There are two reasons that I haven’t been posting much: 1) I haven’t been sewing much. Several of the projects I have tackled thus far in 2017 have been really time-consuming–the cross stitching on the pockets of my corduroy Gingers, & the beading detail on the dress I’m showing today. & 2) Something went wonky with Flickr’s editing software & they are really taking their sweet time sorting out a replacement. I barely know how to use computers, full stop, so brightening up photos, pumping up the color, & blurring out obvious evidence of double chins using Aviary is pretty much the extent of my photo editing skills. But those tools have not been available, so I’ve been procrastinating. But now I say, fuck it. Let us all bask in the majesty of this raw, unedited footage!
The garment I am showing today is another Miz Mozelle from Jamie Christina. I think this is my fourth iteration of this pattern, but honestly, the only one that is ever really going to be worn. My bacon print Miz Mozelle was one of the first dresses I ever sewed, before I knew about things like full bust adjustments. The waistline just comes up way too high because the bodice is too small to accommodate my bust properly. I had the same problem with my Miz Mozelle sailor shirt, & the neckline finish on that shirt was such a disaster, I really don’t know what happened. By the time I made my black jersey Miz Mozelle tee, I knew what the fit issue was, but I didn’t alter the pattern because I was making it in a knit (it’s actually specifically a knit pattern) & I wondered if the stretch & drape would resolve the issue. Surprise! It didn’t. & I managed to cut the peplum at an awkward length that somehow feels too long & too short at the same time.
I didn’t do an actual FBA for this dress. Instead, I put on the back dress & waved my arms around & measured the difference between the spot the waistline came to rest & my actual waistline. It came out to 4″! So I added 4″ to the front bodice, grading to 2″ at the side seams, & nothing in the back.
I also swapped out the elastic waistband for shirring (I’m still contemplating more shirring, maybe all the way up to the lower bust? Feel free to weigh in), I added side-slant pockets to the skirt, I eliminated the keyhole & collar, & I ditched the sleeves. I tried the bodice on before I finished the armscyes to see if they needed to be scooped out a little, & I wound up shaving off about 1/4″. I finished the armscyes & neckline with self-made bias tape, & I think it’s one of my best applications yet. It looks so neat & tidy! Several years of lazy bias tape application has taught me that you just really can’t skimp on the pressing if you want that kind of finish to look nice.
Neckline & armscyes.
Close-up of shirring.
But obviously the main focal point of this dress is the skirt. I altered the shape just a hair to use a border print, & then I spent weeks beading it. I really don’t know exactly how many beads I used, but I estimate around 4000. I also don’t know how long it took me to sew them in place, but probably around 25-ish hours? Which is like 25 times the time I spent on the actual dress construction. I think I listened to every single episode of “Lore” while I beaded (but only during the day, because I’m too chicken to listen to that podcast after dark). & I only spilled my dish of beads once! Actually, Ramona spilled it. She knocked it over while she was throwing her giant stuffed crocodile around. (She considers him to be her brother.) (She also has an imaginary sister. It’s truly shocking how much she & her imaginary sister fight. I thought avoiding sibling scuffles was the one guaranteed benefit of having an only child, but alas.)
In a perfect world, the skirt would be maybe 1″ shorter? I knew adding length to the bodice might make the skirt a little longer than I wanted, but I decided to just try it & see, & then I couldn’t hem it shorter because of the border print. Oh well!
This photo shows where I had to piece the skirt together to keep the border print continuous. The skirt has a surprisingly wide sweep. I really used every scrap of fabric I had.
So yeah, all that beading definitely seems like a metric shit-ton of effort to put into a pretty basic dress. I mean, it doesn’t even have darts. It’s made out of quilting cotton. But I’ve been really intrigued by textile embellishments lately, & this seemed like a low-stakes way to experiment with beading, which I’d never done before. The verdict: I love it! I want to bead everything now! I checked out every book my local library has about bead embroidery (…all five of them), & bought a Craftsy class on the topic using a Michael’s coupon. I spend an embarrassing amount of time dicking around online, drooling over beaded, embroidered fabrics that cost like $150 a yard. Think of the money I could save by embellishing fabrics myself! I mean, yes, it’s time-consuming, but I like a good mix of ambitious, time-consuming projects & instant gratification basics. It will be interesting to see if I’m getting in on the ground floor of a hot new trend in the sewing world, or if I’m just a weirdo outlier.