Jan 282013
 

Little by little, I think I’m getting better at this sewing business, though I still have a long way to go before I can say that I am no longer a beginner.

Pattern: Truffle Dress
Fabric: Moderate Stretch Rayon for Muslin and Moderate Stretch Polyester for non-muslin (3 yards each)
Notions: Zippers
Alterations: Small Bust & Sway Back Adjustments
Sizes: 0 for the bodice, 8 for the skirt

This pattern is from the Colette Sewing Handbook which the author uses to impress upon the up-and-coming sewist to carefully plan out the pattern (measure & alter the pattern pieces, make & fit a muslin) before cutting into your fancy fashion fabric.  Below is my ‘wearable muslin.’  In the making of this muslin, I was very responsible and I engaged in all of the aforementioned best sewing practices.  Even still, when I first finished my muslin, it had a pretty good fit, although there was considerable bagginess at the bust despite the SBA.  To try and correct the bagginess, I pulled the fabric from the front of the bodice up and over to the inside and handstitched it to the lining.  I suspect that was a very ‘slapdash’ way to correct the fit, but I didn’t see any other way and, heh, it’s a muslin anyway.

As for the construction, one major modification that I made to the pattern was to convert it to a side zipper rather than a back zipper.  Please, can someone clarify for me why it seems that most dresses have back zips?  I do yoga regularly and seem to have pretty good shoulder flexibility, but the idea of having to contort my body in such a way as to zip up a back zipper is beyond practical.  Or perhaps there is an easy way of zipping up (and then zipping down) a back zipper???  I have no idea.  Anyway, in employing the Colette Handbook’s recommendation about planning out my pattern, I therefore eliminated 1/2 inch from the back pattern piece (since I didn’t think I needed that space for my zipper installation).  The only funky thing about this pattern modification was that I couldn’t figure out how to then ‘right’ the lining.  Per the pattern, with the right sides of my bodice pieces facing, I stitched the neckline and the armholes, leaving a small hole in one of the shoulders to pull the dress through so that the right sides would be out.  I pulled the dress out of this hole multiple times and each time it was the same; I could pull only one half of the dress through correctly and the other half would be twisted.  Later, as I was pondering this when I should have been sleeping, I realized that I had inadvertently made a moebius (so for the second version of the dress, I cut open the back bodice where the zipper would have gone and was able to pull the dress through correctly).

I spent several days ruminating over what I should do about this lining conundrum and I finally realized that I couldn’t have both the neckline and the armholes stitched the way that I had them, and ripped out the stitches at the armholes and was able to flip the lining over the neckline to the inside of the dress.  I then was faced with two raw edges at each of the armholes and wasn’t sure what the best method of finishing them would be.  I spent a few more days thinking about this and finally just decided to use some of the bias tape that I continue to buy for super cheap at thrift and antique stores.  From my stash, the color and width of bias tape that seemed most appropriate was this kelly green that I actually like quite a bit, though it does make the dress seem more casual.

Having successfully made a wearable muslin, I then confidently started cutting into my fashion fabric, and that’s where it started to go awry.  First, because the bodice of the muslin was so baggy, I decided to augment my SBA even more dramatically and I think I somehow made a concave bust adjustment.  After I initially put enough pieces together for a try-on, I was horrified to find that I couldn’t even pull it onto my body.  Fortunately, I had just enough fabric left over to cut out the bodice pieces again, which I did and tried to re-correct my over-correction in the bust.    Then, I don’t understand how or why, but my front and back bodice pieces weren’t lining up at the sides and so I ripped and re-stitched.

I guess all of this made me cranky (sadly, the Colette Handbook doesn’t have a chapter on what to do when you want to throw your sewing project into the incinerator) and I started losing interest in finishing this dress, instead dreaming about what project to work on next.  However, because I am trying to be better, I persevered and finished the dress without too many more unexpected moments.  I think it turned out okay, but I feel that my muslin was much more successful than this version, which feels like a disappointment.

I think that the business of the fabric print detracts from the design effect of the front drape piece.  Also, I don’t know why this one is so much shorter than the muslin; I definitely prefer the length on the muslin.  And below you can see my side zip; for the fashion fabric version I decided to use just a normal zipper rather than an invisible zip.  However, one good thing about this version is that the fit of the bodice is MUCH improved and I definitely prefer it to the muslin with the weird wrinkles at the neckline where I slapdashed it to fit better.

I’m still patiently waiting for the time when my sewing skills are sufficiently advanced that I can just proceed the sewing best practices of planning and muslining, and then actually make a finished piece with relatively no frustration or difficulty.  I’ll be celebrating my one year anniversary of embarking on this sewing journey in March, so I guess I shouldn’t give myself such a hard time that everything is not easy and perfect yet.

  •  Monday, January 28, 2013
  •  Posted by at Monday, January 28, 2013 1:38 pm
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  3 Responses to “~ Sewing FOs: Truffles! ~”

  1. I think you ended up with two completely wearable dresses, even if you were tempted to throw them in the incinerator. Even though I’ve been sewing for approximately a bajillion years, I am inspired by the risks you take and all the stuff you do to expand your skill set. Yay Fern!

  2. I really like the second version – I think the print enhances the drape, rather than detracts from it, because it makes it nice and subtle and interesting.

  3. I actually like your muslin best. It’s really cute. And don’t despair, everyone has ‘fling it at the wall’ episodes with their sewing, although they do get less frequent with experience. Great job!

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