Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Sometimes One Must Rip

My January swap has ended and the first two competitions of the new year are done, so let's have an update on the projects that consumed the month, shall we?  First up, the jade anna dress.  When last we heard from this project, I was crying on the bathroom floor and the dress looked like this:

 Let's list what isn't working here, shall we?  First off, the godets are clearly not correct, as the fabric is pulling in tightly just below the lycra.  This was because I tried to use a narrower triangle for the godet (I had used quarter circles in the past, but it had seemed overkill at the time) and the godet apparently had a smaller opening angle than the space I was setting it into.  The overskirt would have to come off.

Furthermore (and not pictured) the supposedly invisible zipper wasn't really living up to its name of "invisible" and needed to be redone.  So in the beginning of January I sat down with my seam ripper and took off the overskirt and took out the zipper.  I redid the zipper twice, because the first time I didn't get the seams lined up at the side.  Then I hung the dress back on my duct-tape dress form and contemplated redoing the overskirt.

I still had a major gripe with this dress.  As you can see in the top picture, the bodice was not hanging smoothly.  My dress form only comes down to the high hip, so there is no good reason for all of the bunching and puckering in the bodice below that point.  The bad but unfortunately true reason was that the bodice was made of mesh over lycra, and the two layers had apparently slipped around a lot while I was sewing them.  I chose to do two layers because it is a common method used by some big name designers to make their fabrics appear richer, to paraphrase Chrisanne's head designer who was kind enough to answer my questions when I chatted with her at Blackpool.  I can understand this, as lycra is a shiny fabric and can look a little like plastic.

But the entire point of having the two layers is to have a dress that looks nicer, not worse.  While my lack of skill was definitely at fault here, I still needed to turn my pile of expensive fabrics into a dress that I would actually wear.  I would not dance better in a dress that embarrassed me.  So I got out a couple squares of chocolate, because certain traditions must be observed, turned once more to my seam ripper, and took the bodice completely apart.

I cut a new bodice from lycra only, sewed it together, and then carefully began reassembling the parts of the bodice.  I basted the layers together before sewing, and since the edge had already been chewed up by my serger once, went over the seam again by hand to make sure all the gathers were successfully caught. 

Then I put the zipper back in, the fourth time I have sewn that zipper.

That's better.  You can see that I still need to clean up the bottom of the zipper, but it is reasonably invisible, and the seam below the gathers meets properly at the side-seam.  When that was done, I cut out new godets, quarter circles this time, edged them all, and inset them back into the skirt.

Let us not discuss what serging a curved rolled hem on satin chiffon is like in my inexperienced hands.  I am lucky there were no witnesses/possible victims for my wrath.  But when the torment was over, I had a dress ready to decorate.  I tried it on at the point, and looked at myself in awe in the mirror.  It looked good, and I had made it.

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