Harley helps.

Harley helps.
Harley, my hard-working sewing assistant.

Monday, June 18, 2012

first post

This is my first dress. My first garment ever, actually, unless you count an aborted attempt at v8753.

(It's all wrinkled from being in my suitcase. Oops. Also, pay no attention to that interfacing behind the zipper.)

My previous sewing experience consisted of a lot of tote bags, pot holders, Kindle covers and an apron or two. I have a Bernette 82e, which I love, and I've been doing beginner projects and minor mending  since, oh, about 2008. Also hoarding a lot of Vogue patterns -- they have so many cute ones, and I'd go crazy on the $3.99 sales. But I was afraid to actually try anything.

Then my brother got engaged. And I started to look for dresses to wear to the wedding. And you know what? It's pretty depressing out there in dresses-appropriate-to-wear-to-a-summer-weddingland. Especially dresses-appropriate-to-wear-to-a-hot-summer-wedding-in-the-Midwestland. And ESPECIALLY dresses-appropriate-to-wear-to-a-hot-summer-wedding-in-the-Midwest-if-you're-in-your-30sland. A lot of bad polyester and teal taffeta prom dresses, let me tell you.

So I thought about it and thought about it and decided to take the plunge, and I cut into the pattern I'd been gawking at for, oh, the last year or so: v1089.

Way to start slow, right

I did a muslin first (not everything, just the outside without a zipper to check for fit) and used some eggplant "linen-like" fabric from JoAnn for the real thing. I originally wanted something closer to a greyed lavender, but couldn't find anything, and the nice lady at JoAnn talked me into eggplant. I thought the beads at the midriff were cute -- I really like the way they styled the whole thing, actually -- but hand-sewing beads is probably beyond my expertise, so I decided to leave it plain.

It's a super-fiddly pattern. It has, I think, a total of 18 pieces, and it's something like 48 steps from start to finish. The midriff has a lot of pieces, and you have to line up all the seams and edgestitch both sides of every seam. (Full disclosure: I put the bodice together first, then edgestitched across all the seams to get a more even line.) There's a facing and lining, and the pattern calls for understitching. After looking at a zillion YouTube tutorials and trying it, I decided I didn't like the understitching. If you're using a heavier fabric for facing, I think it hangs just fine.

There were a ton of things I'd never encountered before -- curved seams, princess seams (so confusing at first), edgestitching, and the furshlugginer invisible zipper. That thing was ridiculous. I spent most of Memorial Day weekend trying to figure out. It still wasn't entirely invisible by the time I was done with it, but I figured I'd be wearing a cardigan over it anyway. I screwed up quite a few things (such as: I didn't realize the pleats weren't sewn in, and spent an entire night trying to put them in before realizing that the skirt just draped that way -- no sewing required). Me and my seam ripper, we're best buds now.

Here's me in it, unhemmed, unpressed, and shoulders and neckline unfinished.

I used the recommended 5/8 seam allowance, and I think the neckline was a little low. If I make it again, I'd like to raise it an inch or so, once I learn how to do that.

I should mention that I have no idea how to grade sizes or anything, so I made a straight out-of-the-envelope size 14. I usually take a size 8 in RTW, or 6 if it's stretchy.

I should also mention that:

 -- the midriff is very, very fitted
 -- the unhemmed skirt just hit my knee, and I'm 5'0". If you're any taller than that, you might want to lengthen it, unless you want it short.

Full disclosure no. 2: I cheated. After spending an entire night tearing my hair out trying to hem the thing, I finally tore out all my stitches and took it to my tailor and asked her to do it. Which she did! Beautifully, I might add. I love my tailor.

Here I am, at my sweaty, no-makeup, after-work worst, modeling the final version.

Despite the low neckline, I like it. (And, oh yeah, I did wear it to my brother's wedding, and it worked, except I shouldn't have worn a padded bra. Ahem.) I'd like to make it again sometime, but in black linen with a funky lining and a raised neckline for work, or one in black stretch fabric with cap sleeves. Once I learn how to make cap sleeves, that is.

But not for awhile. Next, I'd like to try something nice and simple -- maybe that Colette Sorbetto top everyone seems to be making. That's easy, right? Please tell me that's easy.





12 comments:

  1. Nicely done! First dress and you chose a Vogue- you are made of sterner stuff than I! Beautiful work .

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  2. Thank you so much! I appreciate it. :)

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  3. Way to go! I think you'll find the Sorbetto wonderfully quick and easy after this project. Nice results.

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    1. Thanks! I can't wait to work on something quick and easy. (And desperately needed, right now. It's 90 degrees in Boston!)

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  4. That's really your first dress? Wow!

    I'm trying to resist the temptation to add this one to my sewing queue now...

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    1. Thank you! (And I say go for it. It's a great pattern.)

      Your blog gave me the kick in the pants to finish it, btw. So, again, thanks. :)

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  5. Excellent work on this Vogue, and yes, the Sorbetto's are easy!!!

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    1. Thanks, Doobee! I can't wait to try it.

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  6. You'll love the Sorbetto top once you get it fitted the way you like it! I've made two and plan to make many more!

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    1. Thanks, Jan! I'm looking forward to it (if I can scrounge up enough fabric!)

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  7. That's awesome! And the colour is nice on you Pockets for the next one!

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    1. Thank you! I'd love to learn how to make pockets one of these days.

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