Wednesday, January 30, 2008

UFO Watch 2008: Burping Up Slugs

So, you know that scene in the first Harry Potter movie where Ron is burping up slugs and Hagrid tells him, "Better out that in"? And Ron says, "It's horrible" with the most pitiful expression? Finishing this dress was like burping up slugs: totally grim and unpleasant, and yet I felt helpless to just stop and chuck it in the trash. I felt like there was a virtue to perseverance. I think the end result is totally wearable (though by no means perfect). By the time Spring rolls around, I'm hoping this dress doesn't make me think of slugs at all.

Item: Butterick 3078 wrap dress

Stage: This had once been sewn, with the result that it looked like the "before" picture above. Obviously, that was never ever going to be wearable in a million years. For last January's UFO contest I took it apart. It stayed that way for a year, and when I picked it back up it was in pieces.

Reason Abandoned: This is possibly the worst pattern ever drafted. It was ugly in the first place (see pattern photo at right), what with that hideous bagging at the waist. But the pattern exceeded (deceeded?) even the terrible drawing. It was like they gave a blindfolded child a crayon and used the resulting crude outline of a wrap dress as the pattern. When it came out of the box looking like the before picture above, I knew it was going to need so much work to be wearable that I totally lost interest.

Time as a UFO: Three years. Two years sewn, one year in pieces, all three kicking around on my craft room floor. I gotta give props--that is some durable polyester right there. It was unwrinkled and unharmed by three years of walking on it.

Time to complete
: Around 6 hours.

Work done to complete:

-Shortened the front shoulder by about an inch at the shoulder and two inches at the neck. This created fitting wrinkles radiating diagonally from the shoulder and downward toward the bust. I don't care.

-Sewed the seams with a 3/8" seam allowance.

-Put it on Violet, my dressform, and cut it apart at the waist. I just eyeballed it.

-Took two inches off the bottom of the bodice front at the waist. This makes a total of four inches of length removed from the wrap. It does not gape.

-Bound the raw edges of the bodice and the right half of the skirt (the half that shows). I cut the blue crepe into strips four inches wide, folded in half, sewed right sides and raw edges together, then turned to the inside and hand-sewed in place.

-For the tie, cut the blue crepe 10 inches wide and two 45" lengths, sewed together (I would later unpick the center seam so the left side/underlayer of the skirt's tie could come out through it at CB), made a tube, turned.

-Sewed the bodice to the tie/tube.

-Made a skirt extension for the underlap, sewed to skirt, sewed skirt to tie/tube.

-Set in sleeves. This was originally supposed to have long sleeves to be an early spring dress, but it didn't look good. I kept shortening the sleeves until they were OK. I still didn't like them because the fit of the sleeve was too close to look good--not uncomfortably tight, just unattractive--and they needed *something* to deal with that. I bound the hems and that added the needed something.


If you're interested, you can read more about this project in the PR review or browse through the photo album.


loopylulu said...

Wow you totally saved this dress from doom. I think the mods make it look very spring-like and more importantly wearable. Thanks for the heads up on the pattern.

cidell said...

You know, this now looks like that Karna Janx dress that Hot Patterns is pushing. love what you did!

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

Cidell, it should! As I mentioned in the pattern review (though I guess not here), Kara Janx's kimono dress was my inspiration.

Lori said...

Great save, your new dress looks fantastic.

Melissa Fehr Trade said...

wow, that is such an improvement it's unreal! I really admire you for digging out these old ghosts and confronting them head-on!

melissa @ (guh blogger's doing that stupid thing again where it won't let me use my nickname!)

Kitty Couture said...

Adorable! You really saved this dress. Reminds me of the latest HP, same colourway and all. At first I thought that was the dress you were making.

Kitty Couture said...

Oops! Just realized Cidell already remarked on this. Great minds, right?

Melissa said...

What a save!!! Gorgeous dress, I hope you wear it often and think of how you defeated Butterick! :-)