AKA the catharsis dress.
Whatever I call it, it's done. C'est fini.
Please ignore the wonky hair in these photos. I thought I'd make a token effort at looking a bit more Mad Men - hair up and a bit more eyeliner!. As you can tell, hair styling is not my area of expertise! :) and P neglected to tell me it was wonky before he took the photos.
I'm in a state of ambiguity about this dress. I want to love it, and mostly I do, but there are some fit issues and the inside is a mess, so it is not as "nice" as I would have liked for a relatively smart dress.
I LOVE the fabric. I am so glad you guys talked me into buying the more expensive one because it was so right for this dress. It was lovely to work with, it give some structure as it's fairly thick, its comfortable as it has a slight stretch and it looks smart as it has a slight sheen to it. And the print is extremely forgiving of errors! Although I am noticing in these photos, it's making me look strangely one dimensional, like some type of paper doll!
I love the shape of the dress. It feels quite classy. I already knew I liked the Charlotte skirt, once adjusted for my lack of hips, and the princess seams of the Elisalex bodice are extremely flattering. And it has 3 of my favourite design features: boat neck, interesting back and 3/4 sleeves. Oh, and P LOVES it! :)
I think it totally fits the bill for a Mad Men dress and I am really pleased with the similarity to the inspiration photo. Other than the colour, and my lack of curves to fill it out, I think it's pretty spot on.
My first ever self-drafted neckline facings worked well! :)
|The ONLY pic you are getting of the inside of this dress and only because it's my first ever self drafted facing.|
OK, so I could leave it there and not point out the flaws and we could all pretend it is the perfect dress. But it's not and I'm keen to get your views on what's gone wrong. So here goes.
Fit: It fits perfectly from the hem to the top of the bust and then it all goes slightly weird. There is too much fabric from that point up to the neck line. The neckline is too wide and so drops off my shoulders and the sleeves just don't sit right. Also at the back, there is some gaping at the neckline if I stand up really straight. My thought is that it's just too big in this area. What do you think? I cut a 12 for the bodice and skirt, based on my bust and waist measurements, and it fit fine here without any adjustments needed (other than for length of bodice, but we'll come on to that). I was meticulous about stay stitching the neckline, so it can't have stretched (plus that wouldn't explain the sleeves, would it?). I did adjust the neckline, but I did so based on a pattern that is my size (although, admittedly, I haven't actually made that dress, so can't say for sure it fits me). But I only widened the neckline. I didn't touch the shoulders. The armscyes/armholes should be exactly where they were intended to be.
|Here you can see gaping at the back|
|Looks like there is some excess fabric across the back, just above the waist, which I hadn't even noticed before!|
|You can see it's nearly hanging off my shoulders here|
Second negative: the inside is a mess. I opted not to line the bodice (the pattern has you do this) as I didn't know what to line a stretch fabric with. Instead I drafted a neckline facing, which worked pretty well - see above photo. So, I should have bias bound the raw edges. I would have been the right thing to do. But I didn't. I didn't have any bias binding tape and I couldn't be bothered to make it, and with all those seams it would have needed metres and metres! And if truth be told, I actually just couldn't be bothered. I've written previously about my frame of mind when making this. So I zigzagged all those seams! It's not the end of the world, because actually no one will see that, but I feel the inside doesn't match the outside and it takes something away from the dress. Especially since seeing Katy's Tessuti dress, which is beautiful both inside and out. Something to bear in mind for next time, I guess.
Oh and I'm extremely embarrassed to admit that there are at least 4 different colours of thread on this dress. I know! Cardinal sin of sewing! But I was trying to use thread from my stash, so I started with a dark purple, which ran out (all that zig zagging), then moved to a lighter purple, then managed to get an aqua colour in there too (bizarrely, my bobbin ran out, and the machine seemed to just carry on with the thread that was underneath almost without a gap. How odd! And it was the facing and is inside and it seemed pointless to unpick it all again...), and finally a white thread for the skirt and sleeve hems!
The darts on the skirt don't match up with the princess seams on the bodice. This actually isn't a biggie. I did make an attempt to move the darts slightly, but then adjusted the length of the bodice a couple of times, by which time, the darts were off again. But that busy print really obscures this. On a plain fabric it would look noticable, but on this fabric you can't see it. As I said, not a biggie.
I had a few nightmares making this dress. As I mentioned above, I lengthened the bodice by 2 inches, then sewed the bodice and skirt together, zig zagged the edges then tried it on. And realised the waistline was about 1.5 inches too low. It took a couple of attempts to get it right, but I got there in the end. After quite a bit of unpicking.
I also had some issues with the zip. Some of you may remember I initially planned to move the zip to a side zip, just because I fancied it. But then I realised that this would mean I'd need more fabric than I had bought (as both the back bodice and back skirt pieces should really then have been cut on the fold), and that it would also mean I couldn't have a vent at the back of the skirt. So, I reverted back to the original back zip, replacing the exposed one with an invisible zip. I like invisible zips. I think they look sleek and professional and I have never had a problem inserting one. Until this dress. Again, I don't know if this was my frame of mind, or just carelessness or lack of luck, but I kept getting it wrong. At one point, I even managed to sew on top of the zipper coil, which I can tell you was a nightmare to unpick! I got there in the end and the zip is now fine.
Back to a positive: I did use seam binding for the skirt hem, which looks nice and neat, and makes me wish even more that I'd bias bound the raw edges!
I found the making up of the bodice sometimes problematic. None of the notches seemed to match. No one else has mentioned this in their reviews, so it may well be a tracing error on my part. I will need to check this before I make this again. And there will be another one. Next time, an unadulterated version. I love everyone else's versions, so I am super keen to make myself one that I'm happy with.
In the meantime, what do I do with this? Do I wear it as is? Can I fix it? Do I order more fabric and re-make the bodice and sleeves? Or do I cut off the bodice and just wear the skirt? It would be a fabulous skirt and I probably have just enough fabric left to make a waistband! Any suggestions, gratefully received!
And finally, can we all just pay particular attention to my new shoes?
|Please excuse the "pealy-waly" (pale) Scottish legs!|