Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Weekly Dress - Make 1 Dress per Week Challenge

My high school 20-year reunion is coming up and of course, I wanted to wear a dress that I'd made myself so I started digging through my patterns.  I picked Butterick B5882 from my stash.

The pattern calls for almost four yards of fabric and almost three for the lining.  If you've seen fabric prices these days, you'll understand that this is quite a costly endeavor!  Luckily I had a boat load of this really cute red hibiscus print cotton twill that I'd salvaged from my friend's yard sale.  The fabric was really curtains and they were lined in cotton too so I used the curtain lining as my dress lining.  Win, win!
This pattern wasn't nearly as complex as it looked.  I sewed it quickly and was really happy with the end result.

Until I tried it on.
It was WAY too big. I am so frustrated by the fact that nothing I make ever comes out the size that I think it will.  Most times I have to make a dress two or three times before I can get it to fit me properly.  It is aggravating to spend hours and hours working on something and (in most cases) spend a ton of money on fabric and not be able to wear it.  This inability to get things to fit correctly is exactly why I usually refuse custom orders.  It is just so frustrating that I have a ton of talent for sewing but can't get sizing right.  Frankly, it's embarrassing.
At the Indie Craft Bazaar, I had a conversation on this subject with a dressmaker that I admire.  She gave me some tips and offered to help teach me some of her tricks.  I walked away inspired and ready to try again.  
The next day, while on a long run (I do my best thinking while running) I just kept going over these things in my mind.  I really love dressmaking.  I have always loved dressmaking.  I am passionate about it, but for some reason I haven't put the time or effort into improving my skills.  I think I've just been siting back thinking that because I understand the basics of clothing construction, and am pretty good at it, that I don't have to keep learning.  I'm not sure why it has taken me so long to realize that I have a lot left to learn.  I've always just made clothing that was in my comfort zone.  Things that I could do.  I need to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to learn the master techniques that I'm missing.  
So, during my run I came up with a plan to make at least one dress every single week.  I'm not sure how long... maybe a year?  Maybe more? Who knows. We'll see where it will take me.  
Week 1 will be last week when I made my failed reunion dress.  This week, I'm attempting another reunion dress and so far, I have already reached out for advice and dusted off an old college textbook for help.  
I'll be blogging here about each dress after I'm finished with it and photo documenting my progress along the way on instagram @weeklydress in case you would like to follow the progress.  

Quick Pattern Summary/Review:
Sizing: I made size 12 which, according to the pattern envelope, size 12 would be for someone 34, 26.5, 36.  I used 5/8" seam allowance and my dress came out with a 38" bust and a 30" waist.  Not sure why there was such a huge difference or what I did wrong.
Difficulty: the only part that was remotely difficult was the "bra".  It was quite a bit of marking and pinning.  
Changes: I didn't adjust the pattern at all or make any changes this time.  If I made this dress again I wouldn't bother with lining the skirt part (unless I used a thin fabric).
Fabric: This fabric is a cotton blend twill, medium thickness.

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