This dress is from a Burda 2005 magazine. I wanted to make a dress with boning from an expensive brocade fabric that I bought, but then I got the idea to use this fabric as a trial dress - kind of scary to cut into my expensive fabric without even trying the pattern! I ended up not adding the boning though. Yet to be learned!
It was lots of fun to make and easier than I thought. I had to modify the fitting - I'm starting to understand that for my figure I need to take off more at the front than at the back so that the side seam will sit right - and I am happy with the result. I was going to line it and then I changed my mind, and so I made no overlocking or finish for the edges. I hope it won't come undone. Next time - overlocking will be done. I also skipped any interfacing and facing stages, which of course is only because I was in a hurry to check the fit. I might go back and reinforce it because I doubt it will retain its shape without it.
Originally it was a strapless dress, but I was afraid it would keep slipping down so I added the straps. I have yet to learn how to get it to stay properly. Maybe the boning would have helped. Or maybe you just need to regulate your breathing and pull it up every once in a while :-)
So conclusions and thoughts:
- I still need to learn how to add boning and how to properly fit a strapless dress.
- Attaching the shoulder straps when there aren't two layers to put them in (dress + facing) means you need to attach them by hand - a lot of work and a poorer result.
- Overlock (or zig zag finish) your edges at the right time. I don't like doing this too soon because it cuts off a mm or so from the edge, and since the edge is the guideline for the seam, it throws off the size. So overlock after stitching seams.
- Plan ahead for interfacing / facing / lining - which do you plan to do? Have a general plan of the steps, or you might find out you have a pretty finished dress that won't survive a wash or will stretch out of shape during wear.
- Think before you finish - once you hem, for example, it's pretty much too late to overlock.
- Interfacing is the fabric that has glue droplets on it, which you iron on to stiffen the fabric, giving it a firmer look and also greatly reducing its stretching out of shape. It's not a good idea to iron interfacing on the fabric that shows on the garment, because it might cause ugly air bubbles and ruin the smooth look of the fabric. For this dress it would have been wise to sew another intefraced bodice piece and attach it to the top. I guess I could still do that... After some seam ripping.
- Hem by Hand. Always hem all but the most basic dresses or skirts by hand. It makes a world of a difference, and it's also kind of therapeutic to sit there hemming like in the olden days :-)
- Check the fit as you sew. Don't dash to finish the whole thing, only to find out it's too big. When I finished the front and back, I pinned the side seams and wore it, then adjusted the fit. This was a crucial step. When fitting, make sure the side seam still runs along an imaginary line that divides your body in half lenthwise. This means you might take out more fabric from the front and less from the back, as in my case, for example. At this stage, go back and modify your pattern to reflect these changes, in case you plan to reuse it.
- I still could learn to refine how this dress drapes at the hip area - Maybe I should have added even more fabric at the back. Fitting is an art form.
Tell me what you think of the dress! And any additional comments or tips are more than welcome.