Tuesday, September 10, 2013

sewing fo: why don't we just (sew a) dance dress

There is nothing quite like looking at your completely boring social calendar (hmmm...let's see, Thursday night: dance; Friday night: dance; Saturday: dance; yeah, I have no life) and then sewing a formal. A shiny, satin party dress that forces you to look for an occasion to wear it.

Pattern: Simplicity 2252

Fabric: leftover cobalt blue poly-satin, I'm going to guess about 1-1/2 yds

This was the last of the blue projects of this summer and my first major stash-busting sewing project ever. See, I don't actually have a stash, except for odds and ends left over from projects. Normally, I take the pattern envelope to Hobby Lobby and buy the exact amount of fabric required for the project and then I finish the project before starting a new one. But when I bought the yards and yards of blue poly-satin for the long version of Simplicity 2252 for my senior prom dress, I didn't know that halfway through the year I was going to change my mind and make a Downton Abbey inspired dress that took half the yardage. Then this summer I decided to make up the short version of the pattern. Just 'cos.

side angle
I struggled a little with this pattern. The simplest change I made was binding the bottom edge of the bodice lining in bias tape instead of hemming it. It's tight enough that the hemmed edge stood out ridiculously on the skirt. So I tried the bias tape, which worked better, but is still visible. Darn.

But when it came to the actual fitting...I started out by making a size designed for someone slightly smaller than me. And then I took five inches out of the bodice. A whole five inches. I have no idea why there was so much ease designed into it, because that's just darned crazy. I graded it down to about four inches at my waist and then to the proper seam placement at my hips, because I'm very much a pear shape. But still. That's a heck of a lot of ease. The side seams didn't match up too well either. I wound up taking a tiny little pleat in the side along where all the pattern pleating already was.

And then the back. Oh the back.

It's an awful wrinkly mess. We're not sure why ("we" being my mother, my sister, and me). It might be because my waist is a tad bit higher than the pattern model. It might be because I'm bigger up top than the pattern model was, but I have a fairly small waist and a fairly sway back, so the pattern's distorted on me. It might be operator error because I'm very, very far from being a perfect seamstress. I don't know. If anyone knows why, feel free to tell me what I did wrong! In fact, pleeease tell me!

I'm super proud of the edge of that lining because of my little hand stitches. I love hand sewing parts of my dresses, because it makes me feel extra accomplished when I make them as invisibly as possible. I always do hems and darts by hand, but this time I did the edges of my linings too. And on that bias tape edging, I got little running stitches. I think I may have even gotten them down to 10 per inch. :D

with my finger for comparison
All in all, I'm pretty happy with the dress, except for the back, which I can't see when I wear it but still frustrates the dickens out of me. During move-in day at school, my roommates, suitemates, and friends all oohed and aahed over it, so I guess I did an acceptable job in the world of less-than-perfection normal person standards.

this is swineflu. he's the closest thing I have right now to a prom date


  1. Too cute, you did an excellent job. The vivid blue is a great color on you!

    1. Thanks! Blue's way up there on my list of favorite colors. :)


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