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 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.
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.