Wednesday, April 21, 2010

WGD 2.0: If at first you don't succeed...

Ok, folks.  I'm chalking up my first attempt at the wedding-guest dress as a "learning experience," and starting again from scratch.

Just to remind you, this is what I'm aiming for.  The original dress, called "Retail Therapy," is sold out on ModCloth.

Overall, I think my pattern is solid, and I've only made a few small adjustments to the fit for my second attempt.  I think the main problems were fabric choice and construction.

The poly charmeuse I picked the first time around is way too light and drapey, and it doesn't really stand up to the more structured look of the dress.  Also, the fabric is really shiny, which just makes the whole thing look cheap.

For my second attempt, I ordered up mid-weight poly satin from, and I'm much more pleased with both the color and the hand.  The charmeuse is on the left, and the satin is on the right--look at the contrast!

Fabric choice aside, my real sins with this first attempt were in the construction.  I chose not to interface the neckline, since you could definitely see a line on the right side of the fabric where the interfacing stopped.  This was a mistake.  As a result, the stand collar is droopy, and the neckline is rippled where I sewed the bodice to the lining.  I also rushed to get the skirt on and the zipper installed, again omitting interfacing, which led to (you guessed it!) more ripply seams and the most horrible, unwearable wavy zipper ever.  It's so bad, I won't even show you a picture!

Believe me, I've learned my lesson!  This time I'm interfacing EVERYTHING.  I'm also going to be much more careful not to stretch or ease my fabric when I'm pinning or sewing on the bias.  Hopefully, the heavier fabric will help with this too--unlike the charmeuse, which was super-fluid, the satin holds its shape and stays on-grain much better.  I'm also planning to hand-baste my zipper before I sew.

So far I've cut the bodice and sewed the bodice lining (which is also cut from satin), and I'm pretty pleased with the results.  My one concern is pressing: the satin doesn't want to hold a crease, and when I press it enough to flatten out a dart, it leaves a faint, shiny mark along the edge of the folded fabric underneath (if that makes sense).  I'm thinking right now that I'm going to press it anyway, figuring nobody will notice the marks.  But I'm open to suggestions: what are the "best practices" for pressing satin?


  1. Are you using a pressing cloth? That sometimes helps. I usually use a piece of muslin, but I've also heard that silk organza is the way to go with pressing cloths.

    And you are so right about satin not wanting to hold a crease!

  2. Thanks for the thought--I did try using a pressing cloth (actually, a dish towel), and it didn't seem to help. But maybe if I used something thicker...

  3. Your dress is even more beautiful than the inspiration piece. Good job you!