Monday, February 13, 2012

In Progress: Yellow Prom Dress Fix

This last Saturday I spent about three hours working on the yellow prom dress.  In my mind, the biggest problems that date this dress, and not in a good way, are:

1.  The high, frilly collar.


Although I had been thinking about cutting off the lace panel at the neck entirely, I reevaluated that plan after taking a closer look at the construction.  That lace panel is actually a continuation of the lace on the bodice, and there is another stabilizing layer of white tulle underneath.  If I were to remove both, I would need to leave a seam allowance and either bind the edges with bias tape and sew it down or do some sort of other hem binding or facing.


So, instead, I opted to pull off the ruffle at the neckline.  It keeps the whole high-necked Victorian feel, but feels a little less over-the-top.  There is a little extra fabric previously kept in place by the stitching that held the ruffle on, so I'll need to tack that down, but that's a pretty easy fix.  The only other potential issue here is that the neckline is still pretty tight.  I'll have to figure out whether there's a way to change it, or if I'll just have to live with it.

And the second problem...

2.  The too-long, scungey hemline.


I tried the dress on a few times, measured and pinned up the excess to the inside of the skirt, and played with the length until I settled on just about tea-length.  I had Lumberjack help by marking my desired hem length with a pin, since anyone who has ever tried to mark lengths while wearing the garment will know that it's a total pain.


After settling on moving the hem up by about 13 5/8 inches, I subtracted a quarter-inch turn and an 1 1/4 inch plain hem to get a cutting line of 12 1/8 inches above the bottom hem.  I measured and marked all the way around, then connected the lines with pencil.


I ripped out the back seam up to my cutting line, then cut on the line all the way around.  (As a side note, this fabric is hilarious: it feels like raincoat fabric, and goes shick shick shick as you cut, way more like plastic than fabric!)  It removed the gross part of the hem, and the length now looks a lot more proportional to the top of the dress.  I still need to sew the hem, then deal with the lace.  I haven't decided yet how I'm going to treat the lace - it currently has a twisty, messed up horsehair braid at the hem.  I don't know if I'll try to replace the horsehair or just do another plain hem.

On a side note, I think this dress was actually commercially made and not home-sewn: when I was fumbling around trying to pin up the hem in those yards and yards of fabric, I found a little tag, which you can see at the top of the last photo.  It's marked a size 13 but doesn't really have any other information.  There goes my theory!  Oh well - it's still a cute little dress.

It still needs quite a bit more work, but hopefully I'll have more to share soon!


Lucy said...

If the neckline is really too tight, you can hem a small 'v' shape (no more than an inch or so) into the top center of the back, provided there is a seam in the center. You can still do a small alteration without a seam as well, but it can sometimes be a little more tricky with lace. It can give just enough movement to make the neckline feel a bit better and not be such a bother.

Cory Ellen Boberg said...

Thanks for the tip, Lucy!