Monday, September 24, 2012

Repaired: Strappy Summer Dress

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So I actually finished this repair a while back, but it was one of those things that wasn't quite perfect enough when I first finished it, but upon revisiting the repair job, it was totally fine.  The initial pre-repair post is here, but in short, it had gapping in the armpit, a surplice top that wouldn't stay closed, and cheesy bra findings in the straps that kept on breaking.

The fabric is actually very pretty - a lightweight printed cotton - and the rest of the construction of the dress is excellent.  The bodice is fully lined in a complementary print, and the skirt is lined in a plain cotton.  It was frustrating that the dress had so many cool details, but it was made unwearable by a few little things.

So what did I actually do?


The first order of business was to remove the cheap plastic findings in the adjustable straps, shorten the straps to the appropriate length, and sew them down permanently.  I ended up doing two lines of stitching and then backstitching for reinforcement.


The next modification I made was probably the easiest of the three.  This dress has a surplice neckline, and originally the two sides of the upper bodice were simply crossed over and sewed onto the waistband.  I found that this gapped a lot in the bust, especially since most gathered bust cups like these tend to have too little coverage for me.  So I figured out how the fabric wanted to lay, pinned the two sides together, and sewed them down along the drawn-thread detail.  It still has the surplice look, but it fits much better now!


After I finished that, I wanted to tackle the gapping between my bust and my armpit.  I pinned out darts on both sides, took the dress off and measured the dart placements and lengths, and then averaged the two measurements, marked, and stitched them down.  This was actually the point that I got stuck at - I wasn't happy with a bit of bubbling that was happening at the end of the right bust dart, so I shoved the mostly repaired dress back in the closet without the threads clipped and figured I would revisit in a while.

Four months or so later, I pulled the dress out again, pressed the crap out of the darts and tried it on, and didn't notice any bubbling.  I secured and clipped the loose threads and called it done.

There is still one major thing I'd change if I wanted a better fit from this dress, but given the construction it's not really possible.  The cups on the upper bodice are still a bit shallow and high for my bust, so I would make them fuller and lower the waistband if I could.

Overall, though, the fit is so much better that I can't complain.  The cold weather has already started to hit Seattle, so I won't get to wear it until next year, but that's okay - I'm just glad it's out of my repair basket!

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