Monday, February 25, 2013

Simplicity 2172 and the Edwardian Ball

After many years of dabbling in sewing I recently got excited and interested in sewing again.

This started with me deciding to to sew myself a dress to wear to the Edwardian Ball this year.  Like many of my decisions it was completely last minute and I found myself starting on the dress on Monday afternoon.  I had until Thursday night to finish it because I was leaving on a plane Friday directly after work.

I had picked Simplicity 2172 because it seemed perfect for the ball and like it was a fairly simple silhouette.  Little did I know the rabbit hole I was going down when I opened up that pattern!

Because I was in a hurry - and feeling cheep - I bought a pretty, stripped, purple cotton for the bustier that became my inspiration.  I purchased a solid purple to match for the dress and coat and a lavender organza for the ruffles to complete the look.

I realized this was going to be a challenge as soon as I started separating pattern pieces.  There were over 25 of them and most needed to be cut in fabric, lining and many also in interfacing.  I spent most of the first night just pinning and cutting and BOY did my fingers and wrists hurt.  

I did manage to get started sewing but then my machine did the unthinkable and jammed on me!  It wasn't the first time this had happened and from past experience I knew it would take me several hours to disassemble the bobbin assembly and fish out the broken thread that was causing the issue.  And there was no telling how long I would be able to sew before I did it again.  So... I jumped in my car and drove down to pick myself up a new (very cheep) machine.  

Soon I was back sewing again, but things still weren't going smoothly.  The instructions were terrible and the number of pieces with names like back, side back, front, side front  were confusing things in my head and I was already having to rip as many seams as I was sewing so, at 2:00 AM I packed it up and went to bed!

The next day after work I jumped back into the project full force.  I had been determined to finish the jacket on Monday and couldn't believe how long it was taking me to finish.  More frustration, more confusion and finally got to bed at 3:00 AM with the coat still incomplete.  The organza had given me fits and I just gave up on it - decided to make the ruffles to match the bustier, but then had issues with the sleeves and finally threw them all out and decided to leave it with just the small shoulder pieces as sleeves after lining them with the contrast fabric to match the bustier.

Wednesday night when I got home from work I jumped right in.  The jacket was so close to being finished - I just needed to sew on buttons.  But here's where things got a little fun.  I had bought some silver buttons from the store, but they had been a ,'These will do' purchase, not exactly what I wanted.  I happened to be digging through the sewing box I had gotten from my mother-in-law when I came across a cache of buttons! I soon had four different designs to choose from and ended up with these amazing gold and silver Scottish design buttons (that no one noticed but me - lol).  

With that going so well I was ready to approach my second more dreaded part of the project - setting the pleats!! OMG what a chore! Luckily, after reading many reviews of this pattern (after I had already started it) I was prepared for how much of a chore this was going to be - 9 yards of fabric, over 200 pleats - ready.. GO!  As I had been warned it took me three hours to fold, set and baste the pleats but honestly I was so pleased with the process I created.  I would lay out one of the sections on a towel on the floor (all nine were sewn together already) mark it, fold it, iron each as I folded it and then when I got to the end section, hand baste all the pleats in place while the fabric cooled and the pleats set.  Then I would move that section over and put the next section on the towel. Yes, my back, feet and knees were hurting by the end, but they were done and they looked A-MAZ-ING!  (I'll upload a picture tonight).  I sewed the pleats to the rest of the skirt and then started to gather the top of the skirt when I had issues with the stitch I had used to create the gathers (new machine - bah).  I decided to just go to bed and prey I could finish it all on Thursday.

Thursday I worked from home and I was able to sew with a little clearer head.  That was good because with the skirt quickly finished up it was time to turn to the most dreaded portion of the project.  The bustier.  I'm a well endowed girl and had this overwhelming dread that it was not going to fit and being in such a hurry to finish I didn't have time to do a mock-up OR go out and purchase more fabric if I messed this one up.  I dove in and started sewing anyway and was pleased as punch when I finally got all the pieces together of the lining and found that I could wrap the fabric around myself - hoooray!  I managed to install all the boning (my first time ever doing it) get the lining attached to the fabric and I had a top!

My only 'OOOOO NOOOO!' moment came when I realized I had bought the wrong kind of zipper.  The pattern called for a 'jacket style' zipper and the one I bought was attached at the bottom. But,  I put it in anyway - and still managed to get the top on - though it was a close call.  I tried everything on together - confirmed that it fit and was finished - threw it all in a bag to take with me to L.A. and fell into bed.  The monster project was finished!!

And here's the finished product:

And my hat with motorcycle goggles that were my husband's grandfather's and the flower/feather decoration that my sister made for me!

I really with I had had more time to accessorize this, but I'm  glad I got it finished!  If/when I make this again it'll be in something finer the cotton - it deserves it!


  1. This is just awesome! I really like what you did with the color purple. This is one of those "someday" patterns for me. Sigh. I need to get my act together here. Thanks

  2. I'm about ready to start on this pattern for my daughter. Yours looks great!!