Friday, August 5, 2011

Testing a pattern

Hmmmmm..... So I'm being a bit adventurous and have a wild hair thought.  My sister is getting married in November, and I need a dress to wear.  Ugh!!!

My closet consist of t-shirts and jeans, and an old work wardrobe of items that no longer fit or I don't think I would wear again (but I refuse to get rid of it because what if I one day I need professional (haha) office attire that is out dated?).

Anyway, so with weak attempts of looking for a dress I've become discouraged since I haven't seen anything that I like.   Grown-up gowns (I'm 33 does that make me a grown-up?) are way too big for me, and in the section where I usually get my t-shirts, teens, the dresses are way too short and/or not necessarily appropriate for a wedding.  *sigh*

I'll continue my search for a dress just right for my sisters wedding, but in the mean time I've thought maybe....just maybe.... I could make a dress.  It's been years since I've made some item of clothing for myself (about 14 years).  It was a sun dress and I remember really liking it.  I used a favorite dress as my pattern, and now looking back it could have been considered a pillowcase dress, minus the pillow case, just to give you an idea on how basic it was.

Now I want a "grown-up" dress that fits me (5' 2" 110ish pounds), and fits the vision that is in my head.

OK OK!!! I know it's a tad too short in the front, but I LOVE the wings.  Hi.  Yeah.  That's my taste, but once again I'm a jean and t-shirt gal.  Ho Humm....soooo boring.  

So.  I'm not as creative, manually, as I in-vision.  What's in my head is soooo much nicer then what I create by my hands.  Therefore, I needed to look for a dress and/or pattern to go off of, and searching the web I went.

I want something fitted, sleeves or straps, not too long,  not too low in the front, and pencil skirt-ish.  Then I found this.  

Yay!!!  I think this could be the dress if I could pull it off (sewing wise), and if I actually like the design once it's on me.   Love her black lipstick too (I'm vintage, goth, burlesque by heart, but plain jane in reality).   

I'm going for style B, the one in blue.  How can I feel like a grown-up with bows on my shoulders, duh! However, I'm sure they would look fantastic on someone a little taller than me, like 5' 10".  I always like the cutesy pheasant, ruffly, stuff but since I'm small those styles make me look like I'm my daughters little sister (if she had one).  Not the look I'm going for.  

Initially, I was gonna buy some muslin to test this pattern out, but then remembered I had a ton of this blue fabric with white polka-dots that I scored at a garage sale for 50 cents.  That'll work (or will it?).

Now I never, and I'm mean never, sewn from a packaged pattern like this before.  As you may have seen in my other post I've made purses and aprons.  I've even printed a large full size apron, but that did not have me prepared for the flutter, flowy, does-not-stay-still, tissue paper pattern that these are.  OMG!!!  How is someone suppose to breathe when handling this tissue?!  

Oh, note to others whom haven't purchased a pattern like this before.  Make sure you look on the package for your size (like if it would matter anyways).  It wasn't until after I opened it and unfolded it did it occur to me that I might not have purchased my size.  Did I?  I don't know.  My bust is a size 10, my waist is a size 12, and my hips are a size 16. So no one size would fit me right, and now apparently I have junk in the trunk.  *sigh*  Who makes these measurements?!  In grown-up sizes a 4 is too big, and now I'm possibly a 10-16.  What ever!

The pattern I have is 6-8-10. Is it too small?  Well I didn't let that stop me.  I proceeded to work on the largest size, and just went with it.  I'd pull out my corset, and squeeze myself into the dress if I have to.

The most intimidating part to this whole thing was definitely cutting out the tissue paper.  I feared I might sneeze and dissolve the whole thing, or some small breath would whisk it away to Oz.  But once it was successfully cut out I was relieved.  *Whew*

Back of dress with darts and pinning down zipper. 
Piecing it together was not hard at all.  The whole process was really painless. It's not 100% finished, but enough of it is done to figure out if it will work.

It needs to be more fitted, just slightly (maybe alter the darts), the length shortened, and back to the fabric.  The fabric I used, I think, is 100% cotton, and a bit stiff.  So it seems a bit blocky.  The fabric suggestions for the pattern are lighter, more flow-y, fabrics so the front doesn't fall in the manor I think it should fall, and it's a little too high.

Like the black dress pictured it seems slightly cowl-ish, and that's the look I'm looking for.  But that's the whole purpose of testing the pattern first, right?  Wanting to see if I could get the gist of it down, then see if I like it, and I think I could like it if I could successfully make the alterations work that are in my head (It's very pretty in my the cartoon drawings on the cover).   As for the reality it is now it doesn't look to hot, but this is ALL blamed on the fabric, and maybe some slight blame to the neckline construction (but this could be due to the fabric once again).
Here's the very straight non flowing neck line.
Eeek!!! This looks very frumpy, like a sack of potatoes.  I do have a waist, now lets see if I could find it in this pattern.  I have the side and darts pinned (wondering if those adjustments will help).

I've already bought some clearance lite weight light grey Crepe fabric, and while I was writing this post, I think, I just thought of a solution on how to adjust the flowing of the neck line.  Eeek!  I wonder if it will work.  Only time will tell.  ;-)


  1. I sure hope you can get it to work. How wonderful to be able to say...I made it when people ask where you got it!! BUT if all else fails it sounds like we might be about the same size and my son got married a couple of weeks ago and I have a cute blue dress you can wear. Pictures to be placed on my blog soon.

  2. You've done an awesome job so far! Well done on aiming to adjust to fit, that's the bit most people are afraid to bite into, I reckon. Love it how ur burlesque in ur heart but tshirt in reality LOL, that's me, but I'm 50s and quirky not so much goth. Here in my tracksuit pants, u know. Can't wait to hear updates, glad I began to follow! :)

  3. I'm Cassie J who just commented saying come to view my new blog. I don't know why, but blogger wont let me leave comments as me using my google account so just letting you know who I am. The chick from above. I just left you a comment "I set up my blog after all, come and see the quilts I've made at when you get a chance" on your latest vintage quilt update. Cheers.