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.



Vogue 1235

I had planned on getting this dress  (Vogue 1235) started weeks ago, but finally yesterday I sat down to cut the pattern. As I was cutting it, my fears and apprehension about doing a Vogue pattern pretty much melted away as I saw how few pieces there were, and how easy it looked. I ended up sewing the whole thing in the same afternoon, aside from a few small tweaks I made to it today.


I did run into a few small issues, and I did make a few minor changes as I went. The way it wanted the pockets sewn in was confusing, and I stopped following the directions at that point. It just made more sense to put the pockets in the way I’ve always done it, and not try to sort out the instruction’s method.

I opted to leave out the contrasting waistband- this piece sites over the dress, and isn’t integral to the dress. The fabric I chose for this part really did not work well and just looked bad.  I also left out the waistline elastic, and the zipper, as the dress pulls easily over my head without it. I shortened the straps by about 5 inches too- as they were, the neckline would have been way too low!

The folds in the bust and pleats in the front of the dress proved to be easy enough to do, but as usual I had major issues with the gathering in the back on the dress. I can never get my gathers right no matter how hard I try.



v1235detailI also ran into minor issues with fabric bunching up on the bottom side and I had t rip stitches out and sew it again more carefully- its something I know I need to be more careful about because it happens a lot, and I will definitely be on alert about next time I work with a knit. Ripping stitches out of this was not fun!

I still haven’t hemmed it, and not sure if I will. Its not like it will fray, but the neurotic part of me says to hem the dam thing so I can stop thinking about whether to hem it or not.

Anyway, it turned out nicely. You can’t really see the detail in it because of the pattern, but there are lots of tiny folds in the lower bust, and pleats across the center front of the skirt. There was a lot more small detail in this then I expected, but it was still fun to make.

Sadly, I’m a little disappointed in it because it looks store-bought. Apparently I picked a perfectly commercial dress looking fabric for this one.

And not so sadly, my dress form is officially tooo small to use since I’ve lost 5 freaking pounds! Guess I need a new one soon. 🙂

Remember This Circle Skirt?

Way back in September of last year, I whipped up this circle skirt. Right away I loved it, and I wore it quite a bit. It was fun, flirty, and if I spun around really fast, it flared straight out and made me feel like a little girl. I adored it. But as time went on, I lost weight, about 25 pounds. And as I lost weight, the skirt got looser and looser. Eventually I could literally slip it off without unzipping it, which leads to the worry that it might casually fall off of my body at some randomly decided moment. This was a problem, as I loved this skirt and wanted to keep wearing it.

Tonight I ripped out the waistband and added a few pleats to take up the slack. I actually ended up taking 6 inches out of the waist of it, and putting it back together. I feel like I did a somewhat sloppy job of it because I had previously used a French seam for the waistband attachment, but didn’t do that when I put it back on tonight, because each time I attach it with a French seam, I run the risk of losing a bit of fabric if I need to trim the edges up. Since I’m going to have to do this again in another 25 pounds, I’d rather save that for when I do it the final time.

No photos tonight, as you’ve already seen the skirt before. I do have a question for you. I am dying to stitch up a new dress, but I hesitate because I know I am going to be losing quite a bit more weight- about 35 pounds, and I don’t want to have to tear it apart in a few months and essentially sew it all over again. What I am pondering is sewing a knit dress, and cutting it a size smaller so I will “grow” into it. Thoughts?

M5348 View A

m5348a2McCall’s 5348 View A is a pattern I purchased the fleece for and had every intention of sewing- about 5 months ago. Then I stopped sewing. I stopped crafting. I stopped doing all sorts of things. Two days ago, I decided to work on some of the things I had started and not finished, and you’ve seen the two skirts I put together over the last two days.

This bathrobe almost didn’t get completely today, but when I realized I was stopping with it so close to being completed, I went back into my craft room and finished it! The color is a very pretty royal purple- its not right in any of these photos. I’ve never been much for purple, but the color really caught my eye and I figured I’d give it a try. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the length- I should have lengthened it maybe 6 or 8″- I had enough fleece left over to do so, but it didn’t occur to me until after I had everything cut out and started sewing. Still, sitting here curled up in it on the couch after a soak in the tub, I love it. Soft, warm, and brightly colored without being obnoxious!

Things I loved about this pattern-

  • Its simple- there’s 9 fabric pieces (front (2), back, front facing (2), sleeves (2), belt loops (cut as one piece), and belt (cut as two pieces) and 2 interfacing pieces (front facings).
  • Overall the construction is simple and hard to mess up.
  • Using fleece, I could sew down the facings as well as top stitch them and even using a contrasting thread color, my stitches barely showed up.

Things I didn’t love about it-

  • I was unclear on the directions the first ten times I read them regarding the collar. I eventually made sense out of them, but not sure if I cut something wrong or if I messed up- the collar pieces did not extend all the way across the back of the next and I ended up added a double pleat in the upper back to make everything line up perfectly.
  • Using fleece, any mistakes were really difficult to pick out because they sink int the fabric really deeply.


My final scoring on this pattern? 8/10. No major complaints and I might make it again in a different fabric choice. Made with a different fabric and a lining instead of facings, this might also make a cute coat. There’s an idea! I can always use a new coat especially in wintertime.

Butterick 5011 View A Part 2

If you haven’t read the previous post, go back here to catch up. There’s a nice close-up of the fabric in that post too. 8)

I headed out to my craft room after doing the grocery shopping today and got to work on this hoping to finish it today. I followed the directions almost exactly, except where the upper part meets the lower, I used a French seam to hide the raw edges. Everything seemed to be going along nicely, until I tried it on. The back gaped something awful. There was at least 3 1/2 inches of extra fabric back there, even though I had been super careful in cutting everything and had taken my measurements just a days before.

I didn’t want to completely deconstruct the top (those French seams take time to pick out) so instead I ripped out the seam connecting the top to the bottom in an area in the center back about 6 inches wide. I already knew how much needed to come out of the back, and had pinned up the excess and was still able to pull it on and off easily, so I went ahead and cut the excess off from the upper back panel. Then using a French seam, I connected the two sides again.

That left me with a few extra inches of fabric in the bottom portion, and since I hate gathering, I made four tiny pleats to take up the excess and stitched the top and bottom halves together again. The result was very nice, no ugly spots, and it went smoothly. I still think the back sits too low, and if I make it again I’ll use interfacing in the back panel to stiffen it up a bit, but overall this was a quick and easy pattern to do and it turned out really well.
Sashi says she approves of my new top, though she’d much rather be digging a hole in one of the flower beds.


I think the bust could have been a little roomier, but for women who aren’t big on top, its probably just about right.


The back still sits low, but nowhere near like it did before, and the gape is gone! Success!

I would definitely make this again in the future when I need another cute halter top, or I may try the tank top version instead next time.