Thursday, February 9, 2012

Meet My Little UFO

Ages ago (probably after yet another crazy bedsheet creation), my husband commented that I didn't seem to have any normal me-made know, like the ubiquitous LBD that every woman's supposed to have in her closet. Well. I guess I'm not a woman, then! Indignition aside, he had a point. So last December, after a spate of easy make-in-my-sleep dresses that involved a darted or princess seamed bodice with a boat neck and low back and gathered skirt, I decided it was time to move up the sewing ladder and tackle a very different style of bodice: enter my very first Vogue pattern, 1042. The envelope picture almost turned me off, but I looked past the plaid to the line art and was bewitched. With its bra-cup like top and scooped neckline and wide shoulders, I thought it would be a nice challenge. The fact that it was only $2 at F&S didn't hurt either. I would use all stash fabrics, and thereby free up some space as well while I whipped this up.

What you may not be able to tell here is that the whole thing is an inch
too high because of the short straps. Also, there's a centimeter gap between
the neckline and my skin.
Friends, I was grossly unprepared. Part of it was my own fault; I didn't bother making a muslin despite all the reviews of the pattern that had ominous labels like "Did Not Work for Me" and "Recommend, But With Modifications." I think I was just on a no-muslins-necessary high since the last several things I made had worked out with modifications on the fly. I knew that it was a very low-cut pattern, and that the distance between the cups was waaaay to big, but even though I made adjustments on paper before cutting out the fabric, it wasn't enough. After a good 15+ hours of working on the bodice, I was ready to cry. The cups were too big and far apart, there was serious gaping whenever I leaned over, where the cups attached to the rest of the bodice was too wrinkly, the straps were much too short, and yet for some reason I had gone ahead and lined and topstitched the whole thing (?!?), so I threw it into my UFO pile. Actually, it was what started the UFO pile (and until the horrible failed fancy mannequin cover dress, it was the only thing in the UFO pile). Up until then, I'd been proud of myself for being so good about not having UFOs, mostly because once my obsessive brain starts on something, it's like that bulldog with a death grip on White Fang's throat; I can't stop thinking about it until I finish it. Except that in this case, I was totally sick of staring at that bodice and wondering WHY ISN'T IT WHAT I ENVISIONED. So there it was, taunting me, until Shayna visited and declared that it was worth saving. If Shayna believes in something, I'm willing to give it a chance.

I don't know if it looks very different from before, but it felt tons better.
Also, ignore the spots on my bathroom mirror.
I unpicked my topstitching (trying to unpick black thread from a black plush fabric FILLED ME WITH ANGER) and moved the shoulder pieces in so that the cups were smaller, then added a really obvious dart (DOES IT EVEN DESERVE TO BE CALLED A DART, IT'S SO UGLY) in the front between the cups. I cut open the shoulder straps and pieced in a little trapezoid in each, but then got lazy and didn't bother with the lining. SO SUE ME. Only thing is, now that I have some distance from it, it's going to bother me and I might have to go back and fix it one day. I didn't bother couldn't fix the wrinkles in the cups and midriff, but I decided to let it slide. Then the holidays rolled around and we left for San Francisco, so I threw it back into its Pile of One. When we got back, I had those delicious Star Wars sheets to play with, and then I got all into the new Sew Weekly Challenges, so it continued languishing.

Finally, Mena's call to finish UFOs helped me muster the courage to look at this Bodice From Halifax. The mental distance had helped; I was able to look past its flaws and decide that if the skirt was in-your-face enough, nobody would be paying attention to the wrinkles in the bodice. Hopefully. Using these pictures of vintage 1950s dresses on Etsy as inspiration, I purchased three yards of tulle, gathered it, and added a vaguely-half-circle-skirt lining squeezed out of the remainders from my capelet. Once I attached the skirt and added a flashy, unnecessarily huge gold zipper for good measure, I decided that while it wasn't perfect, it would do, pig, it would do. Stay tuned for the reveal of my UFO!

Before I decided on a black tulle skirt, I toyed with the idea of doing a red skirt. I took a picture to see what it would look like, and when I saw it on my computer screen I suddenly realized what was wrong with it: my high school chamber choir dress was a black velvet bodice with a sweetheart neckline and cap sleeves with a long red skirt. Urrgh. Friends, I just barely escaped remaking my choir dress. That was too close a call for comfort.


  1. If that was what your high school choir dress looked like, you're beyond lucky. Mine looked like a glittery disco ball. Not kidding. We looked like New Year's Eve all year round!

    1. Well, it was significantly frumpier, and made of obviously cheap material. Still, I know it's a lot better than a lot of other choirs. At least you guys could always find each other at choir conventions?

  2. Aww I'm sorry you had difficulty with it! I hate it when things go wrong and you start to doubt your ability. I've chucked whatever I'm making on the floor many times! It looks gorgeous, I love the neckline, enjoy wearing it! XxxX

    1. Well, if I chuck it on the floor Walnut will sit on it, so things usually get piled up on the back of my chair. Thanks for your reassurance re: the neckline!

  3. That's my fav colour combo: black and red/berry colour <3
    I;m making a dress in those colours v soon!


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