Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Inspiration hits late at night.

I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, The Purl Bee, it's always beautiful at the Purl Bee. And the featured project tutorial was for some darling rose barrettes, made out of felt. Not being one who enjoys the process of making hair bows or accessories, these caught my fancy, and I really thought I might be able to pull it off.

But even more than the flower, I couldn't stop thinking about the wrap dress that the little model was wearing. I wasn't the only one. The comment section on the barrette tutorial was full of questions about the beautiful little wrap dress. I've been thinking about wrap dresses for some time now. They can't be hard to make, right?!

Well, because I wanted to make the barrettes, I had to try to make the reversible wrap dress too. Tell me that makes perfect sense!

Not sure if I was going to get it right on my first try, I had to use some fabric, that IF I did get it right, I was fine with, but if I DIDN'T get it right, I wasn't going to cry over the lost fabric. So I settled on this little floraly print, and decided, "Why not?!"

Here are a few pictures of my process, in case you want to try to make one too:

Picked a jumper that we already had, and liked the fit of. Traced it out on velum to start to make my wrap pieces.

Here I am making my first cut. My fabric was folded in half, wrong side to wrong side (very important), so that I would get my two front pieces cut out at the same time, in the same shape.

Here was the reversed fabric (or the lining depending on how you want to think about it). This was me cutting out the back piece. Fold your fabric in half, fold your pattern piece in half, cut one back piece out of each fabric, on the fold.

Here I am showing you the two pieces I had (after attaching the front pieces to the back piece) that I was going to sew together. But here is where it starts to get a little tricky, and here is where I had forgotten to sew the ribbons into the side seams, etc. So here is where my trusty tutorial probably ends. At this point I started pining and praying that I was heading towards some sort of workable finished product.

Sewing my two dress pieces together (right side to right side), I left an opening to turn the whole thing right side out, and I also left the top should straps unattached. I wasn't sure how I was going to attach them, but I knew it couldn't happen in this step. After getting the whole dress turned right side out, I struggled with the straps for a while, and then decided I needed to sleep on it. Perhaps inspiration would hit while I slept. Because truth be told, I was stumped. And frustrated.

In the morning I had Ruby try it on to see if it even fit well, and help me decide if I should even try to salvage it or not.

Seeing that the fit was cute, I decided to struggle on with the straps after the girls went off to school. After a whole bunch of top stitching, and two little lines of hand sewing, I think I got it.

I'll have someone wear it tomorrow and see if I like it enough to try it again. Next time around, I'm contemplating the merits of the reversibleness. Maybe it doesn't matter if it reverses, and it certainly would make the straps 1000 times easier to finish. We'll see.

Maybe not too bad for making a dress on a whim, late at night? Oh yeah, and I did make a barrette. I think it's beautiful, but it's obviously not as easy as I had dreamed it would be.

And P.S. Liz, despite our discussions about designer felt, I totally caved after seeing the beautiful collection of barrettes made on the Purl Bee. I now have a packet of designer felt on it's way to my mail box. I feel kind of guilty, but I couldn't resist either!


Liz said...

Designer felt?! Heather Bailey does sell it well, and I agree it looks beautiful. I can't wait to see how different it is compared to my JoAnn felt squares.

Your reversible jumper is darling and I don't think you should give up on it. I like the idea of having 2 dresses in one. I can't wait to here the final verdict, but I vote it's a keeper!

Sarah M. said...

That jumper turned out cute, especially for going off a picture. I had a similar struggle making a lined vest for a halloween costume this year. I ended up doing with the side seams what you did with the shoulder seams. There has got to be some trick to it. Good luck. And I too want to know about the felt comparison. That felt always looks so luscious online.

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