Thursday, January 31, 2013

Its Coming Along!!

As per my last post, I spent a few hours last weekend re-drafting the pattern I came up with for the Tropical Wrap Dress to fix the bits I wasn't happy with.  It was actually way easier than I anticipated!

Old idea on the left, new idea on the right!

I kept the dart at the top (to accommodate my larger-than-a-B-cup boobs) and moved the pleats to the side.  It was so simple that I'm surprised I got it wrong the first time - anyway, you live and learn!  Thank goodness I made a muslin!!

I also added about 6 inches of width the the front skirt piece, but I didn't re-muslin it.  I'm confident it will be fine.

I then cut out all my pieces.  This took a while as I had to cut out the dress twice - once for the tropical print rayon and once in a vanilla colour rayon for lining.  The lining will enable me to hide seams and boning etc, and make the dress less see-through.  It will also stop my 'pop-of-colour' fabric from showing through.  More on this next week!

Here are the fabrics I'm using - vanilla rayon on the left, gorgeous tropical print rayon in the middle, and the 'pop-of-colour' lime green on the right.

Now!  To integrate the pop of colour into the rest of the dress, I decided to add a bobble trim to the top edge of the bodice pieces.  I'll be adding it to the front wrap of the skirt too.  In the past I've just hand sewn the trim on later, but I didn't want to do that this time - I wanted to sew the trim in the seam.  I fiddled around a bit and worked out how.

This is what I did:

1. Sew the sew-in interfacing to the lining fabric...

Rayon is a soft drapey fabric and this part of the dress really needs a bit of support, so I added a couple of inches of sew-in interfacing.  I sewed it at a foot-width from the edge so the line of stitching would not be visible on the finished piece.

2. Sew the trim to the right side of the dress fabric...

This took some thinking to make sure the trim would be the right way up on the finished piece... I'm not sure what this says about my thought process, but anyway!

I stitched the trim on at 5/8ths of an inch, which is the seam allowance.  And I used the zipper foot so I could get right up close to the edge of the trim.  If I was using ric-rac or something like that I could have just used a regular foot.

3. Sew both pieces together...
I didn't get a photo of this bit... sorry... but its pretty straight forward.  I left the zipper foot on and made sure that I was right up close the the bobbles once again.  It was a bit painful, and I did it   V  E  R  Y   S  L  O  W  L  Y.

4. Turn through and iron...
Ta da!!!

Even if I do say so myself...

I also had to remember to sew in the tie on the skinny side of the front bodice piece so I can tie the finished dress closed.  Its hard to remember these things when you are a) not working with a pattern and instructions; and b) you are distracted by how awesome what you are doing is looking!!!

I also had a fairly big debate with myself last week that could be titled 'To Shir or not the Shir'. 

I just cannot stand it when you are wearing a top thats either strapless or a halter, and the back piece falls down!!!  Drives me MAD!!!  I could put boning in the back to keep it up, but I really didn't want the bones to show, and I'm pretty sure that with this fabric they would.  That leaves shirring, which is time consuming, and creates other issues with the straight skirt.

I decided to go with the shirring option, so I spent about an hour doing this:

My shirring is far from awesome looking.  Its just so hard to get the lines straight when you have to pull at the fabric all the time!  But I'm happy with the end result.

Unfortunately it was right about now that I had to stop sewing, so this was all I got done.  I would have loved to get this finished, but its the kind of project that I want to really sink my teeth into, take my time, and not take short cuts.  That said though, I'm really hoping to get the skirt on it this weekend!  Then another weekend for the finishing touches (like hemming - blech!) and the bolero.

And I've already started sourcing amazing accessories too - more to come on that later!

How do you think I'm going - do you love it as much as I do?  And what do you think of the lime green?



  1. Ooo, so pretty!! I love the green lining. Sometimes when I get a piece, I find myself loving the lining almost as much as the main fabric. :)

    The Fictionista

    1. I'm glad you like the lime green Sean. I was a bit unsure about it at first, because its not a colour I've ever worn, but I just LOVE the contrast it creates!

  2. I love everything about it. Love seeing your progress. It's going to be gorgeous!

  3. Love it! Love the green, love the parrots, love the pattern. This is going to be one fabulous dress. I am also very jealous that you are somewhere warm enough to wear it!

    1. hahahaha! It has been very warm over here of late - so warm that I wish sometimes that I was somewhere cooler! I'm always jealous of the girls that get to wear magnificent coats - it hardly ever gets cold enough here for that, although sometimes, I admit, I pretend that it is and wear them anyway!!!

  4. all i can ever say when i comment on your sewing is WOW lol. i thought good god why did she do bobbles. but it looks awesome! and then shirring? really? that keeps the back up? cool ! new trick :D
    this is turning out really nice!

  5. This is looking so good! The print is really perfect for the style of dress and the top you have draped looks fantastic. I really like the pop of lime green and can't wait to see what you do with it. The bobble trim is awesome too, it makes the bodice shaping really stand out.

    1. Thanks honey - I'm loving it too, and the skirt was very much taking shape on the weekend. I'll be posting about the dress later in the week so keep your eyes peeled! :)

  6. That is gorgeous! You did such a great job on that bodice front!

    1. Thanks Relynn - I'm really happy with it and I'm really enjoying the challenge of sewing this way :)

  7. Where did you get the tropical fabric? Looking for it for a project of mine. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the great dress!

    1. Hi there :) I'm not sure where you are located, but the fabric came from Spotlight. If you're lucky they might still have stock!