Have you ever seen a pattern, fell in love with it, but question if it would ever look good on you? That was my relationship with the Sweetheart dress by Patterns for Pirates. I had seen so many beautiful versions of the dress on the Patterns for Pirates Facebook group, but I didn't know if I could pull it off. Then, Patterns for Pirates announced they were going to do a sew-a-along for the pattern and Pretty Posh Prints sold a polka dot Liverpool fabric, and I figured it was time for me to stop fighting destiny.
This was my first time sewing Liverpool, and let me just tell you, it sews like a dream. For those of you who are as clueless as I was about what Liverpool fabric is, it's a textured spandex blend. Unlike other textured fabrics, it maintains its texture when it's ironed and has a smooth back. Both are huge bonuses in my book.
The pattern itself is pretty easy, but you absolutely have to make sure that you take updated measurements. The bodice is drafted for an 8-inch side waist measurement, and my Amazonian stature has me coming in at 9.5 inches, so I had to adjust a pattern for the first time ever. It's important to make this adjustment so that the bodice hits you just right at the smallest part of your waist. If it doesn't, it may not flatter you. Making the adjustment is easy, and if you visit Patterns for Pirates' blog, you'll see step-by-step instructions on how to measure yourself, and there are tons of resources on how to alter patterns.
Like most of my projects, I suffered some casualties: I broke two double needles in the process of making this dress. (They actually broke in the span of 5 minutes. I was not happy.) Luckily, I didn't cut myself in the process of making the dress, which is a first for 2016. I have some plans to make other versions of the Sweetheart dress, including a peplum and another dress with the most beautiful knit fabric I've ever seen in my whole life. Hopefully, those will get done before I go on my Alaskan cruise. If not, I'll just wear this dress everyday.
My dress took me about four hours from start to finish. My fabric came from Pretty Posh Prints and cost $6.50/yard. I already had the correct color thread. The pattern cost me $7.50.
In total, the project cost $27. I've actually already worn the dress twice since I finished it on Saturday, including to my local Delta Gamma alumnae chapter's Founder's Day. Did I mention I'm in love with this dress?
I'm running the Peace Love Run Half Marathon on March 6 in Ventura, CA. The race is a 60s-themed out and back course along the Pacific. While most people choose the tie-dyed hippie look if they dress up for this race, I've never been a big tie-dye fan. I struggled with figuring out what I was going to wear, and then while taking down our Christmas tree, I saw my ornament commemorating the first Barbie and was struck by inspiration to do it as a costume at some point. About a month later, I realized that this particular Barbie fit the 1960s theme (while she was released in 1959, she was iconic through the early 1960s) and the beach location.
Luckily, I had the prefect fabric for making this project a reality in my stash and didn't need to purchase anything except for the Patterns for Pirates Sweetheart Dress pattern on which to base my swimsuit dress. If you're interested in how I made the costume, I blogged about my adventures in a series of blog posts that you can access here. Otherwise, let me show you how the costume turned out.
I'll report back on how the costume worked for running early next week, but until then keep on sewing and running!
Let me start off by admitting that this project did not end up like I thought it would and my hack for the "bra" top part of the sweetheart dress bodice ended up looking like "a bra for a toddler" (my friend Crystal's description.) The unfortunate thing was that I didn't realize it until I had sewn the bodice together and put it on, which meant that I couldn't just replace the pieces. I was going to have to figure out another solution and topstitch it on the bodice.
Luckily, with running costumes, no one really looks all that close at your seamwork. And if they did, then my Sofia the First dress probably received a lot of judging looks, because my first regular pattern to running costume pattern hack was a complete structural fail.
Anyway, it three episodes of Fargo and an extreme amount of patience to figure out how to coverup my tiny toddler bra cups and mimic the sweetheart neckline. I ended up using the smallest zig zag setting on my machine to faux embroider the cups on. With the bodice figured out, I sewed on the skirt.
Here's where I parted from the inspiration. In the original Barbie, the bottom of the swimsuit is a stretched out seam making the bottom come together at a diagonal. That's all good and well for a doll dress, but the practicality of such a design doesn't really translate into a the real world. After all, Barbie's swimsuit is more or less a striped sock.
I ended up taking more of the 1920s swim dress approach and did a half circle a-line skirt that matched the stripes of the bodice. Since I'm going to be wearing this for a half marathon, it's more important that the structure be good, even if it departs from the original inspiration. After sewing the skirt to the bodice, I trimmed the seams and left the edges raw, since the spandex has a clean finish.
With the dress totally done, it was time to turn my attention to my Barbie legs. Since I'm not blessed with thighs that allow me to run in just a dress, I needed to make some bottoms. I turned to Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs. (I've previously reviewed that pattern here.) I went ahead and made full-length leggings because the weather forecast for my race Sunday keeps changing. With full leggings, I'll have the best chance at staying warm and/or dry depending on what Mother Nature throws at me. I forgot to add the gusset, so my promise for a step-by-step tutorial won't happen this time.
Ready for the full costume reveal? You can find it here.