It's with that in mind that I tell you this, not every time I sew means I'm happy. Sometimes, I am so miserable but I do it because I must... much like some sharks must keep moving in order to live; sewing is my soul's primary life source... even if at times like with this project, I resent the necessity.
So, back in late June I began this escapade (or rather lesson in patience); I was happily working on a pair of velvet overalls and it was while I was digging through my stash room for certain notions needed, that I was suddenly and irrevocably struck by an intense urge to use this spiderweb cotton material I had purchased during my time working for Hancock's Fabric... which inevitably got me digging through my pattern stash.
This hard diversion of my plans landed me on McCall's 6503:
I remember picking this pattern up a couple years ago and thinking I was going to sew view C; I began a muslin and had everything lined up and ready to go for it, I just didn't have a fabric choice to marry the dress to and so it was stamped with a big UFO label. It would have been C too, but my mind changed course once more, as it tends to do, and I found myself utterly smitten over view A.
Ironically, view A was my least favorite view when I had initially purchased this pattern.
I was still feeling the web lace vibes from my last dress, even though before this dress I wasn't working with it at all. I overlaid the collar and belt portions with a layer of lace that admittedly made them very bulky, and I was worried I would have issues later since I did use interfacing also.
Yet I continued...
As much as my gut was telling me not to use the interfacing, I was worried it would not be crisp enough to maintain the shape after laundering. I opted to compromise and use a featherweight interfacing. However, going through my stash of interfacings, I quickly realized I had nothing but scraps of featherweight left.
Instead of seeing this as a red flag, my stubborn ass franken-stitched the pieces together.
My heart was telling me I solved the problem, while my brain was in overdrive panic mode because although they were technically symmetrical... aesthetically, they weren't. My brain was yelling at me profanities and the myriad of reasons what could go wrong in the garment.
Yet I continued...
The interfacing and lace in, the bodice was actually going as planned. This pattern had an insane amount of ease in it that I drafted out during the mock up-- all in all I think I removed an entire 1/4 yard of material from this dress.
So came the lower portion, I sprung a creative leak and motivation was gushing out of me. I couldn't decide whether or not I should continue with a lace overlay on top of a solid or over top of the print.
It sat on my form, just as it was above, for days.
I was helplessly watching unable to continue my life, sometimes starring at this dress for hours while I sat in my chair with Netflix going on in the background, trying to fall back in love with it. I couldn't even work on those overalls or things I had promised to make others... I just sat there obsessively trying and failing to be enamored.
It wasn't until last week that my brain finally kicked back on, and I became decisive once more. I think part of that can be attributed to a recent commitment to my well-being that managed to get this brain train going again. I said fuck it to the solid and the lace and went a more simpler route, going completely with the print AND I even went so far as to redesign the skirt into a hi-lo hem.
Sadly I was reminded again that this dress is cursed. I was two steps from being completed, and just as suddenly as before, things went awry. Instead of a lapped zipper, I wanted an invisible zipper. I put it in, and off the dress form and off myself it got a little hung up at the waist but still went up. Now bare in mind, it was during this time when mother nature paid her visit and I was incredibly bloated and irritable... logic and reason fly out of the window with the tiniest provocation when I get it this bad.
I tried on the dress despite my better judgement, and it just didn't want any of this hot mess. It barely zipped up, let alone come together at my waist where the bulk of my bloating was highest. I struggled with this zipper for hours on end, so close to tears of frustration when I got a call from my SO, who at the time was away on business.
He barely helped, I'm sad to report. I got angrier and angrier as he spoke, but I did manage to sift and process a grain of reality from what he said and that was the fact that when my bloating gets bad, nothing will ever fit.
Meanwhile, I tugged and pulled and squeezed that zipper so fervently, I managed to give my forefinger and thumb blisters. Actual painful blisters: puffy, angry and filled with fluid... like me.
I sat in my room, feeling completely defeated and sweaty after wrestling the zipper. I grabbed a bag of almond kisses and streamed the most disgustingly cute Korean drama I could find and binged that shit during the following days.
While I sat watching the last few episodes, it dawned on me, that bloody bulk on the waist I was worried about earlier? That was what the zipper must be getting hung up on, it had to be. I grabbed my scalpel style stitch remover and very carefully removed the inner most line of stitching and moved it over the tiniest mm's to the side. I also tacked down the remaining flap of adjacent bulk down to help ease the runner a little more too.
After completing these minor fixes, and going back in to readjust the armholes because they puckered oddly, there I was in front of the mirror again, ready for round two. I put the dress on, grit my teeth and prayed... the first portion went up smoothly, and there was a certain satisfaction in feeling that graceful zip, but then it momentarily hung up at the waist again. I cursed, and buckled down for yet another struggle... but a little tug and all the way up it went. I was speechless, the bulk was the problem, and I solved it. I startled my cats when I exclaimed 'fuck yeah' with intense glee.
- With a combination of major and minor tweaks and adjustments, this pattern can look as intended by the envelope line work.
- Adjustments will be primarily done on the bodice front piece, as it carries an excess of ease due to the gathered feature.
- The armholes for the sleeveless variations do not come with a piece for a facing, and instead bias tape is suggested for use en lieu. I used bias tape and there were puckering issues since I opted to hand stitch it in as opposed to having an exposed top stitch on the exterior. Adjustments must be made for this course of action, and my solution was barbaric but resulted in a pleasant looking armhole-- simply chop the excess ease at the top where I deducted was the ailing source of the tugging. and gradually narrow down. If I had to make this again, I would draft a suitable facing to make things easier.
- The envelope reads easy, meaning good for beginners. I would heavily debate to the contrary. However, the instructions were clear and concise.
Additional Comments on Pattern:
I have a hunch that some of the problems with this pattern might be solved by simply having a lining. I can't confirm that, though, because it is unlikely I will use this pattern again any time soon.
Looking back, I can't believe how much I struggled with this dress in every aspect of it-- from the beginning to the end, it was quite a journey that I won't soon forget. So much for it being labeled "easy", hah! Perhaps I should dump this post under my Trials & Tribulations!
Till next time, fiends.
Spook you later!
Necklace: handmade by yours truly
Spider brooch: gift from my youngest brother
Shoes: flea market buy
Fascinator: upcycled by yours truly