Monday, July 25, 2011

Black, Red, and Tan Party Dress!

This party dress has been two years in the making! Not two active years, but two years filled with longing looks (you know, the sort that you gave that sandwich earlier today) and exaggerated sighs. "Oh imagined dress...when will we be together?" The answer the fabric always provided was, "Shut up and start sewing already!" I took this abuse from a (beautiful and charming) piece of fabric for TWO YEARS. I had put the fabric on a pedestal and I suffered mightily.

I'm just stoked to be here!
What makes this fabric (from Preet, natch) so awesome and worthy of two years of reverence would be that festive, vibrant border of not just flowers, but also scallops! Because this seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have a hemmed skirt and a mess of appliqué completed without me lifting a finger, I was holding off on using the fabric, not wanting to spoil it with my normal mishmash of mis-sizing, wobbly seams, and hard cider.

So, flashback a month to mid-June. I'd been working my fingers past that first somewhat-unnecessary layer of skin to complete Michelle's dress (a future post, I promise!) in time for Clara and Brendan's wedding. It was the day before Chris and I flew out to St. Louis and I had no idea what to wear for the wedding. I bargained with myself. "You did such a good job on Michelle's dress, you DESERVE to go by something new!" I fully intended to hit up Sugar Shack with a purpose after work on Thursday evening. Then I ended up working until 7 and the store closed before I got my shop on. Sugar Shack waits for no man.

I wandered about the house, a puddle of despair seeping from one room to the next, wailing, "What am I going to wear!?" Chris, crazed man that he is, suggested, "Why don't you make something?" Because we both know that I am so skilled at whipping out perfectly-sized dresses in short amounts of time. In fact, as soon as the words escaped Chris's mouth, he looked like he had struck an infant: "what have I done?" However, I was just despondent enough to go for it!

I flipped through a mess of Burda Styles trying to find something that would work for the wedding and dug up dress pattern 108 from the March Issue. It was conveniently included in a wedding spread, in case anyone was having trouble figuring where you would wear a bubble skirt. Weddings and proms, folks!
They're bubble skirts...for a party!
Though I'm a closet fan of bubble skirts, this dress would have no such party at the knees; it would have a gathered poufy skirt starting somewhere near where most people have a waist. It would make the most of those pretty flowers and delicate scallops! Then stuff happened. 

First off, they didn't have my size listed--the highest size they did have for this dress came within centimeters of my measurements, so I figured it would work out well enough. I traced the pattern from the magazine and cut out the skirt, then sewed up the side seams to form a large rectangle with an open top and bottom. I then readied the fabric (not much left at that point) to cut out the the bodice pieces. I cut them. Then I remembered that Burda Style does factor seam allowances into their patterns. I can't type what I said. 
Hair in motion, dress in motion!
I didn't have enough fabric to cut out new bodice pieces, so I had to force the cut pieces to work in spite of their torso-hatin' ways. That is why the lines of the dress bodice don't look a whole lot like the lines on the pattern sketch above--the V in the back is much deeper and wider, the neckline more boatnecky. Also, the fabric was a heck of a lot more sheer than I ever needed to be lined and I didn't have anything that would fit that bill. In most lighting, you can see the polka-dot fabric showing through the bodice. However, all of these oddball flaws are quite dear to me and add to its eccentric charm.

Never giving this belt back to Michelle. Never!
Sadly, I don't think this dress is long for this world. I damaged the fabric by ironing it with a too-high heat setting, so there are fractious sections on the brink of deterioration. That was a lesson I would have really preferred to not learn the hard way.

These pictures were taken in front of the Governor's Mansion on 14th and H. Sadly, it is on the list of state parks to be closed by 2012. Fortunately, it is still open for the summer! Someone should go with me! Anyone interested? Or we can go look at our feet in front of the mansion, your call.
Very important shoe discussion


  1. Dude! I am tres bummed to learn about your lesson. But you look wonderful for now. Just don't ever wash it.

  2. It is so cute. And the governor's mansion is really fun. You should totally go.