Sunday, November 16, 2008

Navy Dress part 3

After several days had passed since wearing the dress for the first time (to the wedding), I had been 'away' from the dress long enough to re-address the 'issues' I had with it before wearing it again the following weekend. I called my sister, who came right over to help me evaluate it. I put it on. Immediately, she could tell that it needed to be shorter. Bummer...but I kinda knew that it was too long. I even knew the back was longer than the front, but because of that vent/kick pleat and the number of times I had sewn and ripped it, I had been VERY reluctant to rip again to hem the dress shorter. But I knew that was what was needed, so I was willing.

She also thought the Vneck should be lower, and again, I agreed (hem up, neckline down!). Plus, she wanted me to tighten it up UNDER the bust...contouring the princess seam a bit. So I began working on the neckline and princess seam adjustments, planning to take the dress to her house afterwards so she could mark the desired hem length for me once the alterations were done.

I messed with taking that princess seam up and letting it out about a thousand times! I was adjusting the tiniest amounts...sometimes barely a thread's width! Eventually, I got it to suit me.

Lowering the neckline was no treat, either. I had understitched the facing and there was a lining involved, so 'internal access' was limited! I did have to rip out the thread chains I had used to tie the lining to the hem and that made it easier to get up inside the lining. Actually, I had ripped the stitching and understitching once before...when I first realized that the front was a little shorter than the back, I tried to let out the front shoulders. I ripped the neck facing (not and navy!) and did let out one side. But it made so little difference that I decided it was not worth the trouble, so I didn't bother with the other shoulder. So I was really looking forward to ripping the neck again, this time to lower it. Not. But I did it and it made a difference...and improvement!

So now I was ready to get the hem marked to shorten the dress...

When I took the dress to my sister's house so she could pin up the hem for me, we also decided it would look better if I reduced the hem circumference....tapered/pegged the hem a bit. So when I got home with it, I had to redo the sideseams (yet again!) to taper the hem before I could begin the actual hemming! But tapering made a WORLD of difference in the way the dress looked! Before, with the hem being as wide as the hip area, the hem actually looked WIDER because my body has less F to B depth at hem level, so the dress hung wider and less deep than at hip level where my body thickness forced it to be deeper and therefore, less wide. By tapering the hem, this reduced the visual width at hem level to be more similar to the visual width at hip level. To determine HOW MUCH to taper the sideseams, I opened PMB and compared the width of the hem using both the STRAIGHT and TAPERED Hemline Sweep. I decided that since the program reduced the hem at each side seam by .75", that is what I would also do...I tapered each sidedseam from hip level to a point = .75" inside at hem. Better!

Unenthusiastically, I struggled through shortening the dress, which entailed a lot of ripping at that back vent. And remember the interfacing that I had fused to the bottom of the dress, so my hem handstitching wouldn't show? Well, turns out, that hem showed anyway, despite the interfacing and my best efforts at hiding those stitches. It was just the nature of that fabric. Well, shortening the dress removed a lot of that interfacing. Since the original hem stitches showed anyway, I decided that THIS TIME, I would just hem the dress using the blindstitch of my sewing machine, rather than take the time to hand stitch it again. Turns out, it had about the same 'invisibility' as before and was much quicker!

After taking in the dress under the bust, my arm mobility was decreased somewhat as compared to the first time I wore the dress. It was still not too bad, but I was aware of the difference. I think I needed a higher armhole, especially as the dress became closer fitting.

I had originally envisioned this dress having beaded trim around the neck but had run out of time before the wedding. I had time now, though (or so I thought!). DSis suggested trim at the sleeve hems would also look nice. So together we went to our local Hancock Fabric store to see what they had. I found a black trim that I could sew beads to...I had plenty of beads at home that would work.

At home, I measured and cut the trim pieces to length, secured the ends to prevent ravelling, then began hand-beading them...ON THE DAY OF THE PARTY! Yep, it was the day of the paty by the time I got to this part. I was running way behind on this remodel! And I don't work fast!!! It was after 4:30 pm when finally got all the beads sewn onto the trim, but the trim was not yet sewn onto the dress! BTW, it was during these hours that DH decided to 'clear' the camera's memory card... sigh.
As it got later and later, my stitches got bigger and bigger...I was sewing as fast as I could to finish sewing the trim to the dress! Finally the trim was on. I made new thread chains to reattach the lining to the dress hem and I was DONE!

I actually finished the dress at 6:30...the party started at 7:00!

I flew to my room to touch up my makeup and comb my hair and we were outta there! And we arrived right on time! It was a good dress for the occasion...Une Grand Souire...a wine tasting and art auction. I looked as good as anyone else there (better than some!) yet didn't look over-dressed.

The pictures of me in the dress were taken after arriving home later that night. I hope my hair looked better earlier!

Navy Dress Part 2

I have been trying to update my progress on this dress, but have failed miserably! It HAS been finished and even worn...twice now! But it was not an easy project! This thing has almost kicked my butt!!! Everything has been more complicated that it should be!

I spent time researching how to do the facing at cb when there is a zipper the end, it was easy, but I *thought* it would be hard so was apprehensive. Basically, I have made everything harder than it needed to be, which *is* my Modus Operandi!

But let me back up a bit...

Since I didn't want to compromise the 'breathability' of this fabric, I chose NOT to underline the dress, as I DID plan to line it. So I fused strips of interfacing above the hem area, so that my hem stitches could catch something other than just the fabric, and hopefully, be invisible. More on this later.

I inserted an invisible zipper...hadn't done one in a while...and my stitching was not quite as close to the zipper teeth as it needed to be to remain 'invisible' I stitched each side again a bit closer. Then I zipped it closed. Ackkkk! The cut edges of the neck were not aligned...I had allowed one side of the zipper to shift! I had to rip out one side of the zipper...which had been sewn TWICE!!! And in black thread...on a black zipper. I had to go sit outside on the deck in order to see well enough to rip!

I had taken lots of pictures during the construction of this dress, but DH accidently deleted them before I could upload them to my computer. sigh. He was putting them onto my computer in anticipation of his taking the camera with him to his parents house, and he was doing this while I was very busy and unable to supervise where all my pics were on the memory card and where they should go on my computer. Some were deleted, some were not. sigh.

Next was the French pleat at the back hem. This kick pleat is the slit with underlap kind...oh why did I have to do a French vent? A simple slit would have looked just as nice, even showed a bit of leg! But I planned this without regard for that. And lining a French vent is tricky if you haven't done it in along time, epsecially if you have never been the one to make the pattern! Anytime I have done this in the past, the pattern was made by a professional patternmaker and a template was provided to 'adjust' the lining. Well, this time, I had to make my own pattern and figure out my own 'template' for adjusting the lining!!! And of course, I did it wrong at first...allowed too much seam allowance on the lining edge, so that when the edge of the lining was sewn to the edge of the vent flap, there was excess lining width. Had to rip and resew. Then realized I should have HEMMED the lining before sewing it to this edge of the vent flap. Rip again, then hem and resew. Sheesh! of pictures detailing the steps are gone. sigh. I can show the end result.

Once the zipper was in and the princess and side seams were sewn, I tried the dress on. It was 'roomy' to say the least! I had allowed 5" of hip ease and 2" waist ease...apparently that was too much. I took in the sideseams from above waist to the hem to remove 1" circumference...better.

There was still a fullness above the bust, especially on one side. I decided this was because I really needed a bit more length in the front bodice above the underarm level, which made the front bust level a bit too high. I need an additional 3/8" front length....which also would draft a larger bust dart...but that is for next time! I decided I couldn't fix the Bust Height problem in this dress so I moved on.

I had not yet set the sleeves, but the depth of the armholes was bothering me. I was afraid I had drafted the armholes too deep. I do have square shoulders and often need to raise the AH depth, but had failed to do that. duh. Then I realized that the AHs had stretched....why hadn't I staystitched? duh. I put the pattern on the ironing board and aligned the garment onto its pattern and steamed the AHs back to size and shape, then used some fusible tape to keep them stable...sorry, that picture was deleted. sigh. I'll take one of the fusible product I used to 'fix' the AHs.

Now on to the sleeves: The first set of sleeves were bad (cap height was too low, and I had not allowed enough cap ease), so I redrafted, created and cut new sleeves. This time, I basted the sleeves in! Still not perfect, but usable, once I rotated them a little to look/hang better.

But before I made those new sleeves, though, I wanted to address that b-AH. I was considering trimming out the back armhole, as if removing the 3 clicks outward that had I added during drafting by using the AH Shape tool. I felt like the back was too wide, but I sure did hate to try this, as once cut, this alteration could not be undone! Finally, I did it. And the new sleeves went in nicely!

When cutting out the sleeve lining, I forgot to cut the front underarm area a bit higher than the pattern (to allow extra fabric so the lining will have room to go over the underarm seam allowance) I figured I might as well NOT cut the back higher then I had to decide HOW to do the sleeves. In the end, I just sewed the lining's armhole to the garment's treat them as one. Then I lined the sleeves separately...then inserted the garment sleeves into the dress by machine, and sewed the lining sleeves to the lining AH by hand. Not my preferred way to do it, but it worked!

The dress feels wonderful as I put it on. I lined it with Bemberg first time to use this. I really like the way it feels! I had some issues sewing it, though. I didn't change needles between the shell and the lining, and after sewing nearly ALL the lining seams, I realized I had 'loops' on the bobbin side every now and them...and had to go back and reinforce some of the stitching. I don't know what would cause this, unless it was the needle size.

Then I wore the dress to the wedding. It wore well...was comfortable and allowed adequate mobility. However, I felt like I looked like my grandmother. I was NOT happy.
Free Hit Counter