Finally to work on my anniversary/Christmas dress for this year. I made minor adjustments to my pattern. First I added 19″ to the length; folded the over/underlaps out-of-the-way because my front will be on the fold; and walked the side seams of the back and front bodice portion (which I then trimmed a smidge to match). I made another muslin. Yes this dress was important enough to me to make another muslin; but the muslin consisted of bodice pieces only. I wanted to check the neckline depth and that the side seams matched. I used a crisp shirting cotton. Marked my neckline on the muslin and transferred to the pattern. I wanted my Christmas dress to be like Pamela’s Softly Pleated Dress. It won’t be exactly because I’ve already raised the empire line. Also I decided I didn’t want to do a vastly different neckline just a deep above-cleavage scoop. I measured the skirt portions of Pamela’s dress and added 4″ ease to the skirt portions of my pattern, Burda #134 from 5/2009. I cut my navy, matelaise fabric thinking this would be fairly quick to put together. After all, I’d worked out all the issues with my muslinS.
I decided to fully line the upper bodice both back and front. I found my navy satin lining fabric and cut hunks off big enough for both pieces. I block fused my interfacing. I like the Pro Sheer from Fashion Sewing Supply. I like her weft and tricot too but I like the performance of the Pro Sheer with fine fabrics and blouses. However, I hate cutting it. There is always some place the rotary cutter doesn’t slash and scissors always leave big jagged chunks. I decided to block fuse, even though this would waste some expensive interfacing. I really liked the combination interfacing and satin. Nonetheless, I taped front and back neckline and back shoulders. the matelaise is spongy and deeply textured but also tends to stretch. I didn’t want that happening at my neckline.
I serge finished most edges before serging the shoulders together and finishing the neckline. Followed that by carefully pleating the skirt portions and stitching to the bodices. I wanted to check the pleat placement and basted the side seams together. OMG!!! Pleats and this fabric made me look 3′ tall and 9′ wide. Notice I didn’t baste the empire seam? That meant I now needed to rip out those seams. My thread perfectly matched. I could not see to rip. I’m not sure how I ever got it done. I took out the pleats; trimmed the excess fabric and eased skirts to bodices. I serged my sleeves into the armscyes. I should have known better and can only be grateful that I got away with it. The shoulder sits where it should. I had intended to pleat the cuffs; just to do something a little different. But I felt burned after the skirts and simply basted the long side/underarm seam before trying on.
That 19″ I added at the beginning? To make a blouse pattern into a dress? Well it was either too much or not enough. It was not enough for a maxi (which I didn’t want anyway) but way too much for the knee-length cocktail dress I planned. After a few tries, I had shortened the dress by 6″ + a 2″ hem. I turned my attention to the sleeves. As expected they were just too much. Between the knee-length and textured fabric, I now looked like a big navy-blue pumpkin. I slimmed the sleeves by taking in the underarm seam between elbow and wrist a full 1″ (2″ total). I turned the wrist hem up 1.5″; trimmed the skirt length and turned up a 2″ hem (pinned in place and then took pictures.
This does not say “happy anniversary” to me.
Pic 1 full color; Pic 2 lightened 100% so garment style is visible.
I can think of a few captions. How about
“I’m the new widow and need comforting.”
or while at the funeral of one of my friends to her widowed-husband:
“So sorry for you loss. Can I do anything for you?”
The neckline eventually collapses down to just above my bra. Even interfaced and taped, the spongy matelaise will not hold the neckline shape like the crisp shirting I used for a muslin. I knew the matelasie would act differently. That’s why I interfaced and taped AND lined.
OK I know that my trouser-socks with flats and no jewelry/accessories is not dressed up for cocktails. But the dress just looks dowdy to me both in the mirror and in the pics. I was thinking ‘conservative cocktail dress’; got stodgy Republican fund-raiser. (I reserve the right to make fun of my own party.) I continued to wonder about accessories especially a wrap. Didn’t want to sew anything until I was sure, so took pics with items already in the closet. Colors don’t match but how about complimentary shapes?
The already-failed attempt to snug up the neckline isn’t helping. Neither is the ‘we lost the election’ look on my face.
The pink/peach second from left in pic 1 might work. But I’d need to be cleavage baring for a ‘cocktail evening’ effect.
I have to ask myself, how did I get to this point? Is it just my shape? I’ve aged like most of my family elders but they could pull off se%y looks up until their deaths. Is it the style lines of the garment? I did think the Blue Challis Rayon quite lovely. Feminine. Should I have used a shiny fabric instead of textured? Will accessories alone banish the dowdiness of this garment? I know that heels and hose will improve the look some. As well as the Ruby necklace I planned to wear.
I don’t know. I’m stymied.