Monday, May 17, 2010

MOB Dress Construction Notes

It's all done! I just wanted to share a few things about the way I made this dress, which is Butterick 5176 by the way. First up, fitting. I showed you the muslin here, but I did not end up taking care of the gaping by pulling down, but by taking 2 small tucks in the neckline. I also did a slash and spread of the midriff pieces in order to accommodate a wider waist. Here's what my pattern pieces looked like:

The next thing I want to note, is that while I debated over doing a handpicked zipper vs. an invisible zipper, I ended up doing a lapped zipper after reading this post by Gertie. I didn't do it according to her instructions, but kind of a hybrid from the zipper package and my Singer Sewing Book. Because the lining was already attached to the bodice pieces, I had to do a little fudging, but no one can tell from the outside. I did not make a placket, like Gertie advised because the whole dress is lined. How about some photos:
This fist one shows how I trimmed away the seam allowance on the midriff piece (interfaced with silk organza) to reduce bulk. (The skirt is underlined with the silk organza.) Next up, ready to machine sew the right side which will be under the lap.
Finally, you can machine sew the other side, but I chose to hand pick for a couture look. The zipper ready for hand sewing:
And... the finished zipper:

Big note: The pattern has ties which I have chosen to omit. This will totally affect your choice of zipper installation.

As I mentioned, the skirt is underlined with the silk organza, and I enclosed all the seams for the gores except the actual side seams of the dress. This silk shantung frays like nobody's business, so I did a kind of Hong Kong finish using stay tape inside of bias tape, just on these exposed side seams. I did not finish the seams of the lining as the dreamy fabric I used hardly frayed at all. For the hem, I attached horsehair braid, folded it up, and hand sewed, attaching it to the organza for an invisible hem from the outside. Bride Laura helped me measure the hem marking from the floor so it's as perpendicular as possible.

Finally, I attached the bling to the midriff band. I know. I know. I didn't like that look on the flat dress on the floor, but once it became 3D on my body, the flowers got lost on the skirt, and looked better on the midriff. I evenly spaced them around the entire dress, attaching them before I slipstitched the midriff lining to the skirt lining.

And... what you've all been waiting for!


  1. You and the dress both look amazing, Elle!

  2. Wow, Elle! I love it and you look beautiful in it. Perfect color choice. Nice shoes too.

  3. Came over from Peter's blog to see the final dress. I love the color and the style of this dress on you. It is stunning! Which also means you look stunning in it :)

  4. Beautiful with a terrific fit! The under the arm zipper looks great. I probably would have chickened out and moved the zip to the back. Taking a zipper over the boob bump followed by the waist inside curve would have made me queasy to even think about.

    Bravo to you for getting such a professional finish!

  5. You look fabulous, I love the dress and the colour...Wow great job



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