party dress; or, the long and winding road

Here we go again with my toils in patternmaking! I want to keep hammering away at patternmaking so I don’t forget what I learned and also to try to improve my very limited skills.
So, when we got invited to a wedding, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to make a party dress (also because I didn’t really have a dress to wear). I had seen a Grecian neckline dress at J. Crew that I really liked, but I tried it on, and to say it did not fit is an understatement. Armed with my patternmaking knowledge (ha ha ha), I decided to go for it:
1. The J. Crew dress had a princess seam, but I was afraid that trying to do a princess seam AND a Grecian neckline was going to really rattle my tiny brain, so I just followed the instructions in my patternmaking textbook for the Grecian neckline and made a muslin. Disaster. I got kind of confused because there was a top piece and a bottom piece, and I wasn’t really sure how things were supposed to come together. A horizontal seam across the bustline seemed kind of weird. The muslin looked insane.
2. After that I decided I needed some additional guidance, so I bought a pattern that had an armhole princess and a Grecian neckline. Yay! It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but I figured I could adapt it. I decided to just sew up a muslin of the pattern in case it miraculously fit (because then I wouldn’t need to do any drafting), but of course it didn’t.
3. On to Plan C! I went back to drafting my own pattern, but it was really helpful to have the purchased pattern to refer to. I started with the armhole princess seams then did the neckline. I had to make a couple of muslins but got to the point where I felt I had a workable pattern.
The Good:
– I think the dress came out pretty well, and it is just as I had envisioned it
– I think I did a decent job with the lining. I know that sounds silly, but hey, I like the lining
– I’m very pleased with the fabric and how much it cost. I wanted to use silk doupioni, but I didn’t want to spend a ton in case I ruined the dress. Hello promotionally priced silk doupioni from! I got 2 yards of silk doupioni, 2 yards of cotton broadcloth for the lining, a zipper, thread, and a couple packs of needles for UNDER $30. Thank you very much.
Silicone pasties
The Bad:
– Should I mention the puckers by the armholes? Well, they weren’t there when I was fitting the bodice. I think they appeared because I tried a trick of sewing some elastic to the lining to pull in the strapless side of the bodice. I think I placed the elastic incorrectly or something. By then it was too late to remove the elastic, so I just figured, screw it, nobody is going to care. After I got home I did take the elastic out, and I think next time I wear the dress I’ll just use some double-stick tape (they have that for clothes, don’t they?) to keep the strapless side secured.
If you’ve read this far you deserve a prize or at least a visit to a mental health specialist. Thanks!

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12 Responses to party dress; or, the long and winding road

  1. carolyn says:

    it looks great, dude! I am duly impressed. sorry you felt crappy at the weddin’ though. MISS YOU. bye.

  2. yumeko says:

    i think it looks fab and the color is flattering on u ^^

  3. kimchi says:

    WOW. that is amazing. and the dress looks really cute on you, very nice color on you too! you’re turning in to quite the seamstress…

  4. Seanna Lea says:

    You did an excellent job!
    How long does it take you to make a muslin? It’s one of the steps I’ve always ignored as taking too long, because if I’m sewing I want the garment made yesterday.

  5. Melissa says:

    That turned out great! The fit looks perfect on you.

  6. amy k. says:

    oh super cute! and you get a gold star for all your multiple muslins and stuff. I be all Forever 21 after the first go-around.

  7. freecia says:

    Love the color! And yes, there’s “Hollywood Tape” for clothing. They even make them in big wedges. And dude, telling me about a sale? Slightly evil. I need some shorts. I plan on buying some shorts and just altering to suit stumpy legs.
    Did you see that GAP is advertising those jean leggings? I wonder how hard it would be to do a legging that masquerades as more boot cut-ish pants, so you get the comfort and denim look without it being completely ruthless. More French Cafe than Tour De France…

  8. Robin says:

    Wow! I am impressed. It looks gorgeous. Only you would know what the flaws were so don’t sweat it.

  9. Kay says:

    Finally! One I know the answer to!
    My kid actually need this for her bat mitzvah party dress, and it actually worked. Highly recommended for peace of mind for a 13 year old in a strapless dress. Wish I’d know about the silicone jobbies–that was another thing I had to talk somebody down off the limb about.
    You did DAMN WELL on that dress. Really beautiful, and beautiful on you. Enough with the self deprecation already!

  10. Susan says:

    It looks amazing! I love the color!
    But why do you need pasties? What about a strapless bra? I usually go for those so they can add a little extra 🙁 although I did have a pair of those nipple things when I was in China. They made me look like a mannequin, haha.

  11. splatgirl says:

    I heart dupioni silk SO MUCH. prolly my favorite fabric if I had to pick one. The dress is lovely and so perfectly fit! LOVE that you are sewing/wearing something fitted AND slightly revealing! WHOOHOO!

  12. Annhb says:

    wow! Good for you making all those muslins! Looks great!

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