Well, peeps, I am really happy to write that the Request Gown is finished and happily delivered. Oy! What a learning and stretching process this was. At many times during the last hours of work on it I thought, “If this was for me, I’d have wadded it a long time ago.” But I couldn’t. I had to figure it out, problem solve and make it work for this morning, when it was due! Which is a good thing, because it pushed me outside my comfort zone and into areas that were really very s-c-c-a-a-r-r-y! And I learned that I really love/hate the challenge of making something work. Love it because it’s new and interesting; hate it because it makes me work and cry and realize the craters in the surface of my sewing skills.
The dress is actually a lot darker than the photo – a French navy – which is so close to black that it photographed like black: impossibly. The fabric is a heavy poly crepe, but one of those super nice ones with excellent weight and drape. The front and back are mirror versions: draped with pleating pulled into a circular inset at the left waist and draped/pleated fabric on the right shoulder. It has a side zip on the right side which was simple to insert as the seam is a plain seam. (whew!) There is also a thigh-high slit over the front of the left leg, and this is where my grief began. I needed to have 7 button/loops at the top, and didn’t want a seam running down the side of the skirt from the bottom of the inset only. It would have been ideal to do it like that and later on when the hemline went all AWOL because of the drape/grainline I really wished I’d cut it as two pieces. But I decided to treat it as an extra-long welt with the loops at the top. Here’s my process, for those who are interested, beginning with the marking of the slit line.I stitched with a 1.2 stitch length, 1/8″ on either side of the markings, up the side that would hold the button loops until about 2.5″ from the top of the slit.
Basted my bias loops together into one piece. I like working with little fiddly loops, by the way. The first time I ever did a dress with loops I was about 14, and I was hooked.
Pin basted them into place.
Lay the facing over the loops, stitched up to the top of the slit.
I opened up the facing to see all the little tail ends of the loops, and trimmed them to less than 1/8″ because I needed to stitch down the other side of the welt and didn’t want the ends to be caught in the seam.
This is what they look like from the right side.
Once the other side of the welt was stitched – again 1/8″ away from the marking – I slashed the welt open very very carefully.
And understitched both sides.
Finished. Just a note: after the penultimate fitting, it was decided the slit needed to be 1 inch higher, so I had to unpick and redo the top of the welt/slit with the loops. Needless to say, the second go at the loops was perfection. The little piece of beige by the top button in the pic is the dress form.
The slit made hemming a bit of challenge. After weeping and wailing in frustration because it just WOULD NOT hang straight, a lot of finicky eye-balling and learning a lot about the combined effects of grain/drape/fabric weight, I managed to get it perfect. It’s not hanging properly on Vintage because she leans forward (!?).
The sleeves are split and closed with self-covered buttons and bias loop closures. They looked like this prior to being set.This is what they looked like once they were in. On a person, they fall apart and are held together at the centre by the button/loops. Vintage just doesn’t handle modeling very well. *sigh* But I’m sure you get the point.
The dress turned out beautifully, despite my wanting to take scissors to it at numerous stages. As I made very clear before I took any of these Request Garments on, I am a far cry from a professional dressmaker, but I’m pleased with the dress, and so is the Requestor. Learning like this is hard slogging!