Sunday, July 17, 2011

Second Hawaii Dress without a Pattern...or...The Day of Un-Picking

I am very happy with this second dress, although it did not turn out how I had envisioned it. Because it needed to be lined (didn't realize that at the store) I had half the fabric I planned for, so the very flowy, swishy, gathered dress turned into a short, cute, straight dress. Here's how I started.
This time I chose a three piece pattern, in a blue jersey (very cheap, and it definitely showed while sewing...ran like pantyhose when you nipped a thread). I chose a deep v neckline and cut the bodice big enough for lots of gathering, which turned out to be just way too big. I made the pattern by simply measuring my own body and where I wanted the different parts to hit.Even though I measured this time, I added a little too much. Better than too small! I didn't take a picture of the first draft, so to speak, but it had the right look, just needed lots of adjusting in the bust. That took forever! I cut the straps, and resewed them, but then the bust was too small (lengthwise), so I un-picked them and luckily had left a lot of fabric. Once the length was right, I started fiddling with the width. Being a large-chested girl is very frustrating, and tailoring your own clothes is even harder, I found out. With my last dress, I couldn't get the bust right and it turned out to be the size difference in each breast, plus pinning the clothing inside out (so measuring for the opposite breast). This time, I did a lot of sew-wear-unpick-sew-repeat. LOTS of unpicking, but I am very happy with the result.
The neckline has a great shape to it, thanks to the ribbon. You may notice that I added darts in the chest...I just had too much material. This was my first time darting, AND my breasts are different sizes, so it came out a little wonky. And lopsided. Will fix on another day when I haven't sat in my sewing room for 6 hours. Good enough for now! I also added some black and white polka dot ribbon details for the straps (original plan) and bow on the hip (improv).
Ignore the wonky boob-lines!!! I love this dress! :)
Literally as comfortable as a t-shirt. I had planned to bunch/gather the straps with another ribbon I bought at the store, but decided this was way cuter.
I really like the bow on the hip. I don't like that the waist bumps where it joins the skirt. I think this is from using a wider zig-zag for stretch, instead of my usual straight stitch.
Wow...hello butt. lol. The backside of this dress, especially on top, turned out much better than my first Hawaii dress.
There's the waist-bump again, but it's fairly minor. Each panel of the dress has two layers of fabric...definitely not a quick dress for me.
Ahhh...I can just imagine wearing this to the beach... :) Loving my new Little Blue Dress!
So...what do you think? I say not bad for not using a pattern! We booked our hotel for the trip yesterday, so I got to working on this dress right away. Surprisingly, I had the energy. I went to the doctor Wednesday and they put me on "watch" for appendicitis...scared the crap out of me! I couldn't get the CT scan to diagnose, since I've had about 7 already and the radiation is cumulative, so I spent a day sitting at home, in pain, taking my temp every half an hour. Luckily, my blood work came back ok, so appendicitis is ruled out, but that means it is likely a cyst. Not happy about that.

Anyhow, my point was that I haven't been up for much, but the hotel booking got me motivated. I am hoping this sewing streak will continue so I can finally finish my other projects. I also have one more dress to make...a cotton black, white and red floral that will need a lining. I am hoping I will have enough to make that one into the swishy dress, but I am worried about the bodice. Does anyone know where I can find free patterns online? Or maybe a good tutorial for a similar bodice to this one, only in a stiff fabric. I find that the hardest part, but maybe it will work if I do the darts and all. Straightly, this time, I hope. lol.


  1. I love the dress! That's pretty much my favorite color! It's so cute and looks super comfy! I love knit dresses. I really like the ribbon details too.
    My favorite place to get free patterns is They have some you buy and some are free. You just register, download a free pattern, and print it off at home. You do have to tape the pattern together but it's worth it if it's free! And you will have it saved on your computer so you can always print it off again!

  2. Thanks Heather! That sounds great, I'm going to go check it out right now. Yay! :)


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