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!


BJ said...

The dress is gorgeous - and so are you!

Debbie said...

Well Patricia all your hard work and rework paid off! You look very nice in that dress! Nothing matronly about it at all! I like the deeper vee and shorter length. Pegging the hem was a great tip! I'm glad you went with the 3/4 slvs. vs. the cuton cap. Your trim turned out great, and excellent placement. Glad you did the slvs. too! Talking about cutting it close, and I don't mean the fabric!LOL Navy is one of my favorite colors!


Marilyn said...

You are a gilf in that dress. And I mean it in the best way.

Sew4Fun said...

Beautiful dress! The trim really makes it. It's surprising what a difference a few "style" adjustments make (and a lot of hard work). Sometimes it's more than the fit.

Sorry it's taken me so long to catch up and read your blog properly. I think I still have nine entires to go but I'm getting there. :)

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