Wednesday, July 30, 2014

HSF14 Challenge #14 - Paisley and Plaid

I'll be honest, this challenge was a disappointment.  I made a plaid dress for Christmas last year, so I thought I should do a paisley for this challenge.  When I a little girl, I had an adorable red paisley dress, but I had no idea what "paisley" was.  To me, they looked like tadpoles.  So I called it my Tadpole Dress.

Yup, that's me at 3 years old.

 I thought it would be so much fun to make a grown-up Tadpole Dress for this challenge.  For weeks I searched for the perfect paisley to resemble my childhood dress.  I found a great pattern on Etsy and decided to take the risk of buying something online.
So close to the original!

My risk did not pay off.  The fabric is thin and not particularly pleasant to the touch.  It pulled and ran with every stitch.  I went through three needles trying to keep it from pulling.  It showed every spot where I'd ever pinned it, and looked tortured and messy wherever I sewed.  Under normal circumstances, I'd have given up and just bought a nice plaid cotton and started over instead.  These were not normal circumstances (cue ominous music).  Just about the time I started work on the project, I got very suddenly ill.  I was out of commission for over a week, some of the sickest I've ever been in my life.  No working, no sewing, just bedrest.  So I lost a huge amount of time on this challenge, and had to work with what I already had.

I mocked up the 1936 afternoon dress from Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 2, but didn't care for the way it hung on me.  So I used the bodice only and combined it with a shortened version of the skirt from Evadress E30-4327 (1930's Evening Dress).

1936 Afternoon dress used for the bodice.  I had to lengthen it to bring it down to the natural waist.
The 1930's evening gown, with the skirt shortened to make a day dress.

 For the sleeves, I wanted a flutter sleeve, which seemed closer to the look of my Tadpole Dress.  I borrowed the sleeve from Simplicity 5190.  I lined the bodice only of the dress, with some lining I found in my stash.  The Janet Arnold pattern calls for a zipper in the side and back.  I did the side only, and closed the back with a single green and gold button.  I serged only the hem before turning it up, afraid of the affect of the serger on the crappy fabric.  I hand picked the zipper, something I never thought I'd have the patience for, and have now done twice.  It looks pretty dreadful in this particular fabric, but I think the technique is something I'll keep doing.

Final thought on this dress?  I hate the fabric, so I'm not terribly happy with the dress itself.  I doubt I will ever wear it again.  On the other hand, I did like the pattern, and I will definitely come back to it with a fabric that doesn't make me want to punch babies. (Disclaimer: I have not, nor do I plan to ever punch babies.)

The Challenge: Paisley and Plaid

Fabric: No idea of the fiber content; definitely poly of some kind.  
Pattern:  A blend of Evadress E30-4327, a 1936 day dress from Patterns of Fashion 2, and Simplicity 5190
Year: 1930something
Notions: White lace, green button, red zipper.
How historically accurate is it? The fabric is poly, and I used a plastic zipper instead of a metal one, but the pattern itself is cobbled together from period patterns.

Hours to complete: ::shrugs::
First worn: Not yet, except to model.   And possibly never again.
Total cost: About $25

The finished product

My Grown-Up Tadpole Dress

The poor tortured zipper side

And the back.

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