The messy map of making this dress
I made this dress this afternoon. The lace began life as my living room curtain about twenty years ago. The curtain was a really early sewing project for me. It was one of a pair.
I was always fond of the fabric. I have been noticing lots of lace dresses made with brightly contrasting linings. OK so that was the genesis of the idea. I also have a huge fabric stash. Sometimes it feels good just to use some of it up.
I started by copying a basic dress.
The shape of the dress was this.
The lace had a finished selvedge edge. it would be silly to not use such a pretty hem as the dress hem. That finished hem meant that it made more sense to cut the dress with a straighter shape. more like this:
I cut the lace to the dress shape and a piece of hot pink Swiss dot cotton for the lining to the right shape. I sewed the lining to the lace.The starting dress was a knit. Everyone who knows anything about sewing knows that a dress with no stretch has to be cut bigger or with more ease than a knit dress with stretch. Even I know that.
Most people who sew by the rules would figure out some sort of a mathematical algorithm that would let them know exactly how much larger to cut a woven dress than it’s knit counterpart. Doing that sort of pencil and paper figuring hurts my head.
Usually I can just sort of guess how much bigger to cut a woven than a knit. My guess is pretty good about 75- 85% of the time. Even with the bad guesses, the whole process of dress making is quicker for me by eyeballing than sitting with a pencil and paper.
Today was one of the times when my guess was off. The dress fit nicely from my ribcage down. The top of the bodice was entirely too tight.
I thought that if I slashed the neckline open it would solve my problem.
I cut the neck and turned and hemmed it.
That almost worked. The dress was still too tight.
I have sometimes found that my scooping a neckline lower, either in front, or in back I can fix problems with fit. I couldn’t cut the front any lower so I cut the back neckline down a bit. I cut the back on the dotted line, and then did the appropriate hemming.
Here it is with the lowered back. The dress is still wearable with a bra. This bought slightly better fit, but the dress was still not wearable,
I then decided to add sort of reverse darts or godets to the side seams. ( for you non sewers who are still reading this sewing geeky post I added triangles) The arrow shows you where I added them.
This third attempt at a fix actually worked.
I can wear the dress and actually breathe.
For all of the insanity in the process of making this dress it shows none of the torment.
When I started this dress I thought I was making a casual summer dress. It has turned out to be much more of a fancy event sort of a dress. I even have an event for the dress to attend. We are attending a wedding reception in a couple of weeks. It’s outside of Boston. This dress has just the right sort of garden party vibe that is just right for a Boston afternoon wedding.
This dress feels like a child that survived trauma with grace