Blue dress disaster salvage

blue skirtWhat a beautifully done narrow waist binding, eh?  This was my solution to the Burda Disaster of last year.

chalked waistline

I cut off the bodice and made it into a skirt.

front waistline

Why?  A couple of reasons.

First, I could not recut the armscyes the three inches higher they needed to be.

Burda 11-2012-138 side back

Second, I didn’t have enough fabric to fix all the drag lines on those sleeves.  But I did put in a little more work than simply chopping off the bodice.

I took the entire thing apart, and re-distributed the fullness through the bodice pleats.  I pin basted the changes, but this looked pretty good.

Burda 11-2012-138 re-pleated front

Actually, I thought it was a big improvement from the excessive bustline fabric folds in the original version.


I’m still really drawn to the idea of this dress, so I do have plans to make it up again in the (near) future.  I carefully noted the bodice changes: about a 3/4 reduction in the CF pleats.  In other words, I altered out my FBA.  And I raised the armscye by about 3 inches.  All the changes are well-documented, so here’s to my new blue skirt, and another successful version of this dress in the future.

Edited to add:  The skirt is a great addition in my wardrobe – I’ve already worn it a few times, and I’m happy with the blue addition.  But I’ve moved on from this dress, and won’t be making it up again.  Here’s to a new year of sewing, with lessons learned and applied and more muslins, less wadders.

Happy New Year, everyone!

The Blogiversary Wadder Ledger

Since I can’t sew while my house is in chaos, I’ve been thinking and reading and looking at things related to sewing a LOT.  Mostly I’ve been thinking about how experimental it all seems to be for me, with successes mostly being regulated to garments I sew for other people.  I don’t have any trouble constructing and finishing garments well, but fitting myself is an elusive science, and I don’t always want to make that @!(#* muslin.  So I end up fitting as I go, which in the case of the Saga of Capris this past spring, means basically I’ve made myself three muslins.  So I should just get over myself and make the muslins already.

Anyways, I thought it would be interesting to catalogue all the garments I’ve made and haven’t kept, and the reasons for letting them go.  Whenever I do catalogue, I start seeing patterns, and this helps going forward.   And I thought I’d share them with y’all, since this blog is about failures, mistakes and successes.  You can click the pics to get to the original posts.

1. Vogue 1175: Donna Karan dress.  I love this dress.  It’s so far out of Normal Clothing Universe that I love it.  But the linen was too heavy and I wasn’t sure about the colour.  So I thrifted it with plans to make it again sometime out of something lighter and darker.2. All my recent Vogue capri makes.  My go with the Burda block has made me absolutely dissatisfied with every pair I made this spring.  I have cannibalized them all for notions, however.

3. The first version of Vogue 8182.  This shrunk after I washed it because I hadn’t pre-shrunk the silk. I was very sorry to part with this dress, and have kicked myself every time I see pictures of it for not pre-treating the fabric before sewing it up.  Never mind.  Lesson learned. Another thing: this dress was made with my first-ever duct tape twin, and it made a tremendous difference in getting the fit right through the bodice.  My twin eventually collapsed, and I’m still without a double. But thinking about this dress and how easy it was to “fit myself” using that dress form makes me kick myself for not having DH wrap me up in duct tape again.4.  The tank from Simplicity 2603. I hated the finishing.  Hated the top.  Hated the pilling on the fabric.5.  This wrap top from Simplicity 4076.  I wore it until the fabric was so badly pilled it became an embarrassment to wear.  But I liked the pattern and it fit well.

6.  A Karl Lagerfeld blouse.  I actually never wore this, although it was fun to make. I’ve wanted to make this blouse since I was a teenager, and I finally got around to it just to make someone else happy in a thrift store! 🙂V1900 batwing sleeves7.  My first plastron from BurdaStyle.  I wasn’t happy with the fit (no required FBA was done) and it shrunk after washing.  I’d like to make this again, if 4 ply silk wasn’t so expensive.  It was a nice top.7. These trousers from Vogue 8434.  I initially loved them and they seem to look good, but I decided last year that they looked dowdy, so I cannibalized them for notions and trashed the fabric.  The RPL was starting to pill anyways, and I hate that.v8434 front8. A tulip skirt.  The fabric was left in stash, so I made this on a whim, mostly to try out the silhouette.  But I cut the lining a size smaller than it should have been, which made it uncomfortable to wear, and I had to always remember to suck my belly button into the front of my spine while wearing it, so I sent it out of the house to bless someone else’s closet.b skirt8. My fringe dress.  I never did like the way it fit, regardless of that lovely fringe.  And every time I’m tempted to make something out of RPL, I remember this dress and the trousers in #7 above, and move on.v2396 full front dartless9. The first woven version of Burda 9/2012 #111.  It needed a lot of tweaking through the shoulders and width down the sleeves, not being made of jersey and all.  D’oh.  Didn’t think that through prior to cutting and sewing.b09-2010-111a full 10.  Both this top and the skirt.  The top was too short and the FBA too big (it was a jersey) for me to wear comfortably.  And the skirt was eventually tiresome, even if it was bias linen in a lovely olive green.  I always used to hate my hips in it.MMJ 1411.  My bombshell dress. It was the first garment I ever cried in frustration over, and after taking pics for the blog, I never wore it.  I always hated the bodice. ‘Nuff said.

12.  This muslin.  I was sorry I wasted the linen on it. I’m still sorry.DSC0347413. These trousers and the jacket.  After years, I finally thrifted that jacket.  The trousers, although I was sorry to see that beautiful wool crepe go, had to leave.  I hated the high waistband after all.montana jacket14.  This OOP Vogue blouse that looks like Vogue 8747, but is cut completely on the bias.  It gave me nightmares every time I put it on.  And the trousers. The shirt was made out of fabric that was too drapey for the pattern, and the trousers just got worse the more I wore them.  Looking at them now, I know what’s needed, but I thrifted them both.  I didn’t even bother cannibalizing them for parts.v7751 r315. The shark fin skirt.  Bad fabric choice, and I’m still lamenting this one.  I loved the fabric, but it would have been much better in a straight skirt.  I wore it once.B 2-2011-103 detailAnd there you have it.  Just looking at this catalogue makes me appreciate how much I’ve learned through trial and error, and brings home – yet again – just how much I need to think through fabric/pattern marriages and make a muslin. This post marks my blogiversary, and in the last three years of taking pictures and scrutinizing my sewing skills, wardrobe and style choices, I’ve learned a lot.  I know I’m making more garments that fit better and that I’m happy to wear now that I’ve been logging more sewing hours, scrutinizing fit, poring over tutorials and books, and reading a gazillion sewing blogs.  Also, I am amazed at how helpful the camera is in tweaking fit.  I really hated taking pictures at the beginning, but I’m thankful that it helps me pinpoint things that need improvement.  I’m also surprised at how a lot of these garments don’t look so bad in retrospect, although I’m not sorry I let them go, because I wasn’t comfortable wearing them even though (from today’s perspective)  they didn’t look half as bad as I thought they did at the time I made the decision to pass them on.