Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Second Insta-Dress

Someone’s been bugging me to get my newest dress up on the blog, so here it is.  Another foray into insta-dress fabric.  Unlike my first insta-dress, I decided to get a bit creative with this one.  It would have only taken me a couple days to make if my sewing machine hadn’t broken.  Instead, it took me a few weeks.

P6172037 Munchkinhead has a dress that’s similar to insta-dress style.  We picked it up at one of those festivals down at the Summerfest grounds.  (She’s wearing it in the photo on my first insta-dress post.)  It has the smocked part around the midsection and then has a summery, overlapping triangles, top above that.  I like the way it looks on her and thought the smocked midsection would be nice for the insta-dress.  It has the bonus effect of making the dress longer, too.

Gathering the Materials

The insta-dress fabric I chose was white with white and hot-pink roses on the bottom and smaller roses climbing up the skirt with a few scattered roses on the smocked part.  I swear the roses are hot pink even though they look red in the pictures.

I searched through my patterns until I found a bodice that I thought would work nicely.  I chose a Simplicity pattern that I had made once before but made too big.  (I love the dress but never wear it because it’s huge on me.)   The top I chose has a full back with a zipper closing and a V-neck line.  The goal was to have an undergarment-friendly dress.

P6172040 Now that I had a bodice pattern I could use, I needed fabric.  So I dug through fabric drawer in my file cabinet and found some perfect scraps.  White and beige gauze from Mr. Trizzle’s summer pjs.  The beige was perfect for the lining.  The white fabric was in one long, fairly wide strip, so I had to do some piecing before it was large enough to fit the bodice pieces.  Those seams are small and fairly well hidden near the underarm seams.  There wasn’t enough beige to line the whole bodice, so I decided to only line the front. That’s the important part after all.


P6172039 The bodice was a bit tricky to put onto the smocked fabric, mostly because it’s gathered at the bottom and it took a few tries to get the gathering properly distributed.  I also added some detail to the shoulders with little ruffles on the shoulders.  These ruffles are from the smocked part of the fabric, strips from a part I trimmed off.  The smocked part is sewn into the lining/bodice seam at the shoulder so the little ruffles stick out.

I didn’t quite like the way the front of the V had turned out – same problem I’d had with the original dress when I’d made it.  I also felt the top of the dress was too disconnected from the bottom.  P6172046So I decided to add some  decoration.  I found a bit of ribbon that had been a handle on a Victoria’s Secret bag that was the exact same shade of hot pink as the roses!  (Again, doesn’t look like it in the photos, but it is.)  I hand-stitched the ribbon onto the center front, wrapping it completely around the bodice from smocking to smocking.

I also modified the back of the bodice a bit.  In the original dress pattern, there’s a zipper from the skirt up through the bodice.  I didn’t want to mess with a zipper and didn’t know how it would work with the smocking below.  Instead of putting in a zipper, I hemmed the edges of the back opening with the neck edges.  My original intention was to put a button and button loop or a snap at the top of the back.  But once I tried it on, I decided I really liked the back opening folded diagonally open instead.  (See photo below.)


My first insta-dress can be a bit difficult to walk in if I need to take large steps.  I wanted this dress to be more flexible.  I had more fabric than I needed to go around my mid-section.  I measured what I needed to go around my mid-section, folded the fabric in half and stitched a seam down the smocked part of the fabric, leaving a very, very large seam allowance that was equal for each side of fabric.  Then I trimmed only the smocked part down to a regular seam allowance and left the straight fabric with the full extra hanging off the P6152032seam.  I hemmed the top and side edges of these large hanging rectangles.

Next, I folded both straight-fabric extra hanging pieces over to one side of the dress.  One piece was folded back on itself and the other was basically pulled around in the direction it had been going.  I then tacked the corner of each piece onto the dress itself at the bottom of the smocked part, leaving some slack width-wise so the smocking can stretch.  When I walk, a slit opens in the back to allow as much movement as I need without ever revealing anything that ought to stay covered.  If I’m standing still, the dress looks like a regular straight dress.

I’m super excited about the dress.  I think it came out pretty nice and it met it’s goal of being undergarment friendly.  Now, I just need somewhere warm to wear it!

simplicity 0605 Pattern used for Bodice: Simplicity 0605


Jeannie said...

Very nicely done! You should join and share your sewing experience on there!

munchkinhead said...

it looks fancy!