Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Rantin' and Raven I: Dress

Obligatory whine about how
we aren't the same shape -
the halter does not close
So.  This dress has been albatross around my neck since August.  I had cut out the pieces, but had to suspend work on it for my Halloween costume.  The motivation was severely lacking, so once I had finished that, it just sat in the sewing room for months.  I would sometimes get enough energy to work on it for an hour or two, but everything takes ten times as long when I'm in those moods, so even pinning a simple seam can take an hour.

But regardless, it is done now.

The pattern is Simplicity It's So Easy 2884.  Even with my cranky, crabby mood making everything difficult, I wouldn't say this is an easy pattern.  It has pleats and gathering, as well as boning.  Or maybe  I'm just losing my touch.  The fabric is Nevermore by Michael Miller.  I am sure everyone is shocked that I would purchase a fabric called Nevermore.

I have a love-hate relationship with halters.  They're so cute, but I don't like going out in public without a bra, and convertible bras rarely me fit correctly (hell, regular bras rarely fit me correctly), and the backs are frequently too low to wear a bra with anyway.  I could always wear an adhesive bra, but my feeling is that if it's hot enough to show enough skin for a halter, it's too hot for an adhesive bra.  So I made the executive decision to sew in bra cups.  More on this later.

Other alterations: the usual one to lengthen any skirt by several inches (it's been so long that I honestly can't remember how much I added; somewhere between three and six) and skipping the slip (basically, lining the skirt).  I also had to move the buttons for wear the halter attaches, or my cupcakes would have been hanging out, bra cups or not.

Somewhere between cutting out the pieces and getting back to work on this, I lost the lining pieces for the upper bodice.  I knew I had plain black somewhere in my stash, but a cursory search (I glanced over at it for five seconds) yielded nothing.  I had muslin nearby, so I used that instead.  You can see the edges, but I don't give a hot damn.

Despite my whining, this dress isn't as difficult as I make it out to be.  It could definitely be tackled by an advanced beginner.

Back to the bra cups: I was pretty surprised at the selection of bra cups.  I ended up buying these, in a B/C (by accident).  I was planning on taking them back, but tried them just to see, and they fit pretty well.  I am actually a AA, but I am taller than average and have a large band size, so I guess that translates to a B/C for someone of average proportions?  Well, it works, however it is.  When I was constructing the dress, I inserted the cups into the upper bodice, but didn't sew them until everything else was complete so I could get them aligned on my cupcakes properly.  I just hand-stitched them through the lining.

What motivated me to finally finish the dress?  Well, I am about to head out for trip to Puerto Rico!  I have been down in the dumps for a while, and thought the sunshine (looking at it, but not sitting in it), fresh air, and culture shock would do me some good.  The dress would be perfect to wear there and it felt like a good way to push past my motivational block.

I have the white version of this fabric sitting in the stash too, and I plan to make a matching bolero with it.


  1. The dress looks great, I hthink you will feel great when wearing it in Puerto Rico! I never added bra cups into a garment! Is that very hard? How do you cope with the underbreast elastic?

  2. Thank you!

    The only hard part with the cups was getting them aligned properly. These were a bit thicker than what youd find in a padded bra, but i had no problem getting the needle through. There actually isnt any elastic here, just gathering.

  3. This dress looks awesome. I really love the fabric!! I have a small piece of a different print from this series waiting for me to figure out what to do with it! I hope you have a great time in Puerto Rico!

  4. A lovely dress and a really great fabric!
    I'm not a big fan of halters, either. Made one for the Fall-for-Cotton-SA, somehow it just doesn't blow my mind (the cut in general, not this dress in particular). But maybe it is just finding the right pattern. I like the idea of the bra cups sewn into the dress, thank you for this idea!

    1. You're welcome. Good luck choosing a pattern that works for you.

  5. I really really need to save for some Michael Miller Nevermore fabric! I have been wanting it forever! It is nice to see what it looks like as a full dress! How much material did you use, if you don't mind me asking. I want to try and work out how much I need, I like longer dresses too!

    Halters don't work for me at all, but that dress looks really nice and I bet it looks great on you!

    1. I don't mind you asking at all. In a size 10, I used three yards of fabric. This includes increasing the length however much I did (somewhere between three and six inches) and some creative layout changes. I also cut the lining from the same fabric, but recall I only lined the bodice.

      View A is actually a longer cut of the dress, by eight inches.

      Hope this info is helpful to you.

      I think halters only work on me at all because I'm flat-chested. :)

    2. Thanks!

      Really? I thought they didn't work on me BECAUSE I was flat chested! Ha ha. Who knows! Too much dangerous sun exposure anyhow! :P

    3. Well, the benefit of being flat-chested is that you don't need so much support from the dress or worry about your cupcakes spilling out the sides. I don't think wearing a halter when you are flat-chested looks bad unless it's very low-cut.