Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Staple Dress Insanity

What madness overcomes a seamstress when we blithely say, "I'll do that."? Only later realize the size of the task we've taken on...

That, my sewing friends is SIXTEEN Staple Dresses! 
This summer, three girls went to town on their day off and came back with all the fabric from three thrift stores to make matching dresses for all the girls on staff. We accomplished Sixteen.

The Statistics:
  • There are 10 Woven Dresses
    •  4 from Thrifted Sheets 
    • 1 from New Fabric
    • 5 from Thrifted Fabric
  • There are 6 Knit Dresses
    • All from thrifted fabric
  • There are 6 Hi/Low Hems, 1 Maxi, and 9 Straight Hem Dresses
  • I don't remember all the sizes but I made each size offered at least once. 

The Details
  • I was pleasantly surprised to see that on all the girls I was able to check, the pattern waistline was right on. For the wide range of heights and figures I was very impressed. 10 points to April Rhodes. 
  • I did not do pockets.
  • Assembly line sewing is the way to go!
  • Instead of tags marking the back I wrote each girl's name at CB and a verse around the neckline. 
  • I am now the Shirring Queen! Don't worry how it looks on the machine, a shot of steam will make everything beautiful!
    • The heaver the fabric the more rows of shirring needed. Knits shirred wonderfully with only a few rows.
    • I did slightly stretch the elastic as I wound it on the bobbin. It seemed to give better results.

Before & After Steam
Psst, Aren't those alligators cute!
My Thoughts
  • If I ever get married, this has cured any lingering ideas of making my own bridesmaid dresses. They can wear whatever they want! I'm not going to have 16 bridesmaids either!
  • I feel like I've accomplished a milestone in my sewing. There has to be some award for sewing the same pattern up nineteen times. (counting the three versions I've made myself) I CAN DO BIG PROJECTS
  • I don't want to do something this big again even though I LOVED doing this for the amazing ladies I worked with this summer. Each dress reflected their personalities and in the post camp blues it was nice to have a reminder of them.
  • This was my biggest January Stashbusting UFO. I had three left to finish when the year turned over and I'm so glad they are all DONE.

For a couple of the knit dresses I had to improvise.
These I did make "tags" for.

All packed up and ready to head out to their new homes.

How about you? What is the biggest sewing project you've ever tackled? How many times have you made up one pattern?


Becky W said...

Wow, that is a lot of dresses! I think the most I've ever used one pattern as-is is Sewaholic Thurlows x5. My Renfrew may have caught up by this point, but at least two of those were also pattern hacked. Hope the girls all love them!

p.s. That's pretty much what I told my bridesmaids-- I figured if we did just black and knee-length of whatever dress they wanted, it would up the chances of it actually getting worn again. And then two of my three bridesmaids ended up buying the same dress from a bridal shop anyway. Oh well.

YveeB said...

my! What an achievement!!! This is a real stash bust and real commitment to friends, to something you said you'd do, and to acomlpishing shirring!!! Haha.... and to keeping any wedding simple :-) Well done you!

Sharon said...


Anne Case Hanks said...

Wow! I love the Staple Dress but 16! You are an amazing friend.


Jagoda Spronk said...

Wow, just wow... Incredible! (that's all I can come up with when I'm speechless)

Helena said...

Wow! 16 dresses from one pattern, that's dedication. I think the most I've used a pattern ends at 3, of which I have a few, but usually with different variations. Although for one pattern (Sewaholic's Alma) I'm thinking of adding a fourth.

EmSewCrazy said...

I think hacks count! Five pair of pants of pants is pretty good too!
Thanks for the wedding advice too. I'm filling it all away for someday. :)

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks YveeB! I feel achieved!

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks Sharon! Yes, I don't think I'll be making Staple dresses for awhile. :)

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks Anne, some girls helped with the prep work, like tracing all the pattern sizes and getting the measurements for me, ironing. So I mostly had the fun sewing to do...

EmSewCrazy said...

Oh my! 30! Thankfully the Staple dress is pretty much a sack with shirring to shape. I skipped the pockets to make it even simpler!

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks Jagoda! I get that way too sometimes. I can't believe I did that! mixed with Whew they are finally done!

EmSewCrazy said...

I love doing variations. I think I would have gone crazy if these hadn't been in different fabrics! :)

Chuleenan said...

Whoa! Congrats on sewing so many dresses - and for using thrifted fabric and sheets for most of them. Very impressive!

EmSewCrazy said...

Thanks! I feel pretty accomplished!

Ginger said...

HOLY COW, 16 DRESSES?!?!?!?!?! You're amazing.

EmSewCrazy said...

Haha! Note the use of the word "Insanity" in the title. I had no idea what I was volunteering for. I feel pretty amazing for accomplishing it and I can now confidently teach a class on this dress and personally testify it works on a wide range of figures. :)