Monday, March 12, 2012

Space Invaders III

If you haven't already, you might want to read parts I and II.

The last update on this dress had me considering my contrast options. If you recall, I was pretty confident that I could find a solid aqua or light blue to match the Space Invaders, but had my heart set on some kind of print. My first stop was JoAnn's. Let me first say that I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed. Despite the huge wall of quilting cotton that my local JoAnn's has, they had only one print that even came close to matching - but it was swirly, busy, and just didn't go with the blocky Invaders. So I gave up on that idea and decided I'd just go with a solid. Not my first choice, but eh, no biggie. Well, again, despite the huge selection of quilting cotton, I only found one color match. To refresh your memory, this is what the fabric looks like:

I would have been fine with either aqua or blue, but the only match was in that nasty yellow-green. With no other options, I purchased a minty green - it was in the same color family, but not as dark. I was pretty upset by that I couldn't find anything better - so upset that I went to Hancock's. I really dislike going to my local Hancock's. It's a pretty long story, but I'll just say that it involves rudeness and bad smells. But I figured that for Space Invaders, I could stand it. Their selection was even worse! Nothing even came close. I stared forlornly at the quilting cotton before admitting defeat and heading home.

At that point, my options were to go with the minty green or buy online. Matching colors online is tough without fabric swatches and I didn't really want to waste the time on that. I reluctantly settled on the minty green. The dress is lined and interfaced, so at least I wouldn't have to be concerned about my bra straps showing through.

As of my last update, I had sewn together most of the skirt and part of the top - that was as far as I could get before the contrast came in. Here was the first step in that process:

As you can see, the mint isn't a perfect color match. I grumbled every step of the way about how I was wasting this precious Space Invaders fabric (I'm just gonna say "SI" from now on, okay?), not to mention my precious weekend. Nevertheless, I plunged ahead because I don't like leaving projects unfinished.

My first challenge was the midriff section. The instructions said "sew broken lines together". That's it. It wouldn't have been so bad if there were only two lines, but this is the pattern piece:

I can think of any number of ways one could "sew broken lines together", and even tried experimenting on some scraps, but they all left me with a diminutive midriff piece that was far smaller than the lining piece. It took me longer than I care to admit before I figured out exactly what the instructions were telling me to do. You see where it says "tuck" up there? You sew the lines immediately above and below together, and they don't get sewn to anything else. That does leave an extra line at the top and bottom though, which is why I think I got confused. Those lines are never mentioned, so I think they represent the stitching lines for where the skirt and bodice are attached.

This is the piece pinned:

And here it is sewn:

Sewn to the bodice:

I proceeded with the rest of the pattern, which involved attaching the back, sewing on the skirt, adding the contrast band, and sewing in the zipper. This dress is a bit unusual in that the back is fitted with elastic and the zipper is on the left side (if you're a leftie making this, you might want to move it to the other side). Here's the final dress:

This is how a kitty sulks after you've shooed her off your dress one too many times:

So, overall, this pattern wasn't too difficult, but it was pretty time consuming. Part of the reason for this is that the instructions were very dense - four full pages, not counting the Spanish section. I understand the company has to pay more to get another page of instructions, but "sew broken lines together" is somewhat lacking in clarity. On top of that, I spotted a couple of typos in the instructions and the previously mentioned misprint on the pattern itself. The technical challenges here include: pleating, tucking, gathering, inserting a zipper, and inserting elastic. The last two aren't too bad, but the first three can be. For these reasons, I would recommend this pattern for those of intermediate sewing skills. If Simplicity can correct their typos and expand the instructions, an advanced beginner could probably handle this.

If I made this again, I would make the changes I did before (straps and pockets), but I would also change how the bodice is constructed. I didn't like that it left raw exposed seams. I finished mine, but it wouldn't have been to hard to turn them inside. It grieves me a little to know they're there. :( Also, I was a little disappointed in the length - it hits me about mid-knee, which is a little shorter than I'd like. My fault for not checking the length beforehand, but I would probably lengthen this by two inches, at least. Double check your lengths!


  1. Oof, I've been there looking for the perfect contrast fabric and it is a CHALLENGE, so girl, I feel your pain. But the mint green is lovely-it's less matchy-matchy than a perfect match and really sets off the pattern to good advantage. And it is SO CUTE-I have mad jealous of that dress. Well done!

  2. While I wasn't originally happy with the color match, I'm satisfied with how the dress turned out. As you said, it's not so matchy-matchy, but it is in the same color family, so it's not screamingly different. I'd still pick the mint over the pukey yellow-green.

    Thank you for your kind words. I felt like a million bucks in this, and it was a big hit at work too!