Monday, July 28, 2014

The Almost-Fail Dress, aka Simplicity 1418

Happy Monday once again - today's bonus post is about a project that I'm still not quite sure about.  During my marathon sewing in July, for some unknown reason I decided to test out a brand new pattern (Wile E. Coyote's got nothing on MY genius), and grabbed another Project Runway special from Simplicity.  I'd made several Flora dresses already, and wanted a slightly differently sundress design to wear in Texas, and I thought that 1418 would fit the bill perfectly.  After all, it was JUST a simple princess seamed bodice with straps.  How hard could that possibly be?

Famous last words.

I'm no stranger to princess dresses. In my 20s and early 30s, I made dozens of them while participating in the SCA, dressing in 14th century, gothic gowns.  Even more, I drafted my own pattern using the T-shirt and duct tape method for the perfect fit.  Which should have been a HUGE clue...

Because I'd worked for years from a homemade pattern that was drafted to me and only me, I'd forgotten about how fiddly all those seams can be.  Even more so when you have a slight sway back and larger bust size.  Needless to say, the pattern was, at first blush, nothing short of DISASTER.  The back was huge, the bust was snug and the waist was baggy.  And the straps, ooohhh, the straps. 

Now, I did go rogue and ignore the instructions.  Because, well, I just did.  I also used bias tape for the facing and just top-stitched the straps in place after what seemed like an hour of pinning, checking placement and repinning (this is a technique I've seen in photos of vintage dresses, so nyah nyah). 

After wasting a day of vacation sewing, I was totally disgusted with the sloppy fit, and into the "fail" heap it went.

Fast forward a highly productive week, and I decided to give the dress a second look with a less stressed eye (and after a refreshing vodka and soda).  I really loved the fabric, and the plus of a princess seamed dress is that you have all those seams to make tiny alterations.  I took in the back and sides about 1/2", and the front seams a scant 1/4" from the underbust to the waist.  "There!", thought I.  "That should do it".  Will I ever learn that vodka-empowered boldness isn't the best course of action?  Probably not.

It's really snug.  I mean, really.  But, I kind of like it.  It's definitely not a dress for work, but I did take it on vacation it was fine.  Not a total fail, but not one for the win category either.


However, I love the skirt pattern.  It's the same piece for the front and back (I kept looking for the missing skirt piece until I realized there wasn't one), with two deep pleats.  This means it's fairly fabric conservative but nicely flared.  **It is a side-zip dress pattern, so I cut it the back piece on the selvedge rather than the folder...presto!  back zip!

Rumpled back - I don't iron
I also set the zip in a bit too low, but I'm too lazy to put a hook and eye at the top. And the zipper is slightly too short, meaning it either goes on over my head or I do an interesting shimmy getting it pulled up.  Oh well.  On a side note, I forgot how much I love my orange Steve Madden shoes.  These need more wear.

All in all, I do like the pattern and see a lot of potential.  I'm a fan of the Project Runway line of patterns (I am deeply, madly enamoured of 2444) so I'm not ready to give up on this one yet. 

Well, I guess it's not THAT bad....
If I ever get so inclined, I think I'll let the side seams out a touch.  I don't have a lot to play with, because I pinked my seams so they'd be neatly finished (thank you, vodka).  Or maybe I'll just wear a cardigan.  After all, this is the Land of Layers.

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