The Bombshell Course: Mission accomplished

side frontFirst, I want to apologize for the crappy over-exposed pictures, but the sun is shining and it’s warm enough to be outside dressed like this. There was frost in my yard this morning!

After ripping and sewing (shell) and ripping and sewing (lining) and generally fussing with this yesterday for 5 hours, I’ve accomplished my goal.  I’ve made up the dress as a trial to see if it was worth using fabric that I value highly, and found that yes, I’m pretty happy with the finished product.  It’s come a long way and is definitely worth making up two or three more times.  Using a print would also disguise a lot of the picky-picky fussing issues about the bodice cups – you just wouldn’t notice them!!! He he he he….

B 5-2011-122 back viewWhen I first saw the dress pattern on the cover of Burda’s May 2011 issue, I did not even look at it twice.  Actually, that’s a lie.  I did look at it twice, because it’s in the magazine twice.  And I distinctly remember thinking, “I really hate that dress.  I hate the 3 piece bra cup.  It fits terribly.  I hate that dress.”  And then I saw Gertie’s Bombshell Course.

A little history here:  I am completely self (read book) taught.  My mother used to sew a lot when I was little, and I finally convinced her to teach me when I was 9 years old.  The extent of her teaching was how to lay out a pattern and clarification for steps in the directions that I didn’t understand.  The first thing I ever made was a basic doll dress made up of rectangles…. on a Singer treadle, no less.  But I’ve never ever taken a sewing class. Until Gertie’s course.

When I signed up, I had no idea I would be using the Hated Dress Pattern.  But the course was paid for (half price – yay!), and so I thought, “Well, even if I never wear the darned thing, I’ll learn a lot from taking this course, especially about boning a bodice.”  And that was only the beginning.  Let me share just a little of what I learned:B 5-2011-122

  • I learned about draping.  I had to so drastically re-draft the cup pattern, that I did my first ever teeny tiny drafting project under Gertie’s video supervision  to get the cups to fit.
  • I learned about using needlepunch or thin quilt batting or felt or whatever to shape the cups and working with spiral steel boning.
  • I got to practice a lot of techniques that I’ve done once or twice over my sewing years all in one garment.  FUN! Smile

underwired bodice liningAnd now to some technical things.  I decided to double bone the CF of the bodice – in the absence of a wooden busk or very inflexible steel – and added underwire to the lining.  This doesn’t show from the outside or the inside, but it does add more security to the bodice.  I’m still not 100% happy with the way the neckline does not lay flat, but it’s better than it was.  waist stayHere’s the finished bodice from the inside.

There are some things that I will fix for next time.  First, the skirt lining is doing weird things (you can see that in the top picture).  Second, I will reduce the curve on the bottom of Piece #1 (the cup top piece) by about 1/4”.  This will change the silhouette to curved rather than angular.  I did reduce the centre seam by the intended 1/2” for this version, but it’s still not enough.  I’ve made notes on my pattern pieces for the next version.  Third, the back bodice needs to be shortened by about another 3/4” to account for my high hips (or sway back, however you like to call it). And last, I will look at imitating the boning pattern of a corset in the hopes it will encourage the CF neckline to lay flat against my breastbone.  It’s not bad, but it’s not perfect.necklineThank you to all of you who have cheered me on as I’ve waded through this one, and I just wanted to say, yes, usually I’d trash something that made me *almost* cry, but I was bound and determined, come hell or high water to conquer the fit of this dress. It’s my repressed type A personality showing through, I guess!! And the fact that I beat it in the end is truly enjoyable. No, I’m not a sucker for punishment. I just really really hate giving up on something. There is always a way to win. !!!! Did I just write that? Ah, well…..B 5-2011-122 back

11 thoughts on “The Bombshell Course: Mission accomplished

  1. Hi! I just found your blog thanks to Tanit-Isis. I’m just now getting to Gertie’s bombshell dress class, and I’m also finding that the center of the sweetheart neckline doesn’t sit flush, although the rest of it seems to fit me perfectly. When I adjust the cups and bodice so that the little piece of the bodice that juts up between the cups sits flat, the whole thing becomes a gaping mess unless I hold it in place. From your experience, would the extra bones and underwires and such give the cups enough structure to hold their shape and sit flush? Or, should I just ignore the gaping since it’s not that bad (from any other perspective other than my own looking down) and everything else fits perfectly? Thanks!

  2. I am so glad you stuck with it and finished this dress because you look wonderful wearing it! I just signed up for Gertie’s class too, besides home-ec in junior high, I’m a self-taught (library books) sewer. I’ve never used boning before (I usually need a SBA) plus I think I’m ready for a challenge of learning some new techniques.

    I like the class/instructor more than this particular pattern, so I’m going to make it for my son’s girlfriend. Like you, she has curves and will look adorable in this-if I can make it fit correctly. I’m going to follow your advice on making the cups larger. Your version is sexy without showing too much.

    I can’t wait to see your dress made up in Liberty of London. At around $40 a yard, I’d be a bit nervous too!

    Great job!!

  3. I think this dress is a major achievement . I love it on you and it will be divine in your special fabric. I think I may sign up for this course for all the reasons you have said. ( I am self taught too )

  4. Yay! Congratulations! You have truly been to hell and back for this dress—you deserve a party! An award!

    Will you incorporate a full corset-type busk next time, do you think? Or would there be a way to add in a bra-type band to hold the top front in place—like a waist-stay but higher up? Just brainstorming here. Really it looks great and I would never have noticed that small amount of gaping if you hadn’t pointed it out.

    I like the strap, as well—I, too, never end up liking a strapless top/dress as much as I think I will…

    You are definitely a bombshell in this dress! 🙂

    1. I’ve been doing brainstorming every night during the calm-down-it’s-time-to-sleep minutes before I finally doze off at bedtime. I can definitely say the underwire helped A LOT, and I’ll probably do the corset-type busk with a few more bones to see if it improves the neckline’s cooperation! Maybe I actually need to make a corset first…..

  5. Love, love love it. You must be proud as a peacock. The dress is stunning on you. No where could you buy a more well fitting garment.


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