The “Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah, Wiggle Away” Dress
Fabric: Red and white zip quilting cotton from stash, no idea how much it cost.
Pattern: McCall’s 6243.
Notions: 3 zips $4.56 (£2.85), thread.
Time to complete: 18 hours.
First worn: 14th October 2012.
Wear again? hmm, not sure….possibly, its a bit short.
Total price: $4.56 (£2.85).
The challenge: “UFO: finishing an unfinished object in our sewing pile”.
I’ve had this fabric forever. I know I bought it in a sale. It can’t have been that expensive because for some reason I bought 5 yds of it….so there’s still a lot left over if I want a further reworking. But I haven’t a clue how much it cost me.
This was also a dress that I’ve been putting off making for a very long time because I was scared to start it. Especially when I became more experienced as a seamstress and realised that I’d have to be cunning to make a pattern for moderate stretch knits work with a highly unstretchy quilting cotton…and that the pattern only went up to a 20, when at my biggest point (hips and bum) I’m a 24/26.
So although I hadn’t ACTUALLY started making this dress, I’m going to count it as a UFO because I’d been putting it off for so long….and I like Barbara’s reworking of UFO from unfinished object into unusual fabric outfit…yep, this fabric is unusual:
I tell you, this is the LAST time I try sewing zips in on the bias. I did it once before on the plaid dress you’ll remember. They are a nightmare, trying to get the fabric not to buckle. Goodness knows how this pattern, designed for stretchy knits, works with the zips inserted! I know Adey did a gorgeous knit version for last Halloween but I don’t think she added the zips, I think she did view A with just the diagonal cuts.
The dress was hard enough work adding 2 sizes to each piece to compensate for no stretch (including the 4 pieces zig zagging down the front) and grading the pattern up to my differing sized neckline, bust, waist and hips. I stupidly thought the grading up would just involve adding width to the sides, but noooo, the pattern has differing cutting diagonals for the 4 sizes it covers so I was grading up 4 sides of each piece. The fact that I managed to make this dress at all, let along get it to fit is a minor miracle.
I swear that skeleton was trying to look up my dress throughout the photoshoot. Sorry about the unexciting venue…we’d been putting up some of our Halloween decs and lights (I still have hundreds of bats to put up on the garage doors) and we realised the light was going fast, so we didn’t have a chance to go anywhere fancy. Must do better Tempest!
If I were to make this dress again, or something with similar weirdly placed zips I think I’d stabilise the fabric around the zip more. On hindsight, though it’s not instructed by the pattern, I think I should have used fusible interfacing around the neck. You can see it’s stretched and gaping outwards….and doesn’t hold its shape at all well when you start to unzip the zips.
And although I like that I sloped the bottom sides in to make it a bit more of a wiggle dress/pencil skirt shape….I think if I made the pattern up again I’d add an inch or two onto the length. These knees have seen a lot of action through the years (cleaning and crawling after toddlers etc) and I’m not sure the world’s ready, even with Halloween coming up, some things are TOO scary for public view.