One day I’ll run out of alliterative titles.
Not today though! I tell you what, this whole live-streaming your sewing shtick is actually stupidly effective. I’ve finished TWO dresses inside of a month. Two. And the month isn’t even over yet. Who am I?
This is one of the dresses I’d worked on with an audience. I finished it over three streams, including one where I drafted the pattern, so my records tell me that the entire dress took about 8 hours to construct from start to finish. This is pretty cool, since I usually procrastinate so much before finishing any work, it’s hard to give people estimates (and you know they ask for them) of how long it takes to sew a dress from scratch. Well, now I know.
Okay, I’m not being entirely honest there. While the dress took me that long to put together, it really probably took at least double that amount of time, chiefly due to all the bloody hand embroidering I tasked myself with.
I won’t lie, I’m pretty chuffed with the end project, which is why this blog post will have way more photos than my other ones. Look at those spiderwebs!!
All together, this dress has six spiderwebs: four for the collar, one for the pocket, and one for the pleated inset on the side.
The original plan was to have two pockets, but then I draped my skirt pieces over my mannequin (which I’m currently using for my petticoat storage) and thought that the black peeking through the open seam on the side looked freaking awesome, so I decided then and there to do two pleated panels in both sides instead.
When I was embroidering one of the pieces for the skirt, I finished one spiderweb and realised I wasn’t really that crazy about it so a compromise was born: One pleat, one pocket.
I was pretty happy with this, though next time I think I will make the pocket just a touch larger. I was toying with a diamond shape and for the longest time the damned thing just wasn’t working (the pocket was either stupidly big or you couldn’t get your hand into it) when I realised that in order for the opening of the pocket to be big enough, I just needed the illusion that the pocket was diamond-shaped. In reality, it’s not a perfect diamond when opened up fully. I feel kind of like an idiot for not figuring it out sooner but now I’ll know for future dresses. By the way, how good is my print placement with that spider right next to the web? You’re welcome.
And actually, for all the complaining I did about the embroidery, I found it kind of a welcomed distraction from everyday life. I got to go to Spotlight to buy my first embroidery hoop, brought some fabric to colour-match the skulls (you’ll be interested to know that they’re not white or cream, they’re actually kind of peachy/flesh-coloured according to my matching DMC embroidery threads).
I also had to do it on a bit of a deadline as well, which added to the sense of accomplishment. I had my stream on a Wednesday and I promised spiderwebs by Sunday. Each one took approximately a movie’s length of time to complete, ask me how I know.
Of course, with any new design experiment, there are things that have gone wrong. To not give you the wrong idea about my sewing prowess, I will list them here for you and posterity:
- I took too much contour allowance out of the neckline in the front so the dress rides up a little at the CF
- More fabric needed to be trimmed from the outer fabric collar edges because when you fold them outward, you’re creating an excess of fabric
- Armhole cut too far in, or at least if it’s gonna be that far in, it should be lower because I somehow feel exposed and constricted at the same time with this compromise
- Must learn to use the Swiss zigzagger walking foot function for the Singer better for next time because that hem is a shambles
- The way I sewed the CF of the bodice was stupid. Next time I will sew it up first and then sew it onto the lining instead of attaching lining and bodice together separately and trying to join them up the middle.
Now as for the positive things I learned from this dress:
- I now have a template for a perfect 3/4 circle skirt (like some kind of idiot I kept remaking them instead of keeping one for the future)
- Embroidery is fun in a mind-numbing sort of way and I’m pretty good at keeping things neat, so let’s do that again
- The back of this dress is pretty perfect, I think I’ve finally nailed the length, so I will transfer my changes here back to my sloper
- Pattern-matching is more about correctly cutting your fabric out than pinning the crap out of it (remember that your zipper tape is 12mm wide, so cut your seam allowance accordingly)
Actually can I direct your attention to the back, please? There’s a zipper in there and also the back skirt panel is cut in two pieces. Pretty good, right? Not to toot my own horn but I mean come on, look at that, you can barely see the seam! I’m definitely super chuffed with how it turned out. Even more surprising was that I managed to get a pattern-matched 3/4 circle skirt cut out of the fabric I had left after I had pattern matched both the front AND the back of the bodice. That was both a fun and crazy challenge and I think it’s becoming a second nature skill by now. I will still continue to practice whenever I get the chance.
Here’s another shot of the back for no other reason than I’m enjoying showing off at this point.
All in all, we’re reaching the end of the gallery here so I better pack it all in. For those who are curious, the fabric is from last year’s clearance table at Spotlight for a whopping $3 per metre. I think that probably makes this dress one of the cheaper dresses I’ve ever made. I was thrilled to discover that I had a matching zipper as well and it was just long enough to work (even though I have to pull the dress over my head). It’s lined with a simple cotton voile and the pleated inset is black rayon because the voile was kind of see-through and I didn’t want to be playing too far into the “sexy girl” Halloween stereotype. Not that far, anyways. This dress is way more up my alley.
Anyways, that’s all from me, see you in a couple of weeks with another project hopefully! (And don’t forget to follow me on Twitch if you want to watch me making them)