An All-White Affair

All-white parties and cruises have become the rage in the past few years, and I have loved seeing all the outfits ladies come up with! I wanted a white dress of my own, and even joined the Pattern Review ‘Little White Dress’ contest last year:

makingtheflame white all white dress macgyver dana elcar
Unemployment: bad on the wallet, good for the gams :-p Check out Dana Elcar in the background!

Uhm, short much? :-) This is still a WIP, though — I bought this fabric in Bermuda, and have no intention of wadding it. I think I’ve figured out a way to lengthen it, but it won’t be dressy enough for an all-white affair. Enter my M6744M6966 mashup!

makingtheflame sewing dress godet

This dress was not without its snafus–right off the bat, the fabric was too narrow to lay out the skirt front and back . So I created a godet formed by what didn’t fit, and attached that to the skirt front and back at the lower edge. It was messy and ripply. I worried that it would be super obvious when I wore the dress… then ended up cutting it off.

makingtheflame dress white all white M6744 M6966

Sewing up the skirt once the triangles were attached went smoothly enough, except that I had 2″+ in extra height on the front skirt. I had no clue why. I figured, hey — it’s the same amount of excess on both side seams, so I’m going to cut it all off and pretend it never existed. And I did, and the skirt worked out perfectly fine.

makingtheflame dress white all white M6744 M6966 racerback

I actually sewed the bodice first, though. I really love the racerback look! It’s convenient that women of all ages are now walking around with their bra straps showing, so I don’t aways have to wear a strapless bra to enjoy racerbacks. Woohoo! Uber-casual styling for the win. I bound the neckline and armholes with fold over elastic from Sunshine Shoppe Supply because it seemed like a great notion to step my makes up to the next level of professionalism. I love this stuff! It’s dead easy to sew, you don’t need to press it at all, you don’t need special feet or stitches, etc. Stretch it a little as you sew and you’ll be happy with the result.

makingtheflame dress white all white M6744 M6966

Attaching the bodice and skirt went smoothly. I figured that since they’re both McCall’s patterns in the same size (XXL), the waist measurement should be the same. In hindsight, that was quite a gamble, but then I’ve always been a creative gambler. And in this case, I won the jackpot! Skirt and bodice came together perfectly. For the casing I trimmed the bodice seam allowance and stitched the skirt seam allowance upward onto the bodice. I did this because this fabric is sheer and I didn’t want a super opaque line around my waist. Also, the fabric has great drape and I didn’t want a million layers of fabric taking away from that. (Note after looking at this photo: There’s always bunching on my side, framed by the side seam, underarm, full bust, and waistline. I wonder if this is due to having a shorter torso than most patterns draft for?)

makingtheflame white all white M6744 M6966 we are not amused
This is my dad’s ‘we are not amused’ face.

So, things were going well. Then I put on my dress…and I looked HUGE. I mean, I’m a big woman all around, but holy jeez. I took it off and talked it over with a dear friend, and her take is that white pulls no punches — it’s just your body and the color white allowing every inch of you to be visible. That made me feel better, so I decided to hem my dress. The original length was frowsy, so I cut it. And cut it. And cut it. And revisited my sketch, and cut it some more. And more. I gave up on cutting it and tried to hem it with my 1/8″ rolled hem foot (SWYFC!!!*), unsuccessfully. I picked out the stitches about four times and decided to try cutting the hem some more, so that I could leave it raw and uber drape-y.

makingtheflame white all white M6744 M6966
Blowing raspberries at that fussy hem.

Le sigh. I finally got it right, but what a Pyrrhic victory! On top of which, the bodice on M6744 is clearly too short in the center front, and I suspect it’s because I’m too busty for the XXL. I plan on adding 2″ to the center front, tapered to nothing at the side seams, for future versions of this dress. I don’t like the empire waist look on me; I simply don’t have the rack for it! It’s definitely a look for busty women of all sizes.

makingtheflame white all white dress M6744 M6966

With a little bit of separation or a very special occasion, I’m sure I’ll love the heck out of this dress. It’s got amazing drape, it’s got a bit of sheen, an interesting texture, the FOE is a great detail, it’s as light as a feather, and I can totally steal borrow Erica B’s styling tips for an all white outfit. Please tell me I’m not the only person who gets her styling tips from other people’s blogs….!

*This is a SWYFC post that was in the pipeline for ages…! Better late than never? There’s one more SWYFC post like this that has languished, I aim to post it next week.

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