Holy crap, T-3!!

Hi, friends!  If you’re wondering where I’ve been the last few weeks, just imagine me chained up in my own private sweatshop!  It’s Tuesday, and the dresses need to be finished, packed up, and on a 6am flight with me Friday morning!  Eek!  Here’s what I’ve done so far:

Mom’s dress– I spent f o r e v e r on this, adjusting the fit, finishing the seams with Snug Hug, and adding a full lining.  The lining was super difficult to figure out, although I got an ENORMOUS amount of help from Katy of Denim Skirts and Other Stuff— this gal is a true princess!  I could NOT figure out how to do a full lining on a sleeveless dress, so she posted her notes and a link to Angela Kane’s suggestions on Burdastyle.  Then, when I couldn’t figure out how to join the shoulder seams, she sent me a super detailed email walking me through the process!  She’s my guardian sewing angel!  Her directions were really clear, but I still had a really hard time executing them (the lining seam and the shell seam weren’t lining up correctly, etc.).  I did the best that I could, but eventually I started freaking out when I realized how little time I had left to sew (this was mid-week last week), so I packed up the dress and mailed it to my mom so she could hem it herself and slipstitch the lining to the zipper.

B’s dress: Sewed it up and added in-seam pockets at her request before I realized that this would screw up the placement of the side zipper.  Decided I would shorten the zipper and leave the pockets as she should still be able to shimmy into the dress and reallly wanted pockets, but the next day I started imaging scenarios where she couldn’t get into the dress or the zipper split ten minutes before we all had to walk down the aisle, so I removed the pocket on the left side and installed the zipper as the pattern suggested.  At least she still has one pocket… one’s better than none, right?  Then I sewed the lining to the dress and understitched, but now I’m stuck on the sewing the shoulders thing again (the shell straps seem to be a bit longer than the lining, so I can’t get the seams up to the shoulder to line up nicely.  I decided to skip over fixing this in favor of getting at least something done on my own dress.  All the seams are finished (with Snug Hug, as the cotton/silk blend was SUPER ravelly), but I need to slipstitch the lining to the zipper and Man Friend is probably pressing the hem under as we speak (and before he goes to his night shift– what a darling!).  Be shocked, sewists– I’m going to machine hem this baby!  No time for hand sewing, Dr. Jones!

Mine:  Mocked up a muslin of the bodice Sunday night and found the dart placement to be… weird.  Like, I’m not sure what kind of a lady this would work for, as the darts point, oh, about an inch and a half closer to the center than they should on me.  Hmm…  Also, the waist line isn’t marked, but the bodice ended a good inch above my natural waist (huh?  I never need to lengthen a bodice… is this supposed to sit above your natural waist?).  I lowered it an inch and moved the darts (sloppily and probably incorrectly) so things are looking a little bit better.  I still have a little bit of poochy fabric under the bust, which is weird, but could probably be solved by narrowing the darts a little, although the waist is pretty snug, so I’m not sure if it works.  The problem will actually be solved by me by… wearing the cummerbund over it so you can’t see what’s actually going on down there!

I’m still struggling a bit with fit issues, though.  I cut a straight size 0, which is a tiny bit too small in the waist, hoping that the ease would make up for it.  I think I can get away with it, although I wouldn’t mind a hair more room at the waist.  The bust fits pretty well, but I have some gaping above it towards the neckline that I’m trying to figure out how to get rid of (it’s a little triangle of excess fabric at the CF when you pinch it, like a dart would have).  Do I trace a dart on the pattern and do some magic to move the excess to the waist or something?  Will this change the shape of the bodice drastically?  Fit for Real People recommends a horizontal tuck for neckline gape, but this doesn’t seem quite right as the excess fabric is right at the CF.  Digging around online, it seems like what I SHOULD do is cut a smaller size (impossible, since I cut the smallest) and do a tiny FBA, but I just don’t have time!  I’m tempted just to ignore it and hope for the best because I’m so crunched for time, but I’ll honestly feel pretty sad wearing a dress that doesn’t fit well.  I guess the best case scenario would  be an easy fix, one that would require minimal muslin-ing so I can jump right into dress construction tonight.  Any thoughts?  I was too disheartened and exhausted last night to take any photos or I’d post them…  Let’s see, the back…  I ended up with excess fabric at the CB, too, and I made the back shoulder darts larger and 1″ longer.  I’m worried that I will end up with a back boob situation (it looks a little pokey-out-y to me, although Man Friend insists that it looks fine and that I’m paranoid).  I can’t figure out why I would have extra fabric right at my CB and CF.  I’m sure this is some sort of classifiable figure flaw.  Ugh.  I’m super frustrated– I really wanted to make something special, and I don’t know how you fast sewin’ fiends get stuff done!  It’s taken me forever to work on THREE dresses (not to mention that work has been insane, and I had to work all day Saturday unexpectedly, which ate up a huge chunk of sewing time that I hadn’t anticipated).  UGH.  I don’t see any way to avoid pulling an all-nighter (and I’ve been sleeping 4-5 hours every night for the last two weeks), but I feel like I’ll just end up making major mistakes that way (like how I put my sister’s lining together backwards and had to rip everything out).  I started cutting out the fashion fabric last night, but avoided the bodice pieces until I can figure out what to do.

I’m just going to do facings for the Peony dress (or maybe even just finish the neck and armholes with bias tape) to save time, and I plan to not finish the seams (terrible idea?  maybe I’ll just barely pink them) right now, but sometime after the wedding is over.  Definitely going to be machine hemming, too!  Or possibly sticking the hem up with duct tape… or maybe just cutting holes for my arms and head in a peach-colored bedsheet and calling it a dress.  Yes, that could work!

ACK!  I’m writing this from work as we wait for a truck to arrive.  Hopefully I won’t have to work crazy late, but I’ll have tonight, tomorrow night (probably won’t be home til at least 10p, if not midnight), and Thursday night (hoping not to stay up crazy late since I have a 6a flight the next morning, oh and it’s my birthday Thurs, but I’ll be celebrating AFTER the wedding… with a 20 hour nap on Sunday!)  What do you think?  Can I get this done?

17 responses

  1. I think I can help with the gaping bodice. First, does it pull across the bust as well as gaping? If it does, you really can’t get around doing an FBA, but it really doesn’t take that long. I have to do it on every dress or top I make, and it’s pretty easy and quick, just a matter of measuring and cutting. Fit for Real People has a lot of good instructions for FBAs. If the bodice is not pulling across the bust, you can just pin the excess fabric to create a dart, then move the dart to the side or waist. FFRP has a little diagram (I can’t remember the page it’s on, but it’s just a drawing of a basic bodice sloper with all the possible darts drawn in) about how to move a dart that’s kind of genius and is also super easy. I hope this helps! Don’t panic, you can totally do this.


    • It doesn’t seem to pull across the bust, so I think I can just pin a new dart and move it! Luckily I grabbed FFRP as I was running out the door and stuffed into my bookbag, so I found the chart (page 136, for anyone else who’s interested)! Yay!! Thanks, Abby!


  2. Just remember, you can only do one thing at a time. Just do that thing and move on to the next. If you focus on all the thing you have to do, you will get super overwhelmed. Good luck!!!!!!


  3. I can feel your pain and frustration! I know how long it takes me to do one thing so doing 3 complicated dresses under a deadline must seem like a nightmare. I’m so glad the lining instructions helped. I’m not sure what has gone wrong though if the shoulder straps on the outside are longer than the lining. To fix the problem can you join on a piece of lining to make it the same length? I don’t see how you’ll get the lining on the shoulders to join up otherwise. I agree with you on the pinching out thing on the centre front. I did that on my shift dress muslin. Pinch on the muslin and mark on the muslin the base of where you pinched out and then transfer those markings to the pattern and close up the gap with tape. (On my shift dress I actually ended up using the muslin as the pattern and so I pinched in and taped down on the muslin.) I don’t think you’ll need to resort to the bed sheet – that made me laugh!


    • You know, I think that I just didn’t get the lining sewn as accurately as the shell– I was really struggling with the rayon because it was slippery and stretchy! I’m going to revisit that tonight with the seam ripper and see if I can’t get it to line up nicely!


  4. You can do it! Deep breaths and positive thinking. When this happens to me, I use my time away from the project to imagine myself executing each step in order. (On the subway or while eating lunch.) This helps me foresee possible mistakes and reminds me when and where to be careful. That way, when I’m at the machine, I can just do what I’ve already thought through. Also, it might help to make yourself a list of small steps just to break it down into smaller, more manageable parts.
    Hope that helps!


  5. Of course you can do it! Just keep focused and channel your inner Zen Master. And of course we expect copious amounts of photos after the wedding. More importantly, have fun!


  6. Wow! I’m very impressed by you actually sewing (three!) dresses and making adjustments! Excited to see how they turned out…

    P.s: I just prayed that the Peony dress would fit fine because I wouldn’t know where to start with adjustments 😉


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