Friday, November 25, 2011

the 9-to-5 trench dress

I'm calling this my 9-to-5 dress because I'm not sure where else I'd wear it but to work. Technically my work hours are 8:45 to 5:15, but that's just too many syllables.

This is McCall's 6279, version C with the collar & lapels, elbow-length gathered sleeves, self-cuffs and a store-bought belt.
This chick thinks she's sassy but I bet she ain't.

I don't know why I'm always attracted to puff sleeves on garments when I see them on the hanger or pattern envelope. Maybe it's because I think it'll help balance out my hips, but my shoulders are fairly broad and that style can look pretty linebacker on me. I guess it's now obvious from the pattern envelope illustration, but these sleeves are supposed to be PUFFY. Here's a comparison of the width of this dress' sleeve (top) versus a normal set-in sleeve cut to the same size (bottom):

Totally fanned out, meant to be excessively gathered on the top and bottom. I wish I had known how to de-puff the sleeve pattern before I cut the fabric, but I had already sewn the seam and attached the sleeves to the cuffs when I realized just how much poof there would be. I took in some of the excess fabric by taking in the seam, then gathering the sleeve as normal on the top but attaching it to the dress well below the gathers. See the red dotted lines:

It worked okay. By shortening them this way, the cuffs flare out a bit but whatever. I think the sleeves still need tweaking overall, particularly the "gathers" on the right shoulder -- mess mess mess.

My iron hates this dress.

Things I learned while making this dress:
1) When applying fusible interfacing, PRESS it on, don't IRON it or else your fabric will stretch and ripple underneath it. Yup, Sewing 101. But hell, I get impatient. It looked so bad I ended up ripping off all the interfacing from the front except for on the lapels. It was too stiff anyway.

2) When you're ripping off interfacing and decide to speed up the process with scissors, BE CAREFUL. Guess what? Fabric is just as easy to slice with scissors as interfacing is. Thankfully my brutal mistake is hidden by a lapel. 

3) For darker fabrics, also use dark interfacing and dark lining. I used cotton broadcloth for this dress and it needed to be lined all the way around, though the dress pattern doesn't call for it. I used white interfacing and white lining, which is okay but I think grays out the wine color of my dress when it's back-lit.

4) Before you take 20 minutes to pin-baste your sleeves, for the love of God, make sure you have right sides together so your sleeve will not be inside-out when you finish. (This happened to me... twice).

4) 12 metal buttons can cost more than your pattern and dress fabric combined. Errr.

That's it. I don't love this dress which is disappointing. I hate putting time (and all that hand-stitching) into a garment that I don't end up appreciating. I also hate when I can't double-dip my dresses -- meaning, be able to wear them for work AND weekend fun time.

So, who rushed out to Joann's on Black Friday to snatch up some $1.79/yd. flannel or whatever?