I thought of so many names for this dress: the Marimo Ball Dress (look, it's also my late inspired-by-nature Sew Weekly challenge! Because the fuzzy green patches look a little like algae, and also prom is kind of like a ball, right? get it get it get it???), the Scarlett O'Hara Dress (it's made from plush green curtains!), the Aggressively Green Like Seattle Dress (for obvious reasons), or Lowest Ratio of Professional Finish to Time Invested Dress (for having used so many couture techniques, the execution is remarkably sloppy). I'll leave you to pick your favorite, or maybe even come up with your own title. At any rate, having dreamed about, planned, and worked on this frock for so long, I'm mentally exhausted enough to just ignore the messy bits for now. Maybe at some future point I'll go back and finish the last two seams, but I just can't stomach the thought at this moment in time.
|You can really see the bubbliness of the curtain fabric on the bodice from this angle. Even though I stitched down the middles of all the darts, as per usual for underlined bodices, but they still didn't come out very well.|
|Close-up of the front of the bodice. You can see how incredibly nylon the sheer net is...its iridescence did not agree with my camera. Also the ostentatiously large locket that my mom said was the sad best of my necklace choices.|
|The skirt is quite delightfully swishy and full (it makes a splendid rustling like the sound of angels' wings, thanks to all the stiff artificial fibers), which sort of makes up for how much trouble it gave me in the gathering and hemming.|
Friends, I really had such high hopes for my Promaballoona dress, but lo! how the mighty have fallen! It started so well: my muslin only required a few adjustments, and I purchased my curtains for a mere quarter at a garage sale a block away. Then it all went to pieces: my lining fabric was fraytastically awful (never let me be bewitched again by $3/yd "habotai" from sketchy Chinese discount fabric stores), I discovered that it was impossible to press the seams on my already warped "fashion fabric" (velvet on the thinnest nylon = ironing nightmare, as the plush would flatten and the nylon bubble and melt), Gummy took a nap and drooled on the skirt lining, and the full, gathered skirt was impossibly puffy. I persevered, though, and more or less completed the dress, even though I'll confess I hated it more and more as I worked on it.
|The back is the worst. This is where the lining was the rippliest, the fashion fabric the most heat-damaged, |
and my hand-stitching the laziest. But hey, there are pockets!
Since my curtain panel was so sheer, I had to underline it with the aforementioned polyester habotai. It was ridiculously slippery and probably slightly off-grain; this, combined with the bubbly, unpressable sheer piece means that none of my pieces quite matched and honestly, the whole dress looks like sh*t. Friends, I don't like using strong language at all (in case you couldn't tell from the fact that I just called that strong language!), but I have never felt so strongly the need to let loose with some choice invectives. Especially tragic was the discovery that my painstakingly-hand-blind-catch-stitched-horsehair-braid hem looked terrible and needed to be all picked out and and redone without the braid. Thank goodness there were Olympics to watch! I'm not even going to bother showing you the insides of this thing because frankly, they're downright appalling (think: four colors of seam binding, Pochacco fabric facings, the center back seam allowances untrimmed and unfinished, and gathering threads left in because the thought of picking them all out of the velvet was too daunting).
|This face pretty much sums up my feelings about the dress. Also, you |
can see a hint of my lavender seam binding peeking out at the hem.
Fabric: One panel of an IKEA curtain, sheer green nylon net with plush starbursts, that had already been somewhat abused by the previous owner's dryer, as it was all bubbly and weird to begin with; three yards of thin, misbehaving polyester lining.
Notions: 18" kiwi green zipper, grosgrain ribbon, hooks and eyes, seam binding
Techniques used: Center back lapped zipper, waist stay, underlining, catchstitching the facings and hem, patience
Hours: Please don't make me count. If I have to figure out how much time I wasted on this dress that I will probably never wear, I will cry. I really will. I could've made so many other (wearable) things in the same amount of time!
Will you make this again? This pattern, yes (thank you, Jane!). I actually quite like the fit on the bodice. This mistake of using cheap artificial fiber material for a dress? NO.
Total cost: $13. Ugh. That could've been four sheets right there.
Final thoughts: If you're thinking of protesting that it looks just fine in the pictures, let me just say that it's a six foot dress. You know how in kindergarten they teach you about six inch voices? Where you talk just loud enough that you can only be heard from six inches away? Well, this dress only looks normal from six feet (or more) away. If I ever have to make a speech on a dimly-lit stage, I'll wear this dress. Otherwise, people would be able to see my bubbly seams, rippled underlining, unevenly distributed gathers (gathering through the velvet parts was extremely taxing), and weirdo hem. And the tears streaming down my face. Just kidding. I mean, I guess it's not all that bad, and I learned a lot, but gosh, it feels so disappointing to spend so much time making something I don't like very much. I guess I could've stopped and not finished it, but I had already invested in the lining and because Promaballoona guys...I couldn't just show up to Oona's bash with nothing to wear! Oona, consider this a testament to how much I adore you that I powered through on this dress.
|A congratulatory twirl for the birthday girl! I know, I know, I should refer to grown female adults as women, but there isn't a good rhyme for woman. And the shadows here make it look like I'm wearing leggings under my dress.|
|All of these photos were taken near my husband's childhood home in the lovely East Bay hills. |
The view there *almost* rivals the view at the reservoir near my home.
I kind of want to wear this dress and go back to the house where I bought the curtains and be like, hey, remember these? Only I don't remember the exact house and I'm afraid that I'll end up standing there awkwardly while the homeowner stares at me and tries to figure out why this girl is standing on their steps in a vaguely formal dress.