I recently returned from 10 days in Texas - which was wonderful, if not hotter than the hinges of hell. My goal for the trip was to sew my entire wardrobe, and wear only handmade dresses for vacation. After 2 1/2 weeks of sweatshop-like sewing, I completed 14 dresses. I do plan on posting step-by-step dress creation on this page, but for now, there will also be the liberal posting of ones I've already made, peppered with my uber witty commentary.
One of my favorite dresses was made from a pattern out of Simplicity's Project Runway line, pattern 1803. Specifically, I was drawn to version C of the bodice. Of course, because I can't ever do anything the normal way, I didn't use the cap sleeves or the notch in the center. So off I went on another pattern hack...
The interesting thing about this pattern (to me, anyway), is that it uses a princess seamed front, and darts in the back. The pattern is also drafted to be cut with a seam down the center front and has a nice scoop in the back. Joann Fabric's was having a 5 for $5 sale on Simplicity, so I grabbed the pattern and toiled it up in my normal size 10 - I cut the front bodice piece on the fold instead of using a center seam (cause no way, Jose, that's more pattern matching). I was confident that it would fit right out of the package like 2444 did.
Boy, was I wrong, because it was too big. HUGE, even. Of course, I looked at the finished garment size after the fact - cause I'm smart like that - and saw there's a ridiculous amount of ease in the pattern. So it was back to Joann's to grab another one, because spending another dollar was well worth the aggravation I was saved from trying to fix an already cut pattern (have I mentioned I'm an instant gratification junkie and cut my patterns rather than trace them?).
Note: I did save the mock-up by slapping a second set of darts in the back, taking in the side seams, and taking in the front princess seams from just under the bustline to the waist seam. I did all of this without ripping the skirt off, because I am lazy like that. I'm at peace with it.
Luckily, the size 8 did the trick, with one minor change...
I've discovered over the years that I have one major problem area when sewing - the small of my back is very narrow. What this does is create a lot of excess fabric in the back that I corrected in my younger days by taking in the side seams, then getting pissed when there were stress wrinkles under the bustline. Now I just remove 1/3" to 1/2" from the center back seam, depending on the pattern, and that works brilliantly.
After defeating the toile monster, I grabbed my chosen fabric - a fairly obnoxious but adorable Western print, complete with Stetsons, horses, ads for the county fair and cowboy boots. I did the same pattern adjustments, including the center front, cut the neckline in a size 6, used the simple gathered skirt from the pattern, and bound the neck and armholes with red bias tape. And my Happy Trails dress was born!
|super pleased face|
|ta-da! no thought to pattern matching|
The back's a bit flattened from sitting at my desk, but all in all, I'm pretty damn happy with the result.
|cardigan and gold BCBG shoes|
I got quite a few positive comments while wearing this in Texas (and who doesn't love that?), and it was loads of fun to wear. While on vacation, I wore this during a marathon dash to San Antonio, which included a drive-by of the Alamo and a quick 20 minute jaunt down a section of the river walk.
|River walk selfie|
Also, a blurry pic of the Alamo as we drove past (our flight was leaving Austin in a few hours).
|"Look kids, Big Ben...Parliment"|
And a gorgeous part of the river walk
So that's that, as they say. Now I get the joy of dashing off to put new tires on my car (yay). Last night was a fairly chill evening close to home, with a stop by one of my favorite breweries for an amazing chocolate coffee porter.
And on that note, I'm outta here! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!