Lookie! I done made mahself a new dress!

Most of the time I actually enjoy being a bit on the short side.  Sure, most normal pants are a little too long for me and I should probably be shopping in the petites section, but with songs like these celebrating shortness, what’s not to like?  Also, it makes finding a tall(er) guy to be your boyfriend a lot easier.  And the only time I’ve been really mad that I’m short is during concerts where I’m far from the stage and everyone is standing up.  But an easy solution to that is having a tall boyfriend whose shoulders you can sit on, so most of the time, that shouldn’t be a problem.

Some articles of clothing can be really unflattering on a short-statured woman, though.  One thing on this Do Not Wear list is a maxi dress.  One thing I did is wear a maxi dress to my Senior Dinner.  It was a good choice for that one occasion, though, because it happened to be ridiculously cold that day.  Appropriately, I have never worn this maxi dress since.

Except for this picture.

I was going to do something BORING with it, like just cut it shorter and maybe add a little frill to the bottom, but I am really silly and have a lot of screenshots (this term is misleading because I am actually really really ridiculous and piece together little zoom window previews for a higher quality photo) of dresses I find on the intarwebz that I really like but that are too expensive (cost more than $10 =P) and look perhaps reasonable to make.

I found one that coincidentally had that stretchy waistband thing that my maxi dress had at the top, so I thought that was perfect.

“Floral Georgette Dress with Self Tie Straps”

So the hardest part (the stretchy waistband) was done for me (I promise I will make a dress TOTALLY from scratch at some point in my life), and all I really had to do was make a quick top and add a little jazz to the bottom.

I had plenty of fabric to work with, so I didn’t really bother measuring how much to cut off.  This is probably a very bad thing to do.  I just have a lot of false confidence in myself.

“I can cut this straight without any markings or a straightedge!” I said.

I then whipped out my trusty seam ripper because the dress’s skirt was in three pieces (also conveniently perfect for the width of my body!), and memories of all my mess-ups when making my Senior Prom dress came rushing back.  But ripping up seams isn’t too bad when you have badass music to listen to.

I realized halfway into seam-ripping that I could’ve made my life much easier by  just cutting up the fabric, but I have a fear of cutting fabric unless I REALLY have to (more cutting = more mess-ups.  See: above photo).  Plus the pieces really happened to be JUST right when I detached them.  And doing things the hard way builds character.

Making sure it was wide enough, not just wishful thinking

This dress sounds too easy, I know.  But with easy things come stupid mistakes.  At least, they do for bums like me.

Can you believe I did this as I was saying to myself “right sides together!”?

But it went pretty smoothly for a while, as I was shaping the top (essentially folding the top corners to make more room for my arms), and I even came up with this brilliant idea for pinning the top to the rest of the dress!  (Since the waistband was stretchy, to properly pin it to the top that I made, it needed to be stretched out.  Alternatively, I suppose I could have just stretched it out while I was sewing it to the top part, but I didn’t think I was badass enough to not use pins to keep everything in place.)

Meet my pillow mannequin.

I only had two more bad things happen before I completed my dress =D

The rest of the fabric I cut off from the bottom of my dress seemed long enough to make straps out of, so I cut two strips of an arbitrary width using the gaps in my hardwood floor to guide me in my quest to cut straight lines without any markings or a ruler.  The strips were a little narrow (maybe about an inch?), so it was a bit difficult to fold over and sew together using the normal straight stitch.  I opted for the zig-zag so that I wouldn’t have to hide the raw, cut sides of the fabric.  My mother told me that the zig-zag stitch prevents unraveling, so I kind of just folded both sides inwards (without having to worry about not revealing any raw edges).  I hope she knows her stuff.

There’s something really satisfying about making straps (or other little tie-things) like this.  I think that’s partly because it always ends up looking pretty decent, even if you don’t fold it perfectly all the way through or don’t sew completely straight.  Maybe.

See, I COULD have just bought some ribbon or something, but this is SO MUCH prettier. Right? … Right?

Yeah, I didn’t really finish the edges…  I decided I just wanted to knot them at the ends.  Also, this happened:

My sewing machine needs help feeding cloth through. I thought I would see how it fares with a bit more independence.

It’s so annoying to have to start sewing closer to the middle and then finish off the edges.  So I just didn’t.

I was pretty excited to finish the straps because then I could use a chopstick to push the straps through my top.  I think my mom uses a bobby pin when she’s making stretchy waistbands, and bobby pins are probably better because they have a clipping mechanism and they’re thinner.  But I’m extra fond of chopsticks.

The strap went through the back part fine.

chopsticks >>>>>>>>>> silverware

But not the front.

Why won’t it go in any further?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Ohhhhhhhhhh…. There’s no opening.

I didn’t really understand what was going on there, but I guess I just sewed the opening shut with the hanging leftover fabric on the edges.  So I had to cut it off.  Nerve-racking.

But it was a success!

The face of success.

Only thing left to do: some finishing touches on the skirt ^_^

I folded up the raw edge of my skirt extra wide for the hem; it needed to be a double-fold so that it wouldn’t unravel, and since the cloth is pretty thin, there would have been some ugly bulk at the hem if had made a smaller fold.  A wider fold makes for a smoother, less round and bulky edge.  But it’s easier to measure out a quarter-inch seam than a however-wide seam.  So I sewed a quarter-inch out from the edge even though the end of the fold was much farther than that.  It was ok, though, because it ended up doing this weird but cool flippy thing.

Doin’ flips ‘n’ shit.

And the totally not straight hemline doesn’t look too bad, either.

Not too shabby, eh?

But your dress is now probably, like, 2 inches shorter than it was before, you admonish.  Wasn’t the point to make it shorter?  Also the skirt is BORING.

You have no faith in me.

Boring, you say?  Well, I was going to just add a bit of frill to the end like the dress design I was going off of.  But we all know I never end up making dresses that look much like my models…

I rather like it.  I think I maybe would have preferred a swirly knot instead of a twisty bar thing, but that’s an easy fix if I ever want to make it.  Also, the twist makes it look a bit fancier than I intended, and it kind of clashes with the very casual self-tie straps.  OOPS.  I guess it doesn’t matter too much because I wear fancy dresses casually all the time, and often with a cardigan over everything.  But changing the straps is also another easy fix, if needed.  I have some extra fabric lying around…

All in all, I’d say this was a success.  Thus, I celebrated =D!  With some champagne…

…grapes!!!! =D =D =D =D =D