Hey dudes! I’ve been rather busy the last month, but exams are now over (hooray!) and it’s back to the sewing machine I go. I’m looking for a job for the summer, but in the meantime have plenty of spare time (and a job interview tomorrow…) and true to form have been producing things (well, so far, one thing and one mess of failure. But that’s ok. It’s my first actual failure this year, and I can repurpose most of the fabric).
But the completed project…
As you may notice, that isn’t me. This is my little sister – she had a birthday last weekend. Since she’s a massive Tolkien fan (well, my whole family is), and since she has the most perfect Arwen hair, I made her an Arwen dress. It looks pretty good from a distance, but I admit there are a fair few issues that I’m not so happy with. But, you know, I live in a different city from her, so I’m not going to be spending all my time looking at it and being sad. I can be thankful for that, at least.
As I was making this dress I though the blog post was going to be a tale of joy and simplicity. But it is not so. The main dress went together pretty easily – the pattern was drafted from her measurements, with all the fitting at the side seams, and went out to the full width of the fabric at the hem. The velvet wasn’t too hard to sew with – I’ve heard bad things about it, but it came together pretty good, although it was a bit slippery on the wrong sides. In the original the sleeves are velvet too, and seriously huge, but I decided that would a) be too expensive, b) too heavy and c) you’d lose your hands and not be able to find them again.
The upper sleeves were drafted badly based on a sleeve pattern I already had (they’re not terrible, and she can lift her arms plenty, but they have drag lines and weird puffy bits), and the lower sleeves are sort of related to semi-circles – the length of my forearm on one side, and a nice long swoopy length on the other. I’m very proud of the sleeve finishes, but they also took me freaking forever. I did french seams (because obviously the seams will show) and a hand-rolled hem (2 hours per sleeve. What. Why did I decide to do that? I was literally sewing all day yesterday, because I was home for a break but left town exceptionally early this morning, so I needed to get it done to give to her before I left). I am now a lot more proficient at a hand-rolled hem than I was… I think I would do it again, because it would ahve been enjoyable if I had the time to put it down and pick it up when I felt like a bit of hand-sewing. I do get that mood. Just, I would never do it on something with a deadline (honestly I just need to stop sewing things with deadlines. I hate rushing when I sew).
The trim is a wire-edged ribbon from my local craft shop’s Christmas section. I’d almost given up, after spending ages looking through their normal ribbons and failing to find anything good. The pattern on this ribbon is almost perfect, but this is the other part that had me so frustrated. It is super difficult to sew on neatly. I highly recommend using a fabric with a gold pattern – perhaps a gold lace – and cutting actual pattern pieces, for anyone who tries to make this dress in the future. It would have been so much easier. On the other hand, it did mostly work out, and so long as you’re not too close it looks pretty good.
I faced the hem on this, because I wanted just a little extra weight to keep it down, and tried to face the neckline, but that somehow gathered the fabric so it became too small for her, so I changed to a band like I’d do for a t-shirt, because the velvet has some stretch. It doesn’t look too bad now… But that was the worst moment. 7pm, the day before I leave, I’ve sewn the facing on and realise I’m just going to have to remove it again. Also I’m super tired anyway. Was not happy, was entirely sick of the thing.
And looking at that photo I remember she has a serious sway back and I didn’t do anything towards fitting for that, since I drafted the pattern from afar based on measurements only. It’s kinda obvious, but it’s hardly under normal RTW standard, so I can’t find it in my heart to be sad about that. I mean, I made her an Arwen dress, what more could you want?
One more photo and that’s all for today. Sorry about the photo quality – like I said, I finished last night, and left early this morning, so they were taken after dark.
I hope to see you again soon with a vintage Spring of 1000 Shirtdresses post! Man, I am so looking forward to sewing cotton…