Saturday, February 11, 2012

Victory over the dress

No way was it going to get the better of me.  No stinking way.

But oh, how it tried.

Not only did I have the previously-recounted neckline issues, but I had hem issues as well.  Let me just say, for anyone else who bought this fabric at Metro during the last Elizabeth-inspired NY shopping trip, it is hell, pure and simple.  It's pretty, it's drapy, and it's HELL.  It sticks to everything, the rough spots on my hands, my fingernails, it hangs up on pins - yet pins fall out of it - and it has a distinctly unlovely tendency to get holes if you pick a stitch out of it. 

It even upset my coverstitch!  I pressed and pinned up the hem, and attempted to sew it on the coverstitch.  A few inches in, and the fabric started bunching up.  WTH?  I raised the presser foot, retrieved the dress, and unraveled the hem.  There was a big thread ball under where it had stopped.  I blew out the machine, completely rethreaded it, and sewed it again.  It did the same thing, a few inches later.  Repeat the unraveling, add a few really good strings of profanity, and off I go to the regular machine to sew the hem.  There's a slit in the front, under the gathered seam, so it's not a tight skirt.  Fine.  Dress hemmed.  (Yet the sleeve hems worked fine.  Go figure).

And now, about that neckline.  I fixed it the other night, and I had an idea about the trim.  I just thought it might be a weird idea.  So on Thursday I looked for trim.  I had nothing in stash.  I called Karlin's, my local store, and asked what they had in the way of black trim.  Grosgrain ribbon, satin ribbon and some upholstery braid, that was it.  Today, we went to Jomar, where I scored the lace I need for my first Titanic-era project (more about that soon), but no interesting black trim there, either. 

I decided to go with the weird idea, which was this black faux-leather barbed wire trim I bought at M&J in New York a few years ago.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it at the time; Connie, who was with me, looked confused.  But then, she was buying so much bridal trim it's a wonder she got it all home.  Not one to really talk about my need for barbed wire trim.

I pinned it around the neck, straight, covering the stitches, and it looked skimpy.  I decided to loop it on unevenly, to see what it looked like, thinking I could weave in two strands of wire.  I liked the unevenness; I didn't like the double strand.  One strand of wire it was, sewn by hand onto the dress while it was on the form.  Standing. 

This dress has been more trouble than any knit dress I've made in years.  But I like it.

I showed it to Mario, and he liked the effect from the distance.  Then he got close up and asked, "Is that . . . barbed wire?"  Yes, I said.  "Does it hurt?"  No, sweetie.  I'm not using real wire around my neck.  They say beauty knows no pain, but you're talking about a woman who refuses to wear Spanx because they cut off my blood supply.  I'm not wearing wire.  He's so cute. 

The tactful word he finally came up with was "avante garde."  For lack of anything better/more complimentary, I'll take it.

At least I didn't give in to the repeated urge to take scissors to it.  And now I'm glad. 

No proper pattern review yet; when I can face writing one, I'll add a link to it.


Nancy said...

It does look like quite a striking dress - glad you prevailed!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

It is an interesting dress. I would like to see this on you, though.

Sewingelle said...

Well done for surviving! But please tell us what is this pattern? Its looks a bit like MyImage last summer??

The trim is great. And the fabric is truly lovely (easily said over the web when no contact has been made with it)

prttynpnk said...

I don't think i've ever seen a trim work so wel with a fabric print without being a twee-festival. This is lovely- you fought hard and won big.

Anonymous said...

I love the camo with the barbed wire.


SEWN said...

Love that trim. You are so good at making it work. Agree with Carolyn. Pictures on you please!

Elaray said...

It's a pretty print-easy to see why you bought it. You're more patient than I am. I would have quit after the second thread nest.

renee said...

After hearing your story, barbed wire seems like the perfect trim. I really like the final look.

Michelle said...

Very pretty! I'm glad you didn't let the fabric get the better of you!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Argh, nightmare fabric! But the end result is great, and those are definitely your colors. Fun trim!