My younger sister was married at the end of September, and she asked me to be her Matron of Honor. Instead of choosing dresses for her attendants to wear, she sent us a swatch and told us to get as close to that color as we could. Can you imagine how excited I was? I posted to Sew Retro back in January when I bought this pattern. I was also a little nervous, as it often seems that formal fabric equals slippery fabric. Also, I have a couple years of experience under my belt, but was that enough for me to make a dress I would feel really lovely in (and not embarrass my sister)?
Well, it all turned out fine! There was nothing to fear except crazy fabric that could barely be pressed and frayed to fuzz, and a pattern with dart tucks straight out of h-e-double-hockey-sticks. I made a tea length gown for myself using Simplicity 5343.
Adjustments: I made a size 16. I shortened the bodice by one inch and removed an inch at center front and center back at the neckline only, tapering to nothing at the waist. I have since made sense of the seam method for pattern alteration- the waist on this one was a little fudgy/short because I removed the fabric at the waist instead of over the bust. I think I’ve got it now, doh.
Pattern Instructions: I have gotten pretty bad about reading these at all. I did refer to them many times to figure out those tucks. A lot of good it did me! Those blasted tucks. Those tucking tucks. Shucks, those tucks were a pain. I re-tucked 4 times! This was one of the times when I was sooooooo glad I hand basted like a good girl.
So, on the instructions, I mostly winged it. Wung it. Something like that. I underlined the bodice in a tricot interfacing. This worked very well. I used the glue method Gertie blogged about hereto no ill effect. It was fast and the result was a less creased and wrinkly bodice. Actually, underlining made the fabric behave very nicely. I also lined the bodice with self fabric. I hand picked the zipper. I serged all seams, and I did a narrow hem. I wanted a deep hem, but I would have had to underline the entire skirt to hide the stitches. And I didn’t do that. What I did do was mark my hemline, serge it, and turn and stitch it. Not the traditional method perhaps, but it worked out fine.
Problems: The blasted tucks. Did I mention the tucks? And the creasing. Wah wah wah! Actually, that was the biggest headache. I flew with hubby and baby to Maine for my sister’s wedding, and I packed a separate, hard sided vintage suitcase for our dresses. I stuffed them with tons of tissue, and I wrote a sweet letter to TSA begging them not to wrinkle them all up. It said “Seriously! Do these look like the kind of dresses you’d smuggle drugs or weapons in?!?!” No, it didn’t say that.