Readers, remember this loathsome garment from last week that looked like an Eighth Grade Home Ec sewing project left out in the rain and ridden over by the cast of Ben Hur? (OK, this is one of those classic Before photos where the light couldn't be less flattering, but still...) On Thursday, I asked you to send me your good sewing karma, and you did. Behold! So. Much. Better.
The dress isn't finished yet -- it needs a longer zipper, a finished hem, bodice trim, and a few other things -- but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is arguably the most challenging sewing project I have ever taken on, primarily because it is for somebody else -- a woman who has every intention of wearing it!
We all start projects that don't turn out right and end up in the UFO pile, but I didn't have that option; this is part of a BurdaStyle sew-along and I had to finish it. Not only that, I had to show others how to make it. I now feel confident that I can do that, since I have basically made this dress three times.
For those just joining us, here's the commercial shot of the dress I'm making. (A strategically placed clutch bag and oversized lime lifesaver can hide a multitude of sewing sins, let's be honest.)
There were a few problems I didn't anticipate: the weight of the skirt, the droopiness of the fabric, and the nightmare of two competing patterns. As you know, late last week I completely re-made the skirt, using just the cornflower blue fabric.
Yesterday I re-made the bodice -- from scratch. I went to Steinlauf and Stoller and bought weft-weight interfacing and spiral steel boning. I recut the bodice and interfaced the entire thing. It made a huge difference. I cut my lining from a silky-soft cotton sheet, and put boning along the back and side seam allowances.
I stitched the bones to the inside (wrong side) of the lining and, given the thick cotton fabric and the cotton bone casing, they don't show through the dress.
I don't think Leah will mind if I share her measurements: 33.5 -- 27 -- 37. She's slim but curvier than the BurdaStyle model, and there's something about the look of an open pleat I don't like, but that's the way the pattern is designed. Yes, I could press it flat, but it would still spread visibly.
Obviously, on the dress form, this isn't an issue, but like most women, Leah has a lower body and not just a pole with wheels.
So there you have it, readers. I have saved a dress and, I like to believe, my reputation -- or am I just being dramatic? I have to credit Susan Khalje's book Bridal Couture, which gave me the confidence to deal with boning and bodices. (Actually, the BurdaStyle halter dress instructions do call for boning, but the directions are minimal. Interfacing is never mentioned.) Fortunately, Leah just got married so she won't be needing a wedding dress any time soon.
In closing, readers, I hope this couture cliffhanger hasn't raised your blood pressure or disturbed your sleep this week, as it did mine. If I told you I went to a local health clinic yesterday and got a cardiogram, would you think I was kidding? I'm not. As it turns out, I'm in excellent health, with nothing more than a strained intercostal muscle (most likely from swimming) rather than acute angina. But perhaps it would behoove me to lighten up a little -- on my coffee consumption, and just in general.
Friends, have you ever saved a sewing project from a fate worse than death? Have you gotten so stressed over it that it compromised your health?
I'm a native New Yorker and self-taught sewing fanatic! I've been sewing obsessively since 2009 and today make all my own clothes using mostly vintage patterns and vintage sewing machines. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!