Pattern: Butterick ivy + blu B6021
I live in New England. This winter has been murder with the snow – more so than usual. February was one big white blur and everywhere you turned, snow banks were piling up higher and higher. Houses were buried, mailboxes were lost and ice dams were creeping onto many a roof. People have grown a little colder as well – sick of shoveling the stuff, driving in the stuff and seeing the stuff. The waste management company for my town actually hurled my recycling bin on top of a giant snow bank where I could barely climb to reach it. I just left it up there for four weeks. I love snow, but even I realize it has been a little much this year. I decided, as the icy winds blew outside, to make this sheer dress even though I knew it would be a while before I could actually wear it.
I finally got around to using the birthday material my mom got me, seen in this post. This was the first time I have worked with material so thin and sheer, but I knew french seams were the way to go. They work so well on this type of material, plus I’ve been striving to make my garments look more professional, inside and out.
The Tale of Two Bodices
When I saw the picture on the envelope, I had a feeling the bodice on this might be a bit too big. I generally have this problem anyway, having such small shoulders. And look at that model – it looks like the top is just falling off her. So I cut out a smaller size, which still seemed to match my measurements. After I sewed up the finished seams and stitched in the lining, I tried it on. It was so tight under my armpits, it started to leave welts. The straps couldn’t even rest on my shoulders straight. I was going to try to adjust and let out the seams on the arm holes, but I realized that I still had a lot of the fabric left – plenty more for a new bodice. I was even able to squeak out a new lining, although that was a close call. Looks are definitely deceiving with this one – the top is not as loose as it looks.
Pinning it Down
This pattern was mostly easy to follow. It has an elastic waist, so you have to create a casing and do the whole thread-the-elastic-through-the-hole thingy. But no zipper!! Getting the dress on and off is also surprisingly easy despite having no zipper, although figuring which was front or back took some thought (sewing a tag in would be a good idea).
The only directions I got confused by was when I had to sew the straps together. You have to keep the lining completely open on one side when sewing it to the straps. Next you pin the right sides together on the main strap, then open the lining and pin around the back – right sides of lining together and straps together – stitching one seam across. It took me awhile to understand the picture & directions. The picture to the left is a good representation of what it should look like before you stitch it up. Then, when you flip it back, it should like the picture to the right, with one section on the side still open and needing to be hand stitched. In order to keep that seamless, professional look, I opted to do a ladder stitch here, to hide my hand-stitching. I think it came out well.
As you can imagine, this is the hem that never ends – I made sure to make it as narrow as possible. I had to cut quite a bit off the bottom as well, to make sure it didn’t drag on the ground in the longer sections. The belt is basically a long scarf, with one seam. Lastly I added thread belt loops, similar to this dress from before. But, I accomplished my goal! All seams are finished, and the dress looks great both inside and out! To prove it…
Lovely french seams….
Nicely finished hem…..
And the final shot, me freezing my butt off in the snow. The colors actually look good with a white backdrop! After a winter like this, I can look forward to spring, flowy dresses and maybe finding that mailbox…