Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Inspired by Etsy

 I have a secret. 

I have always crushed on dresses with back appeal. Lately, however, I've been more drawn to ones with a little... less.

via LanaStepul
via LanaStepul
via melissaabor
via xZOUix

Lovely, no? All of these are via Etsy.

I mentioned briefly in a previous post that I was trying my hand at making a dress. Being that low-back dresses like the ones listed above can cost a pretty penny, I thought I'd try doing something like these! I was hoping to be able to wear this to a winter wedding, so I modified a sleeved-dress pattern I found online to have a low back.

Pattern via Burdastyle
Unfortunately, things didn't really go as planned. (Do they ever?)

I followed the pattern almost exactly. That was probably my first mistake. Did I check to make sure the pattern was going to fit before making it? Nope. And I omitted the inclusion of a zipper because I didn't want to go driving 20 minutes out of my way to go buy one. That was my second mistake.

Before I added the sleeves, I wanted to make sure everything else looked right (YES! I do think during projects! Sometimes). I'd done darts for the sort-of-first time and wasn't sure they'd sit in the right place, and I wasn't sure the armholes were small enough.

So I tried it on.
Excuse the zombie face, it was really late at night!
Three things you should know: 1) This dress was made out of a non-stretchy material (salvaged from the sheet project) 2) It was supposed to fit a little snug. 3) My waist is smaller than my bust and my hips. These three things add up to a recipe for disaster.

In other words, I got stuck. (Other than that, though, it fit perfectly!)

Husband was out of town, and since I didn't have anyone else to help peel me out of my awesome one-of-a-kind creation, I had to cut myself out of it.

Like, literally. With scissors. :(

So, clearly i'd either need something a bit more stretchy or have to suck it up and get a zipper. And start over, obviously, since the poor dress is currently sitting sadly at the bottom of my garbage can.

Thankfully, the second go-around was a lot faster than the first, since I'd picked up a couple timesaving tricks along the way the first time. I got real fabric, picked up a couple zippers so I'd have spares on hand (for the next spur-of-the-moment MacGyver project), and finished the final dress in just an evening.

Here's the best shot I got of the fabric. It's charcoal with swirly lighter cloudy bits? Obviously "description" is one of my spiritual gifts.

I traced the pattern onto the wrong side of the fabric, this time making sure to give myself an extra inch in the middle, just in case. I'd rather it be too big than too small!

All the pieces I'd need. I decided to have the zipper go up the back than on the side (so I had two halves  to the back of the dress), which ended up saving my LIFE when I hemmed the neckline.

I sewed it all together, and that was it!
Haha it wasn't really that easy, I just made sure to take my time and double-check everything before I actually sewed it.

But I'm stoked with how it turned out. Wanna see how it looked for the wedding (before I did my hair, I forgot to take pictures after)?
I even did little pleats at the shoulders! I kinda winged them, so I can't tell ya how I did it. You cannot imagine my relief when they turned out ok. (side note, when I told husband to take a picture of my sleeves he took a bunch of pictures of my armpits. This is the best I could get.)
How'd I do?

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  1. Wow! That is super cute!!!! Great job!! I love the sleeves. I've only made 2 dresses with sleeves, they were so time consuming that I've decided to go sleeveless haha. Thanks for commenting on my blog and leaving your blog details cos now I have another awesome blog to follow :)

  2. I'm entertained by your creative antics...and impressed with the finished product....also the camera work required to make a story out of it...where was 'husband' while this late night effort was happening?? Out of town? -AuntyL

    1. Yes indeedy! He was at a camping trip for the first night, and then I made him invite a friend over to play with him while I finished the actual dress. Haha!


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