July 31, 2014

Better Late than Never (Right?)!

Remember that dress I mentioned waaaaay back in April?  The bridesmaid one?  The bridesmaid dress for my friend that was seven months pregnant?  Well, three (almost four) months have passed now and 3(ish)+7=10 and guess what?  That sweet little girl is almost two months old now!  What does this mean for that dress?  That I never got over there to take pictures and the baby bump is gone so there's no point in trying to get them taken now.  I know, I REALLY need to work on my timing (but don't worry, my always-early-housemate is aware of this issue and I'm always reminding her we have seperate cars- hehe).

Anyway, I have a few pictures of my previously pregnant pal at the actual wedding I can share and some of the final muslin, but you'll just have to believe me about the nitty-gritty details.  Also- fair warning, this will probably be a wordy post.

So the pattern was New Look 6864.  The fabric was 100% polyester in Scarlett from Joann Fabrics, the main fabric was polyester satin and the overlay was a polyester chiffon.  I'll share my thoughts about polyester later in this post.

I started with a straight size 8 since my friend is normally a size 2 when not pregnant and I knew there'd be extra ease since New Look is part of Simplicity, a Big-4 company.  Well, that extra ease was not enough for mama and baby belly.  I measured how many inches I was short along the back where the zipper would be (and where the dress wouldn't close).  Taking those measurements, I added them to the given measurements for the size 8 and ended up all over the place.

The next muslin I decided bigger was better.  I cut a size 12 for the bodice, graded to a size 16 for the waistband and size 18 for the skirt, but I kept the length of all pattern pieces at the size 8 because that was the perfect length for her baby bump (does that make sense?).

This dress was way too big, but I was ok with that!  At that fitting, I pinned the back shut and all down the excess at the back of the skirt.  I pinned the extra on both side seams under her arms and it happened to line up perfectly at the bottom of the waist band so there was no need to grade down the skirt's side seam.  Now this part is real tricky- I took a Sharpie and marked along everything I had pinned- really hard, right?  At home I measured from marked line to seam line and marked that onto my pattern piece.  Because (pretty much every seam) had two Sharpie lines, one on each side seam/back zipper line, I ended up with two different measurements per pattern piece.  So I literally went in between the two marked lines and cut down the middle.

After cutting out my new pattern pieces I made my final muslin, but I was really hoping this would work so I took a chance and used some nice cotton- in hopes of this one being a wearable muslin.  It was, yay!  I only had enough of the cotton for the main dress, not for the the bodice lining.  I used a soft white cotton for the inside and decided to be persnickety with my thread.  The thread on the outside matched the main fabric while all the inside stitching on the white lining was also white.  Yeah, you see some pride sneaking out here.

Anyway, there was only one spot on the final muslin that needed adjusting, the upper right back bodice where it attaches to the neck band.  It was pretty easy to just adjust that by moving my seam line on the final garment.

Now, the final garment.  It. Was. A. Pain.  I don't like polyester, Sam I Am!   I do not like it in a boat, I do not like it with a moat or goat or a house or a mouse or on a train, plane, in the rain- however that is supposed to go.  Polyester does not press, like, at all.  Polyester satin and chiffon shift around sooooo much and be careful with your pins cause they leave marks.  Also, it doesn't press.  Did you know it's virtually impossible to get a decent crease or seam allowance to stay on whatever side you want it on because it doesn't press.  I'm pretty sure I had cartoon thunder clouds around my head from my frustration and growing irritation.

There's one part on the skirt where it's gathered and attached to the bodice that some of the skirt fabric got caught and stitched into the gathering.  It almost looks like a pleat.  I tried to unpick it so it could be redone nicer, but the fabric wouldn't cooperate and played hide and seek with my stitches- so a pleat added into the gathering it was!  I think (hope) I'm the only one who noticed.  I also decided to be lazy on the skirt overlay and not adjust the tension for the thinner, sheerer fabric.  The result was slight puckering that I hadn't even worried over until I saw the dress on my friend while standing up with the other bridesmaids (in their pucker-free J-Crew dresses).  Lesson learned I suppose.

 The chosen dress had a deep V/notch  in the neckline but because of the heavy. thick fabric, one side had a hard time staying up and not flopping down.  The solution to this became to sew the top of the V together to create a keyhole.  It was a nice detail that many ladies noticed and commented on (positively, I might add- hehe).  I've also come to discover that I cannot sew zippers that have been pinned into the dress.  None of my seam lines will match.  I HAVE to hand-baste my zippers in to get matching necklines and waist lines.  It's a pain while I'm doing it (unless it's embroidery, I'm not a fan of hand sewing) but totally worth it in the end.  One last thing- hook and eyes.  They are mischievous little notions.  Anyone have any tips for sewing them in easily or at least neatly?

All in all, it was a good experience and ended pretty well.  I didn't think I would do anything like that again anytime soon, but that was before I realized the difficulties I have saying "No freaking way!" to people.  Cuz, ya know, I totally made my roomie's Comic-Con costume.  But that's a story for another day.

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