Monday, November 22, 2010

Sewing Karma

Well, here it is. Vogue 8615. It's my own fault it didn't turn out the way I thought it would. My own indolent actions determined the fate of this dress. I reverted to some old shady sewing habits. I was doing really well the past few projects, not cutting any corners. I thought I could slide by on few things here and there... I think we all know how that turns out.

Mistake number one was not making a muslin. I had just finished with my dumb luck perfect fit shirtdress so I figured why make a muslin? (pure laziness). Mistake number two was my fabric choice. The pattern envelope lists shantung as a recommended fabric and I assumed dupioni would be pretty much the same thing. I've read now that shantung is lighter, softer and has more drape than dupioni. My fabric is extremely crisp and it doesn't drape well at all (excuse the wrinkles-- I had enough of the dress to iron it). I does weird things on the skirt and sleeves.

To be fair, my sewing started off well. I was okay until I got to the sleeves. There was a huge amount of ease. I actually read that on another review, too. Mistake number three was not taking out some of that ease. I just sort of gathered the sleeve head and let it be a little puffy (again- laziness). It contributes to the the feeling that I'm wearing a little girl's dress and looks sloppy.

Also contributing the the little girl's dress feeling is the fact that it is a slightly too big. I think it could stand to be tighter everywhere except the shoulders. One of the things that drew me to this silhouette was the little nipped in waist contrasted by the full skirt. Both Gertie and Rachel achieved it and it looks fabulous on both of them. I'm pulling it behind me in the above photo but if you look at the last photo you can see what I mean. There isn't a big difference at the waist.
After I finished the bodice and sewed up the skirt and I already knew I wasn't going to like it. By the time I put everything together I lost all enthusiasm for it. In fact, I did such a crappy job that my seam lines don't match up (really-- look closely). Extremely sorry sewing, my friends. I didn't notice until taking pictures.
On the positive side, however, I love my handpicked zipper. I'm so excited about how wonderful it turned out. I was in the thrift store today noticing hand picked zippers in vintage dresses. Made me feel like I really knew my stuff to be able to notice things like that! Also, horsehair braid is really fun. What an easy way to finish a circle skirt. It's really sculptural. My fabric is a little too lightweight for it. I can see the top edge. An underlining would fix that, I believe.

I'm sad that this beautiful fabric won't get worn-- at least not in this form. I'm thinking about taking off the bodice, taking out some of the fullness of the skirt and slapping on a wide waistband. But not anytime soon. I should have been working on my abandoned Lady Grey :) I've learned my lesson.



  1. Such a sad story and one I know all too well. 'Fit' is something I'm still learning about and developing a commitment to. On a positive note, I love the red accessories. They go fabulously with the green. Love the back of your haircut too.

  2. I love that colour so much. Is there any way you could nip it in? It would be so worth it.... what about bringing it in at the side seams? Or how about a relatively wide belt? That would bring it in.

    Thanks for linking to my version! I did make a muslin, but still had so many issues with the fit. I'm not sure I would have persevered to the point I did if it wasn't for a special occasion.

    Let us know if you are going to tweak it -- it really would be worth it!!

  3. A student of mine finished exactly this dress last night in classes- her dress waist was way too big, too, though we had checked and double-checked the sizing. She also fully lined it which isn't in the instructions but makes for a yummy finished dress.

    There's so much fabric there, I'm sure you'll find a good use for it. It's really cute, you may just change your mind. Don't stress, put it away, focus on Lady Grey.

  4. Like Steph says, I would put it aside and maybe, one day, an idea would come magically to me about what to do with the fabric. I think that it would maybe work as a bolero...
    But it is really too bad, because you started with a great vision for the dress (color, fabric...). You could also use it as a muslin and make another version of it? But not now...

  5. It is such a beautiful colour and i love the style on you, hope you can make it so you are happy with it...i have a growing pile of things to try and change. Have a lovely week!

  6. Can you take off the skirt and take in the sides? Or take off the skirt and put a waistband on, and have a lovely full skirt? That's so sad that it turned out so large, especially with such awesome fabric! But the skirt looks great, and would look even better over a poofy petticoat :)

  7. You know... I have that pattern but I've never made it - it seems to me that the pattern has a few fit issues. I'm sorry that you are sad about your dress - I like the idea of making the bottom into a skirt - with a little petticoat it would be lovely!

  8. I just saw that petticoat tutorial on Burda... maybe one day. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!

  9. I love your dress - add some fabric flowers or a bow on front and you are GTG - I see we have the same trials and tribulations. My blog is and I just did a retro dress in a similar color . . .
    I hate muslins too - but for dresses now I do it. .


  11. kewscruggs,

    Handpicked just refers to how the zipper is sewn in, by hand using a pick stitch, I believe that is what it is called. It's just a very tiny back stitch. I used this tutorial from Sewaholic to learn how. It's my favorite way to put in a zipper. Hope that helps!