The Kindness of Others

Everyone, the power of the internet and helpfulness of others never ceases to amaze me. I want and need to give a great big shout out to Summerset, Dawn and Nancy for the terrific advice. I’m happy to report the dress is fixed and fits better than ever!!

I worked on both hips and I did it two different ways. Both work wonderfully and I can’t recommend one over the other. By trying both, I learned two new methods and for that I’m grateful. The first is highlighted by Summerset in yesterday’s comments:

Remove the zipper from the waist down and redraw the hip curve. Then, baste the zipper in place along the new seamline and try it on to see if it looks better. Do not cut off any fabric until you are happy with the fit – you might have some large seam allowances, but you’ll regret it if you cut them off and need them. Once you’re happy with it and done adjusting (which might take a few tries!), trim off the excess, finish the edges, and put the zipper back in.

The second, my neighbor Lilya showed me.

1. Rip out the vertical seam
2. Rip out the horizontal seam by about 2 inches
3. Make a triangle ‘dart’ along the horizontal seams to remove excess fabric (visible in the photo on the left)
4. Interface vertical seams
5. Sew vertical seams back together

For both, I used Dawn’s advice for basting.

-use pins horizontally and vertically along the seamline.
-baste with two rows of staggered running stitches
-baste wtih one row of diagonal basting
-baste wtih large back stitches
-insert the zipper by hand.

But, I did use a regular zipper foot to reattach the zipper. It doesn’t get as close as the invisible I think, but it saved me from some of my beloved handwork.

My neighbor Lilya has an alterations business called ‘A Sewing Place’. I took the dress to her today for help marking my hem.

While there I made the repairs on her industrial machine. Umm, never was a ‘power’ person before. But, I may have to start sewing at her place all the time. I had to keep practicing on scraps before I could control how fast her Juki was!


To answer a few questions:

I used silk organza as my interfacing / interlining for the bodice. I did not interface my hip. Doh! I know to do that on pants with slant pockets, but it never occurred to me with this project. The organza provides support and also seriously cuts down on wrinkles. I won’t work with dupioni again without considering it.

The dress is fully lined with a rayon. But, I did not interline it. Dawn gave me some great advice about using cotton batiste vs. silk organza. Essentially the silk organza would make the skirt stand away from the body more, but would keep wrinkling at bay and the batiste would help the dress hug my body / drape better. I chose not to use either only because I didn’t have enough of either for the skirt and time was too short to order more. If I had it here, I would have used batiste. I think the more layers something has, the more elegant it looks.

I am using organza in the bottom of the hem to add a bit of weight and to prevent a wavy hem.

So here’s what’s left:

  1. Attach hook and eyes to foundation
  2. Trim one slightly long boning
  3. Understich the foundation and bodice
  4. Make new strap
  5. Hem the lining
  6. Make hood
  7. Make roses
  8. Make date rent a tux. His ‘olive’ colored suit won’t cut it. I polled the men at work and all, I mean ALL are renting or own tuxedos.

Alright, I’m off to cut fabric to make roses for the dress. I’m using Claire Schaeffer’s High Fashion Secrets from the World’s Best Designers as a guide (borrowed from Lilya).


Oh, and I am on the hunt for a gravity feed iron. I was using Lilya’s and was sold two seams in.

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