McCall's M6106
What do you get when you cross a cat costume, a kangaroo tail, some green fabric, and some card stock teeth???





Two ferocious dinos, actually.  WHOA!...check Matt out!!!!!  We were the most fearsome pair out on the town last night!  These were hand sewn by yours truly and will never ever be thrown or given away.

I sewed Matt's first, which led to mine being the second and the better looking of the two.  The biggest mistake was using black thread because you see a lot of it.  But for solidarity's sake, I did not correct that error the second time around.

Alterations: Since it was around, I used the cat ears pattern piece to make the tail scales.  Actually, instead of any "ears" at all, I also used that same pattern piece to make dino eyeballs.  The teeth are cut card stock sewn into the lining.  The only other alteration was the yellow oval on the stomach which was mainly used to cover up the black thread I used for the zipper...and to make it look more like a dinosaur (You know what really pisses off a T-Rex?  Ask them if they are dressed up as frogs.  RAWR!!!!!)

So, Happy Halloween everyone!!!!!

Had to throw this pic in...I mean, how often do you sew a tail!?



Feast your eyes on the most complicated dress is (twelve) dresses history!!!!!!:

Yes!  She's all done, the Fourth Dress.  I LOVE that slit.  It all came out pretty well, too, considering....I am a little frustrated that after having to do a remake the dress is still a little saggy around the sides and back of my hips, but short of another redo I don't know how to fix it.  And I don't think I have another redo in me right now:

You can see it's not quite right, but whatever.  I like the lining, love the pockets, again, the slit, and will look forward to wearing it soon!

It's no stretch to say this pattern was a little out of my league.  Burda categorized it as an "Intermediate" pattern and I am an "Advanced Beginner" at best.  BUT, if you shoot for the moon you'll always land in the blah blah blah....I now understand why muslins are so important and will take this into serious consideration for my next trip to the moon.

There are a ton of details on this dress, a lot of which taught me a new skill.  Let's enjoy some eye candy, shall we?

And though it may not be perfect, I certainly experienced a moral victory.  I. did. not. run. out. of. thread.


*Fourth Dress Report Card*

PATTERN INSTRUCTIONS: See comments about an advanced beginner trying an intermediate dress above.  But also, I have to believe there is a reason this dress was a $4 download.  I would have been challenged no matter what, but I stick to my guns that the word "selvedge" was used incorrectly a few times.

PATTERN SIZING:  I am committed to going one size smaller next time.

FABRIC CHOICE:  This was the first time I ordered online and I should have ordered a swatch,  I had dreams of a really creamy, deep, and wonderful plum, but I have to confess I landed squarely in brown territory.  Color aside though, it was super easy to work with (and you must have known I was hesitant to work with stretch fabric again).  

Looking back I understand that the lining didn't need to be stretch too, which maybe would have helped with the final fitting.  But whatever.  I think the pattern is great.  I read that it is really helpful to use a cotton something or other for the lining though, rather than a silkier fabric, to help the straps stay up.  Good tip.
Also, a different note about this fabric all together: corduroy is really hard to photograph.  It's a light sucker, for sure.

Pattern: $4.00
Main Fabric: $18.07 (including extra fabric and shipping...yay sales!)
Lining: $14.62 (used up all that savings right here)
Notions (thread, a whiff of interfacing, buttons, zipper): $11.86
Total: $48.55

PERFECT OCCASION:  Work.  Wisconsin autumns.  I think this pattern and fabric combo makes a really nice fall dress.

WOULD I MAKE THIS DRESS AGAIN?: After another year of sewing and a muslin, yes.  I would love to make this so it fits me.  Next time in plum.


Fourth Dress Wrap-Up

So, as I type this I'm DONE with the Fourth Dress.  But it's late, and it's dark, and my hippie compact florescent light bulbs don't make for good late night pictures, so you'll have to deal with a recap tonight and a full report card, complete with sessy, sessy pictures tomorrow.

Well, maybe not entirely sessy.  Even with the massive tailoring, the dress came out a little floppy around the waist.  But I'll save my criticisms (and a kudos or two) for tomorrow.  Tonight we get to talk about the final steps.  Like this belt:

I think this thing is so damn clever.  You can see above it's all finished!  Yay!  It's only goes about three-fourths of the way around the body and with the help of two expertly sewn buttons (buttons thirteen and fourteen if you're counting) it really does keep everything snug.

If you're ever going to sew this dress, in spite of all my blunders I do have one tip for you.  When you sew the belt halves together, at the point the stitching will not follow the edges:

In addition to the belt and the hemline, one final nip/tuck was another highlight of the night.  I had once told Matt if we ever renewed our wedding vows I would somehow incorporate the phrase "I promise to always look after you, and to always look up your requested faq's when you're having a hard time beating some level in a video game."*  Wel, tonight, I figured out what he would vow back to me: "I promise to love and respect you, and to pin the parts of your dress projects that are too large for you so you don't have to stab yourself with a straight pin."  He was so helpful:

So, that's a yummy little amuse-bouche for the final review tomorrow.  Fourth Dress, complete.

*count your lucky asterisks if you have no idea what I'm talking about here.


(twelve) buttons

Happy Button Day!  Yep, the Fourth Dress just got studded up with some fine buttons.  Six on the slit, four on the bodice and one each on the pockets.  I also have two more to go on the belt before the end of the month...

Who knew you could sew buttons on with a sewing machine?!  I can't believe the stuff I'm learning.

As promised, I did a little guerilla slit making.  I still have no idea (none, zip, zero, zilch) what the directions called for, but it came out looking like it should (before and after buttons):

The bodice looks great:

And the pockets are fully functioning.  I had to hand stitch these buttons in, though.  If I had machine sewed them at this step I would have gone through a couple extra layers of pocket fabric.  You can imagine a pocket-enthusiast such as myself would never want compromise the integrity of a pocket.

We're so close to the end of the month and I can't wait to see what this sophisticated little number looks like all together.  Like I mentioned before, I have to finish the belt and I think I need a few more tailoring adjustments (basically the shoulder straps need to be shortened), but then the Fourth Dress will be ready to wear! 

TEASER: The Fifth Dress pattern is already in the hopper, too!


Valid Interruption!

Okay *breath* so I know it's the end of the month *breath* and I should be sewing a lot and telling you all about it *breath* BUT...*breath* Burda is releasing a handful of Karl Lagerfeld designs.

image from catchtag.wordpress.com

Karl. Lagerfeld.  I know and I agree wholeheartedly: he's, like, the biggest jerk in the world.  But for whatever reason, he's also the object of my undying fascination.  I don't know how to describe it.  I can't take my eyes off the little weirdo.  What with his craggy features, batwing hairline, and black bolo ties.  He is so prissy and if such a thing existed, he would totally be my bitch crush.  

In fact, the mere thought of possibly owning THIS non-existent item almost got me playing golf.

So anyway: announcement!  Karl Lagerfield has things to sew on Burda.  Check them out.  I may make one, if only to applique a picture of my grotesque and horrible love in the lining.  Ugh, what is wrong with me?

So, that's all.  Back to sewing.  Pardon the interruption.


The Fourth Dress Gets the Third Zipper

...and you know what they say, third time's a charm!

I know you we're expecting a zipper post to be full of seam ripping, #@&%-ing, and mishaps.  But I hope you are pleasantly surprised to find none of that here.  Well maybe I'm #@&%ing a little....I dragged myself out of bed early this morning to tackle this thing, but lo and behold: this zipper only took about 10 minutes.  I knew I'd catch a break soon.

All I did was follow the directions and not pretend I'm smarter than the zipper people, like I did here.  And I paid a little more attention when sewing so it looked nice, unlike I did here.  I didn't even take many pictures...You know, maybe skip a few rounds of sewing a zipper in this time?   Oh well....ta da!:

Another point of pride?  I even shortened the zipper.  It was 24" but needed to be 16", so I just sewed across, or "bar tacked", the zipper path near where I wanted to cut it.  Afterwards just cut the zipper an inch below that point.  You'd be surprised at how easy it is to cut through a zipper:

I am SO close to finishing this dress, which is great because I need time to plan for the Fifth Dress.  Any suggestions???  I'm looking for something a little easier.  I feel like I've been sewing a lot this month (homemade Halloween costumes don't help--look forward to that post!) and I want some extra time to connect with other sewing bloggers next month.  

To that end, if you're any type of blogger and you read this site, be sure to put your URL in the comments section.  I'd love to check out what you're up to!


I'm a Tailor!

Okay, sorry for all the Negative Nellie stuff lately.  It's true this dress has been nothing but a headache, but last night I sucked it up and tailored the crap outta this dress to get it to fit me again.  Nothing is quite as satisfying as seam ripping to the sound of gun shots from your husband's Halo game in the next room.  (In return, I made Matt listen to me brag about my new found ability to Frankenstein this dress apart and together again.  Equally satisfying, I'm sure.)

You can see the fruit of some of my learning going on the in the picture above.  I had to tear the dress in two again and made adjustments at all of the seams highlighted in the picture above.  (And that was just the back.)

So after a lot of seam ripping...

 ..and some extra generous seam allowances...

...and some total resconstructive surgery...

..we're back in action!  Keep in mind it still needs a zipper for a good fit, but I feel good!:

Okay, maybe only I can tell, but it's MUCH better....

The trick is that the dress is full of panels (so a million joints needed to be altered the make a difference) and had such nice finished lining (open dress surgery as shown above) that it was almost like starting from the beginning.  I fell asleep thinking about the best way to nip and tuck this dress the night before.  I'll admit it's not perfect, but the Fourth Dress is no longer a lost cause.


You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me

Ugh.  I did not fully express my anger at the totally negligent sewing and recutting of fabric I had to do a few days ago.  I don't swear on this blog as much as I do in real life, you know, for the children.  But I wish I had because now I need my level of pissed offed-ness to be fully understood.  This dress is way too big.  After all that?  You have GOT to be kidding me:

Ugh!  And this picture is soooo bad.  Made worse by my super highlighting.  Life isn't fair.  Please tell me how the above is supposed to look anything like this:

from burdapattern.com
And another thing...my pattern has four buttons, this one has five.

And another thing, how do I not know my own size!  Ugh!  Tantrum!



Okay, new dawn, new day...new skirt panels.  I did not drag out the cutting board, so no soup can cutting this time.  Just good old fashion pins and scissors.  Do-over!

This time it went much much better.   The picture even came out nicer.  Aw, how great!:

See, the middle panel is in the middle now, and the slit is on the left.  Just a quick reminder of how it was when we last left off:

And again, what it looks like now:


But even though I did this skirt panel twice, and made you look at it twice, I still have no idea what they are telling me to do about the slit there.  So I'm going to come at it Sandy-Style.  A little more guerilla dress-making from yours truly.  Which apparently just involves leaving it pinned for now and waiting until it's done to see what makes sense.  What?  That's a guerilla tactic, right?


About that "Skirt Domination"...

Um, right...there is no such thing as domination without a lot of hard work...hard and frustrating and swear word inducing work...but we'll get to that in just a sec.  For now, let's inventory our successes...check out the pockets.  They are kind of winking at you:

So, blammo.  Inventory of success done.  Winking pockets.  Yay.  Now we get to the back part of the skirt.  Not only is it not winking at me, but it's just gotta be giving me the bird:

See that panel on the left?  It's supposed to be in the middle.  And that slit on the right?  Um yeah, that's supposed to be on the left.  What. the. hell?

Too much spiked apple cider perhaps?

Too much singalong on the good old Pandora radio???!


Well, whatever it was, also included some incorrectly cut pieces. Yeah, yeah, something went wrong weeks ago and only now is it coming to light.  Whatever.  I can't even seam rip this mother, so there goes all that extra fabric.

I'm turning off the light, and I'm going to bed.


Sockin' It To Ya'!

Howdy, howdy....welcome to the new and improved (twelve) dresses blog!  Whaddaya think?  It's pretty dramatic, non?  Ugh, my fingers hurt from all the mouse clicks.  It's not quite where I want it, so comments are always welcome at twelvedressesATgmailDOTcom.

Nothing to comment or complain about?  How about that time when I bored you with my life story?  What?  You don't remember that?  Oh man, it was so great...I'm surprised you don't remember that.



You knew the only thing that could ride the high of figuring out buttonholes had to be pockets, didn't you?  Aw yeah!

Oh, look at me!  I'm a working girl with big pockets and a cell phone!  I even text these days because I'm so fancy.  Again, like every phase of this dress so far, I had a wee bit o' a misstep.  This:

...finally and correctly became this after a long while of sewing and subsequent seam ripping:

And then here is how it all comes together.  For whatever reason, I would have assumed two clean halves come together to make the pocket panel, but there's a good amount of overlap.  Am I the only one fascinated by all the engineering trickery at work in our clothes????

So, here we are!  The last third of October begins and I still have a way to go on this dress plus a Halloween project I've bragged about but haven't actually sewn.  Whoopsie.

And I know I said skirt domination was coming up, but that was before I understood all the pattern instructions.  Coming soon, I swear!


Holy Crap, I Sewed a Buttonhole.

Holy crap, I sewed a buttonhole.  And it's only Monday.  What will I do to achieve later this week?  I think I should hang up my hat now and go back to bed.

The pattern instructions were just cruising along....finish bodice...sew pocket flaps right sides together...turn inside out....press....sew a buttonhole.  What, what?!  I knew this dress called for 14 buttons, but I never expected that I would have to sew them before the end.  Quick self-tutorial via my sewing machine instruction book, and I was ready to get it done.

First you switch the thingamabobs:

That footer on the left is a button hole footer.  It's very cool, and kinda collapses on itself as you sew the button hole.  Now you're here.....

...then you're here!:

Then you sew over, back up, over again and done.  Next you WANT to use a seam ripper (!!!) to slice open the hole.  Damn.  I had to give myself a pep talk to actually want to use one of these.  Anyway, I finished my first on on a scrap piece of fabric:

 UGH!  Hideous!  This is my little Franken-button.  When I saw this picture after uploading all of them I couldn't believe I only did one test before moving on to the actual real life pockets...but I did.  And they look great:

Not to shabby for a Monday at all....


Finishing the Bodice!

Oh man, these fabrics really go well together.  I made a little boo boo though and forgot the lining was a polyester stretch.  It got a little melty while pressing some seams out (and on my new ironing board cover too!) but that's okay.  The lining's on the inside.

This material is super sheer, and pretty stretchy.  I did some edge stitching to keep everything in place:
Before and...
This material also does not lend itself to seam ripping very well.  Not that I would know anything about that:


Skirt domination coming right up!