I feel that this little project should have been about a thousand times easier than it was. In my world, three weeks is a long time to spend on one dress. I wouldn’t even know where to begin calculating all the hours!
If I had to put a finger on where it all went wrong–I’d use all my fingers.
But for the sake of my own education, and maybe a little bit of making myself feel less dunce-y, let’s examine the difficulties I attempted to overcome:
1. Rayon challis is lovely, drapey stuff, but it also slides around every time you breathe and wrinkles like manatee. I’m fairly certain not one piece actually ended up on grain. I know at least one significant piece was off, but we’ll get to that later.
2. Whatever that pseudo-China silk stuff is that I used was also slippery and positively refused to be pressed. But, it’s polyester. Was I expecting different?
3. I think it’s time to admit that I do not know how to insert a lining. I’ve tried lots of different methods that originated from my brain, but my brain does not know what it’s doing. It’s time to find a book. Books have the answers.
4. Inserting a lining is one thing; forgetting to insert a lining and then trying to wedge it in after sewing on the facings is a whole other wanting-to-slap-your-own-face issue.
5. French seams are the best things ever. Except when you have to remove them because your muslin lied to you. Settle in with a good movie. You and your seam ripper are going to be there a while.
6. I had to rip out some of my French seams because half-way through the process, I discovered that the yoke was way too big. So big that I increased my seam allowances on both sides to 1″ thereby removing 1 1/4″ total.
7. The gathering was out of control. I ended up removing 10 1/2″ of ease from the skirt.
8. Inserting side invisible zippers is not that hard. Inserting an in-seam pocket with a side invisible zipper is not that hard. Trying to sew close to, but not over the in-seam pocket edges that you can’t actually see so that you cover necessary stitching for inserting an in-seam pocket with a side invisible zipper is hard.
9. I think the instructions they gave for inserting the sleeves are wrong. If they are not wrong, then someone is wrong in the head.
Oh, look! I have an extra finger. Dance, Left Pinky! Dance!
Let me explain some things. . .
I love this dress. There are problems with this dress. But I am SO DONE with this dress that I’m not going to deal with them right now.
One issue that I really wish I would stop noticing is that the front yoke–being, I believe, cut off-grain–is sort of twisted. What should be the bottom center of the yoke is pulling to the right. Not that there are drag lines. It looks like the pattern piece shifted during the cutting. I think it’s more likely that the fabric moved a bit.
I don’t think it’s the sort of thing that anyone’s going to notice, but there it is.
I was quite worried about inserting the pockets with the side zipper. As it turns out, actually putting the left pocket (the one nearest the zipper, of course) in is quite simple. But it involves some stitching for reinforcement. And when you’re trying to sew up your seam after inserting your zipper, it’s very difficult to get your seam placement just right so that you don’t sew over the pocket, but that you cover the reinforcement stitching that’s right there next to the pocket. So, my reinforcement stitching is pretty visible. I could probably fix this easily. I will probably wait until spring.
And then there are these sleeves. . .
I love the sleeves, I really do. But, according to the instructions, you gather the sleeves almost all the way around–you have about 1 1/2″ on either side of the underarm seam without gathers. What this does is create a poofiness that goes all the way around the front, top, and side of the sleeve. So it sticks out in the front and back as well as on the top. On a cute little cap sleeve, this would probably be okay. But for a very full elbow-length sleeve without a cuff, it just looks odd.
I think that, first, you could remove a whole bunch of ease from the sleeve cap. And second, you could gather only around the top of the sleeve. I’m convinced this would make the sleeves hang much more gracefully rather than bunching out in all crazy directions.
Someday, when I’ve recovered from all this madness and frustration, I may take the sleeves out and re-insert them.
But, did I mention that I love this dress? It’s super lightweight and I have no idea how I’ll ever get a cardi over those sleeves, but I’m certainly going to try!
And I have discovered my new go-to method for easy hemming of difficult linings. Step 1: Trim. Step 2: Overcasting stitch all the way around. It takes a while to do all the stitching, but it doesn’t require an iron. Therefore, I am satisfied.
I would also like to share my Second Rule of Sewing:
While in the middle of a long-term or difficult project, take a break with smaller, easier projects to help stave off insanity.
While working on this dress, I completed two very quick jersey tops and started a third. All of which were on my list, so I’m being a very
stubborn determined sewist!