Sunday, August 31, 2014

#fatquarterchallengedress




My apologies that this is a day late...but peewee football season has started and my daughter, my photographer, spent her morning and afternoon at a football game.  When she arrived late afternoon to take photos, there were three tired and cranky grandchildren accompanying her...not a good combo for photos...so we waited until today.

The Introduction ~
In a previous post I stated that I've decided to be very liberal with the requirements of this challenge, because my point was to get a wearable garment out of those fat quarters.  I have to admit that this was a very hard challenge for me.  I will remember that the next time I'm out to dinner with a bunch of women, and there are quite a few pitchers of margaritas on the table, before I sprout off at the mouth!

My first attempt at making a dress was so horrible that one - I refused to take pictures of it beyond the pic I posted to Instagram early in the process (dayum that was four months ago!) and two - my daughter took one look at it and said trash it. That scarred me. Seriously...and I hid the fat quarters in the sewing cave so that I could not see them mocking me.

Then the dayum challenge came back up and I had to come up with something...anything...wearable.

The Idea ~
From my internet travels, I saw the pictures in this blog post and they triggered something in me creatively. Gave me a new perspective and a different way to go. So using it as my basis, I worked from there on a new idea.

I have to say that my first idea was for smaller stripes from the fat quarters - about 1" wide...but because I wasn't sure if this idea would even work...I didn't want to invest that kind of time on cutting and sewing smaller stripes. So I went with the larger ones using my altered TNT pattern, used here.

Construction ~
Of course making the stripes and sewing them together so that they used the majority of the fat quarters was the most important part of the challenge. 

As I stated above, I originally wanted 1" strips as the finished width but settled on 4" strips, that when sewn together made 3" strips. I used 1/2" seam allowances, not the normal quilters 1/4" SAs.  Mostly because I think you need to be really precise with 1/4" seams and I'm just not that precise. Also, I figured out the math better using 1/2" seams! *LOL* Another consideration was that I didn't want this to have a "quilting" feel.  I wanted it to look like a "professional" dress that I would wear to work.

Of course the stripes took a fair amount of time ~ cutting out, sewing, and pressing. One more note, each fat quarter I received is represented, but I added some solid pieces of linen to help with the look of the stripes and erase some of that Hobby Holly Dress look. What my boss called this picture from Instagram.



My only other challenge was to insure that the side seams matched where the stripes joined each other AND to insure that the fat quarter stripes were on the same side front and back.


The rest of the dress was actually a breeze after the stripe placement was determined and worked out. I have to tell you that I was shocked when I got the dress shell together.  Seriously shocked.  My idea worked and it didn't look bad. To make sure that I wasn't just placating myself, I sent a pic to my daughter. After she declared it a success, I forged ahead to get this finished.

We Interrupt this Process ~
However, I'd danced around the process so long that I didn't have time to finish it during the week.  To make matters worse, after a few days I noticed that the fat quarter side of the dress was hanging lower than the linen side. This was because of the weight I added when I used fusible interfacing on the back side of each stripe.
  
Now somewhere in this process I told myself that I should underline the linen with silk organza.  But being wary that the idea would work, I didn't want to invest that kind of time and resources in a dress that might end up as a wadder.  


Once I realized that the dress worked, I very reluctantly decided that I needed to add the silk organza to it so that it would hang correctly.  So I took the dress apart, cut pieces of black silk organza and basted them to the linen pieces. Then sewed the dress back together.  Do you understand now why I didn't make that Friday deadline?

Back to Construction Details ~
I added a navy blue bemberg rayon lining to the dress.  


Thank goodness that was in the notions stash!  I also broke down and added navy piping to the neckline.  Seriously if I blew past the deadline, I was going all in on this dress.


Somewhere in the construction process, I decided that it was a good idea to make bias binding from some of the remaining pieces of fat quarters to bind the armholes. 


Yeah I was wading deep into the pool of throwing every technique I knew into this dress...or is this just the way I sew now?  Who knows...but what is truth is that there is self made bias binding in this dress also.


Some hems, okay not just some hems...I added navy blue rayon seam binding to the dress hem and a beige lace to the lining hem and the dress was finally done...


...just in time for some photos before it started to rain!

A few more pics of "The Fat Quarter Challenge" Dress...





In Conclusion ~
I can honestly tell you that I won't be doing one of these challenges again! *LOL* What a wonderful way to inhibit my creativity!  I know some people flourish and thrive with these types of deadlines producing amazing garments but me...ummmm not so much!  I have learned several things from this challenge...

  1. You can make a wearable garment for an adult using fat quarters. Just next time I'd like to pick my own fat quarters!
  2. I don't sew well with a deadline (okay I already knew that one it was just reinforced!)
  3. I am incapable now of sewing something simple...seriously, silk organza underlining, piping at the neckline, self made bias binding...I got problems y'all! *LOL*
  4. Never open my big mouth saying I can do something with liquor on the table...

Finally, I have pieces of fat quarters remaining that may show up in the days, weeks and months ahead in the granddaughters clothing...you have been forewarned!

...as always more later!






63 comments:

  1. This dress is lovely, and so very different. It looks incredibly stylish. Love how you used all of the techniques, it's the most wonderful thing about sewing, being able to finish things off exactly as we want

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  2. Wow! You hit it out of the park. So very cool. ~Teri

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  3. You have come up with a super and unique dress. You wear it well. Lovely.

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  4. Awesome ! ! ! .. you did a fabulous job.

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  5. Kudos making this work and so well. Hope you get some wear out of it with all you invested in it.

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  6. Amazing! I didn't know quilting cotton could look so refined. :) To me it doesn't even look like you used fat quarters at all, but rather just an interesting print.

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  7. Absolutely stellar!!!! You did a wonderful job with what you had!

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  8. All that attention to detail really paid off. Even if you don't "win" the competition, you came up with a winner! And the one tiny detail that paid off the most I think are those solid stripes to preclude that Hobby Holly look. Now you can reward yourself with another margarita ;)

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  9. You know, you just really did an amazing job with some seriously icky fabrics. I love the dress--great perspective using the side for the pieced fabrics.

    That is why I don't quilt--why spend ALL that time and effort hacking up beautiful fabrics to essentially make a brand new fabric??? I find that tedious and frustrating. Some of that might be because I can be a little color/print/combination challenged;) Having said that, I don't mind and even enjoy some smaller quilt type projects like a purse or some such. I am also blessed (or cursed) to be surrounded by women who make a lot of their own quilted purses plus a few very nice (and helpful) quilt shops. I admire what they do!

    Cannot imagine doing what you did--great job!

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  10. Late or not, this dress is Awesome -- I love it!! You look great in it. Very inspiring:)

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  11. I think you did a great job with what you had to work with but I agree that you could have made a very sophisticated garment if you had been able to choose your own fat quarters. There are some lovely prints and colours available.

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  12. The dress has a lovely story at least and it fits well and the inside is nice enough to wear inside out...Lordie...such nasty color choices and yet you made them work....and the reward...a nice post with many ideas and thoughts for the rest of us...like vowing never to do this challenge ourselves! ha ha Happy Labor Day, Carolyn!

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  13. It's very flattering on you, and has just enough "artsy" to catch the eye and the colors are what I call,happy colors. Truly, it's a good looking dress and I hope you enjoy wearing it.

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  14. Of all the beautiful clothes you've made, this is one of my favorites. A perfect 10.

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  15. Totally professional and unique. You gave a gift.

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  16. I love it. I used to sew my clothes and want to start again but, afraid. Your sewing is WOW.

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  17. Well in the end it turned out really nice. It was the challenge from hell and you ended up with a wearable garment - so congratulations!!

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  18. Love it - what a fantastic job you did.

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  19. Добрый день! Оригинальное платье!!! Превосходное сочетание двух разных тканей! Очень нравиться и Вам очень идет!

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  20. I am a total sucker for quiltin fabrics - all those lovely colours and patterns! I think that you have done a wonderful job here, incorporating the fabrics into another classic dress. Gorgeous!

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  21. This is pretty neat! I am just now wondering how it would look with the main body of the dress in that darkest color of the fat quarters part (is it s bright orange???). You really should try a second one like that? Come on.... Pleassseeeee????

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  22. I think what truly sells it for me (and i am SOLD) is your arrangement of the prints. They really do read like a nice stripe, like the Echino stripes. Also knocked out by your technique to stabilize it/balance the weight - the real killer for quilting clothing. Dayum indeed! Thank you so much for your work - I am stealing (always give credit)!

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  23. You managed to make fat quarters look sophisticated. I bow before your awesomeness.

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  24. I think you did a wonderful job and so creative....

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  25. Way to harness your creativity and persevere! This dress is quite awesome!

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  26. Wow, a really modern and fresh interpretation of something that could have gone badly patchwork crazy!

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  27. Whoa, your dress looks gorgeous. You really did a magnificent jog.

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  28. This is FANTASTIC. But I cannot believe you went back and took the dress apart to finish it. In a zillion years, I would not have had that fortitude.

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    1. Kristin - another reason why it took extra time to get it finished! And I refused to take the zipper out so it was interesting getting the silk organza basted onto that back piece!

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  29. What a labor of love! But what a fun dress in the end!

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  30. A creative mind-definitely. I'm looking at how you combined those colors, classy arrangement. They would great on white/bone/tan/red (almost any color) linen as well. I guess you can say 'whew, I got that done'.

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    1. Robin - actually I started with a beige linen and the colors DID NOT play well with it. That's how the navy blue ended up being my second choice.

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  31. IMHO, if you didn't go the extra mile with the bindings and underlinings, this dress would not have ended up looking so nice. It was the extra effort that made what could have been very "homemade" into something really pretty and different.

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    1. Beckie - you're right! It was why I took it apart after it started to hang funny.

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  32. What a fantastic dress! I'm a fan of patchwork but I understand when one does not want to wear a quilt to work. You met this challenge with flawless style. You look great in this dress!

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  33. I hate 'art to wear' garments and quilted pieces used for garments, but that said you have risen above the limitations of your challenge and made a very wearable and beautiful dress. Brava!

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    1. Earlier in my sewing, I really wanted to figure out a way to make "art to wear" garments wearable in professional situations. Some of it was driven by economics - all those scraps being tossed seemed like money down the drain...and some of it was artistic challenges. If I had more time, I would definitely try to make more of those garments. It was an interesting creative challenge.

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  34. I love this dress! The solid colors form a perfect transition between prints. Brilliant!

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  35. This is fantastic! The stripes pack a mean punch and this is a seriously awesome dress! Yes!

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  36. you did really good gurl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  37. I love the way it turned out. I knew you could make it happen!

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  38. When you first mentioned the fat quarter challenge , I was intrigued as to how you would incorporate quilting prints into a wearable garment that was consistent with your personal style. You did it. I am so impressed! Great dress..

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  39. How clever of you to insert those strips to prevent the dress from looking crafty. Job well done (as always). You persevered and made it work!

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  40. I love how you elevated this from the possible artsy crafty to stylish. Nice.....

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  41. You have a very good eye for putting different fabrics together....maybe you should try one of those Koos coats?? You could take it off when you got to work!

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  42. Ok,Carolyn, I am impressed! I have to admit that I scoffed at the idea of making something wearable from fat quarters. But you have proven me wrong. The dress is fantastic. I think you got the proportions of piecing vs solid fabric just right.

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  43. Absolutely amazing. Love this! I cannot believe that you took quilting fabric and made a perfect corporate dress. Well, I can believe this because you preform magic in your sewing cave. Congratulations. This is a beauty.

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  44. Carolyn this came out great. I love it, this reminds me a little of my favorite Design House/Designer.

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  45. What a great idea. I haven't seen your blog before but the instructions are clear and make it sound quite simple. The dress looks versatile, as well. Clever. Simple. Dignified without being arrogant. love it. The shoes finish it perfectly.

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  46. You definitely met the challenge! I love how you interpreted your vision as well as how you made it work.

    Congratulations on seeing it through to the end! I know it wasn't always easy but I do appreciate your effort.

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  47. Challange accepted, met and mastered!! Gorgeous dress and a great inspiration too. Congratulations

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  48. I am just now getting around to leaving a comment on this, but CAROLYN. WOW! I cannot believe that you actually make a freakin work-appropriate dress using fat quarters- and it actually turned out really nice! Not that I ever doubted you the whole time (I feel like, out of all the wonderful sewing ladies in my life, you're the one most likely to take a piece of turd fabric and turn it into something fabulous)(not that fat quarters are turds, but you know what I mean), but nonetheless I'm still pretty impressed with the end effect. Especially considering you went the extra mile with all the pretty details - the lining, the piping, the contrast binding. This is the type of stuff that makes your blog one of my absolute favorites. I just wish we lived closer so I could sit in your sewing cave and steal all your knowledge from you! :)

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  49. When you said you were going to do this I just could not imagine how you were going to make it work. But oh my gosh! You not only made it work, you made it drool worthy. Filing this for inspiration!

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  50. Wow your dress is great - I love the FQs colour pallet. This would be a great idea for the small amounts of left over material I have ... I might just stash this idea :-)

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  51. Just catching up with my reading after a trip. You actually made a lovely dress out of those not-so-lovely fat quarters! You are seriously amazing!

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  52. Wow---this is a great dress and I like how you used the fat quarter pieces. This is really a cute dress and the fat quarter pieces really work well together.

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  53. I love the result, this is a really well made, super wearable! Good work!

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  54. Love the creativity - and wearability! So fresh and modern!

    Did you give any consideration to piecing at an angle?

    Thanks for the inspiration!

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