Pfft, Who Sews Staples These Days?!

Well, I’m officially sick of sewing sensible, staple clothes that go with the awesomeness in my wardrobe.  It’s no fun.

What does one do when over staples?

Why, goes to the quilting section of her local Spotlight and buys three metres of the least repulsive fabric on sale ($5/m, thank you very much!) and makes a dress out of it.

So, this is what I ended up with.


Despite the thoughts of the fabric cutter/cashier, I could really see this as a dress.  Don’t ask me why.  It sung to me.  I have difficulty imagining it as anything else, to be honest.  A dress it was to be.

So, I’ve shown you my two versions of B5748, blue and birdie.  I think I even mentioned my intention of changing the skirt to something less fabric-hungry than a full knee-length circle skirt.

So I thought I’d try a half-circle skirt.  I’ve heard them talked about a lot online, but never really understood how the shape and the logistics of it all would work.  I wasn’t so keen on gathers/pleats and the bulk that adds to the waistline, so I jumped in the deep end and gave a drafting a half circle skirt a crack.

Well, it has been done!   I’m actually rather excited to say this was my first time drafting something other than a rectangle!  And it was a resounding success!  Woot!

This meant unpicking the back seam and stitching up the open side seam in order to use a centre-back zip and therefore avoid adding another seam to the skirt.  Or worse, having a directional half-circle skirt off centre.  No biggie.

On the other hand, I also tried raising the back and lowering the neckline of the same pattern.  The front worked just fine, the back, not so much.  I really had no idea what I was doing and how the slope of the back would change anything, so I just sort of had a crack and if it didn’t work, I’d adjust it back down again.

Now, two problems.  Actually, one major problem that led to two secondary problems.

First problem: I don’t actually have any knowledge or understanding of how these things work.

Secondary problem A: I tried the dress on, after attaching the skirt and before inserting the zipper.  Despite drafting the skirt based on the measurements of the then-completed bodice, the bodice was about 2 inches too narrow for the skirt on EACH SIDE.  No biggie right?  Just trim off some of the skirt.  Um, no.  I tried the skirt on and it turned out that the bodice wasn’t just 4 inches too small for my skirt, it was 4 inches too small for my body.  Just at the back.  The front was fine.  I still have no idea how this happened.

I probably had enough fabric to recut the back bodice, or join extra fabric on to the existing bodice.  But I couldn’t be bothered matching the print or making and attaching a whole new bodice.  So I went to Spotlight (conveniently open until 9pm on a Thursday night for weirdos like me who need to make an 8.30pm poplin run) and bought 15cm of black poplin.  (It was pathetic.  At $3.99/m that was 60c.)  I added a strip of black poplin to each side of the bodice centre back seam and hey presto!  It was big enough!  So I sewed in the zipper.


Secondary problem B:  Actually not that big a deal compared to secondary problem A, but still.  Once I’d inserted the zipper and tried it on, it became very apparent that you can’t just raise a back neckline (what’s the word for that anyway?  Backline?) and expect it to sit properly.  It gaped.  Like, really, really gaped.


Yeah.  I showed my mum and she suggested pinching the excess out of the back, just before the poplin strip.  She helped me pin it in place and I basically added back darts to the bodice.  Probably not the smoothest way of adjusting, but hey, you can’t really tell now, and I consider that a win.

I also tried my very first handpicked zipper using Sewaholic’s tutorial.  I’ve never put in a decent lapped or centre back zipper by machine, so I am pretty thrilled to find a technique so simple and easy (although perhaps not quite so speedy) that actually looks amazing first try.

Overall, it’s an unusual fabric choice, but I think that’s why I like it so much.  I also really enjoy how the fabric pattern looks in a half-circle.  And even though I said I wasn’t sewing anymore staples, this kind of dress is exactly my version of a staple.  🙂

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