Dress construction

I keep meaning to start on the muslin for the Crepe dress sew-along, which is an easy-to-fit wrap dress from Colette Patterns with a sweetheart neckline:


I bought a bright green leaf print cotton to use for the sew-along, and then I realized that this might work for The Dress as well. So, my plan is to make and fit the bodice in musin, then make the whole dress out of the green fabric, and then if all goes well, make it one more time in a dressier red fabric.

I do also have this New Look pattern I ordered of eBay ages ago, that also has a sweetheart neckline but with princess seams and a zipper, as well as the dress sloper I made in the Perfect Dress class at Sew Fast Sew Easy, so I have a few backups for patterns.

The issue to getting started is that I still want to finish the skirts I made even before the dress class, and I just haven't gotten around to doing that. Also, I hate cutting out fabric at home, I clear off the kitchen table or the coffee table but it always takes ages because I can't lay everything out at once, the heights are uncomfortable, and I worry that things might slip and the cutting will be inaccurate.

I've discovered that there's a sewing studio right in Hoboken that hosts open lab hours for $10/hour. It might be worth that just to have sufficient space to cut everything out on, I could do all the sewing at home. I meant to go check it out this past weekend but decided that staying in my PJs and finishing up the chilling book Let the Right One In, and later finishing up my spice jar/soap dispensers reorganization with the newly arrived labeler I bought from Amazon was more appealing. I have pretty simple needs.

Anyway, a few more construction details/ideas I've been saving up:

Gertie's post of examples of vintage red dresses with lace overlay made me swoon, but I don't think I'd be up for making a whole dress with a lace layer. Maybe just a skirt overlay wouldn't be too bad, though? Also, here's Gertie's own finished red lace dress, which is lovely.

I really want to do everything right on the dress, even if it's simple. Putting a lace trim on the lining would be such a fun detail. Perhaps my something blue?

If I don't go with the wrap dress pattern, a waist stay seems to be in order if you want to do a proper full skirted dress ("hooks up around the waistline and helps to support this wonderfully full skirt...also reduces strain on the zipper, which is great on any fitted dress").

Finally, in my last skirt class, the teacher introduced us to the marvel of hem-marking tools, to be used while you're wearing all the right shoes and such to measure and mark consistent distances from the groun. She used this Dritz chalk hem marker in class and said it could be used by yourself, but I'm doubtful of my ability to do so and it seemed to required too much careful inching along and around to rope Dan into helping me with it. So this vintage hem marker tool from Singer seemed a lot more usable:

The method of placing the pins at the right height seems a little more foolproof on this one.

Standing at 5'2" since 8th grade, I do a lot of hand hemming on jeans, pants, and vintage cotton dresses (and send over to the tailor the knits, polyester, silk, and other slippery fabrics). For the most part, I just (try to) measure an equal distance from the bottom all the way around, iron, pin up, and hem by hand. The problem with this is that the dresses often end up being shorter than ideal in the back because how it falls over my rear end. On the denim skirt I need to finish, I dropped the back hem by about 0.5" which seems to have helped with that sufficiently. 

However, I've also messed up the measuring/pinning before and ended up taking the dress to the tailor to get it fixed, because fixing the curve on a full circle skirt seemed to be just asking for more trouble to me. With a handmade dress, measuring up from the bottom will also demand more accuracy from the piece cutting out phase. We'll see how it goes, it's usually a bit easier when you need to chop off less than my usual 6" all around. I may get my sewing-inclined friends to help with the pinning, or I might just throw it the tailor if that's the last thing that needs to be done.

3 comments:

Ms. Bunny said...

I am dreading tailoring and hemming my dress. I don't want Mr. Beagle to see it, so I guess that means either I take it to a tailor or have one of my coworkers help me (since obviously I need to be in it to get the fit right).

I'm looking forward to having company in the dress making process!

Love Your Way said...

can't wait to see what you come up with...and the open lab hours sound like an awesome fit for what you need!

Lisa said...

I am geeking out over your dress detail pictures! I cannot wait to see your final piece!!! I am so impressed and in awe of you and Ms. Bunny making your dresses!

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