Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Project Failure: Maxi Dress

Sometimes, even when following directions to the T, you get a failure when making a project. Sometimes, as in this case, following the directions is what CAUSES you to have a failure.  So I am here today to share a recent failure for education and hilarity purposes.

So, I was working on the Shirred to the Max dress from Brett Bara's Sewing in a Straight Line book (the same one I made this skirt from). The book, in general, has good ideas and I am still interested in trying other projects from it. But this project does NOT work, if you follow the directions as laid out in the book. Unfortunately, I learned after the fact that I am not the only one who had this problem-more on that in a minute.  The direction for taking your measurements is: (this is exact quote, for educational purposes)
1.measure + cut
Bust: Measure your bust circumference and add 1" (2.5cm) for measurement A.
Dress Length: Measure your desired dress length and add 2" (5cm) for measurement B.
Cut two rectangles that are as wide as A and as long as B. 
So, that's what I did. I made 2 rectangles that were 42" wide (chest plus one inch) and 44" long (desired length plus 2 inches for hemming), and got started following the rest of the instructions. I made the first French Seam, followed the shirring directions, which in of themselves took FOR-EV-ER to do, and then I noticed that even with the bunching that elastic causes, that it was VERY large. It would have been large on someone 6-8 sizes bigger than me.I wish I had thought to get a picture of that phase, but I was just too upset. 

In frustration and not knowing what to do to fix it, I gave up for several days. When I came back to it, I decided to just cut some off the sides and try and make it work, so I wrapped it around me to see where the parts would meet on my body, then subtracted a few more inches (since elastic stretches) and took the scissors to it. Them I did the second French Seam, and Hemmed it where I would ultimately want it to Then, because I am not a strapless person, I used coordinating (perfect match, really!) ribbon to make straps.

Then to try it on, and well....

Even after chopping it down, and adding straps to help hold it up, it's STILL too big for me. Note the sad face. This is what happens when you spend, between all days it was worked on, more than EIGHT HOURS OF YOUR LIFE working on something  and it turns out to be for nothing.

I took my frustration out on the dress by reclaiming the fabric. I had my husband hold it taught and took the seam ripper to it all. So the bright side, if there is one, is that I learned how to deconstruct garments, and I was able to reclaim all but the shirred part of the fabric-so I have about 3 yards to make something else with, which I will.

So I did say that I learned too late that I was not the only one that had this problem. The first day, after I saw it was going to be too big, I went internet searching for solutions to the issue (which there are none, it seems, at that phase of the game)  and I found some Amazon reviews that basically said the same thing I had issues with. So at least I am not alone. Other sewers, I commiserate with you!

So I think IF I ever try this again, which I don't know that I will, I think I will attempt it with half the measurements. i.e. If My Chest is 42", I will cut the rectangles to be 22" inches each (chest divided by 2 plus 1 for each side). Maybe that would work better. Maybe some day I'll find out, but for now, I'm good with not doing so....

I hope that if anyone stumbles on this blog, that it is before you begin this project, and that you  learn from my troubles! Good luck to you, and please comment if you tried it and had success! I would love to hear from you!

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