Thursday, April 11, 2013

Darted to Death

Happy Thursday! I hope your week went by well. My weeks since my resignation have seemed to go very, very slowly. They're pretty painful, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel and can't wait for May 6th (which is my start date at the other job). Apparently I love changing my entire life around at the beginning of May. Last May, I married my best friend. This May, I'm changing careers. Wonder what next May shall bring?!

So friends, I gave you a teaser in the last post about the upcoming project. Alas, it is finished and it is a huge, huge fail. It's so destroyed that it is actually sitting in the garbage right now. I may take it out later and try to harvest some fabric, but right now it's in a fabric time-out to think about what it's done.

I had pretty high hopes for this one.
It was a long skirt that I absolutely loved the pattern on! It reminded me of summer and I couldn't wait to make it a cute sundress. The idea was easy - as ideas always are - take it up around my shoulders, cinch the middle, hike the hem up a bit and call it a day. Oh, and there was the little matter of the hooch-tastic slit up the side.

So when I hiked up the skirt to my armpits, it was quite billowy. As I saw it, I had two ways to go on this one. I could throw a belt on it to cinch it or I could actually learn something and do some darts to cinch and fit it a bit more to my body. I decided on the latter - I was going to learn something.

First thing I did was put the dress on Sophie (as you saw in the last post) and put some darts in starting at the bottom of the chest and going down a few inches. Now, I'm obviously no "how to guru" on darts because you know this project turns out to be a huge fail, but basically a dart is put in to fit garments to the curves of your body. They're often found at the bodice, back and chest but could be other places as well (for example on skirts you often see four of them - two in front, two in back). If you look at most of the clothes in your closet, they have darts somewhere or another. Essentially, it's where the tailor pinched the fabric together in the back and sewed a little triangle, chopped off the excess triangle piece and ironed down the fabric. Turn something inside out, you'll see it.

Back to what I did - I pinned on Sophie where the bottom of her chest was and then a few inches down for my starting and stopping point. I did two of these on the front. After I sewed, this is how the wrong part of the fabric looked.

Luckily, I was a smart cookie and tried it on before cutting off the excess. After I tried it on it was absolutely hideous. We'll call this Fail #1. I donned the skirt dress and it was a) uneven, apparently Sophie isn't as symmetrical as we thought b) puckered at the back, I had a full-on back belly and c) puckered at the sides. The sides I was actually okay with - if it puckered there, I could always sew up the side seams that were already there and bring in the puckers that way. The other two problems I couldn't live with, so the handy seam ripper came out in style and I ripped it all out.

It was at this point that I gave up and wrote you a post about all the random things I had done throughout the week. Meanwhile, I scanned YouTube and other tutorials on how to do what I wanted. Let me tell you guys, I. Found. Nothing. Nothing. I found a lot of tutorials on how to do the darts following a pattern and making a dress from scratch. I found a lot of tutorials on how to do a dart on a random piece of fabric. I did not find one tutorial on how to include darts into a refashion of a dress. No instructions whatsoever on where to start them, where to finish them, what type to do on what types of dresses, etc. I know people have done it, but apparently it's such an easy tactic that no one felt a tutorial was needed. I showed them.

Luckily, I was all "learned up" on how an appropriate dart was done. Basically, you start at the inside of the dress and go to the outside of the seam. You back stitch when you start, leave it be when you end and just tie a double knot in your thread. So - I did attempted that.

I mean, it basically did happen. A dart was made. I also made it longer to go all the way down the bodice. I had noticed on the last one that the fabric still folded over itself in a natural fall during the first time around, so I thought if I continued to bring the dart down into the bodice and waist it would really make it nice and fitted (and lengthening lines). Yeah - I was dreaming. I put this thing on and it still a) made me have a back belly and b) puckered at the sides, however we now have a new c) cinched the waist so tiny - I had accidentally taken the dress in about 2 sizes and I now couldn't breathe. Fantastic. So the seam ripper came out again. We're calling this Fail #2.

I found in my random Google travels that there is a different type of dart - the diamond dart. Since I was already on a roll, I figured "why not?" I knew at this point the dress couldn't go out into public anyway - there were major holes in the (what I now knew as) delicate fabric from my seam ripping that you could see tiny dots of my skin all over my waist.

In my mind (again, those easy idea things) this thing called diamond dart was the perfect solution. It would tailor the garment under my chest to bring it in, and the bottom of the diamond wouldn't bring in the waist as much so I could commence breathing. It was settled - I did the diamond dart.

You heard me. I did it. This is actually how it's supposed to look. You start at the seam and end at the seam, back stitching nowhere, and tying double knots from the excess thread to keep it.


Then I put the dress on, and threw a belt in there just to keep it a little more cinched at the waist, since I hadn't kept the dart going all the way down the waist.

Mind not the bra straps. I'm not fancy enough to go all the way up two flights of stairs to find a strapless. Deal with it.

So from the front it wasn't horrible. It's not what I would call the most flattering thing in the world, but it was a strapless dress, cinched at the waist with darts that made it more fitted. AND! There was no back stomach, and only a small amount of side billow-age. It still wasn't going out in public, but it was something I was happy about. I learned something.

Then I turned sideways.

Fail #3 can be summarized, again, via alphabet. a) Pancake boobs. Yes, pancake is an adjective in this sentence and you know exactly what it means in this context. b) Belly pooch - and folks, that's not mine. If it was mine, I would have edited that shit out and never drawn attention to it BUT! this one is not me. The pooch was even larger without the belt. It looked like I carried a baby and a six pack in this pooch, neither of which is accurate.

Although after the week I had at work, and looking forward to the next 2 weeks at work... the six pack doesn't sound half bad...

See you next Thursday, friends. And please don't follow or consider this blog post a "tutorial" or "how-to" post at all. I don't want to be responsible for the result.