To recap , I wanted a tight fitting, brightly coloured dress that would make me feel like Joan from Mad Men. I bought some luscious bright blue double knit (It is apparently one of the base colours used to make all Pantone shades, like cyan but stronger, and it’s therefore called Process Blue in that system). I found a vintage pattern for the sort of dress I wanted in knits, Woman W400 (see previous post for more details).
sewing meet up on Saturday. This was partly a desire to get it finished, and partly as I wanted to wear something I had made but most of my self made clothes are summery!
So far so good, I finished sewing all the darts, and then tried it on. Uneven dart disaster. Argh! I tweaked the darts (making them slightly shorter and tapering the ends so they were less pointy), altered the shoulder seams so the thing was straight, and made the whole thing substantially tighter. I wasn’t sure if this was going to work, but it did, the darts pulled smooth and it looked great-yay!.
I decided to put cuffs on the sleeves, so made up a pattern piece and sewed it on-and they went on beautifully. As the first time one sleeve had gone in a little stretched I re set them in using the flat method (I had had to unpick all the side and shoulder seams anyway to adjust the width and I also took this opportunity to reduce the length of the shoulder seams).
So it was all going quite well. I considered the skirt, decided there was no need for 6 different darts on a stretch skirt and just cut it out. I then got knobbled by the traditional vintage patterns which are bizarrely long problem. On the envelope it clearly sits just below the knee. I am not short but the thing was grazing my ankles, and completely impossible to walk in. This is where it all went a bit wrong. I looked at the whole thing and said, the waist needs to come up a bit, and the bottom needs to come up about a foot. I therefore chopped away. As it turns out, I did not take into account the length lost at the waist, so when I tried it back on, after unpicking pretty much every seam in the entire dress, it was now a mini dress. By this point it was Saturday morning.. I panicked and cut out a folded band and sewed it onto the bottom, which looked fine, except that I had sewn it on with the side seams on the outside… Hannah looked on sympathetically (she had arrived by this point as we were already meant to be there!) as I cursed and seam ripped away again. I also still had to do the neckline, which I had altered and recut about three times as I kept realising it was a bit lopsided, and then merrily cutting away the wrong side (curse you mirrors!). Luckily I sewed the collar on and though I had made it more of a scoop than the pattern, and changed the way the collar finished to it went off to a point at one side. so it was a bit of a gamble, it looked pretty good!
I then put on my finished dress hesitantly, and LOVED it. I wore it all day, it was incredibly comfortable, and it is probably one of my favourite items of clothing ever! Its tight but not too trashy, so I could wear it for work, but also felt completely at home in the Voodoo Rooms with cocktails-perfect! All it needed was my white belt and I felt just like Joan!