Fabricista Challenge #2- It's All About the Fit!

9/19/14-Update.  I won this challenge!   Thank you all so much for your encouragement and support.  My competition had some really great garments, so I feel very fortunate to have eeked out a win.  
I'm so excited to try my prize- 3 Pamela's Patterns!
And when I told my husband that I'd won, he said- "I guess we'll have to upgrade our anniversary dinner to Burger King." LOL!



Our 2nd challenge for the Fabric Mart Fabricista Challenge was to make a well-fitting garment out of solid color fabric.  We could make anything that we wanted to and use any pattern this time round! 

My 28th wedding anniversary is coming up, so for this challenge I decided to make a special occasion dress.   My husband’s favorite color is purple, and our bridesmaids wore eggplant gowns, so I grabbed this eggplant satin as a nod to both of those things. 


The pattern, Vogue 1118, has an asymmetrical bodice and curved skirt seams, lining, side zipper and back vent.  This is a Tracy Reese design that is now out of print.  I often have contemplated making it, but I knew it was going to be a fitting nightmare, so I always put it back in the box.  This challenge was just what I needed to give me the kick in the pants to try it!


Of the 16 pieces in the pattern, I altered 14 of them!    It took me one entire evening just to do the alterations.  I kid you not.  I could have sewed up a few knit tops in the time it took just to alter this baby!

The full bust adjustment was particularly tricky since one side has a dart, and the other has pleats.   I had to reduce the neckline a bit because it was gaping in my muslin.


 To add length for my height, I increased the length mid-skirt across 6 pattern pieces, truing up the curves, piece by piece.

But that’s not all!   

This summer, I found out that I have scoliosis- which means that my spine curves to one side.   I don't usually look at my backside, so I had no idea that I had this condition, but it explains why I usually have one bra strap falling down, and why sometimes my hemlines are a little wonky.  I always just attributed that to cutting while drinking wine, but turns out, it was probably the scoliosis all along!


I knew that I would have extra fabric at the left waist, so I took a 1" wedge out above the waist on the left side, and then added it back in below the waist to the pattern.  This wasn't enough- as you can see from the photos below- I still had multiple folds across the left.  I had my daughter pin out the excess, and then I worked that into a seam. 

The shoulder area of the design is also asymmetrical, so it is hard to tell what asymmetry is me and what is the design!



Working with satin was quite maddening interesting.   If you rip out a stitch or have a lump or bump, it shows.  If you drop of water drips from the iron, it will show permanently, so always iron on the wrong side, unless you are using a dry iron.  (I learned this from doing prom dresses for my daughters).  I alternated the matte and shiny sides to accentuate the design lines of the dress.   

With all of the fitting and fabric challenges, this tested my abilities to the max.  Lest you think I did not sweat this one, this project took me 2-1/2 days between the alterations, cutting and sewing.  I didn't even take a break to go to the fabric store.  I sent my husband to pick up the invisible zipper, where he got in an argument with a staff member that told him there were no invsible zippers.  He found them on his own, and then showed the staff member.  LOL!!!

 I learned that I have a lot to learn!  My friend and I are going to make duct tape dummies which should help me figure out what alterations I need to do for the scoliosis adjustments.  My dress form is just too symmetrical!

 I’m going to love wearing this dress.  It’s fitted, but comfortable.  Classy, but unique.  Sexy, but age appropriate.  Perfect  to celebrate 28 years of marriage!  My husband's comment, "Aren't you going to be a little overdressed for McDonalds?"  Husbands....(shaking head).

Please head on over to the Fabric Mart Blog to vote!  And if you do vote for me, thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Happy Sewing!

Ann



33 comments

  1. WOW. What can I say? You make it look easy, and I know that fabric so wasn't.

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    1. Thanks, Kathleen! No, it certainly wasn't easy- the beautiful ones never are!

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  2. Yeah, I saw your design last night at FM blog and was like, that FABRIC! Yikes. But beautiful result, so definitely worth all the effort and energy. I am so glad you have such a great dress for a great day!

    My husband always jokes like your husband does. Some days I just shake my head, but more often than not he gets the big ole side eye from me!!! LOL.

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    1. About 1/2 way through, I was asking myself "why, oh why did you pick satin?. I should have known better because I've used it before, but it's like labor- you forget all the pain.

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  3. My wife has recently looked into dress making. She doesn't make it look this easy. Really like the final product.

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    1. Thanks, WM! Tell your wife to stick with it- there is a lot to learn with sewing, but that is what makes it fun.

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  4. Amazing dress and perfect fit. I love the fabric and the style. Happy anniversary, you will be the best dressed woman in McD's!

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    1. Thanks, Lori! I'll be sure to get a picture there too. LOL!

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  5. Sounds like we all have anniversaries coming up soon! I can hear my husband saying the exact same thing about McDonald's...hope you end up going somewhere worthy of that dress!

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    1. Thanks, Beth! October is a great month to get married- not too hot, not too cold! I hope so too.

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  6. I find it completely and utterly FASCINATING that we both chose eggplant colored anniversary dresses for this project! Love it! :-D

    Stunning dress and incredibly cool to use the reverse of the fabric to get that effect. Love. Love. Love.

    When I told my husband that I was making the dress for our anniversary, and if it would work with his (secret) plans; he accused me of trying to get it on "HIS" anniversary! :)

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    1. Thanks, Nakisha! Hmmm.. I hope he's not planning on taking your rock climbing, or a football game. You'll have to keep us posted!

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  7. Amazing! This dress is gorgeous. The fit is so wonderful... a textbook reason why making our own clothing is so worth while, we could never get anything so perfect in RTW.

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    1. Hi Kathy,
      Thank you so much! I agree- I'm too tall for regular sizes, and too short for tall sizes, so if I want things the right length, I've got to sew them.

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  8. This is simply gorgeous, Ann!!! You really outdid yourself on the fit, considering some of the challenges you faced. I mean, you altered 14 of 16 pieces!!! The end result is SO worth it, and I just know you will not end up at Mcdonalds. : )

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa! My hubby was very patient during this whole process, so he knows how much work went into it.

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  9. Oh, Ann...your dress is stunning and fits like a glove. Beautiful job.

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  10. Oh Ann, this is so pretty! I love what you did with the fabric and the color is beautiful!

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  11. Love this dress! You have fitted it so well. Good luck with the comp.

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  12. Gorgeous! Happy Anniversary to you and your love - definitely a time to celebrate! :)

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  13. Hello Ann,

    I saw this dress on PR and flipped back to your blog for more detail. Firstly - It looks sensational on you and it is hard to believe that someone who looks so youthful has been married for 28 years - Congratulations!! I was hoping to read in your blog more detail on what you did with the excess fabric your daughter pinned out of the fashion fabric after your initial scoliosis adjustment. You refer to a seam but I can't make out a seam into which that excess fabric could have gone into. I would love to know how you managed to achieve such a smooth fit after the tissue fitting stage and fabric cutting stage and which seam you sewed the excess into.

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    1. Hi Dagmar,
      Excellent question! I tried first moving it to the waist seam, and that seemed to make things worse. So I undid that, then took up left the shoulder seam by about 1/2". That smoothed it out!

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  14. That dress is AWESOME! You got my vote.

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  15. This dress is truly stunning. Wonderful job tackling your fit issues. This is a well deserved win.

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