When I saw this red dress, I couldn’t believe how fine the wool was, and I deliberated for a long time as there were so many bits. I normally avoid pieces with too many seams as it’s a compromise from the get go. So I took out my little muji measuring tape and still though the strips of red – measuring about 25cm wide each was too small, and although the sleeves contained more fabric, I still went ahead an bought it………. it was the lovely wool. I placed a good few patterns over it – but not enough fabric, so I decided to make a simple shift and work pretty much with what was there. I had originally thought to work in some strips of orange fabric or pink worsted wool scraps I had, but as there was a bit of topstitch detail already, I figured I would leave it at that.
The before picture is a bit dee-sasterous looking, very difficult to see the red clearly, so I have a drawing below with the before after as this shade of red and my basic camera seem to just blur it all.
I took the front apart so I could turn the middle panel the other way to get the wider cut (bringing the 80’s shoulder fabric content down to the hem), and still keep the pockets. I should have realised that the wool was stretched when I was cutting the dress out and I should have steam shrunk it then (see first photo below) but I left the side panels as they were. By the time I was sewing the side panels on I was questioning my reason. The pockets would not line up – I sewed and resewed far too many times before I got the measuring tape out. I really could not understand how I lined them up and they would then ‘look’ so wrong. It turns out the pockets were never even on the original dress – and my best bet was to have the top of the lhs one a bit higher making the bottom of the pocket a bit lower so its balanced – hard to believe I never saw it to begin with, I had to take a photo to show.
By this stage I was beginning to swear a lot, and when the whole piece was together, I was in continuous swear mode….. the stretch in the wool was everywhere and draping where it shouldn’t and the whole re-made well-made seemed a bit silly. I had hoped for this to be my Christmas day dress – ho ho ho – like that was going to happen – however, I really liked the overall shape and proportions. I figured I would leave it till January to see if it could be rescued and this in itself would be better for my sanity. So last week I undid both seams to check grain, and the lhs was slightly off so I straightened that, and then, I decided to try and steam shrink with a hot iron and let the fabric rest and cool, and it seemed to do the trick (well improved it a lot)! its still a lil’ bit uneven – however, its also finished, will be worn and pattern most definitely used again!