Monday, October 8, 2012

The Muted Firework Dress - Completed!

Okay, so this was completed a while ago, but I haven't had a chance to take photos until now. Forgive me? I doubt many of you have been reading this blog long enough to remember the vintage dress pattern I bought last June. It's a truly adorable pattern, but something got lost in translation. Well, a lot got lost in translation. I'm not really sure how I feel about the dress I made from this pattern.

The most obvious things that have changed are the fact that I ditched the bows and significantly shortened the dress. Actually, the length is the one thing I really love about this dress. I've never been confident about my legs, so most of my clothing has been long enough to cover my thighs and sometimes my knees as well. When I made the muslin for this dress, though, I made the skirt super, super short to save on muslin, and I decided that, while 12" is too short for a shirt, I actually liked the idea of something shorter than my usual 22" to 23". I'll be shortening quite a few of the other items in my closet in an attempt to nix some of the frump I have going on. :)

Other things I changed about this pattern: I got rid of the gathering at the shoulder that happened with the bow, but I ended up with some weirdness going on with the fit around the front of the armholes. I also did an FBA, and something went rather awry with my darts. Darts and I... we're not friends right now. I look like I have two extra nipples on each breast because the darts just refuse to lie flat. I pressed them with a ham. I made sure to sew them from the widest part to the narrowest and tied off the thread to avoid the bulk of backtacking. I added the side dart in addition to the waist dart to distribute the vastness of my dartage. I checked and re-checked the angles, and they look right to me. Then I pressed the darts over a ham again. And again. And again. Any advice about fixing darts? I'd like to try this pattern again (with some changes), and I want to avoid this puckering dart thing. I had the same problem on another dress I started (and didn't finish) last winter, so it seems to be a pretty regular issue for me. Is it just that my bust is too large for darts, and perhaps it's time for me to give it up and try a dress with princess seams? Or am I making darts for more bust than I actually have?

After all those changes, I decided that altering facings would be a little too much effort, so I made some bias tape and used that to face the neckline and armholes.

The last thing I changed was to raise the zipper all the way to the top (it's a side zip), to make the dress a little easier for me to get into. I hand-stitched the zipper, and it warps a tiny bit when I'm standing in certain positions, because I sewed it from top to bottom on both sides, which is the opposite of what Susan Khalje says to do in her Couture Dress class on Craftsy. Whoops! I hadn't gotten to that part before I did my zipper, though, so... next time! You can hardly see it, though!

After a couple of washes, I am having some problems with the innards of the dress. I French-seamed everything that I could, but you can't exactly put a French seam in a dart that you're supposed to slash and spread. I hate slashing and spreading darts. How are you supposed to keep these things from unravelling like crazy? And how are you supposed to get them to lie flat?!?! Obviously, I had some dart issues.

The one thing that I think went perfectly with this dress? The fit of the back. Love it. I didn't have to change a thing about the back.

And because I know you all like to see the insides of garments, here's the hem. You can see the French seam for the side seam, and I hand-stitched the hem tape in. Time consuming, but you can't see a thing on the other side.


  1. I love using lace hem tape - I think it's such a darling detail to add to a skirt. The fabric is completely fantastic, subtle and eye catching all at the same time. I think you did a great job on the zipper because you definitely can't see it at all!! Yay for using bias tape instead of facing - I don't think I've made a facing in two months :) Overall, a lovely dress!! I hope you get to wear it often :)

  2. Thank you! I wore it a whole lot in August, but since we got that first major freeze in Illinois, it's been languishing in my closet. Winter is the greatest enemy of my dresses. :P