Wednesday, May 18, 2011

MaxiDress Try #1: Lessons Learned

I am in love with the maxi-dress.  They look so flowy and easy and cute.  I've wondered if one would look good on my curves (which are more pear-like than goddess like).  I tried one on, but it was too big and they didnt' have my size.  It looked OK (hard to tell when the bust area made me look like I'd just had a baby in a disturbing sort of way).  It felt amazing.

One of the side-effects for me with MS is that I am almost always hot.  And in the summer if my body temp rises I feel it in LAME ways.  So I try to stay cool in the summer.

As I've looked at some, I thought, I could totally make that.  And I did.  And I learned a few lessons:

  1. Pre-Wash your fabric.  The maxi-dress's appeal is its toe-peaking length.  When I put mine together it was super long, so I trimmed a bit and hemmed a bit.  Then I washed it.  Now my whole foot shows. Dangit!
  2. When creating your own pattern, don't use the fabric you are in love with on your first try.  I love this fabric.  And if I were to get more, I would have to travel 55 miles round trip to get. (See below for fun story on its acquisition.)
  3. Put elastic casings in before you add your elastic thread rows.  Elastic thread is not enough to hold all that flowy fabric above your bust.  So put in a casing FIRST.  I did not.  I went to Robyn's and begged her to help me sew down a band of elastic.  It didn't turn out pretty, it wasn't easy.  Do a casing first and all that heart-ache will vanish.  Plus, if you didn't learn from my mistakes, when you finally wash your dress, the elastic will be wonky.
  4. A maxi-dress made with shirring needs straps.  On a dress that long, do you really want to risk it?  You could step on it, get it caught in a door, have a small child pull on it.  All with the same result: Your dress down at your waist (or lower) and you turning a lovely shade a rose.  When I was in my 20's I loved wearing sarongs.  One time I jumped off a swing and my sarong fell to the floor.  Soooo not pretty.
  5. Watch carefully your shirring.  I went too low and it made it look like a baby dress. Dumb.  Fortunately it shrank in the wash.
  6. Don't ask your daughter to take your pics.  And don't try to take pics on a day when you had no straightener to fix your crazy hair.  And find a skinny person to be your model.  These pics are a blow to my self-esteem.  Have ya heard how anorexic people have a distorted body image and they see themselves as much heavier than they are?  I have the opposite problem.  I see myself much skinnier.  I am quite happy with that image.  So pics of myself are shocking. To say the least. :)

Here you go with all my lessons learned.  I am going to try again.  This time I think I am just going to do shirring above the bust and below.  And I'm not going to use quite as much fabric as I did. (I managed to wrap 2.5 yards around me.)

I do love it though.  I've added straps that I'm not sure about.  They look a bit like suspenders to me.  But I tried it on with the wrong under shirt, so that cold be part of the problem.  I will wear it, and I might just drive those 55 miles and hope there is more of the fabric.

OK, so here is the story behind the fabric.  Robyn and I were headed to a meetup of bloggers and she wanted to print 5x7 business cards.  We went to pick them up at the Walmart by us, but due to some random clerical error, the order did not get printed.  So the nice people at Wally's sent the order further away closer to downtown Salt Lake, where we were headed.  I ran into the random Wally's with Robyn and as we were headed to the photo department, I stopped dead in my tracks at the sight of this fabulous fabric.  She ran ahead and I bought me some of it.  YUM. (As I look at the pics I think even more how much I L-O-V-E this fabric.


The Dean Family said...

I love it! & I can't believe your found that fabric @ WALMART???

Andy Porter said...

Hey miss DJ Rose, I didn't know you had a blog!!! You've been holding out on me!! I LOVE the dress and totally want one..or 50. You are amazing and you look gorgeous and your daughter did a fab job with the pics! I am totally calling bull crap on finding that fabric and Wal-mart though. I don't believe it!! SWEET!!!

Becky Jones said...

You and your dress look beautiful! You are AMAZING!!!

Leslie said...

Whatever DJ, you look like the perfect model! And I do LOVE the fabric, it totally suits you! Good work. If I had one ounce of your creativity and skill I would attempt.

Abby said...

Very cute! Looks perfect for summer!

Rachel said...

I love the dress! I certainly can't tell any problems. Looks adorable.

--Rachel visiting from Take a Look Tuesday

Unknown said...

I love this post, lol. I popped over from Reasons to Skip the Housework, and I'm now a follower! The tips in your post are great, and the comments about the model make me lol, but I do have to say that while I don't know how old your kids are, go ahead and let them take pictures with you as the model! My kids are 14 up to 22 and as I'm looking for Pictures of myself for a project I'm doing, I really don't have many. Your kids won't care what you thought you looked like, they will remember you for all you did for them whenever they look at the photos!! And now I'm going to see if I have a long enough length of fabric for my dress... :-)

Anonymous said...

Great job for first time! It get easier....I love maxi dresses too & just finished sewing my 6th one for this year!

Stacey - Elle Belle said...

The fabric is beautiful & it looks great on you despite your lessons! :) Good luck with the next one... everything I make is always better the 2nd try!

Holly said...

I'm visiting because Leslie@A flower that continues to bloom highlighted you on "Pay It Forward". What great ideas! I'm going to spend sometime looking around to see what other creative ideas you have. But as Leslie will tell you ... I'm missing the sewing gene! I got the seam-ripper gene instead!