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

I’m just going ahead

bustier 4I’m still working on the bustier for my bombshell dress.  I needed to redraft the cups yet a 5th time.  I’m really having a lot of trouble getting this to fit the way I want it to.  The centre piece of the bodice should lie flat against my breastbone – and it’s quite happy to do that until I get the cups in.  HA!  So I redrafted the cups a 4th time – I actually had to add width across the centre bust point – in order to get the CF to lie flat properly.  But it was a little too much!

So here I am again, re-drafting them a 5th time.  bustier 4 cup piecesI’ve decided to make the entire bustier and finish it properly with the lining, padding (for shaping the cups) and spiral-steel boning this time.  I’m curious to see whether the 12 channels of boning that are supposed to go into this bustier will help the bodice stay close to my ribcage or not.  The goal, frankly, was to have a bustier that did not require undergarments.  This may be impossible, but I’m still forging ahead.  My rationale?  If it doesn’t work as a strapless garment – y’know, sags, pulls away from the breastbone or whatever – there are several strap options that just may add that extra “keep in place” help that this thing needs – on my body, anyway.  So stay tuned.  I’ve not re-drafted and remade so many muslins for any garment EVER.  And when I get the fit just right, it’s going to be a good foundation pattern for any number of garments.