Friday, February 24, 2012

The Big Damn Movie...errr, Dress

After all that wibbling about the issues with my UFO dress, I finally have pictures to show! It took long enough to finish the dress, and about equally long to get pictures, what with a combination of gray skies and husband being gone and Jeremy Lin playing what seems like every night. Even these pictures were sneaked in during yesterday afternoon's game.

Anyway, since it's inaccurate to keep calling it the UFO dress, seeing as how it's finished now, I'm renaming it the Big Damn Movie Dress. If you're at all familiar with the Firefly fandom, you know that the long-awaited Serenity was nicknamed the BDM; I don't think anyone's been waiting for this dress' unveiling except myself (and possibly Shayna, but only because she is so kind), but here's my BDD, since LBD it's not. It's rather too floofy and un-sleek for that. And it certainly felt damned while I was working on it. Even now, though I feel okay about it, it's definitely not one of my proudest creations. But hey, at least it's out of the UFO pile. Thank you, Sew Weekly, for giving me the kick in the butt I needed to finish it off.

You can totally see the wrinkles in this blown-out shot.
I added a big be-flowered grosgrain ribbon belt in an attempt to hide some of the wrinkles.

Without the belt. My petticoat is showing, and the lining is caught on it...

I love the gold zipper on the back.
I'm not going to say too much more about its construction since I already ranted at length about it, but I will add a couple more thoughts. First, my SBA apparently wasn't S enough, as I had to stuff socks in front to fill out the B. Also, on going back and reading the pattern instructions, I found that I was supposed to have interfaced the entire bodice. Well gee, maybe that would have helped with all my lumpiness and wrinkling issues! Fellow sewists, here's a PSA: please learn from me and DON'T ASSUME YOU DON'T NEED TO READ THE INSTRUCTIONS. You're welcome.

I am pretty pleased with the inside of this dress; everything looks so nice bound up in that pink seam binding. For once, I feel like the insides look nicer than the outsides...maybe I just need to run the lint roller over the bodice and iron my tulle. And only wear this to events with dim lighting.

You can see the edgestitching, the nice seam binding on the zipper tape edges, and all the stuff stuck to the plush.
Gosh, it looks pretty awful in this picture.

Pattern: Vogue 1042
Fabric: Some kind of polyester black plush fabric with a very short pile, just enough to make it difficult to iron, but without any of the luxuriousness of plush. Also attracts cat hair like no other. I lined the bodice with my husband's old 100% cotton flannel pajama bottoms, but only because it was my muslin and I hated to see such a nice muslin go to waste. In retrospect, I wish I had chosen something with a bit more body to it, and something not quite so green-plaid for the times you get glimpses of it. That said, the inside of the bodice is like wearing lovely, soft, butter. But breathable butter, since it's cotton.  The skirt is three yards of tulle and some nice polyester lining. I am a walking synthetic cloud of fabric.
Notions: Gold "fashion zipper" from Joann's, seam binding
Techniques used: Edgestitching on the bodice, French seams (my first ever, on the lining of the skirt), and screaming.
Hours: I don't even want to think about it. Upwards of thirty, I'm pretty sure.
Netflix queue: I think I'm going to start adding this category into all my summary posts. This dress, fittingly, was constructed with all of Firefly and Serenity going on in the background.
Will you make this again? HAH. HAHAHA. THAT IS A FUNNY QUESTION.
Total cost: The bodice fabric was purchased four years ago for another project (my first and only Ren Faire bodice), so I think by this point it counts as free. I still have more leftover, because back then I didn't know how to estimate how much fabric a project would need. Bodice lining = definitely free, skirt lining was $4, tulle was $6, huge gold zipper $3, so a total of $13.
Final thoughts: I was going for a Dior New Look-esque look with this dress, and I think I kind of got there. Even if it was way more trouble than it was worth. I do like my final dress, although like everything else I make, every time I wear it (if I ever wear it, poofy monstrosity that it is) I'll be secretly worrying that people are disdaining my shoddy bodice construction.

I need one of those cartoon-y thought bubbles that says "Hmmm...are they looking at all the wrinkles?"

I would like to get some gold dress clips for the corners of the sweetheart neckline, but that's not in the budget right now. Maybe I can hack some out of old clip on earrings and my button stash.

Let's go back to standing in the shadows, shall we?


  1. I think it looks gorgeous on you--I'm sorry you have mixed feelings about it, but overall the effect is fabulous and very New Look.

  2. Pretty! I love the tulle and fashion zipper! I think you look absolutely lovely! Nice work, Cindy!

  3. anything that manages a firefly reference is totally ok in my book, and it looks like that dress was well worth the effort to finish it--and probably will be even more so after it's been hanging in the closet for a while and the pain of making it has receded!

  4. Aww, I think it's really cute! Hopefully, it continues to grow on you as time passes. I love how cozy the inside looks/sounds while the outside looks prim and polished. Refashioning earrings into dress clips for it sounds like a great idea.

  5. This silhouette is just gorgeous on you - and it does look New Look-ish. Sounds like a pain to make, but it has really turned out well, so definitely worth the perseverence! Hope you come to love it more as the painful memories subside :-)

  6. Bravo for turning something not so fabulous into a gorgeous finished dress. I've heard a lot about Firefly, but not having a TV or really the time (or motivation?) to watch much of anything (even when I can access it online) means that I haven't seen the show. But, I love that books that align with people who love that show, so every now and then I get nostalgic for my lost TV culture. Anyway, I love what you've been finishing lately. I live in San Francisco and have been to Dark Garden, so I know all about the inspiration for your corset. I always thought they looked so complicated to make (especially after talking to people in the shop about what all they do for fit), but you pulled one together so quickly. Very inspirational. Thank you.

  7. I think this looks really great- and anyway, most events where you'd wear a fluffy black dress are bound to also be badly lit...

    Really, really, not that you need it. I think it looks good.

  8. I came to the amazingness that is Firefly late and sorta sideways (we actually saw Serenity before we'd ever heard of the show), so thanks for explaining the reference---isn't it great to get something FINISHED? :)

    I can see how you'd still be a touch dissatisfied, but overall it looks great---the silhouette is awesome on you, I love the little cap-sleeves. The ribbon/flower/belt is a great touch as well. The cups may not be quite as awesome as you'd hoped, but honestly I think that's just about the trickiest dress feature you could've picked to add---yours look WAY BETTER than any RTW equivalent ever would. In fact, I don't know how they're ever going to work in a dress that's designed with *dress* ease, as opposed to something like Gertie's Bombshell Dress (from the craftsy course) that's designed more like a corset with boning and zero ease. (And if you've been reading up on the people who've taken that course, you'll know that it's STILL not easy getting those pesky cups right. Why? Because THEY'RE HARD.

    Which is a long way of saying---good job with what you had to work with.

    Also, I think it would totally look great with your red cincher overtop... ;)

  9. I agree with Tanit-Isis, the silhouette is great on you. I just found your blog this morning and now have spent a good 45 minutes of what could have been sewing time reading your old posts. well done you! I can't believe you just started sewing a few years ago. your dresses look fantastic, I like your fabric selections. Glad to have found your blog and look forward to your future projects and posts.

  10. I think it looks nice! You did a great job with it. Maybe a 2nd try would fix some of the problems that you saw?

  11. You should make that Eric get you some red petticoats for under your dress ;D It looks awesome with the belt btw.

  12. It look just beautiful, so all that careful work paid off. I just love the foofy petticoat underneath. Gorgeous!

  13. All of that trouble turned in a stunning dress. Looking at the pictures, I would have never guessed there were so many issues. Congratulations and good job!

  14. YAY for finishing UFO's! I love it! Have you seen the Big Damn Musical video? pretty funny:

  15. Pretty!!!! It looks so charmed, I love it!

  16. Wonderful dress! It looks lovely on you, and the construction is terrific. I enjoyed reading your post-now off to look at other parts of your blog. I am a retired science teacher (made way for you "younguns").

  17. I love this. This is amazing. I don't even have anything funny to say because this is amazing. You've stolen my funny with your stupid awesome dress. Sigh.

  18. Hello
    Im just cutting out this pattern (which I love) but Im having problems with the bodice, hence finding your post. Redrafting the whole bodice front, as I have a more generous bust than pattern gives, despite the size upgrades the bust cup doesnt go beyond a D cup. So take heart the fault is with the pattern.
    louise x

  19. I like it! I believe your husband once said "Only a more experinced sewer would notice that." And it is true. And likely the sewer would have to be staring for quite some time which would be creapy to say the least! If the sewer was nice they'd be thinking..."oh, I've made that mistake too". If she wasn't nice...well who cares what a not nice person thinks anyway!


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