It has been awhile since I uploaded any updates on my sewing, but that is because I had been having seamstress’s jinx? or seamstress’ block:-(
I had attempted to make two dresses which did not turn out – mostly it was due to me being impatient and not taking the time to make a muslin (what was I thinking, I was working with a vintage pattern!) After that, I decided I should try to be more patient in my sewing and was very inspired by SoSewLovely’s blog to be more detailed-oriented in my work (and even bought some pinking scissors – how could I have gone so long without them!) For this dress, I carefully made a muslin and paid more attention with finishing the seams, etc. and it really paid off!
I love this Pleated Petite Dress pattern from the first time I saw it in Burdastyle magazine 2013/02. I call this project “sewing sudoku” because the process of making it was an intensive work-out of the brain (just like sudoku:)!! There were many hurdles to overcome.
First, the pattern was for a petite size so I needed to lengthen it – it took a long time to figure out how and where to lengthen since the dress was asymmetric and pleated along the entire left front and at the front shoulders. I followed the general lengthening instructions in Burdastyle magazine (adding some length to the armhole, a bit just below the shoulders, and a little in the area just before where the hip starts). By doing so I was able to avoid lengthening in pleated areas (except for the area above the hip, which I did by just drawing the two consecutive pleats a little larger than they are in the original pattern).
The second challenge was that I used a Liberty fabric which would be see-through on its own so I decided to line the dress. The most difficult was to figure out the correct technique to line this asymmetrical and pleated dress. Should I:
1) treat lining and dress fabric as one layer? or
2) make a “copy” of the dress and attach only at the shoulder and neckline (as in the Tweedy Danielle) so that the bottom of the dress would remain free? (in that case would having the pleats in both the dress body and in the lining version make the dress too bulky?) or
3) draft an alternative pattern for the lining so that I can avoid pleating the lining?
In the end, as I had no idea how to draft a pattern for a lining and it seems too complicated for this dress anyway, I decided to do a combination of 1) and 2). In the areas with pleats (shoulders and left side of body), I treated the lining fabric and dress fabric as one layer, pleating both at once. In the other areas, I treated the lining separately, and attached the lining as a mirror copy of the dress body.
I almost fell off my chair when I found out everything all worked out^^ I couldn’t believe it would work the first time without countless seam-ripping attempts! To avoid having the lining stick out at the bottom (as the back is slightly longer than the front), I cut and hemmed the lining “dress” to touch just above the hem band of the real dress body.
While I think I would like to see this dress in a plain fabric perhaps so that the pleats would have more limelight, I am very happy with the way the dress fits! It is not my everyday style but I look forward to wearing it to a special occasion like a wedding or a special event – perhaps a cherry blossom viewing party!
Have you had any “sewing sudoku” experiences lately?
Fabric: Liberty Tana Lawn SS2013 Hugo Grenville
Pattern: Pleated Petite Dress (Burdastyle magazine 2013/02)