Sunday, 3 November 2013

Little dress of horrors...

And so it is finally done! The 1947 McCall #7000..
So cute and innocent looking, but a devil in disguise I tell you.

The pattern, McCall #7000, 1947.

(insert cherubs singing)

This was initially going to be my entry for the Fall For Cotton challenge, due to be finished on September the 30th. But then my life got in the way, not to mention the dress giving me a proper run for my money.

This dress is full of "first's" for me. There are bound buttonholes, which actually turned out pretty good, with the help of lovely Laura Mae's tutorial at Lilacs and Lace. As a side note on the buttons; I know I was supposed to use shanked ones, but I just couldn't find ANY that looked remotely suitable. On any occasion, finding the right buttons for a project is my nemesis....

My first bound buttonholes :)
They ARE the same size, I swear......!

In a moment of insanity, I decided to fully line the thing. Also a first, and since the pattern didn't call for it, it meant I had to draft the lining pieces for the bodice myself, AND figure out the construction.

I did all mistakes imaginable in that very process, and the further along I got, the more frustrating it became. For instance, I sewed the lining to the armholes early on, so it was easier to handle as one piece. Only to find that finishing the armholes on the inside was not going to happen the way I wanted it. I ended up bias binding the seams, afraid that it would be very bulky, but it was actually fine!

I also sewed the bodice- and skirt lining to the waist seam when joining the two together, and so ran into trouble when it was time for the lapped side zipper.... Oh yeah, hadn't done any of those before either!

Creative inside lining.

The sleeves was also a major pain in the rear. First time around, I made sleeves according to the instructions, and constructed the cuffs before setting the sleeves. Apparently, baby corduroy stretches when being handled, and suddenly I had 4" of ease in the sleeve heads when they were ready to go on the bodice. There was just no way they would go smoothly into the armholes. So I had to make whole new sleeves.
I trimmed off about 1" of the sleeve heads for good measure, and finally got them onto the dress. Then I proceeded with the cuffs.

Have you ever seen so much ease in your life?

 The remake of the sleeves turned out a good thing actually, as I was able to use contrast fabric inside the cuffs, for a more interesting look.

Cute little cuffs :)

The zipper nearly stranded on the fact that I for some reason sewed the skirt together using less than 1/2" seam allowance. Don't ask why, I really have no idea. There was barely room to squeeze in the zipper on there, and I had to sew a strip of fabric onto the lapped side seam allowance. That gave me something to attach the zipper cord to, and in the end it was ok.....ish. My machine is not the best equipped when it comes to zipper feet, so it might have been less of a struggle if I had some proper feet. My lacking experience wasn't helping either.

On the positive note, the hemming went surprisingly well. I did an invisible hem by hand, and I am pleased with how it turned out. On the lining I lost my mind again obviously, and turned the hem to the wrong side, machine stitched it, got puckering and a general non-pro look. But at this point, I was just too fed up to even consider picking it, and re-doing. No. Way.

When I have put some distance between me and this creation, I am sure I will thank it for teaching me so much. My next lining attempts will be miles better, as will zippers, buttonholes, inside finishings, sleeve settings and fabric choices. I also learned alot about muslin fitting, so all in all, a gigantic learning experience!

I am really pleased not having this dress in a UFO pile somewhere.

I apologize for the oddly lit and sometimes blurry photos. Norway-land has really shitty weather these days, and has the light conditions of a cave. I plan to style myself when the sun comes out, to show you this beauty properly. It doesn't look like much on the hanger, but it's kind of rockin' "on-person" :)

Livingroom view, at noon.


  1. Yay! Another UFO F'd! I'm looking forward to seeing you model this beauty once the sun comes out.

    It sounds like it was a real learning experience, but in my opinion, the lessons you learn the hard way are the ones you learn best!

    1. I totally agree, I will never forget the cockups I managed to do with this dress!
      Honestly, there was a point where I didn't think this would be even wearable, but now I kind of dig it! Feels good :)

  2. OMG! That dress was beautiful and elegant ... sorry for all these setbacks in the contruction of it, but it was worth the work and time invested in it, absolutely adorable!!

    1. Thanks, Rosy :) timeconsuming setbacks seems to be the name of the game, eh? Between all that swearing and hair-pulling, there is a good deal of fun too ;)

  3. Congratulations with finishing another UFO! It looks lovely! The contrasting cuffs are a great detail! Although the weather is gloomy, I do like your last picture from your living room view!

  4. Thank you kindly, Anthea :) The first pair of sleeves I made pictured in an earlier post was all grid fabric. It missed something. Contrasting made all the difference :)

  5. You're on a roll Siri! :) I love this dress and I'm glad you finished it. I can't believe you drafted your own lining for the dress. Looks complicated. I love the detail of the cuffs and you made bound button holes! I've never done that, one day though. Great work! I can't wait to see your next project!

    1. Thanks Kathy :) It really has been rejuvenating to get this done, I feel my sewing mojo is returning. And I feel better prepared to tackle any project now :D
      You should try bound buttonholes sometime! I was properly surprised of how simple they actually were!