The Reconstruction, Day 2

After making yesterday’s post about my old ball gown, I repaired the waistband, and spent a ridiculously long time ripping out the stitches on the two panels that hung down the sides of the bodice. You’d think ripping about about 24″ of stitching would be fast and easy, but apparently the girl-who-can’t-follow-directions not only sewed the bodice together all wrong, but she also kept changing the stitch length on different seams making some of the stitches very tight and very difficult to pick out. That’s not so bad though, right? Just slow going?

Oh wait! And then it gets better. On one side of the bodice, I used pleats to make the panel fit. On the other side, I used gathering. What the hell was I thinking? Oh wait. Not only was I not reading or following the directions, I was not thinking either. I’m kind of embarrassed to have done this, even if it was years ago.


I remembered as I put the gown on my dress form that when I wore it to the ball, we had to use safety pins to hold the skirt up to the bodice in the back because there was a big gap at the waist. If I had sewn the panels on correctly, they would have made an overskirt, and that gap would have been hidden. Oh boy!


This afternoon I realized the reason the contrast panels in the bodice are not even on both sides is because I sewed one on upside down. I spent some more tie tearing the bodice apart so I could flip the panel over and put it together right. That led me to a new problem. The lace trim was cut and measured with that panel being upside down, so it stops about an inch short of where it should and I don’t have any of that lace now to replace it. I decided to solve that by creating an overlap of the front bodice pieces where it fastens- something I should have originally done because it kind of gaped before.

There was also the fact that the lining of the bodice was cut larger than the outside, so I had to pleat it to make it fit. I resewed a few seams in the lining and that was taken care of.


Anyway, after hours of work, most of it spent tearing out stitches, I feel like it looks a lot better then it did before and the fit is better too. I’m hoping someone will want to be a princess for Halloween and grabs this dress up. Its not a bad dress, its just a little rough up close. From a distance though it looks pretty damned good!

Is it exactly like the pattern envelope? No. Probably not even close. But its a lot better and I’d actually be willing to wear it like it is now.



The Bane of My Existance

gownAbout 5 years ago, little new-to-sewing me decided she was going to attend the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade Ball for a second time, and she needed a dress. She decided to sew up a pattern she found, but apparently she had no idea how to follow directions.

Today I pulled this dress out thinking “Hey! Halloween is coming up! Maybe I can sell this!” and found the waistband a mess, which I repaired. After doing so (and gathering a waist of 175 inches down to about 36 inches is a pain in the ass!) I discovered I had originally put the zipper in between the wrong two panels, that this skirt has a definite front and back. That means I will have to undo what I did, and move the zipper to the right location or else the zipper has a very odd placement when worn.

I also took a good look at the pattern envelope and found I did not even come close to putting the bodice together right. I knew I never dd the pollinading (however you spell that) but apparently the two purple panels hanging over the hips are supposed to go around the entire bodice except where the blue panels are in the front. I think because of how I put it together I can rip a few lines of stitches out and fix that too. As it stands now, the panels hanging down on one side is noticeably longer than the other.

I honestly cannot comprehend how I screwed this up so badly except by flat out not following or probably even reading the directions. The pattern I failed to follow is Butterick 4315. (Click to see the envelope) I am hoping I can fix this in a few days time without completely taking it apart, and really hope I can sell it. Its been hanging up in my craft room since it became my craft room and every time I see it I kind of cringe. I can’t believe I willingly made myself a purple and powder blue (with glitter) ball gown.

Reworking Butterick 4315

waistbandYesterday I mentioned I was thinking of re-working an old dress I made a few years back and using it for my Halloween costume this year. When I initially sewed Butterick 4315, there were quite a few areas I was not only sloppy about, but just didn’t put any effort into at all. Part of the reasoning was that I was on a tight time frame, and I didn’t have my own sewing machine so was driving 50 miles round trip for a few hours a week to work on it when I could. The whole thing was rushed and there were parts I didn’t even complete.

The waistband, which you can see on the left there, was uneven, lumpy, had no interfacing, and the gathering of the skirt itself into the waistband was super uneven and sloppy. There were raw edges poking out here and there too. The zipper wasn’t much better, with weird stitching around the top where I ran off the side of it three or four times and just kept going in a new line trying to make it stick.

Today I picked out the zipper, and took out the waistband. I cursed myself for using thread that matched perfectly the entire time I was doing it. Then I pulled out all the gathering and replaced it with pleats, which for the most part are even and pretty regularly done.

I cut interfacing for the waistband, cut about 5 inches in length off of it, stitched the ends and turned it right side out, then stitched along the bottom edge to keep it even when I attached it to the skirt. The reason I cut the end of the waistband off was because when I first sewed this dress, I wrongly used my waist measurement where my pants sit, not my natural waist where the skirt is supposed to sit. As a result, the skirt sat so long compared to the bottom edge of the top I may as well have been an overdressed belly dancer. This time I re-measured it to sit much higher and wouldn’t have the same problem again.

The pleats turned out to be just as disastrous as the gathers. I tried sewing the waistband in three times, including after sewing all the pleats down first, but no matter what I did I could not get the waistband to sit right or get all the edges tucked in and out of sight. I finally just made a casing and ran a cord through it to make a drawstring and called it good. I wanted to just do elastic, but apparently Walmart’s tiny sewing section doesn’t sell elastic and I can’t afford to drive all the way to Palmdale to Joann’s which is the only only place that does sell it.

Over the next few days I will be working on ripping out the stitches along the bottom edge of the top and taking it in a little along all the seams. The bodice needs to be taken in about a size and a half to fit properly. That’s going to be “fun.”