Thursday, June 17, 2010

The dress that spanned space and time...

I revisited my first dress, Simplicity 2756:

This was the first sewing pattern ever.  I chose this one first because it said "Simple to Make" AND because it had "detachable" collar and cuffs.  I started a muslin of the dress back in 2005 when I lived in NYC.   I learned all my first skills on this dress.  I worked with a sewing instructor who told me all about cutting out fabric and sewing seams.  The muslin took forever.  I only worked with the instructor for a couple of sessions.

It's funny to think back on it now but I didn't really understand the concept of making a muslin.  I thought it was just a trial run since I was new to sewing.  We fitted that muslin and I thought "now I just need to remember how I did this".  No one told me that you then copied those changes onto your pattern! hahaha!

Well, the dress has spanned two American cities, two countries and four addresses.  I began taking up sewing in earnest this last November and this dress was the first piece I went to.  I learned how to put in a zipper, how to finish the seams and I finally finished it:


The problem was the dress didn't fit me right!  The collar was too big, the neck was too low, the sleeves were too long, the bodice was too big, the waist was too low.....on and on...

I had grand ambitions of fixing the dress during Me-Made-May.  I did start the alterations...but boy, did it take awhile!  Where to start?  Luckily, I have such amazing readers who shared their expertise and based on everyone's feedback, I started by fitting the shoulders.  Here are all the alterations I made:
  • I took the dress up by about 3 inches on each side in the shoulders (via darts).  
  • I put in a princess seam on each side of the back bodice (took out about 1-2 inches of fabric on each side) tapering down to the waist sides.  
  • I shortened the sleeves up by about 3 inches.  
  • I also tacked the cuffs to the bodice (because the original interfacing was too heavy).
  • I hemmed the dress and took about 4 inches off the length.
  • I made a matching fabric belt and covered a belt buckle.
  • I redid part of the center front seam, bring it up higher.
  • I attached the collar deeper into the dress (so that it wasn't as large).
  • I had to redo the neckline because of the darts I made in the shoulders.
  • I had to tweak the sleeves so that the cuffs fit (because I had shortened the sleeves).
Here's the belt buckle I used:


The adhesive no longer worked, so I used glue to adher the fabric to the belt buckle.  David helped me get it just right (how sweet!)

Phew! I had no idea all the alterations would be so much work.  But I am so glad I did it!  Now I can actually wear the dress.  I wore it to work today and afterwards David and I took some photos near the historic Palace in our village (and yes we LOVE our town...it's so beautiful!):








I am over the moon.  I absolutely adore this dress.  We have had some highs and lots of lows together. It has taught me a lot about sewing and even more about myself!  And I still get to change up the collars and cuffs :-)

34 comments:

  1. Wow, what a difference! It looks fantastic on you, congratulations on finishing and fitting it!

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  2. Oh, How lovely!
    The alterations you have made are so worth it! And the self fabric belt really is the icing on the cake!!
    Take a bow!

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  3. Hurrah! It fits so well now! Well done for sticking with it - well worth the effort. And such beautiful photos too - you're so lucky to live in such a beautiful place.

    (Ooh I'm looking forward to Saturday!)

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  4. Isn't it great when hard work pays off! I love this dress and think you look great in it.

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  5. >'.'<
    Meeee-ow!

    Sweetie, you look absolutely fabulous.
    So glad the dress (and the photos) turned out.

    LOVE YOU!

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  6. Wow! It really does look like an altogether different dress. You look absolutely beautiful in that great dress!

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  7. Much better, great pictures.

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  8. What a difference! It looks amazing. I should do the same with my two first dresses...but I'm getting way ahead of myself.

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  9. What a wonderful example of perseverance in sewing. Your dress fits you beautifully and it will be a joy to wear, knowing all that you've learned to get there.

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  10. Wow! Those are some fantastic altering skills Lady :) The dress looks fab.

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  11. You did an amazing job. It's gorgeous.

    Trudy
    www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

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  12. Wow! You look utterly divine in that dress. Well done!

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  13. That's a real transformation, it looks great on you now! Congrats!

    I know exactly what you mean about wanting to wear only clothes styles up to the 70s, I keep thinking that I'm going to throw everything out of my wardrobe that isn't vintage, vintage look or made by me, then end up living in my very modern, off the rail jeans!

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  14. Beautiful, it looks like a different dress.

    Great job!!

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  15. Fabulous job, it looks great on you!

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  16. I love happy endings. Plus you probably learned a whole lot about fitting while salvaging this dress from the Pile of Shame. It looks very chic now, and I love those yellow lapels and cuffs!

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  17. great work, what a lovely outcome :) in fact you've inspired me that there may still be hope for my own unwearable "wearable" muslin!

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  18. Wow! It looks soooooo good! Love it! love it!

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  19. How darling! You look simply adorable!

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  20. Love the photos! Yay for a happy ending :)

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  21. Wow - it looks fabulous now! You've done a great job - what a great success story. And a fabulous photo shoot too!

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  22. beautiful dress! you look awesome!

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  23. Brava! Looks wonderful and made exactly for you. Alterations are something I HATE, and it they are bad they generally just sit in the closet (a current jacket comes to mind).

    Now that you know the pattern's 'issues', you will be able to knock the next one out in your sleep!

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  24. Hi Debi, thank you for your visit and comment! As I was so enthused by my visit here yesterday, I blogged about it. Hope you don't mind being shamelessly praised, haha! http://mollyandmango.blogspot.com/2010/06/favourite-blogs-my-happy-sewing-place.html

    Molly x

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  25. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments! And thanks Molly for the wonderful blog post--so sweet! I love sharing this journey with everyone!

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  26. Brilliant dress. I hate hate hate hate hate doing alterations! I commend you for finally getting around to doing them. Sometimes I feel that it would just be easier to start the whole thing again than to alter it. I loooooove the sleeves.

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  27. Gold star! Terrific work. The dress is so cute now.

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  29. I'm so proud of you for sticking with it - it's really turned out beautiful. It was great to begin with but now it really fits you. You've come so far in so little time - it's really been amazing to witness. I know even better things are coming still.

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  30. Ah - I think I'm more proud of the things I had to FIX than the ones that turned our right the first time. When you have to fight for it, it adds pretty points. You look great it in! Love the colors.

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  31. Thank you so much for posting your inspirational story and sharing your photos of that gorgeous dress! I'm just starting to learn, and working on my first muslin - I'd deeply appreciate any advice you might have to offer a beginner!

    http://chromatophorestudios.com/2010/my-first-muslin-mccalls-5800/

    Thanks,
    Maria

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  32. Wow, what a difference! It looks amazing, I love the pattern and the fabrics you choose, wonderful job!

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  33. beautiful! Well done on your perseverance - it looks so lovely!
    Ali :)

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I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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