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Topic: Simplicity 4581 -- beautiful, if you're patient!  (Read 11799 times)
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« on: February 23, 2007 11:46:55 PM »

I sort of started this last August as part of a sewalong with Simplicity 4998, and after thinking about it for a long time, I ultimately decided to go with Simplicity 4581, which is really similar.  4581 has a curved midriff band though, which I felt would be more flattering to my very thin waist and pear-shaped body.

I used a really beautiful soft pink embroidered fabric (I thought it was rayon but a burn test revealed it to be polyester...) and ivory-colored Bemberg rayon for the lining.

I made quite a few modifications to the pattern, including cutting the bodice piece on the fold to eliminate the center front seam -- my fabric design was kind of intricate and I was worried that a seam there might look ridiculous and homemade.  (My boyfriend had to help me with the math to eliminate the seam allowance on the one side, but it turned out great.)

I also ended up lining the entire dress, although the directions call for just the bodice to be lined.  The fabric I used was kind of see-through and I wanted it to drape properly, and the Bemberg was great for that.  However, Bemberg is SOOOO slippery and it was hard to sew at first.  I used small stitches and sewed carefully though, which I highly recommend if you're using a slippery fabric for the first time!   Wink

I wanted this dress to be a keeper, so along with the full lining, I used a Hong Kong seam finish, which in retrospect may have been a rather ridiculous undertaking!  A Hong Kong finish is really sturdy for a fabric that frays, but it's one of those double-sew things, like French seams -- sew it once, flip it over, sew it again!  I used white bias tape for the Hong Kong finish and although it turned out very nice (and as my boyfriend says, it kind of makes the dress indestructible!) it was a freakin LOT of work.  I had to wear the dress on a Sunday, and I spent all of the day beforehand -- from 11am until 2am that night! -- working on that darn seam finish.  But it was totally worth it.

This pattern instructions were pretty helpful and easy to follow, except for the part about gathers on the bust.  I was lucky to find some good directions online on how to do it easily, so it went together pretty well.  Thank goodness for water-erasable fabric marking pens!   Wink

The absolute hardest part for me about this dress was making a size 12 on top and a size 18 on bottom match up!  I really had to fuss with the midriff back pieces to make them all match up -- I finally ended up using a French curve (or whatever those plastic curved drawing rulers are called!) to make the seam lines match from a 12 on top to an 18 on bottom, and it was okay after that.

But here is a picture of the finished product -- and yes, I'm slouching so the dress makes me look, eerrrmmm, a little bit thick around the middle.  Note to self: stand up straight in pictures!!

And if you can see it -- my added personal touch was that I used leftover fabric to make my boyfriend a pocket square for his suit!   Cheesy

I will probably add a picture of the inside of the dress so you can appreciate all the hard work I put into those Hong Kong seam finishes.   Cheesy

In short, I would highly recommend this pattern if you're willing to work with it a little bit to make it fit you correctly.  I think the curved midriff piece is very flattering to a small waistline and the A-line of the skirt is perfect for camouflaging a larger hip area.  Such as I have.   Wink 

Anyways....mucho apologies for the long-winded post, but I thought heck, all or nothing, right!  Feel free to reply or PM me if you have other questions that I haven't answered here!!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007 06:30:36 PM by Chickey » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007 03:29:12 AM »

Very nice.  I love that fabric!

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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2007 09:54:12 AM »

I love it! Shoot I guess I need more of a pear shape to pull it off though. I'm more of an apple *sigh* I am dying to see a Hong Kong seam. I have never heard of that. Post a picture when you can. You look gorgeous!!!

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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2007 02:40:56 PM »

Hey all -- and thanks for the kind words!!   Cheesy

So here are two pictures of the Hong Kong seam finish I used -- you basically sew a strip of bias tape down the unfinished seam, and then flip it over and sew the other side.  And then you sew the other half of the seam.  So basically you're sewing a complete seam four times!!  It was a ton of work...and this is how it turned out.

This first picture is of the zipper and the lining (where I messed up a little and they didn't quite meet -- oh well!).

And this second one is just a more close-up shot of the binding around the seams.

Please excuse the messy insides...I don't usually count on people seeing the lining!!   Wink

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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2007 04:57:08 PM »

You did a wonderful job! I bought the same pattern to make a fress for DH's cousin's wedding. You look so cute in it I'm more inspired now to start mine!
How long did it take you start to finish minus the fancy seam?

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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2007 09:44:00 PM »

wow. it even looks as nice on the inside as on the outside. Good work!

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« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2007 08:42:16 PM »

Looks awesome! I love the fabric you picked out Smiley
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2007 08:55:38 PM »

Whoa....hats off to you for doing all the Hong Kong seam binding.  That's some serious work!  It looks great. Smiley

Seriously, though...buy a serger.  I sew SOOO much more (and better) now that I have one.  I make at least one outfit a week as opposed to once a every other month or so.
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2007 11:18:29 AM »

Okay, I"m back to answer some questions...

This dress, start to finish, took probably 2 weeks, but that was working on it a few nights a week for a few hours (maybe three nights for 3 hours each night?).  And then when crunch-time hit (OMG the wedding is Sunday and it's Friday and the dress isn't done!!) I worked on it for 18 hours, but that was doing the Hong Kong seams.

So, minus the fancy seams, this dress was quick to put together.  It required a little more time to fuss with the top and bottom half matching up (thanks, wide hips and small bust!  Awesome!   Wink), but I still think it sewed up quickly.  If you line the whole thing as opposed to just the bodice it will take a bit longer.  I'd say it went together quickly; my mom could've made it in two days.   Grin

And yes, I need a serger SO BADLY.   Cheesy

Thanks for the comments, everybody!

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« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2007 02:27:21 PM »

it may have been a ton of work but you'll be able to wear the dress for years to come without having to worry about the seams unraveling on you.  very nicely done


Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance. - Will Durant
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