Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Simplicity 3673- the Green Dress

This was another project that I started a while ago that ended up in the pile of shame. I just got lazy, since all it needed was the back zipper and a hand-sewn hem.

Done and done!

It is Simplicity 3673, which is a a modern reprint of some 1950s-style dresses. I made view C, the one in the middle.

My suggestion:
If you are going to make this dress, please take ease of fit into account. I made it in a 6, which claims a 30.5 inch bust. That is not my actual measurement, but I find modern patterns fit like a potato sack. However, the finished size six will have almost four inches of "ease." Ridiculous. Why would you make a dress with 12 darts, to have it look like a sack in the end? I took two inches off of each side of the back before I put in the zip, which is why it looks lumpy in the picture. If possible, and you're not already at the bottom of the size chart, I would cut it 3-4 sizes smaller than it says for your measurements, assuming you want a fitted dress.

Oops, I blinked!

See, kinda lumpy. Whatever, it's a dress for work, so I'll be wearing a cardigan over it anyways.

Other than that small issue- easy to make, looks cute, nice dress for work.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Boat Dress

This dress is proving to be my nemesis. It looked so cute on the pattern cover. It is a Simplicity 3490 from 1951. Here you can see a picture of the cover that isn't falling apart. I chose to make view 1, the sundress with the tied shoulders, minus the giant hideous pockets. Plus, I am terrible at pockets. I chose a cute quilter's cotton with a boat print in light blue tan and brown- very cute. Then i got started. This was days after I finished the purple sundress, about 3 weeks ago.

These are my mistakes:

1. Do not automatically shorten the bodice just because you are short. Not the same thing! So now, it looks empire-waisted, which I despise. Empire waists are for pregnant ladies and spare tires.

2. I did the binding on the neckline, then put the already sewn together dress on. At that point, all it needed was arm binding a side zip and hemming. I discovered that it made me look like I had just escaped a polygamous ranch. The neckline was beyond modest, and it was way too hot to wear as a summer dress in New Orleans. So I cut out the binding, and reshaped the armholes and neckline.

3. Then I re-did the binding on the neck. I did not cut it cleanly on the curves, and the whole neckline fell outward. I tried to create some tiny darts to make it lay flat. However, the bobbin kept jamming, and in a fit of rage, I ripped the jammed fabric out of the machine. Obviously, the new binding was torn from the bodice. Nice one, Molly.

4. Then i did the armholes, the side zipper (which does not lay flat), and the neckline again. I tied the ties on the shoulders and tried it on. Now I didn't look Mormon, I looked like a vintage-dress hooker. The neckline is now indecently low. I hemmed it anyways.

5. Then I had to devise some kind of stop-gap measure to make this look more appropriate. This is mainly due to the fact that the bodice is so snug that it would be impossible to wear something underneath. I bought some lace, only to remember how much I hate lace. Then, I tried to make a pleated fan to fit in the neckline, and it worked but the iron on hem tape I used to stiffen the fabric left a greasy line. Then, I paused and did some deep breathing.

6. I went back to jo-ann, bought more blue fabric (in a slightly off shade!!!) and some thin interfacing and finished the neckline with a big blue ruffle. I think it makes me look like a cupcake, but hey, I'm done!

Yay! In conclusion, I will not be making this one again! Ha!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

2 Years in the Making!

My main project (the boat dress) was frustrating me to no end, so I picked this out of the "Pile of Shame." It had been malingering there for about two years. I bought it at an overpriced estate sale at a big house here in New Orleans. I expected they would ask too much for it, but I got it for a dollar or two. It was potentially cute and in my size. It is a Vogue American Designers series by Albert Nipon, 2533, size 8. It is undated, but other patterns from the series seem to be from the 70s, and the list price is 5.00, so that seems reasonable.

My sexy spokesmodel, T-Rex.

I enthusiastically started this two summers ago. The photo of the girl wearing the dress on the cover looks frumpy and hideous, but I like the knee length sketch. The back says "crisp fabrics" but it looked so cute in the slinky sketch I decided to ignore that. It all goes downhill from there. I bought a beautiful grey-purple slinky rayon (I think) from Jo-Ann.

The main problems that made me quit were: I had never made pleats before; the fabric was so slippery, it was frustrating; and step one of the pattern. Essentially, step one wants you to make an interfaced finished band down the side where you will later make button holes. However, I am far from being a professional seamstress and could not figure out what it wanted, so i tried my best. Of course, ten steps later, I realized what was supposed to be done, but it was too late.

My adjustments: I did snaps down the side, because at that time I had not found the lady at the dry cleaners who makes cheap buttonholes (so cheap, like $2-3, including sewing on the button). I shortened it by about 4-5 inches on the hem and used that fabric to make a belt. In the end, after a lot of frustration, I came out with a really cute dress.

A happy ending after all!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In progress

I have a new project in progress... but I am currently hating it. The side zipper is lumpy, and after putting the bodice together, I ripped it apart to start over. It would have been the frumpiest, up-to-the-neck sundress ever. Then I did the neck binding and it flopped outwards, so I tried to put in a few tiny darts. Then, the machine wouldn't feed and kept jamming. So, I stopped before my head exploded.

I dug out my old purple dress project (which I orginally began two summers ago! lol) and ironed it. It needs the side flap to be handstitched down, and to be hemmed. Doing anything by hand is my most hated part of sewing, so obviously that's why it ended up in the stack of shame. It also needs a sash or belt, and I would have to go back to jo-ann... bleh.

Well, with the bf out of town, I will be bored enough to finish both, I expect, and probably start a new prject as well!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

1950s Sun Dress

I got a giant bag of vintage patterns on and miraculously they were all my size! This pattern was adorable, and perfect for summer, so I made it first.

It is an Advance pattern 9077, size 12. It does not have a date printed on it, but it looks very 50s to me.

It was a very simple and fun dress to make. The only confusing part was that the pattern pieces did not say how mant of each to cut, so I wasted quite a bit of time pinning and repinning pieces until it all fit and made sense. I ended up cutting two of everything, and that worked out pretty well.

The measurements say 32-25-34, but I think that would make for a baggy dress. If you made it exactly like it says to, it would easily be at least one inch bigger than your measurements everywhere. Fortunately, the bodice fitting can be adjusted when you put the zipper in the back. The waist fit, but I cinched up the bust so it wouldn't gape.

My only complaint about this pattern is it did not have lines to shorten the bodice. The dress would be perfect if I had attached the skirt about half an inch higher. But I am very short, so that would not be an issue for most people.

Overall, it is a beautiful dress, it fits very well and is perfect for summer here in New Orleans (with the gathered and lined bodice, you can easily skip a bra). I can totally see making this again in a different fabric- easy and cute!

The fabric is a bright purple with tiny white polka dots, not blue like in the pix.

I have bought the fabric for my next dress- and I think I will start it tonight.