Sunday, September 29, 2013
My belated ball gown
I can't believe Opera Ball was almost a month ago! I got my dress finished in time, but didn't get a photo taken that night. It was just too crazy! I should have though, on the grand staircase of the majestic San Francisco City Hall where the event was held. That week was pretty insane. I work in education, not events, so my workload was totally unrelated to the ball and we had a couple issues pop up at the end of the week. Dealing with that while being pulled in the other direction for my added event responsibilities left me little time to care about how I actually looked. Besides, I was just scurrying around checking attendees in, folding napkins, checking place cards and seating charts, trying in vain to get people to sit down for dinner, cleaning up volunteer meals, schlepping boxes back to the office at 2am, and so on. It's hard work!
I ended up making Vogue 1176, an OOP Michael Kors pattern. I added a gathered skirt with big pockets to store my phone, badge, and keys, and these pockets were the envy of every one of my coworkers. Seriously, you could see the look of longing appear on their faces as they noticed me whipping my phone out! The dress served its purpose, but I don't feel very sophisticated. I think the combination of the too-short skirt, the wide straps, and, well, maybe the pockets too make it feel a little frumpy.
I also had some trouble making this dress. First, I ran out of fabric! I had bought four yards, which seemed like an infinite amount. I usually make a dress using no more than two yards of fabric, since I'm short and on the smaller side, and I really didn't think that a long, full skirt would take that much extra fabric. I wanted the skirt to be cut in an A-line shape with gathering at the top, so that it would have a pretty full skirt by my shoes to keep them hidden. That was absolutely not going to happen, and this skirt not only isn't full enough to not show my shoes, but it's also too short. I didn't want to step on it, but I think it needs another couple inches at least.
Then the bodice... it was fun to put together, and for a 100% polyester fabric it was pressing pretty well. But then I tried it on and realized it was really big. Too big to just take in at the side seams. Everyone always talks about the extra ease in McCall, Butterick, Vogue, and Simplicity patterns, and I'm always skeptical because I tend to sew Simplicity and Burda and I have never, ever had a problem with excess ease in a Simplicity pattern. I might become a believer when it comes to Vogue, though. I had to take it in three whole inches at the waist, and could easily take in another inch, and also took it in about one inch at the bust. The alterations were distributed through the side and back seams, but I couldn't really take it in on the front due to the design and you can tell. It's pretty baggy under the bust. I feel like the fit is acceptable, but it was problematic and I don't really care about making another version to figure out all that was wrong.
I still love the color (more gray, less deep purple than the photos show) and the draped detail of the bodice, and I think I'm going to cut the skirt to knee-length to make it into a cocktail dress that I think will be much more successful.