So without further ado, here are the pictures of the finished dress!
I normally wear the dress with a belt just under the bust, but I took these photos on my vacation to Mexico and didn't bring the one I normally wear. It's a bright blue fake leather belt with one of those circular metal hooks that you double the belt back through to hold in place.
The top section of this dress was beyond difficult to make. It's lined so I had to cut lots of fabric, and interfacing for the mid-section. The lining fabric I used was very slippery so getting it to stay put was beyond difficult and the shape was always a bit distorted. I ended up cutting it twice because the first time it was so distorted that it wouldn't have worked. I just found this tutorial though on how to cut slippery fabric to avoid that from A Fashionable Stitch. Wish I had found it sooner! Oh well, it ended up working out. I like the lining. It gives the dress a more fancy-type feel so it was worth it in the end.
I also had a lot of trouble with the back of the dress.
The two red arrows on the bottom of the picture show were the mid section bands attach at the zipper. Uneven. The sides have the same issue. They're all slightly different widths. Thankfully I used such a busilly patterned fabric because it camouflages it somewhat. Because the bands are uneven, the two back top parts are uneven too. One is slightly longer than the other, so instead of sitting straight upwards of the zipper it pulls apart. I have no idea how to fix it. I might put in some hook and eyes along the edge to hold it together but I'm worried it'll just make puckers all along and look horrible.
The button at the very top that is kind of hard to see as it's behind the fabric, is poorly done. I followed the directions of the pattern: make a loop with some thread and attach it to one side equal to the side where the button is. Pulling the button through the thread loop is really hard to manage. I always have to get my boyfriend to do it for me. So I'm limited to wearing this dress when he's around. I might replace that with a hook and eye too. Make it easier to put on.
The most frustrating part of this dress however, was the zipper. It wasn't difficult once I figured it out, but it was frustrating because of this:
I didn't realize you had to sew it on with the fabric up so that the foot wouldn't get stuck on the zipper. So the thread bubbled up and made a huge mess. Instead of spending the time to undo it, I figured in my newbie genius that if I sewed over it again, it would tamp down the bubbles and make it look presentable. Ha. Yeah right. Did not happen. It made it worse. So I had to undo all of it. Took a grand total of 4 hours.
So after that was over and I sewed it back in properly, I figure I will never make that mistake again with a zipper!
After that was all finished, I tried it on and it was huge. Humongous. Way to big. I didn't want to undo all the stitches and trim off some of the fabric and then re-stitch (i.e., re-sew the entire damn thing). Instead I pinned the sides together following my shape and carefully took off the dress, turned it inside out while keeping track of where the pins were and sewed along the line they made, then cut off the excess fabric. A good inch and a half on either side! I didn't go all the way down the skirt. Instead I slowly slopped outwards until about mid-thigh where I met the edge of the fabric. That way I kept the full skirt but made the top a bit smaller for a better fit.
I also learned how to put on bias tape with this project. I used it to hem all along the bottom of the skirt.
The stitching isn't completely straight but I've been getting better with that. The more practice the better right? And I've never been the one who can sit there with a practice batch and keep practicing until it's perfect and then go into making the fun stuff. I always jump right in and learn along the way.
I also learned how to put in gathers. I had to gather the front bust line of both the outer fabric and the lining and then stitch it in place. I don't have a close up picture but it turned out really well. I did it a few times before I was happy with the final product. Thankfully I only basted them in until I was happy and then stitched them in. Easier to undo!
So that is technically the first dress I made, even if it's not the first thing I posted onto here. :D