The “Love Me, Love My Car” Dress
Fabric: Stretch denim covered with teeny tiny red sparkly metallic polka dots – two pieces in the ‘surplus fabric’ section of my local Goodwill thrift store for $8.98
Patterns: Simplicity 2444 (2nd time used)
Notions: 22″ zip $1.98, hook & eye
Time to complete: 20 hours (the stretch confounded the fitting a few times)
First worn: 12th February 2012
Wear again? Absobloominglutely! Especially for 21st wedding anniversary on Thursday.
Total price: $11.96 (or £7.57, I still have to convert everything even after 2 years here)
The challenge: Red – This week, for Valentine’s Day we’re celebrating the colour red.
Anyone who knows me, knows I have a not-so secret love. I rave about him frequently. He’s smooth, slick and he gets me places I want to go. He holds a place in my heart after I squish Mr Devyne, Goth Child (14) and Melchett (9) to one side. He’s Hartley Pipkin, my PT Cruiser. And that’s ‘Cruiser’ despite what the rest of my family tell you about him being a PT Loser.
So what better plan than to make a dress for Valentine’s Day to complement the gorgeous metallic red of my beautiful car?
This is exactly what came to mind when I was on my regular browsing trip (ok, shopping trip, I very rarely come away without buying something to add to my stash) to my favourite thrift shops. They’re always a fab place for fabric, mainly for wearable muslins, but occasionally I come across a beauty like this stretch denim covered in tiny red metallic dots. I have no idea what the previous owner might have used this for, but they’d kindly donated two 2 yard-ish unused pieces that I snapped up for just $8.98. My determination to make a dress out of it was cemented when I got to the till (cash register) and the assistant asked what I planned to use it for. “I’m going to make a dress”, I confidently said. “Oh no, it’s too heavy a fabric for that”, she replied.
Well as I’m never one for being told I can’t do something, so I made my dress.
And having already learnt a few things from 6 weeks of Sew Weekly challenges, it’s probably the best thing I’ve made so far. It’s not too heavy at all…but I did do a few things including lessening the fullness of the skirt to minimise the amount of fabric used (and hence possible weight).
Other tweaks I made having had a go at Simplicity 2444 once before for my Pinky Blue Freaky Déjà Vécu dress included:
- Although the original wearable muslin fitted me, the waist on it was uncomfortably tight…I had to suck everything in all the time and it hurt my back. So I made this dress with an extra 1/2″ on the bodice pieces at the waist.
- I also paid a lot more attention trimming the spare material with pinking shears as close to the seams as possible to cut down possible bulk caused by the heavier fabric at the waist.
- And last time I tried to make the bust fit a little better by making almost horizontal darts from the armholes…but I did this after I’d sewn in the armhole facing. This time I left putting the armhole facing until last and kept tacking in reductions down the side seams until I was happy with the fit, but that I’d still be comfortable when wearing it out to an anniversary dinner! I then pinned the armhole facings to the remaining armholes to work out where to sew the joins.
The only thing I’m not totally happy with is the neckline. It’s very wide and so doesn’t quite sit flat on me. If I make this pattern again (and I think I may well do that, I really want a plaid/check version having seen Jessica Quirk’s version on What I Wore) then I’m going to make dart/incision/alteration on the pattern piece at the centre of the neckline before cutting out the fabric.
I took more time with the finishing on this dress. Using a running star decorative stitch on my machine for the hem, neckline and armhole edges. I’ve always been a fan of the little extra finishing touches – like the rose I’m wearing that I made from wired sheer/sparkly red ribbon glued onto three green felt leaves which I then embroidered with a lime green embroidery thread. And the handbag (purse) I picked up at a charity (thrift) shop a few years ago to which I painstakingly on sewed hundreds of red sequins. I’d like to say I made the personalised double heart necklace too, but this is by a UK company called Clutterfly….though I do have plans to try out making some FIMO jewellery at some point this year….I’ve spotted everything I need at Michael’s and Hobby Lobby.
But all in all, I seriously love this dress. If it wasn’t quite so showy I think I’d wear it as an everyday dress….perhaps this gives me a perfect excuse to make another….and another….
Which will also give me a chance for more mother/daughter bonding time doing photoshoots. I say ‘bonding’ but if you’d seen me yesterday being ‘bullied’ by my David Bailey of a daughter, how she made me play russian roulette with lawn sprinklers, tried to get me to kiss Hartley in public….and worst of all, made me climb in the most un-ladylike fashion up two levels of raised planters:
But I wouldn’t have swapped a minute of it for giggles and photos like this:
Thanks Goth Child! (And yes, I do possibly love you more than Hartley….but don’t tell him).