Friday, August 8, 2014

Bride of Frankendress; Frankendress II, the Frankendressening; or... The Monster Mash Dress

Well it's another gorgeous Friday here in the Pac NW.  As a matter of fact, it's been SO beautiful for the last month that I think we're all getting twitchy for some rain and gloom!  But I'm enjoying the sunshine while it lasts; fall will be here soon enough and hibernation season lasts a hell of a lot longer than summer.  Note to self, start stockpiling tights....

I just ordered a new table for the Stitchery off of Amazon.  It's awesome, it's a portable folding table with legs that adjust up to 48" - at $40ish, that's the cheapest cutting table I could ever get my hands on!  And if the drums find a new corner to call home, I'll have it set up all the time, and my little studio will be complete (here's where I rub my hands together in anticipatory glee).

I also hit up one of my local Jo Ann's Fabrics on Thursday.  They are having an amazing pattern sale - $1.99 Butterick and 5 for $5 Simplicity.  I've been wanting to pick up a couple of different styles to round out my dress wardrobe (and get a backup for Simplicity 2444), so that's what I did.

The two Butterick I picked are retro reprints - I chose B5880 for the skirt pattern but I actually am getting psyched about trying the bodice.  B6582 is one I've been stalking for a few years, but was always sold out.  I want to try a version of view C (with the full skirt) in a plaid suiting fabric I've had forever.

I haven't spent much time at my machine this week.  I did finish one dress and have another about halfway finished, but I've been fighting back a summer flu, visiting a bit, and football season is upon once again (can I get an amen?), so other pleasant distractions have been taking my time.  Which is fine - I'm a bit on the introverted side, and if given my druthers I'll hole up for weeks on end, happily stitching away.  So it's good to get out, even if I'm drug kicking and screaming once in a while.

And without further ado, it's dress time!  I first saw the fabric online at, but it sold out almost instantly.  Much to my joy, as I was wandering through Pacific Fabrics, I found a bolt with a few yards left.  Score!  I should have bought all of it, but I kept to 2 1/2 yards - at $12.99/yard, that's a hefty purchase for me.  Usually I stick to Jo Ann's, and only on sale.  But this fabric was a MUST.

Sooooo awesome...

I wanted to give the Frankendress pattern another go, so that's the one I used (Simplicity 2444 for the front, 1803 for the back).  As I had a lot less fabric, I grabbed a 1/4 circle skirt pattern and went to work.

The end result of just the right pattern placement

Construction was pretty much the same; I removed the excess from the arm on the back piece by laying 2444 over the cut 1803 and trimming, bias tape binding for the arms and neckline, standard zip, and the hem is serged, then folded once and topstitched.  Pinked the seams for finishing, and I think I want to try binding the waist seam on another day (or 100).

Karloff's face, front and center

The Creature's innards

close up of the bias tape finish
When it was finished and I zipped it up in elation, I discovered one big fuck up.  I used the wrong skirt.

Yep, I was hurrying and the one I grabbed was for a slightly flared A-LINE.  Fuuuuuuuck!  Now, I should have known something was wrong, because I have a hunk of fabric left over that is big enough to the half of the front of a man's shirt (which is what it's currently earmarked to be).  But no, off I went, in a helluva hurry to get this done and COMPLETELY FINISHED THE DRESS before I found out.  It wasn't bad, but not at all the shape I wanted.  So I pulled out my scrap pieces to see if I could piece together another section and maybe pull off a slightly gathered skirt.

Nope.  Not enough.  Engage pout. Briefly consider giving the dress away.  Pout some more.  And then some more.  Heavily consider the need for cider.  After all, this is traumatic.

Ugh, enough of that.  Man up, Nancy!

Solution #2 - godets.

Waiting for Godets

I had enough fabric to make 4 godets (gores, gussets, etc.).  However, because the skirt is a 2 piece, flared a-line, I would have needed to make splits in the existing skirt pieces for insertion points (too risky in a completed garment).  I didn't want to do that, so I just cut 2 fairly narrow triangles for the side seams.  I ripped the seams open - stopping just short of the waist seam - pinned them in place, and stitched 'em in.  Super fun, considering the existing seams were already pinked.  Sigh.

After it was all assembled, I tried it back on, and was much happier with the result. And here is the finished product - The Monster Mash Dress.

Monster Mash dress + the clunkiest shoes I own

Extreme godet closeup

My flushed-from-a-summer-flu-yet-very-pleased face

**The back is a touch more snug that I like, as I took out the extra 1/4" I used in the first Frankendress, which I now know I need to leave in.  I still adore this dress, though.

That's all for now - hopefully by my next post I'll have had a chance to test my newest purchase, the Janome 4030!  Mhuahahahahahaha!!!!


  1. I love this dress, the godets work really well, good thing you picked up the wrong skirt piece, I say. Awesome fabric - I have a monster dress too!
    Love your blog, and it looks like you're a fellow musician too?

    1. Thank you so much! The wrong skirt piece was definitely a happy accident. I'm not a musician but my BF is, and we go to a lot of local shows. And I LOVE your dress -- amazing job on the pattern placement!

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