PR Hacks - A Trapeze Dress Two Ways


Hey everyone, just a heads up that my monthly PR article is live.  For May Deepika and I wanted to create a simple to sew, simple to wear project.  We ending up turning the Grainline Studio's scout tee into a trapeze dress. But you know, I just can't keep things simple for myself.  It's both a curse and a blessing. ;)  Because of this I decided to do not one, but two variations on the hack.

Version 1 -  Rayon knit Jersey with V neck and cap sleeves.  I call this one the keeping cool while running errands outfit.

Version 2 - Rayon Challis with a higher neck and a bit of a racer back.  This one's the night out on the town outfit.

If you'd like to know more than pop on over to the PR blog

Another trip to the lemon aid stand


Hey all, hope you're enjoying your Me Made May so far.  This year I'm only doing it on instagram because frankly the weather has been completely shitty here and will be for the foreseeable future. We've have so much rain forecasted I'm starting to think that converting the deck to a boat might be the smart choice. I'll make sure all the sewing frogs get a place even if it breaks the "only 2" guidelines.

Instead of complaining about gloomy days let's go back into the past when it was sunny and the trees were blooming. A day where I finally photographed a project that took almost 2 months to finish. Was it a lined coat? Some sort of crazy chiffon confection? Or maybe a pair of pants with a thousand welt pockets?!  No my friends, it was only a kimono sleeved dress in some cotton sateen.
Now sometimes you buy a pattern knowing it's going to be a fiddly pain in the ass to sew.  In this case you gird your loins and plunge into the fray knowing that you might get out of this with only a dust rag. There might be a lot of swearing, but at least you knew what you were getting into.  Other times you buy a pattern thinking it's gonna be a fun simple sew and then suddenly you're hand sewing for hours. (I'm looking at you McCalls 6696.) This vintage Advance pattern must have been a soul sister of McCalls 6696 because it was also a hidden bomb of fiddly hand sewing.  Why do I like shirt dresses again? Oh right, they look nice on me.
Let's start out by talking about the bodice sewing directions given for the pattern. Here they are in abbreviated form.
1. Sew waist darts and bound buttonholes.
2. Join shoulder seams and side seams. Narrow hem sleeves and finished back neck with bias tape.
3. Turn under the front neckline edge a 1/2" and catch stitch it down.
4. Baste all neckline darts.
5. Turn under facing edges 1/2" and stitch down. Check that bodice neckline and facing match each other.
6. Now actually sew all the neckline darts.
7. Finally slip stitch the facing into the bodice neckline a 1/8" below the already finished edge.
I read these directions, had a good laugh and then thought, "Aint nobody got time for that sort of nonsense."
Here's what I did instead.
1. Drafted my own facings for the front and the back neck.
2. Made the bound buttonholes and sewed the waist darts as directed.
3. Sewed all the visible neckline darts which was tricker than I thought it would be.  I ripped out several for not being straight enough.
4. Sewed on my facings with the machine and edge stitched that area.
5. Finally I had to fold under and hand tack the front edge of the neck facing to the fold over button facing.
In addition to all the neckline insanity I also chose to make 7 bound buttonholes.  Think I'd rather rip out an overlock stitch with my teeth then make a bound buttonhole. However some part of me thinks if if I'm forced to sewing enough of them then I may magically start enjoying the process. NOPE!  And don't even get me started about sewing the bottom of the button placket which literally made no sense. In the end I just catch stitched the whole area and called it good.

By this point you've probably gleaned that sewing this dress was not the most fun I've ever had. Hand sewing is never going to be a "zen hobby" for me. But after the hair pulling/gnashing of teeth was over I put on the dress and magic happened.  Those lovely lemons practically glow on the black background! Oh dress, you might have driven me crazy but you were worth it.

Advance 3740. (You know, just having a little chit chat with the girls while waiting for the kids at the bus stop.)

Fabrics used
Cotton sateen from the current Gertie line of fabrics at JoAnn's.

Pattern changes/alterations
1. "Graded" the shoulders and bust down 2".  Really all I did was fold out a wedge at the shoulder and into the bust area.
2. Standard 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment.
3. Removed 1/2" of bodice length.
4. Took in the shoulders 1/2".

- I didn't need to take out 1/2 from the shoulders and the bodice length. Had to go back in and make the bodice a bit longer.

- I could have done a bit of a sway back adjustment on this pattern.  At least kimono sleeves tend to look blousy in that area regardless.

Husband Comment
"More lemon dresses for my sours."

My Final Thoughts
I can pretty much guarantee that this pattern won't be a resew, but I'm going to enjoy wearing the finished dress. Frog reminds me that past Heather said the same thing about McCalls 6696 and then made a second one. Hmmm, maybe I secretly love torturous hand sewing because it gives me an excuse to eat chocolate? Let's not think about it too much now, just pass the peanut butter cups.
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