Monday, March 24, 2014

That (Not So?) Stupid Dress

I started what I not-so-affectionately have been calling That Stupid Dress almost two years ago now, I believe. I liked the idea, I liked the fabric, and it should have been a really nice and fairly simple project.

Yeah no.

That Stupid Dress gave me more dang trouble than any of my other projects, ever in my life. The bodice refused to sit right, the sleeves went through two or three versions, the skirt had to be re-set three times, and basically that damn dress has spent more time in the naughty corner than in any other place. So, after round one of ugly sleeves and wadding it up in the "screw it" pile, I started calling it That Stupid Dress, and That Stupid Dress it has been for the better part of two years.

Well. As of last night, That Stupid Dress may have redeemed itself. Maybe. Let's take a look at the evolution, shall we?  Staring a year ago, when I'd already spent several months arguing with the dress:

March 2013

Looking back, this definitely isn't as bad as I remember--I think the biggest thing here is that I wasn't happy with how I looked in the dress. Also by this point I had already re-set the skirt twice (and it was STILL too long!) and this is also at least version 2 of the sleeves. So I was already grumpy at it in the first place.

June 2013

Here's the second wearing and you can definitely see how much too long the skirt is. Those cartridge pleats never sat as nicely as I had wanted, and they made my back look boxy. Which, I mean, it kind of was, but that didn't help. Also they settled as the dress hung in my closet, so the skirt went from just-a-bit too long to holy-crap too long. Sigh. The undersleeves turned out relatively well, however, and in my opinion helped the dress look more finished. Unfortunately that weekend in June was ungodly hot, so in addition to still not being happy with the dress, I was also incredibly sweaty and felt utterly gross most of the weekend.

After that, I shelved the dress for at least six months, maybe longer--I can't exactly recall. At our last First Regiment work party, I brought it along to re-fit the bodice and shorten the skirt. And then, still being grouchy at it, didn't wear it for another few months!  I've barely even attempted any new projects in the past year so when all of a sudden the annual Regency Ball was right around the corner I figured I would give That Stupid Dress one more chance to not suck and then get rid of it.  My hopes, however, were far from high.

March 2014
Surprisingly...it didn't suck!  Admittedly I've upped my accessories game here, what with the gloves and the tiara and all...but that's not the biggest difference by far.

Obviously the biggest difference is that there's about 20% less of ME than there used to be, which definitely has improved my satisfaction levels with how I--and my clothes--look in photographs.  However, I also completely removed the skirt and changed how it was distributed and am much happier with the shape.  Especially in back:

Knife pleats--a big improvement!
SO much better!  Getting that hem off the ground really let the corded ruffle do its work in kicking out the hem, and the knife pleats give the skirt a much better shape overall.  I also added a tie at the waist--very last minute, just a piece of twill tape held in with safety pins--that helped to hold the 'waistband' tight to my body.  Otherwise the wool (with linen lining) is pretty stretchy, so the waist tends to look a bit 'mushy' or undefined without the tie to hold it in place.  The back neckline is now a little wonky but that's what happens when you take three inches out of a bodice at the center back.  Seeing as the alternative is to take the sleeves (those g-d Ver. 3.0 sleeves) off and re-fit the side seams, I'm good with the current solution.

If I really wanted to overhaul this thing, I'd take the skirt off and gore the front piece, re-fit the bodice properly (or at least unpick the CB and do the alterations right instead of just folding over two inches on the upper side and then overlapping it a lot), but frankly...no.  Just no.  At least, not right now.  That Stupid Dress has maybe redeemed itself to the extent that I'm not getting rid of it, and I might even wear it again!  But we've had a rocky relationship and I'm content to just let things stay as they are.

So there we go!  That Stupid Dress in its (hopefully) final incarnation has finally caught my fancy the way I had hoped it would in the beginning.  Yay for happy endings!  It's nice to not feel an overwhelming desire to light the thing on fire anymore...besides, burning wool stinks.