I’d like to think I’ve learned a couple things from my most recent project:
- polyester is evil
- starting a dress on Thursday night for an event on Saturday is not wise
Now, have I actually learned these things? Will I always in future avoid the temptation of pretty floaty polyester fabrics because I remember how much I cursed this fabric as I was cutting and sewing it? Will I plan ahead better for events I might want to make a dress for and, say, choose the pattern and cut the fabric more than three days in advance of the wear date? No, probably not. But I am naming this project the “Never Again” dress in hopes that that will at least make me think twice before doing either of those things again… or at the very least before I do both of these things on the same project.
Anyway, I did in fact make a dress, and I wore it on Saturday, but I must say it’s got to be the shoddiest sewing I’ve done to date. Floaty polyester does not lend itself to rushing, and rush I certainly did. And although I was hand sewing up the front at work, minutes before putting it on, it was wearable in the end, though it’s not exactly my proudest work:
Ugh, see the extra fabric pooching out under the arms (not taking the time to fit the bodice properly), the wubbly-ness of the front neckline (unstable floaty polyester), the terrible, terrible lazy uneven hem (oh yes, I serged, folded over and stitched without pinning or pressing – hey, I was short on time!)?
On the back my shoddy work is even more evident:
Look, it’s a totally visible invisible zipper and back darts that end in big bubbles… and I don’t even know what’s going on under the arms here.
All that said, I still kind of love the fabric (from my crazy 99 cent store). It’s so pretty, but it frays like mad and couldn’t stay on grain to save its life. It’s a particularly floaty (staticky) sheer polyester chiffonny type thing, and I lined it with a similar, if slightly heavier and a little more stable navy polyester something-or-other. The pattern is Butterick 5181, which I used to make my Old Navy knock-off dress last year. Because I had only made it in a knit, and only the other bodice style, I was way off on the sizing. I cut a straight 12, which was a full two inches too big in the midriff and more than that in the bodice (I clearly should have taken it in even more at the sides), and frankly there’s just too much gathering in the skirt of this pattern (might be because the skirt width is the same for all sizes, so there’s more gathering in a 12 than a 20, say). This bodice version is very, very low cut, which is usually fine on me because I have no cleavage whatsoever, but because of the unstable nature of the fabric the front gaped funny and I had to (hand) sew up the front neckline a couple inches. I am glad I went with this simple a pattern for this fabric, since anything with more than the five pieces this had would have had me screaming (even more) and throwing my scissors at the wall/husband/cat/neighbors. I even converted the front bust darts into gathers (since we can see from the back how well this fabric does darts). The pattern could not be easier – now I’m tempted to try it in a nice, stable cotton. Polyester: Never Again! Until next time, of course…