Hi there Sewcialists! I’m Denise. I started sewing about six years ago, mostly because I’m so tall that RTW clothes make me look like a teenager who’s grown out of her clothes 🙂
Let’s get going!
For my inspiring Sewcialist, I chose Bianca, from Thanks! I Made Them! Not only does she make beautiful garments, she puts a lot of creative energy into making the world look more like a place she wants her daughter to grow up in. Look at this fabric she created for her little girl!
A few weeks ago, I was prowling through my blog reader in search of something to cheer me up. My husband was on a business trip, our sons had just gotten out of school, and everyone was a little stir-crazy. Up popped this little piece of beauty from Bianca, complete with instructions for ice-dying (which I’d never heard of):
The pattern (Butterick 6050) was exactly my style, the colors were glorious, AND ice-dying sounded like something fun to do with my boys. Win win win! I immediately ordered the pattern — our local shops tend to be hit and miss with Butterick — and threw my little guys in the car to go get fabric. We wound up buying six yards of a soft white rayon jersey and seven different colors of dye. Much fun later, we had three completely different pieces of fabric, two destined to become t-shirts for my dudes, and one destined to become my dress.
This pattern’s construction is pretty straightforward. I didn’t even bother making a muslin, I just compared it to my favorite t-shirt pattern to make sure nothing was too different.
Which is where I hit a snag.
I have a weird form of scoliosis. It has a technical name, but I can never remember it, and I call it reverse scoliosis, which is more descriptive anyway (unless you speak Greek, I suppose). You know how normal spines have a bit of an S-curve when viewed from the side? Mine’s ramrod straight, which usually doesn’t matter, but occasionally makes for some really bizarre fitting problems because I have a really shallow upper back, and a deep lower back. In the case of this pattern, the part of the back bodice that cuts that beautifully straight line across Bianca’s back was sagging down to my waist. I didn’t have enough upper back to fill it out. ACK!
There was no way I was going to scrap this dress. The first thing I did was take a giant wedge out of the center back at the top.
It removed nearly four inches of width between my shoulder blades. It helped a lot, but the dress was still sagging to just under my bra band, and I was afraid that if I made the wedge any bigger, the back of the dress would start to warp. What I needed, I decided, was a bra carrier.
For those who haven’t seen them, bra carriers are these wonderful little things that you’d sew into the shoulder straps of your garment that help keep it in place over your bra straps so they don’t show. Here’s an excellent tutorial from Dixie DIY for making them. I decided to make a GIANT bra carrier, that would anchor the top of the back of the dress to my strapless bra.
Instead of using tiny, delicate ribbon like you would at the shoulders, I went for 1/2″ ribbon that I had in my stash. I sewed it onto the seam allowance a few inches down the back (far enough that I knew it would clear my bra strap), along with a sew on snap on the ribbon and up at the top of the back, like so:
I popped the dress back on, and success! The carrier keeps the dress level with the top of my strapless bra. I took a picture of the whole set-up inside-out on my dressform if you’re having a hard time visualizing:
After all of that, there are still a few minor issues. You can see drag lines in the back, where the fabric is getting pulled from the wedge I took out. And it’s too long in the back as well, so you’ll see some pooling. But it must be said: I really don’t care. I love this dress!
The ice-dying didn’t come out as vividly as Bianca’s because I got all impatient and pulled my fabric sooner than she did. I rarely wear pastels, but I love these colors for summer!
I was running low on fabric, so I went for the shorter handkerchief hemline. It’s so swishy! And after all the drama of fixing the back, I took the easy way and left the hem raw:)
I LOVE the back on this dress. Next time, now that I know what needs to happen with the pattern pieces, I think I’ll make it with a built-in bra so I don’t have to worry about a strapless.
The hemline is so fun!
Happy sewing, Sewcialists!
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