Sunday, May 17, 2015

I did it! I made (and modified) a dress!

Last week I finished my most ambitious project yet.  A dress.  The pattern displayed a sundress with lightly gathered straps that I pictured as a different color and print with a coordinating shirt underneath.  Or even white with a bright pink or tie-dye shirt.  I don't do black or white underneath unless those colors are integral to the dress nor am I enamored with putting shrugs  over the top.  They often ruin the look and are too hot for summer anyway.

Here's the pattern:

When my daughter saw it, however, she wanted to wear to make a white dress to perform her soliloquy that she wrote for a character from Way of Kings in her English class because that's the way she pictured her character.  However, she wanted sleeves rather than a strap with shirt.

How hard could it be to modify the pattern?  My mother did things like that for me all the time when I was growing up.  Umm, yeah.  Perish the thought.

At first I thought that using view D, the dark print view, would be the easiest one to modify.  Except that my pattern collection isn't that extensive yet, and I couldn't find a sleeve pattern to fit so I designed a shell using that didn't quite work.

The dress needed to be finished for the next morning so after a second try, I went online and fooled around with modifying the large view.  I made a new mock-up, but those failed too.  Finally I just cut it into a rectangle and sewed it onto that bodice and created the following look:

I really like the dress on this pattern because it has an empire waistline with a gored skirt.  Very graceful.  I picked a white gauze which of course was too sheer so I also had to line everything, but it looks more floaty when she walks.  The pattern only calls for a lined bodice.

Additionally, I learned to find a new lining fabric next time because the official lining fabric frays abominably.  I controlled  the friction that expedites the fraying by serging every raw edge on the dress.  That means I sewed the seams on the Janome and followed by serging the raw edges so basically making the dress three times.  Once for the top layer, once for the lining, and once for the lining's edges.  I'm so glad for my serger!

The original pattern also included a ribbon sewed directly into the seams, which I excluded because:

  1. I didn't have a ribbon on hand, 
  2. My son had my car at work that day, 
  3. The dress needed to be solid white for the part.  

I figured I could make thread belt loops and add a ribbon later if wanted.

My daughter delivered her soliloquy excellently, and her teacher was shocked to learn the dress was homemade.  Score!


My mother who taught me to visualize ways to make clothing more flattering by design and by colors and fabrics.

My daughter for wanting certain kinds of outfits to go along with favorite books.  Prior to this year, my sewing was limited to capes, and I'm pretty good (and quick) with them.  Her next wish involves Tauriel's dress from the movie Lord of the Rings which will also involve some modifications although much more simple changes since she already dresses more practically (and modestly) for her role.

To designers who give me a basic pattern to begin.

To all those who share what they have done online with tutorials.  Bless them!

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