Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Happily ever after

Previously on: I was unimpressed with the waist-level bulge on my McCalls 7091 dress. The prime suspect was the significant amount of gathering in the underskirt, but was that the real culprit...?

My first attempt at restructuring this dress was to re-cut the three-panel underskirt into twelve panels the same shape as the panels in the overskirt. I thought that removing the gathering would solve the problem. I did not have much spare pink fabric, so I had to cut the new pieces from the already cut pink skirt. There was insufficient depth so I had to make the tops of each new panel out of the black fabric (this will be important later).
So I sewed and pressed the dozens of new seams and carefully clipped the horizontal seam allowances to remove every scrap of unnecessary bulk... and it hardly made a difference. There was still a lot of fabric at the waist. So I unpicked the pink skirt, again, and took in all the seams on the black panels so it fitted me much more closely.  Then I gathered the pink onto the black extension pieces. Success!
The lining kept wanting to slip sideways so I hand sewed the outer layer to the lining at the front and side seams. This has the added benefit of smoothing out the edges of the silhouette.

And so what we have learnt...
  •  I think the main problem here was a fitting issue. Between starting and finishing this dress I have learned a bit more about how to fit clothes and I think I need to make it standard practice to lengthen waistlines by about an inch as the first thing I do with a pattern. I do think extending the lining so the gathering is lower is a good idea, but the outer layer needs to be close-fitted lower as well.
  •  I kind of regret cutting the pink as part of the first fix; it has too many seam lines now. It folds more nicely than it did, probably because it's gathered on to a smaller circumference, making more folds. The fabric still might be too stiff, but I like it so that doesn't count. :-)
  • I learned that while zips need to be longer in dresses that have fitted skirts they can be shorter in dresses with full skirts. I'd had difficulty finding zips long enough to get my 40s dresses on easily, so for this dress I bought the longest invisible zip I could find. It is way too long. I hadn't thought about the difference skirt shape makes. The skirt on this dress is at least a full circle. The extra zip length bulges weirdly so I might go back and cut it off.  
I wore the dress to work last week and spent the whole day feeling fabulous, so it has all turned out well in the end.

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