Sunday, April 20, 2014

Anne Klein at EasterTime....

Do you remember getting ready for Easter?   I do...!

It was the one time in the year when my hair was curled and my whole family dressed up with hats and gloves to celebrate the holiday.  I don't really remember if I concentrated on the true meaning of the holiday, but I remember practicing over and over in the weeks preceding it to commit to memory an Easter verse of some length (depending on my age), and being celebrated as smart and articulate following my recitation in front on the entire congregation at our church or Sunday School class.  I remember the great Easter meal that waited at home.  It always included deviled eggs, a ham with pineapple and maraschino cherries decorating the top, and plenty of home-made and buttery from the oven.

I no longer give Easter speeches or visit the main street or parks of the city to participate in Easter parades, but I seem to always prepare a dress to wear in celebration of the day.  This year, my fabric came from FabricMart, and was actually on sale for only $2.40 per yard when I bought it a few months ago.  My pattern selection took a lot of fabric (in my size (16) it took 3 1/2 yards of 60" fabric) because of the dress details, so I was looking for a low cost fabric to make this outfit.  I purchased 4 yards and felt I did a good job in reducing the cost of this project.

Vogue 1358
Courtesy of McCalls Pattern Company

I used Vogue 1358, and made no changes to the pattern in the process of completing the garment.  I do wish I has lengthened the hemline, though.  Vogue seems to be making them shorter and shorter nowadays.  The dress was one of the things I cut out on my one of my cutting marathons, and the garment required a lot of single layer cutting, which as you know, is tedious and time consuming.  The fabric is a lightweight burnout, and a good substitute for the silk, chiffon, charmeuse and crepe de chine fabric the pattern recommended.  The dress is fully lined, and I wish I had lined it with a fleshtone lining instead of the snow white poly I selected.  With my dark skin, the only unlined portion, the burnout area in the sleeves, contrast with the other sections of the garment, and could have been handled differently.  But, at least it will be cool and this summer will not require a slip when I wear it.

White/Black/Brown Animal-like Print Burnout
Poly/Cotton Shirting
from FabricMart

What may not be obvious is the dress has a pointed collar with a stand and a separately added facing at the ruffle that closes the bodice with a hook and eye.  The front of the dress joins with differently-shaped left and right skirts at the waistline, but the back of the dress has only a center back seamline.  I would suggest anyone trying this pattern to MARK THE PLEATS CAREFULLY.  There are a lot of them all close to one another!  Also, take the time to baste the narrow hems required around almost every piece of the garment's raw edges (including the lining).  Turning these raw edges evenly and carefully will determine the final finished appearance of the garment and will keep it from looking "Becky Home-ecky."  The interior seamlines are joined with french seams, keeping everything neatly finished.  Practice making them and remember to begin the first stitchline with wrong sides together!  I had to pause often because the right and wrong side of this fabric was so similar.  I can't imagine how it would be looking for the 'right' or 'wrong' side if I had used a piece of silk or charmeuse.  I'm sure I would have had to employ painters tape to mark them, but with this fabric I put the non-shiny side of the fabric outside.  Sewing at night was the only time the differentiation presented a problem.  

Will I make it again?  Probably not....This pattern was a lot of work for what was rated as an average-level challenge.  I did learn something new, though.  I put the collar together using a method I've learned since I began blogging, and I am very pleased with the finished appearance of the collar and stand.  I will be using it from now on and recommend this method to other sewists, too.  

I have also learned the secret to the success of a garment is to not be fearful of trimming the collar (and other interior) seams.  I've never trimmed confidently or thoroughly before.  If the instructions told me to trim to 1/4", I would probably trim it to 3/8" and would rarely grade the seams if there were multiple layers of fabrics in the seams.  But, I urge you to do it!...It makes such a difference in your finished garment!  I love when each sewing experience teaches me something new about sewing more expertly and confidently.  This dress taught me two good lessons.

Hung in front of the light
to show the sheerness of the fabric and lightness of the dress

Button and Loop at Dress Waistline
from G Street Fabrics

My local Hancock Fabrics just did not stock the proper button.  A black button seemed too dark, and a white one was too stark.  So I ventured on my second driving expedition in the DC area to reach G Street's famous button wall.  I just knew they would have a transparent button with black striations....and they did!  They cost $1 each (I needed seven...including the extra one I always purchase to hide inside an interior seam allowance), and their total was almost as much as what I paid for the fabric!  Do any of you do the same thing?  I will always pay the cost for the perfect button....they always make the outfit.

Finished Product

I wish you could see the detail on this dress.  I still am not expert on photographing garments in my sister's I apologize for the repetitive surroundings.

Close-up of dress bodice

Dress Back

Dress Interior and the Shoes

Thanks for coming along for the ride.  I've got so many other garments to finish before the end of the month.  It's getting warmer and warmer, so sewing will lighten up, too!  Drop me a line if you have any questions.  I love comments, so feel free!  'Til next time....take it one stitch atta time!.....

1 comment:

  1. I started making this dress a week ago - was pleased to find your helpful blog. A lot of work but I just love the fabric you have chosen - it looks spectacular! Thank you. Gail