Sunday, September 23, 2007

Girl, you got a skirt sewed to yo' sweata

By my reckoning, I have spent about 8 hours altering this dress. That's right, altering it. I:

gently took apart the seams that joined the sleeves to the bodice

narrowed the shoulder and rejoined the sleeves to the bodice (this was where the bulk of my time was spent)

gently took apart the seam joining the bodice to the skirt

rejoined the skirt to the bodice, contouring the seam so as to eliminate horizontal wrinkles I had before

reinstalled the side seam invisible zipper

Assuming I was working with a well-drafted pattern that I had already fit to my body, I could have easily sewn this dress from scratch in about the same amount of time, plus an hour or so for buttonholes and hems.

That's right, gals. It's easier to give birth than resurrect something. Taking apart someone else's sewing and redoing a garment is not a time-saver, nor are your results better than the original. In this case, the original construction on this dress was phenomenal. It killed me that the dress did not fit me, but I could not wear it. So it hung in my closet for over a year, unworn. Sandra Betzina did the pinning for me last week at the seminar in San Francisco to guide my alterations. I can honestly say I did not put the garment back together as well as it was originally made. But I had spent plenty of money on this dress from Manifesto, now defunct, and I wanted to salvage it. My results are acceptable, but not fantastic.

Which brings me to wonder once more: Why the current obsession with redoing and "recycling" garments? Girl, you got a skirt sewed to yo' sweata, and it shows. Start from the beginning, and make a garment of quality. At this point, honestly, I'm not sure this dress will ever be a workhorse item in my wardrobe. And I have at least one other dress to similarly rescue before it is wearable. I spent a lot of money on it, too. Now I will be spending time. I wish I had saved both and started from scratch.

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