In the middle of making this dress, I just got the feeling that I've made this dress before. And in all actuality I have, if you consider this:
and finally the Birthday Gala Dress.I'm a little disappointed because I thought I was going somewhere new on this journey when actually I'm just treading the same path. So is there something new here I'm suppose to learn? Or do I have this silhouette stuck in my head? Or even worse still have I no creative imagination left to elevate the level of my TNT dress pattern to? Believe me, those few questions gave me great pause yesterday and even caused me to stop sewing for a minute. I put the pieces down and watched television, played Boggle with my niece and nephew and bought some stuff from QVC.
After pondering on this, I realized that there really are only so many dress silhouettes and interpreting a silhouette season after season in different fabrications with distinct embellishments is not a bad thing. It's just not the journey I thought I was making. *sigh* So I left the pieces for the night and headed upstairs.
Today, I decided to just go with the flow. It's not a new silhouette. It is the same journey but maybe there is something to learn here...and there was...the thing I learned was to dig deep when your original idea isn't working, to ramble around in the creative ideas stored in the back of your mind, and find something else when your garment is just.not.quite.there!
Which brings me to the purpose of this post because my dress is not finished yet. However, the center band deserves it's own post because of the detailed construction process, and as you can see from the three examples above this detailed waistband is predominant in all of these dresses. As you know, my original idea was to cut the center band on the bias to give the dress some added drama and to emphasize my non-existent waistline in a flattering way.
The band pattern pieces were cut 5.5" deep with 5/8" seam allowances on either side. I realized that the bias bands will have some give so I needed to stabilize them. My choices were to use a fusible interfacing or a silk organza underlining. I went with the silk organza thinking the fusible interfacing might shorten or make the band too rigid to match the bodice and skirt pieces.
I hand basted the silk organza to the front and back bands. Then I added a line of machine basting in the center of the band to avoid poufing. This stitching was removed later. The bands were then stitched together and the piping added to the top and bottom of the band. After that I sewed the dress bodice and the dress skirt to the band.
The invisible zipper was next. I used Somerset's tip of marking the invisible zipper where you want it to meet the seams in the back and basted the zipper in. Since the match worked and believe me I was holding my breathe while inserting the zipper, I decided to try the dress on at this point...something I never do...but boy am I glad that I did.
Because the band was too big!
It puckered in the middle of the dress front. It puddled in the dress back. It looked horrid for all of the work that I've put into this dress. As I was standing in the mirror I thought, "just add a tuck to the center." When I added the tuck, it lifted everything up and the dress had the look I wanted. So I take the dress off and head back to the sewing cave. I take the perfect invisible zipper out, sew in the tuck and this is what I ended up with:
As you can see I sewed the tuck into the back of the band instead of the front...and I love how it added dimension to the band. Okay, I'm now so far away from the dress that inspired me that's it's not funny! But, this dress is me, even if I have made this silhouette several times before.
One last thing...the reinserted invisible zipper is not my best. There is a lot of bulk in the center back seam and even though I've trimmed the seam and hammered it down with my clapper, I had to sew away from the coils by the bulkest part to get the zipper to slide up and down. However, the piping matches!!!
Here's the dress on a hanger as it is now:
It still needs a lining, piping added to the neckline and the sleeves sewn in. Hopefully, I will finish this up next weekend...though I'm thinking maybe I should sew a few skirts, just to prove to myself that I can sew something up quickly instead of everything being a journey...
...as always, more later!