Well obviously with the arrival of my new baby, that sweet sweet Bernina I mean, I had to undertake a new project. I've had a few options rolling around my to do list for quite a while, but in the end I landed on making The Shirtwaist Dress from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing. It was a long struggle but in the end she came out beautifully.
Now that we can keep in our minds eye how lovely the final dress is let me tell you that it was a process to cross the finish line with this dress. As one of my students would say I was riding the struggle bus and the struggle is real. I thought this dress would be something I could just kind of whip out. I mean when I sat down to actually sew it I had already cut my pieces, serged everything, and interfaced what needed it. However that was not what happened, it was not a breeze, and there were moments where I considered abandoning it. This dress was a classic example of an over sure sewer being humbled by a project that should've been relatively simple.
First thing that happened was that I somehow did the shirring on the back of the dress too tight. Don't ask me how I did it because I have no idea. This was the first big mistake and I didn't even really catch it at first. I looked at the shirred piece and thought to myself, "My that looks tight, Oh well I guess it will snug up to my lower back really nicely." Oh it snugged up, to the point that the elastic thread was cutting into my skin, it was painful and would not work.
Next thing that gave me pause and bugged me was the sleeve. I drafted a tulip or overlap sleeve rather than a straight sleeve. I thought it would be cute. However not all my notches transferred through or at least I couldn't see them after I serged so I was having a hard time lining up the overlap properly. Also when I was hemming the edge, I wanted to do a delicate rolled edge but this light weight and drapey fabric becomes a thick hard root when it's double rolled on itself and it was rippling in a very unpretty way. Also it was kind of sticking out weird.
::Side Note:: I don't know how this fabric can be both drapey and light, yet at the same time thick as kevlar and battle approved. That's what happens with some of the mystery fabrics from Joann's.
I even debated the option of doing it sleeveless. but that didn't look right to me.It was so frustrating.
I ended up finishing the sleeve with some wide ric rac and I think it's cute and I used it on the collar too. Next I neglected to run the gathering stitches far enough so I had to redo those. Then finally after more struggle than seemed necessary the sleeve went in and looked cute.
I put this on my form and thought it must be wrinkled, till I popped the collar. Ugh why does it have to be so hard today! Finally the collar went in. Good, great, done. I think that collar ended up set back a little too far but I do not care it is staying. It doesn't look like crap anymore so I'll take it!
Everything came together pretty much to plan after the great collar debacle of 2015, and it is a cute dress. I mean polka dots and ric rac, obviously. Also the button holes that my machine does! They are amazing. I love Bernina, and I love my girl Bernice.
Ok, finished dress. After all that I think I love her. The sleeve is my absolute favorite and I will be using it in a future top or dress very soon. I am also A huge fan of the pleats in the skirt on the side of the center front. Really great.
I took a ton of length off of this dress but I am also 5'2", so that is fair.
This is the back re-shirred so as not to be too tight. Still don't know what I did in the first place but it's fixed now.
The collar sets back pretty far, I think when I make this dress again, I'll change that.
I was humbled by this dress but I'm glad it didn't become a UFO and get chucked in the closet. There's a ton of snow out there right now but some day it will be spring and I'll break this little lady out.