The “Devil is in the Details” Dress
Fabric: Cotton voile from Fabric.com 6.5 yards for ~$35
Pattern: VPLL T3946 (Received free from reviewing a previous pattern).
Year: c. 1930
Notions: Vintage lace from Alameda – $5, buckle – ~$1
Time to complete: ~20 hours
First worn: Not Yet
Wear again? If there's a place to wear it.
Total Cost: ~$40 & my sanity
Those who suspect my lack of posting is due to Gatsby frenzy would be very very correct. The good news is that other than some tacking, I'm finished with my own Gatsby dress. This dress has been a saga to say the least (read all about it here) and I've almost abandoned it at least three times. I actually purchased yet another pattern to start as a replacement but then I decided to give it one more try.
The reasons for wanting to abandon it?
1. I still wasn't convinced that fabric felt 1930s enough nor nautical enough.
2. The cascades are yards of raw edges (curved raw edges) that needed to be finished.
3. I thought I might want to go a little bit more casual since I love 1930s day dresses.
4. Did I mention the raw edges? No seriously, the dress basically is one huge raw edge that needs to be hemmed/finished.
About a month or so ago I bought a serger for my every day sewing. Little did I know that the serger would –after way too much trial and error — make this dress possible, more specifically the rolled hem setting. I had already abandoned my dress because every time I attempted to use the rolled hem setting, the upper looper thread would break. Every single time. And this whole process was doing a real number on the delicate voile.a So then I decided to just do a hem with my sewing machine (mind you, not with a rolled hem foot). It looked a mess and with each attempt I became more and more discouraged.
The dress was put to the aside into my fail bin and I actually bought another pattern on Etsy. Because I wasn't going to be able to start that night, I decided to work on the napkins for the picnic. Like last year, I cut up an old table cloth and embroidered napkins with each guest's name. I wanted to use the rolled hem setting yet again and decided to just try something with the serger that seemed to conflict with the instructions. It turns out that the upper looper thread was breaking because i had not looped it around the stitch finger in the correct manner (the instructions are not clear on this at all.) So if you have a Brother Serger and the upper looper thread keeps breaking in the rolled hem setting, that's the issue.
Anyhow, once I got through thirteen napkins with a gradually improving rolled-hem, I realized that the dress could be rescued! I took it out of the pile, cut off all the edges of wonky hemming (thank you rotary cutter!) and started again. I opted not to do the blue trim because I didn't think I was going to be able to do it in a way that wouldn't have flaws (and I didn't feel like making my own bias tape out of the blue satin).
I'm so glad I kept going with this dress because I absolutely adore it. It's very slimming and is just feels so pretty. Of all the dresses I've made so far, I most proud of this one because I really made sure everything was done correctly. The funny thing about this dress is that the devil really is in the details. The construction of the basic dress was simple — it took about two hours. It was all that hemming (false starts and fixing) that ended up taking about 15 hours.
I'm not posting a photo of me wearing the dress because I want to be in full 1930s mode. So, you'll just have to wait.