Tuesday, November 11, 2008

what I learned from sewing

Quite a few months back I bought a great dress at the outlets in Park City. Well, I thought it was a great dress because it was flattering--except that it was just a tad short. It was "modest" as far as exact measurements go, but I always felt just a wee bit uncomfortable with any sort of wind or vigorous walking.

When my mom suggested she thought the same thing about the dress's lack of length, I decided I would take upon myself the opportunity to improve my sewing skills by adding on some material to the bottom of the dress.
First, I needed material. Here is what I learned:
  • The sheen of black 100% polyester material does not match the sheen of black 95-%-polyester, 5-%-spandex material. (Who would have thought spandex would matter so much?)
  • Instead of matching black to black, you can add in a band of tan to match the flowers on the dress's material.
  • And then you can add on a band of black so the tan doesn't make the skin on your legs look sickly pale.

I started my supposed-to-be-only-one-hour project this morning at 9 a.m. I finished it a mere 5.5 hours later at 2:30. Here is what I learned:

  • Polyester is a very difficult material to sew because it is so supple (and stretches easily).
  • Think SEVEN times before sewing two pieces together to make sure a seam is matching correctly.
  • The iron setting needs to be on very high to make sure the polyester behaves accordingly.
  • Needles work well as thread picks--except be sure to not undo the threads of the material itself.
  • The seam lines on the bottom of flaring dresses need to also flare. If not, the dress cuts back in and looks awkward.
  • Don't cut off extra material from the band you've already sewed until you are sure you don't need it to make changes.

In the end, the dress looks pretty good--as long as you don't look too closely at the side seams. And the original mission of modesty is complete with an added 2.5 inches of length.

The dress in its final glory. I like how the added band turned out on the bottom.
And up-close shot of the added band.
And up-close shot of the side seams. (I had to get creative when the the seams hung funny and I had already cut out extra material.)