Some people blog all their pretty perfect outfits and look pretty and perfect, which is all good and uplifting and encouraging and all, but let’s be realistic. A lot of the garments I sew for myself take a lot of work and reworking and fitting and tweaking before I’m happy enough to wear them for a blog post photo shoot.
Well, this dress project is pissing me off because, well…. let’s be honest here. Because I’m an idiot and didn’t bother to do a toile prior to cutting, which was beyond necessary because my fabric is wool crepe. I quote from the pattern instructions:
Recommended fabrics: Jersey of wool or wool blends. Use stretch jersey fabrics only.
Yeah, I know. But I really wanted to use this particular teal wool crepe (I love wool crepe) and I wanted to make this particular dress because the bodice looked interesting, and I needed a wildcard for that Tying-Up-Loose-Ends idea.
At least even Karl Lagerfeld himself makes mistakes matching fabric with design sometimes. (Don’t believe me? Watch the documentary Signe Chanel in it’s entirety here or here or buy your own copy. There’s a lovely silk velvet gown that one petite main spends twelve full days sewing by hand, only to have the master admit his original fabric choice isn’t working.)
I measured, allowed for the lack of ease in the fabric, was a good girl and did an FBA leaving the armscye unaltered….And it failed miserably. This is before tweaking. The sleeves are the perfect length and it looks good, right?But I can’t move in it. See what happens when I move my arms? The armscyes are very low. Actually, a full 2.5 inches lower than they should be, and it’s because the top of the front armscye is entirely on the bias. Well, mine was, because I had the
brains foresight to do the required FBA. Yes, I was warned when I posted of my SWAP plans, but I’d already cut it out by then, so I just (uselessly) crossed my fingers and hoped. See the pulling? The sleeves won’t let my arms go anywhere, so the bodice is stretching across all its bias glory to allow for arm movement. I could not reach forward or put my arms over my head if someone had held a gun in my face.
This is after tweaking, with the too-full-but-with-room-enough-to-move sleeves of the wrong length. The re-cut the sleeves v.1 were from Vogue 8615: a 3/4 sleeve with an elbow dart, which was still too tight. (?!?!) When that didnt’ work, I thought I may as well go the whole hog and use what I know to be a loosey sort of proper fitting sleeve with wearing ease from Burda 5/2010 #112. The original sleeve is in tissue overlaying the sleeve pattern I eventually opted to use. I used silk organza selvedge to stay the armscye and eased in about 2-3 inches of stretched bias on the bodice front into what the measurements on the pattern dictated the armscye should be (about 9 inches from shoulder to underarm). Ridiculous.And now I have this. See all that fabric trying desperately to shrink into the armscye? And I couldn’t recut the bodice or reduce any of the fabric from the pleats because the FBA needs the ease to fit successfully. It isn’t pretty and perfect, but I can raise my arms, see? Doesn’t look great, but let me tell you, from a wearability perspective, it’s 100% better than the original version.The sleeves are loose enough that they move when I need them to now, and the armscye sits high enough that it basically stays in place when my arms move. But it’s got to be the ugliest bodice I’ve ever seen on myself.So do I like anything about this dress? Yes. I love the fabric. I love love love wool crepe. And the back fits well.The hemline finishing – fell stitched to the hem allowance because I wanted a clean finish.My silk lining.But I really hate the fit of the bodice and sleeves on my version of this dress. I think I’ll chop it off and make a skirt. So much for this loose end!