The Green Dress

The Green Dress

The first dress I ever bought fabric and notions for was this fantastic retro green dress, Simplicity 1609. Gertie had sewn several and they were to die for. I’m not saying that I want to be like Gertie (and of course it’s pure coincidence that I dyed my hair back to crazy red shortly after I discovered Gertie’s blog), but I definitely wanted some dresses like Gertie’s. I waited anxiously for my lime green linen fabric to arrive, and once it did, I let it sit for months… because I wanted to lose 10 more pounds before I sewed this dress. I finally knocked some sense into myself (see my body double post) and took a shot at my own 1609.

Simplicity 1609

I want the green one!

This was my first time working with a linen fabric, and I had a tough time with it. The fabric didn’t want to walk smoothly under the presser foot, and I’m not yet savvy enough to troubleshoot such things. I eventually got the hang of helping it through, but I’m sure there was a better fix (presser foot pressure, maybe?). The pattern itself was a bit misleading as well. The front cover touts how simple construction is, with just 2 main pieces – but I had never dealt with facings or darts before, so I found myself googling quite a bit. All said and done, it took about a week of working on the dress a couple hours a night to finish.

I knew as I was working on this dress that I wasn’t doing the collar quite right, but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I did not figure it out until it was too late, and I ended up with a collar that looked like this:

Green Dress Bad Collar

womp womp 🙁

Ahhh, right. I was supposed to sew the collar fronts and backs together and then turn them inside out. Yep. That would be where I went wrong. Of course, after the fact, I discovered Gertie’s excellent tutorial on how to assemble the Peter Pan collar. Oh well. You win some, you lose some.

Another bit of fail on this project was that I did not make a muslin. I also didn’t attempt any pattern modifications, so indeed, the dress is a bit snug and requires that I lose 10 pounds before wearing it.

The Green Dress

I can haz liposuction?

Don’t mind the big wet spot on the dress. I sewed this before I replaced my leaky 90’s-era iron.

In an effort to at least make this dress somewhat wearable, I attempted to sew under the edges of the collar. This photo shows quite clearly how much practice I need on sewing curves!

Green Dress Fixed Collar

Bye bye, scallops

Green Dress Fixed Collar 2

It was worth a shot…

While the end result is a bit disappointing, I’ve learned a few lessons during this project:

  1. When in doubt, stop sewing and comb through the directions until you figure out what you’re doing wrong. If it feels like you’re doing something wrong, you probably are.
  2. Make a muslin!
  3. Don’t give up.

I think that once I get this fitted properly, it will actually be a cute pattern. I’ve decided to try again. I’ve purchased some muslin fabric, and will be attempting the view without a collar for the second go-around. Check out this Alexander Henry fabric:

In Crowd Faces Eggplant

Oh, yes. It will be fabulous. Simplicity 1609 will rise again!

This will be the first time I make a muslin, but as quirky as my fittings are, I probably should get in the habit of it – because really, all of my first attempts have turned out to be not-so-wearable. Save the good fabrics for the real thing, and get the fitting done with cheap muslin. I’m learning that you can’t really skip steps in sewing and expect a good finished product. Like my grandpa used to say, “If you’re going to do something anyway, you might as well do it right.”

What are your thoughts on making muslins?

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