Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The bird dress - Remixed

A few years ago I made a dress that I just absolutely loved. The fabric was the most lovely pale yellow soft brushed cotton with tiny black flying birds. My friend and flattie at the time KTC (hi KTC!) had recently made a simple 4 panel dress, and I so liked the cut of its jib, that I made one too. The resulting dress fit perfectly. But it my haste, I made that age old mistake of failing to wash the fabric first. I was CRUSHED when I went to wear the dress again and it was just a smidge too tight all over. Oh the anguish. And because it was such soft fabric, the slightly shrunken fabric did not forgive the slightest bodily bump or flaw. So it's pretty much been sitting in my wardrobe ever since.
Anyway, a year or so ago a friend of a friend was looking to photograph 'girls with interesting clothes in interesting rooms', so I figured I could get away with wearing the much loved bird dress. Ali the photographer was quite delightful and I thought the resulting photo was lovely (despite being able to see my undies).
So when Q and I were out 'bamming' one day, and I spotted a cute floral print, I decided to re-make the bird dress. It's taken me a couple of months due to all the travelling and bamming and thesis writing I've been doing, but here is what happened. First up I used the original bird dress as a pattern and cut out a new version. I made sure I cut it quite a bit bigger but I could've strangled myself when I first tried it on and realised it was too tight. Again! Luckily I'd left a generous seam allowance.

Then I followed an excellent Invisible Zipper Tutorial, but was far too excited about my new invisible zipper foot to notice that I was using the wrong side of my fabric. Sigh. After much unpicking and re-sewing I finally had a mostly finished dress.

But then I couldn't quite figure out what to do with the neckline or sleeves. It was only after looking through some vintage dresses on Etsy that I realised I wanted a vintage style flutter sleeve. Luckily I found an old Butterick pattern in my stash with the exact sleeve I was looking for.

I nearly sewed the sleeves on upside down, but realised just in time. They were very awkward to hem, but they sit ok. A bit more ‘capped’ than ‘flutter’ but I guess they'll pass. I was desperate to finish the dress for my new bands very first gig. But when it was finally all hemmed I tried it on and realised it just didn't sit right. Anyway, with a few mods and pin tucks and a wash and an iron I’m finally happy. It’s no butter yellow bird dress, but at least it’s a finished project. Unlike my thesis.


qooza said...

DUDE. Awesome dress. Don't know how you found the time!

Q's Daydream said...

I love it! I'm now learning to make a dress and I love seeing other projects! :o)

the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things said...

Re: Bam Sewing Circle - Just so you know, I can't use the sewing machine. My grandma's tried to eat my fingers when I was much younger and I've never used one since. But I can hopefully contribute neat handstitching and embroidery to the circle? I would have given up on that dress, Absy, if I had to unstitch and re-handsew. Even on a machine! Hats off to patient you! Are we invited to your band's debut so we can see that dress with a great back story? x

Lova Revolutionary said...

What a beautiful dress!

Absy said...

The band already played! It was our first gig so I didn't want to overdress in case we were terrible (I figured it would be easier to look like I wasn't too concerned, if that makes sense). But I'll broadcast next time.
Neat handstitching and embroidery are always welcome, likkle girl. Although you should consider getting back onto the machine. Or jump straight up to an overlocker with its TWO needles and cutting knife!

the likkle girl who wurves pwetty things said...

I know what you mean - nonchanlance...insouciance...but I hope your band did good.
You know, I've been coveting an overlocker more than a sewing machine! It's more suitable for the hundreds of grand schemes I have in my head but have to put on hold because they are simply not achievable with mere handstitches.

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