Thursday, January 2, 2014

Silver Dress for New Years

Happy 2014 everybody! I hope 2013 wrapped up nicely for everyone - it sure did for me! Although my friends and I opted for board games and menudo over crazy parties on New Years, I am very satisfied with the way we rang in 2014. I also managed to finish my silvery dress in time to submit it to the SewingPatternReview Cocktail Outfit Contest!

Woohoo! How's that for some last minute resolution fulfillment? To be honest, I don't really give a hoot about resolutions. Well, that's not true. I like to make them, I just won't get on board that whole guilt train that goes around for all of us who don't live up to our own high standards. No thanks! But it was a (mostly) fun challenge trying to eke this out at the end of the year, allowing me to check off one of my resolutions that had been neglected.

I managed to finish up the dress about 6 pm on New Years Eve, and Josh and I snapped some quick photos before heading out the door to our friends' place. I took a few more today, outside in the new snow we're getting.

With mah boots on, cuz I'm not that crazy.

I'm not sure what I think about the skirt. I really like the way the pleats look, but they bunch up all funny when I sit down. Maybe it's the fabric I chose. It's a cotton/linen/polyester/mystery blend, and it might be a little stiff for this pattern. Or, maybe that's just the way pleated skirts go. I like the way it looks when I'm standing up at least.

I finally figured out how to successfully put in an invisible zipper using my sewing machine. Usually I hand sew my zippers. Something about the needle position on my machine in combo with the invisible zipper foot meant that I was always stitching across the zipper teeth on accident. Maybe that foot was never intended to be used with my machine? Who knows. I switched to a different foot, and it magically worked. Hooray!

I underlined the bodice in handkerchief linen leftover from my sister's wedding dress, but I wish I had just lined it instead. All the exposed seams of the sparkly fabric are itchy. I tried to do bias-bound armholes, but that was a disaster (I always pull the binding too tight), and I had to unpick them.

So I made some facings, instead.

For the neckline, I tried out a method from Lynda Maynard's Dressmaker's Handbook of Couture Sewing Techniques. My brother-in-law gave me a copy for Christmas (thanks Ian!) which relieved me of having to constantly borrow it from the library. Apparently, Lynda also has Craftsy course on her finishing techniques. Neato. I might grab that if there's ever a sale. This is the banded neckline from Lynda's book:

image from Lynda Maynard's Craftsy course
And here's mine:

My bands are a lot narrower, and I didn't topstitch. I think it worked out alright. I did a sample first, to make sure I was understanding the directions. Here's what it looks like on the inside.

I wasn't a huge fan of all the serged edges, so on the final version I made bias tubes instead and slip stitched them down.

The trim on the hem is some ribbon from my stash. I think I picked it up at an antique mall a while back.

Not much else to report, but if you're interested in all the fitting modifications you can read my review on SewingPatternReview.

Happy New Year everybody!


  1. Lovely dress. I love the pleated skirt and the vintage ribbon is gorgeous.

  2. What a fun dress! Those pleats are perfect. Will a slip help the itchiness?

    1. You know, it probably would, and I've been meaning to make one... maybe now is the time!

  3. sparkly! very nice :)

    Do you need to re-iron the pleats after washing? I've had this pattern a while and not sure how the pleats will wear

    1. That's a good question. I haven't washed it yet, but I fear I might have to re-iron because the fabric is mostly natural fibers. I don't think it will hold the pleats after it gets wet.