Friday, April 7, 2017

three cheers for the grapevine

(Sorry the fonts are so wonky on this post.  I've tried numerous strategies and can't get them to be consistent so am giving up.)

In March 2016, I (begrudgingly) diverted from my Fen obsession to make a Sewaholic Cambie dress to wear to a wedding in mid-April 2016.

I did a massive amount of internet research to find the right dress pattern before starting this dress and had actually settled on making the By Hand London Elisalex dress.  However, while endlessly researching, I had neglected to notice that By Hand London had pulled the Elisalex pattern to make edits before reissuing it.  So I had to come up with a new plan.

I consulted with Alexis, Jenny and Wamps as follows (excerpted due to excessive length):

"Sewing friends!

I'm going to a wedding on April 16th and have long wanted to make my own dress for it....
I had this dress in mind.  I would make it with the a-line skirt and I'd modify the neckline so that it was straight across and not shaped.  (Like this).  I purchased the olive version of this fabric for the Cambie.

But now I've started thinking about this dress (short sleeve version, but with a skirt that is longer than on that version.) and how I could use this fabric, which I purchased with no plan in mind but that it was pretty.  But it looks like double gauze works well for the Zeena dress. [note that I actually sent them the wrong link here and should have linked to this dress instead]

Help me decide!  I definitely will need to do a toile/muslin/dry-run for either of them so I need to make a decision and get started....

For the Cambie, I feel like the pluses are that it comes with a pretty detailed tutorial and I could learn how to do a lining.  For the Zeena, I'd get to learn how to do box pleats and everyone on the internet says that it's a really fast dress to sew.  (I have not found such estimates to be accurate for me, but I'm guessing that it would still be faster than the Cambie.)  For both, I'd get to learn how to do a zipper and a new type of pocket, and maybe I could work on pattern matching.... 

And then I also keep thinking that there must be a better option out there and keep searching for something else (which is how I found the Zeena which I had originally ignored because I didn't like the main picture on the pattern page). So I need advice so I can stop spending a bunch of time searching sewing blogs!...

PS#2: All I really want to sew are more Fen dresses, but I don't think that will quite cut it for this wedding.  And I should probably try to learn the zipper since that feels like it will open up a lot of new possibilities for me."

The vote came back and was unanimous in favor of the Cambie, so that's what I did.  However, I changed plans on fabric and used a bright blue Nani Iro double gauze for the fabric.  This had the advantage of being a bright blue double gauze and also not requiring pattern matching.  I lined it with a white and gray lawn from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabric (horrifying the staff there by using such fabric as a lining).

I probably should have chosen something slinkier, but wanted something that I knew would be easy to sew.  I also maybe should have chosen a plain color since the lining peeked out at places, but it worked out okay.

I did actually muslin the bodice, though then decided that the fit was good enough, probably because I didn't know what to do to make it better.  That's definitely an area of sewing where I'd like to improve since I often decide that the fit is good enough and don't work to make it excellent.  On the final dress, this showed, as I had to pull the straps/sleeves pretty tight to avoid gaping which wasn't as comfortable as it could have been otherwise.

Inside of pocket

But the dress came together fairly quickly after all my dithering and it turned out that learning to do an invisible zip was incredibly useful.  I brought a back-up store bought dress to the wedding, but was cleared by my former housemates to wear the Cambie so that's what I did.   Though it looks like I have no pictures from the wedding itself, which turned out to be a fancier affair than I expected.  In the end, I probably should have gone with a more formal silhouette than a-line or a more formal fabric, but I learned a lot making this dress and enjoyed the final product.  I look forward to being able to wear it again!

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