25 January 2007

It Shirr is a Great Dress!

Pattern: Butterick 9690 - dress with a full skirt, a shirred surplice bodice and a shirred cummerbund.

: Size Junior 11 - bust 31", waist 24.5", hip 33.5"

I used a black polyester eyelet fabric from Timmel Fabrics (this was my required purchase). This fabric is fairly sheer and it has a wonderful drape. It was perfect for this project.

A few months ago, I saw this dress for sale at Vintageous and instantly fell in love with it. As usual I am drawn to full skirted dresses, as they tend to look better on me than a slim skirt. I also really like empire waistlines. My only misgiving with this style of dress is the surplice bodice - I have a very small chest and V-necks sometimes make me look a tad bony in the collar bone region. However, this dress spoke so loudly to me that I couldn't get it out of my mind. When I saw Butterick 9690 for sale on eBay, I knew it was fate.

P.S. I was surfing around Fabric.com the other day and saw two chiffon fabrics in coordinating greens. I may just buy some for the next version of this dress.

: Although the inspiration dress has the most amazing olive green skirt and cummerbund, topped by a lime green bodice, I was unable to find similar fabric. As well, I had pretty much planned out my SWAP and still had not decided on my required purchase from Timmel Fabrics. Julie (the proprietress) sells amazing casual and career fabrics, but not a lot of formal wear fabrics, so I was stumped. Then I saw the sheer eyelet fabric on her site. I don't normally wear much black, but I think every girl should have at least one little black dress in her closet. The eyelet seemed perfect for this project.

Although the eyelet is lightweight, it is not slippery, so cutting out was quite easy. In constructing the skirt, I used narrow french seams. To do this, I stitched the fabric, wrong sides together, with a 1/8" seam. This seam was pressed to one side and the fabric was turned right sides together along the seam. A second seam, 1/4" wide is sewn to enclose the raw edges of the first seam. The completed seam is then pressed to one side. Unfortunately, my pictures of this process are indiscernible due to the black fabric - if you would like a tutorial with photos go here. The measurements used for the two seams in this tutorial are different than I used, but the concept is the same.

Because the fabric is sheer I decided to underline the bodice with self fabric (since I had some left over after cutting). Each bodice piece was matched up with a underlining piece and the two were joined together using 1/4" seams and then the combo was treated as a single piece of fabric. The shoulder and lower bust shirring is accomplished by using a machine basting stitch and then pulling the thread to gather the area. When the area was pulled to the desired length and the gathers distributed in a pleasing manner, a line of regular stitching secures the shirring. The front criss-cross and the back V-neck are finished with a 1.25" self facing. I turned under 1/4" at the inner edge and hand sewed it to the underlining. It gives the inside of the dress a clean look.

The cummerbund is created by gathering a large piece of fabric onto a stay. The stay does exactly what it sounds like, it makes the large piece of gathered cummerbund fabric "stay" in place. When the front and back cummerbund are completed, they are sewn to the bodice, which was then attached to the skirt.

At this point, I still need to insert the zipper and hem the skirt. I hope to get to it before the weekend and then post a photo or two.


Summerset said...

I was just looking at the pattern today and was thinking of buying it! I love the inspiration dress, too. Can't wait to see the finished dress - I'm sure it will be beautiful.

stacy said...

I absolutely adore that inspiration dress! I hope that you do make it at some point, I would love to see someone wearing that beauty!

Leslie in Austin said...

The green inspriation dress is amazing and I so, can't wait to see your version of this! Vogue recently released a similar dress pattern that immediately made its way into my stash...

jemima bean said...

The green dress is incredible! And thanks for the vintageous site link! Lots of goodies there. Can't wait to see the dress!

Isabelle said...

That's a wonderful pattern and it's going to my wishlist now. Looking forward to seeing your dress!