I Did, but I Didn't Enjoy It

comments: 48

Durodress2I really didn't. I'm too embarrassed to show you the inside of this thing. It's  a shaggy, crazy-driver mess. I thought I would never finish this. I did, but I didn't enjoy it.

If you're coming late to the party here, this is my casserole-bringing dress for fall. I worked on it yesterday from noon until 8 p.m. Straight. Without going anywhere, doing anything else, without talking on the phone, nothing. Okay, I was watching TV because I moved the sewing machine to the coffee table and the ironing board to the dining room, but really that only took, mmm, about six minutes, tops. The other 7 hours and 54 minutes were spent cutting this beast out (approximately two hours) and then making it (just subtract, etc., I'm too tired from making the dress). It was a marathon. But you know, I know myself, and if I didn't finish it then it would've gone back in its little bag and languished until . . . never. So, I kept going. If you are a beginning sewer, you should definitely have adult supervision for this, especially during the "pinning down the pattern and cutting it out" part because you may consider hari-kari about 7/8 of the way through (approx.). Aaaaagh. Okay. So, you hear what I'm saying here, I think. You've been warned. Did anyone else who's made this think so, too? Maybe I'm just a total wimp.

Durodress1All that mean stuff said, it's totally cute (if I can be allowed to say). I'm very conflicted now. I could see having seven of them and wearing one every day. I LOVE it. I couldn't get it to appear to hang straight on the dressform in the photos but I think it is. Like I said, it looks nice from the outside, but the inside is a mess, so maybe this tilting could be systemic. Nothing would surprise me. The fabric all came from JoAnn's — I think it's all just some kind of polyester peach-skin stuff, or I actually have no idea what it's called. (You probably know better than to ask me because it's really just a miracle that I get the stuff done, I rarely keep track of the details.) Let me just say that if you do make this dress, don't get fabric for the contrast that is impossible to press flat, like I did. None of my seams would lay flat, I couldn't turn a hem with it, the facing edges are a wreck. Just — pick something with less body. My stuff was almost like weird fake suede or something and it just didn't want to be anything other than flat. It's nice because it doesn't just flop over, etc., and I like that stiffness for the midriff and hem, but still. I don't know if it was worth it. I'd go for something more iron-able.

ANYway, the best part is that it's done and it fits (though I have a feeling this is more of a dress for the smaller-busted . . . but like I said to Lisa and Stephanie when I showed it to them at breakfast this morning, if it's cute and it fits me, I'll wear it, I don't care). I wish I had brown clogs for it, actually. Oh, and this Lisa, fellow coat-addict, has issued an "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" coat challenge — we're two for two right now, but I've got more, baby. Don't you worry. Tomorrow. Anyone else want to play? Show us your coats if you do. The winner will get . . . nothing. It's just a pretend challenge.


I love this dress. It is so cute, but now that I have been warned, I am not sure I would even want to attempt it.. especially if it would fit the smaller busted better. I want something like that out of cotton that is a little longer to wear my vintage cowboy boots with it (the only time I wear them.. with long skirts and a cool top, I just love them because no one around here has anything like them since they are from the 60's/early 70's).

But, I still love the dress. You sound just like me. If I do not finish it right then and there, it will get hung up in the WIP file and maybe never see the light of day again : )

It turned out beautifully. I love the colors and the solid contrast.

That's so cute! Love it ^_^

It looks faaaaaabulous, darhlink! Do we get a pic of you in it?

the dress is stunning... you did an amazing job!

i'm all set for the coat challenge.... it's sick how many i was pulling out of the closet... :)

Oh, Alicia! It's beautiful!! I'm so sorry to hear that there was some trauma involved, but the results are definitely worth it.

I think it looks great! I actually made the dress too (saw your post with the pattern and got inspired). I have to say it was a little intimidating. It's really the first time I've made something that complicated. I had to finesse the fit a little because my chest is larger. So I went up a pattern size and added elastic to both sides of the waist instead of using the ties. It fits me well but I really don't like the fabrics I chose now that it's put together. Maybe I'll get up the courage to post photos of mine too. Yours looks great though - just like the Boden catalogue.

Hey I think you did fantastic! When I was in Home Economics in 7th grade I sewed my finger with the machine. Had to go to the hospital to have the needle removed. I passed the class but I think it was just a mercy passing! I'm sure the teacher didn't want me returning the following year. :)

It's done, and it's absolutely fantastic - you did a great job! Don't worry about what the inside looks like - no-one else will ever see that. But could you really face making 6 more, to have one to wear each day??!! Now THAT'S a challenge! Love it.

thanks for the warning - but it has come too late! I bought the fabric for this very dress last Friday. I haven't even tried to cut it out yet but will proceed with caution - hari-kari would get blood all over my hard found fabric.

All said and done though your dress looks gorgeous, the floral fabric is devine.

I have been thinking about making this dress - so glad to have your advice. And although you didn't have fun, it is very pretty and looks well done!

The dress is beautiful--I just love it. And in reference to your angst over the sewing details--don't worry about it. As long as the dress doesn't fall apart on you out in public causing sever mortification, wear and enjoy your darling creation. It really is fabulous.

wow- it turned out lovely. I had a similar thing happen with a smock apron. I'm a very very very beginner sewer so I almost ran around the room screaming 'ahh, this will never work' but instead spent 7 hours trying to figure it out.

The last time I made a dress (which was supposedly an easy pattern), it just about drove me crazy. And I was trying to make it for my ever-changing pregnant body. That thing was ugly on the inside!

Your dress looks great! Enjoy wearing it!

I love dressmaking but laying out the fabric and pinning the pattern down takes me forever no matter how simple the pattern is. Thank you for sharing your own experience... But as they say, it is all in the preparation - so it is worth taking care at the beginning. oh and yes - last time I was cutting my fabric out I pricked my finger BIG time with a pin hiding under the paper. Nine more thimbles on order...

I love it, I love it so much, I was like hey, I just bought a remnant of that fabric at the store last week. ^_^ We both have the same taste.
My post about it...click here

Kewl. I am gonna use my little remnant to make a bag | purse out of.


For a hand-sewing girl dress making is out of my league.Once I get to grips with my machine I will try!my 4 girls will be willing guinea-pigs I'm sure.
I'm up for the coat challenge!I'll post a couple of photos tomorrow.

It looks pretty good to me! I just got a couple of patterns like this. I can see a few of them in my future.

You are right..It DOES look cute. You are sooo brave..all the clothes I have made for myself I hated wearing. I can never get the proportions right on my larger chest/no waisted body. Im more a buy something and change it person. eg cut off sleeves, take up hem, embellish etc etc. Good for you for seeeing it through!!

i'm am just so overwhelmed by the great photos of great stuff!
omg--i just broke the needle (twice) off of my sewing machine so i'm far from making such a lovely dress like yours. BUT, i vow to make a dress when my skills are better. this is on the same list as figuring out how to make a nice reversible drawstring bag, as well as a nice tote. without breaking the needle off my sewing machine. gotta get the right needle...
:o)glad to see you had a great weekend!

How lovely. I simply adore it (and your stories.)

Very cute. It looked challenging, especially the neck facing part. Wear it in good health!

Crazy Driver Mess...whatta hoot.
I've been That Sewing Person too.

The Dress is beyond FAB and definitely something I would show up carrying a casserole in.

Do post your casserole/ recipe with the dress ( a tag on the dress with this would be perfect if it was for sale or exhibit I think )

One of your marvelous coats I DROOLED over the other day will be wonderful if the weather is cool.

And let me wish that you have that cooler weather as we just went back up to OVERLY HOT and started the Santa Ana (Fire Alert) Winds time here. (meh)

All that work was well worth it as it turned out "Totally Cute"

Polyester to boot ?
Again she cries "Perfect!"

I have some brown clogs if you want to borrow
( Big feet - Number Nines Baby !)

Will dig out old coats and photos soon.

Love, S.

ps. is there any other place TO sew but near the Telly ?

I'm glad other people have the same struggle with cutting out patterns I do. I almost think it's the hardest part, and when it's done I'm so discouraged I don't want to sew it anymore.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.