Sunday, November 8, 2015

Mortem's Tricks or Treats: McCall's 6887

During this past week my husband was gone for yet another business trip. I spent the entire time at home; I stepped outside a total of two times; once to take out the trash and pick up mail at the beginning of the week, and again to do the same at the end of the week.

That may sound pitiful and unhealthy to some folk, but I really relish these moments; it's the times I'm in solitude that I am at my most productive.

With nothing to derail my creative drive such as a grumpy/hungry/"in the mood" husband (heh), I was able to focus completely on my own thoughts. Problem was, he's integral to the fabric decision making process, and without him I spent 2 days just attempting to choose fabric; I could be a poster child for indecision. So I enlisted the aid of friends online to help me with the job, and so the pattern that had been in my queue for a long time was finally underway.

McCall's 6887

I'd like to point out that, that friend is male and has no particular interest in sewing, halloween or dresses that I'm aware of, so the mere fact he was willing to help me with swatching this pattern was immeasurably appreciated, heh. He decided this glow in the dark bat fabric was best out of the choices I managed to bring to him.

The pattern is deceptive, at first glance the dresses looks basic, but the dresses have a design feature that won me over; they are partially backless. I chose view A and cut out a size 12, and made a slight design change.

One of the key complaints to this pattern's backless feature is that the placement of the button bar that goes across your back is awkward and has a tendency to show too much bra. With this in mind, I was able to plan my attack of this dress, but I wish my problems began and ended there...

When I finished my draft I began work on my mock up, but something funky was apparent when I tossed it up on Ophelia-- the straps for the sleeves had a little too much ease, so I took it apart and used my brand spankin' new seam allowance curves to redo them.

"What do you mean I'm not helping?! I'll cut you!"
The adjustments were perfect on the first try for the armholes and the button bar (having put a bra on Ophelia to determine where exactly one sits). I went on to assume that I was over the worst of the adjustments after just mocking up the bodice alone, and continued onto the final garment. That would be my first error, though I didn't realize it at the time what it entailed.

Nearing the final stages of the dress, the second mistake showed up; somewhere during the attachment of the lining and exterior skirt pieces to the dress, I had unwittingly sewn the back half of the lining wrong side inside-- meaning the sewn seams were exposed on the inside, which defeats the point of having a lining. I realized this only after having inserted the zipper. Being the finisher freak that I am, that meant I had to undo regular and overlocked seams to redo it all at that point.

Once corrected, I was having an unbelievably difficult time reinserting the zipper; it's like it decided it didn't want to be part of the garment anymore. It was a regular zipper, so after several attempts I decided to just insert an invisible one... that meant undoing the center back seam so that I could add it seamlessly...
Any other person probably would have just said F that noise, but my determination pushed me forward. After I had done with the unstitching and sewing of said zipper I believed I was done, what a fool I was...
When I put on the garment, it was at that point I realized I made the biggest mistake of all (that error #1). The bodice did indeed fit perfectly, but if I had not been so presumptuous and skipped ahead, I would have seen during the mock up stage that the skirt was a whole size too big! I checked my pattern draft to the original, and it appeared that during my sleep deprived stupor, I had copied a size 14 skirt instead of a 12-- I think this is what they meant when they warn people not to sew at night...
I could have just added pleats, but the sight of them was just not suitable to the design of the dress. I took a deep breath, and to my own surprise I did not rage and rampage. I grabbed my seam ripper and went to work... again.

After all that unstitching, my house looked like I had a fierce battle with some type of thread monster, and its blood, the thread cuttings, covered every inch of me and everything else. I'm still finding cuttings in my hair, but that ended the reign of the pattern mishaps... finally.

Now onto the design changes! The only design change I made was the addition of the collar. I found the front to be too boring and not fitting a dress of this kind. Initially, I drafted a peter pan collar and it quickly evolved into bat wings.

Drafting a peter pan collar is no big deal, but turning them into a bat wing required a little bit more thought. It was tricky drafting it so that it would so obviously look like bat wings while still allowing a 5/8th seam between points and curves-- all while attempting not to make it too small or too large.

The points were dulled during the process, but I believe I succeeded in doing exactly what I set out to do. I left a little gap in between the points because once again there was an initial plan; to put in a cute little skull button. Instead I ended up sewing a bow into place after deciding the button would be too much.

It was during this project that I decided to jump in an try my hand at fabric covered buttons for the first time. I don't know why I didn't try them before, especially since I love fabric covered buttons-- they're the bees knees. Since I don't have a fabric button press of my own (yet), I bought the insta-kits by dritz.

They actually worked pretty well, and resulted in some fine looking buttons to match the fabric of my dress! I mean, I can only assume that buttons made with a button press would look exponentially better, but being so... not bad at all, heh.

And that folks concludes this rather long post; if there's one thing I hope you take away from my experience with this dress is that you do not ever skip any part of the prep -- it really is the difference of spending a few hours of prep and having a great garment, to days worth of mistakes or god forbid a crappy end product because you didn't see and address the problems. This proves that even us veterans can get complacent and make a plethora of mistakes.

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