Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Love Potion #9 Dress

We interrupt One Week One Pattern (OWOP) to bring you an unholy experiment in trying to get the Elisalex pattern to work for me...

I own three By Hand London patterns, and as you may know, I am firmly attached to both the Anna and Flora designs.  Bolstered by all the lovely dresses gracing the information superhighway, I ran off and ordered Elisalex.  How could I go wrong with a princess seamed bodice that featured a lovely scooped back and deeply rounded neckline?  The drafting wizards at BHL had not disappointed me yet - take my money!

And then I mocked up the pattern.  Oh dear lord.  Usually if pattern needs tweaking from me, it's because the front is snug and there's excess fabric in the back.  I knew that the Elisalex was drafted to have very little ease, so I cut my normal size 10, figuring that meant I wouldn't have to take it in at the CB and all the waist seams.  Yeah, not so much.

The back was SO tight I could barely get the muslin zipped.  But wait, you might say.  The front is probably too snug.  Nope.  The front was huge.  I mean, huge.  There was so much extra fabric that I was at a loss as to a way to fix it.  So with much fanfare and salty language, the pattern was folded, put back in the envelope, and stuck back in my pattern box, prominently displayed for proper glaring.

A fair few weeks later, and I decided to try out another princess pattern (I will spare you my rant over New Look that missing an entire sheet of pieces).  Enter Butterick 4443 - ignore the model's bland photo - I picked this one up because it's a straight forward princess dress (why is the trend a princess front and darted back all of a sudden?), and I liked the strapless and V-neck variations.  I mocked it up, and, though it was nothing worth photographing, it at least fit moderately well.

I was still haunted (yep, haunted) by the ill fit to my BHL dress.  It was stubborn obsession, to be fair.  So, I took the bodice pieces from it, and overlaid the pieces from the Butterick pattern, and there was my answer.  Elisalex's back pieces for a 10 lined up with Butterick's pieces for a 6, while the front pieces were a good 1" bigger.  Well, hell.  I really really really wanted the neckline of BHL, since Butterick was a bit on the frumpy/boring side.

Well, you know what that meant.

Here's where you can envision a montage of me in a frenzy of inspiration and subsequent pattern hacking and sewing a la Pretty in Pink.  All to a pop-y 80's soundtrack, of course.
Cue the Psychedelic Furs

Basically, this was the most half-assed hack ever.  All I did was fold the neckline of the Butterick pattern out of the way, so I could trace the BHL pattern's shape onto my fabric.
If you look closely, you can all the extra in the BHL piece in the front (white) and how much is missing from it on the back

Yep.  Science.

Maybe a little Adam Ant at this phase

It wasn't a horrid first go, either.  The armscye's of both patterns are in completely different places, as are the shoulder seams.  After the test dress was sewn up, I did have to take in the side and SB seams a bit (I REALLY either need to start making full bust adjustments or by multi-cup sized patterns and start making size 8 with a C or D cup), and I think I could use a regular 5/8" seam allowance over the bust instead of 3/4"; the shoulder seams needed to come up 1/2" as well.  I also want to dip the front neckline a bit more, but all in all, I think it's pretty cute.  Especially made up in the obnoxious glory that is my clearanced Valentine fabric.

I don't know what I like more -- the tiny little perfume bottles with Eiffel Towers, or the fact that this fabric has freaking GLITTER in it.  I think it's glitter for the win.
shine on you crazy diamond
I have since taken the mishmash abomination and transferred it to its own pattern, thus allowing BHL and Butterick to go their separate ways.  I used sew-in interfacing as my pattern material, so I'm interested to see how it holds up.

And now, a display of my enviable modeling skills.  Don't hate.

Just a girl and her bike.  Totally natural.

Ya hate to see me go, but'cha love to watch me leave

On the next go, I'm definitely taking another 1/2" out of the neckline and the armscye.  But other than that, I chalk this up as a success.

Well, that's it for now, dear readers.  I'm hoping to fit lots of sewing time into my schedule, as I have many projects queuing up (including unselfish sewing - yuck).  However, I just snapped up the most amazing, fucking fantastic length of fabric from  It was sold out for a month, and when I check on it today, it was already down to 67 yards left in stock.  I didn't even stop to consider, I just hit the "buy" button.  I am actually quite proud of myself for only buying 3 1/2 yards...

"Dysfunctional Family" by Michael Miller
Mom says things like "you're such a wuss" "Benji!  Don't pee in the pool" and "I love these pills...I feel so calm and relaxed".  MINE MINE MINE.  Thank goodness it's reorderable, because I feel that several different dresses are in my future.


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