Bodice time!

Since I’d spent so much time on the skirt, I decided to keep the bodice simpler (and quicker) by using the basic bodice pattern rather than the bolero/vest combo.

The last time I used it was for the aqua and orange plaid dress, and I remembered needing to take it in quite a bit on the sides to get it to fit properly even after fitting the mock-up. I also spent some time shaving at the edges to make all of the seams line up neatly, which would undoubtedly make my life easier later in the process.

When I first started sewing, I used parchment paper or sometimes actual drafting paper for my patterns. The downside here was that I kept ripping it or losing a piece or throwing something small away because I’d think it was a bit of scrap paper when it was really a gore. Then, I moved on to fabric mock ups as my pattern pieces. This was nice because I could quickly pin the pieces together for a fitting, but also left something to be desired since I had a hard time writing on it. This time, I tried transferring my patterns to some cardstock I had laying around.

So far, I have no complaints. I can write on them very easily, I can tape multiple sheets together if a single sheet isn’t large enough and these fold perfectly to fit into my binder, and they’re reversible (one side for the left pieces and one for the right ones). No one’s really symmetrical, so having the right and left halves of the bodice be identical may not seem like a good idea, but I don’t really differ all that much between sides and any unevenness I have is smoothed out by the corset. YMMV.

After refitting the bodice, construction when by pretty quickly.

I did have a moment where I considered adding ribbon diagonally to form a V in front and at the back, but then I realized I didn’t have much time to finish if I expect to be able to wear the dress before the end of the season. Clearly I’d just have to come up with something else. And possibly add the ribbon later.

Finally, sleeves!

I’ll admit it, I’m a little vain about these sleeves. I mean, I’ve never really made actual sleeves on my own before. Previous dresses either had sleeves with big mutton leg shoulders that gathered into the armholes, or I worked off a pattern and still wound up doing some light gathering into the armholes. But these, these are straight and fitted and boy do they fit. It took a few drafts and a lot of patience and a little bit of finger crossing, but when I tried them on, they fit like they were made for me. Which is good, because they were. My only possible hang up about them is that they are just a smidge too short while I’m dancing, but I think this can easily be solved by the addition of some lace. Or possible an orange pleated band along the cuff.

Now, to cut the final sleeves.

At this point, I was running low on paisley. So low, in fact, that I was starting to have mini panic attacks about what I was going to do for the sleeves and if I really had enough fabric to make them at all. My original idea was to have them mimic the skirt, with paisley at the top and white along the cuff, but after measuring the fabric twenty different ways, there was just no way I could made both sleeve tops fit. So there was hemming and hawing and a bit of frustrated crying because by this point in the sewing process I was so damn tired and I was so close to finishing, and then Joe came to my rescue again and asked me why I didn’t just make it white on top and paisley on the bottom where it would need less fabric.

…Oh. Well, okay.

Yes, that is our Festivus pole in the background.

And it turned out pretty nice, truth be told. I added a little bit of orange ribbon as trim on the sleeves where the paisley and white met and outlined the white on the bodice to help tie it together a little more. I tried to do the same along the skirt, but it would probably be better for my sanity if I didn’t have to mentally relive the sheer stress and frustration of that morning. Let’s just say, there is no ribbon on the skirt and we’re all probably better off for now.

That would be Roo on the left and Christina on the right, both in their fabulous new dresses as well. I was pretty pleased with mine, but I spent the entire day feeling like it wasn’t done yet (and not just because I was held almost entirely together with safety pins that day).