Sunday 22 June 2014

Fixing the 'feedsack'

It’s been a busy week. Among other things, I’ve helped a friend set up an exhibition of her paintings, attended the exhibition preview, and gone on a day trip to London with other friends to see King Lear at the National Theatre. None of which has left much time for sewing, so my Politics of Fashion entry still isn’t finished.

I needed something to wear for the preview though, so this seemed like a good reason to unearth and fix Vogue 2787, aka The Feed Sack Dress.

When it last featured in this blog, I definitely wasn’t feeling the love for the feedsack. The buttons were dreadful, and the dress just hung on me like a, well, sack. So I’d gone for my tried and trusted approach of hiding it in the wardrobe for a few months, and then looking at it afresh. I’d also come across a handy hint from The Dreamstress, which explained part of the sackiness. Plus, I now have a more accurate dressform to work on.

Things did not start well. I’d found some Prym self-cover buttons (in fact, I bought up most of the shop’s stock of Prym buttons in every possible size, just in case). Unfortunately when I came to cover them, I couldn’t find the leftover fabric. This was especially annoying because I knew that it was a large piece; I’d used it as the backdrop when photographing my straw bag.

That's a lot of spare fabric!

Clearly because I knew that I was going to redo the buttons, I’d put the fabric in a Safe Place. In fact, a place so safe that even I don’t know where it is! Given that in the meantime I have relocated my entire studio, and the fabric still hasn’t turned up, it’s clearly somewhere very safe indeed. Not even the lose-something-else-and-find-the-first-thing-when-looking-for-the-second-thing method worked. So I resigned myself to buying some new buttons, and found these in my local market. I think that they actually look more period-appropriate than the original buttons.

The new, improved, buttons

(Note: even though buying and using a replacement for a lost item is usually a banker for the original item turning up, the fabric remains hidden/lost/stolen by a burglar with an interest in remnants of floral cotton.)

Buttons fixed, I turned to the shapelessness issue. When The Dreamstress posted about her entry for the ‘Celebrate’ challenge last year, she mentioned that,
“Invisible zippers are too stiff to work successfully as side zips (drape an invisible zip and a regular zip over a finger and you’ll see what I mean).”

Light blue invisible zip and darker blue normal zip, draped over my embroidery stand

I had indeed used an invisible zip as a side zip (this was before I was converted to the period fastening method of placket and press studs), so this went some way to explaining why the pinned together mock-up fitted so much better than finished dress. Out came the invisible zip and in went a visible one. Because I had to shorten the bodice, the side seam is very curvy indeed, which was going to make machine sewing the zip extremely tricky. This seemed a good time to try out another technique I’ve been meaning to have a go at for ages; a hand-picked zip. The end result isn’t the neatest, but I’m pleased with it.

Showing the very curvy side seams

Despite all this, the dress retained a certain level of sackiness around the hips. Putting it on Nancy revealed the cause, which I'd been unable to see when wearing the dress. I’d made my usual skirt alteration for my sway back, but hadn’t taken into account that this dress is far less fitted than the patterns I’ve altered previously, and as a result it didn’t need the alteration at all. Once I’d returned the centre back seam to its original location, the dress looked much better.

I haven't posted a picture of the altered dress, because I suspect that to anyone else it wouldn't look that different from the original version. But a mere nine months later, I finally have a dress I’m happy with.Yay!

1 comment:

  1. What a pretty dress! I'm glad you fixed it so that you like it!