7 Sep 2010

Project: The Long Oregon Rail Dress { Pt II }

Here it is, almost complete. Photo snapped whilst the rain took a break this morning shortly after dawn.

I've worked my butt off over this dress and really enjoyed measuring out the extra length and cutting it. The enjoyment began to wear off a little when I realised I'd have to remove the bib. And again when I realised I'd put the sleeves on wrong. And again when I realised that a 2" button loop was just not going to be long enough after laboriously cutting and handstitching 3 of them.

I think I've spent at least the same amount of time, if not more, ripping this dress to pieces and redoing it in an attempt to get things right than I have actually sewing. I started this project on Wednesday evening, printing out the 30 odd pages of pattern and taping them together. Thursday was spent cutting and sewing the two side seams together. Friday was spent putting together the piping and the bib. Saturday was spent unpicking and then redoing the piping and the bib, making the collar pieces and screwing up the button loops again and again. This is mostly due to my inability to properly read instructions and then follow them.

By the time Sunday rolled around I'd lost all patience and spent most of the day locked away in vast quantities of fabulously written stories as a coping mechanism. By about 7pm I decided to just get on with it and finished off the collar, the button loops and covered a couple of buttons.

So happy with the finished product and so desperate to wear it to work I even made a belt out of left over yellow fabric (as the one pictured had not yet arrived from eBay) at 7am yesterday morning. 7am.

And then wanted to cry once I tried it on. I knew the sleeves were wrong for me when I'd been trying it prior to attaching the collar, but figured I'd just stitch them under a little to look less like something out of the 80's. What I didn't realise is that the collar style just does not suit me. At all.

The bust is a little tight for a 34", I'm not sure if I cut the wrong size or did something completely wrong with the bib but it pulls and is tight. This was why I recut the bib in the first place, adding back in the 1.5" Kathleen had taken out of hers*, I couldn't even get the dress over my shoulders. Despite being quite small and slim I have big shoulders and a wide rib cage and I had trouble figuring out where exactly the bib was supposed to be attached to the dress front. End result is, as far as I can tell, done properly but a little too tight for me.

My first attempt at sewing elastic to the waist failed miserably as I forgot to subtract the 1.5" I'd added back into the length and also can't seem to sew in a straight (and horizontal) line. Hence I have an elasticated waist that's a) too big and b) wonky. Not overly flattering I'm sure you'll admit.

As a result of all of the above I decided not to bother sewing on the remaining buttons. I'm not sure if I'll try to salvage something from this dress or not, Mum seems to think it's a possibility but she's currently without a kitchen and is surrounded by electricians and plasterers so it's unlikely that something will happen soon.

The only decision left is whether to get back on that horse or lick my wounds for a while.

* Kathleen's currently giving her version away, leave a comment on her blog here for a chance to win.

Thanks for stopping by,


  1. Oh no! What heartbreak, all that work. I saw how cute this dress looked on BurdaStyle but I was wondering if it would suit me too (and I've just been exceptionally lazy sewing-wise lately).

    Hope you're well! :)

  2. *nods* Devastating. Not to mention sods law! The one dress I get pretty much right (not 6 inches too big) and it doesn't suit me! ;)


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