One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned from my sewing experiences is that sometimes you just need to take a step back from a situation and let it be. I’m such a perfectionist, a project that should only take a few hours will take me a few days. With my ever-growing compulsion to be perfect, comes a lot of frustration.
When I started this lace dress, I knew going into it that there would be problems. The pattern wasn’t for the correct size, I’ve never made a collar before, and I made my own alterations to the design. Don’t get me wrong, I have done far more complicated patterns in the past, but this one was pretty tricky when it came to fitting it.
After my week-long hiatus, I started up again sewing the back pieces together. Easy enough. Of course after the back is sewn together, next you have to put in the zipper. Crap. Even this early on, I was already thinking about putting the kabosh to the whole dress. Ugh, nothing is worth this. I hate zippers. Zippers hate me. I am absolutely awful at them. There will never be a day where I say, “Oh, time to put a zipper in. Hurray!”. After pinning it three times, ripping it out twice, and resewing it, I left it as is. If anyone has any tips for putting in zippers, by all means, leave a comment!! I would love some advice because I have been doing zippers for years and they are not getting any easier and/or prettier.
After the zipper was in, I sewed the front of the dress to the back. This is where the real problems began. It was super baggy, the collar was up way too high to the point where I was choking, and the lace cut-out cut down way too low for my taste. I started this chain of issues first with the fitting. I was home alone at this point and it would be impossible to fit it on myself, so I had to use my form. I don’t mind using my form, it just doesn’t have the same shape as I do, even if it is the same measurements. Then I tried to take my dress off and I got stuck. For 20 minutes. I don’t advise anyone to put a dress on inside out if you can’t reach the zipper. Just don’t do it.
I had to do multiple fittings on my form, including a couple on my self. This helped the bagginess and the lace didn’t cut down quite so much, but the lower back still had too much fabric. I had to make a dart on each side of the zipper to make it a little more fitted. They’re not perfect, but nothing about this dress really is. Throughout all of the fittings, I had to iron quite a bit.
Fun fact: lace melts. I don’t really want to talk about it.
After I got the dress fitted, I had to work with the shoulder/neck area. There was also too much fabric there. I cut down the neckline so I could breathe, and I had to refit the shoulders. Somehow in the midst of this, the shoulders of the back got to be larger than the front. Instead of messing around with it more and cutting it down, I put a few pleats in the back. Pleats fix everything.
Once the shoulders were re-sewn, this thing started to actually look like a wearable garment. WOOHOO! I have never made anything without lining before, so the inside of the dress is ugly; just awful. I don’t own a serger, so there are a lot of unfinished seams. I guess you can’t have everything. Since it is unlined, that meant I had to “narrow hem” the sleeves and the neckline. I hate hemming things, because like zippers, I suck at it. The sleeves are a little uneven, but it’s not noticeable unless you’re looking for it. I hemmed the bottom edge, which went surprisingly well, and all that was left was the Peter Pan collar. Bah. I have never done a collar before. I wanted my [super amazing, talented, and handsome] friend Ian to teach me how, but seeing as I haven’t moved back to Ames yet and I couldn’t wait another four weeks, I had to teach myself. Basically, I just traced the neckline onto some lace and then drew what I wanted the collar to look like around it. I cut it out and it was too small. I did it again and it was too large (figures). I gave it a couple more attempts, until it was presentable and I just stuck with it. I cut out four, sewed the pairs together and pinned it onto the inside of the dress. I then flipped it over and reinforced it at the top. Whew.
With all of the obstacles in my way, I can’t believe I actually finished it. The last time I got this pissed working on a project, I let it sit at home for an entire school year. This time, I was determined, I adapted, and I made myself do it. Honestly, I couldn’t be any more proud of myself. It’s not perfect, but it looks pretty kick-ass. What do you think?
I am not one to brag, but I absolute love this one. It might be one of the best things I’ve made! I tend to better appreciate the garments that put me through hell over the easy ones. After all of the seam ripping, melted lace, several fittings, and some spur of the moment alterations, it was totally worth it. I adore it. Do you?