Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer Sizzle

I finished my dress on Thursday. Overall, I'm really pleased with the outcome! It would be nice if my figure was more like the lady on the illustration, but I'm not prepared to wear excrutiating undergarments to achieve that look! And I like food too much!
Anyway, I think the fabric works well with the style. In particular, I love the sizzling vermillion red.
As for the construction, it was very straightforward and easy. Here's how the rest of it went:
When the front facing is attached to the front bodice, the straps form tubes which need to be turned after stitching. Again, there are no instructions for understitching. I like understitching - a lot. It gives edges a crisp line and prevents rolling. It would be impossible to understitch after the center front and the side front stitching was done on the front bodice. So I seamed the side front, then understitched prior to stitched the center front. After the front facing is attached, the straps are basted to the bodice back. I already shortened the straps an inch and checked the length again prior to stitching the facing at the top seam.I noted above that I don't like how the facings were assembled. They had to be seamed as one with the side seam. But I believe this is necessary because of the criss-cross front straps assembly. Just be prepared for a bit of a fiddle - if you take the time, it will turn out. After the seams are sewn, the facings are tacked down at the side seams.

The skirt construction is straight forward. Front released darts and back darts are sewn. I changed the front darts. I didn't like how the release faced out TO THE SIDES instead of in to the center front. I checked many, many of my other vintage patterns with slim skirts and all of the released darts face in to the center... If the instructions are followed, the outward facing released darts make the skirt pouf in the center front. So I made the released darts on the inside of skirt so that they faced the way I wanted! This is strictly my personal choice; another sewer may like it the way it is designed.

The next step was making the pleat in the center back. The seam is stitched along the pleat extension and is also basted just below the center back zipper opening along the pleat line. Then it is stitched again from the zipper opening to a dot, about 2/3 of the way down. The basting from the dot to bottom edge keeps the pleat in alignment with the center back seam during construction and pressing. It is removed later, although the instructions don't tell you to do this!! Press the pleats well for crisp, well defined pleat.After the sides are seamed the skirt is attached to the waistline which is very straight forward.I used an invisible zipper for the center back. I ALWAYS stablize the zipper opening with one inch strips of fusible interfacing to prevent bubbling.

For the hook and eye, I salvaged a silver pair (all the ones in my stash are black) from a bad 70's polyester dress that was in the auction fabric haul! TIP: When sewing the hook in place, to keep it steady and in the position you want, sew a couple of stitches around the hook neck. This way, it won't shift and fall when sewing though the holes.

The dress was then ready for hemming. I hemmed by straight stitching 1 1/2 inch from the bottom, then pressing up. I used lace hem tape and hand stitched the hem with a blind catch stitch. If you've never hemmed with a pleat before, don't worry - it's easy. The pleat is spread out flat and the seam allowance is clipped to the stitching where the top edge of the hem hits. Re-fold the pleat and press back into shape. *TIP - do an edgestitch on the folded edge of pleat which will always keep the pleat well formed.
Finally was the belt construction. This was also very straightforward. This is a GREAT belt as it is curved and follows the shape of the back/behind. It's SOOOO flattering as it lays beautifully, much nicer than a belt that is a straight strip. I used a wooden buckle, salvaged from the same bad 70's polyester dress ... I used fusible interfacing again instead of sew on, and after turning, I added edgestitching all around the belt. I think ig helps the belt keep it's shape and makes it more professional looking.

That was it! I just love, love, LOVE this dress. It amazes me how COMFORTABLE it is, despite the fitted design! My 11 y/o son said "It's one of your better ones Mom."I can see this dress made from many fabrics. I made mine as a summer sun dress. It is my 43rd birthday on Saturday and I plan to wear it to a restaurant where we can dine outdoors. But it would be equally beautiful in a shantung, crepe or other evening fabric for a fine cocktail dress.

This dress sizzles!

13 comments:

Cisa said...

Gorgeous! I will definately have to keep an eye out for this pattern

Trudy Callan said...

This dress is so stunning. The fabric you chose is fantastic. I sure hope I have the good fortune of finding the pattern for this dress in my size.

www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

Erica B. said...

You look fabulous! The dress is stunning!

PepperReed said...

!!!! I have this pattern !!!! (Doing a little happy dance) You look fantastic; that color is great on you. I've been wondering how construction would go, so your tips are most welcome! I'm glad to see that the pattern sews up well. I'm sure you'll have a great birthday wearing this fabulous dress.

Bessie B. said...

Oh my goodness! That is one splendid dress! It reminds me of something that Judy Holiday would have worn, and it looks fantastic on you. :D

Stef said...

WOW! That dress is a knockout! Happy birthday!

Primatoide futile said...

Wow, another great dress, with a great fabric and pattern pairing !
I will look out for this pattern (as will half of the sewing communinity, apparently :-))

Marita said...

You look lovely in it, great combo, awesome pattern and beautiful fabric:-)

retroliving said...

Stunning as I mentioned in sew retro. Happy birthday!
♥Darla

Gabriella said...

Va va voom! What a knockout of a dress! Well done!

Cennetta said...

Splendid! I love everything about this dress. Very well done.

Miss Linda said...

That is truly stunning! You did a wonderful job on it, and it just looks perfect on you!

Erin said...

Hey there, I just found your blog and, of course, am reading backwards. I just had to say, I LOVE THIS DRESS. It looks gorgeous on you and I hope you wore it all summer long!