Kristen's Project Runway 2 - Dress Mess


I decided that I ought to design and build the dress I will wear to Jenn's wedding later this month, considering that I worked out the design of her wedding gown (though I know it has undergone considerable tweaking in the final making). So a couple weeks ago I bought some lovely nubby Indian silk on a whim and decided to work with it.

But I didn't quite have a design in mind, though I did have a neat sleeve idea involving a contrasting lining on a nearly circular off-center ruffle. I thought the constraint of 2.5 meters of fabric in hand would energise me. Mostly it stressed me. Anyway, here is what I am calling the Dress Mess that went on yesterday and today.

10:00. I have a week's worth of rough sketches, a cup of coffee, and I am ready to do some technical drawings.

11:45. I transferred my ideas onto muslin for a fitting model. I love Sharpie marker on muslin. Not sure how this will work out, but I'm keen to be sewing.

12:15. Oops. Maybe I ought to have calculated the armsyce a little more carefully on paper. I have marked the necessary adjustments in pink pen. Everything is better in pink pen. This will be OK.

2:45. I fortified myself with lunch then cut up the muslin to reflect my alterations. Still not certain about the armscye, but it looks like it is moving in the right direction.

3:30. The adjustments weren't sufficient. The armhole is a disaster. I need to rethink this. Miss Shrew and I are having a look at some sewing books. Maybe there is something with a suitable sleeve in one of these?

5:00. I found a generally simple sleeveless dress in one of the Japanese sewing books. I am sure that I can draft sleeves for this without much trouble. I decided to cut directly into the fashion fabric. Isn't it pretty?

8:00. Time to meet Tod for dinner. The dress is basically together, but the sleeve I basted in isn't sitting right. It bunches up at the font of the arm in a strange way. I need to rework the sleeve cap. Tomorrow.

Day 2, noon. I made a muslin for the new sleeve. You can see the old sleeve underneath - it is a major reshaping. The new one has been carefully drafted and will fit much better.

Day 2, 2:00. Well the sleeve part does fit better. But the armscye is not cooperating. WTF? I have a sort of space costume thing going on here. Argh....

Day 2, 3pm -5 pm. I was too frustrated to continue taking pictures. I unpicked the mistakes and decided to abandon sleeves. I sewed in the lining, somehow forgetting that I had already put in the zipper and wouldn't be able to turn the garment right side out no matter how hard I tried to. So I unpicked the arms (for the 3rd time), turned the dress and lining the right way around, pressed them like crazy, and very carefully pinned and top stitched the sleeveless edges.

The finished dress looks OK. It's not what I wanted but it will do. In place of the sleeves, I will knit myself a shrug. Somehow. I will not be detailing that just yet. You might have to wait for the photos on Nov 29th.


That fabric is gorgeous and you'll look great in the dress. You're right - everything is better in pink pen. Did you make Miss Shrew too?

Miss Shrew is a friend who arrived from Zambia. She fell in love with Tod and won't leave.

not bad thats pretty good

You are such a super talent!

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  • Deanne: You are such a super talent! read more
  • john: not bad thats pretty good read more
  • Kristen: Miss Shrew is a friend who arrived from Zambia. She read more
  • Jenn: That fabric is gorgeous and you'll look great in the read more