BLAST this dress to Hades!

…That’s not *exactly* what I said when this happened, but the exasperation is the same.  I put her together, realized that stretch poplin fits differently than a regular woven, adjusted, tweaked, trimmed, pressed, and unpicked tiny seams to to re-sew them 1/16″ smaller/wider so every band of raspberry matches at each seam.  I like twiddly, fiddly, pretty projects.  Unpicking doesn’t usually get me down because I look at it as taking a baby step closer to “perfection.”  I unpicked one side of the zipper several times to be sure the bands matched up.  Just as I said to myself “Stephanie, this is a good day’s work,” zip, zip split happened.

I’m not one to let a dress push me over the edge, and besides I like this dress.  She’s crumpled because after the split I kicked her into a pile in the corner of my sewing room, where she stayed until I rescued her this morning for photos.  I know that means I have to replace the zipper and press her carefully everywhere, but she would have needed a final press anyway.

She fits really well and I’m glad I went with a knee-length half-circle skirt.  I think the bands are wider than Megan’s dress but I’m not too bothered because I like this dress and actually think I’ll get some good wear from her.  The dress has very little ease but because the fabric has some give it’s quite comfortable- like a second skin.  I might have to experiment more with making dresses from this kind of fabric.  It’s very pleasant to work with and wear.   Two layers of this lightweight stretch cotton poplin is a perfect dress weight.

Yesterday, Puu asked me how approaching the inset bands as a quilter rather than a dressmaker makes the difference.  Part of it is the seam allowance.  Part of it is the expectations involved.  That is, I have yet to meet a quilter (someone with a few quilts under her belt) who is *not* a perfectionist in her sewing.  In quilting more than in dressmaking, mistakes multiply.

Seams must match up, points are sharp, seams pressed crisply and carefully and no easing.  The “no easing” is a key difference- quilts are flat, dresses are shaped.  It’s just as tricky to convince little pieces of fabric to sew together flat as it is to coax a piece of flat fabric into the shape of a woman, but the sewing is quite different.

So each of these contrast insets are flat.  I think it would be asking for trouble to make shaped insets, though I did consider it (more seams, more fitting opportunities!).  I also figured out how to sew the pieces together in what seemed to me a logical way- the way a quilter would put them together.

Sigh.  Today I’ll pick up a zipper while I’m out anyway.  Once it’s replaced we’re in business!


  1. Oh, no! I HATE HATE HATE zipper failure. But it’s going to be so amazing when you get it done and it’s perfect.

    I have made a couple of fitted dresses out of stretch wovens, and I do find them really comfy, especially the stretch-woven sash on the one.

    I *knew* I didn’t have it in me to be a quilter… ;)

    • Yeah… Who woulda have known. I’m so tempted to make up a yummy fitted dress with zero ease and a stretch woven…. Hmmm

      You say that about quilting but it’s super relaxing…. To each her own. ;)

  2. Oh you poor thing, you did give me a giggle though, imagining you kicking that dress to the curb.

    “I have yet to meet a quilter (someone with a few quilts under her belt) who is *not* a perfectionist in her sewing”.

    So THAT’s why I’m such a slow dressmaker!!!!! :-D

  3. Oh boy, you had me loling at the image of you kicking your dress into the corner! It’s looking so lovely, though. I LOVE the bands! Can’t decide if I like the front or the back better!

    But ugh about the zipper. I’m not a fan of installing them, so the thought of having to do it all over again because of zipper failure sends shutters down my spine. Can’t wait to see how this looks on you, once you get the zip replaced!

    • I’m pleased I made you lol. ;) Putting in zips doesn’t bother me, it was more like I reached the end of my patience.. I mean.. If it’s my own silly sewing mistake that’s one thing, but a zipper should work. It just should! Not go splitsies on me.

      • Well.. I guess… We did other stuff too… ;)

        I LOVE block castles. The other day I went into a homewares shop and was DELIGHTED to see they had massively oversized legos that you can build with *and* store things in. I had a good time playing in the display until my tower fell down.

        Unfortunately, the smallest single block they had was $20. That shot my idea of building my own lego fort sewing space right down the tubes. ;(

  4. I suggest a ritual burning of the broken zip once you have the whole dress finished. It might lay to rest the bad memories from the making so you can properly enjoy the wearing. The dress is looking really nice.

  5. It’s beautiful! And I totally would have thrown a complete tantrum if I’d been in your sewing room all day doing the fiddly stuff (which I like to do, too) if I’d had a zipper decide to malfunction. The dress is beautiful. Wait! I said that already! I can’t wait to see a modeled pic!

  6. Oh Stephanie…I’ve been reading all your posts about this dress in one go tonight, holding my breath as I saw the insets come together (beautiful!) and the dress start looking like a dress. When I read about the zipper malfunction I think I yelped a bit. I’m pretty sure if I were in your shoes, that dress would have lain in the corner another half a year.

    And now I’m scared to start quilting. I am *so* not a perfectionist about corners and seams.

    • Sigh. But I want the dress done NOW for the Mad Men Challenge… I’m already a trifle behind…. So I pick it up and keep going. It’s not the dress’ fault anyway, I really can’t blame her.

      Well… You don’t *have* to be a perfectionist to make quilts, but I do think it probably helps if you want to make nice quilts… I like to make english paper pieced quilt squares… I don’t have to cut super accurately, I can use up tiny flecks of fabric from projects easily and it’s kind of foolproof once you get the hang of it… Once it gets cold again I doubt I’ll be able to stop myself posting about quilting… ;)

  7. It is lovely. And you are so close. I didn’t know poplin was stretchy – naughty. I struggled with my Mad Men look too and am so over it. Wouldent care if it got thrown away by accident at this point. I can’t wait to see everyone’s work this week. Keep going!

    • I don’t think all poplin is.. It’s a very smooth but light cotton woven with a whiff of lycra. I thought it might help with wrinkling, but it does not…

      Keep going, too! :) It’s fun to sew to the same challenge with a large group.

      • Regular poplin is decidedly NOT stretchy. Thus its popularity for chinos and bottom-type garments in general. Also for corsets.

  8. Oh no! At least it didn’t happen when you were wearing it out! It’s looking so gorgeous keep going! You can do it!

  9. AAauugghhh! I try to avoid invisibles in side seams, for this very reason. Much safer to insert a boring old metal zip with a boring old placket, on any garment with little ease. (On the plus side, it would be more “historically accurate,” tee hee.) Once you’ve got a few wearings of the dress, your anger at it will surely dissipate.

  10. I love the dress, the colours and bands are just so cheerful and pretty. A little time in the corner to show that zipper who is the boss is just what it needed.

  11. great additional comments on the “quilting perspective.” i think that’s a great result–i’ve had that dress bookmarked for ages, as well, and it’s fun to see your take on it. count me among the ones eagerly anticipating model shots!

  12. Argh, I can totally identify with kicking to the corner. (Usually, almost always, this kicking&swearing involves something with bias binding or tape.) And using quilting skills/drafting for this kind of piecework makes a lot of sense.

  13. Pingback: Finished Object: Megan’s Vendetta « 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World

Is it kind, useful or interesting? Great!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s