Sunday, November 16, 2008

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.

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