Thursday, September 4, 2008

Vogue 8417

I'm calling this my Rain Dress as I made it from ripshot nylon originally purchased (15 years ago?) to make a rain coat. This pattern intrigued me with all the unusual tucks, diagonal seams, twisted back straps, and tucked up skirt hem. The pattern envelope suggests using taffeta, duppioni, , shantung, poplin and broadcloth. I figured my ripshot had a similar crispness to it, was already in my stash and would make the dress less "dressy". I have no where to wear a ball gown so my idea was to make it casual enough for occasional wear. I found a crazy lining to use in my fabric box on the way to being discarded, an invisible zip in my stash (miraculously the right color) and even the appropriate thread. It was meant to be. Or so I thought.

Alterations. Egad. This dress has a lining that is a fully constructed dress with entirely different lines.... princess seams. So alterations for full bust and extra at the waist needed to be done very differently for the outer dress and inner dress. I spent around 4 hours figuring that out. Not quite correctly as it turned out later. Next cutting out: although I had the 4 yards called for, it was only 54 wide, not 60. Maybe 3 hours spent fiddling with the layout to get all the pieces on. This required shortening 8 pieces and turning one around on end. I prayed that the sheen wouldn't be noticeably different.

Next day constructed the underdress. Then started the outer dress. I've never seen such odd shaped pattern pieces. That all went together okay until I got to a point where I could try each dress on. Except for the bust area all the rest was too big. How did this happen? I'm guessing that it just runs big through the waist. It needs to be very fitted to look good. So I embarked on lots more alterations taking in the princess seams above and below the bust, side seams, etc. Finally arriving at the point to put the two dresses together I find they don't fit together at all. This was caused by all my alterations not that the original pattern was wrong. The armscyces didn't work together at all. More fiddling around and I got that worked out. 

Now I can put on the dress and decide it looks bad. Some of the tucks puff out, a tuck in front pulls too much toward the middle because of taking in the side seam and so on. I called my friend Barbara for help since I couldn't really see what was happening, especially in the back. Together we fixed things by tacking down the tucks, taking in one diagonal seam, making a few extra tucks where the fabric wanted to fold anyway. I considered removing the underdress altogether since it was partly at fault in making it hard to fit and look right. If I were to do this pattern again I would eliminate the lining and bind the edges. Finally we were happy with the look and I took it home to finish up.

My friend Dorothy happened to ask if ever used fusible thread which I haven't done but do have some in my stash. Since she reminded me about its existence I got it out and used it for the hem. This was a great idea. It made that long, long curved hem a snap. I put the fusible thread in the lower looper of my serger, whipped around that hem edge, trimming off another 2 inches in length. Then pressed the overlocked edge up and topstitched. So fast and easy.

Now that it is done I must find a place to wear it!!


Anne e le manine d'oro said...

What an interesting dress ! This is the perfect dress for a garden party when the sky is threatening to pour a little ;-) Or to travel in a rainy country. I guess that the fabric does not wrinkle to much. This is a beautiful colour. It must be fantastic on you.

kbenco said...

This pattern looks so interesting,I looked at it with mild pattern lust during the Vogue Patterns sale, but fortunately for my sanity I did not buy it. I am glad you tried it so that I could enjoy it vicariously - so much work!

laura said...

I like what you did with this dress as well. I don't think I'll tackle it tho.

Anonymous said...

After Googling the Marcy Tilton pattern (have been eager to try the skirt and pants), I landed upon your blog. Great projects and great blog! I'm writing, though, because I saw the (steam generator?) iron in the background of your red dress photos. I've been interested in getting one, but can't find a single soul that has one - any chance you could leave a few words on what you think of yours? Thanks!!!

Ann said...

I like the steam generator iron for the large capacity and lots of steam it produces. It is more awkward to use than a regular iron as you need a place to set the base. I used to have a larger ironing board with a shelf on the end that would hold it. My present board doesn't have a sturdy enough shelf so it resides below which isn't ideal. Also, the other disadvantage is that this type of iron takes longer to heat up. So I keep another iron nearby for quick jobs. My brand, LauraStar, is fairly pricey. Rowenta has one that is a lot less. There is a discussion thread over at PatternReview ( Perhaps that will provide the information you need.

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