That’s right–after about 2 1/2 months of planning/cutting/muslin-making/basting/more basting/actual sewing/more handsewing than I thought I’d ever do on one project in my life, my LBD is finally done!! (And yes, I do plan on taking pictures of it on me at some point–there’s just no one home to do it now. So you get the lovely Donna instead, for now.)
Back view–all fitting tests show that this lays way better on me than the dummy.
A little side ruching action…
And a very well-finished hem, done with hem tape and everything! (Which I’ve never really used before, and this project made me realize that it would really only work on projects with underlining. Otherwise the stitches would show through the front anyway, so what’s the point?)
I used Vogue 8556 for this, with lots and lots of tweaks– mostly of the fitting variety, but there was also the chopping about 2 feet off the hem bit, as well as changing the pleats in the bodice to darts. And I don’t think the pleats in the top near the halter straps show as well on mine as they do in the drawing, but I had to shorten that a couple of inches from what I had on the muslin in order to get it to fit right. I’m mostly pleased with how it turned out– I do wish the ruching in the front lay better, because it’s pretty much amazing in the back but it’s just too wide of a piece for the gathers to hold well in the front. And I am having a little bit of trouble with streaking within the fabric itself–it got kind of wrinkled when I washed and dried it, and the wrinkles aren’t quite ironing out (at least in the skirt) and seem to have lost a bit of dye. I don’t know if that’s just a characteristic of the fabric–it’s not even really noticeable from the 5 feet away that I’m currently sitting from it, so I think it’ll be ok. Guess we’ll find out– I think I may have just enough of the silk/cotton blend that the outer layer of the dress is made from to squeeze out some kind of sleeveless blouse, and I’m sure that will get washed and dried far more than this.
So wow, what a learning experience! As I said before, I don’t think I would put this much time, effort or handwork into any one dress again, unless it was my wedding dress. But I’m glad I did this project– I feel like I have so many new techniques to play with now. And I’m sure I’ll be using some of them again– I’m really pleased with how the hand-picked zipper turned out, and I have a blouse in mind for this spring that I’m already planning on fully underlining. I got to work with some fabrics I don’t normally get to play with, because silk hasn’t really been something I’ve had opportunity to use much. Though I’d like to change that, because the crepe de chine and the silk/cotton poplin were SO much easier to work with than the charmeuse I originally tried for the sister-of-the-groom dress from hell. (I do have a couple of thrifted blouses in my reconstruction pile that are 100% silk, so hopefully sooner rather than later!) And hopefully I’ll get some good use out of this, at least as far as my occasional music gigs go. And the occasional girls night out. Or wedding, which is what its debut is going to be. (Family evening one in mid-April. Which means I need to make a wrap to wear over it, for the dual reasons of it’ll be too cold around here for sleeveless and my cousin’s bridesmaid color is black, so I need some color! But it looks like I have just the thing in my stash.)
So I’m hoping I can get some easier, less time-consuming projects knocked out now that this won’t be hanging over my head anymore! Although it’s looking like I’ll be doing something rather unheard of around here before long: sewing a dress for my mom to wear to the same wedding. Which is weird, since she used to make a ton of my clothes. It kind of feels like now the circle is complete and I’m the master and all that other Darth Vader-ish stuff.