Here's an update on my salmon striped dress, an early experiment in pattern drafting and an entirely hand-sewn dress. Previously, I had bemoaned my failure to get the neckline right on this pattern; the pull of my bra straps in the strap-catchers and the movement of my arms in the armscyes always drew the neckline in, and that created awkward bunching which I would have to fix by tugging the shoulders outward. Part of the problem was the wide neckline which made the shoulder straps sit too close to the joint of my arm, and part of the problem was that I didn't interface or otherwise stabilize the neckline while sewing it, so it "grew".
Recently, I realized that this dress was languishing unworn in my closet, even though I like it and always get compliments when I wear it. So I fiddled with the neck and pinned out the excess into two outward-facing pleats that mimic the other pleats and darts. I hand-sewed these pleats down, and the dress finally works!
I also finally got pictures of myself wearing it (many thanks to a random and confused tourist whom I press-ganged into doing the job), so I can analyze the pattern a little more. (I should subtitle this post "Finally!")
Let me look a little closer at what works and what doesn't:
This is actually a perfect example of my changing standards as well as my changing skills. By Ready-to-Wear standards, the dress fits fine. I see people all the time with those smiley-faced creases, pull lines under the arms, et cetera. Americans, clothed from cradle to grave in fast fashion, don't know what proper fit is. But as I learn more about sewing, and experiment with making clothes, I find myself less satisfied with "almost" fits. I want the dress to hang right, with no creases or pull marks. I want the waistband to sit level all the way around, unless it's meant to dip as a design feature. I look at this dress and see future, better dresses that will replace it. But for now, it's back to being a staple in my wardrobe!
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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