Friday, July 27, 2012

Dress Re-Fashion

Over the past couple of summers, I documented here my attempts at learning how to solve my fitting issues.  I thought I had it figured out last summer and was looking forward to making more clothes this year.....and then I went and lost weight!  Many of the dresses were princess seams and just don't alter easily in the bust.  I haven't had much time for sewing this year, but I did have a couple dresses I bought to be refashioned.  Even though I had two in pieces already, I grabbed a third to work on, thinking it would be an easy change up.  Some of it was, some, not so much.
 These two pictures are the before pictures, from last summer.   I don't have the collar done up in that picture, sorry.  Really, except for the neckline and the sleeves, it doesn't look a whole lot different.  Since the dress pretty much fit me last summer (the upper bodice was a bit too long), taking it in to fit the new me doesn't make the new pictures look radically different, LOL.

First I took off the neck and opened the shoulder seams.  I did that because I thought I might not need to take the back and the front in different amounts---last year I seemed to need to adjust my shoulder seam location a lot.  Turns out I could take it in evenly, and it was mostly the outer part of the shoulder--but since I was narrowing the shoulders and moving the armhole inwards, the bodice length adjustment wasn't really needed.
I altered the side seams and princess seams next.  The button band was straining just a smidge, so I let the princess seams out just a touch on both sides (1/8 of an inch on each side of two princess seams adds up to an additional 1/2" across the bust, and I was able to leave the serging on the edge--it had been serged with a 4 thread, so I did my new seam along the right thread and clipped out the left thread). 

The neckline was the next thing that needed changing.  I wasn't sure what I was doing, so I started by re-topstitching the collar stand.  However, that left a button at the top, on the stand, and below it, a peek a boo hole.  A little too fussy for me.  I tried leaving it open, but it looked messy.  Eventually, I ripped out the stitching, folded it in and topstitched the facing and front to make a V neck.  I couldn't figure out how to work the stand in though.  So I took it off and used it sort of like bias binding around the back of the neck where there was no facing to use.  Much better.
Okay, I know I look miserable here, but I wasn't, honest.  Next I had to tackle the sleeves.  I had to re-open the top of the side seams a little since I thought sewing the sleeves in flat would work easiest.  I didn't know what to do with the newly created extra ease at the top of the sleeve head.  I stitched the sleeve in, matching the armhole up to where the notches would be on a commercial pattern.  Then I gathered the top.  That was 1980s icky.  I took out the gathered section and made an inverted pleat.  It's okay, but too pouffy.  I need the width at the hem of the sleeve, but not at the top.  I might just make a seam up the middle. 

On to the back.  I wanted to keep the details, but the elastic under the doubled ....loops needed replacing to pull the back in more.  I didn't want to remove the four buttons and the loops to take in the back seams, but I do think that would have really improved the back fit.

I kept the length and slits.  I like how I look all school teacherish when I'm standing still and then shazam!  Some leg pops out.  It's not quite a floor duster maxi (which I don't like anyway), but still long.  Maybe next summer I'll hem it shorter.

It's not my most favourite dress, but it fits.  That's the priority right now when it's been super hot and most of my shorts don't fit either!  Sorry I don't have any more pictures, but I wore it to "Movie in the Park" and that's not somewhere I really want to take pictures at, LOL.  Next time I wear it I'll get more pictures :)

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