Apparently I’ve entered a new phase in my sewing, in which I sew things I’m not likely to ever wear again, just for the hell of it. I think it’s coming from some misguided idea of making something “perfect” for a special event instead of buying something “generic,” which is really, really dumb. I definitely got caught up in the idea of “Since I can make exactly what I want, perfection is totally attainable for all occasions.”
HAHAHAHAHAHA. SO DUMB, SELF!
This dress was for a family wedding. I wanted something that would make me feel fabulous, mature, and chic while being appropriate for dancing in hot weather. I’m not sure I attained any of those goals with this ponte off-the-shoulder (and accidentally bodycon) dress.
I made the top using McCalls 6462, and had intended to make the pattern as-is, just adding a few inches in length. Dancing in a twirly skirt is fun, right? But after I bought the fabric, I started second-guessing whether the off-the-shoulder style would support the weight of a full skirt made of ponte knit. I also really love pencil skirts and sleek lines. They just feel more like the woman I want to be and what I feel most awesome in. So I traced off the bottom half of a dress pattern I’d already made and made it work.
Again, fitting issues. Finished measurements = bodice falling off my body. There’s a back seam, so I took that in a lot, but then it made the armholes rotate too far to the back. Thus began a string of baste-wear-swear-unpick-baste episodes that almost had me in tears at one point. The freak-out comes about the time you realize that if you keep stitching and unpicking, your fabric will DIE and it will all be for naught and everything in the world is WORTHLESS and HORRIBLE and exists solely to mess with you.
It’s so funny in retrospect, because these episodes of sewing rage are SO VERY REAL in the moment and matter SO NOT AT ALL, like, 3 days later. This post would have a lot more swear words if I’d written it immediately after completing the dress, and now it’s just like, “Oh yeah, I guess that sucked. Whatever. Yay dress!”
After fending off tears, I made one last set of adjustments, stitched it, and hung it up. I didn’t try it on again, because if I had to redo any part of it, I probably would have burned it instead. So I brought a backup dress (this brocade dress), but fortunately did not need it. The blue dress fit well, and with the help of a good strapless bra I had bought for my wedding dress, I was able to dance without worry all night.
And–this is the best, best, best part–I even surprised my mom when I told her I made it! HAHAHAHA! Yes!! The woman who is an awesome sewer, who knows every single garment I’ve made, and who can recognize handsewn garments at 50 paces, did a double take when I told her I made it as we walked into the wedding venue. Victory is mine! It’s not so much that I aspire for my garments to look exactly like RTW, but it is a goal that they aren’t all immediately distinguishable as home-sewn.
I’m not sure when I’ll ever wear this dress again. I mean, I can see wearing it to a couple of nice dinners out with the husband in the next couple of years, but that’s it. I’m contemplating removing the top and making a new bodice for it. Since I didn’t make the full skirted version, I have a decent amount of leftover yardage–a little less than a yard of 60″W. I could also make some kind of cardigan or top to go over it, so I could it wear it to work (more as a skirt), but still have my glam off-the-shoulder option. Also, did I just refer to a ponte garment as “glam”? I think I did. It’s a new era, people.
Here’s the budget summary:
The dress cost a total of $32.22 (2 yards at $11.19 of ponte knit from Hart’s, $7.19 in tricot lining for the bodice also from Hart’s, and a spool of blue thread). Not a bargain, and will probably have a crap cost-per-wear total, but for a special occasion dress, it’s a pretty good deal.