Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Leader of the Pac


Welcome, Red & Black Week readers!

via fabric.com
The Pac-Man fabric returns!  You may recall this was originally going to be Butterick 4790 (instead, I used a dot fabric and it became the disastrous Skittles dress).  I briefly considered making McCall's 6024 in this fabric, and even went so far as to cut out the pattern, which I promptly refolded and stuck back in the envelope.  The fabric has been sitting, folded and forlorn, in my stash, just waiting...   Watching...  Judging me...

So after more than a year of this, and with Red & Black Week approaching, I figured it was time to get this sewn and stopped being judged by a non-sentient object.  I started flipping through the pattern stash and came across McCall's 4444, a Laura Ashley halter sundress moondress.  A chose a combination of views B (for the contrast bands) and C (for the length).  View C actually calls for 3 and 3/4 yards of fabric, but I was hoping that since I was using the contrast instead of the main fabric for the bands that I would be able to squeeze the pattern into the smaller amount.  I managed to do it, but it took some creative laying of the pattern pieces and doing something I've never done before: I shortened the dress by an inch.  (Normally I need to lengthen the dress by at least 1.5 inches.)

This back is too low to wear
a regular convertible bra
I guess I am losing my touch because this dress (and the previous one) took me quite a while to make and I struggled with the bands a lot.  McCall's rates this pattern as easy,  yet it took me a week of evenings to finish this.  (By way of contrast, 5050, which is rated as average, I sewed in one weekend afternoon, which included an unexpected voyage to JoAnn's to purchase lace.)  The main body of the dress (essentially, the Pac-Man part) came together quickly.  There are no tricky parts to it, except perhaps the gathering in the bust and the zipper.  The instructions for the bands on the front are poor, so I think I ended up sewing them on inside-out.  You can't really tell except up close, but I know.

Perhaps it is because I am not used to sewing halter straps (my evening gown is the only time that comes immediately to mind), but the construction of these was really odd.  It wasn't really hard, but it was weird.  At least the instructions for this part were clear.  I did make the change of closing the halter with a heavy-duty locking hook-and-eye because I don't trust buttons (what the pattern called for) to the stress of holding a halter shut.  I didn't want to flash my cupcakes at an inopportune moment (or any moment, really).

Other than the changes I already mentioned, the alterations used the contrast fabric for the loop over the gathering, shorten the straps (typical for me), and add the Ms Pac-Man buttons.  (They were custom made for me by Brittany of microwavedtofu on Etsy.)  Because they are made of polymer clay, I didn't want them to go through the washing machine, so I attached them to snaps so I can remove them before laundering.  I still have one left, as well as some of the original fabric, so I will likely make a hair accessory out of it.

So after all the rigmarole I went through for this, I would recommend this one for an intermediate.  Or I am really losing my skillz and this is actually an easy pattern.

To make up for the lost inch, I think I might add some lace trim to the hem.

22 comments:

  1. On thumbnails the details of this fabric mix into a grayish mess, but the dress definitely looks beautiful when you look closer at it. Pac-man buttons are so much win! :) I also love the red elements.

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    1. Thank you. I think red bands are the best choice for this fabric.

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  2. HOLY SMOKES! I can't believe that's PacMan fabric! SOOOOO cute!

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    1. That's pretty much how I reacted when I found out about it. Fabric.com still has it for sale too: http://www.fabric.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=b111462f-b456-4755-bc33-ef1b717462bf
      (They've long sold out of the Space Invaders fabric.)

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  3. What a gorgeous fabric! I love the combination with the red straps and the buttons, perfect match.
    A very cool, nerdy summer dress, what else can you ask for :-)

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    1. I wore this yesterday to a picnic with my friends, who are also software engineers. It was a big hit, and nice and cool in the summer heat.

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  4. Love it! Using the red contrast was an excellent choice. The fabric is so much fun! Though I was terrible at Pac-Man... I was more of a Q*bert gal. ;)

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    1. I was pretty bad at all games of this era (in my defense, I was quite young). The only ones I wasn't awful at were the various versions of Pac-Man and Frogger.

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  5. That is an epic dress i'll say! Pacman <3

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  6. This is so cute, and the custom buttons are perfect! You are brilliant to think of using snaps to make them removable.

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    1. Not brilliant so much as frugal. But thank you. :)

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  7. LOL - judging you. I know that feeling!

    It turned out beautifully, and I hope your heavy duty hook-and-eye prevents any inopportune cupcake flashing. :D

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    1. Somehow, I knew you would be the one to comment on the fabric judgement.

      I wore this to a picnic on Saturday, and the hook and eye lasted through hauling the heavy picnic basket and beverages up a big hill, playing jump rope and catch with one friend's kids, romping around with another friend's dogs, and then hauling everything back to the car. It only gave out, hours later, when I was having dinner (in a restaurant) with my husband. I felt it release and grabbed it, so no one got flashed. Due to the straps in the back, I don't have any real fear of exposure, but I think I might need something more reliable than the hook and eye now.

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  8. So cute! I love how you used my buttons :)

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    1. I'm glad I could do them the justice they deserve.

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  9. Awesome fabric and amazing dress!

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