Monday, July 28, 2008

Goddess Dress

The white dress for summer has been everywhere this year and I wanted to get in on the action. When I found a cotton/rayon jersey remnant at G Street for about $7, I snatched it right up. When I got home I put it immediately in the wash and hung it up to dry. I wanted to wear the dress that night so while it was still damp I cut and sewed it and ended up with this (fabulous photo courtesy of Cidell):

Lurve. I got many compliments on it at the birthday party I attended.

It is Vogue 8386, with modifications. The most obvious modification is the twisted, knotted straps. I made this dress the day after the Fourth of July (that would be the fifth of July), very much inspired by one of the other party guests on the rooftop I viewing DC's fireworks display from. It didn't hurt that she was around 6 feet tall, willowy, gorgeous, *and* sweet, but I really loved her jersey dress with twisted straps. I'd seen that detail a few times and always liked it, so I decided to give it a go. I lengthened the front strap about an inch in cutting (the back straps I merely forgot to lengthen), because I thought the twist would take up a lot of length. Wrong-o! I actually wore it the first time with the straps only twisted and the left and right bodice hand sewn together for a couple of inches to cover the subject but I just wasn't happy with it, so I took it apart and knotted the straps to take out the extra length. LOVE the way the knot looks. I lowered the back neck about three inches so the twists would look right, but really it could have used another three inches. The back neck on that pattern is grotesque.

Rather than follow Vogue's directions, which are of the "sew front and back bodice units, sew linings to front and back units, join at shoulder seam, slipstitch opening closed" variety I used the technique for BWOF 09-2007-121. It's easier *and* results in a cleaner finish! (Click on pics for larger images.)

First, sew the shoulder and center back seams of both your fashion and linings. Here I self lined so the fabrics are the same. Your side seams are not yet sewn.

Next, place your fashion and lining fabrics right sides together. Sew at the neck and armscye seams. Side seams still not sewn.

Trim your seam allowances and turn your bodice right side out by reaching through the strap tunnel from the back and pulling the fronts through. I narrowed the straps so it was a pretty tight squeeze to pull it through and I used my loop turner. I bought it from Joann during my last run there with a car because notions were 50% off. It is not necessarily an improvement over the safety pin method I've been using for years because the clasp is ridiculously fussy (and I think mine may be defective because there is no way the clasp will actually latch on mine), but once I finally snagged the fabric it was easy to pull it through with only a little finessing.

Now twist and/or knot your straps. Knot first, if you're doing it. You have to twist an even number of times so that your front and back end up in the same orientation, a duh thing that took me a few tries to figure out. Make sure you twist both sides the same number of times and in complementary directions. I did both my twists outward.

Finally it's time to sew the side seams. Match up the lower armscye seams of the bodice and lining fabrics, and sew the side seams as one continuous seam.

I did a few more mods. I turned the center front gather on the skirt into tiny pleats:

And I lined the skirt because white jersey is pretty freaking sheer. I cut and sewed a skirt lining identical to the skirt fashion fabric but an inch shorter. After the bodice and skirt were sewn together, I sewed the lining to the seam allowance Basically, you pin the skirt and the skirt lining right sides together, and the bodice gets sandwiched in between:

This will be my entry in the knit contest, so I need to get moving on updating the review! All the photos are here.

Now that I finally have photos from a marathon photo shoot I foisted on Cidell I have a ton of stuff to review. You can sneak peek the photos on my flickr; they are great! (Having everything to do with the photographer and none to do with the model, I assure you.)


Rachelle said...

Ohhh, great summer dress!! The straps are excellent, and really add that extra something!

Melissa said...

Gorgeous dress! I love the straps - what a great twist on an already great dress (no pun intended! LOL).

cidell said...

That is a fine photo if I do say so myself and a fabulous model. You, look tremendous.

Anonymous said...

very sexy! i love the details--you were very patient making, remaking, the dress. it looks fabulous!

Christina said...

Very cool! The knots are a great touch.

AllisonC said...

Gorgeous dress and I love the changes you made to the pattern. It's funny that you sewed this up while it was still damp! Thanks for the tutorial too, it's embarrassing the number of times I think I have done this right and ended up with something that cannot be turned the right way round!

Adriana B. said...

I love it. I think the knots really make it! What did you use for lining?
Also, I have to ask this, would you mind if I try something similar for myself?

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Thank you everyone! Adriana--no worries, that's why I did the tutorial! Definitely make one. I just used the fashion fabric for the skirt lining. The jersey was lightweight, so it didn't add too much bulk.

Little Hunting Creek said...

I love that dress and the knots are GENIUS. You should immediately make another one in black or a dark glamorous color for fall. DD (age 23) looking over my shoulder says she LOVES it too.

melissa said...

I love this!! The twisted, knotted straps are such a great detail - I'm so nicking that!

Sew4Fun said...

Great dress! I love what you did with the straps. I also enjoyed your other photos, especially the one sitting on Cidell's front porch. I said to myself, "hey I know that chair!" LOL!

I also can't wait to hear the details of your BWOF blouse. I really like this one.

Cindy said...

Ooooh, I can see why you "lurve" it! It's fab! Great strap detail.

LauraLo said...

Beautiful dress, sexy and trendy. You look gorgeous in it!

Cennetta said...

I love your dress. It is very flattering.

Isabelle said...

You look fabulous!
Now I want the same dress. I'm always super inspired by what you sew, because we're the same size - as was confirmed when we met in Paris.
Can't wait to see all your new creations - I have a feeling your reviews will coincide with the moment when I'll be done with my work. What a treat to look forward to.

JustSewIn . . . said...

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(sorry I'm too lazy to log in right
Just Sew In. . .

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