Monday, September 29, 2014

FO: Fancy Ball Dress

"Fancy Ball Dress"
(aka Vogue 1192)

Just the Facts:
Fabric: 2 yards each dupioni silk from Measure $50 and bemberg rayon from JoAnn's $10
Notions: Thread, zipper $3
Pattern: Vogue 1192
Year: 2010
Time to Complete:  about 2 years (seriously, lol. see here and here)
First Worn:  September 27, 2014
Wear Again:  yes, hopefully I'll have the opportunity soon!
Total Cost: $67.00

It's been a while since I had a finished thing to post.  I've had a lot of changes going on in my life.  The biggest one is that I just started a new job less than 2 weeks ago.  Doing interview prep and such took a lot of energy out of me and then having to work out my notice at my old job of over 7 years was draining as well.  I know I made the right decision, but I was constantly feeling Done.  Now that that's over, more time for sewing! (hopefully)

I had my 10-year high school reunion Saturday night.  I wasn't sure I wanted to go to it.  I mean, who actually goes to their 10-year reunion anyway?  I decided to go to the reunion and use it as motivation to finish up this gorgeous dress that's been hanging there taunting me for nearly 2 years.

All these night time pictures are terrible, though the fabric color is surprisingly accurate.  A touch less shiny and more green perhaps.  I left off with this dress very annoyed with the left front bodice piece.  The bust dart was in the way wrong place and I COULD NOT figure out how to fix it.  I guess a couple more years of sewing experience under my scissors helped a lot.  I looked at the pattern piece and knew exactly what I needed to do to fix my issue.  I marked my bust apex on the pattern piece. closed the dart on the tracing, and retraced the pattern piece to start fresh.  From there, I slashed the bust dart open and spread my pattern piece out, creating a much smaller and shorter dart.  The new pattern piece is almost perfect!

I could have done a better job with the hem.  It's a bit lower in the front than the back.   I lost a fair amount of fabric to unraveling over the years.  YEARS.  This dress was taunting me in the corner, you have no idea.

Glamor shot!

I was trying to show off the pleats and failing horribly.  Are they tucks or pleats?  I can never keep them straight.  According to this pop quiz, people have been getting them confused for a long time.  I like this description from that same link: "A tuck is secured it’s entire length, as in a pin-tuck. A tuck is fixed.  A pleat is only secured at one end (unless it is smocked) it is loose, it can fold and unfold. A pleat is malleable."  I'm thinking my shaping detail is a pleat because they lines aren't sewn for the entire length--only 2-3" per line.

 I started with the size 8 and made quite a few changes to this dress to get it to fit me properly.
    --shortened the dress front and back by 3"
    --took 1.5" off the shoulder seam at the neck tapering to match the pattern at the armhole
    --redrew the v-neck seam line, taking off anywhere from 3/4" to 1/4" 
    --moved the bust dart on the left front and made it 2.5" instead of 4.5"
    --hand-stitched a 3/4" hem instead of 2" hem (shouldn't have shortened so much!  I didn't make the shoulder seam adjustment on my muslin and that's where I lost a lot of the length.)

More about the reunion:  I was SHOCKED! by who married who, how much weight people gained (or lost), the jobs people held, and how many people I didn't recognize at all.  One guy in my class is a construction foreman-type who works for the State of Florida.  His dad is the local judge and everyone thought Andrew was going to be a lawyer for sure.  The party was held at the town country club (I went to school in a very small town).  There was some food, a cash bar, and a very bad DJ.  We opened the time capsule.  Someone put tarter sauce in it!  It was brown and gross after 10 years.  There were a lot of pictures in the time capsule too.  Someone put one in from the first day of senior year.  I don't even remember taking the photo that day.  My life has changed so many ways since graduating from high school, yet it feels like I haven't changed at all.

I didn't get any pictures at the event, so I had to get up on Sunday and take some semi-decent daytime ones.  This is bedhead and leftover mascara.  Wooo.  I'm also hiding my glasses behind my back.  Lazy Sunday FTW.

I had a really hard time with this back vent.  I was stumped for several days.  The lining pattern pieces are an inch or two narrower than the fashion fabric and the lining didn't seem to match up with the fashion fabric on the inside.  The left side looks like it's pulling.  That's actually the extension side and the directions had me tack that down, which only led to the dress riding up like crazy.  I opted to leave the extension open and iron a sharp crease instead.  It's marginally better, trust me.

Bonus butt shot!

I said it before--this dress is the result of a perfect pairing of fabric and pattern.  The pleats/tucks look perfect and the darts are sharp.  This dress is classically beautiful.  I think even the color is great.  I believe the details would be lost in a darker color.

There is one major stress point on this dress and that is where the right and left fronts meet just above the rightmost tuck.  The pattern instructions have you perform a certain form of sorcery to get these pieces joined.  You should probably backstitch this section more than you think you need to.

I did a lot of hand stitching on this dress.  The armscyes and necklines were understitched by hand.

As were the hems and tacking the lining to the shell.

Have a glimpse at this weird vent.

And a glimpse of the gorgeous slubbing on this fabric!

Did you go to any of your high school reunions?  What surprised you the most about the people you graduated with 10 (or 20 or 30) years later?


  1. You are adorable.

    I went to my 10 year high school reunion...but not my 15 year (it was right after we moved to California from Wisconsin). I might make it back for my 20 year, if it's planned far enough ahead of time. We'll see...

    Also, love the dress and I'm still jealous that you can sew as well as knit all the things.

    Oh, and I made the pear pie the other day and it was delicious and I hoarded it (Little Man got a piece and Husband didn't have any).

    1. Thanks as always! :) I had about 2 weeks notice on the reunion--that tells you just how active I was in high school. I went to college my junior and senior years, so I'm sure people "forgot" about me. I don't know that I would attend if my old town were as far away from my new town as yours are. That's quite a trip for you. Mine was just the next town east of me.

      I'm hoping to post a new pear dessert recipe soon. I think I'll PM it to you on ravelry, so you can try it out while you have hoards of Asian pears. This one has much less chopping than the pie.

  2. You did a great job on your dress, and it looks like it fits you so well! I have gone to all of my reunions, except the 5 year that was at a park with a 1/4 barrel of beer. Next up in a few will be 25 years. It is amazing at how much hair loss happened at the 20 year LOL!

    1. Thanks! The dress does fit really well. I'm glad I didn't slap it together when the darts were wrong. You have reunions every 5 years? I couldn't imagine seeing my classmates that often. Every 10 years is enough. Were people surprised to find out you are a CPA? My classmates were shocked that I am an accountant. It's my job, not who I am, you know?