Saturday, May 16, 2009

Who Wore It Best?

You know those tabloid mags where there is a photo spread of women celebrities titled, "Who Wore It Best?" That's exactly how I felt when doing the semi-formal dress. DD#2 modeled it before the dance yesterday (okay, it's not her best pose by far), then I modeled the same dress today. To be fair, she's not giving her best pose, and her posture isn't very good in the pic. When the shoulders are rolled forward, yeah, you're really going to exaggerate any folds that were there to begin with. She wanted out (and wouldn't stand up straight)! No pics and to get going to the dance.

I've also included a pic of the dress back. It definitely fits DD#2 better on the back. I criss-crossed the halter straps connecting them to the back of the dress. The dress code was not that clear if a halter tied at the neck would be appropriate or not. In addition, anything that ties at the neck is uncomfortable for me, so I figured DD#2 would find it uncomfortable as well. Please bear with my ugly little scar. What is really noticeable are the red dots from the stitches. The plastic surgeon gives it three months to fade. Heavy duty makeup to the rescue! It's summer time, and I'm baring my shoulders.

Based on her second muslin which needed just a few minor tweaks (releasing the front side seams near the band and adding a touch of width (a mere 1/2" via more gathers) on the halter piece, I thought the fit was nailed. This is a case where the fabric will throw off almost everything done in the muslin. The cotton muslin certainly doesn't have the same drape, nor fit, as the fashion fabric. Here's the cotton muslin:

I HAVE LEARNED MY LESSON! When possible, buy double the fabric needed as the actual dress if one can afford it. Especially if it's not fabric you normally work with. Or similar dressy fabric until I know my fancy fabrics well and what will work with particular styles. (The last time period when I regularly made semi-formal dresses was between 1985 and 1988.) The dress fabric was purchased on sale at 50% off. It could still have been done VERY affordably by purchasing double the yardage. Still far less than a RTW dress. This is definitely another case of being a jack-of-all-trades specializing in only one or two fabrics definitely hurt this project.

The fashion fabric made the style more difficult. The tucks were too poofy. I converted the tucks to gathers. More acceptable but still too poofy. I removed some width at the upper side seams to reduce the gathers on the skirt portion of the dress. The tulle overlay and fashion fabric sewed up like a dream, but less gathering is a must with the fabric I used.

What would have worked better? Princess seams with a touch of gathering on the halter top piece. Far less gathering on the front skirt piece. Also, I realize now the edge of the halter strap next the arm/armpit should have been cut deeper. It's too high. I think this also contributed to an excess of fabric a/k/a fabric folds on the final dress. I even added batting in the bust area where the gathers are located to fill out this area. Think sleeve heads? I created "bust heads".

I did finish the dress on time with 45 minutes to spare. When DD#2 got home from school, she tried on the dress right away to make sure it fits. Only to hear, "Mom, can you take in the side seams at the waist a little? I want the band to be a closer fit." (Sigh) "Okay. That will take me an hour." That required me to open up the lining, restitch the side seams, seam rip the halter side seam due to my construction process, then reassemble. I could not alter the halter top within the time frame, so I created a tuck on the side seams of the halter portion. This was acceptable and not that noticeable. It worked. However, it contributed to too much fabric in halter. Here's a pick of the side seam tuck above the midriff band.

DD#2 is an A-cup. I tried to get her to "stuff" the halter. She wouldn't hear of it. She was happy "as is". For that I'm thankful. But from a fit perspective, the fashion fabric threw things off for me. If I had been on the ball with things, I could have cut a new halter front and replaced it on the dress. But it's just a terribly busy time of year. You can tell my C-cups are are working the dress a bit better.

There were a few things I liked doing that made the dress so pretty IMO. One was the centered zipper with hand-picked seed beads. There is no way I'd use an invisible zipper on this close fitting dress. I find invisible zips don't stand up to the stress of a dress like this. Lots of dancing and stress on the CB seam makes the zipper area ripe for malfunctions IMO. I like all-purpose zips for this reason.

Overall? The dress was okay. Another learning experience. Certainly not the best dress I've made by far, but good practice and knowledge learned for eventual prom dress constructions. I need to make more fancy dresses to get more practice with fancy, synthetic fabric again. Moving on to the stole and purse this week. It's Prom Weekend 2009!

I leave you with a pic of the dress on the couch right after I finished it. I think that's exactly where I like this one best ;) .


gwensews said...

The dress looks lovely in the photos, and I'm sure made a beautiful apperance at the prom!

Connie B said...

Great dress! Ahh the A cup dilema! The only pic of me that The Five Blondes posted on their blogsite of me is - me getting my hair done and at the same time taking OUT the fake boobs that I had put IN the night before. Leah said that she felt too "out there" with them in!

Robin said...

It looks great on both of you, but you're right that you fill it out better in the chest - I don't blame her for not wanting to stuff the top though - that's just asking for a wardrobe malfunction! I've never sewn with fabric like that so I would struggle for sure!

angie.a said...

Oh I think it's beautiful!! On both of you!!

~ Kimberlee B ~ said...

Kat it turned out gorgeous, and a beautiful color. Mommy is giving baby girl a run for her money! LOL! You both are adorable in this!

Linda said...

You did a great job with this dress. I admire anyone who works with these type fabrics for formal wear.

Cennetta said...

Kat - Young lady you look fabulous ! DD's dress will be the talk of the prom. BTW-I've nominated you for the Attitude of Gratitude award.

Cennetta said...

Beautiful dress. It looks lovely on both of you.

Ivalyn "Tee" Jones-Actie said...

The dress is very, very nice. Very flattering on both of you! I know it was very special that your dd wore your wedding jewelry too!