Operation Xmas Dress Part 4 - The Real Deal

1.12.2015

Yessss, it's finally time for the "sexy dress reveal" post.  Learning about fitting is all well and good, but it can't compare to finished garment eye candy. Warning, this post is overly photo heavy, cause reasons. Now let's get to it, shall we?

My first fabric choice for McCall's 9572 was green velvet, not crushed or panne, but regular velvet. However my internet searches did not turn up much in the way of regular velvet.  The only site that had something similar to what I was looking for was Michael Levine. Their emerald green velvet was lovely, but at 30 bucks a yard for 45" wide fabric, it was too rich for my budget. I consoled myself that sewing bias seams in velvet isn't something you want to do on a deadline.  Probably one of the smarter decisions of my life.

So right about the time I was admitting to myself that velvet wasn't going to happen, Sunni posted about wool crepe over on her blog. Ahhh wool crepe. Now that's a fabric that would drape well on the bias and wouldn't be a bear to sew.  I checked out what colors Sunni had in stock and low and behold she had the perfect color of hunter green.  The color pretty much sold me and 4 yards were soon on their way to me. People this color is GORGEOUS!  My camera can not fully capture the lovely depth it has. Wish I could mail you all swatches or something so that you could behold it with your own eyes. Mmmmm fabric crush.  
As you would expect, the wool crepe sewed up like a dream.  I did line the bodice portion of the dress since wool feels a little itchy when it is next to my skin. My "chiffon" petticoat took care of shielding my legs from the bottom half of the dress.

This pattern has cut on facings that are folded over and catch stitched to the seams. The directions suggested finishing the edges with bias binding and calling the insides done.  Personally this made me nervous since the entire neckline is on the bias. For my own peace of mind I fused the facing part of the bodice and then sewed twill tape right next to the area where the facings fold over.  Then I drafted a lining pattern by tracing the bodice pieces and removing most of the facings, leaving only a 5/8" seam allowance to attach it.
Some polyester leopard lining was chosen from the stash and I then found out why this pattern didn't tell you to line the bodice.  Ummm yeah, sewing 4 right angles is a complete pain in the ass. There was much ripping, clipping and cursing at past Heather. What the hell had she been thinking?  Only by some miracle did I get that lining in without major puckering at every point. Maybe the sewing goddess likes Christmas cookies.

The dress has a side zip for getting in and out of it.  I was going to do a regular invisible zip because me and invisible zips are best buds. My local JoAnn's had other plans for me since the only green invisible zip color they had in stock was olive green.  You had one job JoAnn's! Instead I had to buy a regular zip and hand pick it. BLARG. 
It did not go well...at all. Just getting the one side of the zipper in took me half a day.  Then I thought the zipper was done, unpicked it, and found that I hadn't hand stitched close enough to the tape and the entire seam allowance was free. GAHHHH!  So let's just all admit that we have different talents and hand picked zippers isn't mine.  However if you need an invisible zip sewn in with a perfect join in about 20 minutes then I'm the girl to call.
The rest of the insides are sergred and I finished the skirt with a small rolled hem as called for in the instructions.  Thank god for audio books to distract you from endless hems.

The final step for my Christmas dress was to make a self covered belt.  I lucked out and found a lady on Etsy who was destashing all of her of vintage belt kits. They were all added to my stash. Muhaaaa Mine!
This was my first time making a belt and it turned out OK for a beginner.  Wool crepe isn't the best fabric to start with since it does like to ravel. At least the worst looking ravely bits are all on the back side and can't be seen when the belt is worn. Putting, "more self covered belts" on the to do list for this year, so that I can get better at the skill.

Ahhh, so those are all the details on the Christmas Dress.  I was super pleased with how the whole thing turned out.  The dress was very comfortable to wear and I loved how the hunter green color looked with the red accessories.  It all went together just perfectly and I had that mental glow of a big project that turned out well.  

Thanks for sticking with me through this series that took longer than planned.  Now we can look forward to 2015 sewing. Hooray!

(Throwing in this less than great picture in because you should have at least one picture with a Christmas tree in the back. Look red petticoat!)

41 comments:

  1. gorgeous heather! that colour is great on you and very christmassy!

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  2. That fabric is so gorgeous... Great choice! You look smashing in that dress.

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  3. Oh my, this is divine! Wool crepe is perfect for this dress! I feel you on wanting velvet though -- maybe next year? Although you now have the perfect Christmas ensemble for next year!

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  4. Perfect Christmas dress, you look fantastic in it!

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  5. This is gorgeous! Well worth all the time and effort! I've never sewed with wool crepe, but everyone seems to love it! Gotta give it a try one of these days!

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  6. Eek that petticoat surprise at the end was so festive!

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  7. This is absolutely gorgeous Heather - that colour is amazing!! And the petticoat is great too! I have loved following along with these posts - thanks for sharing, and it appears that all the work was totally worth it!

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  8. A Christmas dress triumph! I love the leopard lining :)

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  9. This is sooooooooooooo gorgeous and the perfect color for a sexy Christmas dress! I'm loving the bright red petticoat! Oh Heather, you are so amazing! I had my doubts about this dress - kind of looked like a bear to fit - but it's perfect. Gorgeous!

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  10. This dress is gorgeous and you look lovely in it! I hope you wear it for Christmas for many years to come.

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  11. Shell from SewEnSowJanuary 12, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    Gorgeous Heather, such an impressive project on a deadline too!

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  12. woah! hot hot hot! you look absolutely classy in this dress!

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  13. www.tresbienensemble.comJanuary 12, 2015 at 3:24 PM

    I love your Christmas dress. The fabric sounds delish! I never finished my Christmas dress. :-( Maybe next year. It's still taunting me from the dress form. But, I've already moved-on mentally.

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  14. What a fab dress! Well don you :)

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  15. Very nice job! Looks gorgeous on you! Love that flash of red petticoat in the last photo!

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  16. So so pretty! I love wool crepe! That facing and lining is beautiful even if it was a pain - but isn't that they way of pretty things? I love how you styled your dress with the festive accessories!

    For a quick invisible zipper fix next time you can't find the right color - nail polish! Just buy a neutral color close to the tone of your fabric color and paint the tab & slide the color you want. The only hard part is waiting for the paint to dry. =)

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  17. So glad the epic fitting and grading you did paid off. This is gorgeous on you! Red petticoat? Yes! So awesome.

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  18. That colour!!! Against the red!!! I really really wish I was State side sometimes because I'd just get my wages paid to Sunni, Fabric.com and various other purveyors of fabric. International shipping puts me off and keeps my bank manager sane...


    But, the dress!! I've loved reading about how you fit it and the finished article was well worth it! Velvet would have been gorgeous but not in the time scale (ugh!) maybe if you start in November for this year?! Or Froggie needs to find a life partner to help you out - I wouldn't trust those PJ eaters!


    Right, I'm rambling so I'll shut up - Gorgeous dress!!

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  19. Gosh I wish we didn't live on opposite sides of the world ... I would gladly hand pick your zippers if you would deal with those pesky invisible zippers for me. Your dress is amazing and wool crepe ... WOW. It is always worth doing a major sewing project, the end result and satisfaction makes me smile for a long time.

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  20. I had the feeling this dress would be great. It is. The color is very pretty and looks really good on you Hehe, love the red petticoat.

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  21. I loved it all the way thru- then I saw the last pic and.....I LURVE it!!!

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  22. Thanks Jo. So glad the sewing powers aligned and made some hunter green fabric available.

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  23. Thank you Sarah. Almost when flora but then the leopard got me in it's clutches!

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  24. Thank you Roxanne. Really glad there was a easy wool alternative to velvet for this dress. I don't regret the choice at all. :)

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  25. Thanks so much Lauren. It was a lot of fun to wear it on Christmas day.

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  26. Thanks Tanya. The velvet itch hasn't gone away yet. Maybe a simple top would be a better way to scratch it though. :)

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  27. Thank you Sonja. I'm relived that all that effort paid off. For a little bit there I was a bit stressed about it.
    Here's my take on wool crepe, great for garments that need drape. I know other people like to make suit jackets out of it but personally I like a wool with more body. It's really "spongy" which sometimes makes me shudder. LOL.

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  28. Thanks Maris. I squealed with glee upon opening the box and seeing the wool crepe in person. They must have dyed it for me. ;)

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  29. Thanks Brooke. I totally forgot about the nail polish trick. Doh! I probably could have mail ordered one from Cleaners supply in enough time. Oh well, guess it's good to try new skills everyone once in a while. ;)

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  30. Thank you Mayumi. Think this green and red were meant to be together. I was a really fun dress to wear on Christmas day. :)

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  31. LOL! Thanks Vicki, you've given me a good laugh. You're advice to keep the PJ eaters out of it is sound. I do think Froggie and me need to start earlier this year. We need some time to be lazy in December.
    P.S. International shipping is a bummer. If only there was a better way.

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  32. Thanks Emily. You know I've got to add more red when ever I can get away with it. ;)

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  33. Thanks so much Johanna. It was well worth all the work.

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  34. Thank you Sunni. I'm so glad you had the perfect color green wool in your store. It was lovely to work with.

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  35. Thanks Teri. I'm hoping to pull the dress out yearly myself. :)

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  36. Thank you Michelle. Where are those sewing elves when you need them? They would be perfect for those projects where you're ready to just move on.

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  37. For next time, you can also get invisible zippers from Sawyer Brook. Sending a swatch for us to match works best, but you can also order by color and we'll do the best we can. (I work there and actually do the zipper/thread/lining matching.)

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  38. Thanks for the tip Janee. I'll keep that in mind.

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  39. Gah! This is so gorgeous. I love the red sweater and petticoat, too.

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  40. Thanks Laura. You know I have to add red when ever I can get away with it.

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