Akram's Ideas

Red Dress 2018

For the last few years, Renta from the Twilight Stitcher has been hosting the little red dress project. The challenge is fairly simple to make a dress that is at least 90% red in color.

I’ve been participating in this challenge since it’s debuted and had plans for this project since the beginning of the year. But like all best-made plans, it never quite goes as planned.

The Sad Tale of My Red Dress

The original plan was to make a Lilou dress from book Love at First Stitch by Tilly & the Buttons. I had some red satin in my fabric stash that would be perfect. The project seemed pretty simple so I decided not to start this project until the weekend before the week of the reveal date.

Fabric and Fitting Issues

When I went to actually make the dress, I couldn’t find my red satin. All I could find was a textured shiny red fabric which I guess I’d call a cheap taffeta of some kind.

I figured that the Lilou dress fitting would be similar to the Megan Dress so I cut the same size. I’m not sure if my fabric choice or if the Lilou is just fitted differently, but I felt the bust area was just a bit tight. I really think it needed a full bust adjustment.

Despite understitching and other things, the lining was poking out all over. I think it may be due to the heavy weighted taffeta on the dress and my lightweight white satin for the lining.

Attempt Number Two

After working all weekend on the Lilou dress and just feeling like it was a total fail, I decided to toss it aside and do something different.

I had some quilting cotton in a red poinsettia print that I thought would make a lovely Orla dress. Because I made two versions this summer and knew it fit well and that I could make it in probably about an hour. So, with a new plan, I cut out the Oral and went to the serger.

The problem is that I was so sure of how the dress went together I didn’t even read the instructions or really look at the notes on the pattern pieces. If I had I would have noticed that the seam allowance was 3/8 inch and not 5/8 inch. But it wasn’t until I had the bodice put together that I realized my faults.

Third Times a Charm

After breaking down in tears over my simple mistake I was about to just toss the project and give up on the challenge. Though I really wanted to make a holiday dress and I really had fallen in love with this poinsettia print that I wanted somehow to save this project.

My hubby consoled me and told me to unpick the bodice and see what I had left. He also took time to go through my stash and found some green holiday print cotton that would go well with the poinsettia fabric.

I took a look in my pattern stash and found McCalls 5094. This was actually a pattern that I bought when I first learned to sew about six years ago, and had never made it.

Sewing Summary
Date Dec 7 The sad tale of my many sewing fails that ultimately lead to this year's holiday dress made for #TheLittleRedDressProject challenge.
Pattern: McCall’s 5094
Version: Version B
Size: Size 18 graded to 20
Notes & Modification: Added gathered skirt 
Recommendations: Would like to attempt the other bodice and flared skirt
Difficulty: Intermedieate Easy Rating:

The dress featured a bra top style bodice. The bodice pieces were just small enough that I could use my the small pieces of fabric I removed from the Orla bodice for this project. The bodice also had a mid-drift panel which I used the holiday green fabric my hubby picked out for me.

After finishing the bodice I actually just attached it to the gathered skirt I already cut out for the Orla dress. I got lucky hadn’t yet sewed up the sides of the gathered skirt yet, so it was still all good to use.

The sad tale of my many sewing fails that ultimately lead to this year's holiday dress made for #TheLittleRedDressProject challenge.
In the end, I do like how my red dress truned out

My 2018 Red Dress

I managed to get this dress done the last night of the challenge and managed to take a quick snap of the dress.

It’s not the dress I planned and I had one problem after another. Despite all my issues I managed to persevere and get it done. I also ended up with a dress that I hadn’t planned on and is rather different in my wardrobe.

What I learned from this project is not to assume that a project will be easy and to start projects with deadlines at least two weeks out. Always, yes always,  read the instructions, even if you’ve made something before. And finally, just step away take a breath when things aren’t going your way.

I’d love to know in the comments below if you’ve ever had sewing fails one after another? Or did you participate in the Little Red Dress Project, what did you make?

The sad tale of my many sewing fails that ultimately lead to this year's holiday dress made for #TheLittleRedDressProject challenge.

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Akram Taghavi-Burris

designer, writer, educator, tech nerd, crafter, baker, sewer and vintage collector, who Brings Creative & Crazy Ides to Life.

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