that I'm pretty sure is a rayon for the majority (it's been in the stash for awhile),  plus a tricot lining and polyester organza for the petticoat.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I ended up having to make quite a few fitting changes. I didn't make a muslin for this since I figured knits would be easier to tweak as I went. (Besides the aforementioned on-the-fly small-bust-adjustment that I NEVER have to make....) I also had to take about 4" total out of the back, at least a good 2-3" out of the back shoulder strap, and I spent several hours yesterday ripping out the side/back facings I'd sewed in earlier in the week so I could stay-tape those edges and hand-sew the facings back in. I didn't know until I tried it on to double-check where I'd pinned up the hem that adding that facing stretched the sides out an extra 3" each (!), and it was sagging out horribly under my arms. (See picture for how much I had to pin it in to get it to fit after machine-sewing the facings on!)

I also ended up having to gather up the fabric and tack it under the knot at the bustline, because the gathers were not falling right around the waistline. (It's still sagging there, as you can see, but it's definitely better than it was.) I also hand-picked the zipper topstitching, because I didn't think my machine would be too happy about all of the layers around the waist between the fabric, the lining, and the elastic.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I would not sew it again, since this is a rather unique style and I don't need two of these in my wardrobe. I would recommend it for more advanced seamstresses, with the caveat that you should probably take it down at least a full size from your usual pattern size. Possibly two. I'd also strongly recommend adding stay tape or interfacing before adding the back facings so it doesn't distort as badly as mine did the first time.

Conclusion: I think it looks ok overall, and I'm certainly going to wear this since it was the pattern I've been most excited about sewing this fall. I'm thinking that if I add a belt, it'll hide the slight wonkiness that is still around the waist seam. But I wish I'd gone with the thought I'd had about perhaps sewing size 12 instead. There's a LOT of fabric in this dress, and it makes it somewhat heavy for a knit dress, and everything gets stretched. 

Other notes: The elastic was a pain in the neck to get into this dress. I actually ended up having to rip a hole in the lining with my seam ripper so I could better distribute the elastic within the casing. Also, pressing the petticoat section is kind of helpful--it was too poofy under the skirt at first, but after I flattened it out, it seemed to lay better. Even though that put creases in the organza that probably shouldn't have been there. (The petticoat is still pretty poofy, but it is laying better now.)



I also kind of wish I'd hand-sewn in the entire zipper, because it isn't entirely lined up at the waist. Though it doesn't look that bad in this picture, to be honest--it seemed much more off to me in real life. And I couldn't do anything to fix it because by the time I'd noticed it, I'd already trimmed the seams, and this is what's holding the elastic "waist stay" in place.

So it's done, and just in time for the wedding....though apparently we have a cold front coming in later today or tomorrow, and it'll actually be feeling fallish on Saturday. So I hope I don't get cold in this basically sleeveless dress!

This is the other thing I've been working on this week-- I realized late last week that I didn't really have any shoes to wear to this or the second wedding I'll be attending in October. I'll be wearing the little black dress for the second since I'm also on musician duty for that one, but for Saturday's wedding in particular, I didn't want to go too casual for the shoes since it's basically a big ruched-up t-shirt of a dress. One rather frustrating trip to two different shoe stores later where absolutely nothing was even close to fitting and I learned that the trend for this season is 4" stiletto heels that I would undoubtedly break an ankle if I try to do anything resembling walking in, I decided to just do a non-permanent refashion to the basic heels I already have. So, with the help of some clip-on earrings and some pre-made flowers I found at Joann's, this is what I did to my brown shoe. (Singular, because I still have to do the second shoe, and that is on the agenda for today.) I did this at the beginning of the week, and I made a little tutorial for it over at Refashion Co-Op. And since the little flowers just clip on, I can easily go back to my basic brown shoe after. (If I want to. I actually like them much better with the flowers!) I'll be doing a second pair of clips later in the month for my black shoes, since it's a formal evening wedding and my shoes are, again, not quite fancy enough.

But first, once clip #2 is done, I think I am actually going to take a few days off from sewing. This dress left me feeling like I need a break before I dive into my next project, so I think the rest of my crafty free time this week will be taken up by knitting instead! (I do have things to show there, though none of them are finished, so I'll try to do an update for that in a day or so.)

4 comments:

  1. Wow, the dress looks great. Shame about the slight misalignment at the back. I always have this problem, despite fastidious basting and checking before I machine. But only a sewer would notice and even then I doubt it. I've sent my postal address by email. Thanks again

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  2. :) From over here, that dress looks fabulous! I do imagine that the many pleats and drapes must have been hell to distribute and sew, though... But hey, you ended up with something extremely cute, comfy *and* green! That shoe refashion looks awesome, btw!

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  3. I think it's gorgeous! Too bad about the misalignment, but I don't think that too many will notice besides you. I probably wouldn't see it if I saw you in this dress, I'd be in awe of all the work you've put it into, those pleats and gathers cannot have been easy.

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  4. Congratulations. it looks like a very time consuming project to make. But you did it very well.

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