Sewing

The Wonderfully Weirdass Dress

The moment I saw this pattern, I knew I had to have it…it was just a little different.  OK, actually it’s so damn weird, and I LOVE IT.

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This is Butterick 6241, view C.  The piece de resistance from the February Retreat.  I’ve shared some pretty basic makes so far, so thought I would throw this slightly more complicated monster into the mix next.  Rawr!

This has a moderate number of pattern pieces; more than most of the garments I’ve been sewing lately:  8.  But it was the petite-ly striped fabric that made cutting the 13 pieces out a bit of a bear.  I decided to really go to town playing with the stripe.  Here’s my plan, though I decided to nix the mitered back:

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And here’s my loose cutting layout; I ended up cutting everything except for the back on a single layer.

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As I sometimes do, I shared my plans on Instagram and asked for feedback…I got a lot of “too much stripe; colorblock it.”  My favorite response was from Jeanette about how the small stripe would make the garment strobe.  I hadn’t heard that one before, but I am totally using it forevermore.

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Unfortunately, there wasn’t a gray or navy jersey in my stash that looked good with this stripe, and I couldn’t bring myself to buy more fabric.  I really have a fabric acquisition problem:  ask my husband.

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Speaking of fabric, I used a 3 yard rayon/spandex jersey Craftsy pre-cut from Fabric Mart, which I ordered just ’cause it was pretty (AKA no definite plans).  Once I decided it was time to make this dress, I knew this was the right fabric. I only paid $1.60 a yard for it, which means this whole dress, including pattern, fabric (+shipping), interfacing, zipper and thread, cost me roughly $10-12 to make.  So this is what they mean when they talk about sewing saving people money (OK, time to laugh:  hahahahahahaha!).

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So, let’s talk sewing:  the neckline was kind of a beast.  The pattern calls for a 12″ zipper, but guess what I couldn’t find anywhere?  So 11″ zipper it was.  I swore up and down that I had shortened the placket on both the garment front and the facing, but once I got everything stay stitched and cut open the front was 1″ longer than the facing!  ARGH!  Measure twice, cut once, folks.

This mistake cost me sewing time, too, since it was 10 pm and JoAnn was closed; I had to wait until morning to guy buy a longer zipper (plus there went the money I thought I had saved by ordering my zipper from Wawak!)

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Sewing the facing on was also a bit of a struggle, I ripped and sewed it 3 or 4 times before I decided it just wasn’t going to get any better looking. On the first try, I turned it around after sewing and went “Wow, how lucky:  it looks perfect!”  And then I thought “fucking hell” when I realized that I was looking at the (inside) facing.  It’s a little funky and crooked, but there comes a time when you just have to say “fuck it” and move on.

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If I were to do it again, I would definitely use some fusible stay tape around that garment edge; the pattern just as you stay stitch.  There’s just not enough stability in simply stay stitching to make for a nice, clean finish.

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The rest of it?  Not much of a problem.  This dress really could use all three of the machines I own for construction:  sewing, serger, and coverstitch.  Since I was wasn’t at home, I only comfortably had room for two of my machines out at once.  The side pockets, hem and sleeve hems and topstitching would have all benefited from my coverstitch, but I used my sewing machine instead.  Not a biggie, just good for you to know if you plan to attempt this one.

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While I did play with the direction of stripe, I wasn’t too hung up on actually matching the stripe, since it’s so small.  This makes the back a little funky, but isn’t so noticeable everywhere else.

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The only thing that I am not totally jazzed about, besides the whole zipper fiasco, is the mock neck.  I can take or leave a mock neck (death to true turtlenecks) but this one was just very large on me. I don’t feel that I have a particularly skinny neck, but it could stand to be at least an inch smaller around so it actually stands up properly when zipped.  Good thing I plan to mostly wear it half zipped.

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I made a straight 14 in this:  no FBA.  With a finished bust measurement of 36 1/2″,  I have a bit of negative ease to get the fit you see (my bust is about 38″ these days).  Perhaps a 12 with an FBA would have made for a better fitting neckline, except for the fact that the shoulders fit well in this size.

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The pockets, the stars of this unusual make, make me laugh…they really look cool, but are utterly useless.  I tried carrying my cell phone in one and it was comical.  They are the garment equivalent of 5″ stilettos (AKA “sitting” shoes).

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I am quite happy with how this turned out as a whole.  the massive amount of tiny stripes are not as dizzying as I suspected it could be.  Despite the challenges I had sewing it, I really love it and plan to wear it as often as possible until it’s too warm to do so.  So, you know, for another month or two.  C’mon Spring!

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6 thoughts on “The Wonderfully Weirdass Dress”

    1. Thanks a bunch, Linda! Yeah, this is definitely one where fabric choice makes all of the difference. I spotted a ponte version somewhere and it was just not quite right. Not enough drape for those pockets.

  1. Such an awesome dress! Love the stripe directions, the mock turtleneck (hate true ones, feels like I’m being strangled by my clothes!!) and those pockets look so cool even if they have no use.

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