Sunday, November 15, 2015

Stripey Dress Revisited

After making Stripey #1, I saw this super-fun black-and-white striped ITY on, and get this: some of the stripes were also polka-dotted! It was fated to be, and although I did have a twinge of doubt (matching Stripey #1s large repeat of stripes was definitely a challenge), the awesomeness of the fabric made me take the plunge.

This time I wanted to make a few changes. After all, I'm supposed to be learning, growing, and experimenting, right? It's that part of what sewing your own clothes is all about...making them be exactly what you want them to be?

I don't really like sleeveless, and on my first go-round with Stripey, I just followed the instructions and did the shoulder straps, even knowing that it meant I would probably always just wear it with a cami. Which annoys me since in the Arizona desert, most days are not sweater weather...except once you go in a building, they blast you with the, actually, layers are still good. So when the inspiration hit me that the "sleeves" of Simplicity 1808 would be perfect, I decided to go for it. I really like my dresses with those sleeves - easy to layer with no bulking or bunching under a sweater, short, and comfy.
This was my first attempt at re-drafting something. Simplicity 1808 has a neckband and gathers, so I wasn't quite sure how to line it up on the stripey dress bodice pieces. After agonizing, and moving it around here and there, I finally just made a decision - "here!" - and went with it, sewed up a muslin, and then tweaked as needed. I ended up needing to take in the side seams and chop off some of the sleeve "cap" since it hung over way too much. But now I have new pattern pieces in case I ever get crazy enough to fight with stripes again!

Not bad, eh? While it doesn't look bad as is, I think a thin black belt would make it look more finished. So far, I've worn it with a black cardi since we've had relatively cool AZ weather. 

Another change I made was to finish the neckline with bias binding. I think it makes it look more professional and finished then the "turn and fold" method of the pattern, which while easy, is just not really nice. I also decided it needed a lining.'s description warned me and pretty much said so (great for "dresses with a lining," it said), but my colorful Stripey #1 said the same thing and it wasn't true. But this fabric has a thinner texture and the white shows through. So I bought some white tricot from good ol' JoAnn, just enough for the bodice and a knee-length skirt (although I probably should have saved my dollars and just used a slip. Oh well. Also, I stabilized the shoulder seams with stay tape, which the pattern does not tell you to do but seems to be pretty standard, and the waistline with clear elastic. The weight of this dress pretty much requires stabilizing. It's a lot of fabric even before adding a lining! 

Laying out this fabric was HORRIBLE! Let's just say that all the fabric I've bought since is all solids! Cutting it on the bias for the stripes makes the yardage requirement huge! Even with the nice sewing table Hubby made me, the floor is the only place I could lay it out. In the house are two dogs and a cat. And it is slinky-slippery! Between it shifting here and there and not being able to truly get it all straight and trying to figure out where I could get the stripes to match up....argh!!! I got about one piece cut out per night and it usually took about an hour per piece. Not one piece matched up to the markings I made on each pattern piece, probably because nothing was truly on grain at any given time. So a few pieces got "forced" into place (I know, I know...). Somehow I got off at the waistline and the bodice and skirt didn't match quite right. No clue what I did! I was able to do a bit of tweaking and get it mostly right, but there was one spot on the right side where I just couldn't solve it. Good thing I just bought a new 2" black belt! 

I kept on telling Hubby over and over again, "I sure hope I like this dress when it's all done," with a few growls. Thank goodness, I do!

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