Tuesday, May 14, 2013

project sewn: sundress challenge

An enormous thank you to everyone who voted for my outfit for the Black & White theme on week one of Project Sewn. I actually won the first round! The first challenge was certainly nerve-wracking, as I had no idea what to expect from my fellow contestants and didn't know how the readers/voters would respond to our different styles. Well, I still don't have a clue, but that's the fun of it, yes? I'm just doing the best I can. I really appreciate your support!

So onward we sew. Here is my entry for round two. The challenge was to sew a sundress.

It sounds more straight forward compared to the theme of "black and white," since we only had to sew one specific kind of garment. But geez, the process of deciding what kind of sundress to sew was still a doozy. This is one of the 1,000 reasons I would never aspire to be on the real Project Runway show (besides the fact that, yaknow, I'm not a fashion designer): it would be impossible for me to decide on a design and fabric in the 30 or whatever minutes they're given. For this challenge I spent a minimum of three evenings frying out my eyeballs on Pinterest, Burdastyle, fashion blogs and online boutiques, trying to find inspiration but mostly getting over(or under)whelmed and frustrated.

Once I finally came up with the pintucked bodice design idea and figured out how I would do it, I then agonized over fabric choice. At one point I was just sitting on the floor of my sewing room, buried up to my waist in different dress-weight fabrics, whining with indecisiveness. It was actually my boyfriend Corey who immediately pulled out this vintage floral cotton and said I had to use it. I rarely wear florals so I didn't even consider it, but I'm glad he convinced me because the fabric really is quite beautiful and I think it's a successful look overall. It was part of the large vintage fabric haul I received from the generous woman who was cleaning out her mom's house (story here). That stash has served me well. 

To make it, I started with the bodice lining pieces of Simplicity 2250, a Cynthia Rowley dress pattern, because it had the princess seams and subtle sweetheart shape I was looking for. I first made my pintucks on a large rectangle of fabric, and then cut the middle bodice pattern piece from that. I really love this detail, though I know it gets a little lost and disjointed in the busy print. It's pretty effective in real life, though, so I stand by it. I may try it again on a solid chambray or something...ooh.

The skirt portion is made from --what else-- the Colette Beignet skirt pattern, altered in my usual way to eliminate the button-up front. It definitely took some tweaking to get the princess seams of the Simplicity bodice to align with the skirt seams, but I'm pretty happy with the fit overall. I was tempted to make a big floofy circle skirt at first, but the fabric and bodice shape was already pretty feminine so I decided to make a sleeker skirt to help balance it out. And now I'm protected from gusts of wind! Believe me... I love my floaty skirts, but it is no fun to have to keep those in check when you're trotting down the stairs as the subway comes rushing into the station. I feel like I owe the fine people of Philadelphia a public apology for my ongoing circle and wrap skirt indecencies. And the city of Philadelphia owes me an apology for having a particularly windy Market Street.

The dress is fully lined, which I kind of made up as I went. The skirt portion is rayon bemberg with French seams. I hemmed the skirt shell with red bias tape and a hand-sewn blind stitch. It's super invisible on this print!

I couldn't get the dress fully zipped on my mannequin, even with the smallest torso set, because her cup size is bigger than mine. RUDE, Singer, rude. 

So that's my sundress! Check out the rest of the entries in this week's round of Project Sewn and be sure to vote on your favorite. Thanks again, sweet peas.