Monday, April 6, 2009

That Dress Form of Mine....

...I finally used it! Granted, it still isn't finished - I have to fill in the neck, seal up the last few inches of the slit, and cover the whole thing with a cotton cloth cover - but I couldn't resist using it for this recent project.

Good thing I did, too, because this dress required a LOT of fitting, and I think I would have lost patience if I tried to stop sewing, go up to my bedroom, try the dress on myself, pin, take measurements, take off the dress, get dressed in my other clothes again, trot downstairs, and get set to sew again every time I had to make an adjustment. That is how I have sewed every garment for myself all my life....until now. Being able to spin around in my chair and have a body to fit this dress on right next to my machine was such a luxury!

This particular project was enjoyable not only because I was using my dress form for the first time, but also because it was altering, and I love altering; I think it's my favorite form of sewing. Less work for store-bought-looking (hopefully) results! It's also almost always cheaper. This dress, for instance, cost me only the price of a invisible zipper; I already had the original dress, and the extra blue fabric was left over from another project.

Here is the original dress. You can see a bit of red peeping out below - I painted the dress form stand to match my sewing room. (This location is not my sewing room - it was too messy to photograph. :) )

I bought this dress ages ago, from Good Will, and because it reveals too much skin for me to feel comfortable wearing it alone, I always had to wear a shirt over it - borrowed from my sister Heather, since I don't have a matching shirt. Another con to this dress is that, though you can't see it very well in the photo, this garment was cut on the bias, or something, and it hangs really, really, really oddly on my body. As in weird. As in "it starts to look as if I have lumps on my body in random places" kind of weird.

So I had nothing to lose by cutting up this dress. I love the blue flowers, so I really hoped to make something wearable out of it.

Here is the back of the dress. You can see it comes quite low. I really didn't have very much fabric to work with! I have only threads and a few tiny strips of cloth left over. I even used the spaghetti straps! (As button loops.)

Here is the finished product. Justin took the pictures for me yesterday afternoon. I didn't think to get pictures of the back - sorry. And it was windy, so the skirt is plastered against my legs and looks a little narrower than it really is. And my hair looks very plain....but, okay, we're not here to discuss me - just the dress.

For those of you interested in details:

I brought the skirt up several inches, to create a wider skirt and so I could use the extra fabric to fill in the top. I found an old pattern that has a high waist, and played with the top pieces until I had something I liked, and used them to cut out the bodice pieces, putting the two colors together and treating them like single pieces. The sleeves are my own creation, and are really just tubes gathered in the right places, and narrowed a bit under the arm.

The waist band was the hardest part, but it's really just pleated fabric that I tacked to a muslin backing to get it to lay right. All that had to be done by hand. The skirt is pleated in four places and attached to the waistband.

The dress has two covered buttons in the front - don't you love covered buttons? - but they are just for show. It has a 22" invisible black zipper down the back.

This last picture is just Justin being a photographer, telling me to sit down on the grass and let him get some more pictures. :) Hasn't all the rain here made the grass lush? God is good!


Alethea Jordan said...

I LOVE that last picture of you! And the dress looks beautiful!

Clare Marie-Therese Duroc said...

Wow! The way you altered it is ever so impressive! It looks beautiful.

Marqueta said...

Hi there (I just popped over from S&S)!

The dress form looks super, and the dress is quite lovely.

Love and blessings,


Jenny P. said...

Your dress looks absolutely lovely! Well done. I love how you used the older gown -- your thriftyness impresses me.

Amanda said...

You're so creative! How do you think of all these things?