Monday, March 19, 2012

Sew Weekly: Green or "The Couch of the Irish Dress"

Friends, I am SO EXCITED to have finished this dress!


The fabric alone was insanity to work with - I think two new needles bit the dust on the same seam.  I didn't want to give up because I had a vision of a striped dress in my closet.  I envisioned me strutting around the office and pointing at things grandly.  Ah, Human Resources - the perfect environment for sheath dresses and pencil skirts and a sassy pointer finger.

Did I mention that I made a lining for this monster??  Because I did.  I think it's the first dress I haven't flatlined.  This was so much easier than flatlining and took bulk out of the side seams. 


The cut of the dress turned out perfectly, but there was some definite fine tuning to make it not so boxy.  I needed to make adjustments on the side seams as well as the darts in order to make it more form fitting.  Those darts were the hardest part of the entire dress.



I'm pleased with the back.  I used a grey zipper, because I have probably thirty zippers and none of them were green.  Not a single one!  Another goal for this year is to use the zippers I have for projects and resist buying new as long as possible.


I top-stitched the neckline and around the sleeve openings to trap the lining.  I love top-stitching because I think it adds nice definition to the neckline - you can see the shape much more clearly with that little bit of thread.



The sleeves were pieced together from leftover bits of fabric.  I had enough to cut out the full body of the dress, but not much more.  I compromised with the sleeves because I don't like going sleeveless, and we're not really permitted to be sleeveless in the office.


I LOVE THIS WEATHER.  I've been frolicking in the park in our building almost every day because we are having a streak of warm weather and I am not complaining.  I've been walking home and eating outside and sewing by open windows.  It's been oh-so-delightful.


The weather was so nice on St. Patty's that I ventured out (sober) amongst the (drunken) throngs to observe a Chicago tradition...


...dyeing the river green!  They dump cups of vegetable dye in the river, and no joke, it turns NEON.


After I went home and had a Kahlua smoothie, I noticed the south side was on fire.  Never a dull moment in Chicago, folks!



Friends, how did you celebrate St. Patty's?  Here in Chicago, if you are not Irish by descent, you are considered Chi-Rish on that day of celebration and madness.  I say madness because I definitely saw some street fights while I was out walking (!!!!).  Personally, I like to hide at home and drink with my besties - my blender makes awesome beverages if I am feeling creative.

Have a fantastic day, all!  And don't get in any street fights :)






24 comments:

  1. :o This is so beautiful! The fabric! And most of all the fit! And then some frolicking to top it off, well done!

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    1. Thanks Johanna! There is something about Spring in the air that makes me want to frolick and pick flowers and make up terrible haikus :) I hope you're having wonderful weather where you are!!

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  2. Totally Green goddess xx I m loving this shape on you...

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  3. I think this is my favorite thing you've ever made! Love the stripes, the green, and the fact that you were able to make good use of upholstery material! There is hope for my bag of mystery fabric yet! Also, I think our cities switched weather for the weekend.

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    1. Thank you so much!!! Yes, do not give up on mystery fabric - you just need to whip it into shape and not be afraid to break needles (eep!) I know, right? How weird is the weather right now? I mean, we are just loving it here, but it's so strange not to be wearing a coat every day!

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  4. I love this dress! Like all your creations... and I'm a huge sucker for stripes. My St. Patty's was spent hidden in my apartment trying to avoid the crazies downtown. I'm impressed you went out.

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    1. I didn't go far, I promise! I completely avoided all parade routes and just saw the river right by Fox & Obel/Lizzie McNeill's. I didn't venture any closer than that for fear of being surrounded by drunks. As it was, I had some drunk people nearby, but there were more families - definitely safer! I then proceeded to hide all day, as is proper when you are trying to avoid the crazies. :) I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one who stayed inside!

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  5. Beautiful dress! The fit looks perfect! They don't do much for St. Patrick's Day in France; I have to explain to my students what it is :) I even forgot to wear green this year :(

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    1. Thanks, Donna! I actually was going to ask you about the holiday over there, but it doesn't surprise me too much that they don't celebrate! How did you explain it to your students? I imagine you probably didn't include the sheer amounts of alcohol that Americans consume ...

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  6. The fit looks perfect - but tell me, what was the difficulty with the darts? I have that same pattern and was hoping to use it for variations (after I do a SBA, of course).

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    1. The darts on the pattern were great - it was just insanely difficult to sew them down with this fabric. The fabric was almost too thick for the needles, so I needed to take my time. The last thing I wanted was a snag across the front of the dress, and whenever the needle hit the fabric in a certain way, it would snag. That was surprising, so it just added to the difficulty. Other than my fabric choice, I think the darts would've worked perfectly!

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  7. such a gorgeous colour and vertical stripes are always fab! I love seeing photos of different cities and countries so love you chicago pics! Its funny that you call it St. Patty's day...we call it St. Paddy's day over here but I guess patty's makes more sense lol! x

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    1. Thanks, dear! I think we spell it both ways here - I think the dividing line is between the South Side Irish Parade and the Wrigleyville Clark Street Pub Crawl :)

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  8. Lovely dress ma'am!

    St. Patrick's Day is my birthday! I spent the day wandering around BG observing the frat boys in their natural cornhole and front yard beer pong playing habitats along with their sisters the scantily clad woo girls.

    Then I put myself into some black clothes and danced the night away at City Club where they were playing some really awesome music! Or maybe I just get too excited when I hear Joy Division.

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    1. Happy Belated Birthday, you fabulous lady you! I am glad you got to go dancing - oh, how I miss dancing in your vicinity :)

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  9. Meg--love this dress! I love where the fabric came from! Could you speak, a little bit more, about how you lined this dress? Specifically, how you did the arms (i.e. attaching them to the dress & lining)? Thanks!

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    1. Of course! For the sleeves, I made those completely separate. I have a weird habit of finishing the sleeves first because I like doing sleeves. Strange, I know! I took the sleeve piece of both the shell fabric and the lining fabric, right sides together stitched along the bottom edge (where you would normally hem). Now that they are attached at the bottom, fold the piece in half lengthwise so right side of lining lines up with lining and shell fabric with shell fabric. Stitch entire length - this is your inner seam of your sleeve. Once you turn the pieces so right sides are out, all stitches will be enclosed. I basted the raw edges together at the top of the sleeve to make it easier to attach to main body of dress. You can skip that final step if you want the sleeve seam to also be encased. When attaching to the main body of the dress, you would attached the shell fabric to the main body of the dress, keeping the lining on both the sleeve and dress free (as possible). You would then slip stitch these two pieces together, encasing the original shell fabric seam. I recommend tacking the lining to the shell fabric at the seam just so it doesn't go all willy-nilly when you try and put it on.

      As far as the body of the dress, I attached all shell pieces and all lining pieces together at the neckline, so only the shoulder seams were sewn at that point. It made it easier to flip the lining to the inside and avoided the need for facings (because I LOATHE facings). Once you have the neckline attached, proceed to sew the side seams on dress and linings separately, bringing all pieces together at the zipper. The lining can be sewn to the edges of the shell fabric, or you can slip stitch it to the zipper tape to almost completely hide your zipper and encase all seams.

      I hope that was a little clear! I am trying to run through it in my head, so I apologize if it doesn't come out correctly. Let me know if you would like a tutorial - I'd be glad to do one for you! (I learn better by watching something or seeing pictures, so truly, I'd love to help if I can!)

      XOXO - have a great night dear!

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  10. yay what a great dress. It looks just as good on the inside! I agree with top stitching, it really adds substance, I often like it in a contrasting colour too.

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    1. What a great idea! I had never thought of it in a contrasting color ... ooo, I think I may need to try this soon!

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  11. Ate breakfast with someone named Sullivan, so we all made sure to wear green. He'd have pinched us black-and-blue, otherwise! Have you ever used a ball-point needle (sometimes known as yellow-band)? I use them for knits, but sometimes resort to them when sewing fabric with lots of floats -- the needle slips between fibers instead of punching through. They are less likely to develop nicks that will snag on loose fibers. They're not so helpful on plain weaves, though, or I'd use nothing else.

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    1. If you are eating with someone named Sullivan, then it's an absolute must to wear green!! I use ball point needles for all my knit sewing, but I guess it never occurred to me that these might be useful with snaggy fabrics. What a brilliant tip! Thank you for sharing!!

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